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Health Canada issues warning about Fluffy Unicorn workout supplement

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

Health Canada issues warning about Fluffy Unicorn workout supplement
Health Canada says Fluffy Unicorn — an unauthorized natural health product promoted as a workout supplement — may pose serious health risks.

Health Canada says laboratory testing on product seized from a shop in Laval, Que., found that it contains undeclared synephrine and higher levels of caffeine than declared on the label.

When combined, synephrine and caffeine can cause serious side effects ranging from dizziness, tremors, headaches and irregularities in heart rate to seizures, psychosis, heart attacks and stroke.

Health Canada says consumers should stop using the product and consult with a health care professional if they have used Fluffy Unicorn and have any health concerns.

Should additional retailers or distributors be identified, Health Canada says it will take appropriate action.

Justin Trudeau’s summer playlist includes Drake, k.d. lang

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a Faith + Pride church service before the Pride parade in Toronto, on June 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has released an official Spotify playlist.

Trudeau unveiled his “PM Mix” of 39 songs on the streaming service Saturday. It includes tracks by Canadian artists such as Drake, Shawn Mendes, k.d. lang and The Tragically Hip, as well as songs by Fiona Apple, R.E.M., Peter Gabriel and Neneh Cherry.

Trudeau asked “What am I listening to this summer? What should I be?” in both English and French when he posted the playlist Saturday on Twitter.

The 45-year-old prime minister is not the first world leader to publicly share a Spotify playlist. Former President Barack Obama released his summer music selections in two Spotify playlists in 2015. The artists included Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Coldplay and the Rolling Stones.


High Park Zoo reopens following unexpected death of bison

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

Bison are seen at the High Park Zoo
The High Park Zoo has reopened after closing unexpectedly following the death of one of its bison.

A spokesperson for Parks, Forestry and Recreation says it was one of four bison at the zoo and that the animal had no recent history of illness.

Matthew Cutler says they were alerted to the death by visitors to the zoo and that an investigation is underway to determine what caused the animal’s sudden death.

The zoo is also home to deer, llamas, peacocks, highland cattle and capybaras.

Ombudsman says failure of guards to obey use of force videotaping rules ‘alarming’

COLIN PERKEL, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017


Federal prison guards are failing to comply with rules around videotaping their use of force against inmates in a majority of cases, according to data obtained by The Canadian Press.

In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Office of the Correctional Investigator led by Ivan Zinger reviewed 1,436 incidents in which guards resorted to force against a prisoner. While the situation has improved in recent years, the high incidence of problems around video – in 67 per cent of the cases – is of significant concern, the prison ombudsman said in an interview.

“This is still a very high number of non-compliance,” Zinger said from Ottawa. “That’s what is alarming.”

Prison policy mandates that guards use a hand-held camera to video planned uses of force, as well as in spontaneous situations where feasible. Compliance problems exist in both scenarios, data show.

Some of the issues with video compliance are of a relatively minor or technical nature but in other cases, crucial video of incidents in which a prisoner alleges guards used excessive force – a criminal offence – simply isn’t available when it should be.

One recent example is the case of Timothy (Mitch) Nome, who alleged guards in March at Kent Institution in Agassiz, B.C., beat him in his cell without provocation. The independent investigator from Zinger’s office found no hand-held video of the incident was available for reasons not properly explained.

The lack of video evidence that could have proven or refuted Nome’s allegation left the investigator with little choice other than to say he couldn’t conclude what happened in Nome’s cell that morning, his report shows.

Overall, Zinger said, cases where video goes missing, is deleted, or is otherwise unavailable to his ombudsman office are relatively rare but have an enormous impact.

“They cast an incredibly negative light on, and it may taint all, the good work that correctional officers do,” he said. “It’s all good to say, ‘we’ve acted appropriately,’ but if you can demonstrate that you have – and the video does that for you – then it makes the system even more credible and erases any doubt in anybody’s mind.”

Non-compliance incidents involving video have fallen since the 83.5 per cent found in 2014-2015, but the Office of the Correctional Investigator identified ongoing issues such as:

– Delays in dispatching hand-held cameras during spontaneous use of force when time and resources are available;

– Failure to video pre-incident briefings when force is planned;

– Lack of video of decontamination procedures after guards have used chemical spray on an inmate.

The correctional service wouldn’t be commenting on the data because they came from a third party and would need to be verified, spokeswoman Laura Cumming said in an email. She also said policy breaches are not tolerated and would be investigated.

Given the immense power entrusted to guards, the ombudsman said, full compliance with law and policy in all aspects is critical. Video can help protect vulnerable inmates from abuse, but can also protect guards against false allegations of brutality.

“This is behind the wall and it’s always very secretive (so) there’s even more of a necessity that you follow the policy with respect to video evidence,” Zinger said. “It’s to the benefit of everybody to make sure that cameras are used appropriately.”

One problem area Correctional Service Canada could easily fix, he said, relates to the amount of time video from the myriad surveillance cameras in prisons must be kept before they become part of an active investigation. Current policy allows the service to retain video for six days.

Zinger said that’s too short and means information may disappear before anyone gets to it. He wants reinstatement of a 30-day retention policy that existed until 2005.

“Memory is very cheap,” he said. “There’s no cost issue about having lots of storage.”

Cumming said the service was in the process of examining “various technologies to improve the retention capacity of existing recording equipment” in prisons.

Start your engines: Honda Indy among events to rev up your weekend

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

Will Power, of Australia, races during the Honda Indy Toronto in Toronto on Sunday, July 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Will Power, of Australia, races during the Honda Indy Toronto in Toronto on July 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
If you crave adrenaline and love fast cars, then Lake Shore Boulevard is the place to be this weekend as the Honda Indy roars into town. If the Indy is not your thing, other events around town are sure to appeal to your kind of fun.

As is the case with most weekends, there is a partial subway closure, so plan for an alternate route to get you to where you need to go.


Honda Indy
The roar on Lake Shore Boulevard is back with a three-day line-up of events and racing. Festivities for the 31st edition of the Honda Indy get underway with Fan Friday and run through Sunday. Guests can explore five areas: Honda World, Thunder Alley, Honda Speedzone, Beer Gardens and paddock/garage access. The big race is set for Sunday at 3:40 p.m. Road closures have been in place since Wednesday. Click here for a list.

Festival of India
A colourful and euphoric parade kicks off the two-day 45th annual Festival of India on Saturday. The parade travels down Yonge Street, from Bloor Street and south to Queens Quay. The celebration then moves on to Sherbourne Common on Dockside Drive, where people can partake in a free vegetarian feast. There will also be theatrical performances, a bazaar, outdoor yoga, traditional face painting, and more. Admission to the festival is free.

Floats at the Festival of India in 2014. Photo credit: Facebook/festivalofindia.toronto


Bloor West StreetFest
The Bloor West Village will be shut down this Saturday for its first-ever StreetFest. The hustle and bustle will begin at 10 a.m., with tents lining the streets. Shoppers can explore the outdoor marketplace, and there will also be children’s activities and themed side streets. As the sun goes down, Bloor West will be transformed into an Artisan Night Market, complete with buskers. The festival runs until 10 p.m.

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition
Nathan Phillips Square is always a hub of activity. This weekend, more than 340 artists will converge at the exhibition, showcasing their original artwork to the masses under canopies. Art enthusiasts can chat with the artists and also purchase a piece of art. The three-day event starts on Friday with a performance by Brazilian Samba group Batucada Carioca. Admission to the outdoor art show is free. If you need a beer or snack break, an beer garden will provide all the food and beverages you need.

Toronto's Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Phillips Square. Photo credit: Facebook.com/toaeart


Night Nation Run
The world’s first Running Music Festival is taking over Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday night. The Night Nation Run offers live music, lights, lasers and the latest in Electronic Dance Music (EDM). Participants can run, walk, skip or dance their way through the racecourse to multiple DJ stages along the way. Each party zone offers light-shows, selfie stations and giveaways. The run ends with a main stage after party featuring top EDM DJ’s and celebrity performers. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., with a pre-party set for 7:30 p.m. and the first wave of runners hitting the course at 8:30 p.m.

Budweiser County Fair
If you’re a little bit country, then put on your boots and line dance your way to the county fair in downtown Toronto this weekend. Country music, carnival games and food, BBQ, line dancing and a mechanical bull championship awaits you at the fair, which is being held outdoors at 525 King St. W. Click here to purchase tickets.

Mississauga Ribfest
Another weekend, another ribfest to look forward to – this time in Mississauga. The ribfest, which runs from Thursday to Sunday, features vendors offering BBQ ribs and chicken, and other food and drink options. Attendees can also take in live music and an amateur singing competition. Money raised from the event goes to the Rotary Foundation, which raises money for various projects aimed at improving people’s lives around the world.

TTC and road closures

Partial Line 2 shutdown
A heads up for TTC riders this weekend, there’s a subway closure to keep in mind as you navigate the city. Service won’t be running on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) between Jane and Ossington stations. Crews will be doing track work during the Satruday to Sunday closure. Shuttle buses will be running. Regular service is expected to resume Monday morning.

Road closures

Southbound Strachan is closed between Lake Shore Boulevard and Fleet Street, and Lake Shore is shut down both ways from Strachan to British Columbia Drive. Both closures are expected to be in effect until 11 p.m. on Sunday, Toronto police said. The TTC is also diverting several routes to accommodate the Honda Indy, including the 511 Bathurst streetcar, 29 Dufferin bus, 509 Harbourfront streetcar and the 510 Spadina streetcar.

Vatican ruling against gluten-free hosts troubles celiac community

SALMAAN FAROOQUI, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

The cross on the steeple of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church is undamaged in Henryville, Ind., Saturday, March 3, 2012. The church, in the path of the storm, suffered roof damage but with hold services in the church on Sunday. Three people were killed in Southern Indiana by Tornados on Friday.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
When Andrea Adam’s Catholic priest told her she was coming between her daughter and God, she knew it wasn’t because of her lack of faith.

It was because of gluten.

The Ontario woman’s daughter has celiac disease, which makes her extremely sensitive to gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and other products that make bread.

The condition means consuming hosts — the bread and wafers used to symbolize the body of Christ — at communion in Catholic churches has been a major problem for Adam’s daughter, who can become violently ill with even the smallest amount of gluten.

The Vatican, however, refuses to allow gluten-free hosts at communion and reaffirmed its stance in an announcement distributed last month. The notification said hosts used at communion had to contain at least a small amount of gluten to be valid.

For Adam, the Vatican’s position is deeply troubling and has affected how often she goes to church.

“When the church is struggling, I don’t understand why they’re chasing more people away,” she said.

The family’s first brush with the church’s ban on gluten-free hosts came seven years ago when Adam tried to take her daughter, who was seven years old at the time, for her first communion at her Catholic church in Dublin, Ont.

At the time, the priest at her church wouldn’t allow the use of a gluten-free host, even though a trace of gluten could make her daughter vomit over a dozen times.

When she tried to call another priest in the area to see if he would make an exception, he had already been warned about her case.

“He said it was ridiculous that I would do this to my daughter, and that I needed to just back off and let her do this,” said Adam.

In the end, Adam took her daughter to Ottawa, where she was able to receive communion with a gluten-free host.

Sue Newell, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Celiac Association, said the Vatican’s ban on gluten-free hosts has long been a contentious issue for her organization’s members.

“It is probably the most difficult problem for people who are active Catholics when they get this diagnosis,” said Newell. “We have priests and nuns who really struggle with what to do.”

For some with celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause a minor digestive upset, but for others, it can leave them ill for weeks, Newell said.

The Vatican has said extremely low-gluten hosts are valid at communion. Newell said those hosts have about 100 parts of gluten per million. Foods are generally defined as gluten-free when they have 20 parts per million or lower.

“Most people with celiac can tolerate them, but not everyone’s willing to do that,” said Newell. “Some people say ‘absolutely no gluten is going to cross my mouth.’”

According to Newell, some members of the celiac community have left the Catholic church because of its refusal to use gluten-free hosts.

But Terry Fournier, director of the national liturgy office for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said claims of people abandoning the Catholic church over the issue is a “gross exaggeration.”

“I think some of that is that people don’t inquire into what the alternatives are, because there’s usually a pastoral solution to everything,” said Fournier.

People who can’t ingest even the smallest amount of gluten can choose to receive communion solely in the form of wine, which symbolizes the blood of Christ, Fournier said.

He added that the need for gluten in the host is significant because of historic references to bread in the Bible.

But in Adam’s case, having her daughter receive communion in the form of wine wasn’t an option.

Not only was she averse to a child drinking wine, but the chances of cross-contamination from others who had eaten the host and then drank from the cup were high. Adam said she could even see crumbs in the wine.

Adam said the issue has been devastating for her and her daughter, who already had to be excluded from things like Halloween and in-class baking activities because of her condition.

“(The church) was kind of our safe place, so to have so many struggles and then have this on top of it,” she said. “It really brought to light that it’s not just a dietary disease, it affects every aspect of life.”

These days, Adam said she still calls herself a Catholic, but said she rarely attends church now.

“We definitely miss that, you know, leaving the house, the church bells ringing and seeing everybody going to church, it was a great time … so it’s just tainted, it’s not something I enjoy anymore.”

Recall for glass mugs sold Canada-wide at HomeSense

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

Health Canada says certain glass beer mugs sold at HomeSense locations across the country are being recalled because they can break if used for hot liquids and can cause burns or lacerations. HANDOUT/Health Canada
Health Canada says certain glass beer mugs sold at HomeSense locations across the country are being recalled.

The agency says the glass mugs can break if used for hot liquids and can cause burns or lacerations.

It says TJX Canada is recalling the mugs after receiving one complaint in Canada of the mug breaking and causing a burn.

About 1,525 mugs, which are made in Poland, were sold in Canada between Jan. 1 and March 15.

Customers are being advised to return the mugs to the nearest HomeSense store for a refund.

Woodbine racetrack employees on strike

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

PREMIUM --Customers leave the Woodbine racetrack and Slots in Toronto in March 2004. In 2000, the company generated business in excess of $1.2 billion.  (CP PHOTO - Steve White)
File photo of Woodbine Racetrack and Slots in Toronto in March 2004. (CP PHOTO – Steve White)
Hundreds of unionized Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) employees have gone on strike at Woodbine Slots and Racing after rejecting a tentative agreement.

It was the second time union members had voted against a proposed deal from management.

The strike began at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

It will be mostly business as usual, but there will be no access to electronic poker machines or the courtesy shuttle. There will also be limited hours for coat check.

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