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Muhammad Ali, who riveted the world as ‘The Greatest,’ dies

TIM DAHLBERG, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Saturday, Jun 4th, 2016

He was fast of fist and foot – lip, too – a heavyweight champion who promised to shock the world and did. He floated. He stung. Mostly he thrilled, even after the punches had taken their toll and his voice barely rose above a whisper.

He was The Greatest.

Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74, according to a statement from the family. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, and his children had flown in from around the country.

“It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die,” Don King, who promoted some of Ali’s biggest fights, told The Associated Press early Saturday. “Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.”

A funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The city plans a memorial service Saturday.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honour Ali.

“The values of hard work, conviction and compassion that Muhammad Ali developed while growing up in Louisville helped him become a global icon,” Fischer said. “As a boxer, he became The Greatest, though his most lasting victories happened outside the ring.”

With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to “whup” opponents, Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson’s disease, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.

He won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks, and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.

Despite his debilitating illness, he travelled the world to rapturous receptions even after his once-bellowing voice was quieted and he was left to communicate with a wink or a weak smile.

“He was the greatest fighter of all time but his boxing career is secondary to his contribution to the world,” promoter Bob Arum told the AP early Saturday. “He’s the most transforming figure of my time certainly.”


Related stories:

Bouts with granite-chinned George Chuvalo were Ali’s Canadian legacy

In his words: Muhammad Ali’s most famous quotes


Revered by millions worldwide and reviled by millions more, Ali cut quite a figure, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds in his prime. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” his cornermen exhorted, and he did just that in a way no heavyweight had ever fought before.

He fought in three different decades, finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts – 26 of those bouts promoted by Arum – and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.

He whipped the fearsome Sonny Liston twice, toppled the mighty George Foreman with the rope-a-dope in Zaire, and nearly fought to the death with Joe Frazier in the Philippines. Through it all, he was trailed by a colorful entourage who merely added to his growing legend.

“Rumble, young man, rumble,” cornerman Bundini Brown would yell to him.

And rumble Ali did. He fought anyone who meant anything and made millions of dollars with his lightning-quick jab. His fights were so memorable that they had names – “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Thrilla in Manila.”

But it was as much his antics – and his mouth – outside the ring that transformed the man born Cassius Clay into a household name as Muhammad Ali.

“I am the greatest,” Ali thundered again and again.

Few would disagree.

Ali spurned white America when he joined the Black Muslims and changed his name. He defied the draft at the height of the Vietnam war – “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong” – and lost 3 1/2 years from the prime of his career. He entertained world leaders, once telling Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos: “I saw your wife. You’re not as dumb as you look.”

He later embarked on a second career as a missionary for Islam.

“Boxing was my field mission, the first part of my life,” he said in 1990, adding with typical braggadocio, “I will be the greatest evangelist ever.”

Ali couldn’t fulfil that goal because Parkinson’s robbed him of his speech. It took such a toll on his body that the sight of him in his later years – trembling, his face frozen, the man who invented the Ali Shuffle now barely able to walk – shocked and saddened those who remembered him in his prime.

“People naturally are going to be sad to see the effects of his disease,” Hana, one of his daughters, said, when he turned 65. “But if they could really see him in the calm of his everyday life, they would not be sorry for him. He’s at complete peace, and he’s here learning a greater lesson.”

The quiet of Ali’s later life was in contrast to the roar of a career that had breathtaking highs as well as terrible lows. He exploded on the public scene with a series of nationally televised fights that gave the public an exciting new champion, and he entertained millions as he sparred verbally with the likes of bombastic sportscaster Howard Cosell.

Ali once calculated he had taken 29,000 punches to the head and made $57 million in his pro career, but the effect of the punches lingered long after most of the money was gone. That didn’t stop him from travelling tirelessly to promote Islam, meet with world leaders and champion legislation dubbed the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. While slowed in recent years, he still managed to make numerous appearances, including a trip to the 2012 London Olympics.

Despised by some for his outspoken beliefs and refusal to serve in the U.S. Army in the 1960s, an aging Ali became a poignant figure whose mere presence at a sporting event would draw long standing ovations.

With his hands trembling so uncontrollably that the world held its breath, he lit the Olympic torch for the 1996 Atlanta Games in a performance as riveting as some of his fights.

A few years after that, he sat mute in a committee room in Washington, his mere presence enough to convince lawmakers to pass the boxing reform bill that bore his name.

Members of his inner circle weren’t surprised. They had long known Ali as a humanitarian who once wouldn’t think twice about getting in his car and driving hours to visit a terminally ill child. They saw him as a man who seemed to like everyone he met – even his archrival Frazier.

“I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in the world just to call him my friend,” former business manager Gene Kilroy said. “If I was to die today and go to heaven it would be a step down. My heaven was being with Ali.”

One of his biggest opponents would later become a big fan, too. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of their “Rumble in the Jungle,” Foreman paid tribute to the man who so famously stopped him in the eighth round of their 1974 heavyweight title fight, the first ever held in Africa.

“I don’t call him the best boxer of all time, but he’s the greatest human being I ever met,” Foreman said. “To this day he’s the most exciting person I ever met in my life.”

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali began boxing at age 12 after his new bicycle was stolen and he vowed to policeman Joe Martin that he would “whup” the person who took it.

He was only 89 pounds at the time, but Martin began training him at his boxing gym, the beginning of a six-year amateur career that ended with the light heavyweight Olympic gold medal in 1960.

Ali had already encountered racism. On boxing trips, he and his amateur teammates would have to stay in the car while Martin bought them hamburgers. When he returned to Louisville with his gold medal, the Chamber of Commerce presented him a citation but said it didn’t have time to co-sponsor a dinner.

In his autobiography, “The Greatest,” Ali wrote that he tossed the medal into the Ohio River after a fight with a white motorcycle gang, which started when he and a friend were refused service at a Louisville restaurant.

The story may be apocryphal, and Ali later told friends he simply misplaced the medal. Regardless, he had made his point.

After he beat Liston to win the heavyweight title in 1964, Ali shocked the boxing world by announcing he was a member of the Black Muslims – the Nation of Islam – and was rejecting his “slave name.”

As a Baptist youth he spent much of his time outside the ring reading the Bible. From now on, he would be known as Muhammad Ali and his book of choice would be the Qur’an.

Ali’s affiliation with the Nation of Islam outraged and disturbed many white Americans, but it was his refusal to be inducted into the Army that angered them most.

That happened on April 28, 1967, a month after he knocked out Zora Folley in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York for his eighth title defence.

He was convicted of draft evasion, stripped of his title and banned from boxing.

Ali appealed the conviction on grounds he was a Muslim minister. He married 17-year-old Belinda Boyd, the second of his four wives, a month after his conviction, and had four children with her. He had two more with his third wife, Veronica Porsche, and he and his fourth wife, Lonnie Williams, adopted a son.

During his banishment, Ali spoke at colleges and briefly appeared in a Broadway musical called “Big Time Buck White.” Still facing a prison term, he was allowed to resume boxing three years later, and he came back to stop Jerry Quarry in three rounds on Oct. 26, 1970, in Atlanta despite efforts by Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox to block the bout.

He was still facing a possible prison sentence when he fought Frazier for the first time on March 8, 1971, in what was labeled “The Fight of the Century.”

A few months later the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction on an 8-0 vote.

“I’ve done my celebrating already,” Ali said after being informed of the decision. “I said a prayer to Allah.”

Many in boxing believe Ali was never the same fighter after his lengthy layoff, even though he won the heavyweight championship two more times and fought for another decade.

Perhaps his most memorable fight was the “Rumble in the Jungle,” when he upset a brooding Foreman to become heavyweight champion once again at age 32.

Many worried that Ali could be seriously hurt by the powerful Foreman, who had knocked Frazier down six times in a second round TKO.

But while his peak fighting days may have been over, he was still in fine form verbally. He promoted the fight relentlessly, as only he could.

“You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned,” he said. “Wait till I whup George Foreman’s behind.”

Ali won over a country before he won the fight, mingling with people as he trained and displaying the kind of playful charm the rest of the world had already seen. On the plane into the former Congo he asked what the citizens of Zaire disliked most. He was told it was Belgians because they had once colonized the country.

“George Foreman is a Belgian,” Ali cried out to the huge crowd that greeted him at the airport. By the time the fight finally went off in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, 1974, Zaire was his.

“Ali booma-ya (Ali kill him),” many of the 60,000 fans screamed as the fight began in Kinshasa.

Ali pulled out a huge upset to win the heavyweight title for a second time, allowing Foreman to punch himself out. He used what he would later call the “rope-a-dope” strategy – something even trainer Angelo Dundee knew nothing about.

Finally, he knocked out an exhausted Foreman in the eighth round, touching off wild celebrations among his African fans.

“I told you I was the greatest,” Ali said.

That might have been argued by followers of Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano or Sugar Ray Robinson, but there was no doubt that Ali was just what boxing needed in the early 1960s.

He spouted poetry and brash predictions. After the sullen and frightening Liston, he was a fresh and entertaining face in a sport that struggled for respectability.

At the weigh-in before his Feb. 25, 1964, fight with Liston, Ali carried on so much that some observers thought he was scared stiff and suggested the fight in Miami Beach be called off.

“The crowd did not dream when they lay down their money that they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny,” Ali said.

Ali went on to punch Liston’s face lumpy and became champion for the first time when Liston quit on his stool after the sixth round.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” became Ali’s rallying cry.

His talent for talking earned him the nickname “The Louisville Lip,” but he had a new name of his own in mind: Muhammad Ali.

“I don’t have to be what you want me to be,” he told reporters the morning after beating Liston. “I’m free to be who I want.”

Frazier refused to call Ali by his new name, insisting he was still Cassius Clay. So did Ernie Terrell in their Feb. 6, 1967, fight, a mistake he would come to regret through 15 long rounds.

“What’s my name?” Ali demanded as he repeatedly punched Terrell in the face. “What’s my name?”

By the time Ali was able to return to the ring following his forced layoff, he was bigger than ever. Soon he was in the ring for his first of three epic fights against Frazier, with each fighter guaranteed $2.5 million.

Before the fight, Ali called Frazier an “Uncle Tom” and said he was “too ugly to be the champ.” His gamesmanship could have a cruel edge, especially when it was directed toward Frazier.

In the first fight, though, Frazier had the upper hand. He relentlessly wore Ali down, flooring him with a crushing left hook in the 15th round and winning a decision.

It was the first defeat for Ali, but the boxing world had not seen the last of him and Frazier in the ring. Ali won a second fight, and then came the “Thrilla in Manila” on Oct. 1, 1975, in the Philippines, a brutal bout that Ali said afterward was “the closest thing to dying” he had experienced.

Ali won that third fight but took a terrific beating from the relentless Frazier before trainer Eddie Futch kept Frazier from answering the bell for the 15th round.

“They told me Joe Frazier was through,” Ali told Frazier at one point during the fight.

“They lied,” Frazier said, before hitting Ali with a left hook.

The fight – which most in boxing agree was Ali’s last great performance – was part of a 16-month period on the mid-1970s when Ali took his show on the road, fighting Foreman in Zaire, Frazier in the Philippines, Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jean Pierre Coopman in Puerto Rico.

The world got a taste of Ali in splendid form with both his fists and his mouth.

In Malaysia, a member of the commission in charge of the gloves the fighters would wear told Ali they would be held in a prison for safekeeping before the fight.

“My gloves are going to jail,” shouted a wide-eyed Ali. “They ain’t done nothing – yet!”

Ali would go on to lose the title to Leon Spinks, then come back to win it a third time on Sept. 15, 1978, when he scored a decision over Spinks in a rematch before 70,000 people at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Ali retired, only to come back and try to win the title for a fourth time against Larry Holmes on Oct. 2, 1980, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Ali grew a moustache, pronounced himself “Dark Gable” and got down to a svelte 217 1/2 pounds to beat Father Time. But Holmes, his former sparring partner, mercifully toyed with him until Dundee refused to let Ali answer the bell for the 11th round.

“He was like a little baby after the first round,” Holmes said. “I was throwing punches and missing just for the hell of it. I kept saying, ‘Ali, why are you taking this?’

“He said, ‘Shut up and fight, I’m going to knock you out.”‘

When the fight was over, Holmes and his wife went upstairs to pay their respects to Ali. In a darkened room, Holmes told Ali that he loved him.

“Then why did you whip my ass like that?” Ali replied.

A few years later, Ali said he would not have fought Holmes if he didn’t think he could have won.

“If I had known Holmes was going to whip me and damage my brain, I would not have fought him,” Ali said. “But losing to Holmes and being sick are not important in God’s world.”

It was that world that Ali retreated to, fighting just once more, losing a 10-round decision to Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

With his fourth wife, Lonnie, at his side, Ali travelled the world for Islam and other causes. In 1990, he went to Iraq on his own initiative to meet with Saddam Hussein and returned to the United States with 15 Americans who had been held hostage.

One of the hostages recounted meeting Ali in Thomas Hauser’s 1990 biography “Muhammad Ali – His Life and Times.”

“I’ve always known that Muhammad Ali was a super sportsman; but during those hours that we were together, inside that enormous body I saw an angel,” hostage Harry Brill-Edwards said.

For his part, Ali didn’t complain about the price he had paid in the ring.

“What I suffered physically was worth what I’ve accomplished in life,” he said in 1984. “A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life.”

Irradiated beef could be in stores soon—but what exactly is it?

Heather MacMullin | posted Friday, Jun 3rd, 2016

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This week, Health Canada proposed a change to Food and Drug Regulations that will allow for the sale of irradiated beef in Canada. If the amendment goes through, it will allow beef producers to treat all fresh and frozen ground beef with ionizing radiation, and make it available for purchase as early as the end of the summer. While that sounds scary, there are benefits to the process.

What is irradiation?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency cites it as “the process of exposing food to a controlled amount of energy called ‘ionizing radiation.’” The three types of radiation approved for use are: Gamma rays, X-rays and electron beam radiation. The rays penetrate the food on a seek and destroy mission, targeting microorganisms that can cause spoilage, food poisoning or a significant reduction in an item’s shelf life.

Does it pose any health risks?

No. And it doesn’t make the food radioactive — the food never comes into contact with the radioactive source, and no radioactive waves remain in the food after treatment. According to Health Canada, 1 to 3 kilograys (kGy) of energy are all that’s required to kill bacteria, while slightly more is required to kill parasites and insects. And, according to a study on high-dose food irradiation (above 10 kGy) for the FAO, WHO and IAEA, the process is toxicologically safe.

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Radura symbol

Will it be labelled?

Yes. All irradiated food must either carry the statement “treated with radiation”, “treated by irradiation”, or “irradiated” in addition to displaying the Radura, the international symbol identifying irritated foods, on the main display label.

Are other foods irradiated in Canada?

Yes. Currently, potatoes and onions are approved for irradiation to inhibit sprouting, while wheat, flour and whole-wheat flour go through the process to control insect infestation during storage, and whole/ground spices and seasonings receive it to reduce the presence of bacteria and fungi.

Does it affect the taste of the food?

Health Canada asserts “most consumers cannot detect any difference in the appearance, odour or taste of the food,” so the odds are against it.

Whether or not you’re buying Radura-marked packages, it’s important to note that safe food-handling and storage still applies; the irradiation process does not actually sterilize food.

Car-free cycling + subway closures + mac ‘n’ cheese = balanced Toronto weekend

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 3rd, 2016

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If you want to feel better about the mac ‘n’ cheese you may consume this weekend, you can balance it off with a walk through Riverdale to see some art, show off your pride in Centreville or sweat it out on the car-free DVP and Gardiner Expressway. This weekend has events for every tastebud.

However you choose to spend your weekend, remember to check out the subway and road closures listed below. (Yes, the Bloor line between Pape and St. George will be on the out again, this time for track work.)

Events

Ride for Heart 2016

It’s ultimate freedom for cyclists and runners this Sunday: The DVP and Gardiner will be shut down from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. between the 401 and Carlaw/Humber Bridge for the annual Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Ride for Heart.

New this year: a 5 or 10km walk to experience the magic of being on the car-free roadways.

Twenty-thousand people are expected to take part, and the fundraising goal is $7 million.

Ride for Heart Photo via support.heartandstroke.ca

The Foundation says the money is needed for research because someone dies from heart disease or stroke every seven minutes in this country.

You can register as a cyclist, runner or walker here.

Riverdale Art Walk

Take a relaxing stroll along Queen Street East, checking out 180 local artists in the 18th annual Riverdale Art Walk.

Organizers say it will be bigger and better than ever with artists from all mediums including painting, photography, mixed media, printmaking, drawing and sculpture.

Riverdale Art Walk Photo via artistsnetwork.ca

It runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can check out the gallery of all featured artists here.

It’s taking place alongside Riverside Beats and Eats, which takes over 10 blocks of Queen East between the DVP to just past Degrassi Street.

Riverside Beats and Eats Image via riverside-to.com

All kinds of businesses will be participating with local restaurants serving up food with lots of music and events for families.

First Annual Family Pride Day

Centre Island will have its First Annual Family Pride Day on Sunday at Centreville from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Centreville Photo via pridetoronto.com

The park boasts more than 20 food outlets and more than 30 rides. Admission is free and ride tickets are discounted with the code “Pride2016″ at centreisland.ca.

Mac ‘n’ Cheese Festival

After the chaos at last year’s event, let’s hope this year is less, well, cheesy. Or more? Last year, lineups stretched a number of blocks, the wait was sometimes 90 minutes and then the food ran out.

This year, the Mac ‘n’ Cheese Festival is bring hosted over three days instead of one, starting Friday until Sunday. (Friday: 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sunday: Noon – 6 p.m.)

Macaroni and cheese Photo via macandcheesefestival.ca/

Hosted on more than 600,000 square feet of event space at Ontario Place, there will be macaroni and cheese (obviously), craft beer and cider, a food truck “island,” a market, live entertainment, and a cooking stage.

The Fair Trade Show

If you’re concerned about being socially conscious and environmentally-friendly, the Fair Trade Showis focusing on promoting businesses that do the same.

Fair Trade Show Photo via thefairtradeshow.com

There is a long list of exhibitors who will pack the Enercare Centre and Exhibition Place, including Fair Trade Toronto, Not Just Tourists, She Sells Sanctuary, Cocobliss Naturals, and Fair Trade Jewellery Company, among others.

The show is on Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

TTC and road closures

Subway closure on Line 2 Bloor-Danforth

There is no subway service between Pape to St. George this Saturday. The TTC will be doing track work and shuttle buses will be servicing all the stops. In order to help the shuttle buses run more efficiently, parking will be restricted in the following locations:

  • St George Street to Avenue Road
  • Church Street to Ted Rogers Way
  • Huntley Street to Sherbourne Street

DVP and Gardiner closures

The Don Valley Parkway is scheduled to be be closed between Highway 401 to the Gardiner Expressway from 2 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Sunday due to the Ride for Heart. The Gardiner Expressway will also be closed, from Carlaw Avenue and the Humber Bridge, for the same event.

full list of road closures in the city this weekend can be found on the city’s website.

Restoration companies poised to help Fort McMurray fix fire damage

DAN HEALING, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 3rd, 2016

restoration companies poised to help fort mcmurray
Smoke rises from buildings destroyed by a wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., in this May 6, 2016, handout still from video. THE CANADIAN PRESS.

CALGARY – Construction workers and cleanup companies are trickling into Fort McMurray along with its first returning residents as a rebuilding process begins in the northern Alberta community devastated by out-of-control wildfires.

Ben Dutton, president and CEO of the Casman Group of companies, said about half of the 200 workers employed by his Fort McMurray-based general construction firm are already back in town and working on restoring heating-ventilation and other systems for commercial and industrial customers.

The cleanup and rebuilding will create jobs beyond the 200 workers on staff before last month’s fires forced most to flee the region, but the number of new hires isn’t known yet.

Dutton estimates it will take at least two years to rebuild the Fort McMurray homes and businesses destroyed by the fire.

“We already had jobs for the 200 folks anyway before the fire so it will add (to that),” he said.

“All the projects we had will resume. By July, I would say, those projects will be back underway. A lot of them will probably get back underway this month, of course.”

Residents were allowed to begin re-entering certain undamaged Fort McMurray neighbourhoods on Wednesday, but Dutton said many of Casman’s employees were permitted into town earlier if their homes were intact and if they had jobs to do.

He said rebuilding for private homes will likely be delayed for days or weeks, in part because the municipality isn’t issuing building permits yet. Casman also takes on industrial, commercial, mechanical and electrical building projects.

Meanwhile in Boyle, 285 kilometres to the south, president Mike Feldstein of Toronto-based Rapid Group Inc. said he’s assembled a crew of about 40 people that will enter the city over the next few days to help people who have registered online clean and restore their homes.

He said about 80 per cent of the people he’s hired so far are from the region, and as many as 30 per cent have experience with fire cleanups or handling the potentially toxic waste left by the fire. The company has eight permanent staff on hand to supervise.

“We really wanted to help people there because a lot of their current employment is burned down or closed or inoperable, so it’s good to help people who are out of work. And they’re rebuilding their community,” he said.

A truck filled with 100 fan-powered filtration units was driven from Toronto to Boyle to be used to clean particulates from the air inside Fort McMurray homes, Feldstein said. His company is also offering to clean up soot and smoke, eliminate odors and repair water damage.

Hiring locally is vital, said Scott Long, executive director of operations for the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

“The re-entry piece and the recovery aspects of Fort McMurray are all being driven through the regional authorities supported by the government. They have committed to hiring and contracting locally,” he told a news conference Thursday.

“There is right now no private companies doing any restorations, if you will, because we’re still at the early stages of re-entry. People are going back, working with their insurance providers and I’m sure that work will occur in the days, weeks, months ahead.”

Job fairs in Edmonton and Calgary sponsored by Spirit Staffing and Consulting attracted hundreds of applicants last month, some of whom are now on their way or already working in Fort McMurray, said operations manager Jenny Larocque of Calgary.

She said the company isn’t taking any more applications after gathering about 1,500 names, adding workers are being referred for jobs with a preference given to those from Fort McMurray. She wouldn’t name the restoration companies her firm is working with.

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Toronto police to reveal details about Thursday’s guns and gang raids

CityNews | posted Friday, Jun 3rd, 2016

toronto police reveal details
A warrant is being carried out at a condo tower on Fort York Blvd. in Toronto, June 2, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bert Dandy

Details will be released Friday morning about raids carried out across the GTA and Montreal.

Forty-two warrants were executed early on Thursday morning, leading to the arrests of more than 50 people.

Chief Mark Saunders will be releasing information about the charges and other details at 10:30 a.m. at police headquarters.

The investigation, led by the Gun and Gang Task Force, is dubbed “Project Sizzle.”

More than 50 arrests made during simultaneous raids.

The investigation included two homicide cases.

A warrant is being carried out at a condo tower on Fort York Blvd. in Toronto, June 2, 2016. CITYNEWS/Bert Dandy

Understanding eating disorders for World Eating Disorders Action Day

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Jun 2nd, 2016

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Organizations and activists representing 30 countries are uniting today for the inaugural World Eating Disorders Action Day. The goal of this day is to increase awareness, eradicate myths, and to advocate for more resources and policy changes to help those affected by eating disorders. 

Eating disorder statistics

Each year, nearly 500,000 people across Canada struggle with an eating disorder. Research suggests that as many as 600,000 to 900,000 Canadians meet diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder at any given time.

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with over 1,500 people per year affected. Although eating disorders affect both genders, approximately 80 per cent of individuals with eating disorders are girls or women.

Types of eating disorders

Anorexia nervosa – Distorted body image, restricting calories and starving.

Bulimia nervosa – Bingeing and purging, misuse of laxatives with related electrolyte imbalance and numerous other serious problems.

Binge eating disorder– Compulsive eating without purging. Accompanied by feelings of disgust, loss of control and distress.

Deborah Berlin-Romalis advises not to jump to conclusions while diagnosing an eating disorder, and to consult a resource such as Sheena’s Place. There are very few medical professionals that can properly diagnose, as the study of eating disorders is extremely underfunded.

DISCLAIMER: Always seek medical advise before diagnosing an eating disorder.

Possible signs to look out for

  1. Dramatic weight loss.
  2. Wearing big or baggy clothes, lots of layers hide body shape or weight loss.
  3. Obsession with nutrition facts, calories and fat content of foods.
  4. Obsession with continuous exercise.
  5. Continuous trips to the bathroom immediately following meals.
  6. Visible food restriction and self-starvation.
  7. Visible bingeing or purging.
  8. Use of diet pills, laxatives, ipecac syrup or enemas.
  9. Eating in isolation, or fear of eating around and with others.
  10. Unusual food rituals such as shifting food around on the plate, cutting food into tiny pieces, making sure the fork avoids contact with the lips, chewing food and spitting it out, but not swallowing.
  11. Visiting websites that promote unhealthy ways to lose weight.
  12. Hair loss.
  13. Pale or “grey” appearance to the skin.

Toronto police carrying out raids in Fort York neighbourhood

Diana Pereira | posted Thursday, Jun 2nd, 2016

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Toronto police are executing raids in downtown Toronto Thursday morning, possible with the help of other police agencies.

Warrants were being carried out at two condo towers near the city’s waterfront near the Gardiner Expressway; one on Fort York Blvd and another on Bastion Drive.

A police source indicates that 20-30 other locations are being raided.

On Fort York, a heavy emergency task force was present, with a number of officers with guns drawn and working with tracking dogs. At least one person is in custody.

Indications show that the raids may be centered on gun, drug, and human trafficking activity and could be related to recent shootings in the city.

OPG proposed increase would add $5.25 a month to bills after five years

Keith Leslie, the Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 2nd, 2016

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Ontario Power Generation has applied for a whopping 69 per cent increase in the amount it is paid for nuclear power over the next five years.

OPG says it needs the increase to help pay for the $12.8-billion refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear station, which the government announced in January to extend the life of the reactors by another 30 years.

The government-owned utility is also asking for a small increase – less than the rate of inflation – in the rate it’s paid for hydro-electric power.

OPG spokesman Neal Kelly says if the entire request is approved, it would increase a typical household electricity bill an average of $1.05 a month annually in each of the next five years, to $5.25 a month in 2022.

The Ontario Energy Board will hold a public hearing into OPG’s rate increase application, but Kelley says he doesn’t expect a decision until mid-2017.

The Ontario Clean Air Alliance says OPG’s application shows it wants nine cents a kilowatt hour for the power produced from Darlington, which is more expensive than the 8.6 cents a kwh it pays for wind power.

“Our electricity rates are already too high, and we shouldn’t increase them even further when we can actually lower our bills by choosing a cleaner and safer option,” said Alliance chair Jack Gibbons.

“Why are we putting our children at risk of a nuclear accident when there are lower-cost options?”

Gibbons said Ontario should also consider signing long-term contracts to import more clean, renewable electricity from Quebec to offset the nuclear generation.

Ontario generates about 50 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power, and Premier Kathleen Wynne has said she wants to keep it that way. Wind power adds less than five per cent to the energy supply mix.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli said OPG did extensive public consultations explaining it needs the rate increase to make the electricity system more reliable.

“More will come down the road in terms of the progression of the (nuclear) reburbishments, so that was expected,” he said.

In addition to the Darlington refurbishment, which is supposed to extend its life until 2050, OPG is also undertaking work to squeeze about four more years of life out of reactors at the Pickering nuclear generating station.

And Bruce Power is spending $13 billion to refurbish six reactors at the nuclear generating station it operates under contract to the government near Kincardine.

OPG is the only electricity generator that has to apply to the OEB for rate increases. All the other suppliers have long-term contracts with the province.

Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to stop burning coal to generate electricity when it shut down the last plant in 2014.

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