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Two killed, 17 shot at Florida nightclub, authorities say

CityNews | posted Monday, Jul 25th, 2016

Two people have been killed and as many as 17 people have been shot in the early Monday shooting at a nightclub in Fort Myers, Florida, authorities said.

Club Blu was hosting a teen night when the shots rang out.

Three people have been taken into custody and there are two active crime scenes, Capt. Jim Mulligan said.

The area was later deemed safe, but Mulligan said a street was still closed as authorities investigated.

In a statement, authorities said the Fort Myers police and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office were “actively canvassing the area looking for other persons who may be involved in this incident.”

The names of the victims were not immediately available.

The shooting comes more than a month after a nightclub shooting in Orlando that was the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history. The shooting at the Pulse nightclub on June 12 left 49 victims dead and 53 others wounded.

More to come

Child reunited with family in East York

CityNews | posted Monday, Jul 25th, 2016

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A child has been reunited with her parents after she went missing in East York on Monday morning.

The girl, who is approximately three years old, wandered into a Sobey’s on Broadview Avenue north of Pottery Road around 2:20 a.m.

Employees then called police, and the girl was taken to a police station.

The parents woke up around 5:15 a.m. to find the front door open and their daughter missing.

They called police, and were reunited with her around 5:45 a.m.

It appears the front door was locked, Toronto police said, but the girl was able to open it on her own.

Severe thunderstorm watch ends for Toronto

CityNews | posted Monday, Jul 25th, 2016

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A severe thunderstorm watch has ended for Toronto.

After a hot and dry weekend, Toronto saw a heavy downpour accompanied by a lightning show, all before 7 a.m.

Environment Canada ended the warning for the city as well as most of the GTA but Oakville and Burlington are still under a watch.

The rest of the day should bring sun and cloud, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

The high will be 32 C but it will feel close to 40 with the humidex. Overnight, it will be clear with a low near 18.

TTC will not mail out August Metropasses

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Jul 13th, 2016

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The TTC will not be mailing out August Metropasses due to a possible Canada Post lockout or strike.

The passes must be purchased in person. Those who signed up for the year-long discount program will receive a credit for the difference, regardless if they purchase an August pass or not.

About 53,000 people subscribe to the discount plan, the TTC said on its website.

People who participate in the Volume Incentive Pass (VIP) program are not affected.

Metropasses go on sale starting July 18 at retail outlets, July 21 in pass vending machines in subway stations, and on July 24 at station collector booths. The TTC said it would be supplying more passes to those locations to cope with the demand.

Rogers Cup serves up action this weekend; heads-up about TTC closures

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND AMBER LEBLANC | posted Friday, Jul 22nd, 2016

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It’s going to be an ace of a weekend as the Rogers Cup descends on Toronto starting on Saturday.

This is also your last weekend to check out Summerlicious and the Beaches International Jazz Festival, so get out there and enjoy the weekend.

Keep in mind that there are two TTC closures to contend with this weekend, both involving Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth).

There are also several road closures in place for events and construction, so be sure to plan your route ahead of time.


Events

Rogers Cup
Professional tennis is back in Toronto. The men return to the Aviva Centre at York University with some of the top names taking part in the Rogers Cup, one of the biggest events on the ATP Tour.

Along with hometown favourite Milos Raonic and fellow Canadian Vasek Pospisil, expect to see world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. While big names – Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal – have pulled out of the tournament, the stars of tomorrow plan to take part. Richmond Hill’s Denis Shapovalov, who won this year’s Junior Wimbledon, will be there.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 24, 2012. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Andrew Brownbill
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after defeating Lleyton Hewitt in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 24, 2012. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Andrew Brownbill

This weekend is the Pizzaville Free Community Weekend where you can watch qualifying matches and see the top seeds practice.

The men’s tournament takes place July 23-31, while the women play in Montreal on July 22-31. Tickets are available here.

Summerlicious
If you haven’t checked out Summerlicious yet, this is your last weekend to do so.

The annual culinary event, which started earlier this month, allows food lovers to check out various restaurants around the city for special prices.

A salmon dish prepared by Bymark, one of the restaurants participating in Summerlicious 2016. CITY OF TORONTO
A salmon dish prepared by Bymark, one of the restaurants participating in Summerlicious 2016. CITY OF TORONTO

More than 220 restaurants are offering three-course prix fixe lunch menus (priced at $18, $23 and $28) and dinner menus (priced at $28, $38 and $48). There are 24 new restaurants featured at this year’s food festival.

Click here for a list of participating restaurants.

Beaches International Jazz Festival
Once you have finished having lunch or dinner at a Summerlicious-participating restaurant, head down to the Beach for some foot-stomping jazz.

StreetFest on Queen Street. COURTESY: Beaches International Jazz Festival
StreetFest on Queen Street. COURTESY: Beaches International Jazz Festival

Dance or sway to the sounds of jazz, big band, blues, funk, reggae and Latin music at the annual jazz festival, which culminates this weekend along Queen and at Woodbine Park. A portion of Queen will closed off this weekend as the party takes over the roadway for StreetFest.

Carnival Run
Runners and walkers are gearing up for the first annual Toronto Carnival Run, which takes place at Inukshuk Park on Saturday.

The park is situated along the Martin Goodman Trail, located near Lake Shore Boulevard and Newfoundland Road. Participants can choose between a 5K run or walk, while children have the 1K run option.

After the run and walk, organizers will serve up a Caribbean-inspired breakfast.

Toronto’s Festival of Beer
It’s beer for as far as the eye can see this weekend in Toronto. The event is taking place all weekend long at Bandshell Park in Exhibition Place, presented by the Beer Store.

Stock image of beer. LEHTIKUVA/Jussi Nukari
Stock image of beer. LEHTIKUVA/Jussi Nukari

Pace yourself (and drink responsibly) because there are 333 brews to sample, including some of the beers of Sweden, which is new this year. Reminder: don’t drink and drive. Click here for tickets and more information about the festival.

Big on Bloor
Bloor Street is closed Saturday and Sunday between Dufferin and Lansdowne for Big on Bloor, dubbed one of the 20 best festivals in Toronto.

The Big on Bloor Festival. Photo via facebook.com/BigOnBloorFestival.
The Big on Bloor Festival. Photo via facebook.com/BigOnBloorFestival.

The two-day car-free event is a celebration of arts, culture and small business in the neighbourhood of Bloordale. Along with various art projects, there will be food and lots of family activities, and it is free.

Youth Day
Young people take over Yonge-Dundas Square on Sunday for the 10th annual Youth Day. The free event, which runs from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m., celebrates the achievements of children in areas like dance, art, music, photography, fashion and film.

Youth Day in Toronto. Photo via Facebook.com/YDToronto.
Youth Day in Toronto. Photo via Facebook.com/YDToronto.

Around 35,000 people are expected to attend the party, which features non-stop performances on two stages from some of the most talented children in the city.

Road and TTC closures

Line 2 closure and late-opening Sunday
The scheduled subway closures for TTC works continues this weekend. Subway service will be shut down on Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) from Broadview to Main Street stations due to track work.

Also, on Sunday, subways won’t start running until 10 a.m. between St. George and Broadview stations because of bridge work on the Prince Edward Viaduct. Shuttle buses will be running during both closures.

Road closures for events

Beaches International Jazz festival: Starting Thursday and until Saturday, Queen Street East, from Woodbine to Beech avenues, will be closed in both directions from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on each day. TTC buses and streetcars will be diverted in the area.

Somali Festival: Dixon Road, from Chetta Place to Kipling Avenue, will be reduced to one lane in both directions from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Big on Bloor: Bloor Street, from Dufferin Street to Lansdowne Avenue, will be closed from 9 a.m. on Saturday to 9 p.m. on Sunday. TTC buses will be on diversion in the area.

Oss Fest: Ossington Avenue, from Dundas to Queen streets, will be closed from 6 a.m. on Saturday to 3 a.m. on Sunday. There will also be partial road closures on Halton, Givins and Rebecca streets. TTC buses will be diverting in the area.

Youth Day: Yonge Street from Dundas to Queen streets will be closed on Sunday, July 24 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Road work

New

Gerrard Street, from University Avenue to Elizabeth Street, is reduced to one lane until Oct. 15 for watermain and other road work.

Ongoing work

One lane of Bay Street in both directions, between Queen and Adelaide streets, is closed for watermain work. The lanes on Bay are scheduled to reopen around 6 p.m. on July 23.

Richmond Street West is reduced to one lane of traffic between Church and York streets until Nov. 30 for TTC track work, watermain replacement, and road and sidewalk repairs.

One lane of Queen Street West between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street is closed in both directions for watermain replacement and reconstruction work until around Oct. 8.

Gerrard Street, from Yonge to Church streets, is closed until the end of July for watermain replacement, road resurfacing and bike lane and sidewalk upgrades.

Westbound Lake Shore Boulevard, from York Street to Rees Street, will be reduced to one lane except from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays when two lanes will be open. The closure, which is for Toronto Hydro work, is expected to be completed on July 27.

How many temperature records will Toronto break today?

CityNews | posted Friday, Jul 22nd, 2016

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Toronto and the GTA could be in for a record-setting scorcher of a day on Friday with temperatures expected to soar to the mid-30s.

A heat warning, which was issued by Environment Canada on Wednesday, remains in effect for much of southern Ontario. Toronto’s acting medical officer of health also issued a heat warning for the city on Thursday.

Humidex values across the region will be in the 40s, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

Taylor said Friday’s high will be 35 C but it will feel like 41 C with the humidity.

Toronto could potentially break two temperature records on Friday: the hottest July 22 on record and the warmest day of the year.

The record temperature for a July 22 was 35.6 C, which was set in 1955, Taylor said. The hottest day so far was 36 C on July 13.

So far this season, Toronto has had eight days of temperatures at 30 C or more in July, as recorded at Pearson Airport. That number does not include Friday.

Somewhat cooler temperatures are in store for the weekend, but it will still be hot.

“Temperature and humidex values tonight into the weekend are forecast below warning criteria but it will still be quite warm through the weekend into next week,” Environment Canada said.

It will be mainly sunny on Saturday and Sunday with temperatures hovering around the 30s. The humidex will still be intense on both days, in the high 30s.

Environment Canada issues a heat warning when “very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.”

The health risks associated with the heat are the greatest for seniors, children, people with breathing difficulties and heart conditions, the homeless, those who work and exercise in the heat, and people without access to an air conditioned space.

People are being advised to keep out of the heat and to drink plenty of liquids.

If you are looking for a place to cool off, the city’s outdoor pools are open, including more than 90 splash pads and more than 100 supervised wading pools. There are also several air conditioned spaces in the city.

With the intense heat comes an increase in power demand. Toronto Hydro is reminding customers one way you can conserve power is by turning off the air conditioner when you aren’t home.

Simply adorable: New photos of Prince George celebrate third birthday

CityNews | posted Friday, Jul 22nd, 2016

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New photos of Prince George have been released on his third birthday.

The first born of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Catherine, is the third is line to the throne.

Kensington Palace says the photos were taken a week ago at the family home.

The photos feature candid shots of the little prince including one playing with the family dog, Lupo.

Prince George was born at St Mary’s Hospital on July 22, 2013.


Related stories:

Celebrating Prince George’s first year

Prince George christened at St James’s Palace

Just the facts: Trump resurfaces debunked claims in speech

Calvin Woodward and Michael Biesecker, The Associated Press | posted Friday, Jul 22nd, 2016

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Despite promising “the truth, and nothing else” in his convention speech, Donald Trump presented the nation with a series of previously debunked claims and some new ones Thursday night – about the U.S. tax burden, the perils facing police, Hillary Clinton’s record and more.

A look at some of the Republican presidential candidate’s claims and how they compare with the facts:

TRUMP: “Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17 per cent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years.”

THE FACTS: A rollback? President Barack Obama has actually achieved some big increases in spending for state and local law enforcement, including billions in grants provided through the 2009 stimulus. While FBI crime statistics for 2015 are not yet available, Trump’s claim about rising homicides appears to come from a Washington Post analysis published in January. While Trump accurately quotes part of the analysis, he omits that the statistical jump was so large because homicides are still very low by historical standards. In the 50 cities cited by the Post, for example, half as many people were killed last year as in 1991.

TRUMP: “The number of new illegal immigrant families who have crossed the border so far this year already exceeds the entire total from 2015. They are being released by the tens of thousands into our communities with no regard for the impact on public safety or resources.”

THE FACTS: The pace of releasing immigrants is driven not by the Obama administration, but by a court ruling. A federal judge ruled last year that the government couldn’t hold parents and children in jail for more than 20 days. An appeals court partially rolled that back earlier this month, saying that parents could be detained but children must be released.

By the standard used by the government to estimate illegal border crossings – the number of arrests _ Trump is right that the number in this budget year has already exceeded last year’s total. But it’s down from 2014.

TRUMP: “When a secretary of state illegally stores her emails on a private server, deletes 33,000 of them so the authorities can’t see her crime, puts our country at risk, lies about it in every different form and faces no consequence – I know that corruption has reached a level like never before.”

THE FACTS: Clinton’s use of a private server to store her emails was not illegal under federal law. Her actions were not established as a crime. The FBI investigated the matter and its role was to advise the Justice Department whether to bring charges against her based on what it found. FBI Director James Comey declined to refer the case for criminal prosecution to the Justice Department, instead accusing Clinton of extreme carelessness.

As for Trump’s claim that Clinton faces no consequence, that may be true in a legal sense. But the matter has been a distraction to her campaign and fed into public perceptions that she can’t be trusted. The election will test whether she has paid a price politically.

TRUMP: “The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50 per cent compared to this point last year.”

THE FACTS: Not according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks police fatalities daily. The group found that the number of police officers who died as of July 20 is up just slightly this year, at 67, compared with 62 through the same period last year. That includes deaths in the line of duty from all causes, including traffic fatalities.

It is true that there has been a spike in police deaths from intentional shootings, 32 this year compared with 18 last year, largely attributable to the recent mass shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge. But that was not his claim.

And overall, police are statistically safer on America’s streets now than at any time in recent decades.

For example, the 109 law enforcement fatalities in 2013 were the lowest since 1956.

TRUMP: “My opponent has called for a radical 550 per cent increase in Syrian (refugees). … She proposes this despite the fact that there’s no way to screen these refugees in order to find out who they are or where they come from. I only want to admit individuals into our country who will support our values and love our people.”

THE FACTS: Trump persists in making the bogus claim that the U.S. doesn’t screen refugees. The administration both screens them and knows where they are from. The Department of Homeland Security leads the process, which involves rigorous background checks. Processing of a refugee can take 18 months to two years, and usually longer for those coming from Syria. Refugees are also subject to in-person interviews and fingerprint and other biometric screening.

For all that caution, U.S. officials acknowledge that the Islamic State group could try to place operatives among refugees. Last year, FBI Director James Comey said data about people coming from Syria may be limited, adding, “If we don’t know much about somebody, there won’t be anything in our database.”

TRUMP: “Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when President Obama took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely. … President Obama has almost doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing.”

THE FACTS: Trump is playing with numbers to make the economy look worse than it actually is. The sluggish recovery over the past seven years has been frustrating. But with unemployment at 4.9 per cent, the situation isn’t as bleak as he suggests.

Trump’s figure of 14 million who’ve stopped working since Obama took office comes from the Labor Department’s measure of people not in the workforce. It’s misleading for three reasons: The U.S. population has increased in that time; the country has aged and people have retired; and younger people are staying in school longer for college and advanced degrees, so they’re not in the labour force, either.

A better figure is labour force participation _ the share of people with jobs or who are searching for work. That figure has declined from 65.7 per cent when Obama took office to 62.7 per cent now. Part of that decrease reflects retirements, but the decline is also a long-term trend.

On national debt, economists say a more meaningful measure than dollars is the share of the overall economy taken up by the debt. By that measure, the debt rose 36 per cent under Obama (rather than doubling). That’s roughly the same as what occurred under Republican President George W. Bush.

The Hispanic population has risen since Obama while the poverty rate has fallen. The Pew Research Center found that 23.5 per cent of the country’s 55.3 million Latinos live in poverty, compared with 24.7 per cent in 2010.

TRUMP: “Another humiliation came when President Obama drew a red line in Syria, and the whole world knew it meant absolutely nothing.”

THE FACTS: Trump’s reference is to a threat by Obama for retaliatory strikes if Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons against rebels _ and he’s basically on target. When Assad crossed Obama’s “red line” in 2013 by using chemical weapons, the U.S. president backed down.

Obama’s two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, pushed for intervention, as have a former defence secretary and CIA director. But Obama as commander-in-chief has the last word, and nothing has swayed him thus far.

TRUMP: “When that same secretary of state rakes in millions and millions of dollars trading access and favours to special interests and foreign powers, I know the time for action has come.”

THE FACTS: That’s a somewhat overheated take on a legitimately troublesome issue for Clinton.

Although financial disclosures show she earned only her government salary as secretary of state, she made more than $21 million afterward, over three years, for speeches and appearances for private companies. None of those speeches was paid for by foreign governments, but some groups she addressed could be counted as special interests.

As well, the Clintons’ family charity, the Clinton Foundation, received millions of dollars in donations while she was secretary of state, some from foreigners. And Bill Clinton earned millions making appearances and speeches for foreign corporations and organizations while his wife was at the State Department.

TRUMP: “After four years of Hillary Clinton, what do we have? ISIS has spread across the region, and the entire world. Libya is in ruins, and our ambassador and his staff were left helpless to die at the hands of savage killers. Egypt was turned over to the radical Muslim Brotherhood, forcing the military to retake control. Iraq is in chaos. Iran is on the path to nuclear weapons. Syria is engulfed in a civil war and a refugee crisis now threatens the West. … This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

THE FACTS: It’s an exaggeration to suggest Clinton, or any secretary of state, is to blame for the widespread instability and violence across the Middle East.

Clinton worked to impose sanctions that helped coax Tehran to a nuclear deal with the U.S. and other world powers last year, a deal in which Iran rolled back its nuclear program to get relief from sanctions that were choking its economy.

She did not start the war in Libya, but supported a NATO intervention well after violence broke out between rebels and the forces of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country slid into chaos after Gadhafi was ousted and killed in 2011, leaving it split between competing governments.

Clinton had no role in military decisions made during the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Republicans’ claim that high-level officials in Washington issued a “stand-down” order delaying a military rescue in Benghazi has been widely debunked.

On Iraq, Clinton as a senator voted in 2002 to grant President George W. Bush authority to invade Iraq, but has since said it was a “mistake.” Many in the Middle East do not regret Saddam’s ouster and regional allies allowed U.S. bases in their country to support the war. But many also now fear the Islamic State group, which rose in the chaos of Syria’s civil war and Iraq’s security vacuum.

Five things to know about dry weather and your plants

CityNews | posted Thursday, Jul 21st, 2016

1) If they’re too dry, they can cause spontaneous combustion: Vaughan Fire Chief Larry Bentley says the elements inside your plant soil can create a very dangerous situation if too dry. “It’s peat moss. It’s dried bark and wood products and there’s a little bit of fertilizer,” he says. “All those items when they dry out are susceptible to ignition. And fertilizer can be an oxidizer so it can enhance the ignition process.”

2) Don’t butt out into a plant: In Vaughan, fire officials say they have responded to numerous incidents in which cigarettes were improperly butted out. Chief Bentley says if you are going to smoke outside, find an ashtray. “What happens is an hour, two hours later as it sits and smoulders it’ll reignite,” he says.

3) Toronto water consumption: Toronto Water tells CityNews the city’s reservoirs are at a full level. Typically in the summertime consumption increases between 15 and 20 per cent, but the city’s plants have more capacity than what is typically used. With that said, they urge consumers to use water wisely. “The City of Toronto has enough water to meet current demand however we like to remind residents and businesses that it is always wise to be water efficient,” they say in a statement to CityNews.

4) Use clay instead of plastic: Chief Bentley says clay flowering pots are less likely than plastic to melt in the event of fire, thus containing the flames more effectively than plastic.

5) Summer of drought: CityNews meteorologist Adam Stiles says the GTA has been experiencing drought conditions since April. “We’ve been running below average precipitation since April and the hot dry summer just continues to compound that,” Stiles explained. “According to the Canadian Drought Monitor we are in a severe drought for all of Toronto and parts of the GTA. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has us in a Level 1 low water level condition and is asking people and businesses to implement water conservation measures whenever possible.”

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