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Body confidence champion Liis Windischmann’s tips and tricks for body love

Louisa Clements | posted Wednesday, Mar 9th, 2016

Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and top curvy model and body confidence champion, Liis Windischmann, wants to change that conversation. Her multi-platform ‘Body Love Series’ was created to help women feel more positive about their bodies and rethink how they feel about wellness, body image and style by focusing on the mind, body and soul connection.

Windischmann shares her insights for loving your body without ever having to step on the scale; instead of paying attention to numbers, notice your level of happiness and vibrancy.

Mind: Create me time

Take a few minutes each day for yourself. Think of it as a spectrum, while you might have enough time for a meditative bath with Epsom salts even taking just a few minutes in the morning to dry brush and wake up your circulation is a start. Windishmann recommends thinking about this “me” time as a necessity instead of a luxury.

Body: Make food fun

Change your mindset and start thinking about food as something that heals you. Think about cooking as an adventure and experiment with unfamiliar fruits and vegetables, prepare dishes in fun new ways by using a spirilizer or try a new way of eating like paleo, vegetarian or raw.

Soul: Release your inner child

Turn off the world and take a few minutes to unleash your inner child with colouring books or doodling. This is the perfect meditative activity that can quickly calm the mind at the end of the day. Colouring is also the perfect activity to involve the whole family in promoting healthy soul-fueling habits.

With these simple lifestyle changes, Windischmann hopes to help women feel good about themselves every day.

Sneak peek Wednesday night for proposed bike lanes on Bloor

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Mar 9th, 2016

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A public meeting will be held Wednesday night so Toronto residents can take a look at the preferred bike lane design for Bloor Street.

The curbside bike lanes would be installed from Shaw Street to Avenue Road this summer, if the pilot project is approved by city council.

The design includes a separated bike lane and one lane of traffic in each direction. There would be some loss of parking, but the design was completed with input from the public and Business Improvement Areas.

The meeting is being held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre on Bloor just west of Spadina Avenue.

The lane on Bloor is part of a plan to add nearly 41 kilometres of new bike lanes to Toronto over the next 10 years. Bike lanes on two other major corridors, Yonge Street and Dupont Street, are also being considered.

Toronto currently has an 856-kilometre bike network, with 558.4 kilometres of on-street lanes and 297.4 off-road trails.

Why did this dog have to die? Toronto Animal Services protocols under fire

Alanna Kelly | posted Wednesday, Mar 9th, 2016

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A Markam veterinarian assistant is asking why Toronto Animal Services euthanized a stray Rottweiler that exhibited no signs of behavioral issues just five days after he was turned over to them.

Sarah Castorina, head veterinarian assistant at the Markham Veterinarian Clinic, turned the Rottweiler over to the Toronto Animal Services branch in Scarborough after a client found him on Sewells Road in Markham.

“He is a found dog,” Castorina said. “If anyone is going to look for him, they are not going to look in my backyard. They’re going to look in the shelters.”

Castorina said the dog was a little skinny and emaciated, with no identification or microchip. She thought the dog was about 1-1/2 to 2 years old and nicknamed him Sewell, after the street he was found on.

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“My first instinct was that he came from the scrap yard or that he was dumped,” she said. “But I don’t want to assume things because I don’t know.”

Castorina, a certified canine trainer and behaviourist, said Sewell was extremely well-behaved when in her care.

“He was a little nervous, never growled, never barked at me, never showed me his teeth,” she said. “So loveable. I had him around dogs, cats, he was walking through the clinic … he was fine with us.”

After a night in the clinic’s kennel, Castorina took Sewell to Toronto Animal Services on Feb. 25. On the drive over, the dog didn’t make a sound – no howling or crying. When he wasn’t sniffing around or laying down and peering out the window, he would come over and lick the back of her hand.

“There was not a spot on his body he wouldn’t want me to touch. He was just love me, love me, love me,” she said. “He was sweet as can be, this dog is honestly nicer than my own dog.”

At the Scarborough animal services office, Castorina was told the dog would be held for five business days to allow the owner to claim him. After that he would go through an adoption test to determine whether he was adoptable or if he would have to be euthanized.

“I was so confidant because he was such a sweet dog; there was no possible way he wouldn’t pass the test,” she said.

Castorina checked on Sewell on Feb. 27, and was told the dog was fine and that no one had claimed him. She volunteered to adopt the dog if no one stepped forward by March 2. Unknown to Castorina, a friend and co-worker also called the shelter to adopt the dog if the owner did not come forward.

On March 3, Castorina called the shelter for the latest update. It was then she was told that the dog had been euthanized the night before.

According to Elizabeth Glibbery at Toronto Animal Services, the dog was euthanized after a behaviour assessment was attempted.

“He had strong food, dog and people aggression and during the assessment he responded to several scenarios with hostile behaviour,” she said. “In fact the assessment had to be stopped because it was too dangerous to continue.”

Glibbery said the dog was too dangerous to be adopted.

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(To view on mobile, click here)

“Our mandate is to ensure public safety and the welfare of all our animals,” she said. “In this case there were too many triggers to place the dog for adoption.”

Clare Forndran, media director at Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, said five days isn’t enough time to evaluate a dog’s behaviour.

“Five days isn’t enough to rehabiltate a dog, that’s for sure,” Fordran said. “I would have hoped that this poor dog would have been given more of a chance.”

She said when a dog is in a shelter environment, it is already stressed out and their entire world has been turned upside-down.

“Behaviours in a shelter can certainly be elevated when they are under stress, especially if you are evaluating a dog within a couple days of them arriving,” Forndran said.

Castorina is frustrated that Sewell was put down despite her willingness – and the willingness of others – to adopt him.

“I will open my home and work with this dog, even though I don’t see anything wrong with him, And you are saying no, death is the only option for him?” Castorina said.

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(To view on mobile, click here)

Glibbery says that’s Toronto Animal Services policy.

“Toronto Animal Services is dedicated to transitioning all our animals to good homes,” she said. “Where we have dogs that demonstrate traits that will result in dog bites, we never release it into the public except where we receive court orders to do so.”

Fordran says the city is lucky to have an institution like Toronto Animal Services because they help so many animals find homes. But she said many shelters are overcrowded or facing budget constraints.

“Anyone who is working with animals in a shelter, they do care about animals,” said Fordran. “Often it just comes down to limited resources, unfortunately, and orders and people are just doing what they are told to do.”

To Castorina it sounded more like ‘oh his five days are up, lets euthanize him now,’ and she is questioning what Toronto Animal Services is.

“The Toronto Animal Services let me down,” she said. “They let this dog down.”

TAS animal outcomes, 2014
(To view on mobile, click here)

Canadian woman to be featured on bank note, Trudeau declares

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 9th, 2016

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the Bank of Canada is looking for a woman to be featured on a new bank note starting in 2018.

Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau are marking International Women’s Day by announcing the search for a new face for the currency.

The bank is asking the public to nominate women deserving of the recognition.

Submissions can be made on the bank’s website between now and April 15.

The nominee must be a Canadian woman who has demonstrated outstanding leadership, achievement or distinction in any field, benefiting the people of Canada, or in the service of Canada.

No fictional characters are allowed and nominees must have been dead for at least 25 years.

An independent advisory council of eminent academic, cultural and thought leaders will then review the submissions and, after talking to experts and more consultation with the public, will provide a short list of candidates to the finance minister.

“In our country’s nearly 150 year history, women — with the notable exception of the Queen — have largely been unrepresented on our bank notes,” Morneau said.

“In 2018, we will bring real change to a new generation of women who will carry with them constant reminders that they are not only Canada’s future, but a celebrated part of our history.”

New UP Express fares take effect Wednesday

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Mar 9th, 2016

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Heading out to the airport? You’ll pay less today than you did yesterday as new UP Express fares take effect.

As of Wednesday, riders will pay $12 to travel between Union Station and Pearson International Airport, down from $27.50. Riders travelling with a Presto card will pay $9, down from $19.

Travel between Weston, Bloor and Union stations will also come at a reduced rate, on par with GO Transit fares: with a Presto card, it will cost $4.71 for one stop and $5.02 for two stops.

Metrolinx announced last month it would be cutting its rates because it was struggling to attract passengers. Metrolinx had originally set a goal of 5,000 riders per day for the first year of service, but was only averaging about 2300 riders each day.

When Metrolinx offered the service for free during a long weekend, over 10,000 people rode the service on the first day of the three-day trial.

Critics have called the express train a “boutique service” that was not affordable for the average Ontario family.

How the emoji’s rise is influencing language and law

DAVID FRIEND, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Mar 8th, 2016

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Emojis are shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Handout.

If emojis could express their meteoric rise into the lexicon of virtual language, it might start with a surprised face, followed by thumbs up, and a trophy.

After years of ridicule in popular culture, the famous international registry of smiley faces, animals and numerous other objects is finally getting some respect.

“In many ways, communicating informally with each other on the Internet, with just words, is like trying to talk in a monotone with your hands behind your back,” says Gretchen McCulloch, a Montreal-based linguist who has studied the rise of emojis and how people use them to enhance communication.

“Words are important but they don’t convey the whole message. Sometimes they can undermine your message.”

Created in the late 1990s by Japanese mobile phone carriers as a marketing hook, emojis never really landed on the radar of North Americans until Apple’s iPhone and Android smartphones incorporated the cartoon characters in 2010.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when emoji usage caught fire, last year marked a clear zeitgeist moment.

The prestigious Oxford Dictionaries chose the “face with tears of joy” emoji as word of the year, leading to an uproar in some linguistic circles.

How, they asked, could an image of a cartoon face supplant a new word in the English language? Oxford justified the decision by saying it saw usage of the word emoji “increase hugely” in 2015, led by the crying face.

It was an undeniable sign that emojis had reached a higher level of status after years of being widely dismissed as a quirky smartphone feature used mostly by teenagers.

Today, there’s no one way to use emojis. McCulloch says that while most people use them to punctuate sentences — like typing an angry face rather than an exclamation point — some younger users replace full sentences with a string of emojis to convey a thought, especially on social media platforms like Twitter and Snapchat that have character limits per post.

Tastemakers like record producer DJ Khaled have also developed their own emoji slang. Khaled paired the word “major” with the cartoon key emoji as an abbreviation to declare a “major key to success.” The combination was quickly picked up by plugged-in teenagers, who use it to leave a stamp of approval on eye-catching Instagram photos or inspiring quotes on Facebook.

“There’s no school for emoji use … people learn as they (use them) and learn from observation,” says Rhonda McEwen, assistant professor of new media at the University of Toronto.

“We’re figuring it out as we go.”

Other celebrities and brands have hopped on the emoji bandwagon, including Kim Kardashian who launched her own “Kimoji” app with cartoon renderings of herself. Tim Hortons also released its own batch of “Eh-mojis” that included the company’s coffee cup, a moose and maple leaf.

Using strings of cartoon images to communicate can leave messages open to interpretation, which has posed a major challenge under the law.

A New York grand jury was recently asked to decide whether the combination of an emoji police officer and an emoji gun was considered a threat to police.

And a 12-year-old in Fairfax, Va., faced charges last December for what police say was an Instagram post that featured the word “killing” followed by emojis of a gun, knife and bomb, and the message “meet me in the library Tuesday.”

Canadian courts haven’t been faced with decoding the contextual meaning of an emoji message yet, but it’s likely only a matter of time.

For now, there seems to be no stopping the growing influence of emojis, though McCulloch cautions against overemphasizing how popular they’ve become in general text communication.

Some of her research will be presented on Saturday at a media panel held by the South By Southwest music, film and interactive festival in Austin, Texas. McCulloch compiled a study in conjunction with predictive typing app Swiftkey, which found that only 4.6 per cent of all overall text communication sessions analyzed included any emoji.

Of those, about 15 per cent were comprised of only emoji and no words.

McCulloch says that data suggests most people tend to use emojis with words rather than to replace words — which flies in the face of alarmists who have said emojis could lead to the deterioration of language.

If you’re a Mac user, beware of ‘ransomware’

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Mar 8th, 2016

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Parents with kids should be aware–many teens use torrent software to download pirated music, movies, and television shows. This content can often come with ‘phishing’ software – prying for personal information, including addresses, credit card information, and bank account passwords.

Although this is alarming being the first ransomware has hit the Macintosh operating system, security experts are noting to not overreact and keep the following tips in mind:

Ransomware protection tips

Courtesy: Symantec

  • Regularly back up any files stored on your computer
  • Always keep your security software up to date
  • Keep your operating system and other software updated
  • Delete any suspicious-looking emails you receive

Finch West among five most dangerous TTC bus routes: report

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Mar 8th, 2016

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If a TTC bus is part of your morning commute, a new analysis of transit data lays out the routes on which you’ll want to be the most vigilant.

A Toronto Star report reveals the Finch, Jane, Eglinton West, Keele and Lawrence bus routes are the most dangerous in the city, some accounting for hundreds of crimes in recent years.

The Star analyzed data from more than 4,000 crimes that took place on city buses from Jan. 1, 2010, to Aug. 10, 2015.

The 36 Finch West bus route topped list with the highest number of incidents at 322, followed by the 35 Jane with 260, 32 Eglinton West at 164, 41 Keele at 161, and 52 Lawrence with 123.

The incidents ranged from assaults on drivers to fraud, with the latter being the most prevalent crime at 952 incidents.

Fraud was the most common offence on four of the five routes: 36 Finch West, 35 Jane, 41 Keele, and 52 Lawrence.

Driver assault (896) and assault on passengers (300), as well as mischief incidents and threats, rounded up the top five incident list.

Just last week, one passenger violently kicked another onboard a TTC bus, and in February, a woman spit on a bus driver.

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