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Smartphone maker BlackBerry Priv, company’s first Android device, goes on sale

Winston Sih | posted Friday, Nov 6th, 2015

TORONTO – The stakes are high for BlackBerry as its first Android-powered device goes on sale today.

The release of the BlackBerry Priv could mark a pivotal moment for the smartphone maker as it tries to turn around its money-losing hardware division.

If the Priv is a sales flop, it’s likely the Waterloo, Ont.-based company will exit the business of designing phones and turn attention to its software licensing and services division.

For the first time, BlackBerry (TSX:BB) is launching a device that will run on Google’s Android system, not on its own operating software.

The change is intended to resolve one of the biggest criticisms levelled against BlackBerry — a lack of apps that left it behind its competitors in an era where customers increasingly use their phones to stream movies and post on social media.

BlackBerry has said advance orders for the Priv have been higher than those for the Passport, Classic and Leap devices, though it hasn’t provided presales figures.

With files from The Canadian Press

How to boost your immune system naturally

Cityline | posted Thursday, Nov 5th, 2015

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With cold and flu season around the corner, it is important to keep your immune system strong and your body in tiptop shape. By doing so, you will have a far better chance of fighting off any nasty bugs that you may be exposed to over the next fall and winter months.

What is the immune system?
In short, the immune system is a combination of cells and organs that work together to help you avoid sickness and disease, which can lead to coughs, colds and flus. The immune system can be likened to a powerful army that has various weapons such as anti-bodies and white blood cells. When an invader “attacks” in the form of a bacteria, virus or allergenic food, a response is issued by the immune system to protect your body. Conditions such as sleep deprivation, stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and an excess intake of alcohol can weaken the immune system response and leave you susceptible to getting sick.

Can I improve my immune system?
Yes! Absolutely – your immune system can be strengthened (or weakened) by various food and lifestyle approaches. To keep your immune system function strong, simply implement a few of the steps below:

Go for garlic: Garlic is an immune boosting superstar. Eaten in raw form or in capsule form, research has shown garlic to be a very powerful preventative agent against coughs, colds and chest infections during the winter months. Odorless garlic capsules are available at your local health food store.

Get your zzzz’s: Sleep is the time where your body repairs and re-builds. If you are sleep deprived or suffer from interrupted sleep, the immune system can become depressed and an increase of inflammatory chemicals can occur. In order to get some sound sleep, opt for lavender on your pillow, sleep in a room that is completely dark, and avoid watching TV before bed.

Supplement with vitamin D: Canadians who live in colder climates typically have limited sunny months and can become deficient in the immune-boosting vitamin D. According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, people with low levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to catching colds. For supplementation reasons, most experts suggest supplementing with a minimum of 1000 IU per day.

Avoid white sugar: Eating too much white sugar can cause fatigue, weight gain and can suppress immune system function. An excess amount of white sugar found in pop, candy and other refined food dampens your white blood cell response, referred to as your leucocytic index response. White blood cells are part of the “army” that the immune system uses to ensure harmful microbes such as bacteria or viruses do not grab hold. Instead of eating white sugar, turn to natural sweet foods such as berries, mangos, apples, apple sauce and naturally dried fruit for a healthier type of snack.

Additional immune boosting tips include:

  • Hydrate with a minimum of 2 liters of water per day.
  • Add probiotics (“good bacteria”) into your daily diet such as those found in yogurt or in capsule form.
  • Be with your friends! Research show those who socialize and spend time with loved ones enjoy better health and longevity.
  • Lighten up your eating. When you are under the weather, your body does not actually have to eat a lot of food. If you do fall ill this winter, drink warm liquids and eat organic chicken soup until you feel stronger.
  • Remember to wash your hands! Infections can be transmitted via contact such as sneezing, coughing or touching surfaces that have been sneezed or coughed on.
  • Boost your vitamin C intake by eating citrus fruits and broccoli, as well as in supplement form.
  • Sweat it out: Engage in physical activity on a regular basis to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that when over secreted by the adrenal glands, can cause your immune system to weaken.

Thinking about getting the flu vaccine this year? Cityline guest expert Dr. Joelene Huber recently talked about the vaccine on Breakfast Television Toronto — watch the video below to learn more.

Courtesy Dr. Joey Shulman
drjoey.com

German Shepherd tucks toddler into bed

Erin Criger | posted Thursday, Nov 5th, 2015

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A beautiful, near-silent video perfectly illustrates the loving relationship between dog and man.

Or in this case, dog and toddler.

Baron, a German Shepherd, helps get his human Alexander ready for bed, including tidying up, prayers, and of course, goodnight kisses.

Baron even helps turn out the light.

Watch the sweet video below or click here to view it.

Raptors beat Thunder 103-98 to remain unbeaten

Cliff Brunt, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Nov 5th, 2015

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Toronto’s fast start is no fluke.

DeMar DeRozan scored 10 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter, and the undefeated Raptors overcame an eight-point deficit in the final six minutes to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-98 on Wednesday night.

Toronto shot 42 per cent but fought through that for its best win yet.

“I don’t know how many games we’re going to win, but I do know that we’re going to scrap,” coach Dwane Casey said. “We’re going to compete, play hard, get after people. Tonight, our shots weren’t falling and we attacked the rim and got to the free throw line, made the officials make a decision and forced the defence to react.”

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 12 rebounds and Kyle Lowry added 17 points for the Raptors (5-0), who beat Dallas the night before.

Toronto benefited from 19 Oklahoma City turnovers and outscored the Thunder 32-12 at the foul line.

Oklahoma City lost its second straight despite shooting 48 per cent. It was the first time this season the Thunder scored fewer than 100 points.

“It’s all correctable stuff,” star forward Kevin Durant said. “I’m not worried at all. It’s not like we just can’t get a grip on what’s going wrong. We turn the ball over and we foul. That’s the game.”

Russell Westbrook scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and finished with 16 assists. Durant had 27 points and Enes Kanter added 15 for the Thunder.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Toronto’s Bismack Biyombo was called for fouling Westbrook on a screen, then disagreed with the call and was issued a technical foul. Durant made the free throw, then Westbrook hit a 3-pointer to put the Thunder ahead 91-83.

Toronto clawed back into it, and a bank shot by DeRozan gave the Raptors a 99-97 lead with 47.3 seconds remaining. After Westbrook missed a layup, DeMarre Carroll made two free throws with 16.8 seconds left to make it a four-point lead.

Durant missed the second of two free throws, but the Thunder scrambled and forced a jump ball. Toronto won the tip, and DeRozan made two free throws with 9.3 seconds to play to seal the game.

The Raptors held the Thunder to 5-for-20 shooting in the fourth quarter.

“We just missed shots,” Durant said. “We were getting downhill, we’re getting into the paint and we missed shots. Dion (Waiters) missed a nice 3, wide-open 3, I missed a turnaround on the baseline, Russell missed a few layups getting to the rim. We make those shots, you say it’s great offence. But it’s a make-or-miss league and we missed them and they made them.”

Hydro One is going public: Largest IPO in 15 years

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Nov 5th, 2015

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Hydro One, the giant transmission utility whose sale has sparked political controversy in Ontario, makes its debut on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday in one of the largest initial public offerings in Canada in 15 years.

The Ontario government has said it plans to use the $1.66 billion generated by selling 13.6 per cent of its stake in the company to fund transit and infrastructure projects.

The sale of 81.1 million shares, priced at $20.50 each, is the first step in the government’s plan to gradually part ways with 60 per cent of the electrical utility behemoth.

Three more offerings, roughly the same size, are expected to follow, which are anticipated to generate a total of $9 billion.

Roughly $5 billion of that total would go towards paying down the utility’s debt, while the remainder would be used to fund the province’s 10-year, $130-billion transit and infrastructure plan.

Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Nova Scotia, who are acting as underwriters in the utility’s public debut, also have an option to purchase an additional 8.15 million shares, which would bring proceeds from the IPO to a total of $1.83 billion.

The last time the Canadian markets saw such a large IPO was in March 2000, when Sun Life raised $1.8 billion in its public market debut.

The Ontario Liberal government’s decision to sell Hydro One has ignited outcry from both the Progressive Conservatives and the New Democrats who say it will drive electricity rates higher.

The province’s budget watchdog has also cautioned that selling the entity, which turns over roughly $750 million a year to the government, could push the province further into debt in the long term.

Trudeau, team of 30 cabinet members sworn in to kick off new Liberal era

Joan Bryden, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2015

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Justin Trudeau has launched a new Liberal era with a 30-member cabinet that features predominantly fresh faces and an equal number of men and women.

Fully 18 of the newly minted ministers are rookies who won election for the first time on Oct. 19, including the all-important finance minister, millionaire Toronto businessman Bill Morneau.

And two others are relative newcomers: former journalist Chrystia Freeland, who won a byelection in Toronto two years ago, will head up international trade, while Navdeep Bains, a former MP who was defeated in 2011, becomes minister of innovation, science and economic development. Click herefor a full list.

Trudeau has put newbies in most of the senior portfolios, some of which have been reconfigured or renamed.

B.C. regional aboriginal chief Jody Wilson-Raybould takes on Justice; family doctor Jane Philpott takes Health; economist Jean-Yves Duclos takes Families, Children and Social Development; Catherine McKenna takes Environment and Climate Change; Harjit Sajjan takes Defence; Melanie Joly takes Canadian Heritage; and MaryAnn Mihychuk takes Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.

The rookies will be backstopped by seven veterans with previous federal or provincial cabinet experience, including: Ralph Goodale in Public Safety; Stephane Dion in Foreign Affairs; John McCallum in Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; Carolyn Bennett in Indigenous and Northern Affairs; Judy Foote in Public Services and Procurement; and Scott Brison in Treasury Board.

Veteran MP and lifelong Trudeau friend Dominic LeBlanc becomes government House leader, while fellow longtime MPs Marc Garneau and Kirsty Duncan take on Transport and Science, respectively.

Trudeau’s Liberals won a strong majority of 184 seats, with representation in every province and territory. His cabinet reflects that, with 11 ministers from Ontario, six from Quebec, three from British Columbia and two each from Alberta and Manitoba. Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island all have a single representative in cabinet, as does Nunavut.

The ceremony is taking place at Rideau Hall before a crowd of dignitaries and Liberal luminaries, including former prime ministers Jean Chretien and John Turner, as well as friends and family members. Watch it live on CityNews.ca.

The entire swearing-in event was aimed at demonstrating the new era Trudeau is ushering in after nearly a decade of what Liberals maintain was one-man, secretive rule under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives.

Holding the hand of his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, Trudeau led his ministers-to-be on a walk up the long driveway leading to the Governor General’s mansion, which was lined with a throng of well-wishers and onlookers.

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For the final steps of the stroll, Trudeau was joined by his three young children, carrying toddler Hadrien in his arms.

Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and their children Ella-Grace, Hadrien and Xavier lead the new Liberal cabinet to Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and their children Ella-Grace, Hadrien and Xavier lead the new Liberal cabinet to Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Spectators spilled across the grounds of Rideau Hall under brilliant fall colours and warm autumn sunshine as the Liberal group stepped off a bus at the main gate and strolled up the drive. They waved to the crowd as bagpipes skirled a welcome.

They arrived shortly after a statement from a Rideau Hall spokesperson confirmed that Harper had resigned as the country’s 22nd prime minister.

The happy crowd of onlookers ran the gamut from toddlers to pensioners.

Lisa Chrolavicius, 38, of Ottawa watched the arrival with five-month-old son Justin cradled to her chest.

The name of her son, she says, was a coincidence, “but we thought we’d see if Justin could meet Justin.” Chrolavicius said she came to “feel the positive energy” of her country.

Bob Johnston recalled seeing Trudeau’s father, Pierre, being sworn in some 47 years ago.

“Canada’s been at a fork in the road,” Johnston said. “We’ve taken the correct fork and I want to feel like I’m part of the first step.”

Jack Skelly ,16, of Crofton, B.C., said he’s been in Ottawa for three days.

“I can’t vote yet, but it’s the future of the country that I’m living in,” Skelly said. “And when I can vote he’s still going to be prime minister, so it doesn’t really matter to me because this is the person I would like running our country.”

“Seeing him getting sworn in is like maybe a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

Justin Trudeau and the Members of Parliament who will comprise his cabinet arrived at Rideau Hall for a swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Justin Trudeau and the Members of Parliament who will comprise his cabinet arrive at Rideau Hall for a swearing-in ceremony in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Gov.-Gen. David Johnston shares a laugh with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he was sworn in as prime minister at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gov.-Gen. David Johnston shares a laugh with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after he was sworn in as prime minister at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

 The new Liberal prime minister and cabinet are scheduled to hold their first meeting later on Wednesday. They are widely expected to take immediate action on their campaign promise to reinstate the long-form census.

Members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new cabinet sworn in

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2015

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The 31 members of the new Liberal cabinet were sworn in Wednesday at Rideau Hall. The list:

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, also minister of intergovernmental affairs and youth;
  • Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale;
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Lawrence MacAulay;
  • Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion;
  • Immigration Minister John McCallum;
  • Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett;
  • Treasury Board President Scott Brison;
  • Government House leader Dominc LeBlanc;
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Singh Bains;
  • Finance Minister Bill Morneau;
  • Justice Minister and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould;
  • Public Services Minister Judy Foote;
  • International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland;
  • Health Minister Jane Philpott;
  • Families, Children and Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos;
  • Transport Minister Marc Garneau;
  • International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau;
  • Natural Resources Minister James Carr;
  • Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly;
  • Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier;
  • Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr;
  • Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna;
  • Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan;
  • Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk;
  • Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi;
  • Democratic Institutions Minister Maryam Monsef;
  • Sports Minister Carla Qualtrough;
  • Fisheries Minister Hunter Tootoo;
  • Science Minister Kirsty Duncan;
  • Status of Women Minister Patricia Hajdu;
  • Small Business Minister Bardish Chagger.

Trudeau cabinet to launch new era immediately after swearing-in ceremony

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Nov 4th, 2015

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It’ll be a busy day for Justin Trudeau and his new cabinet.

Following Wednesday morning’s swearing-in ceremony at Rideau Hall, the new Liberal prime minister and cabinet are scheduled to hold their first meeting in the afternoon.

They are widely expected to take immediate action on their campaign promise to reinstate the long-form census, signalling the start of a new era that will be starkly different than the decade of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.

During the campaign, Trudeau promised to reinstate the mandatory long-form census as part of a broader commitment to return to “evidence-based” decision making by his government.

And his new ministers will also emerge from their first meeting to face questions from the media – another departure from the Harper era.

Under Harper, reporters were banned from waiting in the hallway outside the cabinet room, where ministers had scrummed for decades – indeed, the media wasn’t even notified when cabinet meetings were taking place.

Virtually everything about Wednesday’s ceremony is designed to highlight change.

Trudeau and his ministers will arrive at Rideau Hall by bus, walking together up the long, tree-lined driveway to the Governor General’s mansion as a “team.”

For the first time, a general invitation has been issued to the public to gather for the event and giant TV screens are being set up on the grounds of Rideau Hall so that everyone can watch the swearing-in proceedings.

In an email to supporters on Tuesday, Trudeau also suggested he’ll recall Parliament soon – likely early next month, after attending a whirlwind series of international leaders’ summits – to deliver quickly on the central plank of the Liberal election platform.

“We’ll also be getting straight to work at home: The first bill introduced by our government will be a tax cut for the middle class so we can get started right away growing our economy, strengthening our middle class and helping those working hard to join it,” he said.

The composition of Trudeau’s cabinet has been a closely guarded secret but it’s evident that it too is aimed at reflecting not just a new government but a new generation at the helm of the Liberal party.

Informed speculation suggests that not all of the star candidates Trudeau went to great pains to recruit have made the cut, the victims of geography and the leader’s promise to construct a cabinet that is smaller than Harper’s 39-member ministry and made up equally of women and men.

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