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Three arrested after CNE closed early on ‘Youth Day’

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Aug 31st, 2016

Three people were arrested after the Canadian National Exhibition closed early on Youth Day.

Two of them have since been released, Toronto police told CityNews on Wednesday. One person is facing drug possession charges, while two are charged with assaulting police.

Rides and games were shut down as dozens of police officers entered the grounds to disperse crowds at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. The fair usually closes its doors at 10 p.m., but continues operating activities until midnight.

The organization linked the closure to ‘overcrowding.’

“The CNE is experiencing one of the busiest nights of the Fair as a result of the popularity of Youth Day,” a statement from the organization read in part. “CNE organizers are winding own operations early as a proactive measure to curtail overcrowding and ensure the safety of our guests.”

As people flooded the streets, a fight broke out at Dufferin and King streets. One person was slashed in the nose with a knife.

Correction: It was initially reported that two people were arrested after the incident at Dufferin and King. In fact, they were arrested at the CNE. No arrests have been made in the stabbing.

People on social media reported hearing gunshots, but police found no evidence of a shooting.

The fair was hosting its annual Youth Day, which offers reduced $6 cover for fair-goers 17 years and under before 3 p.m. The event also included special performances from artists Scott Helman and Tyler Shaw.

Read the full statement from the CNE below:
Statement provided by Canadian National Exhibition about an early closure on August 30, 2016. CNE.


Canada Post, postal union reach tentative deals

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Aug 31st, 2016

Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk says Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers have reached tentative agreements, averting the prospect of a labour dispute that has loomed over the talks for months.

In a statement, Mihychuk says the agreements were reached “voluntarily,” but provides no other details about the deals themselves.

The issue of differences in paycheques for rural mail carriers _ most of whom are women _ and urban letter carriers had been at the forefront of protracted contract talks between the two sides.

Related stories:

Postal workers union give details of possible job action
Union representing postal workers issues strike notice
Canada Post union leaders frustrated by lack of answers at annual meeting

The negotiations were extended twice since the weekend, when a deadline expired on a 72-hour job action notice issued last Thursday by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The two sides were in talks nearly around the clock at the request of a special mediator appointed Friday by Mihychuk.

Website offers fake references to assist people getting a job

Shauna Hunt and Alanna Kelly | posted Wednesday, Aug 31st, 2016

A flashy website is selling fake credentials including an imaginary reference to help people land a real job.

CareerExcuse.com will give fake job references, resume rewriting, landlord references and even a real company reference for a price.

The Ohio base company says it will assign users to one of the 200 established company sites and a reference provider in their specific career field.

“You lack the employment history, have unexplainable gaps in your past employment, lack the required references due to leaving on bad terms, being self-employed or to many short contract assignments?” the website asks.

Reference checking is very important said Gena Griffin, regional manager of Robert Half, a staffing firm in Toronto. Griffin said she has been working in the industry for 18 years and has only experienced a fake reference once.

“We’ve encountered it, but it is very, very rare,” said Griffin about fake references.

“The more specific you can be in the reference you do and the more you relate it to the actual interview you had the more you can assess if it is a valid reference,” Griffin said.

Robert Half will consult with two previous supervisors of a candidate when asking for references.

“We look to do that with the most recent supervisor and, depending on the role the company is looking to hire them for, maybe a peer level reference if that is important to the role they are taking on and a subordinate reference.”

Griffin said their organization asks for a company name, business phone number and they will also Google the company to check for its validity.

“I would say that some of our websites actually look better than the real companies,” said William Schmidt, founder of Career Excuse. He added that 30 percent of their members are Canadian and they have over 5,000 members using their database.

Sometimes he gives up to 10 references a day.

“Canada and Toronto is a big part of our market,” Schmidt said. “A lot of IT, high tech fields in that area.”

Griffin said that when checking references they will be very specific with details.

“We will reference certain experiences the person said that they have had,” she said. “We try to be as specific as possible beyond the resume to validate the experience and interview process we’ve had,” said Griffin.

Ways to spot a fake reference:

  • Ask about specific technical work they have done
  • Ask how they got along with other team members
  • Questions about their attendance and punctuality
  • Discuss what they are most passionate about

Griffin said she will then compare those answers from a reference to the ones that were asked during the interview process.

But Schmidt said that the purpose of Career Excuse is to provide more interviews for the members allowing more possibilities of landing a job.

“One of the toughest things for companies to overcome in references is the fear that people have in giving any additional information,” said Griffin.

Most companies will give the time of employment, title and company but feel reluctant to go beyond that in fear of being held legally responsible.

Griffin said perhaps the reason they don’t experience fake references is because they are dealing with professional positions at companies.

Schmidt said that the members of Career Excuse vary from bartenders to vice presidents of Fortune 500 companies. “A majority of our members are executive level, high tech, IT, executive management and finance.”

He added that in the seven-and-half years of Career Excuse in operation, he is shocked they haven’t been busted more.

Actor Gene Wilder dead at 83

The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Aug 30th, 2016

Gene Wilder, the frizzy-haired actor who brought his deft comedic touch to such unforgettable roles as the neurotic accountant in “The Producers” and the deranged animator of “Young Frankenstein,” has died. He was 83.

Wilder’s nephew said Monday that the actor and writer died late Sunday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut, from complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement that Wilder was diagnosed with the disease three years ago, but kept the condition private so as not to disappoint fans.

“He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world,” Walker-Pearlman said.

Wilder started his acting career on the stage, but millions knew him from his work in the movies, especially his collaborations with Mel Brooks on “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein.” The last film _ with Wilder playing a California-born descendant of the mad scientist, insisting that his name is pronounced ”Frahn-ken-SHTEEN“ _ was co-written by Brooks and Wilder.

“One of the truly great talents of our time,” Mel Brooks tweeted. “He blessed every film we did with his magic & he blessed me with his friendship.”

With his unkempt hair and big, buggy eyes, Wilder was a master at playing panicked characters caught up in schemes that only a madman such as Brooks could devise, whether reviving a monster in “Young Frankenstein” or bilking Broadway in “The Producers.” Brooks would call him “God’s perfect prey, the victim in all of us.”

But he also knew how to keep it cool as the boozy gunslinger in “Blazing Saddles” or the charming candy man in the children’s favourite “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” His craziest role: the therapist having an affair with a sheep in Woody Allen’s “Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex.”

He was close friends with Richard Pryor and their contrasting personas _ Wilder uptight, Pryor loose _ were ideal for comedy. They co-starred in four films: “Silver Streak,” “Stir Crazy,” “See No Evil, Hear No Evil” and “Another You.” And they created several memorable scenes, particularly when Pryor provided Wilder with directions on how to “act black” as they tried to avoid police in “Silver Streak.”

In 1968, Wilder received an Oscar nomination for his work in Brooks’ “The Producers.” He played the introverted Leo Bloom, an accountant who discovers the liberating joys of greed and corruption as he and Max Bialystock (Zero Mostel) conceive a Broadway flop titled “Springtime For Hitler” and plan to flee with the money raised for the show’s production.

Matthew Broderick played Wilder’s role in the 2001 Broadway stage revival of the show.

Though they collaborated on film, Wilder and Brooks met through the theatre. Wilder was in a play with Brooks’ then-future wife, Anne Bancroft, who introduced the pair backstage in 1963.

Wilder, a Milwaukee native, was born Jerome Silberman on June 11, 1935. His father was a Russian emigre, his mother was of Polish descent. When he was 6, Wilder’s mother suffered a heart attack that left her a semi-invalid. He soon began improvising comedy skits to entertain her, the first indication of his future career.

He started taking acting classes at age 12 and continued performing and taking lesson through college. In 1961, Wilder became a member of Lee Strasberg’s prestigious Actor’s Studio in Manhattan.

That same year, he made both his off-Broadway and Broadway debuts. He won the Clarence Derwent Award, given to promising newcomers, for the Broadway work in Graham Greene’s comedy “The Complaisant Lover.”

He used his new name, Gene Wilder, for the off-Broadway and Broadway roles. He lifted the first name from the character Eugene Gant in Thomas Wolfe’s “Look Back, Homeward Angel,” while the last name was clipped from playwright Thornton Wilder. A key break came when he co-starred with Bancroft in Bertolt Brecht’s “Mother Courage,” and met Brooks, her future husband.

“I was having trouble with one little section of the play, and he gave me tips on how to act. He said, ‘That’s a song and dance. He’s proselytizing about communism. Just skip over it, sing and dance over it, and get on to the good stuff.’ And he was right,” Wilder later explained.

Before starring in “The Producers,” he had a small role as the hostage of gangsters in the 1967 classic “Bonnie and Clyde.” He peaked in the mid-1970s with the twin Brooks hits “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein.”

He went on to write several screenplays and direct several films. In 1982, while making the generally forgettable “Hanky-Panky,” he fell in love with co-star Gilda Radner. They were married in 1984, and co-starred in two Wilder-penned films: “The Lady in Red” and “Haunted Honeymoon.”

After Radner died of ovarian cancer in 1989, Wilder spent much of his time after promoting cancer research. He opened a support facility for cancer patients called Gilda’s Place. In 1991, he testified before Congress about the need for increased testing for cancer.

Wilder guest-starred on two episodes of NBC’s “Will & Grace” in 2002 and 2003, winning a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding guest actor on a comedy series for his role as Mr. Stein, the boss of Will Truman, played by Canadian Eric McCormack.

Wilder is survived by his wife, Karen, whom he married in 1991.

Police search for missing 13-year-old girl

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Aug 30th, 2016

Cheyenne Beardsworth-Hyne was last seen in the Riverdale Park area, near Gerrard Street East and the Don Valley Parkway, around midnight on Monday.

She was last seen wearing a grey top and grey leggings.

Police say she hasn’t gone missing before.

Anyone who has seen her or knows where she is should call police.

Canada Post, CUPW agree to extend mediation another 24 hours

Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Aug 30th, 2016

Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers agreed late Monday to extend a mediation effort aimed at resolving their labour dispute by another 24 hours.

Both Canada Post and CUPW said late Monday that both sides would continue to negotiate with the help of a special mediator into Tuesday.

Canada Post has been bargaining with its employees for more than nine months, but both sides were far apart as of late last week on key issues including pension changes for new employees and pay scales for rural postal workers.

CUPW had said it would begin job action on Monday by having its members refuse to work overtime on a rotating basis, starting in Alberta and the Northwest Territories. That plan was halted when both sides agreed to a request for more time from a special mediator, who was brought into the dispute Friday.

The union then said job action in the form of a refusal of overtime would begin in British Columbia and in the Yukon on Tuesday morning if no settlement was reached with Canada Post.

CUPW said that plan “has been put on hold for another 24 hours.”

“We are hopeful that a negotiated settlement may be achieved but we remain prepared to defend our members and public postal services,” CUPW national president Mike Palecek said in a statement.

Related stories:

Postal workers union give details of possible job action
Union representing postal workers issues strike notice
Canada Post union leaders frustrated by lack of answers at annual meeting

The latest decision to extend mediation came after E-commerce giant eBay urged Canadian businesses on Monday to write to the prime minister and demand a legislated end to the labour dispute.

The letter-writing campaign was dismissed by the opposition New Democrats as interference in the collective bargaining process.

While government officials expressed optimism that an of the talks would break a months-long impasse over pensions and wages, small and medium-sized businesses have heard it before, said eBay Canada managing director Andrea Stairs.

“Negotiations are ongoing, but we don’t see a solution coming down the pipe,” Stairs said in a telephone interview.

“So we really felt it was time for the prime minister to get involved.”

But NDP Canada Post critic Karine Trudel called the push for legislation “troubling,” warning that it would “only serve to stack the deck against workers and prolong the dispute, not resolve it.:

The letter, emailed to eBay sellers and addressed to Justin Trudeau’s Langevin Block office in Ottawa, encourages the prime minister to “explore legislative solutions to the current situation” at Canada Post and warns that businesses are being harmed by uncertainty about whether parcels will be delivered.

“EBay sellers, like other small and medium businesses across Canada, have been dealing with this uncertainty for months,” the letter states.

“We have been forced to adapt our businesses and make other shipping arrangements for our goods.”

A number of businesses catering to online customers have already offered alternative shipping options, should there be a disruption in deliveries. Indigo Books and Music Inc., announced Monday it would fill home deliveries using carriers other than Canada Post, but didn’t say whether shipping costs would be higher.

In a statement issued by her office early Monday, Labour Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk welcomed the extension of the talks as “an encouraging sign of ongoing progress and a renewed determination to negotiate a new collective agreement.”

Palecek previously said that the union’s planned job action would have little effect on Canada Post customers, noting mail would still be delivered.

Canada Post spokesman Jon Hamilton disagreed with that assessment, warning in a phone interview that the threat of job action was creating uncertainty for customers and would have a huge impact on the business “whether the union likes it or not.”

The federal government hasn’t raised the possibility of legislation to end the contract dispute. During the summer, the prime minister all but ruled out back-to-work legislation to end a threatened lockout of its workers by Canada Post and has repeatedly expressed confidence that a negotiated settlement could be reached.

At the height of the last Canada Post labour dispute in 2011, the former Conservative government passed back-to-work legislation, which ended a lockout by the Crown corporation and put pressure on mail carriers to accept their current collective agreement. CUPW launched a charter challenge of the Restoring Mail Delivery for Canadians Act and in April of this year it was struck down in Ontario Superior Court as unconstitutional.

Woman strangled, two men stabbed in Scarborough crossbow homicides

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Aug 30th, 2016

Police updated the media with the latest in their investigation on a triple-homicide in Scarborough last Thursday.

Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone announced today that autopsies on the victims revealed two men were killed by cross bow-related injuries to the neck and a woman died of strangulation.

One man suffered a cross-bow bolt stab wound to the neck and a second man suffered a single arrowhead stab wound to the neck.

Police said an injured fourth person — a 35-year-old man — was taken into custody, but few other details of what happened released.

The victims were found in the driveway of a bungalow by officers who responded to a stabbing report at approximately 1 p.m.

Carbone said the homicide unit is requesting anyone who may have come in contact with Ryan between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on August 26 to contact them immediately.

“We’re looking to speak to any witnesses who may have seen this individual in and around that time,” Carbone said.

Brett Ryan, 35, of Toronto, will appear in court later on Friday. The names of the victims cannot be reported due to a publication ban.

The three victims — two men and a woman — were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. A crossbow was found nearby on the floor.

“When officers arrived, they found that person and two others suffering from injuries from what we believe to be a crossbow bolt,” Hopkinson said.

Police also spotted Ryan on the driveway while swarming the scene.

About four hours after the incident, police said there was a link between the deaths and a suspicious package found in downtown Toronto. They said the downtown scene, which was near a building housing a daycare, was declared safe by 5 p.m.

The building was identified on Monday as a complex with an apartment belonging to Ryan.

In the east-end neighbourhood of Scarborough, however, streets remained blocked off Thursday evening as police continued to investigate.

Vijaya Cruz, whose house backs on to the bungalow where the incident is believed to have taken place, said she was home with her husband Thursday afternoon when he heard a commotion.

“My husband said he heard some screaming, someone was screaming there,” she said. “Then he said he heard ‘bang, bang, bang’ noise, and then someone was saying ‘calm down.’”

Cruz said she soon saw the flashing lights of a fire truck which was among the emergency crews that responded to the scene. Police later knocked on her door and told her three people had died in an incident involving a crossbow.

Cruz said she had seen a couple in the bungalow’s backyard on occasion, but said she didn’t know much about them.

“I see them working in the garden, a man and a woman, I see them with a wheelbarrow, cleaning up the yard,” she said. “They don’t talk.”

Faiza Siddiqui, who lives on an adjoining street next to a park, said the incident was disturbing.

“It’s scary because this park is always full with kids,” she said. “You don’t hear about people being killed by crossbows, especially in the city. I don’t know why you would need that in the city, have it around the house.”

Sadiya Haque, who also lives nearby, added that the neighbourhood was typically a tranquil one, with many seniors living on the street where the incident took place.

Dale Lounsbury, who sells crossbows at a sporting goods store in Waterloo, Ont., and owns one himself, said they can be dangerous due to their power and accuracy. But they are not suited to firing multiple shots in quick succession, he said.

“Crossbows are not a rapid-fire instrument at all,” Lounsbury said. “I can probably fire two shots a minute, maybe three.”

Unlike guns, buying a crossbow does not require a licence.

In December 2010, a man fired a bolt into his father’s back at a Toronto public library branch in another crossbow incident that captured the city’s attention. In that case, Zhou Fang then crushed his 52-year-old father’s skull with a hammer.

Fang was initially charged with first-degree murder but the prosecution accepted a plea of second-degree murder after considering that he was the victim of long-term abuse at the hands of his father.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 2012.

— With files from Diana Mehta and Nicole Thompson of the Canadian Press

Beyonce wins MTV VMAs with knockout 16 minute performance

MESFIN FEKADU, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 29th, 2016

Beyonce accepts an award onstage during the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards at Madison Square Garden on August 28, 2016 in New York City. FILMMAGIC/Noam Galai

Beyonce owned the MTV Video Music Awards by winning video of the year and giving a 16-minute performance featuring her recent hits from “Lemonade,” working various stages with strong, layered vocals, skilled dance moves and even an outfit change – all as the audience watched in awe and cheered her on.

Beyonce won the top prize for “Formation,” besting Adele, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Drake.

“First of all I’d like to thank my beautiful daughter and my incredible husband for all of their support,” said Beyonce, who walked the carpet with Blue Ivy by her side. “I dedicate this award to the people of New Orleans.”

Queen B kicked of her strong set with “Pray You Catch Me” as blue lights beamed onstage. She was wearing white, but later stripped down to a black leotard with full sleeves as she sang “Hold Up” and “Sorry.” She grew angry and twerked while performing “Don’t Hurt Yourself” and ended with the anthem “Formation.”

“If y’all came to slay, sing along with me,” she said.

Click here to see the full performance.

Click here to see the full list of winners.

The audience at Madison Square Garden watched intensely Sunday, at times recording the performance with their phones.

It was reminiscent of the 2014 VMAs, when Beyonce also performed for 16 minutes and accepted the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard award. This year it is being awarded to Rihanna, who split up her performances throughout the night, singing hits such as “Work,” “We Found Love” and “Love on the Brain.”

But the biggest moment for Rihanna came when Drake – in a tuxedo – presented the award to his former girlfriend. He said he met Rihanna in 2005 on the set of her first music video for “Pon De Replay.”

“She’s someone I’ve been in love with her since I was 22 years old,” Drake said as Rihanna blushed and the audience cheered loudly. “She’s one of my best friends in the world. All of my adult life I’ve looked up to her even though she’s younger than me.”

Rihanna, 28, thanked her family, friends and hometown of Saint Michael, Barbados for helping her succeed in her 11-year-career.

“All I can think of is my country, they’re gonna be so proud, this is the first Vanguard to land anywhere near my country,” she said. “My success started as my dream, but now my success is not my own. It’s my family, my fans, my country … it’s women, it’s black women.”

Beyonce’s top-notch performance starkly contrasted with that of Britney Spears, who returned to the VMA stage after 10 years. Not only did she lip sync, in typical fashion, but she did so badly. Spears performed her hit “Make Me…” and danced slickly, but she didn’t actually sing a word of the song live. She was joined by rapper G-Eazy – and she lip synched the hook to his hit song, “Me, Myself and I.”

Beyonce won best female video for “Hold Up,” presented to her by four of the Final Five gymnasts, excluding Gabby Douglas, who is hospitalized for a mouth infection.

“Thank you to my fans. I love you,” Beyonce said. “Have a beautiful night.”

In typical and true Kanye West fashion, the rapper ranted onstage, touching on subjects from music to his beef with Taylor Swift to violence in his hometown Chicago before he debuted his music video for “Fade.” He talked about his “Famous” video which features what appear to be naked images of West, Swift, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump and more. He even pointed to former girlfriend Amber Rose, who was in the audience and is also in the video.

“It was an expression of our now, our fame right now, us on the inside of the TV, you know, the audacity to put Anna Wintour right next to Donald Trump,” he said.

“I put Ray J in it bro,” he said, referring to Kardashian’s ex with whom she did a sex tape.

“But if you think about last week it was 22 people murdered in Chicago,” he continued. “You know, people come up to me like, ‘Man, that’s right! Take, tell Taylor this. Bro, like I love all y’all.”

“That’s why I called her,” he said with a laugh, referring to his recent drama with the pop star, who didn’t attend the VMAs and was not nominated.

Other performers including Ariana Grande, who brought spin class to the VMA stage when she sang the reggae-tinged “Side to Side” with Nicki Minaj. Grande cycled while singing and was backed by female dancers imitating her, while her male dancers lifted dumbbells and did other exercises. At the end of their performance, Grande and Minaj put their male dancers’ faces in front their crotches.

In another ode to the Olympic Games just past, Michael Phelps said he’s been inspired by hip-hop music before introducing Future, who Phelps said he listened to before swimming and making the grimace that went viral. The rapper-singer-producer performed his hit “(Expletive) Up Some Commas.”

Drake won the first award for the night – best hip hop video for “Hotline Bling.” Puff Daddy, who presented the award, said Drake was stuck in traffic. Calvin Harris won best male video – beating West’s “Famous” – for “This is What You Came For,” which featured Rihanna and was co-written with former girlfriend Swift. Harris accepted the award in a video message.

David Bowie – who died from cancer earlier this year – received four nominations for “Lazarus” and won best art direction. The music video, which shows him looking frail in bed with bandaged eyes, was released just days before the icon’s Jan. 10 death.

Fifth Harmony and Ty Dollar $ign won best collaboration video for “Work from Home.” The girl group also won song of the summer for “All In My Head (Flex).” The pop band DNCE, led by Joe Jonas, won best new artist.

Beyonce, was the top nominee with 11, arrived angel-winged and green-feathered with daughter Blue Ivy in tow along with Sybrina Fulton, Lezley McSpadden and Gwen Carr, the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, among others. They appeared in videos for Beyonce’s “Lemonade” visual album and also make up the Mothers of the Movement, women of colour who lost children to violence.

Jimmy Fallon introduced the top nominees and dressed as Ryan Lochte, with platinum blonde hair. As Lochte, who is dealing with trouble after filing a false robbery report over an incident during the Rio Olympics, Fallon lied onstage about writing Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” and directing the videos nominated for video of the year.

Adele was behind Beyonce with eight nominations, but the British singer did not attend the show.

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