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Raptors confirm Dwane Casey’s three-year contract extension

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 7th, 2016

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey yells to his players during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 30, 2013, in Atlanta. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/John Bazemore
The Toronto Raptors have confirmed head coach Dwane Casey’s contract extension.

The team says the two sides have agreed “on principal terms” of a three-year deal through the 2018-19 season.

There was no confirmation of a dollar figure from the team but reports last week said the agreement was worth US$18 million.

Casey oversaw the team’s most successful season in 2015-16, steering the Raptors to a franchise-record 56 wins in the regular season and a berth in the Eastern Conference final.

Raptors GM Masai Ujiri promised last week that the deal would get done “in his sleep,” and he worked quickly to make it happen.

He said in a release Tuesday that Casey has “done an excellent job leading our teams to success on the court and with helping us develop a winning culture throughout our organization.”


Related stories:

Cavaliers win ends Raptors’ historic and thrilling post-season run

Raptors celebrate their brotherhood en route to franchise-best season

Raptors GM Ujiri says bringing back star guard DeRozan is top priority


Casey inherited a team that went 22-60 in 2010-11 and had long suffered from a stigma of playoff failures. He methodically moulded the Raptors into a hard-nosed, defensive-minded team that won a franchise-record 48 games in his third season and has improved upon that number in each of the last two years.

He entered the season still feeling some pressure after back-to-back first-round exits. But the Raptors beat the Pacers and the Heat in seven-game series and handed the Cleveland Cavaliers their first two losses of the playoffs in a six-game defeat in the Eastern Conference final.

“I really think we’re a step ahead in the process,” Casey said after the Game 6 loss to Cleveland. “The players worked and put themselves in this process. We’re still a relatively young team to talk about competing for a championship, but they put themselves in that position by hard work and fighting through things this season.”

Along the way, the well-respected Casey has displayed a strong ability to develop talent. He helped the mercurial Kyle Lowry harness his attitude and aggression and blossom into one of the best point guards in the league, helped DeMar DeRozan diversify his game and become one of the better mid-range scorers in the league and, most recently, got Bismack Biyombo to realize his potential after struggling in Charlotte.

Now Lowry and DeRozan are all-stars and Biyombo has positioned himself for a massive pay day in free agency.

“We still have a ways to go, and I’ve said this the whole time, that next step is probably the biggest step we have to take as an organization and as individuals,” Casey said. “Myself included, the coaching staff, each player. We just talked in there a while ago about what each guy has to do, what they have to bring back to the table for us to take the next step, that next step, and it’s not going to be easy.”

With files from The Associated Press

Councillor pushes for TTC to examine driverless bus technology

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jun 7th, 2016

Is Toronto ready for driverless buses?

As Google and a number of car manufacturers continue experimenting with unmanned cars, a driverless shuttle bus has already hit the road in the Netherlands.

Contain your enthusiasm, however. The WePod is an electric bus that shuttles six people 200 metres at a speed of eight km/h along a lake in the Dutch agricultural town of Wageningen.

But it’s enough for Toronto Coun. Michelle Holland to ask city council to push the TTC to develop plans for new technology in its operations.

“The City of Beverly Hills in California has not been particularly known for public transit in the past,” the motion reads, “but it is looking to incorporate automated buses to pick up passengers, which will then connect them to new rapid transit lines in the area.”

“It is essential that with the current pace of technological change that the City of Toronto’s public transit system properly prepare for the use of these new technologies.”

Given that the Dutch bus is still in a trial phase, we’re a long way from seeing a driverless bus on the 32 Eglinton West route. But the technology is there, and Wageningen isn’t the only city doing trials. Driverless bus experiments are also underway in Lausanne, Switzerland, Trikala, Greece, Zhengzhou, China, and Milton Keynes, UK.

And there’s nothing wrong with the TTC – or any government agency, for that matter – thinking ahead. For much of the TTC’s existence it has been playing catch-up; it was less than two years ago that the transit system began accepting credit and debit card payments, and the Presto card system, which effectively ties all forms of transit in the GTA together, has been rolling out over the past year. So it would be nice to see the TTC in a position to embrace technology as it arrives.

The biggest factor in technological advancements undoubtedly is cost. At €3 million (C$4.4 million), the Dutch trial isn’t cheap.

But like all technologies, the price and reliability of the driverless bus will improve as it becomes more prevalent.

And who would you yell at when the bus misses your stop?

Woodstock students walk out in midst of suicide crisis

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jun 7th, 2016

File photo of Museum Square in Woodstock.

Woodstock high school students are planning to walk out of class on Tuesday to raise awareness about a suicide crisis in their small town.

Students are also concerned that none of the efforts to address the epidemic included them.

Five young people have killed themselves since the beginning of 2016, and there have been many more attempts, the London Free Press reported. Woodstock has a population of about 38,000.

Students will leave their seats at 9 a.m. and head to Woodstock’s Museum Square, according to a post on the Student Walk Out Facebook page.

“We want this event to be super positive … how could it not be when you really sit back and realize the impact you have all had on the community?” organizer and social worker Gail Bradfield wrote.

“I, along with so many others could not be more proud of you ALL! Tomorrow once we feel like everyone has arrived to Museum Square, you will hear the music stop and the talking will get under way. Please be respectful of your peers … they are going to be speaking to you about personal stories … and we owe them some respect.”

Chalk messages of support have already appeared outside some high schools. See the photos below:

Chalk messages of support have appeared outside Woodstock high schools after a suicide crisis. Image credit: Student Walk Out Facebook page.
Chalk messages of support have appeared outside Woodstock high schools after a suicide crisis. Image credit: Student Walk Out Facebook page.
Chalk messages of support have appeared outside Woodstock high schools after a suicide crisis. Image credit: Student Walk Out Facebook page.
Chalk messages of support have appeared outside Woodstock high schools after a suicide crisis. Image credit: Student Walk Out Facebook page.

At least five high schools are expected to take part in the walkout. They’re protesting what they believe is inaction by their own school boards.

School boards in the Woodstock area say they have had mental health strategies in place before the walkouts, and part one of the plan is “activating” the adults in the community.

The city has also had a public meeting on the issue, the CBC reported.

Teen are asking for lessons on mental health to be added to the curriculum, letting outside agencies into schools to help students, and crisis beds in Woodstock. Currently, students who need mental health treatment are sent to nearby London.

College Avenue Secondary School sent home a letter to parents, saying it has consulted with mental health experts and “they have advised that assemblies and other large group gatherings of students should be avoided. Not only are they not effective ways of engaging students, they can also be triggering for those students who are most vulnerable.”

5 things to know about Ramadan

GINELLA MASSA | posted Monday, Jun 6th, 2016

What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar. It is believed the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during this month. The Islamic calendar follows the lunar year and is shorter than the Gregorian calendar, so Ramadan shifts back about 10 days every year. Depending on the sighting of the new moon, and where in the world you live, Ramadan is set to begin June 6th or 7th this year. You can greet Muslims with the phrase “Ramadan Kareem” which means “generous Ramadan”.

How does fasting work?
During the month of Ramadan, millions of Muslims around the world will fast from before dawn to sunset. Many will wake up early for suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, and break their fast with dates and water at sunset, enjoying the iftaar meal with family and friends.

Because Ramadan lands during the month of June this year, Muslims in Toronto will fast for about 17 hours of daylight. During the fast they are required to abstain from food and water, as well as smoking and sexual intercourse. They are also encouraged to refrain from distasteful behavior such as lying, cursing, or speaking negatively about others behind their back.

Who is exempt from fasting?
The sick, elderly, young children, anyone who is travelling a long distance, and women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or menstruating are all exempt from fasting. Those who cannot fast during Ramadan can make up the fasts later in the year, or donate to charity instead.

Why do Muslims fast?
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam (The others are: belief in one God, and Muhammad as his final messenger; five daily prayers; giving to charity, and pilgrimage to Makkah during one’s lifetime). It is a time for spiritual reflection, a means to practice patience and self-restraint, and an opportunity to remember those less fortunate.

When does Ramadan end?
Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the new moon. The end of Ramadan is celebrated with Eid-ul-Fitr and is typically marked with a special morning prayer, visits with family and friends, and a donation to charity.

Police officers to fan out across eight busy Toronto intersections

CityNews | posted Monday, Jun 6th, 2016

Starting next Monday, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists will notice extra police officers at eight busy intersections in the city.

They will be working as “traffic assistant personnel,” or TAP, to help improve traffic flow and the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Monday’s announcement, which took place at Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue – one of eight “congestion hotspots” – detailed plans to use “smart” traffic signals and police personnel to help direct traffic flow.

The pilot project is the latest in Mayor John Tory’s plan to cut down on gridlock across the city. Last year, in phase one, Tory introduced zero-tolerance for illegal parking during rush hour.

Earlier this year, Tory announced phase two of his congestion management plan, which includes implementing new technology for stoplights at 10 “hot-spot” intersections across the city. At the time, Tory said he was considering having people direct traffic.


Related stories:

Tory announces ‘smart’ stoplights at key intersections to help tackle gridlock

T.O. drivers rejoice: Road congestion in the city is improving

Vehicle towings doubled last year, thanks to Mayor Tory


Police officers will be deployed during peak periods at the following intersections:

  • Bay Street and Queen Street
  • Front Street and Simcoe Street
  • Lake Shore Boulevard and Parklawn Road
  • Sheppard Avenue and Yonge Street
  • Front Street and University Avenue
  • Bay Street and Bloor Street
  • University Avenue and Adelaide Street
  • Bay Street from Bloor Street to Front Street

“The goal is to improve the traffic flow and to improve the safety of pedestrians in these intersections,” Tory said at the press conference.

“The police officers will direct traffic, making sure that vehicles don’t block intersections … to keep vehicles moving and keep pedestrians and cyclists safe.”

The pilot project starts on June 13 and will take place during four weeks in the summer and four weeks in the fall.

Capybara tracks spotted at High Park Zoo

CityNews | posted Monday, Jun 6th, 2016

Tracks from the two elusive capybaras have been spotted at the High Park Zoo.

“Staff know that they are in the park and where they are,” Friends of the High Park Zoo posted on Facebook on Sunday.

“Yes tracks have been confirmed, now to get them home.”

Watch a video about the growing concerns for the capybaras below or click here to view it.

he two female capybaras have been missing since May 24.

Zoo officials say the pair bolted when a new capybara was moving in to their pen around 6 a.m. that morning.

Capybaras are the world’s largest rodents. Fully grown, they can reach over four feet in height and can weigh as much as 140 pounds – they also look like large guinea pigs. They enjoy swimming and don’t like children.

The escape led to the nicknames Bonnie and Clyde (perhaps Thelma and Louise would have been better) for the pair, a parody Twitter account, an online video game, and joking comments from Mayor John Tory about forming a search party.

However, the zoo could be in real trouble, an animal welfare group told the CBC. A representative for ZooCheck said that the zoo could face charges under the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, especially given the zoo’s history.

This isn’t the first time an animal has run free from the High Park Zoo.

Almost exactly a year ago, the High Park Peacock escaped from the zoo and was on the loose in Toronto for days before returning home on its own.

In 2009, six animals – four llamas, one yak and one wallaby – escaped from the zoo after someone opened their enclosures.

Muhammad Ali, who riveted the world as ‘The Greatest,’ dies

TIM DAHLBERG, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Saturday, Jun 4th, 2016

He was fast of fist and foot – lip, too – a heavyweight champion who promised to shock the world and did. He floated. He stung. Mostly he thrilled, even after the punches had taken their toll and his voice barely rose above a whisper.

He was The Greatest.

Muhammad Ali died Friday at age 74, according to a statement from the family. He was hospitalized in the Phoenix area with respiratory problems earlier this week, and his children had flown in from around the country.

“It’s a sad day for life, man. I loved Muhammad Ali, he was my friend. Ali will never die,” Don King, who promoted some of Ali’s biggest fights, told The Associated Press early Saturday. “Like Martin Luther King his spirit will live on, he stood for the world.”

A funeral will be held in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. The city plans a memorial service Saturday.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer ordered flags lowered to half-staff to honour Ali.

“The values of hard work, conviction and compassion that Muhammad Ali developed while growing up in Louisville helped him become a global icon,” Fischer said. “As a boxer, he became The Greatest, though his most lasting victories happened outside the ring.”

With a wit as sharp as the punches he used to “whup” opponents, Ali dominated sports for two decades before time and Parkinson’s disease, triggered by thousands of blows to the head, ravaged his magnificent body, muted his majestic voice and ended his storied career in 1981.

He won and defended the heavyweight championship in epic fights in exotic locations, spoke loudly on behalf of blacks, and famously refused to be drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War because of his Muslim beliefs.

Despite his debilitating illness, he travelled the world to rapturous receptions even after his once-bellowing voice was quieted and he was left to communicate with a wink or a weak smile.

“He was the greatest fighter of all time but his boxing career is secondary to his contribution to the world,” promoter Bob Arum told the AP early Saturday. “He’s the most transforming figure of my time certainly.”


Related stories:

Bouts with granite-chinned George Chuvalo were Ali’s Canadian legacy

In his words: Muhammad Ali’s most famous quotes


Revered by millions worldwide and reviled by millions more, Ali cut quite a figure, 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds in his prime. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” his cornermen exhorted, and he did just that in a way no heavyweight had ever fought before.

He fought in three different decades, finished with a record of 56-5 with 37 knockouts – 26 of those bouts promoted by Arum – and was the first man to win heavyweight titles three times.

He whipped the fearsome Sonny Liston twice, toppled the mighty George Foreman with the rope-a-dope in Zaire, and nearly fought to the death with Joe Frazier in the Philippines. Through it all, he was trailed by a colorful entourage who merely added to his growing legend.

“Rumble, young man, rumble,” cornerman Bundini Brown would yell to him.

And rumble Ali did. He fought anyone who meant anything and made millions of dollars with his lightning-quick jab. His fights were so memorable that they had names – “Rumble in the Jungle” and “Thrilla in Manila.”

But it was as much his antics – and his mouth – outside the ring that transformed the man born Cassius Clay into a household name as Muhammad Ali.

“I am the greatest,” Ali thundered again and again.

Few would disagree.

Ali spurned white America when he joined the Black Muslims and changed his name. He defied the draft at the height of the Vietnam war – “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong” – and lost 3 1/2 years from the prime of his career. He entertained world leaders, once telling Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos: “I saw your wife. You’re not as dumb as you look.”

He later embarked on a second career as a missionary for Islam.

“Boxing was my field mission, the first part of my life,” he said in 1990, adding with typical braggadocio, “I will be the greatest evangelist ever.”

Ali couldn’t fulfil that goal because Parkinson’s robbed him of his speech. It took such a toll on his body that the sight of him in his later years – trembling, his face frozen, the man who invented the Ali Shuffle now barely able to walk – shocked and saddened those who remembered him in his prime.

“People naturally are going to be sad to see the effects of his disease,” Hana, one of his daughters, said, when he turned 65. “But if they could really see him in the calm of his everyday life, they would not be sorry for him. He’s at complete peace, and he’s here learning a greater lesson.”

The quiet of Ali’s later life was in contrast to the roar of a career that had breathtaking highs as well as terrible lows. He exploded on the public scene with a series of nationally televised fights that gave the public an exciting new champion, and he entertained millions as he sparred verbally with the likes of bombastic sportscaster Howard Cosell.

Ali once calculated he had taken 29,000 punches to the head and made $57 million in his pro career, but the effect of the punches lingered long after most of the money was gone. That didn’t stop him from travelling tirelessly to promote Islam, meet with world leaders and champion legislation dubbed the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act. While slowed in recent years, he still managed to make numerous appearances, including a trip to the 2012 London Olympics.

Despised by some for his outspoken beliefs and refusal to serve in the U.S. Army in the 1960s, an aging Ali became a poignant figure whose mere presence at a sporting event would draw long standing ovations.

With his hands trembling so uncontrollably that the world held its breath, he lit the Olympic torch for the 1996 Atlanta Games in a performance as riveting as some of his fights.

A few years after that, he sat mute in a committee room in Washington, his mere presence enough to convince lawmakers to pass the boxing reform bill that bore his name.

Members of his inner circle weren’t surprised. They had long known Ali as a humanitarian who once wouldn’t think twice about getting in his car and driving hours to visit a terminally ill child. They saw him as a man who seemed to like everyone he met – even his archrival Frazier.

“I consider myself one of the luckiest guys in the world just to call him my friend,” former business manager Gene Kilroy said. “If I was to die today and go to heaven it would be a step down. My heaven was being with Ali.”

One of his biggest opponents would later become a big fan, too. On the eve of the 35th anniversary of their “Rumble in the Jungle,” Foreman paid tribute to the man who so famously stopped him in the eighth round of their 1974 heavyweight title fight, the first ever held in Africa.

“I don’t call him the best boxer of all time, but he’s the greatest human being I ever met,” Foreman said. “To this day he’s the most exciting person I ever met in my life.”

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay on Jan. 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky, Ali began boxing at age 12 after his new bicycle was stolen and he vowed to policeman Joe Martin that he would “whup” the person who took it.

He was only 89 pounds at the time, but Martin began training him at his boxing gym, the beginning of a six-year amateur career that ended with the light heavyweight Olympic gold medal in 1960.

Ali had already encountered racism. On boxing trips, he and his amateur teammates would have to stay in the car while Martin bought them hamburgers. When he returned to Louisville with his gold medal, the Chamber of Commerce presented him a citation but said it didn’t have time to co-sponsor a dinner.

In his autobiography, “The Greatest,” Ali wrote that he tossed the medal into the Ohio River after a fight with a white motorcycle gang, which started when he and a friend were refused service at a Louisville restaurant.

The story may be apocryphal, and Ali later told friends he simply misplaced the medal. Regardless, he had made his point.

After he beat Liston to win the heavyweight title in 1964, Ali shocked the boxing world by announcing he was a member of the Black Muslims – the Nation of Islam – and was rejecting his “slave name.”

As a Baptist youth he spent much of his time outside the ring reading the Bible. From now on, he would be known as Muhammad Ali and his book of choice would be the Qur’an.

Ali’s affiliation with the Nation of Islam outraged and disturbed many white Americans, but it was his refusal to be inducted into the Army that angered them most.

That happened on April 28, 1967, a month after he knocked out Zora Folley in the seventh round at Madison Square Garden in New York for his eighth title defence.

He was convicted of draft evasion, stripped of his title and banned from boxing.

Ali appealed the conviction on grounds he was a Muslim minister. He married 17-year-old Belinda Boyd, the second of his four wives, a month after his conviction, and had four children with her. He had two more with his third wife, Veronica Porsche, and he and his fourth wife, Lonnie Williams, adopted a son.

During his banishment, Ali spoke at colleges and briefly appeared in a Broadway musical called “Big Time Buck White.” Still facing a prison term, he was allowed to resume boxing three years later, and he came back to stop Jerry Quarry in three rounds on Oct. 26, 1970, in Atlanta despite efforts by Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox to block the bout.

He was still facing a possible prison sentence when he fought Frazier for the first time on March 8, 1971, in what was labeled “The Fight of the Century.”

A few months later the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction on an 8-0 vote.

“I’ve done my celebrating already,” Ali said after being informed of the decision. “I said a prayer to Allah.”

Many in boxing believe Ali was never the same fighter after his lengthy layoff, even though he won the heavyweight championship two more times and fought for another decade.

Perhaps his most memorable fight was the “Rumble in the Jungle,” when he upset a brooding Foreman to become heavyweight champion once again at age 32.

Many worried that Ali could be seriously hurt by the powerful Foreman, who had knocked Frazier down six times in a second round TKO.

But while his peak fighting days may have been over, he was still in fine form verbally. He promoted the fight relentlessly, as only he could.

“You think the world was shocked when Nixon resigned,” he said. “Wait till I whup George Foreman’s behind.”

Ali won over a country before he won the fight, mingling with people as he trained and displaying the kind of playful charm the rest of the world had already seen. On the plane into the former Congo he asked what the citizens of Zaire disliked most. He was told it was Belgians because they had once colonized the country.

“George Foreman is a Belgian,” Ali cried out to the huge crowd that greeted him at the airport. By the time the fight finally went off in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, 1974, Zaire was his.

“Ali booma-ya (Ali kill him),” many of the 60,000 fans screamed as the fight began in Kinshasa.

Ali pulled out a huge upset to win the heavyweight title for a second time, allowing Foreman to punch himself out. He used what he would later call the “rope-a-dope” strategy – something even trainer Angelo Dundee knew nothing about.

Finally, he knocked out an exhausted Foreman in the eighth round, touching off wild celebrations among his African fans.

“I told you I was the greatest,” Ali said.

That might have been argued by followers of Joe Louis or Rocky Marciano or Sugar Ray Robinson, but there was no doubt that Ali was just what boxing needed in the early 1960s.

He spouted poetry and brash predictions. After the sullen and frightening Liston, he was a fresh and entertaining face in a sport that struggled for respectability.

At the weigh-in before his Feb. 25, 1964, fight with Liston, Ali carried on so much that some observers thought he was scared stiff and suggested the fight in Miami Beach be called off.

“The crowd did not dream when they lay down their money that they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny,” Ali said.

Ali went on to punch Liston’s face lumpy and became champion for the first time when Liston quit on his stool after the sixth round.

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” became Ali’s rallying cry.

His talent for talking earned him the nickname “The Louisville Lip,” but he had a new name of his own in mind: Muhammad Ali.

“I don’t have to be what you want me to be,” he told reporters the morning after beating Liston. “I’m free to be who I want.”

Frazier refused to call Ali by his new name, insisting he was still Cassius Clay. So did Ernie Terrell in their Feb. 6, 1967, fight, a mistake he would come to regret through 15 long rounds.

“What’s my name?” Ali demanded as he repeatedly punched Terrell in the face. “What’s my name?”

By the time Ali was able to return to the ring following his forced layoff, he was bigger than ever. Soon he was in the ring for his first of three epic fights against Frazier, with each fighter guaranteed $2.5 million.

Before the fight, Ali called Frazier an “Uncle Tom” and said he was “too ugly to be the champ.” His gamesmanship could have a cruel edge, especially when it was directed toward Frazier.

In the first fight, though, Frazier had the upper hand. He relentlessly wore Ali down, flooring him with a crushing left hook in the 15th round and winning a decision.

It was the first defeat for Ali, but the boxing world had not seen the last of him and Frazier in the ring. Ali won a second fight, and then came the “Thrilla in Manila” on Oct. 1, 1975, in the Philippines, a brutal bout that Ali said afterward was “the closest thing to dying” he had experienced.

Ali won that third fight but took a terrific beating from the relentless Frazier before trainer Eddie Futch kept Frazier from answering the bell for the 15th round.

“They told me Joe Frazier was through,” Ali told Frazier at one point during the fight.

“They lied,” Frazier said, before hitting Ali with a left hook.

The fight – which most in boxing agree was Ali’s last great performance – was part of a 16-month period on the mid-1970s when Ali took his show on the road, fighting Foreman in Zaire, Frazier in the Philippines, Joe Bugner in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Jean Pierre Coopman in Puerto Rico.

The world got a taste of Ali in splendid form with both his fists and his mouth.

In Malaysia, a member of the commission in charge of the gloves the fighters would wear told Ali they would be held in a prison for safekeeping before the fight.

“My gloves are going to jail,” shouted a wide-eyed Ali. “They ain’t done nothing – yet!”

Ali would go on to lose the title to Leon Spinks, then come back to win it a third time on Sept. 15, 1978, when he scored a decision over Spinks in a rematch before 70,000 people at the Superdome in New Orleans.

Ali retired, only to come back and try to win the title for a fourth time against Larry Holmes on Oct. 2, 1980, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Ali grew a moustache, pronounced himself “Dark Gable” and got down to a svelte 217 1/2 pounds to beat Father Time. But Holmes, his former sparring partner, mercifully toyed with him until Dundee refused to let Ali answer the bell for the 11th round.

“He was like a little baby after the first round,” Holmes said. “I was throwing punches and missing just for the hell of it. I kept saying, ‘Ali, why are you taking this?’

“He said, ‘Shut up and fight, I’m going to knock you out.”‘

When the fight was over, Holmes and his wife went upstairs to pay their respects to Ali. In a darkened room, Holmes told Ali that he loved him.

“Then why did you whip my ass like that?” Ali replied.

A few years later, Ali said he would not have fought Holmes if he didn’t think he could have won.

“If I had known Holmes was going to whip me and damage my brain, I would not have fought him,” Ali said. “But losing to Holmes and being sick are not important in God’s world.”

It was that world that Ali retreated to, fighting just once more, losing a 10-round decision to Trevor Berbick in the Bahamas.

With his fourth wife, Lonnie, at his side, Ali travelled the world for Islam and other causes. In 1990, he went to Iraq on his own initiative to meet with Saddam Hussein and returned to the United States with 15 Americans who had been held hostage.

One of the hostages recounted meeting Ali in Thomas Hauser’s 1990 biography “Muhammad Ali – His Life and Times.”

“I’ve always known that Muhammad Ali was a super sportsman; but during those hours that we were together, inside that enormous body I saw an angel,” hostage Harry Brill-Edwards said.

For his part, Ali didn’t complain about the price he had paid in the ring.

“What I suffered physically was worth what I’ve accomplished in life,” he said in 1984. “A man who is not courageous enough to take risks will never accomplish anything in life.”

Irradiated beef could be in stores soon—but what exactly is it?

Heather MacMullin | posted Friday, Jun 3rd, 2016

This week, Health Canada proposed a change to Food and Drug Regulations that will allow for the sale of irradiated beef in Canada. If the amendment goes through, it will allow beef producers to treat all fresh and frozen ground beef with ionizing radiation, and make it available for purchase as early as the end of the summer. While that sounds scary, there are benefits to the process.

What is irradiation?

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency cites it as “the process of exposing food to a controlled amount of energy called ‘ionizing radiation.’” The three types of radiation approved for use are: Gamma rays, X-rays and electron beam radiation. The rays penetrate the food on a seek and destroy mission, targeting microorganisms that can cause spoilage, food poisoning or a significant reduction in an item’s shelf life.

Does it pose any health risks?

No. And it doesn’t make the food radioactive — the food never comes into contact with the radioactive source, and no radioactive waves remain in the food after treatment. According to Health Canada, 1 to 3 kilograys (kGy) of energy are all that’s required to kill bacteria, while slightly more is required to kill parasites and insects. And, according to a study on high-dose food irradiation (above 10 kGy) for the FAO, WHO and IAEA, the process is toxicologically safe.

radura-symbol-gc-ca-500x500

Radura symbol

Will it be labelled?

Yes. All irradiated food must either carry the statement “treated with radiation”, “treated by irradiation”, or “irradiated” in addition to displaying the Radura, the international symbol identifying irritated foods, on the main display label.

Are other foods irradiated in Canada?

Yes. Currently, potatoes and onions are approved for irradiation to inhibit sprouting, while wheat, flour and whole-wheat flour go through the process to control insect infestation during storage, and whole/ground spices and seasonings receive it to reduce the presence of bacteria and fungi.

Does it affect the taste of the food?

Health Canada asserts “most consumers cannot detect any difference in the appearance, odour or taste of the food,” so the odds are against it.

Whether or not you’re buying Radura-marked packages, it’s important to note that safe food-handling and storage still applies; the irradiation process does not actually sterilize food.

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