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Trump heads to Florida to survey Irma recovery

CATHERINE LUCEY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Sep 14th, 2017

President Donald Trump will hear directly from people affected by Irma’s fury as he makes his third visit in less than three weeks to the storm-wracked South.

Trump, joined by Vice-President Mike Pence, was scheduled to visit Naples and Fort Myers on Florida’s southwestern coast Thursday to meet with those affected by the hurricane and learn more about relief efforts.

He tweeted Wednesday that he planned to meet “with our great Coast Guard, FEMA and many of the brave first responders & others.”

The daytrip to Florida follows two earlier outings in which Trump took in Harvey recovery efforts in late August. During the president’s first trip to Texas, immediately after Harvey, he drew criticism for having minimal interaction with residents, seeing little damage and offering few expressions of concern. On his second trip, with stops in Texas and Louisiana, he was more hands-on, visiting with those driven from their homes by Harvey, touring a Houston mega-shelter housing hundreds of displaced people and briefly walking streets lined with soggy, discarded possessions.

The president monitored Irma over the weekend from Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland.

Businesses near future safe injection site concerned about security

CityNews | posted Thursday, Sep 14th, 2017

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From crack and heroin dealers, to sexual favours being performed out in the open, the scene near a future safe injection site has been rough in recent months, according to local businesses.

They’re worried neighbourhood safety will get even worse once a planned safe injection site opens at the Queen West Community Health Centre (CHC) at Bathurst and Richmond streets. Since the site was announced last year, Patrick Penman, co-owner of The Football Factory across the street, said he’s noticed a change in the people frequenting the area, adding one of them threatened his customers.

“He threatened to cut the heads off of the people sitting on the patio and then when I told him that was not a good idea, then he threatened to cut my head off,” Penman said. “He punched me in the face, split my lip open, cut my face.

“He was tasered 12 times by cops and kept getting back up and he injured two officers in the process.”

Penman’s bar and restaurant has been in business at that location for a decade. During that time, they’ve had a bumpy but amicable relationship with their the Queen West CHC. But since it was announced the centre will be one of Toronto’s three safe infection sites, things have changed, according to Penman.

“There’s been a turnover with the local drug dealers,” he said. “The local drug dealer, or that group, had been here for a decade.

“He was murdered on the corner, and there’s a new, much more savvy, group that has come down. It’s almost like, you go where the business is. They came into the neighbourhood to take over the neighbourhood, waiting for the influx of people coming to use the safe injection sites.”

Across the street, several homes slated for redevelopment have been boarded up. But area businesses claim the new dealers on the block have begun using the vacant properties as bawdy houses, cooking drugs and bringing in sex-trade workers.

 

Photos provided to CityNews allegedly show people openly smoking crack, and an influx of dealers and users around the Queen West CHC when the sun goes down.

Penman and others are calling for 24-hour security outside the centre as well as security cameras. Area councillor Joe Cressy said police are working on security measures though he doesn’t believe crime is on the rise.

“The research has shown that when safe injection sites go in, local crime and public drug use goes down because it moves inside,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that we don’t have safety and security protocols in place. We’re working really closely with the Toronto Police Service and the local division to have them in place 24 hours.”

Cressy denied claims made by citizens that the city “cherry picked the research” and “screwed the numbers” to back its claims that injection sites make communities safer.

“We have, in downtown Toronto, incidents associated with crime unfortunately,” he said. “We also have an escalating overdose crisis. I think it would be unfair to say, ‘I had a criminal experience; therefore it must be the fault of a supervised injection site to come in the future.’”

Toronto police confirm they’re working on a safety plan for the areas around the safe injection sites.

Penman said officers he’s spoken to have said their resources are being pushed to the limits. They’ve told him when they’re called to situations around the Queen West CHC, it’s basically a catch-and-release program.

Currently in Toronto there is one official safe injection site running near Yonge and Dundas streets, with more slated to open in the coming months.

1 dead in Mississauga crash, driver arrested for impaired driving

CityNews | posted Thursday, Sep 14th, 2017

Peel police investigate a fatal crash at Mavis and Bristol roads in Mississauga on Sept. 14, 2017. CITYNEWS

Peel police are investigating a suspected drunk driving crash in Mississauga that left one man dead and another in hospital with serious injuries.

Two vehicles were involved in the crash.

Police were called to Mavis and Bristol roads, near Eglinton Avenue West, around 1:15 a.m. on Thursday. Const. Lori Murphy said one of the vehicles flipped over and caught on fire.

One of the two males inside that vehicle died at the scene, while another was taken to hospital with life-threatening injuries. Their ages are not yet known.

Police say the driver of the second vehicle was taken to hospital with minor injuries. He is in custody for impaired driving.

Roads in the area are closed for the police investigation.

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Cost of parking could be going up in Toronto, higher hourly rates proposed

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Sep 13th, 2017

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Torontonians could soon be paying more at the parking meter in some parts of the city.

The Toronto Parking Authority (TPA) has reviewed its city-wide On-Street Paid Parking program for 2017 and is proposing to hit the gas pedal and drive the hourly rates up. The changes will be considered by the government management committee on Sept. 25, and could be implemented as soon as the fall.

Regular increases to the charges at Green P lots and on-street parking spaces aren’t new, with prices normally going up by 15-25 per cent. However, this time, prices could go up as much as 50 per cent.

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The increase in hourly rates are expected to hit a few select parts of the city and could effect paid parking Monday to Sunday.

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Among those areas subject to an increase in parking rates are College Street and Danforth Avenue, two areas of the city that know all too well about parking troubles that’s to on-going summer construction.

“The construction has been on the south side, now to implement [increased parking costs] on the north side, it’s like rubbing salt in the wounds,” says Ben Swirsky, who co-owns a restaurant and bar in the area. Alchemy opened its door a month ago and just started adjusting to the construction.

CityNews reached out to the TPA for comment on this proposal. They did not have anyone available to answer our questions.

One city councillor says the increases are justified. According to Ward 19 Coun. Mike Layton, each neighbourhood should be treated equally, and some of the listed streets haven’t seen a price increase in years.

The review reflects the areas with a growing demand when it comes to parking spaces, Layton said. “It is a revenue tool for the city. If we can use it to make more money, I don’t see the problem.”

Layton also adds that a portion of revenue generated from these increases will go back to the city as dividends. The remainder will be used by TPA towards buying new parking lots and maintaining old ones

And while business owners understand, change is always hard to come by.

“People are never good with change. [Before], rates before were debatable. [The increase] is not going to help us,” says Swirsky.

“If you’re going to increase the rates, do it after the construction is completely done.”

Layton says the city has been in talks with TPA to make this transition early and less impactful: they hope to slowly implement the increased parking rates gradually over the year.

Wynne to testify at byelection bribery trial

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Sep 13th, 2017

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks at the Ford Essex Engine Plant in Windsor, Ont. on Thursday, March 30, 2017. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she's "pleased" the state of New York has dropped proposed Buy American provisions from its state budget. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Dave Chidley

It is unprecedented in recent memory – a sitting Premier of Ontario testifying in a trial – but that is what will happen on Wednesday in Sudbury.

Two prominent Liberals have been charged with attempting to bribe a would-be candidate in the 2014 Sudbury byelection.

Pat Sorbara, once Kathleen Wynne’s former campaign manager, and Gerry Lougheed, a well-known and powerful Liberal fundraiser, allegedly offered Andrew Olivier a job if he would step aside to free the race for their handpicked candidate – now energy minister Glenn Thibeault.

Although Wynne doesn’t have to testify – she could have invoked parliamentary privilege – she announced earlier this year that she would be taking the witness stand.

“I will testify, I will go along with the process and do what I can to clarify, as I have in the legislature many, many, many times,” she said in July.

 

Ontario donating $150k to Irma relief in hard-hit Caribbean islands

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Sep 13th, 2017

FILE- This Sept. 11, 2017 file photo shows pedestrians walking by on a flooded street as Tropical Storm Irma hits Charleston, S.C. While preliminary data suggest Irma's eye pushed a surge of more than 10 feet hit onto southwest Florida's Marco Island, the highest water levels were reported hundreds of miles away in Jacksonville, Fla., and Savannah, Ga., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.(AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)

TORONTO – The Ontario government is contributing $150,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to help people in the Caribbean recovering from hurricane Irma.

Premier Kathleen Wynne says in a statement that Irma and its consequences are “a worst nightmare come true” for millions of people.

Wynne also says she has sent a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott offering her sympathies and support.

Hydro One employees and equipment are already on their way to Florida to help restore power to millions of Floridians.

And Wynne says she has informed the federal government that Ontario is ready to assist a Canadian response to the disaster.

The death toll from hurricane Irma stood at 47 on Tuesday. At least 37 people were reported killed across the Caribbean islands while 18 deaths were reported in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

“On behalf of the people of Ontario, I extend our heartfelt compassion to all of the people who are suffering in the destructive aftermath of hurricane Irma,” Wynne said Tuesday.

“I want to thank every single person here in Ontario who has committed to help, and encourage everyone to consider making a personal donation to the Canadian Red Cross,” she said.

Apple iPhone 8 and X: 10 things you need to know

Winston Sih | posted Tuesday, Sep 12th, 2017

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Apple unveiled the latest iterations of iPhone at their futuristic Apple Park campus in Cupertino, Calif., Tuesday morning. At the first event in the Steve Jobs Theater, the tech giant is hoping not one—but three—new devices will have consumers digging for their wallets to get their hands on a new smartphone.

Celebrating the 10th-anniversary of iPhone, here are 10 things you need to know about the newly announced devices:

1. Three new iPhones to choose from

Unveiled were iPhone 8 and 8 Plus—an upgrade from their iPhone 7 sibling on the market today. It features an all-new glass and aluminum design, single- and dual-lens cameras on the devices, respectively, and an A11 Bionic chip that runs 30 per cent faster than the previous A10 chip. Also announced was iPhone X—pronounced ‘ten’— featuring an all-glass design and an OLED Super Retina display.

2. There’s still no headphone jack, and they ditched the home button, too

Yes, the headphone jack is gone—likely for good—and while iPhone 8 preserves the button that seemingly does almost everything, iPhone X ditches the home button, too. It is replaced by swipe gestures to unlock, multitask, and a new side button allows you to activate the Siri voice assistant and Apple Pay.

3. Your face will unlock your phone

Through a new feature on iPhone X, FaceID will replace the biometric TouchID fingerprint reader. It uses a unique camera system to map a user’s face on the fly, and depth-sensing technology allows you to unlock your device, use Apple Pay, and gain access to secure apps.

4. The screen that changes everything

If you’re looking for an immersive experience, iPhone X is worth waiting for. The device features an all-new, edge-to-edge, 5.8-inch Super Retina OLED display. This means you’ll get truer blacks, vivid colours, and a wider gamut through high-definition resolution. The OLED display is a first-of-its-kind in an iPhone, and features a 2436×1125 resolution.

5. Say goodbye to cord city

Apple is doubling down in wireless charging technology, through the all-glass backs on iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X. Through third-party accessories that support the Qi charging standard and their own AirPower mat accessory, users will now be able to charge their iPhone, Apple Watch Series 3, and AirPods without plugging in individual cables—a challenge many users have been hoping for a solution to for a long time.

6. Augmented reality is in

Coupled with the new A11 Bionic chip and new cameras on iPhone 8 Plus, the company believes augmented reality technology is in. Cameras are designed to work with built-in gyroscopes and accelerometers to track motion, and with graphics supported at 60 frames per second, developers will be able to tailor apps to enable users to star gaze, read live player stats at baseball games, and more, right from an app on your phone.

7. All-new cameras

All three devices feature improved cameras—12 megapixel rear cameras to be exact. iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X feature a dual rear camera, and that brings new functionality like the Portrait Lighting mode that can digitally modify lighting to users’ specific preferences—all in real time.

8. Animojis to make you laugh

One of my faves—emojis have become part of our everyday vernacular, and Apple is bringing them alive by way of an ‘Animoji.’ An animated emoji that will use the front-facing camera to measure your face, animate your favourite emojis into life-like characters, and record a short clip for text messaging. This will no doubt be addictive to not just your everyday millennial, but grandparents alike.

9. Yes, it’s pricey

It’s a steep price point, but no doubt many will be lining up overnight to be the first to get their hands on a device. In Canada, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus will be available in 64GB and 256GB capacities starting at $929, and iPhone X will retail for over $1,300. Wireless carriers will have individual pricing on contract.

10. Is it worth the upgrade?

If you’ve been waiting out for a new iPhone—this is a good time to upgrade. iPhone 7 users will see improvements through the free iOS upgrade.  Whether it’s iPhone 8 or iPhone X, you’re sure to see many improvements on both software and hardware fronts. iPhone X—a special-edition device in itself, celebrating 10 years of iPhone—will be a high-demand smartphone, but you’ll have to wait out until Nov. 3 to get your hands on one. You can pre-order iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus on Sep. 15, in stores on Sep. 22.

Tory would beat Ford in mayoral election: poll

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Sep 12th, 2017

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Toronto is more than a year away from the next municipal election, and a new poll suggests things might look the same in 2018.

John Tory should not have much trouble getting re-elected against Doug Ford, according to a poll released on Tuesday.

A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds Torontonians would easily elect Tory, with one big caveat.

“John Tory has nothing to fear from a one-on-one match-up against Doug Ford,” said Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet research, “but things get much more interesting if there’s a strong progressive candidate in the race.”

Against Ford, Tory wins easily with a 27-point lead (including undecided voters) but the lead is cut by 20 points to just seven points if he were to face both Ford and city councillor Mike Layton.

“It’s clear that if both Layton and Ford were to run that Tory would be in trouble, at least initially,” Maggi said in a statement.

“None of us can guess how a mayoral campaign might turn out and what missteps the candidates could make. In a three-way race with Layton and Ford, Tory receives 35 per cent [of the vote], Ford 28 per cent and Layton 26 per cent. it’s a situation in which any of the three could ultimately win the campaign. The risk for progressives is a strong campaign from the left could mean the election of Doug Ford as mayor and vice-versa the risk for ‘Ford Nation’ is that Ford’s candidacy could lead to a mayor further to the left than Tory.”

In the chart below, Tory supporters are shown in green, Ford voters are blue, Layton supporters are orange,and undecided votes are in dark blue.

Mainstreet spoke to 1,000 Toronto residents on the phone, both landline and cell phone, on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9. The margin of error for survey results is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Mainstreet spoke to 1,000 Toronto residents on the phone, both landline and cell phone, on Sept. 8 and Sept. 9. The margin of error for survey results is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Doug Ford, the former one-term city councillor, announced his intention to enter the mayoral race during his family’s annual Ford Fest barbecue in Etobicoke on Friday.

“I’m here to continue on Rob’s legacy … and I just have to say Robbie, this one’s for you,” Ford told the crowd.

The next day, Saturday, Tory said he wasn’t “going to worry about it.”

Tory avoided any mention of Ford by name but referred to the “total dysfunction” of City Hall before he won the mayoral race three years ago.

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