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GO Transit launches Twitter feeds by line

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016

Commuters using GO Transit will no longer have to sort through reams of tweets to find out whether their train is on time.

The transit service launched Twitter feeds for all seven of its train lines on Friday.

The handles are as follows:

Lakeshore East: @GOtransitLE

Lakeshore West: @GOtransitLW

Kitchener: @GOtransitKT

Barrie: @GOtransitBR

Milton: @GOtransitMI

Stouffville: @GOtransitST

Richmond Hill: @GOtransitRH

The feeds are updated automatically and in real time. System-wide updates and messages — as well as GO bus information, for now — will still be shared on @GOtransit.

The feed for GO buses, @GOtransitBus, will likely go live next year.

All Canadian showdown sets another record as Toronto and Montreal bid for MLS Cup final

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016

Not since the heyday of the NASL has Canadian club soccer had such a stage.

On Wednesday night before a record BMO Field crowd of some 36,000, Toronto FC looks to win and stay home to host the MLS Cup final. The Montreal Impact plan to defend their 3-2 aggregate lead and then head west to challenge the upstart Seattle Sounders for North America’s soccer supremacy.

Either way history will be made as Wednesday’s result will send a Canadian team to the MLS Cup for the first time since Toronto brought the league north of the border in 2007. The question is will it be wearing red or black and blue.

A win or tie works for Montreal. The slimmest of victories will advance Toronto.

Related stories:

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Toronto FC victory sets up all Canadian Eastern Conference final
Toronto FC beats NYCFC 2-0 in Game 1 of the MLS Eastern Conference semifinal

“We feel very very good about the position we’re in,” Toronto captain Michael Bradley said Tuesday. “This is why you play. We have 90 minutes at home to get to a final.

“Opportunities like this aren’t coming around every day and I think we have a group of guys who understand that and who are ready to embrace the game and go for it and leave everything we have on the field.”

“(Wednesday) is a big day for the franchise and a big day for our players,” added Toronto coach Greg Vanney.

“A chance to make history,” said Montreal dangerman Ignacio Piatti.

Only the winner gets to do that. The loser will have to lick their wounds and rue missing a glorious opportunity.

The record BMO Field attendance is thanks to the temporary seats that were installed in the south end for Sunday’s Grey Cup. The CFL championship drew 33,421, which was described as capacity. The soccer configuration for the stadium allows more seating.

The first leg of the Eastern Conference final drew 61,004 at Olympic Stadium, tying the best attendance in Impact history.

Toronto’s record crowd is 47,658 for the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy in March 2012 at the Rogers Centre.

The MLS record for playoff attendance is 61,316 at the 2002 MLS Cup final at Gillette Stadium.

Back in 1979, the Vancouver Whitecaps drew 32,875 to Empire Stadium for Game 1 of their North American Soccer League conference championship with the New York Cosmos. Another 44,109 took in the second leg at Giants Stadium.

The Whitecaps then downed the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 before 50,699 to win the Soccer Bowl.

Back then Bob Lenarduzzi, now Vancouver president, was a Whitecaps defender and heartthrob. English imports Rodney Marsh and Alan Ball added English star quality.

Sebastian Giovinco, whose US$7.12-million salary is bigger than that of the entire Montreal payroll according to MLS Players Union figures, is the man to watch today in a Toronto uniform.

He drew rough treatment in Game 1 from the Montreal defence and was unceremoniously dumped from behind three minutes into the game by fullback Hassoun Camara. Giovinco, a five-foot-four pitbull who is also a Picasso on the ball, was quick to look back – like a hockey player taking the number of the opponent who has just hammered into the boards.

Look for Giovinco to try to make a statement quickly, as he did in the second leg of the conference semifinal against New York City FC when he scored in the sixth minute to open the floodgates in a 5-0 win at Yankee Stadium. The Italian wizard scored a hat trick that night.

Like Giovinco, Bradley and fellow TFC designated player Jozy Atidore relish the big stage, according to Vanney.

“For those guys, that’s the reason they returned back to this league and to this franchise, they wanted this moment and the opportunity to play the big game, the opportunity to try to get to a final and the opportunity to try to ultimately win a final. That’s what they here for and what they signed up for.

“This is the moment and I know they’re looking forward to it … They’re ready to go.”

The Montreal defence will keep a close eye on Giovinco again and they won’t be wearing kid gloves. The Impact like to play their fullbacks in, allowing centre backs Laurent Ciman and Victor Cabrera to bunch up on attackers.

Toronto may look to start Will Johnson, sacrificing the offensive artistry of Amando Cooper or Jonathan Osorio to stabilize the midfield. And don’t put it past Vanney to change up formation to throw a monkey wrench in Montreal’s preparations.

Impact coach Mauro Biello did just that in Game 1, by playing Canadian midfielder Patrice Bernier in an advanced position.

“We need to expect everything and we need to prepare for everything,” Biello said. “In the end, yes we have that (one-goal) advantage. For us it’s about being ready for what Toronto can give us. And at the same time preparing the team so that we can unbalance them.

“In the end, the message to my team is obviously when we don’t have the ball to limit their space and time. And when we do have the ball, it’s about believing that we can score at any moment.”

The Impact have usually done that on the counter-attack with Piatti and former TFC forward Dominic Oduro marauding down the flanks and Italian striker Matteo Mancoso making runs down the middle.

Vanney noted that most of Montreal’s goals against his team came on three or fewer passes.

There are few secrets between the two. They have played each other seven times already this season, including the pre-season, Amway Canadian Championship, regular season and playoffs. Each team has two wins with three draws.

Montreal’s win last week felt like a loss, given the Impact squandered a 3-0 lead. Still it was only the third defeat Toronto had suffered in 19 games (11-3-5) dating back to mid-July.

Toronto players seemed unfazed by entering the game a goal down, saying their goal is to win every game.

“If you’re going to win the game, you need to score a goal … Really it’s a normal game in that aspect,” said goalkeeper Clint Irwin.

History is against Toronto, however.

Since the two-legged format was adopted in 2012, no team has come back from a loss to win the Conference championship history. The conference championships were single-elimination games from 2003 to 2011.

Residents asked to rent driveways when TTC parking lot closes

Shauna Hunt | posted Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016

In a matter of days, hundreds of commuters will be scrambling for parking with the closure of Wilson Station’s west lot and its 610 spots.

The City declared the lot surplus, allowing Build Toronto to turn it into retail space.

Now, a group of savvy entrepreneurs is trying to turn the closure into an opportunity.

It’s been canvasing commuters and nearby homeowners, hoping to connect both sides.

“We came out here and flyer-ed over a thousand cars and reached out to a number of people in the community who have driveways and parking pads who could benefit from extra money, especially over the holidays,” said Sarah Selhi co-founder of the online community SpaceiShare.


“We are trying to put those people together so commuters are not driving in circles when there is limited supply.”

SpaceiShare launched in July with the goal of connecting people looking for storage with homeowners who had space to spare.

They’re now expending to parking.

“Space is a premium here in Toronto,” said co-founder Karen Wong. “It’s important we start connecting people and be part of the shared economy.”

At Wilson Station on Tuesday, there appeared to be an appetite for renting a parking space in the area.

York University student David parks at Wilson every day and doesn’t yet have a plan for when the lot closes on Thursday.

“My friend and I already considered renting a spot nearby,” he said. “We just don’t know where to start. Maybe we start knocking on doors.”

Dianna, who often parks in the lot to commute downtown will also be looking for a rental.

“I know people who do it already,” she said. “They’re using alternatives — neighbourhood parking lots and houses that have a spot to rent.”

In a small subdivision across from Downsview Station a couple of homeowners are planning to list their driveways, calling it a win-win.

“Everybody is scrambling — There’s always a shortage,” said Wendy. “Our street is close to Downsview and people will be parking on our street if there is not a parking solution.”

But not everyone is on board. Nina, who lives a few blocks away from Wendy, had concerns.

“Definitely increased traffic would be the first thing I think about,” she said. “Our street is already busy as it is. So, I would just imagine it being even busier.

“There are kids around and it wouldn’t be ideal.”

Commuters pay $3 to $4 a day to park at Wilson Station. Renting a spot from a homeowner would could cost anywhere from $80 to $150 a month depending on proximity to the subway.

Related stories:

Video: 600 TTC parking spots set to disappear at Wilson Station

Commuters question decision to eliminate TTC parking at Wilson

Trump, Romney ‘break bread’ at Trump Hotel restaurant

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Nov 30th, 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has held a second meeting with Mitt Romney in Manhattan.

The two had dinner at the Jean Georges restaurant at the Trump International Hotel & Tower on Tuesday night

Trump dined on frog legs and scallops with the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. After the elegant meal, the former Massachusetts governor – once a vocal critic – praised Trump for succeeding where he had failed, saying the president-elect offers a “message of inclusion and bringing people together.”

Romney was sharply critical of Trump during the campaign, but the former Massachusetts governor has been mending fences with Trump since his victory.

Romney, who once called Trump a “phoney,” now says he has “increasing hope” that Trump can lead America to a better future.

The meeting – their second in-person session – came as Trump is publicly weighing several options for secretary of state, including Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and former CIA director David Petraeus.

Trump said on Twitter that he and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence will travel to Indiana on Thursday for an event with Carrier, the air-conditioning company. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly used news of Carrier’s plans to move some business to Mexico as criticism of Democratic trade policies. Carrier tweeted, “We are pleased to have reached a deal with President-elect Trump & VP-elect Pence to keep close to 1,000 jobs in Indy.”

Brazilian soccer team’s plane crashes in Colombia; 75 dead


A chartered plane with a Brazilian first division soccer team crashed near Medellin while on its way to the finals of a regional tournament, killing 75 people, Colombian officials said Tuesday. Six people survived.

The British Aerospace 146 short-haul plane, operated by a charter airline named LaMia, declared an emergency at 10 p.m. Monday because of an electrical failure, aviation authorities said.

The aircraft, which had departed from Santa Cruz, Bolivia, was transporting the Chapecoense soccer team to Medellin’s Jose Maria Cordova airport.

The team, from southern Brazil and which had started its journey in Sao Paulo, was scheduled to play Wednesday in the first of a two-game Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional of Medellin.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the team switched planes in Bolivia or just made a stopover with the same plane.

“What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said from the search and rescue command centre.

The club said in a brief statement on its Facebook page that “may God accompany our athletes, officials, journalists and other guests travelling with our delegation.”

Brazil as well as South America’s soccer federation extended its condolences to the entire Chapecoense community and said its president, Alejandro Dominguez, was on his way to Medellin. All soccer activities were suspended until further notice, the organization said in a statement.

Elkin Ospina, mayor of La Ceja, near where the crash took place, said rescuers working through the night had been heartened after pulling three passengers alive from the wreckage.

Authorities and rescuers were immediately activated but an air force helicopter had to turn back because of low visibility. Heavy rainfall complicated the nighttime search, and authorities urged journalists to stay off the roads so ambulances and other rescuers could reach the site.

Images broadcast on local television showed three male passengers arriving to a local hospital in ambulances on stretchers and covered in blankets connected to an IV. All were apparently alive and one of them was reportedly a Chapecoense defender named Alan Ruschel.

The plane was carrying 72 passengers and nine crew members, aviation authorities said in a statement. Local radio said the same aircraft transported Argentina’s national squad for a match earlier this month in Brazil, and previously had transported Venezuela’s national team.

British Aerospace, which is now known as BAE Systems, says that the first 146-model plane took off in 1981 and that just under 400 — including the successor Avro RJ — were built in total in the U.K. through 2003. It says around 220 of are still in service in a variety of roles, including aerial firefighting and overnight freight services.

A video published on the team’s Facebook page showed the team readying for the flight earlier Monday in Sao Paulo’s Guarulhos international airport.

The team, from the small city of Chapeco, was in the middle of a fairy tale season. It joined Brazil’s first division in 2014 for the first time since the 1970s and made it last week to the Copa Sudamericana finals — the equivalent of the UEFA Europa League tournament — after defeating two of Argentina’s fiercest squads, San Lorenzo and Independiente, as well as Colombia’s Junior.

The team is so modest that its 22,000-seat arena was ruled by tournament organizers too small to host the final match, which was instead moved to a stadium 480 kilometres to the north in the city of Curitiba.

“Chapecoense was the biggest source of happiness in the town,” the club’s vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, told Brazil’s SporTV. “Many in the town are crying.”

Associated Press writer Mauricio Savarese contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.

Debut of abortion pill Mifegymiso in Canada delayed to January

CASSANDRA SZKLARSKI, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Nov 29th, 2016

The much-anticipated arrival of the abortion pill Mifegymiso in Canada has been delayed until the new year.

The drug’s Canadian distributor, Celopharma Inc., says it now expects to launch “some time in January.”

Company president Paula Tenenbaum gave few details in a terse email exchange but said it was related to “a change in manufacturing site.”

Last month, Tenenbaum said Mifegymiso was on track for a November debut in Canada.

Related stories:

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Health Canada approved the drug in July with several controversial restrictions, including that it only be dispensed by a doctor to a patient, which critics feared would restrict access for patients in rural and remote areas.

It’s also limited to use no more than seven weeks after a woman’s last period and comes with a steep $300 price tag.

The drug has been available elsewhere for nearly 30 years and is approved for use in more than 60 countries with varying restrictions.

Last month, Tenenbaum said Celopharma was working on a revised submission to Health Canada that would increase the recommended use to up to nine weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period.

She also expressed her preference that pharmacists dispense the drug directly to patients.

Tenenbaum said Monday that she hoped to get a response from Health Canada “some time late December.”

A spokesman for Health Canada said the federal agency does not disclose details about the status of drug approval applications, but “firmly supports a woman’s right to choose.”

“The department is committed to minimizing any undue delays in the review of any submission. Health Canada makes all drug approval decisions based on a detailed scientific review, and we continue to work with Celopharma on its application.”

Mifegymiso is a combination of two drugs taken on separate days.

Mifepristone is taken first to block the hormone progesterone, which helps prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy. This causes the lining to break down and shed.

Then it’s followed 24 to 48 hours later by misoprostol, which causes the uterus to contract and expel the pregnancy.

CBC/Radio-Canada wants to move to ad-free model with $318M in new annual funding

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Nov 29th, 2016

CBC/Radio-Canada wants all its services to broadcast ad-free — but would need $318 million in new annual funding to do so, the public broadcaster said Monday in a proposal to the federal government.

The recommendation was one of several the CBC made in a submission to Canadian Heritage’s public consultation on homegrown content in a digital world.

“In order to exit advertising, CBC/Radio-Canada would require $318 million in replacement funding,” states the filing.

“This figure takes into account the lost advertising revenue ($253 million), the cost to produce and procure additional Canadian content ($105 million) that is required to replace the advertising programming and the cost savings associated with the reduced cost of sales ($40 million).”

Related stories:

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In order to go ad-free and achieve other goals in its proposal, CBC/Radio-Canada said it would need the government to boost its per-person funding to $46 a year — an increase of $12 per Canadian.

That hike in per-person funding would include $100 million annually for “new investments to face consumer and technology disruption.”

“The business model and cultural policy framework in which CBC/Radio-Canada operates and carries out its public mandate is profoundly and irrevocably broken,” reads the proposal.

“Advertising revenues for conventional television are down as audiences become more fragmented, ad-free content becomes more available, and alternate content providers such as YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and, Apple TV/iTunes continue to make inroads.”

CBC/Radio-Canada noted the $46 per-person figure it is seeking is “still well below comparable public broadcasters around the world, like the BBC, which receives $114 per person.”

The filing cited numerous benefits to an ad-free CBC/Radio-Canada, including “a net total GDP gain of $488 million” as well as the creation of 7,200 jobs.

“Moreover, two-thirds of the CBC/Radio-Canada advertising revenue (approximately $158 million) would migrate to other Canadian media companies, giving them an additional influx of revenue as they adapt to industry changes,” said the filing.

The position paper also pointed to the success of Britain’s public broadcaster, the BBC, which “offers a compelling model of how an advertising-free public broadcaster with a strong public service mandate can serve the interests of domestic audiences and, at the same time, support the global ambitions of the country’s creative and cultural sectors.”

CBC/Radio-Canada is also calling for its funding to be “predictable and stable, tied to the existing five-year licence cycle, indexed to inflation, and separated from the election and annual government budget cycles.”

Last week, Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch proposed scrapping the public broadcaster, saying it’s unfair that while private media companies are struggling to stay afloat, the CBC is able to rely on federal subsidies.

OSPCA removes 260 animals from rural property after investigation

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Nov 29th, 2016

KAWARTHA LAKES, Ont. – Ontario’s animal welfare agency says it has laid multiple charges in an investigation that led to the removal of 260 animals from a rural property.

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it responded to a complaint in late August about a sheep tangled in baler twine.

It says an investigator allegedly discovered emaciated animals on the property that had no food or water and were living among “dangerous debris.”

The OSPCA says a veterinarian was brought in to examine the animals, “some of which were limping or too weak to stand.”

It says it executed a warrant on Sept. 1, removing 260 animals from the property for non-compliance with orders issued under the Ontario SPCA Act.

The OSPCA says the seizure included 128 sheep, 82 goats, three alpacas, 14 pigeons, four rabbits, five cows, nine ducks and 15 chickens.

The OSPCA says a 47-year-old man is charged with permitting an animal to be in distress, failing to provide adequate and appropriate food and water, failing to provide adequate and appropriate medical attention and failing to provide the care necessary for an animal’s general welfare.

The OSPCA did not release the man’s name.

“There is no excuse to let an animal go without proper care or veterinary medical attention,” Bonnie Bishop, Senior Inspector of Farm Animal Welfare with the OSPCA said in a statement.

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