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Bail hearing for Hamilton man accused in Yahoo email hack

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017

Karim Baratov with two of his lawyers Deepak Paradkar and Amedeo Di Carlo on March 17, 2017. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher

A Canadian man accused in a massive hack of Yahoo emails is expected to appear in a Hamilton court Wednesday for a bail hearing.

Karim Baratov was arrested last month under the Extradition Act.

U.S. authorities say Baratov and three others – two of them allegedly officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service – were indicted for computer hacking, economic espionage and other crimes.

Law enforcement officials allege in documents filed with an Ontario court that Baratov poses an “extremely high flight risk” in part due to his alleged ties to Russian intelligence agents.

U.S. authorities describe the 22-year-old Hamilton resident as an alleged “hacker-for-hire” and allege he has the money to leave Canada and the ability to destroy evidence while on the run.

Baratov’s lawyer calls the allegations against his client unfounded, saying he’ll seek to have Baratov released and plans to fight an extradition order.

6 unique summer camps for kids

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017

  1. Rooks to Cooks

Where: Midtown Toronto

Age: 5 to 11

Description: Get kids packing their own lunch and even preparing dinner. Depending on the class, kids can focus on kitchen skills (chopping, cooking techniques) or baking. They bring home some of the food they cook, and you get to be a guest at their pop-up restaurant during the week.

Price: $320-400

2. Girls Rock Camp Toronto

Girls 8-16 can learn their choice of instrument over a week-long period at the Sony Centre. Mentoring female rockers will help the girls play in a band, write songs and perform live on stage. The camp aims to help boost self-esteem and self-empowerment. The camps are four-days long and $300.

3. Opera Camp

Located at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, kids will write and compose their own operas, which includes choosing a role, rehearsing and creating costumes, props and a set for their production that they will perform for their loved ones on the last day. There are separate camps for grades 1-3, 4-8 and 9-12. Prices range from $310-$360.

4. News Academy

The News Academy at Ryerson teaches kids ages 14-17 how to shoot and edit their own video news stories. Kids will work in supervised groups and tackle news stories in downtown Toronto. They also will gain access to the television studio where they will record a professional newscast. Prices range from $355-$375.

5. Toronto Brigantine

A sailing program for kids 13-18. A more advanced program, teens can learn to sail large brigantine ships across Lake Ontario while being a part of a seamen crew.  Prices range from $120- $225 a week, and the camp is for ages 5-12.

6. SPFX Makeup Summer Camp

The College of Makeup Art and Design offers a special effects makeup summer camp for ages 13-18. Kids can learn how to create ugly bruises, scars, burns and zombie makeup. The week-long workshop costs $500 and includes a makeup kit.

Syria chemical attack death toll now at 72; new airstrikes hit

SARAH EL DEEB, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017

The death toll from a suspected chemical attack on a northern Syrian town rose to 72 on Wednesday while activists and rescue workers kept finding more terrified survivors hiding in shelters near the site of the harrowing assault, one of the deadliest in years.

According to a Syrian opposition group, renewed airstrikes hit the town of Khan Sheikhoun, a day after the attack the Trump administration has blamed on the government of President Bashar Assad, saying that his patrons, Russia and Iran, bore “great moral responsibility” for the deaths.

Also Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting in response to the strike and in Brussels, officials from 70 nations gathered for a major donors’ conference on the future of Syria and the region.

The attack on Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people on Tuesday, leaving residents gasping for breath and convulsing in the streets and overcrowded hospitals. Videos from the scene showed volunteer medics using fire hoses to wash the chemicals from victims’ bodies. Haunting images of lifeless children piled in heaps reflected the magnitude of the attack, which was reminiscent of a 2013 chemical assault that left hundreds dead and was the worst in the country’s ruinous six-year civil war.

Syrian doctors said a combination of toxic gases are suspected to have been released during the airstrikes, causing the high death toll and severe symptoms.

President Donald Trump denounced the attack as a “heinous” act that “cannot be ignored by the civilized world.” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called on Russia to endorse a planned Security Council resolution condemning the attack.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said “all the evidence” he had seen so far in the latest chemical weapons attack in Syria “suggests this was the Assad regime … (that) did it in the full knowledge that they were using illegal weapons in a barbaric attack on their own people.”

Syria’s government denied it carried out any chemical attack. But early on Wednesday, Russia, a major ally of the Syrian government, alleged a Syrian airstrike hit a rebel arsenal, releasing the toxic agents.

Wednesday’s renewed airstrikes hit not far from the location of the suspected chemical attack, said Ahmed al-Sheikho, of the Idlib Civil Defence team. He said the strikes did not cause any casualties because the area had been evacuated following Tuesday’s attack.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 20 children and 17 women were among the 72 killed. Abu Hamdu, a senior member of the Syrian Civil Defence in Khan Sheikoun said his group has recorded 70 deaths.

He said his team of rescuers was still finding survivors, including two women and a boy hiding in an underground shelter beneath their home.

Police appeal for information in 1983 murder of 9-year-old girl

CityNews | posted Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017

More than 30 years after her death, Toronto police continue to search for the person responsible for the murder of nine-year-old Sharin Morningstar Keenan.

Dennis Melvin Howe, who would now be 76, is still wanted on a charge of first-degree murder in her death back in 1983.

0405-Dennis-Melvin-Howe

Police said Keenan was playing in Jean Sibelius Square on Brunswick Avenue near Bathurst Street shortly before 4 p.m. on Jan. 23, 1983, when she was abducted.

On Feb. 1, her body was found in the refrigerator of a rooming house on Brunswick where Howe rented a room. She was sexually assaulted and strangled.

At the time of her disappearance, police said Keenan was seen speaking to a man at the park. She never returned home.

Police are appealing to relatives who may have information on Howe’s whereabouts to contact them.

“Dead or alive, we’re looking for Dennis Melvin Howe. We have his DNA. Someone knows where he is. We want to hear from you,” Det.-Sgt. Stacy Gallant said in a release.

On Wednesday, police released a video for information leading to an arrest in the case. Police also released composite images of what Howe may look like today.

0405-DennisMelvinHowe

Kendall Jenner’s protest Pepsi spot prompts online backlash

The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017

Model and Kardashian clan member Kendall Jenner’s turn as a Pepsi-wielding protester has some on social media decrying the imagery as appropriation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The “Live for Now Moments” video released Tuesday has Jenner in a platinum wig on a photo shoot when protesters amble by. She rips off her wig, smears away her lipstick and joins them, eventually handing an officer on the demonstration line a can of Pepsi. He gulps some down, and then grins as Jenner dances off with her new friends.

Reaction on social media ranged from some saying the imagery was tone-deaf, to it evoking a widely circulated photo of Black Lives Matter protester Leshia Evans last year in Louisiana. Evans was detained when she approached police at a demonstration in Baton Rouge.

In a statement late Tuesday night, Pepsi defended the ad.

“This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey,” the statement said.

Watch the ad below, and check out some of the online comments.

Top 4 overlooked tax deductions & credits to score you a big return

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 4th, 2017

Filing your taxes can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The hardest part is knowing what you’re eligible to deduct and claim for credits on your return. There are many tax-saving opportunities that people easily forget about and this list is a good reminder on what kind of tax relief is available to you as a taxpayer.

What’s the difference between a deduction and credit?

A tax deduction reduces the amount of income you have subject to the tax whereas the tax credit reduces the tax owing.

Here are the top 4 overlooked tax deductions & credits you may not have known could score you a big return.

1. Medical Expenses- (Lines 330 and 331)

Services:

  • Dental
  •  Tutoring for someone with a learning disability

Products:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Equipment to relieve or treat an illness.
  • Gluten-Free products

2. Charitable contributions (Line 349)

  • Keep track of your receipts
  • Consider pooling them with your spouse, credit goes up the more you donate after $200.
  • Union / Professional Dues (LINE 212)
  • Moving expenses deduction if you are moving at least 40km to be closer to work. (Line 248)
  • Real estate commissions
  • Transportation and storage
  • Utilities and disconnections
  • Travel expenses- hotels and meals

3. The Disability Tax Credit (Lines 316-318)

Tax credit for people with a disability or those helping a person with a disability.

  • Child with Type 1 Diabetes
  •  Parkinson’s
  • Depression

4. Eligible Dependent Credit (Line 305)

You may be able to claim this amount for one other person if at any time in the year you met all of the following conditions at once:

  • You did not have a spouse or common-law partner or, if you did, you were not living with, supporting, or being supported by that person.
  • You supported a dependant in 2016.
  • You lived with the dependant (in most cases in Canada) in a home you maintained. You cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you.

After years of decline, digital streaming is saving the music industry

Peter Nowak | posted Tuesday, Apr 4th, 2017

Streaming is turning out to be a bonanza for the music industry, if the latest numbers from the Recording Industry Association of America are to believed.

Total U.S. retail sales hit $7.7 billion (U.S.) in 2016, representing 11.4% year-over-year growth – the largest single-year gain for the industry in almost two decades. The majority of that growth came from streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, which now provide more than 50% of the industry’s revenue.

Music streaming overall, including free services, saw 68% growth last year compared with the year before. Subscription services did even better, with revenue improving by 114% to $2.5 billion.

The results go a long way to fulfilling the promise that the likes of Spotify have been making for years – that, given enough time and scale, streaming can be even more lucrative to the music industry than their previous distribution systems.

Anecdotally, when I think of my own music purchasing habits in the past and present, I can see how this makes total sense.

Prior to the Napster revolution many years ago, when I was a young lad who was very much into music, I’d buy a handful of CDs a year. Maybe four or five, which might run to $60 a year.

File-sharing came along and offered up anything and everything anyone could want, so forget about buying discs. But there were problems with the free music revolution, and no, we’re not talking about the legality. No one really cared about that.

The issue with Napster and then BitTorrent after it was that you still had to proactively download what you wanted. It took work.

Spotify and its kin now deliver a simple proposition – the same, virtually unlimited choice, pretty much wherever and whenever you want it, but for a relatively low fee.

They’ve taken the work out, so no wonder so many people are signing up. Spotify alone has 50 million paying customers, while Apple Music reports 20 million.

The kicker in my situation, and probably for many people, is that I’m actually paying more for music now than I ever did. At $10 a month, Spotify is costing me $120 a year, easily double what I spent even in my heyday of music consumption.

The difference, of course, is that we’re getting far more in exchange. The success of streaming services thus comes down to a few basic factors that were simply missing from the business in years past: convenience and value for money, which is evidently succeeding. What a novel development.

NHL announces it won’t participate in 2018 Olympics

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Apr 4th, 2017

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a news conference in Las Vegas, June 22, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/John Locher
 
For the first time since 1994, NHL players will not attend the Winter Olympics.

The league released a statement Monday saying it “considers the matter officially closed” and that it won’t participate in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Negotiations between the league, the NHL Players’ Association and the International Olympic Committee have stalled in recent months.

In the statement, the NHL said it was open to hearing from the parties involved but that “no meaningful dialogue has materialized.”

“Instead, the IOC has now expressed the position that the NHL’s participation in Beijing in 2022 is conditioned on our participation in South Korea in 2018,” the league said. “And the NHLPA has now publicly confirmed that it has no interest or intention of engaging in any discussion that might make Olympic participation more attractive to the clubs.”

The league said it will now proceed with finalizing the schedule for next season.

The NHL Players’ Association didn’t immediately respond to the league’s announcement.

The NHL had been at every Winter Olympics since 1998 and players have expressed their desire to continue participating.

It was just over a year ago at the Stanley Cup final in Pittsburgh that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman began pouring cold water on the idea of NHLers participating in 2018. In particular, Bettman was miffed that the International Olympic Committee was resisting payment on out-of-pocket costs for NHL players to attend _ a subsidy that had been covered over the previous five Games.

Bettman said the cost was “many, many, many millions of dollars” and doubted that owners would pay for the “privilege of disrupting our season”.

Little had changed by early winter. Bettman continued to fume about money as well as the IOC’s unwillingness to let the NHL be associated with the Olympics in any fashion. The league couldn’t air highlights or promote their presence at the Games.

“It doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies,” Bettman said at the PrimeTime Sports Management Conference.

A decision, he added, would likely be required by early January at the latest.

The NHL league then proposed an idea to the NHLPA that would extend the current collective bargaining agreement as a part of package for players to attend in 2018.

The union turned down the deal.

“So hopefully we’ll still be able to conclude an agreement to go to the Olympics,” executive director Donald Fehr said at the time. “We still think it’s important and we’ll go from there.”

But by early December, at the board of governors meetings in Florida, Bettman hinted at “fatigue” from the owners at going to the Games again. There were concerns, he said, about shutting down the season, what with the impact of a compressed schedule on players. The group also wasn’t convinced that there was any tangible benefit to the NHL being in South Korea. The Games had shown some impact when played in North America, but little beyond its shores.

“I think our constituents have become increasingly negative toward the Olympic experience,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.

A few weeks later, Daly said the league had begun crafting two potential schedules for the 2017-18 season — one that included the NHL going to the Olympics and one that didn’t.

A month after that, at all-star weekend in Los Angeles, Bettman said a conversation among the board of governors as it pertained to the Olympics lasted all of 10 seconds. Nothing had changed from December when the views were strongly negative. Daly explained that the NHL was still waiting for some sort of game-changer to sway the owners, but didn’t know what that game-changer would be.

“All I can tell you is if we’re going to hear the same thing I don’t think it’s going to move the ball,” Daly said.

Players expressed hope that wouldn’t be the case.

Connor McDavid said “100 per cent” that NHL players should go. The Edmonton Oilers captain, who wasn’t even born the last time NHL players didn’t attend in 1994, said he couldn’t envision the Olympics without the world’s top players.

“I just feel like we’re misrepresenting our sport on a pretty huge scale and a pretty huge level,” Jonathan Toews, a long-time ace for Team Canada, added. “A lot of the talk has been it’s the players pushing for it, and it’s the players that are interested and want to go. I think the players do want to go, but I think it should be of interest to the players and the league. I think the NHL should be in the Olympics.”

The NHL, NHLPA, IOC and International Ice Hockey Federation all gathered for a hopeful meeting in early February, but by early March, Bettman said there was again nothing new to report. The owners were still unconvinced by the merits of players getting their wish to go to the Games.

Shortly thereafter Fehr hinted that players might be able to attend the Games whether the NHL gave the OK or not. He said the PA thought it was “very probably an individual club decision”, an avenue that might conceivably allow those like Alex Ovechkin to come to agreements on attending with their respective teams.

“The NHL knows what our position is,” Fehr said late last month. “They know we think it’s important. They know that we believe very strongly that players ought to have an opportunity to play. They know we think it’s in the long-run good for the game. And it’s something that we ought to try and do.”

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