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Trump Organization to check out from Toronto hotel, condo tower

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2017

The Trump International Hotel and Tower is shown in Toronto on Aug. 31, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joe O’Connal
The new owner of Toronto’s Trump International Hotel and Tower has struck a deal that will see the U.S. president’s name removed from the property.

JCF Capital says it has reached an agreement with a unit of the Trump Organization to buy out the management contracts for the property for an undisclosed amount.

While U.S. President Donald Trump never owned the building, his Trump Organization licensed his name to and operated the property, which has struggled financially and been the focus of a long-running legal battle after opening in 2012.

Trump-branded properties, including a recently opened tower in Vancouver, have been the target of protesters angry about the U.S. president’s policies.

Representatives of both JCF and the Trump Organization said their relationship has been good and they may work again together in the future.

“Collectively, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Eric Danziger and their team have been exceptional partners and we hope to have the pleasure of working with the Trump Organization again in the future,” Jay Wolf, JCF Capital’s president, said in a statement.

The 65-storey Toronto tower was built by developer Alex Schnaider, who formed the original business relationship with the Trump Organization.

His company, Talon International, later defaulted on a loan from an Austrian bank, which sold the loan to JCF Capital.

JCF, a joint venture between Juniper Capital Partners and Cowie Capital Partners, was the successful bidder for the property’s 211 hotel units, 74 residential units and most of its commercial, retail and amenity space. An Ontario judge approved JCF’s bid of C$298-million to acquire the property in late March.

Last October, an Ontario court ruled in favour of investors who had launched a lawsuit alleging they were misled when they bought units in the residential portion of the tower. The investors scored another victory in March when Canada’s highest court refused to hear an appeal of the ruling.


Related stories:

Supreme Court won’t hear appeal by U.S. President Donald Trump and developers

Vancouver police say protests against Trump tower opening cost an estimate $105k

Large anti-Trump protest planned for Toronto

Toronto airport to host 150 live music shows to celebrate Canada 150

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2017

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Mayor John Tory announcing the launch of the YYZ Live Music series at Toronto Pearson International Airport on June 27, 2017. @TorontoPearson/TWITTER.
Travellers at Canada’s busiest airport will get to enjoy live music this summer as part of the country’s 150th birthday celebrations.

The YYZ Live performance series at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport features 150 free live shows by 75 artists on two stages.

The series, produced by the airport and the City of Toronto, began Monday and runs daily until Sept. 15, with amplified sets beginning at 7 p.m. in the international arrivals area of Terminal 1 and acoustic sets beginning at 8 p.m. on the platform of the airport’s Terminal Link train.

The first week of performances will include soul, jazz, folk, bluegrass, indie rock and international music.

Bands are paid an honorarium of $600 for two performances and the city says Toronto-based artists of all genres are encouraged to apply through the city’s website to perform later in the summer.

Toronto Mayor John Tory says it’s an ideal tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday.
“YYZ Live supports and showcases Toronto artists while enhancing Toronto’s image and reputation as a music city to visitors and residents,” he said.

Greater Toronto Airports Authority President Howard Eng said the performances will enhance the airport experience for many travellers.

“For many people, their first experience of Canada is here at the airport, so it is fitting that we’ll be presenting performances from so many Canadian artists in celebration of this great country,” said Eng.

Speeding No. 1 killer on Ontario roads as deaths rise from last year

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2017

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Provincial police say speeding is the No. 1 cause of road fatalities on OPP-patrolled roads in Ontario so far this year.

As of Monday, the force says speeding has been linked with 30 road deaths, compared to 17 at the same time last year.

And the OPP says officers have laid more than 1,400 charges so far this year against drivers clocked at 50 km/h or more over the posted speed limit.

Police say officers across the province will set their sights on speeding and all other forms of aggressive driving during the Canada Day long weekend.

Deputy Commissioner Brad Blair says speeding has become part of everyday behaviour for some drivers, noting OPP laid more than 240,000 speeding charges last year.

Speeders can face a jail term of up to six months, fines of up to $10,000 and prolonged licence suspension upon conviction.

The OPP will be out in full force over the long weekend, targeting speeding drivers and other forms of aggressive driving.

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, which coincided with Canada Road Safety Week, police laid around 9,400 speeding charges, 165 of which were street racing charges.

New highly virulent strain of ransomware cripples networks

RAPHAEL SATTER AND FRANK BAJAK, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2017

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A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack on June 27, 2017. GETTY IMAGES/AFP/Rob Engelaar
A new, highly virulent strain of malicious software that is crippling computers globally appears to have been sown in Ukraine, where it badly hobbled much of the government and private sector on the eve of a holiday celebrating a post-Soviet constitution.

The fresh cyber-assault Tuesday leveraged the same intrusion tool as a similar attack in May and proved again just how disruptive to daily life sophisticated cyber-assaults can be in this age of heavy reliance on computers.

Hospitals, government offices and major multinationals were among the casualties of the ransomware payload, which locks up computer files with all-but-unbreakable encryption and then demands a ransom for its release.

Ukraine and Russia appeared hardest hit. In the United States, it affected companies such as the drugmaker Merck and Mondelez International, the conglomerate of food brands such as Oreo and Nabisco. Multinationals, including the global law firm DLA Piper and Danish shipping giant A.P. Moller-Maersk, were also affected.

The virus’ pace appeared to slow by Wednesday, in part because the malware appeared to require direct contact between computer networks, a factor that may have limited its spread in regions with fewer connections to Ukraine.

Its origins and the motive for its release remained unclear, and financial gain may not have been a big reason. The time and place of release could have been a clue.

It was loosed on the eve of a national holiday marking Ukraine’s 1996 constitution – its first after independence from Soviet rule.

Ukraine has been a persistent target of pro-Russia hackers in recent years. They have been blamed for twice shutting down large swaths of its power grid and sabotaging its elections network in a bid to disrupt a May 2014 national vote.

Researchers picking the program apart found evidence its creators had borrowed from leaked National Security Agency code, raising the possibility that the digital havoc had spread using U.S. taxpayer-funded tools.

“The virus is spreading all over Europe, and I’m afraid it can harm the whole world,” said Victor Zhora, the chief executive of Infosafe IT in Kyiv, where the first reports of it emerged early Tuesday afternoon.

Stricken in Ukraine were government offices, where officials posted photos of darkened computer screens, as well as energy companies, the country’s biggest airport, the post office, banks, cash machines, gas stations and supermarkets. Ukrainian Railways and the communications company Ukrtelecom were among major enterprises hit, Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said in a Facebook post . Omelyan also wrote: “It’s no coincidence that the word ‘virus’ ends in RUS.”

The virus hit the radiation monitoring at Ukraine’s shuttered Chornobyl power plant, site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, forcing it into manual operation.

The full scope of damage wouldn’t be known until Thursday when everyone gets back to work, Zhora said.

Ukraine suffered more than 60 per cent of the attacks, followed by Russia with more than 30 per cent, according to initial findings by researchers at the cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab. It listed Poland, Italy and Germany, in that order, as the next-worst affected.

In the U.S, two hospitals in western Pennsylvania were hit; patients reported on social media that some surgeries had to be rescheduled. A spokeswoman for Heritage Valley Health System would say only that operational changes had to be made. A Wellsville, Ohio, woman at one of its hospitals to have her gallbladder removed said she noticed computer monitors off and nurses scurrying around with stacks of paperwork.


Related stories:

New cyberattack causes mass disruption in Europe

Huge cyberattack forces Microsoft to offer free tech fix

Cyberattack wave ebbs, but experts see risk of more


Like last month’s outbreak of ransomware, dubbed WannaCry , the new attack spread by using digital lock picks originally created by the NSA and later published to the web by a still-mysterious group known as the Shadowbrokers.

Security vendors said the NSA exploit, known as EternalBlue, lets malware spread rapidly across internal networks at companies and other large organizations. Microsoft issued a security fix in March, but Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer at the security firm Veracode, said it would only be effective if every single computer on a network were patched – otherwise, a single infected machine could infect all others.

“Once activated, the virus can automatically and freely distribute itself on your network,” Ukraine’s cyberpolice tweeted.

Such self-spreading programs are known as “worms.”

The attacks appeared to slow down in part because the ransomware appears to spread only when a direct contact exists between two networks – such as when a global company’s Ukraine office interacts with headquarters, said Ryan Kalember, a security expert at Proofpoint.

“It’s not randomly spreading over the internet like WannaCry. It’s somewhat contained to the organizations that were connected to each other,” he said.

Bogdan Botezatu, an analyst with Bitdefender, compared the new program to a contagious disease. It appeared nearly identical to GoldenEye, a variant of a known family of hostage-taking programs known as “Petya,” he said.

It demanded $300 in Bitcoin. But unlike typical ransomware, which merely scrambles personal data files, this program does more. It overwrites a computer’s master boot record, making it tougher to restore even a machine that has been backed up, Kalember said.

It may have first spread through a rogue update to a piece of Ukrainian accounting software called MEDoc, according to tweets by the country’s cyberpolice unit. It said a rogue update seeded the infection across Ukraine. On Facebook, MEDoc acknowledged having been hacked.

Emails sent Tuesday to an address posted to the bottom of ransom demands went unreturned. That might be because the email provider hosting that address, Berlin-based Posteo, pulled the plug on the account before the infection became widely known.

In an email, a Posteo representative said it had blocked the email address immediately after learning that it was associated with ransomware. The company added that it was in contact with German authorities “to make sure that we react properly.”

The Associated Press’ Anick Jesdanun, Vladimir Isachenkov, Larry Rosenthal and Jan M. Olsen contributed to this story.

E. coli outbreak linked to flour appears over, but product recalls continue

JOHN COTTER, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jun 28th, 2017

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Electron micrograph images of E.coli are shown in a handout photo. MCR-1, a gene that makes bacteria resistant to the killing effects of antibiotics, has been detected in stored samples of E. coli collected in 2010 in Canada. Now scientists are wondering if the superbug gene had made its way into Canada even earlier – and just what that could mean.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Brian Coombes Laboratory, McMaster University
The Public Health Agency of Canada has wound down its investigation into an outbreak of E. coli linked to flour produced by Ardent Mills after people across the country became ill.

But the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) continues to announce recalls of flour products tied to the outbreak as they hunt down more of the potentially dangerous bacteria.

Thirty people tested positive for E. coli O121 between November and April, including eight people who were hospitalized. No one died.

“Final Update,” the public health agency says on its website. “Given that no new cases have been reported since April 2017, the outbreak appears to be over, and the outbreak investigation appears to be closed.”

The 30 cases included people who became ill in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

On Monday, the CFIA announced another flour product recall — the 18th recall linked to E. coli concerns since March.

The list of the pie and tart shells can be seen below. Click here to view the pie and tart shells on the CFIA website.

Brand Name Common Name Size Code(s) on Product UPC Additional Info
None (no label) 3″ Tart Shells Unsweetened Variable Sold from January 19, 2017 to April 27, 2017 None Sold in Ontario from
Hillcrest Home Baking, 2192 Floradale Rd., Floradale, ON
Schnurr’s Frozen Sweet Tart Shells Variable Sold from December 22, 2016 to April 20, 2017 Starts with 200158 Sold in Ontario from
Schnurr’s Grocery, 5168 Ament Line, Linwood, ON
Schnurr’s Tart Shells Unsweetened 3″ Variable Sold from December 23-24, 2016 Variable Sold in Ontario from
Schnurr’s Grocery, 5168 Ament Line, Linwood, ON
HomeStyle Flavours “Pillsbury* 9″ Deep Pie Crust” Variable Sold from March 15, 2017 to April 27, 2017 None Sold in Ontario from HomeStyle Flavours: 6721 Wellington Rd 109, RR 1, Teviotdale, ON*Please note that these pie shells were repacked from Apple Valley brand products by Homestyle Flavours.
HomeStyle Flavours “Pillsbury* 9″ Pie Top” Variable Sold from March 15, 2017 to April 27, 2017 None Sold in Ontario from HomeStyle Flavours: 6721 Wellington Rd 109, RR 1, Teviotdale, ON*Please note that these pie shells were repacked from Apple Valley brand products by Homestyle Flavours.
HomeStyle Flavours “Pillsbury* Unsweetened 3″ Tart Shells” Variable Sold from March 8, 2017 to April 27, 2017 None Sold in Ontario from HomeStyle Flavours: 6721 Wellington Rd 109, RR 1, Teviotdale, ON*Please note that these pie shells were repacked from Apple Valley brand products by Homestyle Flavours.
HomeStyle Flavours ʺPillsbury* Unswetened 2″ Tart Shellsʺ Variable Sold from April 5-27, 2017 None Sold in Ontario from HomeStyle Flavours: 6721 Wellington Rd 109, RR 1, Teviotdale, ON*Please note that these pie shells were repacked from Apple Valley brand products by Homestyle Flavours.

 

Fred Jamieson, a CFIA recall specialist, said food safety investigators continue to trace products that may be linked to the flour in a process he likened to peeling an onion. The sheer volume of products that must be checked is taking time.

“It is one of the larger recalls that we have done,” he said from Ottawa. “Until we have recalled all the product and identified it, I guess that product on the market would still be perceived as a risk.”

No information was released on how much flour has been recalled.

Food contaminated with E. coli may not look or smell spoiled. Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea and dehydration.

The bacteria, which can be found in the lower intestines of animals and people, can lead to kidney failure and death.

Health Canada issued a release Tuesday warning Canadians that it is not safe to taste or eat raw dough, batter, or any other product containing uncooked flour.

It reminded consumers that flour comes from grain grown in fields which can come into contact with bacteria from soil, water or animal waste. Cooking flour kills bacteria but eating even a small amount of uncooked flour or dough could make you sick.

“While anyone can become infected with E. coli, young children aged five and under, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick and their symptoms may be more severe,” says Health Canada.

The public health agency says in one of the 30 E. coli cases, a person who became ill reported having contact with Robin Hood flour and a sample tested positive for the bacteria.

All 30 cases have a similar genetic fingerprint and some other people who got sick say they also used Robin Hood flour.

Recalled products produced by Ardent Mills were packaged under the Robin Hood and other brand names and include bags of flour, pie shells, pie lids, tart shells and cookie dough.

On May 31, Smucker Foods of Canada issued a recall for some packages of three brands of flour produced by Ardent Mills that it sells in the United States due to possible E. coli contamination.

EU hits Google with record fine over online shopping service

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 27th, 2017

ADDS MORE INFORMATION ON ORGANIZATIONS THAT HAVE THE PROPER FORMATTING - FILE - This Oct. 20, 2015, file photo, shows a sign outside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.  Google will start offering “fact check” tags next to some news stories in search results in the tech industry’s latest effort to combat false and misleading news stories, on Friday, April 7, 2017. People who search for a topic in the regular search engine or the Google News section will see a conclusion such as “mostly true” or “false” next to news stories that had been fact checked by a participating organization, such as PolitiFact and Snopes.com. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
A sign outside Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
The European Union’s competition watchdog slapped a record 2.42 billion euro ($3.6 billion Cdn.) fine on Internet giant Google on Tuesday for breaching antitrust rules with its online shopping service.

European regulators said “Google has abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to another Google product, its comparison shopping service.”

It gave the Mountain View, California, company 90 days to stop or face fines of up to five per cent of the average daily worldwide turnover of parent company Alphabet.

The European Commission, which polices EU competition rules, alleges Google elevates its shopping service even when other options might have better deals.

The Commission said Google “gave prominent placement in its search results only to its own comparison shopping service, whilst demoting rival services. It stifled competition on the merits in comparison shopping markets.”

Google maintains it’s just trying to package its search results in a way that makes it easier for consumers to find what they want.

“When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products. That’s why Google shows shopping ads, connecting our users with thousands of advertisers, large and small, in ways that are useful for both,” Kent Walker, senior vice-president at Google, said in a statement.

“We will review the Commission’s decision in detail as we consider an appeal, and we look forward to continuing to make our case,” he said.

The fine is the highest ever imposed in Europe for anti-competitive behaviour, exceeding a 1.06 billion euros ($1.58 billion Cdn.) penalty on Silicon Valley chip maker Intel in 2009.

But the penalty is likely to leave a bigger dent in Google’s pride and reputation than its finances. Alphabet has more than 82 billion euros ($122 billion Cdn.) in cash, including nearly 50 billion euros ($74 billion Cdn.) in accounts outside of Europe.

Wettlaufer sentenced to life in prison with no parole for 25 years

LIAM CASEY, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 27th, 2017

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A former Ontario nurse who murdered eight seniors in her care was sentenced Monday to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 25 years.

Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty last month to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

Her crimes, which occurred in three Ontario long-term care facilities and a private home, make her one of Canada’s worst serial killers.

Wettlaufer admitted to using insulin in all 14 cases that stretched from 2007 to 2016, and has said she believed she was an instrument of God.

“It is a complete betrayal of trust when a caregiver does not prolong life, but terminates it,” said the judge who issued Wettlaufer’s sentence. “She was the shadow of death that passed over them on the night shift where she supervised.”

In addition to Wettlaufer’s life sentence for murder, she was also sentenced to 10 years in prison for each of the four attempted murder counts and seven years on each of the aggravated assault counts. All the sentences are to be served concurrently.

The family and friends of Wettlaufer’s victims were in a Woodstock, Ont., court on Monday, describing the pain, guilt and anger they felt after learning their loved ones had been murdered by the nurse who was meant to care for the vulnerable seniors.

David AJ Silcox, whose father James Silcox was murdered by Wettlaufer in August 2007, said the former nurse’s actions had a serious effect on him.

“Psychologically I feel a great deal of pain and guilt,” he told the court. “I simply feel guilty for not being able to protect my father as he had protected me.”

Jane Silcox added that her grandfather’s murder has torn up her family.

“It terrifies me that I can’t trust an institution,” she said amid tears. “I’m terrified about the thought of putting my father in a home.”

Sandy Millard, whose 87-year-old mother died in October 2011, said she often hasn’t wanted to leave the house or reach out to family since learning of the nurse’s crimes.

“Finding out (my mother) was killed by a huge injection of medication she did not need broke my heart,” Millard said. “I think I am depressed and have to fight my way back to sanity.”

Colin Matheson, whose 95-year-old grandmother was also murdered by Wettlaufer in October 2011, said he felt angry.

“Why didn’t I see something was wrong?” he said. “I feel helpless and defeated.”

Wettlaufer told her sentencing hearing she was truly sorry for murdering and injuring vulnerable patients in her care.

She said she hoped the families of her victims can find peace and healing.


Related stories:

Ontario to call public inquiry into Elizabeth Wettlaufer nursing home murders

Ex-nurse Wettlaufer felt ‘urge to kill’ seniors in her care, pleads guilty

Who is alleged serial killer Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer?

If you ever do this again, we’ll turn you in, pastor told killer nurse

Court partly reinstates Trump travel ban, fall arguments set

MARK SHERMAN, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 27th, 2017

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The Supreme Court is letting a limited version of the Trump administration ban on travel from six mostly Muslim countries to take effect, a victory for President Donald Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

The court said Monday the ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen could be enforced as long as they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” The justices will hear arguments in the case in October.

Trump said last week that the ban would take effect 72 hours after being cleared by courts.

The Trump administration said the 90-day ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from those countries. That review should be complete before Oct. 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.

A 120-ban on refugees also is being allowed to take effect on a limited basis.

Three of the court’s conservative justices said they would have let the complete bans take effect.

Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch, said the government has shown it is likely to succeed on the merits of the case, and that it will suffer irreparable harm with any interference. Thomas said the government’s interest in preserving national security outweighs any hardship to people denied entry into the country.

Two federal appeals courts had blocked the travel policy, which Trump announced a week after he took office in January and revised in March after setbacks in court.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, said the ban was “rooted in religious animus” toward Muslims and pointed to Trump’s campaign promise to impose a ban on Muslims entering the country as well as tweets and remarks he has made since becoming president.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the travel policy does not comply with federal immigration law, including a prohibition on nationality-based discrimination. That court also put a hold on separate aspects of the policy that would keep all refugees out of the United States for 120 days and cut by more than half, from 110,000 to 50,000, the cap on refugees in the current government spending year that ends September 30.

Trump’s first executive order on travel applied to travellers from the six countries as well as Iraq, and took effect immediately, causing chaos and panic at airports over the last weekend in January as the Homeland Security Department scrambled to figure out who the order covered and how it was to be implemented.

A federal judge blocked it eight days later, an order that was upheld by a 9th circuit panel. Rather than pursue an appeal, the administration said it would revise the policy.

In March, Trump issued the narrower order.


Related stories:

Trump asks Supreme Court to reinstate travel ban

Appeals court rules against Trump’s revised travel ban


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