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As well, Project Houston, an unconnected investigation, was formed to look into three other missing men from the same area.

Police said that since the start of the investigation, members of the community have been active participants, allowing officers to move the cases forward. But they have raised concerns about the use of dating apps.

To these concerns, police are giving the following advice:

1) Please get to know the person you are connecting with as well as possible. This might include asking for additional photos or social media profiles, or speaking on the phone before meeting.

2) When you decide to meet someone, even for a casual connection, do so in a safe space and consider telling a friend or family member where you are going. If this is not possible, consider leaving a note behind with that information.

3) If, at any time, the situation has left you feeling suspicious or uncomfortable, please consider reporting this information to police or Crime Stoppers.

Police said the investigations into these disappearances are continuing. However, as with any similar case, the longer these two men are missing the more concern there is that foul play may have been involved.

Kinsman’s sister told CityNews in August that she believed her brother was dead.

“My heart tells me he’s dead,” she said, speaking exclusively with CityNews. “He went missing June 26 and I believe he was murdered that day because his phone was turned off and his cat was left for two days without food and water and he would never leave his 17-year-old cat unattended.”

She believes Andrew was either killed accidentally or deliberately murdered.

Concerns raised over dating apps after 5 men go missing near Church and Wellesley this year

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2017

Toronto police are offering up safety tips when it comes to online dating apps after several people went missing from the Church and Wellesley area.

Project Prism was formed in August to look into the disappearance of 44-year-old Selim Esen, who was last seen April 4 near Yonge and Bloor, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, who was last seen on June 26 in area of 71 Winchester Ave. area.

As well, Project Houston, an unconnected investigation, was formed to look into three other missing men from the same area.

Police said that since the start of the investigation, members of the community have been active participants, allowing officers to move the cases forward. But they have raised concerns about the use of dating apps.

To these concerns, police are giving the following advice:

1) Please get to know the person you are connecting with as well as possible. This might include asking for additional photos or social media profiles, or speaking on the phone before meeting.

2) When you decide to meet someone, even for a casual connection, do so in a safe space and consider telling a friend or family member where you are going. If this is not possible, consider leaving a note behind with that information.

3) If, at any time, the situation has left you feeling suspicious or uncomfortable, please consider reporting this information to police or Crime Stoppers.

Police said the investigations into these disappearances are continuing. However, as with any similar case, the longer these two men are missing the more concern there is that foul play may have been involved.

Kinsman’s sister told CityNews in August that she believed her brother was dead.

“My heart tells me he’s dead,” she said, speaking exclusively with CityNews. “He went missing June 26 and I believe he was murdered that day because his phone was turned off and his cat was left for two days without food and water and he would never leave his 17-year-old cat unattended.”

She believes Andrew was either killed accidentally or deliberately murdered.

Ontario changing auto insurance system; aiming to tackle fraud, lower rates

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2017

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Ontario is making changes to the auto insurance industry to try to combat fraud and reduce rates for drivers.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa says the cost of auto insurance fraud is estimated to be as high as $1.6 billion a year and it’s time to stop it.

He says the government will develop standard treatment plans for common collision injuries such as sprains and whiplash, create independent and neutral examination centres to provide medical assessments for more serious injuries, and establish a Serious Fraud Office to tackle fraud in the system.

A government-commissioned report earlier this year found that Ontario has the most expensive auto insurance premiums in Canada despite also having one of the lowest levels of accidents and fatalities.

“A Serious Fraud Office is being established with prosecution, with the enablement of enforcement so that we can act on these things and go after criminality,” Sousa told CityNews. “These are illegal activities and it’s being done by many.”

Gordon Rasbach of Aviva Insurance says there’s plenty of blame to go around, with lawyers, health care providers, tow truck drivers and repair shops all trying to profit off insurance claims. But Rasbach admits some of the blame also falls on insurance providers.

“There’s been abuse for a long time. The system’s broken,” said Rasbach.

“Part of the government’s actions should be to make the insurance companies — the way they do in other countries — do something about the fraud.”

Ontario’s announcement today comes as the Liberal government is still trying to fulfill a promise to reduce rates by 15 per cent on average from 2013 levels. Rates have now decreased on average by about eight per cent since then.

The government missed its self-imposed deadline of August 2015 to hit that target and Premier Kathleen Wynne has admitted that was a “stretch goal.”

IOC suspends Russian Olympic Committee for 2018 Games

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2017

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The International Olympic Committee has suspended the Russian National Olympic Committee for the 2018 Games as a result of a doping scandal, but clean Russian athletes can compete under a neutral flag.

Russia’s doping scandal began coming to light in December 2014, when an ARD documentary on German TV alleged that Russian officials systemically accepted payments from athletes to supply banned substances and cover up positive tests. In it, former discus thrower Yevgeniya Pecherina claimed that “most, the majority, 99 per cent” of top international level Russian athletes cheated.

That prompted both the International Association of Athletics Federations and WADA to begin investigations, with former WADA president Dick Pound leading an independent commission that confirmed the ARD report in December 2015.

“It’s worse than we thought,” Pound said at the time.

Richard McLaren, another Canadian who was part of Pound’s team on the initial probe, was tasked the following May with leading an independent investigation into Russia’s actions after whistleblower Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow’s anti-doping lab who defected to the U.S. in 2015, detailed how the Sochi Games had been fixed to the New York Times.

McLaren released an interim report in mid-July before the 2016 Rio Olympics corroborating Rodchenkov’s claims, but while the IAAF decided to ban Russian track and field athletes from those Games, the IOC did not.

“Justice has to be independent of politics,” Bach said then.

The full report in December included data from computer hard drives, databases and emails that supported witness testimony on how post-competition urine samples of Russian athletes were systemically swapped out of the Sochi lab through a hole in the wall, and replaced with clean samples stored in a nearby building occupied by the FSB.

“It is impossible to know how deep and how far back this conspiracy goes,” McLaren said during the announcement.

Russian government and sports officials have consistently denied the claims, but 25 Russians that competed in Sochi have since been punished retroactively for doping, costing the country 11 medals.

A rare look at how the TTC tries to nab fare evaders

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2017

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Trying to fix a $20 million problem.

That’s how much the TTC claims is lost annually from fare evaders shortchanging the subway, bus and streetcar systems.

In the last three years alone TTC Fare inspectors have handed out nearly 18,000 tickets.

CityNews reporter Adrian Ghobrial was invited for a rare ride-along as the TTC tries to crack down on those stiffing the transit commission.

Confusion at Distillery District intersection has cars turning onto streetcar tracks

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2017

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A confusing intersection in the Distillery District is causing vehicles to turn onto streetcar tracks.

Part of the road at the intersection of Cherry and Front Streets is separated, one part for vehicles, the other is strictly just for TTC Streetcars, but it turns out that’s not clear to some drivers.

“Because it’s a divided road, they might actually think it’s a divided road with a median down the centre,” says Dave Jameson, a concerned resident. “Even with the arrows and dashed lines, at night that’s impossible to see.”

He says the right-of-way has been here for nearly two years but it’s still confusing drivers. He says lately it’s been getting out of hand especially at this time of year with less daylight and with the large crowds and increased traffic going to and from the Toronto Christmas Market which is right across the street.

The signage is there, but it’s not as obvious as one would think.

“At least have better indication that that is a streetcar lane because it really doesn’t spell it out too well,” says Jameson,

“The ‘do not enter’ sign is above eye level and as a driver you’re not looking up there.”

We reached out to the City about the issue. In an email they tell CityNews:

“We haven’t received any complaints related to motorists driving on the streetcar right-of-way in this area. We will send staff out to see if there is any opportunity to improve signage and to ensure that the approved signage is installed and in good condition. Motorists are reminded to observe road signs at all times.”

We also reached out to Traffic Services which tells us driving the wrong way in one way traffic falls under section 153 of the Highway Traffic Act. This offence would carry three demerit points and a $110 fine.

Jameson says this is a year long problem and while there haven’t been any major accidents as of yet, he wants something to be done before it’s too late.

Woman accused in fatal PATH stabbing found unfit to stand trial

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2017

Rohini_Bisesar with Dr Ian Swayze, December 4, 2017. MARIANNE BOUCHER/CITYNEWS

A lawyer for a woman charged in an apparently unprovoked fatal stabbing in Toronto’s financial district says his client has been declared unfit to stand trial.

Rohinie Bisesar faces a charge of first-degree murder for fatally stabbing Rosemarie Junor on Dec. 11, 2015, while Junor was shopping in the downtown Toronto PATH concourse.

On Monday, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Ian Swayze told the court that Bisesar is “acutely unwell” and that she suffers from delusions and hallucinations.

The Crown on Monday said the court shouldn’t prosecute someone who is mentally unfit to stand trial.

Bisesar took the stand Monday, telling the court she does not have a mental disorder, but that she hears unseen people speaking to her and controlling her actions, and that Junor is not really dead.

Swayze told the jury that because of her condition, Bisesar could not effectively conduct her own defence or instruct a defence counsel — one of the requirements of being fit to stand trial.

Fitness also requires that a person understand why they are in court and who the major players are, such as the judge and prosecutor.

The decision on how long Bisesar’s treatment will be will be made on Tuesday afternoon. Dr. Swayze on Monday recommended 60 days, the maximum.

Bisesar will give submissions on what treatment she wants to receive. She’s been asking for a full body scan for two years.

Her trial was scheduled to start on Jan. 8.

Toronto teacher accused of making racist remark to black student

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Dec 6th, 2017

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The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is investigating a disturbing comment allegedly made by a substitute teacher at a Scarborough elementary school last week.

Abigail Francis, whose son attends sixth grade at Norman Cook Public School, says 11-year-old Isaiah came home upset last Tuesday after he was asked to do a poetry assignment titled All the Places We Love. “Isaiah wanted clarity on the question and the teacher responded, ‘It’s like home sweet home, or for you, in a dark alleyway like a crackhead,’ ” claims Francis.

She believes the comment was racially motivated, given that her son is one of only two black students in the class. She says after the incident, another student who overheard the interaction approached Isaiah. “He spoke out to say it was racist, and he said, ‘Isaiah, if I had gone up there, he wouldn’t have said anything because I’m white. And you shouldn’t take that.’ “

Francis says the young student and a handful of others who had heard the comment accompanied Isaiah to the principal’s office to make a complaint against the teacher.

In a statement, the TDSB tells CityNews the teacher has now been put on home assignment pending the outcome of an investigation. “If the allegation is founded, it is completely unacceptable and goes against the considerable work the TDSB is doing to combat racism, bias and oppression,” writes TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird. “We are committed to ensuring every student feels valued everyday by the staff in our schools.”

This year, the board conducted an Equity Task Force, with a draft report recommending anti-racism training for staff, and more diverse hiring. The recommendations are set to be voted on by trustees next Wednesday.

While Francis believes the matter is being dealt with appropriately, she still hasn’t been able to find out the name of the teacher, and says she was told it’s unlikely the board will publicize the repercussions he’ll face if the allegations are founded.

“I find a lack of transparency in that,” says Francis. “I think it’s important for parents, and taxpayers who are paying this man, to have an understanding of what occurs when a teacher violates the code of conduct and violates a child’s dignity.“

Francis says she also wants the teacher to be required to complete sensitivity training and to apologize to her son and the rest of the class. She says the students who spoke up should be commended for their actions.

“They came together and stood up for my son and that positive behaviour should be reinforced by the school.”

The TDSB confirms the school is working on having the appropriate staff in place to have a discussion in the classroom about the incident.

IOC meets to decide on Russia’s Olympic participation

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Dec 5th, 2017

The IOC executive board is meeting to decide if Russian athletes can compete at the upcoming Pyeongchang Olympics despite evidence that the country ran an orchestrated doping program at the 2014 Sochi Games.

The International Olympic Committee did not bar Russia from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The IOC instead asked sports governing bodies to decide which athletes could compete.

The IOC could now impose a stricter sanction by allowing Russians to compete only as neutral athletes without a national flag or anthem.

IOC President Thomas Bach is scheduled to announce the 14-member board’s decision at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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