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Police officers inspect the site of an explosion at a firecracker factory in Tangerang, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017. The explosion and raging fire killed a number of people and injured dozens, police said. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

At least 47 dead in Indonesian fireworks explosion

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 26th, 2017

Indonesian police say the death toll from an inferno at a fireworks factory outside Jakarta has risen to 47.

Tangerang police chief Hary Kurniawan says the death toll could rise further as many of the dozens of injured have extensive burns.

He said all 47 bodies recovered so far were found in the remains of the factory and a search is continuing.

The fire began Thursday morning at the factory next to a residential area in Tangerang, a city in Banten province on the western outskirts of Jakarta.

A police report said the fire spread after an explosion and that the factory’s roof had collapsed.

Ted Rogers among 6 new additions to Canada’s Walk of Fame

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 26th, 2017

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Six more names will be added to Canada’s Walk of Fame next month.

Two-time Olympic gold medallist and three-time world champion Donovan Bailey is among those who will be inducted at an annual awards gala in Toronto on Nov. 15.

Actress Anna Paquin, the youngest Canadian to win an Academy Award, will also receive a star, as will science broadcaster and environmental activist David Suzuki.

Several people are receiving posthumous honours, including Viola Desmond, the civil rights pioneer whose face will grace the new $10 bill, and Ted Rogers, the late president and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc.

Rogers is the first ever recipient of a star in the Business & Entrepreneurship category. The company’s current CEO, Joe Natale, said the award is a huge honour and a fitting tribute to Rogers’ accomplishments.

“Ted was a visionary who truly embodied the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. He started our company with an $85,000 loan and turned it into the media and communications powerhouse it is today,” Natale said in a statement.

“He believed passionately in the power of technology to educate, entertain and improve the lives of Canadians. And it is this incredible legacy that we build on each and every day.”

Canadian folk icon Stompin’ Tom Connors, who died in 2013, will also be inducted into the Walk of Fame.

This year’s additions bring the number of inductees to 173.

Rogers Media is the parent company of CityNews & 680 NEWS.

Toronto condo first to strike unique Airbnb deal

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 26th, 2017

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It’s the first of its kind in Canada. A Toronto condominium has signed an agreement with Airbnb.

Neptune Waterpark Condos, located in the Fort York historical district, has signed on to the Friendly Buildings Program which helps bring hosts, residents and landlords together with Airbnb to find home sharing solutions.

The deal enables building management to access a personal dashboard which shows which units are hosting, how many guests are staying and when they are scheduled to come and go. Buildings can set up things such as pet control and parking guidelines for Airbnb guests.

Each building in the program works with Airbnb to decide what percentage of each booking they will receive, anywhere between five and 15 per cent.

The deal is the first of its kind in Canada, having already been launched in several cities in the United States.

The move comes as the city continues to debate short term rentals, having conducted public consultations on the issue last month.

Neptune Condos Board member Nick Bednarz said the alliance would aid accountability.

“In my opinion, either you do something to grab control or do nothing and let it run rampant,” he said. “If there’s ever an issue (and) we have to call police we know who was there.”

Bednarz disputes the argument that his condo will turn into a de facto hotel. He says most of the owners in the building are renting rooms out — not the entire unit — as a means to supplement their income and essentially afford to live here.

Meanwhile, the city is currently working on their own regulations for Airbnb in Toronto, which could include licensing Airbnb, and banning people from listing units where the don’t actually live.

Mayor Tory says they’ll have to consider this new partnership in their recommendations for the new rules which will be brought to December’s council meeting.

 

Costco development sparks fears of traffic in Thorncliffe Park

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 26th, 2017

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A new Costco store is coming to Thorncliffe Park, and that has some residents worried they’ll be seeing supersized traffic problems.

The new location on Overlea Boulevard near Thorncliffe Park Drive — the company’s fourth in Toronto — is set to open in February 2018 at the site of the former Coca-Cola Canada headquarters.

Carol Burtin Fripp, co-president of the Leaside Property Owners’ Association, said a number of residents have voiced concerns about the project since it was proposed more than five years ago.

“We’re quite concerned that a lot more traffic is going to come through our streets,” Fripp said. “We already have the issue, not just because of the Eglinton LRT construction, but because of the development pressures surrounding us.”

Fripp pointed to a traffic study done by the project’s developer five years ago that found about five million cars a year travel on Overlea Boulevard. The study estimated the superstore and gas bar would increase traffic volume by another 2.5 million vehicles.

City council approved the project but without the planned 18-pump gas bar. The city told the developer it could re-apply to add the gas bar after the store has been in operation for a year if it provides an updated traffic study.

“The thought of the lineups for cheaper gas all along Overlea … it’s a disaster waiting to happen,” Fripp said.

Coun. Jon Burnside, whose ward includes the new Costco, said he reluctantly voted in favour of the project despite sharing concerns about its impact on traffic.

“The big challenge was with our own transportation department who said our roads could handle it,” he said. “Many of us felt that was not the case, but when you don’t have your own city department behind you, it’s very hard to fight.”

Burnside said the problem lies with the transportation department’s own threshold to accept or recommend projects.

“The bigger issue is that the transportation department basically approves developments unless there’s something we call ‘total road failure,’ which really means no car is able to move for long periods of time,” he said.

The city required the developer to make the following changes to local roadways in order to address traffic concerns.

  • Modifying the existing traffic signals to include the Costco driveway
  • Modifying the centre median to allow a left-hand turn lane from the eastbound lanes of Overlea Boulevard
  • Signal timing modifications along Overlea Boulevard and Laird Drive

 

Costco declined to comment.

Ontario makes it illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 26th, 2017

The Ontario Legislative Building is seen on June 29, 2010. BENSON KUA

It will soon be illegal to protest outside and near abortion clinics in Ontario.

The legislature passed a bill Wednesday to create zones of between 50 and 150 metres around the eight clinics in the province, in which anti-abortion protests, advising a person not to get an abortion, and intimidation or interfering with a woman’s ability to access the services will be banned.

The ban will also automatically apply to 150 metres around the homes of abortion staff and health professionals who provide the services.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi cheered that all three parties worked together to pass the legislation on a sped-up timeline.

“We as legislators have passed a very important piece of legislation ensuring that women have safe access to health-care services like reproductive health and abortion services,” he said. “We worked on this bill on a very short time frame to ensure that we protect women.”

The bill’s timing had inflamed political tensions between the governing Liberals and the Opposition Progressive Conservatives. The Tories had proposed passing the bill immediately after it was introduced, with no debate or committee hearings, and the Liberals declined, which led the PCs to accuse the government of trying to draw it out, hoping it would expose divisions within the PC party.

Opposition Leader Patrick Brown noted his party unanimously voted for the bill’s passage Wednesday, and said it did not cause any divisions within his caucus.

Several of his caucus members — including those who have espoused socially conservative views — however, were absent for the vote. Two were away for health reasons, Brown said, though they are not the members who hold those views.

Brown did not directly address the absence of the social conservative members, but noted many Liberals were away as well. That included two of three Liberals who have been praised by anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition for their views.

The lone politician to vote against the bill was Jack MacLaren, a former Progressive Conservative who now sits as an independent after joining the Trillium Party, which the legislature does not recognize as an official party.

Campaign Life Coalition released a statement threatening a legal challenge to the bill “if necessary,” saying it attacks freedom of speech.

Naqvi has previously said that going through a proper legislative process — even an expedited one — versus immediate passage helps to ensure the bill can withstand a constitutional challenge.

No changes were made to the bill between its introduction and its passage.

The law will not come into force immediately, however, as the zones need to be set through regulations, Naqvi said.

There will be an application process for other health-care providers or pharmacists, as some Ontario pharmacies recently started offering the abortion pill, Mifegymiso.

Anyone who violates the safe zones will face up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail for a first offence and fines of $1,000 to $10,000 and up to a year in jail for a second or subsequent offence.

New screenings begins for passengers on US-bound flights

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 26th, 2017

File photo of an airliner on a tarmac.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — New security screenings for all passengers on U.S.-bound flights began on Thursday, with airlines worldwide questioning flyers about their trip and their luggage in the latest Trump administration decision affecting global travel.

However, confusion still remains about the new regulations, which come at the end of a 120-day period following the United States lifting a ban on laptops in airplane cabins affecting 10 Mideast cities. The new regulations cover all the 2,100 flights from around the world entering the U.S. on any given day.

Some airlines said they had received permission to delay implementing the new rules until January.

At Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, long-haul carrier Emirates began questioning passengers about their luggage, liquids they were carrying and where they were coming from. Passengers also had to have their carry-on bags searched, along with their electronics.

Emirates declined to discuss the new procedures in detail on Thursday. On Wednesday, it said it would conduct “passenger pre-screening interviews” for those travelling on U.S.-bound flights in concert with other checks on electronics.

Elsewhere, things did not appear to be going so smoothly. In China, an official in the Xiamen Airlines press office, who would only give his surname as Qiu, said that the airlines received a “demand” about the new U.S. regulations and planned “to take some security measures, including security safety interviews from today on.”

“We’re not going to interview all passengers, but focus on those with a certain degree of risk when checking the passengers’ documents on the ground,” he said, without elaborating.

An official with the Eastern Airlines publicity department said that she saw media reports about security safety interviews but didn’t have immediate details on what her company was doing. An official at the Beijing Airport press centre would only say: “We always strictly follow relevant regulations of the Civil Aviation Administration when conducting security checks.” Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.

South Korea’s Transport Ministry said that the United States agreed to delay implementing the new screening for the country’s two biggest carriers, Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc., until next year on condition they deploy staff at boarding gates to monitor travellers.

Royal Jordanian, based in Amman, also has said it would introduce the new procedures in mid-January.

Other airlines with U.S.-bound flights at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport brought in as many as seven extra staff Thursday to question passengers under the new rules but there were no major delays, airport spokesman Lee Jung-hoon said.

Singapore Airlines passengers may be required to “undergo enhanced security measures” including inspection of personal electronic devices “as well as security questioning during check-in and boarding,” the carrier said on its website.

Other carriers who announced the new regulations on Wednesday included Air France, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., the airlines of Germany’s Lufthansa Group and EgyptAir.

U.S. carriers also will be affected by the new rules. Delta Air Lines said it was telling passengers travelling to the U.S. to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight and allow extra time to get through security. United declined to comment, while American did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In March, U.S. officials introduced the laptop ban in the cabins of some Mideast airlines over concerns Islamic State fighters and other extremists could hide bombs inside of them. The ban was lifted after those airlines began using devices like CT scanners to examine electronics before passengers boarded planes heading to the U.S. Some also increasingly swab passengers’ hands to check for explosive residue.

The laptop ban as well as travel bans affecting predominantly Muslim countries have hurt Mideast airlines. Emirates, the region’s biggest, said it slashed 20 per cent of its flights to the U.S. in the wake of the restrictions.
___
Associated Press writers Yu Bing in Beijing, Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong, Anna Johnson in Phoenix and Youkyung Lee in Seoul contributed to this report.

One person shot in the abdomen in Brampton

CityNews | posted Thursday, Oct 26th, 2017

A man suffered non-life threatening injuries in an early morning shooting in Brampton (CityNews)

One person has been rushed to hospital after a shooting in Brampton.

Emergency officials were called to the scene at West Drive and Queen Street East, just east of Highway 410, around 5 a.m. on Thursday.

Paramedics said the victim was shot in the abdomen. His injuries are considered serious but not life-threatening.

A short distance away, police are also investigating after a number of shell casings were found in the Clark Boulevard and Heart Lake Road South area, just west of the 410.

There has been no word if these two investigations are connected.

Clark Boulevard is now closed in both directions from Rutherford Road and West Drive.

Boy’s problems bringing iPad to school a bigger issue, autism advocate says

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Oct 25th, 2017

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The mother of a non-verbal, six-year-old boy with autism said until CityNews got involved, his Brampton school would not allow him to bring his iPad to class — the best way for him to communicate and express his needs.

Tara Bourgeois said she had been asking Homestead Public School for the concession since the beginning of the year, and officials kept putting her off.

She claimed taking away his mode of communication left her son Justin frustrated and has hindered his school year. He uses an app that speaks for him as he points at pictures.

“Sometimes I have to do a nudge on the arm, but most times when the iPad is in his view he knows to use it,” Bourgeois said.

Bourgeois said on Friday, the school’s principal again said Justin could not bring the iPad to class, and that’s when she reached out to CityNews.

Within two hours of CityNews contacting the Peel District School Board, the principal called Bourgeois and said her son could bring the iPad to class after all.

“We regret the length of time it has taken to review the request,” said Ted Byers, the board’s superintendent of special education support services.

“We are investigating the concerns and will be connecting with the parent tomorrow to learn more.”

The incident highlights the many struggles parents of children with autism have with school boards across the province, according to Bruce McIntosh, president of the Ontario Autism Coalition.

The group recently conducted a survey of 4,000 families of children with autism. McIntosh said the results show a pattern of roadblocks for parents fighting for their children.

“The special education system in Ontario is not serving the needs of the students that it’s supposed to help,” said McIntosh. “We’re finding that parents have to constantly fight in order to get what ought to be automatically provided.”

The Ontario Autism Coalition is holding a rally at Queen’s Park this Thursday to highlight the issue.

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