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Home flooded as residents wait 4 days for city to fix burst pipe

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 4th, 2018

City of Toronto workers finally arrived to fix a burst pipe on Wednesday evening, four days after it ruptured in a west-end neighbourhood, flooding a family home and threatening another.

On New Year’s Day, when Daniel and Robyn Eliesen returned home after a winter vacation, they found a flood on their front lawn on Lauder Avenue, near Dufferin and St. Clair. A city pipe had burst underneath the grass and water was flooding the area and street.

A neighbour had already called the city about the problem two days before. But as far as the Eliesens could see, all the city had done was to place a pylon at the site.

The Eliesens also called the city, but to no avail.

“I think I’ve called like 10 to 12 times that 311 number,” Robyn Eliesen said. “At some point it’s just like, ‘What are you going to do?’

“It’s incredibly frustrating because the water keeps coming in and there’s nothing you can do to make it stop. Three days — more than three days — this has been ongoing. Is that acceptable service in your opinion? Absolutely not. At some point there should be some emergency action taken.”

Eventually their sump pump gave out, and on Tuesday night their basement began to flood.

They called Toronto Fire, which on Wednesday removed the basement toilet so the water would have another avenue to drain.

The Eliesens also brought in a plumber, who told CityNews the couple had prepared the home correctly, with a sump pump, but it simply couldn’t keep up with the amount of water pouring into the house.

He estimated the damage to be as much as $15,000.



Airlines brace for east coast winter storm with delays, cancellations

The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Jan 4th, 2018

A man walks down the middle of Agricola Street in Halifax as a major winter storm blasts the Maritimes on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

With severe winter weather scheduled to slam into the east coast on Thursday and Friday, some airlines are warning of delayed or cancelled flights.

A winter storm warning has been issued for much of Atlantic Canada and parts of the eastern United States with snow expected to start falling Thursday morning.

Pearson International Airport is asking anyone flying to the east coast to check your flight status with your airline before arriving at the airport.

Air Canada, Porter Airlines and WestJet have all issued travel advisories for Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick as well as U.S. destinations Boston and New York.

Air Canada and Porter says it is waiving change fees for anyone looking to rebook their flights while WestJet has implemented flexible change and cancel rules.

Delta Airlines has proactively cancelled more than 400 flights as of Wednesday evening and into Thursday, primarily at JFK and LaGuardia airports in New York and Boston’s Logan International.

This same weather system forced Delta to suspend operations at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia due to snow and ice accumulation on runways and taxiways.

The system hitting the east coast has been described as a “bomb cyclone.” But as fearsome as the storm is with high winds and some snow, it may not be quite as explosive as the term sounds.

“Bombogenesis is the technical term. Bomb cyclone is a shortened version of it, better for social media,” said Weather.US meteorologist Ryan Maue, who helped popularize the term polar vortex in 2014.

“The actual impacts aren’t going to be a bomb at all,” Maue said. “There’s nothing exploding or detonating.”

Bomb cyclones draw air from polar regions after they leave. In this case, it means extra cold Arctic air because of where the polar vortex is

Storm intensity is measured by central pressure – the lower the pressure, the stronger. A storm is considered a “bomb” when the pressure drops rapidly – at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.

This storm looks like it will intensify at twice that rate, said Bob Oravec, lead forecaster at the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center.

While the worst of this storm will stay out at sea, high winds with gusts approaching 100 km/h and the bitter cold that follows will be the real culprits.

Special weather statement for Toronto warns of extreme cold coming Thursday

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jan 4th, 2018


You know it’s been cold when temperatures like -6 C start to feel balmy. But the brief reprieve is about to come to an end.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Toronto, warning of an incoming blast of frigid air.



The latest cold snap is expected to begin on Thursday night and roll into Saturday.

During the stretch temperatures are expected to plummet to -30 C.

The temperature will begin to rise again on Sunday when a southwesterly air flow moves into southern Ontario.

Ex-hostage Joshua Boyle charged with sex assault, assault, forcible confinement: lawyer

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2018


A Canadian man recently freed with his wife and young children after years of being held hostage in Afghanistan has been charged with at least a dozen offences, including sexual assault, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Joshua Boyle, 34, was arrested in Ottawa, his lawyer, Eric Granger, told The Canadian Press.

Ottawa police declined to provide any details on the case.

Boyle and his American wife, Caitlan Coleman, were taken hostage in 2012 by a Taliban-linked group while on a backpacking trip in Afghanistan. Coleman was pregnant at the time and the couple had three children in captivity.

Granger said the charges against Boyle also include assault and forcible confinement.

“He’s never been in trouble before,” Granger said. “No evidence has been provided yet, which is typical at this early stage. We look forward to receiving the evidence and defending him against these charges.”

Granger said his client is “coping.”

“He’s as OK as anyone is who is suddenly and unexpectedly facing charges for the first time,” he said.

A publication ban bars any information that could identify the alleged victims or witnesses in the case.

A man who answered the phone at the residence of Boyle’s parents in Smith Falls, Ont., on Tuesday said he did not want to comment.

The Prime Minister’s Office also said it would not comment since the investigation is ongoing.

A government official said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the Boyles at the family’s request.

The official said the prime minister would generally meet with any returning hostage with connections to Canada, and discussion of the hostage-taking was the main purpose of the meeting with the Boyles.

Boyle has said he and his wife were helping ordinary villagers in a Taliban-controlled area of Afghanistan when they were seized. He told The Canadian Press that conditions during their five-year ordeal changed over time as the family was shuffled among at least three prisons.

He described the first as “remarkably barbaric,” the second as more comfortable and the third as a place of violence in which he and his wife were frequently separated and beaten.

Boyle said their captors from the Taliban-linked Haqqani network raped his wife and had also caused her to suffer a miscarriage. Shortly after landing in Toronto after being rescued, he demanded that his kidnappers be brought to justice.

In an interview with ABC NEWS, Coleman, who is from Stewartstown, Pa., recalled that guards dragged her husband from their cell, and one of them threw her on the ground, shouting, “I will kill you, I will kill you” before assaulting her.

She also said their captors beat their eldest son with a stick.

The couple and their children had gone to Boyle’s parents home in Smiths Falls, Ont., after being rescued.

Bower’s grandson and Leafs president Shanahan to pay tribute to late goalie

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2018


The Toronto Maple Leafs will pay tribute to Johnny Bower today at the Hall of Fame goaltenders’ memorial service.

Club president Brendan Shanahan will be among the speakers during the event at the Air Canada Centre. Leafs broadcaster Joe Bowen will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Bower spent 11 seasons with the Maple Leafs and led them to four Stanley Cup titles, including their last in 1967. Bower died Dec. 26 at age 93 after falling ill with pneumonia.

Bower’s family held a private funeral in Oakville, Ont.

Bower’s grandson, Johnny Bower III, and Shanahan will pay tribute to Bower from the podium. Former teammates Frank Mahovlich, Ron Ellis and Dave Keon will also attend the event.

The 48th Highlanders band — who have played at the Leafs home opener since 1931 — will also be involved.

Fans can attend the memorial with seating available in the arena stands. Floor seating will be reserved for the family and special guests. Doors open at 2 p.m. ET.

The Leafs also honoured Bower prior to their 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

American blogger apologizes for video of apparent suicide

YURI KAGEYAMA, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2018


American blogger Logan Paul apologized Tuesday after getting slammed for a video he shared on YouTube that appeared to show a body hanging in a Japanese forest known as a suicide spot.

Paul, who has millions of Twitter followers and YouTube subscribers, posted an apology on his Twitter site , saying, “Where do I begin. Let’s start with this. I’m sorry.”

Although the video has been taken down, segments were still online. Critics, who have also gone online, say what was offensive was Paul’s giggling and joking about the body.

The video, posted Sunday, shows Paul going on a trek with friends in the Aokigahara forest, near Mount Fuji. He seems aware that the site is sometimes chosen for suicides, but is surprised to come across what appears to be a body hanging from a tree.

He said he had wanted to raise awareness about suicide and possibly save lives, and denied his goal was to drive clicks.

“I thought I could make a positive ripple on the internet, not cause a monsoon of negativity,” he said in his Twitter post.

Paul posted a more sanguine video on YouTube on Monday, showing him romping through a Tokyo park, talking about his apparel brand, visiting gadget stores and running around city streets wearing a Pokemon outfit.

He briefly mentioned the encounter with a body at the start of the video, saying, “That was weird.”

Japan has a relatively high rate of suicides, with more than 21,000 a year, according to government data. Its per capita suicide rate is among the highest in the world. Many blame the high suicide rate on the value placed on conformity, excelling and hard work in the country.

Suicide also does not suffer the religious stigma in Japan that it does in other cultures. Ritual suicide, known as seppuku or hara-kiri, has long been portrayed in movies and theatre as an honourable way to take responsibility.

The Mount Fuji forest has been known for suicides for decades because people can easily get lost there, and know they won’t be found for a long time.

Although Japan has many suicide-prevention groups, the culture of shame has family members of convicted criminals, people who have racked up massive debt and youngsters bullied at school often turning to suicide.

Trump boasts of ‘nuclear button’ but doesn’t really have one

MATTHEW PENNINGTON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017.  President Trump delivered a sharp warning to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Wednesday, telling him the weapons he's acquiring "are not making you safer. They are putting your regime in grave danger." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, Pool)

President Donald Trump boasted that he has a bigger and more powerful “nuclear button” than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un does – but the president doesn’t actually have a physical button.

The president’s Tuesday evening tweet came in response to Kim’s New Year’s address, in which he repeated fiery nuclear threats against the United States. Kim said he has a “nuclear button” on his office desk and warned that “the whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike.”

Trump mocked that assertion, writing, “Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”

But despite ratcheting up the tension, Trump doesn’t really have a nuclear button.

The process for launching a nuclear strike is secret and complex and involves the use of a nuclear “football,” which is carried by a rotating group of military officers everywhere the president goes and is equipped with communication tools and a book with prepared war plans.

If the president were to order a strike, he would identify himself to military officials at the Pentagon with codes unique to him. Those codes are recorded on a card known as the “biscuit” that is carried by the president at all times. He would then transmit the launch order to the Pentagon and Strategic Command.

Earlier Tuesday, Trump sounded open to the possibility of an inter-Korean dialogue after Kim made a rare overture toward South Korea in a New Year’s address. But Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations insisted talks would not be meaningful unless the North was getting rid of its nuclear weapons.

In a morning tweet, Trump said the U.S.-led campaign of sanctions and other pressure were beginning to have a “big impact” on North Korea. He referred to the recent, dramatic escape of at least two North Korean soldiers across the heavily militarized border into South Korea. He also alluded to Kim’s comments Monday that he was willing to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics, which will be hosted by South Korea next month.

“Soldiers are dangerously fleeing to South Korea. Rocket man now wants to talk to South Korea for first time. Perhaps that is good news, perhaps not – we will see!” Trump said, using his derisive moniker for the young North Korean leader.

In response to Kim’s overture, South Korea on Tuesday offered high-level talks on Jan. 9 at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss Olympic co-operation and how to improve overall ties. The South said Wednesday that North Korea’s state-run radio station announced the North would reopen a cross-border communication channel.

If there are talks, they would be the first formal dialogue between the Koreas since December 2015. Relations have plunged as the North has accelerated its nuclear and ballistic missile development that now poses a direct threat to America, South Korea’s crucial ally.

The U.S. administration, however, voiced suspicions that Kim was seeking to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington. Pyongyang could view a closer relationship with Seoul as a way for reducing its growing international isolation and relief from sanctions that are starting to bite the North’s meagre economy.

“We won’t take any of the talks seriously if they don’t do something to ban all nuclear weapons in North Korea,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told reporters at the United Nations. “We consider this to be a very reckless regime. We don’t think we need a Band-Aid, and we don’t think we need to smile and take a picture.”

North Korea has been punished with unprecedented sanctions at the U.N. over its weapons programs, and Haley warned Tuesday of more measures if the North conducts another missile test.

South Korea’s liberal President Moon Jae-in has supported Trump’s pressure campaign against North Korea, but he’s less confrontational than the U.S. president and favours dialogue to ease the North’s nuclear threats. Moon has long said he sees the Pyeongchang Olympics as a chance to improve inter-Korean ties.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. would continue to put “maximum pressure” on North Korea to give up its nukes. South Korea shares that goal, she said.
Associated Press writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Vice suspends 2 top execs after sexual misconduct report

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jan 3rd, 2018


Vice has suspended two top executives after a New York Times report on sexual misconduct at the digital media company.

Vice Media has suspended its president, Andrew Creighton, and chief digital officer Mike Germano, as it investigates allegations against them, according to a company memo sent to employees Tuesday. A Vice spokesman declined to comment.

The Times had reported in late December that it found four settlements involving allegations of sexual harassment or defamation against Vice employees, including Creighton. The newspaper talked with more than two dozen women who say they experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct, including groping and forced kisses.

Vice Media co-founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi have apologized for the “boy’s club” culture .

Vice has grown from a Canadian magazine to a dominant online video company, expanding into TV around the world.

In the memo, the company said that Creighton and Germano were the only two people named in the Times story who were still employed at Vice.

The Times reported that Vice paid a former female employee a $135,000 settlement in 2016 after she said she was fired when she rejected Creighton’s advances. The Vice memo says her claims were found to lack merit at the time after a review by law firm, but a special committee of its board is looking at the matter now. It will make a recommendation on what to do before a Jan. 11 board meeting.

As for Germano, the memo says Vice’s human-resources department and an external investigator are looking into the allegations. One woman told the Times that he had told her he didn’t want to hire her because he wanted to have sex with her. Another woman said he pulled her on to his lap at a work event at a bar.

The memo, from Vice’s chief operating officer and CFO Sarah Broderick, said the company will require mandatory sexual harassment training for all employees starting later this month and that the company was “committed” to having half of employees be female “at every level across the organization” by 2020. She said “pay paritY” would come by the end of the year.

The reports of sexual misconduct at Vice are part of a wave of allegations of bad behaviour in media, entertainment and other industries, as well as politics, that have come in the aftermath of articles detailing Harvey Weinstein’s decades of alleged rape and harassment this fall.

CityNews and 680 NEWS’ parent company, Rogers Communications, has a content partnership with Vice.

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