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Brady leads biggest comeback, Patriots win 34 28 in OT

Barry Wilner, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Feb 6th, 2017

They looked old and outmanned. Their star quarterback was frazzled, their stingy defence was a sieve.

So what? Tom Brady and the New England Patriots shrugged and did what they always seem to do: Win the Super Bowl.

Brady led one of the greatest comebacks in sports history highlighted by a Julian Edelman catch that was almost beyond belief. The Patriots pulled themselves out of a 25-point hole against the Atlanta Falcons to a 34-28 win for New England’s fifth NFL championship. It was the first Super Bowl decided in overtime.

“There were a lot of plays that coach talks about, you never know which one is going to be the Super Bowl winner,” said Brady, who earned a record fourth MVP award and a fifth Super Bowl ring, the most for a quarterback. “There were probably 30 of those plays tonight and (if) any one of those were different, the outcome could have been different.”

But down 28-3 in the third quarter, Tom?

“It’s hard to imagine us winning,” the 39-year-old Brady said. “It took a lot of great plays and that’s why you play to the end.”

The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, then marched relentlessly to James White’s 2-yard touchdown run in overtime after winning the coin toss. White scored three touchdowns and a 2-pointer.

“We knew we had a shot the whole game,” White said. “It was an amazing comeback by our team. It’s surreal right now. You couldn’t write this script.”

Brady guided the Patriots (17-2) through a tiring Atlanta defence for fourth-quarter touchdowns on a 6-yard pass to Danny Amendola and a 1-yard run by White, which came with 57 seconds remaining in regulation. White ran for the first 2-pointer and Amendola did the deed with a reception on the second.

Brady finished 43 for 62, the most attempts in Super Bowl history, for 466 yards, also a record, and two touchdowns.

Before the stunning rally – New England already held the biggest comeback in the final period when it turned around a 10-point deficit to beat Seattle two years ago – the Falcons (13-6) appeared poised to take their first NFL championship in 51 seasons. Having never been in such a pressurized environment, their previously staunch pass rush disappeared, they stumbled on offence and Brady tore them apart.

“There’s nothing you can really say,” Ryan said. “That’s a tough loss, obviously very disappointing, very close to getting done what we wanted to get done.”

It wasn’t difficult for Patriots owner Robert Kraft as he accepted the Lombardi Trophy from Commissioner Roger Goodell, who naturally drew a flood of boos from New England fans on hand. Yes, “Deflategate” might be far behind Kraft and Brady, but it’s not forgotten.

“Two years ago, we won our fourth Super Bowl down in Arizona and I told our fans that was the sweetest one of all,” owner Robert Kraft said. “But a lot has transpired over the last two years and I don’t think that needs any explanation.

“I want to say to our fans, our brilliant coaching staff, our amazing players who were so spectacular, this is unequivocally the sweetest.”

Brady and coach Bill Belichick won their 25th post-season game, by far a record. The Falcons added to Atlanta’s long history of pro sports frustration.

Belichick became the first coach with five Super Bowl crowns.

The Patriots won the coin toss for overtime, and by then it was no contest. Brady completed six passes against an overmatched Falcons secondary. A pass interference call took the ball to the 2, and White scooted to his right and barely over the goal line.

His teammates streamed off the sideline to engulf White as confetti streamed down from the NRG Stadium rafters.

The comeback included dozens of huge plays, including Ryan’s fumble on a sack, Edelman’s catch off of a defender’s shoe and Brady’s passing.

White had 14 receptions for 110 yards, but Brady hit seven different receivers.

Until the Patriots took charge with their late surge, league MVP Ryan was outplaying Brady and NRG stadium rocked with Falcons’ fans chants of “A-T-L!”

In a game that started as a defensive struggle, the Falcons went sack-happy, getting two on the Patriots’ second drive in what would be a scoreless opening quarter.

It sure looked as if the Patriots would get on the board immediately in the second period as Brady and Edelman connected twice for 40 yards. But LeGarrette Blount’s fumble turned the momentum to the Falcons, who then took their biggest lead in a Super Bowl – yeah, we know, they have been here only twice – on Freeman’s 5-yard run to cap a quick 71-yard drive on which Jones came alive.

Jones showed why he is an All-Pro receiver with a tough leaping catch over the middle for 19 yards, then got open on the sideline for 23. Freeman did the rest.

Before New England could catch its breath, Ryan had the Falcons up 14-0. Using the no-huddle attack to perfection, he threw for 51 yards on a 52-yard drive, hitting Hooper with a pinpoint pass in the left side of the end zone.

Then Brady was victimized by his own poor decision, a rarity on the big stage. Atlanta was called for defensive holding three times on third downs to keep the drive alive. From the Falcons 23, under pressure Brady tried to squeeze a throw to Danny Amendola. Alford stepped in and sprinted, then glided 82 yards for the second-longest pick-6 in a Super Bowl – and Brady’s first.

Shockingly, it was 21-0.

New England gathered its wits for a 52-yard drive to Stephen Gostkowski’s 41-yard field goal. Still, it was 21-3 when Lady Gaga took the stage.

There was smoke hanging over the field when both teams had three-and-outs to open the third quarter. The Falcons looked in control when Ryan and Co., marched 85 yards to Coleman’s 6-yard TD catch on a swing pass.

New England scored the next nine points on James White’s 5-yard TD reception – the extra point was missed by Gostkowski, who later made a 33-yard field goal.

The Patriots kept coming, the Falcons kept flopping, and soon Brady and his buddies somehow had No. 5.

“Just play every play,” Edelman said. “We never quit.”

Lady Gaga delivers a show big on flash and inclusiveness

David Bauder, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Feb 6th, 2017

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Lady Gaga dropped from the top of Houston’s NRG Stadium to open her halftime show and dropped the mic at the end, offering a program that delivered high-energy hits and an inclusive theme.

With the nation on edge politically, the NFL had little taste for a show that would ruffle feathers, as Beyonce did in some circles last year with the Black Power messaging of “Formation.” Gaga plainly listened.

She was patriotic from the start, opening with snippets of “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land” with red and blue lights twinkling above her, before guide wires delivered her to the stage below. Her hit “Born This Way” became a gay rights anthem but in the context of Sunday’s show fit into the idea of accepting differences, a thread through much of the game’s commercial messaging.

President Donald Trump’s name didn’t come up. Gaga’s most notable ad-lib? Saying hi to mom and dad.

Once onstage, she commanded a large troupe of dancers and musicians, props that breathed fire and audience members swinging lights in synchronization – the usual excess that has become a Super Bowl cliche.

Lady Gaga performs onstage during the Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show at NRG Stadium on Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. WIRE IMAGE/Kevin Mazur

 

Yet Gaga commanded the show herself, unlike many predecessors who brought in guest stars to bolster their act. An expected appearance by Tony Bennett, a frequent duet partner, didn’t take place. He was relegated to a brief role in a commercial.

With that pressure, Gaga acquitted herself well. Hits like “Poker Face” and “Just Dance” were frothy and fun. Her best performance came in her least-known song: “Million Reasons,” where she sat at the piano and explored a new style that has advanced beyond the dance pop of her youth.

The finale “Bad Romance” was a crowd pleaser. Gaga, who had spent much of the evening in a metallic space suit, emerged in her third outfit of the performance, a midriff baring costume topped off by football-like shoulder pads. She threw down the microphone and jumped off a platform to disappear at the end.

She promised inoffensiveness and good vibes – and mission accomplished.

The Super Bowl halftime show, with an audience usually topping 100 million, is easily the biggest show of an artist’s career. It’s so attention-getting that Las Vegas even set odds on what colour Gaga’s hair would be. Those who bet blonde took home some money.

Before the game, singers Phillipa Soo, Renee Elise Goldsberry and Jasmine Cephas Jones – the Schuyler sisters from the original cast of Broadway’s hit “Hamilton” – brought exquisite three-part harmony to a version of “America the Beautiful.” They made an inclusive editing choice, with Jones adding “and sisterhood” to the lyrical reference of brotherhood.

Fox’s own editing choice added a downer to a nice moment, cutting to a camera shot of New England’s scowling coach Bill Belichick as the song ended.

Country star Luke Bryan played it straight for “The Star Spangled Banner,” adding few showy flourishes while taking care not to rush through the moment.

Is Trump coverage giving you social media fatigue?

Ginella Massa | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

Anyone who spends time on social media knows it can be the epicentre of Trump talk — from news articles to personal opinion. As a result, the place once used for posting vacation photos and connecting with friends has become a source of anxiety for many.

One psychologist warns the onslaught of negative news can have a detrimental impact on our mental well-being. “It’s kind of like we’re all showing that same ‘attentional’ bias that a depressed person would,” explains Steve Joordens. “It can feed that sense that the world is a bad place.”

He likens refreshing social media pages to the feeling of pulling the arm on a slot machine — constantly hoping to something new and exciting.

“You pull that arm and you know if you keep doing it, sooner or later you’ll get rewarded, you just don’t know when,” says Joordens. “With social media the reward is that piece of information. It could be positive or negative. You don’t know when it’s coming but you know it is coming.”

He says that’s what makes it so difficult to unplug, even when the information coming at us is the kind that could bring us down. “It’s the fact that you can have knowledge, that you’re aware and sometimes being aware of negative things is even more important to us because it allows us to protect ourselves rather than be oblivious.”

Joordens recommends three steps to detoxing from online negativity. The first is simply logging off social media. “Just getting away from it allows you to look at the real world and positives in your life,” he says.

Secondly, find perspective. Joordens points out that even the most bleak moments in history were eventually overcome, even if it didn’t feel like it could be in the moment. “We call this mindfulness in psychology. Sometimes the first step is to realize that things are overblown and it probably is being portrayed as worse than it really is.”

Finally, he suggests finding other activities and hobbies to unwind. “For me that’s playing music … getting in the basement with friends and doing something that’s analog.”

Exclusive: Mom outraged after six-year-old daughter handcuffed by police in school

Cynthia Mulligan and News staff | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

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A mother says she’s devastated after her six-year-old daughter was handcuffed by two Peel police officers inside her school. But the force is defending the move, saying it was done to protect the child from self harm.

“No six-year-old little girl deserves that,” the child’s mother said in an exclusive interview with CityNews. “I’m ashamed for her, I tell her everyday it wasn’t her fault, she’s a good kid”

The incident happened at a Mississauga school in late September. The mother – whose name we are not revealing in order to protect the child’s identity – says her daughter has had problems at the school ever since she started junior kindergarten.

To protect the child’s identity, CityNews is not naming the school.

Letters of suspension from the school describe a child who “punched a staff member” and “assaulted students in the class by kicking, hitting and pulling their arms.” Her mother says her daughter has never exhibited any of that behaviour outside of school.

Since the age of four the child has been suspended four times, with police being called twice before the latest incident when she was handcuffed.

Peel police say officers tried de-escalation techniques with the little girl and handcuffed her because she was banging her head and they feared for her safety.

“The officers arrived on scene and found a young girl who was acting extremely violent – punching, hitting, biting, spitting. Their first priority is her safety,” said Peel police spokesperson Sgt. Josh Colley.

CityNews asked how long officers tried de-escalation before handcuffing the child and how long the cuffs were on, but have yet to recieve an answer.

Police did say the child was handcuffed at the ankles first and then the wrists.

When asked why the child could not have been left in the class with a door closed to calm her down, Colley noted the “potential weapons” available in the classroom that could be used to cause harm, such as desks and book cases.

The child’s father died when she was six months old. Her mother started having health problems as she began junior kindergarten, eventually being diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. She says a social worker told her that her daughter may have been experiencing separation anxiety. Her mother also wonders if bullying at the school triggered the behavioural issues.

The mother’s lawyers believe anti-black racism is the underlying cause of the troubles.

“There’s never, ever a situation where a six-year-old should be handcuffed, never,” said Danardo Jones.

“We see anti-black racism, we see it in child welfare, we see it in the educational system, we see it in the criminal justice system, we see it all over. And what’s particularly jarring to our moral conscience right now is that this level of anti-black racism is moving from something that impacts teenagers and adults right down to a little black girl, a little black female girl and that’s extremely jarring,” lawyer Lavinia Latham added.

A human rights complaint on behalf of the little girl has been filed.

“The police have to be held accountable for their behaviour,” said the child’s mother. “One of the teachers said to me ‘they’re the police. We didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t intervene.’”

At the request of the mother, the child was moved to a new school six weeks ago. She says the old school would call every day or every other day to tell her her daughter was in trouble. The new school hasn’t called once.

Lakeshore tops worst GO train line for delays in 2016

Shauna Hunt and Christine Chubb | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

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When it comes to GO train delays, the Lakeshore line came out on top last year as the worst, according to Metrolinx.

Statistics released on Thursday by GO Transit broke down the types and amounts of delays the train service deals with annually.

The Lakeshore line, which runs west to Hamilton and east to Oshawa, experienced the worst delays of any other GO train lines in 2016.

“Last year we had difficulties, because of construction, along both Lakeshore lines,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins explained.

“In spite of the work that goes on down here, we don’t stop service. But you have to make adjustments and on time performance can suffer because of that.”

The previous year that distinction went to the Milton line.

But it wasn’t just Lakeshore line experiencing delays.

With 11,000 trips every week, 94 per cent of GO trains arrive within five minutes of the scheduled time. The six per cent of trains that arrive more than five minutes late added up to 47,242 minutes of delays in 2016. That’s the equivalent of just over 32 days.

Although that number may seem high, it’s down from 2015 which was 52,817 minutes.

However, it’s up from 2014 which saw 40,831 minutes of delays.

The average amount of time a train is delayed is 12 minutes.

Top Reasons

The top reason for delays in 2016? Weather related track and signal deficiencies.

Over 800 trains were delayed last year, and 71 trains cancelled, due to weather related track and signal deficiencies – delaying commuters a total of 164 hours.

“We have thousands of signals and switches across our 500 kilometre network. They are subject to the elements and they break down. For safety reasons, that’s something that’s a real priority for us,” Aikins explained.

“Sometimes you compromise on time performance for safety and that’s not going to change. We’re always going to do that.”

Suicides

Perhaps the most disturbing trend in 2016 was the increase in fatalities. Last year a record 22 fatalities were recorded – most of which were suicides.

“In 2016 it was a bad year for suicides for most rail companies (and) most transit companies … I don’t know why. Suicide is a really tragic problem that everyone has to deal with, including rail companies,” Aikins said.

Fatality investigations had a significant impact on service, delaying 329 trains and cancelling 129 in 2016. Although it was not the top reason for delays, it caused the highest average delay for transit users – adding up to 17 minutes on average per train.

“It is very traumatic for our staff, it is very difficult for our customers to go through, and some family is getting the worst news of their lives,” Aikins said.

Other reasons for delays include passenger volume, trespassers, medical emergencies and equipment related issues.

CTCN GO DELAYS GFX 2017FEB02 still for web

“Nuisance” Alarms

“Nuisance” alarms are another delay causing issue that Go transit deals with on a reoccurring basis. Aikins said they went down this year because of new signage posted on the train, but they do still happen.

“When people push the emergency alarms … it might only cause a 10 or 15 minute delay but it does cause delays and often it’s for kind of silly reasons. They think we have concierge on the train and ask for tips, they miss their stop, they forgot their lunch, the bathroom is out of toilet paper. So things that aren’t emergencies.”

“Some people will, believe it or not, pull the emergency break and that will cause at least a half hour delay,” Aikins continued.

And the delays are proving to be expensive for GO. Last year it forked over $1.3 million in credits to riders thanks to its 15 minutes or more delay policy. Over the last three years that number has totalled $4 million.

“Ideally we shouldn’t be giving any money back. We should be always on time and 94 per cent of GO trains and 98 per cent of UP Express trains are on time,” Aikins explained. “By industry standards we’re doing fairly well but not by our own standards. We want to do better than that.”

Over the past five years GO Transit has increased the number of trains across its system by 44 per cent. It’s annual ridership for both train and bus grew by nearly 20 million people – from 52 million to 70 million.

Metrolinx said that across the seven GO lines, they added 82 more trains, increasing the opportunity for delays.

Second funeral for mosque victims to be held in Quebec City

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

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A second funeral service in as many days will be held Friday afternoon to remember victims of the Quebec City mosque attack.

Mourners will gather to pay tribute to Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry and Azzeddine Soufiane at the Quebec City convention centre.

A ceremony was held in Montreal on Thursday for Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi and Aboubaker Thabti, the three other people shot to death last Sunday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the service the carnage has left Canada reeling in shock but has also unified the country in solidarity with Muslims.

Trudeau is scheduled to attend Friday’s event, which is set to begin at 1:20 p.m. after a prayer session.

The two Barry men were cousins and came from the same village in Guineau, while Soufiane was a grocer and butcher who was widely praised for often helping newcomers to the provincial capital.

The six victims, aged between 39 and 60, were killed when a gunman stormed the mosque and opened fire on men who were attending prayer. Authorities have refused to specify what type of firearm was used in the mass shooting.

Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, was arrested Sunday night following the massacre in which 19 people were also wounded, including two who were still in critical condition on Tuesday.

Bissonnette has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder using a restricted firearm.

Soldier opens fire outside Louvre, Paris police say

The Associated Press and News Staff | posted Friday, Feb 3rd, 2017

French police officers patrol near the Louvre museum on February 3, 2017 in Paris after a soldier has shot and gravely injured a man who tried to attack him.
"Serious public security incident under way in Paris in the Louvre area," the interior ministry tweeted on February 3 as streets in the area were cordoned off to traffic and pedestrians.  / AFP / ALAIN JOCARD        (Photo credit should read ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

Paris police say a soldier opened fire outside the Louvre Museum after he was attacked by someone who was armed with a machete.

Initial media reports say that the attacker tried to enter the museum with a suitcase.

According to tweets from the interior ministry, the the soldier fired five bullets, seriously wounding the attacker to the stomach. The attacker allegedly had uttered threats and the soldier “opened fire to defend himself against the aggression.”

There were 250 people inside the museum at the time, the ministry tweeted. The ministry tweeted that the visitors were kept remote in parts of the secured museum and that they were being removed from “in small groups after the necessary checks.”

A second person was later arrested, the ministry tweeted. Further details weren’t available.

The museum in the centre of Paris is one of the French capital’s biggest tourist attractions.

Soldiers on patrol are part of security measures that have beefed-up in the wake of terror attacks in France in 2015 and 2016.

Funeral for three victims of mosque shooting to be held Thursday

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Feb 2nd, 2017

A funeral service will be held in Montreal Thursday for three of the six men shot to death in a Quebec City mosque.

Mayor Denis Coderre says the ceremony for Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi and Aboubaker Thabti will be held at the Maurice-Richard Arena. It is expected to begin at 1 p.m. ET.

There will be prayers for the three other victims — Azzeddine Soufiane, Mamadou Tanou Barry and Ibrahima Barry.

A ceremony is expected in Quebec City on Friday.

 

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