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Join us at the 10th-annual BT Christmas Party!

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Dec 8th, 2015

It’s been a tradition for the past decade… the BT Christmas Party is back for its 10th anniversary, and you’re invited!

The morning of Friday, Dec. 18 is the BT Christmas Party and we will be broadcasting live from the lobby of the Sheraton Centre (across from Nathan Phillips Square). The morning is in support of Daily Bread Food Bank.

Plus, now confirmed to perform at the BT Christmas Party is country singer Tim Hicks!

SPECIAL ROOM RATE FOR BT VIEWERS:

There’s a special rate from Dec. 10th through Dec. 30th – you will want to book a stay for the night of Dec. 17 and make your way to the hotel lobby in the morning!

  • Festively priced and starting from $139 per night
  • Book by calling 1 (866) 716–8101 and mentioning code “BTXMAS” or online
  • Click for more details: bit.ly/Sheraton-BT

Stay at the hotel with $20 from every guest room going to Daily Bread . It’s a great rate and giving back to Daily Bread – perfect for holiday shopping – hotel connected via PATH to The Eaton Centre, so leave your boots and coats in your guest room.  It’s also a great rate for festive events, boxing day bargains. And of course, stay overnight on Thursday, Dec. 17 so you can join us for the BT Christmas Party!

Donate to the Daily Bread Food Bank:

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Dee Snider’s Rock & Roll Christmas Tale:

For 20% off tickets until Jan. 3, use the promo code: DIAMONDBT

Toronto homes with extra-large garbage bins may soon have to downsize: report

Erin Criger | posted Tuesday, Dec 8th, 2015

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Toronto homeowners who use extra-large garbage bins may soon have to downsize, according to a published report.

Mayor John Tory told the Toronto Sun the bins could be phased out in the next few years, but not immediately. Residents and the city would both need time to adjust, he said.

The matter will be debated starting on Wednesday at city council’s regular monthly meeting. Councillors are considering a rate hike for all bins as part of the Solid Waste Management budget.

The executive committee is recommending a three per cent increase. With the increase, an extra-large bin costs $468.08 for a single-family home.

Trump urges ‘complete shutdown’ on Muslims entering U.S.

The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Dec 8th, 2015

Donald Trump

Donald Trump called Monday for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” an idea swiftly condemned by his rival GOP candidates for president and other Republicans.

The proposed ban would apply to immigrants and visitors alike, a sweeping prohibition affecting all adherents of Islam who want to come to the U.S. The idea faced an immediate challenge to its legality and feasibility from experts who could point to no formal exclusion of immigrants based on religion in America’s history.

Trump’s campaign said in a statement such a ban should stand “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.” It said the proposal comes in response to a level of hatred among “large segments of the Muslim population” toward Americans.

“Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life,” Trump said in the statement.

At an evening rally in South Carolina, Trump supporters cheered and shouted in support as he read his statement. Trump warned during his speech that without drastic action, the threat of attacks is “going to get worse and worse.”

“As he says, we have to find out who they are and why they are here,” Rod Weader, a 68-year-old real estate agent from North Charleston who attended the rally and said he agreed with Trump’s plan “150 per cent.” ”Like he said, they are going to kill us and we’ve got to stop it.“

Since the Paris attacks, a number of Republican presidential contenders have proposed restrictions on Syrian refugees _ with several suggesting preference for Christians seeking asylum _ and tighter surveillance in the U.S.

But Trump’s proposed ban goes much further than those ideas, and his Republican rivals were quick to reject the latest provocation from a candidate who has delivered no shortage of them.

“Donald Trump is unhinged,” Jeb Bush said via Twitter. “His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious.”

John Kasich slammed Trump’s “outrageous divisiveness,” while a more measured Ted Cruz, who has always been cautious about upsetting Trump’s supporters, said, “Well, that is not my policy.”

Trump’s plan also drew criticism from the heads of the Republican Party in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the first three states to vote in next year’s presidential primaries.

New Hampshire GOP’s chairwoman Jennifer Horn said the idea is “un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. And it is un-American,” while South Carolina chairman Matt Moore said on Twitter, “As a conservative who truly cares about religious liberty, Donald Trump’s bad idea and rhetoric send a shiver down my spine.”

Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Trump’s proposed ban would apply to “everybody,” including Muslims seeking immigration visas as well as tourists seeking to enter the country.

His campaign did not immediately respond to questions about whether it would also include Muslims who are U.S. citizens and travel outside of the country, including members of the military, or how a determination of someone’s religion might be made by customs and border officials.

Instead, Trump said via a campaign spokeswoman: “Because I am so politically correct, I would never be the one to say. You figure it out!”

There are more than 5,800 servicemen and women on active U.S. military duty and in the reserves who self-identify as Muslim and could be assigned to serve overseas. Trump said in an interview Monday night on Fox News, “They’ll come home.” He added, “This does not apply to people living in the country, except that we have to vigilant.”

It was also unclear whether Trump’s ban would apply to Muslim allies in the fight against Islamic State militants. Ari Fleischer, a former aide to Republican President George W. Bush, tweeted, “Under Trump, the King Abdullah of Jordan, who is fighting ISIS, won’t be allowed in the US to talk about how to fight ISIS.”

But at Trump’s rally in South Carolina, the proposed ban struck supporter Shelley Choquette as reasonable, because “it’s not going to be forever. I think everybody needs to be checked.”

Religion can factor into immigration decisions, but that typically happens when people are fleeing religious persecution. People of a particular religion may get favourable treatment by the United States, as when Russian Jews sought to leave the Soviet Union.

In the late 1800s, Congress passed legislation broadly aimed at halting Chinese immigration. But said Leti Volpp, a University of California expert on immigration law, “there is no precedent for a religious litmus test for admitting immigrants into the United States.”

“Excluding almost a quarter of the world’s population from setting foot in the United States based solely upon their religious identity would never pass constitutional muster,” Volpp said.

Trump’s proposal comes a day after President Barack Obama spoke to the nation from the Oval Office about the shootings in San Bernardino, California, which Obama said was “an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people.”

The FBI said Monday the Muslim couple who carried out the massacre had been radicalized and had taken target practice at area gun ranges, in one case within days of the attack last week that killed 14 people.

Trump’s campaign has been marked by a pattern of inflammatory statements, dating back to his harsh rhetoric about Mexican immigrants. He has taken a particularly hard line against Muslims in the days since the Paris attacks, advocating enhanced surveillance of mosques due to fears over radicalization.

“Donald Trump sounds more like a leader of a lynch mob than a great nation like ours,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “He and others are playing into the hands of ISIS. This is exactly what ISIS wants from Americans: to turn against each other.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest accused Trump of playing on people’s fears and trying to tap into “a darker side, a darker element” of American society.

From the Democratic presidential campaign, Bernie Sanders said “Trump and others want us to hate all Muslims” and Hillary Clinton called the proposal “reprehensible, prejudiced and divisive.”

On Capitol Hill, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said, “It’s just foolish.”

But will it hurt Trump in the campaign? “I have no idea,” McCain said. “I thought long ago that things he said would hurt his prospects, and he continues to go up.”

Bieber thrills fans with intimate benefit concert at Danforth Music Hall

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 8th, 2015

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Justin Bieber kicked off an intimate benefit concert in Toronto in comfy, casual style, telling the crowd: “It’s good to be back in Canada!”

“It’s really good to be home,” he said, taking the stage at the Danforth Music Hall in a white tuque, grey hoodie, black jeans and sneakers.

“We’re just going to make this really loose,” he added as he sat on a stool beside guitarist Dan Kanter to kick off the acoustic show with his new hit “What Do You Mean.”

It was a family affair at the show as Bieber brought his little sister, Jazmyn, and little brother, Jaxon, onstage briefly.

He performed a mix of hits as well as holiday tunes, and even a rendition of Drake’s hit “Hotline Bling.”

He also interacted with the crowd, allowing a fan to ask him a question (it was about his favourite candy, which he said is Sour Patch Kids) and with the viewers watching the live stream on his website (“Sucks you guys aren’t here,” he said cheekily).

Fans lined up for over 24 hours to get a prime seat at the sold-out event on Monday evening, the same day he landed a Grammy Award nomination.

“I already have tickets for the May concert, but this one is just so intimate and it’s a smaller venue, so it leaves for more opportunity to get closer to him…. And the proceeds are going to a really good cause,” said Taylor Bousfield, 21, of London, Ont., who arrived at the venue at 11 a.m. on Sunday to secure a good spot at the general-admission show.

“I’m (a) big (fan), but after today, I’ve seen way crazier, to a whole other level.”

Proceeds from the acoustic concert will go the Stratford House of Blessing in Bieber’s hometown of Stratford, Ont. The outreach centre has a food bank and services to help those in need.

The organization says Bieber’s mother used its services when he was little.

The lineup to get into “An Evening With Justin Bieber” at the approximately 1,400-seat venue stretched around the block before doors opened.<

“1,500 people, wow. This is a special crowd,” said Bieber.

Tickets, which were priced at $100 each, quickly sold out when they went on sale last Tuesday.

“It’s pretty stressful,” said Bousfield, who took a bus to the city and camped out overnight with a friend in front of the venue in hopes of securing a front-row spot. They barely slept and planned to still show up for school for exams on Tuesday. “I have such anxiety, it’s crazy,” she added.

Danielle Leonard, 15, from Richmond Hill, Ont., called it a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

“At shows at the Air Canada Centre and Rogers Centre, they’re not as special as this one,” said Leonard, who had been camping out at the venue with a friend since 7 p.m. on Sunday.

“There’s a little amount of people and they’re all worshiping the same person that you are, rather than like 50,000 people being there. Like, he’s actually paying attention to the people in the crowd.”

Bieber has helped out the Stratford food bank before.

Last year, he and his grandmother donated several of his childhood items for the group to auction off on eBay.<

The 21-year-old pop superstar has also donated $10,000 to the group.

Bieber has been riding high on the charts with his new album “Purpose,” which includes the hits “Sorry” and “What Do You Mean.”

On Monday he got a Grammy nomination for best dance recording for “Where Are U Now,” a collaboration with Skrillex and Diplo.

With files from The Canadian Press

The Weeknd up for seven Grammys, Drake five and Bieber two

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2015

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Toronto’s The Weeknd is in the running for seven Grammys including the Record of the Year and Album of the Year awards.

The breakout R&B star, whose real name is Abel Tesfaye, was also nominated for best pop solo performance, best R&B performance, best R&B song, best contemporary album and best song written for visual media.

Nominated are his album Beauty Behind The Madness, the chart-topping hit single Can’t Feel My Face, and Earned Itfrom the Fifty Shades Of Grey soundtrack.

Fellow Toronto native Drake is nominated twice for best rap performance (one of those nominations is shared with Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne), best rap song, best rap/sung collaboration (with Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Chris Brown) and best rap album.

And Stratford’s Justin Bieber is nominated for best dance recording and is listed in Diplo’s nomination for Producer of the Year, non-classical for the track Where Are Ü Now.

The Grammys will be handed out on Feb. 15, 2016.

Click here for the full list of nominees.

Correction: The Canadian Press had the wrong number of nominations for Drake and Bieber. They share nominations with others and those weren’t originally counted in CP’s total. That has since been corrected.

HOT lanes to start on Oakville-Burlington QEW in summer

CityNews | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2015

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The pilot project for high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes is scheduled to start on the QEW between Trafalgar Road in Oakville and Guelph Line in Burlington next summer.

Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced the news on Monday morning, explaining that existing High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the QEW will be converted to HOT lanes, as expected.

People who intend to use the lanes with no passengers can purchase permits to do so. The number of permits available and the cost will be announced in spring.

Drivers with passengers and those with green licence plates can continue to use the lanes without a permit for free.

The Conservatives and New Democrats both oppose the plan.

They say Ontarians don’t want their roadways taxed.

In a statement, the Liberals said that in cities that already have HOT lanes – like Minneapolis, Seattle and Atlanta –  there is already less congestion in general use lanes. The lanes also promote behaviour changes by encouraging people to carpool, the government said.

With files from The Canadian Press

Before the announcement, Del Duca had tweeted out a Vine video that quickly went viral. Watch it below or click here to view it.

Fans already lined up for tonight’s Justin Bieber show at Danforth Music Hall

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2015

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Fans are already lining up for Monday night’s Justin Bieber concert.

The Biebs is set to perform at the Danforth Music Hall to benefit an outreach centre in his hometown of Stratford.

Proceeds from the acoustic concert will go the Stratford House of Blessing, which has a food bank and services to help those in need.

The organization says Bieber’s mother used its services when he was little.

The 21-year-old pop superstar has helped out the group before.

Last year, he and his grandmother donated several of his childhood items for the group to auction off on eBay.

Bieber has also donated $10,000 to the group.

Bieber has been riding high on the charts with his new album Purpose, which includes the hits Sorry and What Do You Mean.

Agent: David Price ‘would have absolutely gone back’ to Blue Jays

Sportsnet | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2015

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David Price‘s agent admits he’s surprised that the Toronto Blue Jays did not offer the free agent left-hander a contract and says his client was open to a return to the club.

“The Blue Jays were the biggest surprise. David would have absolutely gone back there,” Bo McKinnis told Jim Bowden on SiriusXM Radio Sunday evening. “That was the toughest part of this and I’m surprised we did not get an offer.

“He had a wonderful time there and the bulk of the club is back there and he would’ve enjoyed being with them.”

 

Price signed a $217-million, seven-year contract with the Boston Red Sox this week. Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said on Friday the club did not “aggressively” pursue Price, instead opting to spread resources across its starting rotation.

“For me with David Price, it’s never a question do you want David Price,” Shapiro told reporters. “That’s silly. Of course, yes, we want David Price. It’s a question of how do you build a championship team within the parameters you’re given. It’s as simple as that. We have all the resources necessary to build a championship team, but they’re not unlimited, it’s a business like any other business.

“We had multiple holes to fill, and putting all those resources in one player really would have created a team with one complete hole in the rotation with nowhere to fill it. It really wasn’t much of a choice.”

So far this off-season, the Blue Jays have addressed their starting staff by re-signing Marco Estrada ($26-million, two-years), acquiring Jesse Chavez and signing J.A. Happ for $36 million over three years.

Price was 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts for the Blue Jays after being acquired from the Detroit Tigers at the July trade deadline.

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