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This Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, GOES East satellite image provided by NASA taken at 20:30 UTC, shows the eye of Hurricane Maria as it nears Dominica. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday evening that Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter planes found that Maria had strengthened into a storm with 160 mph (260 kph) winds. (NASA via AP)

Hurricane Maria lashes Dominica, now menaces other islands

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Sep 19th, 2017

Hurricane Maria pounded the small island of Dominica with catastrophic winds overnight, starting a charge into the eastern Caribbean that threatens islands already devastated by Hurricane Irma and holds the possibility of a direct hit on Puerto Rico.

Fierce winds and rain lashed mountainous Dominica for hours as Maria caused flooding and tore roofs from homes as an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm. A police official on the island, Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said overnight that there were no immediate reports of casualties but it was too dangerous for officers to do a full assessment as the storm raged outside.

“Where we are, we can’t move,” he said in a brief phone interview while hunkered down against the region’s second Category 5 hurricane this month.

Maria weakened slightly — and briefly — early Tuesday to a still major Category 4 storm after pounding the small Caribbean island nation. But the fluctuation in intensity proved to be short-lived as a hurricane hunter plane reported the hurricane had regained a fearsome Category 5 status within hours of passing over Dominica.

Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit earlier captured the fury of Maria as it made landfall. “The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of increasingly harrowing posts on Facebook.

A few minutes later, he messaged he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofs tearing off houses on the small rugged island.

He then wrote that he thought his home had been damaged. And three words: “Rough! Rough! Rough!”

A half hour later, he said: “My roof is gone. I am at the complete mercy of the hurricane. House is flooding.” Seven minutes later he posted that he had been rescued.

Officials in Guadeloupe said the French island near Dominica probably would experience heavy flooding and warned that many communities could be submerged. In nearby Martinique, authorities ordered people to remain indoors and said they should be prepared for power cuts and disruption in the water supply.

Authorities in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico warned that people in wooden or flimsy homes should find safe shelter before the storm’s expected arrival there on Wednesday.

“You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”

Maria had maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (260 kph) late Monday as it slammed into Dominica, its eye passing over the island before conditions began easing. Early Tuesday, a hurricane hunter plane found top winds had slightly weakened though Maria remained a still extremely dangerous Category 4 major storm.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria’s top sustained winds were clocked at 155 mph (250 kph) at 2 a.m. and that the eye of Maria was about 45 miles (70 kilometers) west-northwest of Dominica. The storm was moving west-northwest at 9 mph (15 kph).

Before the latest fluctuation in intensity, forecasters had warned Maria would likely intensify over the next 24 hours or longer, noting its eye had shrunk to a compact 10 miles across and warning: “Maria is developing the dreaded pinhole eye.”

That generally means an extremely strong hurricane will get even mightier, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami. He said it just like when a spinning ice skater brings in their arms and rotates faster.

“You just don’t see those in weaker hurricanes,” he said.

The storm’s hurricane-force winds extended out about 35 miles (45 kilometers) and tropical storm-force winds out as far as 125 miles (205 kilometers).

Hurricane warnings were posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. A tropical storm warning was issued for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, St. Lucia and Anguilla.

Forecasters said storm surge could raise water levels by 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 meters) near the storm’s center. The storm was predicted to bring 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimeters) of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.

The current forecast track would carry it about 22 miles (35 kilometers) south of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands late Tuesday and early Wednesday, territorial Gov. Kenneth Mapp said.

“We are going to have a very, very long night,” Mapp said as he urged people in the territory to finish any preparations.

St. Thomas and St. John are still stunned from a direct hit by Hurricane Irma, which did extensive damage and caused four deaths on the two islands.

Barry University said it chartered a private plane to carry students and staff from its St. Croix facility to Florida in preparation for Maria. It said 72 people connected to the Barry’s Physician Assistant Program and a few pets were on Monday’s evacuation flight.

In neighboring Puerto Rico, nearly 70,000 people were still without power following their earlier brush with Irma and nearly 200 remained in shelters as Maria approached.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Puerto Rico had 500 shelters capable of taking in up to 133,000 people in a worst-case scenario. He also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ready to bring drinking water and help restore power immediately after the storm, which could hit as a Category 5 hurricane.

“That is catastrophic in every way,” said Roberto Garcia with the National Weather Service in San Juan. “People have to act, and they have to act now. They can no longer wait for a miracle.”

To the north, Hurricane Jose stirred up dangerous surf and rip currents along the U.S. East Coast, though forecasters said the storm was unlikely to make landfall. Big waves caused by the storm swept five people off a coastal jetty in Rhode Island and they were hospitalized after being rescued.

A tropical storm warning was posted for coastal areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and tropical storm watches were up for parts of New York’s Long Island and Connecticut. Jose’s center was about 395 miles (635 kilometers) south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, early Tuesday and moving north at 8 mph (13 kph). The storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Miami, Seth Borenstein in Washington and Carlisle Jno Baptiste in Roseau Dominica contributed to this report.

Send your farewell wishes to Russ!

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Sep 6th, 2017

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After a 50-year journey with Rogers, our traffic specialist Russ Holden will sign off one last time Wednesday morning on Breakfast Television as he heads off to a well-deserved retirement.

Send your well wishes and messages below:

Best fall travel destinations for 2017

Barry Choi, MoneySense | posted Tuesday, Aug 22nd, 2017

HAYLEY&STORM

The summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you need to give up on your travel plans for the year. With fall comes fewer crowds and better prices if you plan on travelling. But where should you go? I’ve picked out some of the best destinations to head to this autumn.

Florida

With fewer crowds and the temperatures being a bit more bearable, it doesn’t matter where you go to in Florida. Orlando is ideal in September and October when the kids are back in school, and the lines for rides are shorter. November is the start of the dry season so head to Miami where you can lay on the beach or head a bit north to Ft. Lauderdale where you can take a river cruise. If you’re itching for a road trip, there’s the Florida Keys, but it’s also worth exploring Naples, Fort Myers, and Sarasota on the Gulf side. Regardless of where you end up, know that hotel prices will likely be lower.

Manitoba

Canada has already turned 150, but that doesn’t mean you should stop exploring our beautiful country. For a real Canadian experience, head to Churchill, Man. where polar bears come out to play. Okay, I don’t advise that you actually play with them, but it’s jaw dropping to see them wander through town. Don’t worry there are guided tours in tundra buggies where you and the bears will be safe from each other. If you’re lucky, timing will work out where you can catch the northern lights at the same time. One of the times they’re most visible is from late August to early September. Note that if you do plan on visiting Churchill at this time, you should be looking to make your bookings now.

Dublin, Ireland

September tends to see the fewest visitors in Dublin which makes it the perfect time to visit. Stroll down the River Liffey and just enjoy the city and its people. Dublin is full of culture with its museums, castle, and churches. One attraction that shouldn’t be missed is the Book of Kells, a famed medieval manuscript, which can be found in Trinity College’s beautiful library. September is also when the Dublin Fringe Festival takes place so you can catch some of the best performances the world has to offer. Of course, if you’re going to Ireland in the fall, you should take some time to explore the rest of the country. Some things you shouldn’t miss include the Wild Atlantic Way, the Cliffs of Moher, and Donegal.

Japan

Most people try to visit Japan in April when it’s cherry blossom season but come in the fall for an explosion of autumn colours. Since Tokyo is a concrete jungle, you’ll have to head to the parks to see the foliage, but once you get out of the city, you’ll be blown away. The Fuji Five Lakes region is one of the best spots to view the fall colours, plus you can enjoy a dip in one of the many hot springs. Kyoto is also a great place since you can pretty much walk in any direction and find temples and trees to marvel at. Of particular note is the area of Arashiyama in Kyoto. During the fall, the famous bamboo forest plays second fiddle to the crimson maple trees found in the valley. Want to know the best thing about Japan? It’s surprisingly affordable.

San Francisco

There’s no bad time to visit San Francisco, but the fall is when hotel prices drop a touch which is great considering how expensive this city can be. There also tends to be less fog at this time of the year so you can grab that perfect picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. The major sites will naturally be on your radar, but it’s worth exploring a neighbourhood like The Mission where art and food meet. If you plan on making a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway, San Francisco is the perfect place to start since you’ll be right beside the ocean the entire time.

Hong Kong

There are a couple of reasons to visit Hong Kong in the fall. The Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day of the People’s Republic of China both take place in early October and spark celebrations across the city. Since typhoon season has wrapped up, now’s the perfect time to hike one of the many trails that Hong Kong has to offer. If you’re a foodie, you won’t be disappointed. Hong Kong’s street food is some of the best in the world! You can have dim sum at Tim Ho Wan, the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant in the world or have some street food at one of the markets. Most people know to make a trip up the peak, but it’s also worth taking in the views from the upper deck of one of the trams that go across Hong Kong Island.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is another destination that’s great to visit year-round, but in November there’s a really unique opportunity to help the community. You see, this is when leatherback turtles nest, so you can sign up for a volunteer program to help protect them. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour to see the turtles. Now if you prefer to see the natural sites of Costa Rica, head to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park for stunning landscapes or Samara Beach for some downtime away from the crowds.

Munich

Did you know that Oktoberfest actually runs from mid-September until the first Sunday in October? Most visitors tend to time things for the end of this two-week festival, but it’s better to arrive earlier when things are just getting warmed up. Grab a pint —or litre —of beer and join the crowds in the tent city that’s set up just for this event. Even if beer isn’t your thing, there’s no denying the happy atmosphere at this time. As for sites, the city is packed with museums and churches, but you’ll want to try and make a day trip out to Neuschwanstein Castle which inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com

MORE ABOUT TRAVEL:

The cheapest week to travel this summer

Barry Choi | posted Thursday, Aug 3rd, 2017

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Labour Day is just around the corner, and if you haven’t made any travel plans yet, you might be surprised to learn that there’s still some time to score some wicked deals. KAYAK, the world’s leading travel search engine has analyzed their data and have found that the week of August 28th is the cheapest week for Canadians to travel this summer when prices are 17% lower compared to the rest of the season.

Not only is this week ideal for lower fares, but it’s great since most travellers would have returned home from their trips which mean fewer crowds that you’ll need to deal with. The median prices listed below are based on coach, round trip flights with Canadian origin cities searched on KAYAK. Here’s a look at the top 10 cheapest destinations for Canadians to travel to during the week of Aug. 28:

Washington, DC

Median airfare – $173

Some Canadians may be avoiding Washington, DC for political reasons, but that would be a mistake. The city is one of America’s greatest and features plenty of free attractions including the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, National Gallery of Art, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. If you’re looking to save a bit of money on hotels, stay in Arlington where prices are cheaper and take the train to get into the city.

Victoria, B.C.

Median airfare – $188

With its blend of traditional beauty and modern amenities, Victoria is no hidden gem, but that’s okay. The inner harbour is a great place to get to know the city where gardens and architecture greet you. If you’re lucky, you may run into the city’s most famous local, Darth Fiddler. Yes, that would be Darth Vader yielding a fiddle instead of a lightsaber. For something more serious, head to the B.C. Buildings of Parliament where free guided tours are available.

New York City

Median airfare – $191

It may be cheap to get to New York City, but hotel prices can set you back quite a bit. To help you offset your costs, consider picking up a CityPASS that will give you discounted admission to six attractions. Food can be rather inexpensive with Halal Cart Guys charging $8 for their famous chicken platter while $1 slices at 2 Bros Pizza may be the best deal in the city. Even if you decide to splurge, that’s okay since the Canadian dollar has gone up in value recently.

Chicago

Median airfare – $191

If you haven’t been to Chicago, what are you waiting for? The city has some of the best architecture in the world that is best viewed from the river. Even though the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise will set you back USD $46, it’ll be worth it since you’ll learn all about the city in 90-minutes. Alternatively, you can book a free tour through the Chicago greeter program that connects you with a local guide.

Boston

Median airfare is $197

With history, art, and sports, Boston is a city that is suitable for all. History buffs will want to follow the freedom trail that takes you to 16 historic landmarks. If you’re into art, the Museum of Fine Arts has more than 450,000 works of art, while the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum houses a smaller and more intimate collection. Fenway Park is home to the Red Sox and one of the oldest ballparks in the game.

Montreal

Median airfare – $199

Montreal is celebrating is 375th birthday this year, and you better believe the city is still celebrating. The best thing to do in the city is to explore the various neighbourhoods. Old Montreal’s historic buildings and horse-drawn carriages will make you think that you’ve stepped back in time. The port area mainly attracts tourists but is still a lot of fun. For something a bit different, head up to Plateau/Mile End where St. Viateur and Fairmount Bagels are found.

Philadelphia 

Median airfare – $201

Philadelphia may have been made famous by Rocky, but these days the city is known for its food. No, I’m not talking about cheesesteaks, Italian beef sandwiches at the Reading Terminal Market are what the locals prefer. Top Chef contestant, Sylva Senat’s new restaurant, Maison 208 is set to open any day now and is sure to be a popular place. Okay, if you’re a Rocky fan, head to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and dash up the stairs.

Dallas

Median airfare – $201

Dallas is a huge city, so there are two things to keep in mind. Get familiar with public transportation or ride sharing and book a hotel that’s central such as the Sheraton Dallas Hotel. When you’re ready to see the city, head to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science that is both impressive on the inside and out. For 360-degree views of the city, head over to the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck. CityPASS is also available in Dallas which will help you save on attraction tickets.

Toronto

Median airfare – $209

The CN Tower may be Toronto’s most recognizable attraction, but the Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips Square is easily more popular. Head to the sign at any hour, and you’ll find people snapping pictures among the letters. One could argue that food has now also become a popular attraction in the city. How could you not enjoy a bowl of bibimbap in Koreatown or have some gelato in Little Italy? Need a break from the city? Take a ferry to the Toronto islands and relax for the day.

Calgary

Median airfare – $213

Many people fly to Calgary just as a means to get to the Canadian Rockies, but spend some time in the city, and you won’t be disappointed. The recently opened Studio Bell at the National Music Centre has been getting rave reviews and stands out in the East Village. Down the street from the Studio Bell is the Glenbow Museum where you can learn about Canadian history. Foodies will be happy to hear that Calgary’s food scene has exploded over the years with tasty food available all over the city.

This originally appeared on MoneyWeHave.com and has been republished with permission.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com.

The dirty dozen & the clean 15

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 24th, 2017

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The dirty dozen and the clean 15 refer to fruits and vegetables that are the most and least contaminated by pesticides, according to the Environmental Working Group. Use this list to help make grocery shopping easier.

 

The Dirty Dozen (in order of contamination)
Apples
Celery
Sweet bell peppers
Peaches
Strawberries
Nectarines
Grapes
Spinach
Lettuce
Cucumbers
Blueberries
Potatoes

The Clean 15 (in order of least contamination)
Onions
Sweet Corn
Pineapples
Avocado
Cabbage
Sweet peas
Asparagus
Mangoes
Eggplant
Kiwi
Cantaloupe
Sweet potatoes
Grapefruit
Watermelon
Mushrooms

Trump had another conversation with Putin at G20

VIVIAN SALAMA AND JILL COLVIN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jul 19th, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit, Friday, July 7, 2017, in Hamburg. Trump and Putin met for more than two hours. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summi in Hamburg on July 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump had another, previously undisclosed conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Germany this month.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer and National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton confirmed that Trump and Putin spoke at a dinner for world leaders and their spouses at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

The conversation came hours after Trump and Putin’s first official face-to-face meeting on July 7, which was originally scheduled to last just half an hour but stretched on for more than two. The two world leaders were also captured on video shaking hands and exchanging a few words after they arrived at the G20 summit of industrialized and developing nations earlier that day.

Anton would not specify the duration of the conversation. But he said the discussion was casual and should not be characterized as a “meeting” or even a less formal, but official, “pull aside.”

“A conversation over dessert should not be characterized as a meeting,” he said.

The dinner, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was open only to world leaders and their spouses, as well as one translator per couple, according to a senior White House official who described the event on condition of anonymity despite the president’s criticism of unnamed sources.

The official stressed that Trump spoke with many leaders over the course of the dinner and said he spoke briefly with Putin, who was seated next to first lady Melania Trump, as the event was concluding. Trump spoke with Putin using Russia’s translator, since the American translator did not speak Russian.

But Ian Bremmer, who said he spoke with two people who attended the dinner, said that Trump and Putin spoke for nearly an hour while sitting among the other world leaders and their spouses at the dinner. Bremmer is a foreign affairs columnist and the president of the Eurasia Group, a consulting firm.

Attendees described the meeting as startling, said Bremmer, who was told Trump was very animated as he spoke with Putin, often using his hands to gesture.

Trump defended the dinner in a pair of angry tweets late Tuesday that noted the dinner had been on his public schedule.

“Fake News story of secret dinner with Putin is ‘sick.’ All G 20 leaders, and spouses, were invited by the Chancellor of Germany. Press knew!” he wrote.

A few minutes later he added: “The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!”

Trump and Putin’s relationship has been under scrutiny since the election campaign, when Trump repeatedly praised Putin as a strong leader and publicly encouraged him to hack then-rival Hillary Clinton’s emails. Trump aides have since said he was joking.

U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election in order to help Trump. Trump has repeatedly cast doubt on their findings and dismissed investigations into potential collusion between his campaign and Moscow as a “witch hunt.”


Related stories:

Video: Trump, Putin hold first face-to-face meeting

It’s official: Trump campaign wanted campaign help from Putin government

Following the money: Trump-Russia probes turn into hunt for finance criminality

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Fall 2017

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

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Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital and production intern for its Fall 2017 term (Sep. through Dec.). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

comments@bttoronto.ca
Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

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