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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 25: Queen Elizabeth II speaks to Amy Barlow, 12, from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, and her mother, Kathy during a visit to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital to meet victims of the terror attack on May 25, 2017 in Manchester, England.  Queen Elizabeth visited the hospital to meet victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack and to thank members of staff who treated them. (Photo by Peter Byrne/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth visits young survivors of concert blast

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017

Queen Elizabeth II met Thursday with children injured in the Manchester concert bombing, consoling them and pronouncing the attack at an event attended by so many young people “wicked.”

The 91-year-old monarch visited Evie Mills, 14, Millie Robson, 15, and other youngsters recovering from severe shrapnel wounds at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

“It’s dreadful. Very wicked, to target that sort of thing,” the queen told Evie and her parents.


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Millie, wearing an Ariana Grande T-shirt, told the queen she had won VIP tickets to the pop star’s Monday night concert at Manchester Arena and been injured in the bombing attack after the end of the show. The teenager said she felt fortunate to have survived.

“I have a few, like, holes in my legs and stuff, and I have a bit of a cut, and my arm and just a bit here, but compared to other people I’m quite lucky really,” she said.

The queen broke her normal custom of wearing a matching outfit by visiting the children in a blue coat topped with a jaunty orange hat – as if to try to lighten the gloom.

Elizabeth told Millie she thought Ariana Grande was a “very good singer,” adding, “She sounds very, very good.”

Millie was one of 12 children under the age of 16 taken to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital by ambulance after the blast that killed 22 people and the suspected bomber.

She said she was walking toward the exit to meet her father when the bomb went off. She remembers the explosion, an intense ringing in her ears, and people screaming. Millie didn’t know it right away, but she was bleeding badly from her legs.

“My dad ran over to me and picked me up and then like, we tied jumpers (sweaters) and stuff around the main wounds in my leg,” she recalled Thursday. “He just picked me up and we ran outside and then a lot of paramedics outside and strangers were just helping us, really.”

It was a parent’s nightmare. Her father, David Robson, said he was with his partner waiting for Millie when the explosion happened.

“It was surreal, it was just quiet,” Robson said. “And I saw Millie, at the bottom of the stairs, I just ran down, picked her up.”

He was running from the scene when he noticed her bleeding legs. They used a sweater and a shirt to try to staunch the flow and keep her alive.

“I just said, ‘Look at me, just don’t look anywhere else,’” the father said. “Because it was just, obviously as you can imagine, carnage, bodies and stuff.”

Emergency teams eventually helped treat Millie and got her to the hospital. She was well enough Thursday to enjoy the queen’s visit.

“She is lovely,” the teen said. “It’s like mind-blowing, really.”

Ontario seeking regulation change to allow online health card renewal

JESSICA SMITH CROSS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017

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Service Ontario office
Ontario is taking steps toward allowing people to renew their health cards online, a development that would save residents a trip to a ServiceOntario centre.

The Ministry of Health recently posted a notice asking for feedback on a regulatory change that would make it possible for the government to develop a new online option for health card renewals.

A ministry spokesman said Ontario has committed to providing online health card renewals by 2018, as part of an effort to “give Ontarians more choice in how they interact with government.”

For now, almost everyone who needs to renew their health card must do so in person.

Individuals can book an appointment ahead of time online, but still have to visit a ServiceOntario centre, with the exception of children younger than 15-and-a-half and most seniors over 80, who can renew their cards by mail.

Proof of residency in Ontario and proof of identity are required to renew a health card.

Some residents immediately welcomed the idea of an online renewal option.

“That’s great,” said Kashief Butt, who’d just waited in a long line at a ServiceOntario office in downtown Toronto. “If we could do it online, then we’d save so much time.”

But Alia Gomes, who’d visited the same ServiceOntario, said she doesn’t think the online option is a good idea and worried it could lead to fraud.

“I just feel like with being able to do everything online, there’s a certain sense of anonymity, and people could use your name for identity theft,” she said.

Besides, she said, the line at the centre didn’t seem that long to her.

Ontarians can give feedback on the government’s proposal for online renewal until June 5.

Ontarians can already renew their driver’s licenses online, and 200,000 people did so last year.

Heavy rains flood roads, Toronto Islands, Beach area

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017

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Heavy, persistent rains and strong winds are wreaking havoc on the Greater Toronto Area, with flooding and power outages reported across the region.

Police closed Lake Shore Boulevard West in both directions for several hours from British Columbia Road to New Brunswick Way due to flooding. All lanes opened just before 4 p.m.

The Bayview extension was also closed south of River Street for several hours before reopening after 7 p.m.

“Right now, we have the highest water level that we’ve ever seen in recorded history, and it is expected that it will continue to keep rising for a couple more weeks at least,” said Nancy Gaffney of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA).

She said water levels have yet to peak and precipitation from the other Great Lakes could add another five to 10 centimetres to Lake Ontario before levels recede.

There are also reports of further flooding on the already-soaked Toronto Islands, with Gibraltar and Algonquin islands being battered by powerful waves. City staff told CityNews Olympic Island is heavily flooded.

“While the water level is so high, it’s the increased winds that add far more pressure because they’re bringing in water at a higher rate, and then they’re jumping over all of our sandbagging efforts,” Gaffney said.

“We have sandbags that add another three feet to the elevation and the waves are just rolling right over those.”

Coun. Pam McConnell said the pumps on Algonquin, in some cases, are also not keeping up with the rain and waves.

“We have a couple houses that are really under extreme conditions and so we’ve sent in extra people,” she said. “We know that Red Cross is also there right as we speak.”

 McConnell said in the Beach neighbourhood, the small sand bar that was holding water back from Ashbridges Bay has eroded and the area is flooded again. Strong winds were pushing the water up to the Woodbine Bathing Station, and almost all of the volleyball courts were under water as of early Thursday afternoon.

The water will retreat from those low-lying areas, however, and return to normal, Gaffney said.

Toronto Hydro says around 1,100 customers were without power in the Midtown area before it was restored around 6 p.m. Brief outages also affected several hundred customers in Scarborough.

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for the GTA calling for up to 30 millimetres of rain on Thursday.

However, if the region receives just a few millimetres more than that rainfall amount, it could break a 64-year-old record set on this date in 1953, which was 34.3 millimetres.

The national weather agency said around 10 to 20 millimetres of rain have fallen since last night and an additional 20 to 30 millimetres is possible.

The rain is expected to taper off later this evening, but could resume on Friday.

So far this month, Pearson Airport has already received 82.6 millimetres of rain. The average for this month is 74.3 millimetres.

“We’ve only had a four-day stretch without measurable rainfall (May 8 to 11), so on-and-off rain showers for a good chunk of month,” 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

The Toronto Islands remain closed to the public after high water levels caused extensive flooding. The latest round of rain will only exacerbate the problem.

More than half of the buildings on the islands are being threatened by rising water levels, Mayor John Tory said earlier this week. About 40 per cent of the Toronto Island Park is already under water.

Unusually high water levels in Lake Ontario brought on in part by heavy rains in recent weeks have largely shuttered parts of the islands, which boast beaches, an amusement park and other tourist attractions.

The city said permits for events on the island have been cancelled until June 30, and ferry service is restricted to residents and staff only.

Taylor said it looks like the GTA will have a dry stretch to start June but that temperatures will remain below average.

Ports Toronto said Billy Bishop Airport has not been affected by the high water levels and winds. The airfield doesn’t have any low-lying areas and has added grooves on the runway to add texture and prevent rainwater from accumulating.

Penguins return to Stanley Cup final with Game 7 win over Senators

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, May 26th, 2017

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Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz (14) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a game winning goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second overtime period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Pittsburgh on May 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby took a moment to arrange themselves in the correct order before they picked up the Prince of Wales Trophy together.

They wanted to recapture the moment from last year’s Eastern Conference final where they broke from tradition and touched the trophy, a move that superstitious hockey players believe will prevent a team from winning the Stanley Cup.

It didn’t stop the Pittsburgh Penguins from winning the Stanley Cup last year and they’ll have another chance at the NHL’s championship again this spring.

Kunitz scored in double overtime to lift Pittsburgh over the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final on Thursday night.

It was Kunitz’s second goal of the night. He put away his first goal near the midway point of the second period.

Ottawa’s Ryan Dzingel tied the game 2-2 with 5:19 left to play in the third period.


Related stories:

Senators fight valiantly but just can’t find last push in Game 7


The Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks in six games last year to win the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh will host P.K. Subban and the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final on Monday.

Nashville advanced to the league championship with a six-game win over the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference final.

It is the Predators’ first-ever appearance in the Stanley Cup final.

Subban was traded to Nashville in the off-season in a blockbuster trade with the Canadiens that included veteran defenceman Shea Weber going to Montreal.

A Canadian team hasn’t made the Stanley Cup final since the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in seven games in 2011. No Canadian club has won the Stanley Cup since the Montreal Canadiens did so in 1993.

Graco recalls car seats, says webbing may not hold child in crash

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, May 25th, 2017

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Graco Children’s products is recalling 1,393 child car seats in Canada due to a problem with harness webbing. The model is My Ride 65. TWITTER/GracoBaby

Graco Children’s products is recalling 1,393 child car seats in Canada due to a problem with harness webbing.

An advisory from the company’s Canadian division says the recall covers “My Ride 65” seats which were made between May 14, 2014 and July 30, 2014.

It says harness webbing on the car seats failed to meet Canadian standards for breaking strength.

Graco says it will provide free replacement kits with new harness restraints and installation instructions.

While waiting for a replacement kit, the company says consumers may continue to use My Ride 65 convertible car seats.

The company has issued a similar recall in the United States affecting more than 25,000 car seats.

With files from The Associated Press

GTA could break 64-year-old rainfall record on Thursday

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, May 25th, 2017

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Rain falling on the roadway. CITYNEWS

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Toronto and the GTA calling for up to 30 millimetres of rain on Thursday.

However, if the region receives just a few millimetres more than that rainfall amount, it could break a 64-year-old record set on this date in 1953, which was 34.3 millimetres.

The national weather agency said around 10 millimetres of rain already fell overnight, and that the rain will be heavy at times.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said 40 km/h winds are also expected.

The rain is expected to taper off later this evening; however,Taylor said there is also a chance of showers on Friday.

So far this month, Pearson Airport has already received 82.6 millimetres of rain. The average for this month is 74.3 millimetres.

“We’ve only had a four-day stretch without measurable rainfall (May 8-11), so on and off rain-showers for a good chunk of month,” Taylor said.

The heavy rain could also threaten the already high water levels at the Toronto Islands.

More than half of the buildings on the islands are being threatened by rising water levels, Mayor John Tory said earlier this week. About 40 per cent of the Toronto Island Park is already under water.

Unusually high water levels in Lake Ontario brought on in part by heavy rains in recent weeks have largely shuttered parts of the islands, which boast beaches, an amusement park and other tourist attractions.

The city said permits for events on the island have been cancelled until June 30, and ferry service is restricted to residents and staff only.

Taylor said it looks like the GTA will have a dry stretch to start June but that temperatures will remain below average.

Tory asks TTC to find immediate relief for crowding on Yonge subway line

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, May 25th, 2017

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A huge backlog formed on the Yonge-Bloor subway platform after a series of TTC service disruptions on Feb. 9, 2016. TWITTER
Mayor John Tory is asking the TTC to come up with creative ideas for immediate relief for crowding on the Yonge subway line.

In a letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford, Tory said while the Relief Line, SmartTrack and Automatic Train Control will improve conditions in the future, riders also need help now.

“We are all acutely aware of the crunch in peak hours, where people are often left waiting for a train to go by before they can embark, and platforms left completely full at Yonge-Bloor station,” Tory wrote in a letter to TTC CEO Andy Byford.

“I want to make sure we are doing everything we can now to make the ride better for riders.”

A possible solution, Tory said, is to have some subway trains start their journey not at the start of the line, but further down. There would then be more room for people at busier stations.

TTC riders make 750,000 trips on Line 1 every day.

Read Tory’s letter below or click here.


Related stories:

Ontario launches online tool making opioid data public

JESSICA SMITH CROSS THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, May 25th, 2017

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Prescription pills containing oxycodone and acetaminophen are pictured in this June 20, 2012 photo. Medically sanctioned opioid use has dropped by almost 14 per cent since national guidelines for prescribing the drugs were introduced in 2010, yet the rate of overdose-related hospital visits continued to rise, an Ontario study has found.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
A new website that makes opioid data in Ontario available to the public shows a steady increase in related overdose deaths in the province over the past 14 years, with an 11-per-cent jump in the first half of 2016.

The site launched by the government Wednesday shows 412 people died as a result of opioid overdoses in the first six months of 2016, compared with 371 during the same time period in 2015.

Previously, the most recent publicly reported data on opioid deaths in Ontario had been from 2015.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins said the latest statistics are “alarming,” and opioid overdose has become the third-leading cause of accidental death in the province. However, he said Ontario’s year-over-year increase is far less than British Columbia’s 80 per cent jump from 2015 to 2016.

“Here in Ontario, we have yet to see a similar spike,” he said.

The newly available statistics go back to 2003, when there was a rate of three opioid deaths per 100,000 Ontarians — a figure that gradually, but steadily increased to 5.3 deaths per 100,000 residents in 2015.

Chief Coroner Dirk Huyer said his office is still working through a backlog of cases, but will soon provide newer information for the website more quickly, with deaths expected to be accounted for on the online tracker within six months after they occur.

Hoskins acknowledged that other provinces, including B.C., release figures on fatal overdoses more quickly, but said they are generally suspected deaths, rather than confirmed cases, and Ontario has decided to only release information that has been confirmed.

Hospitals have also been required to report opioid overdose figures every month and when the government is confident those figures are accurate, they will be released as they become available, Hoskins said.

The website currently has hospital data until the first nine months of 2016, showing an average of 150 hospitalizations for opioid overdoses per month.

As of May 1, the coroner’s office has also been tracking whether drugs that have caused fatal overdoses are legal or illegal, but that information isn’t ready for public release, Huyer said.

Hoskins said that data will be “critically important” for the government in developing its policy and he expects it will show a mix, where people are legally prescribed opioids and supplement their addiction with illegal drugs.

“Often, there’s an overlap,” he said. “As we tease out the presence of licit or illicit drugs and are able to source it, it gives us advice for how to intervene.”

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