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The dirty dozen & the clean 15

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 24th, 2017

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

‘Home Alone’ actor John Heard dies at 71

DAVID BAUDER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 24th, 2017

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Actor John Heard poses for a portrait during the 2006 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 20, 2006 in Park City, Utah.GETTY IMAGES/Mark Mainz
Actor John Heard, whose many roles included the father in the “Home Alone” series and a corrupt detective in “The Sopranos,” has died. He was 71.

Heard was found dead Friday in a hotel in Palo Alto, California, the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s office said Saturday.

An investigation which includes a toxicology test is underway to determine the cause of death, but so far there is no evidence of foul play, the office said.

TMZ reported that a representative for Heard said he was staying in the hotel while he recovered from back surgery at Stanford University Medical Center.

Heard played Peter McCallister, the father of Kevin, played by Macaulay Culkin, in “Home Alone” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.” He said in later interviews that he sought a movie with kids in it so his son, age 5 at the time, could come to the set and have someone to play with.

After it became a big hit, he was reluctant to revisit the role. But his agent convinced him the money was too good to pass up.

“I didn’t want to be the ‘Home Alone’ dad for the rest of my life,” he told Yahoo News in 2013.

He was born March 7, 1946, in Washington, D.C., and grew up performing in local theatre. One of his memorable early roles was as a disabled Vietnam War veteran in the 1981 film “Cutter’s Way.”

He was active in film for the next decade, playing Tom Hanks’ rival in “Big,” actress Geraldine Page’s son in “The Trip to Bountiful” and in the movies “The Pelican Brief,” “Beaches,” “Gladiator,” “Rambling Rose” and “After Hours.”

He earned an Emmy nomination for playing Vin Makazian in “The Sopranos.” Heard said in a 2015 interview with The A.V. Club that he got the part after running into series star James Gandolfini in a gym. His time on “The Sopranos” ended like it did for many other actors there – with his character’s death.

Heard said he approached series creator David Chase and said “‘Why me? I’m a detective! You can use me forever!’ And he told me, ‘John, there’s a rule in television. Somebody has to die that the audience likes.’ I said, ‘They like me? How do you know they like me?’ He said, ‘Well, they like you. So we’re gonna kill you.’”

“My mother said, ‘Why do you have to die in everything?’ I said, ‘You’re telling me? I could’ve made a fortune!’”

Other television roles kept Heard busy. He acted in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Elementary,” “Prison Break,” “Modern Family” and “Entourage.” One of his favourite jobs came in the original “Sharknado” television movie in 2013.

“I knew it was going to be a cult classic,” he told the Baltimore Media Blog last year. “It’s just ridiculous. I thought it would replace people calling me the ‘Home Alone’ dad.”

Fellow actor Michael McKean paid tribute on Twitter Saturday: “RIP John Heard. Never not good.”

Actor James Woods said Heard was “a complex and brilliant man and a true artist. I will miss him dearly.”

Heard was married and divorced three times, including briefly to actress Margot Kidder. He had three children.

___

This story has been corrected to show John Heard was 71, not 72.

Man charged after allegedly chasing down parking officer who ticketed him

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 24th, 2017

STOCK---Parking ticket issued for illegally parking in a Metropolitan area in Toronto, April 2004. (CP Photo/BORIS SPREMO)
A parking ticket placed on the windshield of a car in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Boris Spremo
Toronto police say a 27-year-old man was charged with assault after he allegedly threatened and chased down a parking enforcement officer with his car.

Investigators say the officer saw an unoccupied car parked in a fire route and left a parking ticket on Thursday.

They say that when the officer tried to leave the area, a man in the same car used his vehicle to block the exit.

Police say the man threatened the officer and drove into oncoming traffic in an attempt to chase him.

Police arrested the man at his home later that night.

The man has been charged with threatening bodily harm, harassment, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and assaulting a peace officer with a weapon.

Sears Canada facing online calls for boycott over treatment of ex-employees

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 24th, 2017

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A Sears Canada outlet is seen in Saint-Eustache, Que., on June 13, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Sears Canada is facing a social media campaign calling for a boycott after the company said it planned to pay millions in bonuses to keep executives on board during restructuring, while not offering severance to laid-off workers.

The retailer’s Facebook page has been flooded with comments from people vowing not to shop at Sears, and the hashtag #BoycottSearsCanada has been gaining traction on Twitter.

Sears Canada, which is operating under court protection from creditors, began liquidation sales on Friday at 59 department and Sears Home stores slated for closure.

The company has said it plans to cut approximately 2,900 jobs, without severance, while paying $9.2 million in retention bonuses to key staff as part of a court-supervised restructuring process.

Sears Canada spokesman Joel Shaffer has said the payments are common during the creditor protection process and are designed to keep key employees motivated with performance indicators and incentives to successfully close stores.

The deal was met with fierce backlash from social media users, many of whom wanted the retailer to know they were taking their business elsewhere.

Sears Canada declined to comment on the boycott call.

Retail analyst Bruce Winder said Sears is up against a public relations “storm” that could spell the end of one of Canada’s most trusted brands.

“People don’t like it when big brands behave badly, in their opinion,” Winder said in an interview. “It’s a powder keg for social unrest.”

Winder, who co-founded the Retail Advisors Network, said most consumers are workers themselves and they have long memories when it comes to perceived injustice against people they see as vulnerable, such as retail workers.

He said the boycott could hurt people still working at the stores, but it may not make a difference if the retailer goes out of business.

“I don’t think (Sears) is going to survive this,” said Winder. “Unfortunately, those employees are probably going to find themselves out of work anyway.”

Dan O’Reilly, who is participating in the boycott, said he’s spent tens of thousands of dollars at Sears over the past 35 years, but has been shopping there less in recent years because he’s noticed a decline in customer service, which he said is no surprise given that the company treats its retail workers like “pieces on a game board.”

O’Reilly said he doubts that losing a once-loyal Sears customer will persuade the company to treat its ex-employees any better. The 64-year-old retiree acknowledged that the boycott may have an impact on the remaining retail staff at Sears, but said the “writing is on the wall” for the retailer, and he won’t be sad to see his local outlet in St. Catherines, Ont., shutter its doors.

Tracy Brown, who is also boycotting Sears, agreed that the campaign may do little to affect former retail workers. But even if it only hastens the inevitable, Brown said she wants to she wants to hit Sears executives where it hurts: their paycheques.

“The only kind of voice you can be heard with is what you’re not spending in their store any more,” Brown said in an interview. “My message to (Sears) is that you’ll never get another dime of my money because that dime is going right into the one-percenters’ pocket.”

Brown, a 54-year-old painter from Stratford, Ont., said driving to Toronto to see the Christmas display in the Sears storefront has been a family tradition since she was a child.

This holiday season, Brown said, she won’t be making the annual pilgrimage to Sears with her kids, because she refuses to hand over her hard-earned dollars to a company that, to her mind, rewards mismanagement at the expense of store-level workers.

Brown said the retention bonuses were “a slap in the face” to all of the retail workers who have been sweating on the front lines for years or even decades. She said the top brass at Sears Canada let the company fall into financial disarray, and they should have to pay for it.

Taxes, census, treaties described as obligations of citizenship in new guide

STEPHANIE LEVITZ, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 24th, 2017

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People being sworn in at the Canadian citizenship ceremony at East York Civic Centre on July 1, 2017. CITYNEWS/ George Joseph
Respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples, paying taxes and filling out the census are listed as mandatory obligations of Canadian citizenship in a draft version of a new study guide for the citizenship exam.

The working copy obtained by The Canadian Press suggests the federal government has completely overhauled the book used by prospective Canadians to prepare for the test.

The current “Discover Canada” guide dates back to 2011 when the previous Conservative government did its own overhaul designed to provide more information on Canadian values and history.


Related stories:

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Some of the Conservatives’ insertions attracted controversy, including increased detail about the War of 1812 and a warning that certain “barbaric cultural practices,” such as honour killings and female genital mutilation, are crimes in Canada.

Getting rid of both those elements was what former Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum had in mind when he said early in 2016 that the book was up for a rewrite. But although work has been underway for over a year, there’s no date set for publication of a final version.

In the draft version, the reference to barbaric cultural practices is gone, as is the inclusion of getting a job as one of the responsibilities of citizenship.

Instead, the proposed new guide breaks down the responsibilities of citizenship into two categories: voluntary and mandatory.

Voluntary responsibilities are listed as respecting the human rights of others, understanding official bilingualism and participating in the political process.

Obeying the law, serving on a jury, paying taxes, filling out the census and respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples are mandatory.

“Today, Canadians, for example, can own their own homes and buy land thanks to treaties that the government negotiated,” the draft version says. “Every Canadian has responsibilities under those treaties as well. They are agreements of honour.”

The draft guide delves extensively into the history and present-day lives of Indigenous Peoples, including multiple references to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools and a lengthy section on what happened at those schools. The current guide contains a single paragraph.

The draft also devotes substantive sections to sad chapters of Canadian history when the Chinese, South Asians, Jews and disabled Canadians were discriminated against, references that were absent or exceptionally limited previously.

The new version also documents the evolution of the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups, as well as other sexual minorities. Bureaucrats had sought to include similar themes in the 2011 book but were overruled by then-immigration minister Jason Kenney, with their efforts reduced to a single line on gay marriage.

There’s also an entirely new section called “Quality of Life in Canada” that delves into the education system — including a pitch for people to save money for their children’s schooling — the history of medicare, descriptions of family life, leisure time, effects of the environment on Canadian arts and culture and even a paragraph seeking to explain Canadian humour.

Canadians like to make fun of themselves, the book notes.

“Humour and satire about the experience of Indigenous, racialized, refugee and immigration peoples and their experiences is growing in popularity,” the section says.

The rewrite is part of a much broader renewal of citizenship laws and process that is underway. In June, legislation passed that changed the age for those who need to pass the knowledge test for citizenship, among other things.

Briefing notes obtained separately from the draft copy show nearly every government department is being consulted for input into the guide. But the team inside the Immigration Department didn’t just look there.

They were also taking cues from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sharing copies of his remarks for themes to incorporate.

One of Trudeau’s often repeated mantras — “Canada has learned how to be strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them” — appears to be paraphrased directly in the opening section of the book: Canadians have learned how to be strong because of our differences.”

The briefing notes say the guide is to be released to mark Canada’s 150th birthday but elsewhere note that production time is at least four months once a final version has been approved.

A spokesperson for the Immigration Department stressed the importance of the consultations that have gone into the new guide.

“While this may take more time, this broader approach will result in a final product that better reflects Canada’s diversity and Indigenous history, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Lindsay Wemp said in an email.

Victory for ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘Girls Trip’ at the box office

LINDSEY BAHR, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 24th, 2017

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It’s victory for “Dunkirk” and “Girls Trip” at the box office this weekend. Both original and well-reviewed films smashed expectations and enticed diverse audiences to the theatres, even though cumulatively summer remains down from last year.

Christopher Nolan’s World War II epic brought in an estimated $50.5 million to easily top the charts, according to Warner Bros., while the raucous comedy “Girls Trip” broke the R-rated comedy slump of 2017 with $30.4 million to take second place.

“Dunkirk” was far from an inevitable summer success, but stellar reviews, awards buzz and hype around the film’s large-scale production helped drive people to the theatre and large-format screens.

“We’re beyond thrilled with this exceptional achievement for ‘Dunkirk,’” said Jeff Goldstein, who heads distribution for Warner Bros. “The critical reception worldwide has been consistently effusive. It really propelled this movie that wasn’t an obvious win.”

Audiences were 60 per cent male and 76 per cent over the age of 25 for the PG-13 rated film, while IMAX audiences represented 23 per cent of the market share (or $11.7 million of the total grosses from only 402 screens).

“It became a must-see event,” said Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for comScore.

Drawing quite a different audience was the buddy comedy “Girls Trip,” starring Regina Hall, Tiffany Haddish, Jada Pinkett Smith and Queen Latifah as a group of girlfriends who head to New Orleans for a weekend of fun. The Universal film drew in an audience that was 79 per cent female and 50 per cent under the age of 30. Fifty-nine per cent of attendees were estimated to be African-American.

Notably, audiences gave the film a stellar A+ CinemaScore, suggesting the film will have long-term playability.

“‘Girls Trip’ was a perfectly counter-programmed box office surprise,” Dergarabedian said. “It broke the R-rated comedy curse that has afflicted this summer with ‘Baywatch,’ ‘Snatched,’ ‘Rough Night’ and ‘The House.’”

For Universal, the formula is more simple: “Girls Trip,” unlike the aforementioned comedies, is resonating with audiences.

“When the taste for entertainment and comedy has been somewhat underserved, it is not because people aren’t interested in laughing, it’s that they’re waiting for something funny to come along,” said Nick Carpou, Universal’s president of domestic distribution. “One of the great things about this comedy is that it’s really funny.”

Not so successful was Luc Besson’s nearly $180 million sci-fi epic “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” which earned $17 million from North American theatres over the weekend for a fifth-place start. It came in behind “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” in third in its third weekend with $22 million and “War for the Planet of the Apes” in fourth place in its second weekend with $20.4 million.

Besson’s film, starring Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne and based on French comic “Valerian and Laureline,” was produced by EuropaCorp and is reported to have a budget around $180 million. STX Entertainment distributed it in North America.

Exposure was limited, however. EuropaCorp says 90 per cent of the budget was already covered by foreign pre-sales, equity financing and tax subsidies.

Dergarabedian said it’s more about the international returns for “Valerian,” but it’s hard not to see Besson’s return to sci-fi as a disappointment. Not adjusted for inflation, “Valerian” earned basically the same as “The Fifth Element,” which came out 20 years ago. For comparison, his film “Lucy,” starring Scarlett Johansson, opened to $43.8 million in 2014.

Overall, the year remains around flat from last year, and the summer season looks unlikely to make up for its deficit through the end of July and August.

Still, Dergarabedian thinks there is a silver lining in the quality of the films that have come out this summer.

“Despite the weekend being down close to 10 per cent, the currency that was most valuable is the currency of goodwill,” Dergarabedian said. “Nobody can say that Hollywood threw the same old stuff at the wall this weekend.”

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.

1.”Dunkirk,” $50.5 million.

2.”Girls Trip,” $30.4 million.

3.”Spider-Man: Homecoming,” $22 million.

4.”War for the Planet of the Apes,” $20.4 million.

5.”Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” $17 million.

6.”Despicable Me 3,” $12.7 million.

7.”Baby Driver,” $6 million.

8.”The Big Sick,” $5 million.

9.”Wonder Woman,” $4.6 million.

10.”Wish Upon,” $2.5 million.

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Fall 2017

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

articlebtgeneric-featured

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.

Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington dies in LA at 41

ANTHONY MCCARTNEY AND MARK KENNEDY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 21st, 2017

FILE - In this Dec. 13, 2014 file photo, Chester Bennington poses in the press room at the 25th annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas in Inglewood, Calif. The Los Angeles County coroner says Bennington, who sold millions of albums with a unique mix of rock, hip-hop and rap, has died in his home near Los Angeles. He was 41. Coroner spokesman Brian Elias says they are investigating Bennington’s death as an apparent suicide but no additional details are available. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP, File)
Chester Bennington poses in the press room at the 25th annual KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas in Inglewood, Calif. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP, File)

Coroner spokesman Brian Elias said authorities are investigating Bennington’s death as an apparent suicide but no additional details are available.

The Grammy Award-winning group sold 10 million copies of their 2000 debut, “Hybrid Theory,” and then another 4 million with 2003’s multiplatinum “Meteora.” Both albums explored feelings of frustration and fury.

The band also sold millions with its remix album, “Reanimation,” and its mash-up record with Jay-Z, “Collision Course.” They won Grammys for best hard rock performance in 2001 for “Crawling” and best rap/sung collaboration for “Numb/Encore” in 2005. Linkin Park was on tour and had a show at New York’s Citi Field scheduled for next week with Blink 182.

Bennington, who sported piercings and tattoos, struggled with drug and alcohol addictions at various times during his life. He was married and is survived by six children.

Linkin Park released their most recent album, “One More Light,” in May. It was a CD that divided critics and fans alike for its embrace of pop. Although the band had always experimented with different sounds, some claimed the band had sold out, which Bennington denied. It became the band’s fifth No. 1 album debut on the Billboard 200.

“If you like the music, fantastic. If you don’t like it, that’s your opinion too. Fantastic. If you’re saying we’re doing what we’re doing for a commercial or monetary reason, trying to make success out of some formula. then stab yourself in the face!” he told NME magazine.

Bennington was close friends with Chris Cornell, who died by hanging earlier this year, and performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at the Soundgarden singer’s memorial in late May.

When he got his big break in 1999, Bennington was an assistant at a digital-services firm in Phoenix. A music executive sent him a demo from the band Xero, who needed a lead singer. (He had been recommended by his attorney.) Bennington wrote and recorded new vocals over the band’s playing and sent the results back. He soon got the gig and the band then changed its named to Hybrid Theory, then Linkin Park.

Bennington told The Associated Press in 2010 that because of the sound the band is known for, it’s virtually impossible to satisfy their many kinds of fans.

“We’re making music for us, that we like. We’re not making music for other people,” he said. “We’re not thinking, ‘Let’s make a pie-graph of all our fans and find out how many people fit in whatever category and then make the perfect album for them.’ Like, that would be absolutely ridiculous.”

CN Tower mascot not alone in being labeled ‘creepy’

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jul 21st, 2017

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CN Tower/Instagram
The CN Tower is undoubtedly the soaring jewel of Toronto’s picturesque skyline, but many feel our city’s most-photographed landmark missed the mark when it unveiled its new mascot on Instagram on Wednesday.

Some questioned why the majestic tower would need a pint-sized version, while others sympathized with the person stuck inside it during peak summer temperatures.

But even more seemed to feel it had joined the likes of the Burger King on the ever-growing list of creepy mascots. Others said it wasn’t worthy of the tower’s stately and imposing stature.

Here’s at look at some other mascots that have been described as “creepy” or worse:

The Burger King:

 

Ronald McDonald:

 

Jack in the Box:

 

Michelin Man:

 

Pistol Pete (Oklahoma State University):

 

The Friar (Providence College):

 

King Cake Baby (New Orleans Pelicans secondary mascot):

 

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