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Suspect wanted after shooting, killing a man during Facebook Live stream

The Associated Press | posted Monday, Apr 17th, 2017

Cleveland police are searching for a homicide suspect who broadcast the fatal shooting of another man live on Facebook.

Police have identified the victim as 74-year-old Robert Goodwin Sr.

Police say Steve Stephens shot Goodwin on Sunday afternoon while he was recording live on Facebook.

Police say the man broadcast another video of himself later on the social media network claiming he had killed other people.

Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia tells cleveland.com that police haven’t verified any slayings besides the one Sunday afternoon in the city’s Glenville neighbourhood.

The video of the killing was posted on Facebook for about three hours before it was removed. His Facebook page apparently was deactivated later Sunday afternoon.

This is not the first time Facebook Live has been used to broadcast violence or death. In January, four people in Chicago were arrested after they allegedly beat and taunted a mentally disabled man live on the social media site. Then in March, a 15-year-old Chicago girl was apparently sexually assaulted by five or six men or boys on Facebook Live, and none of the roughly 40 people who watched the live video reported the attack to police, authorities said.

“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” said a spokesperson for Facebook. “We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety.”

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams is urging Stephens to turn himself in and not to “do anymore harm to anybody.”

Police say Stephens should be considered armed and dangerous.

Williams said Stephens may be driving a newer model white Ford Fusion. Anyone with information is asked to call 911.

Leafs battle Capitals in first home playoff game since 2013

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 17th, 2017

After a thrilling double-overtime win for the Toronto Maple Leafs in Washington over the weekend, the tied series returns to home ice on Monday.

Game 3 against the Capitals gets underway at 7 p.m. at the Air Canada Centre.

It is the Leafs first home playoff game since May 12, 2013.

Nikita Zaitsev is a good bet to make his series debut after sitting out the first two games with a suspected concussion.

Zaitsev skated at Air Canada Centre on Sunday afternoon and either he or Alexey Marchenko will get the nod for Monday night.

However, Roman Polak will miss the rest of the post-season after suffering a right leg injury Saturday in Toronto’s 4-3 victory.

The opening game of the best-of-seven series also went to overtime last Thursday. Tom Wilson scored about five minutes into the extra session to give the Capitals a 3-2 win.

Mike Babcock doesn’t think fatigue will be an issue as the series continues.

“I’ve been in tons of these series where you play lots of overtime,” he said. “The great thing about it is you’re playing at the greatest time of year. It’s fun anyway and you’d be amazed at how much energy you have.

“So let’s just keep on going.”

Game 4 is scheduled for Wednesday in Toronto and Game 5 is set for Friday in Washington. Game 6 heads back to the ACC on April 23. If a seventh game is necessary, it will be played in Washington.

Once again, fans will converge at Maple Leaf Square to party with other fans and watch the game on the big screen on Monday. The tailgate party starts at 5 p.m.

For anyone who is planning to drive to the ACC, keep in mind that the eastbound Gardiner Expressway ramp to York, Bay and Yonge streets is closed.

Eastbound Gardiner ramp closed permanently

CityNews | posted Monday, Apr 17th, 2017

Commuter chaos in the downtown core is set to reach a new level Monday morning as the eastbound ramp from the Gardiner Expressway to York, Bay and Yonge streets permanently closed at 5 a.m.

The ramp is one of the most used off-ramps.

As CityNews first reported back in February, the ramp is set to be replaced with a shorter one from the eastbound Gardiner to Lower Simcoe Street, but that is not slated to open until January 2018.

Harbour Street will eventually be widened to four lanes from Lower Simcoe to Bay Street as part of the project in order to accommodate the additional traffic. It will also improve pedestrian and bicycle access to the waterfront.

During construction, Harbour will be reduced to two lanes of traffic in the area and there will be periodic closures of the centre lane on the street from Lower Simcoe to Bay street between May 1 and June 15.

According to the city, more than 4,500 vehicles travel the eastbound Gardiner from Jameson Avenue to the core every hour during the morning rush and 3,300 of them use the York-Bay-Yonge off ramp.

Motorists will be able to access the downtown area by exiting the eastbound Gardiner at the Jameson, Spadina Avenue and Jarvis Street exit ramps. From April 10 onward, eastbound Lakeshore Boulevard will be accessible from the eastbound Gardiner at Spadina.

Traffic signal timing on alternate routes will also be adjusted to minimize congestion but motorists should expect delays.

Work on the project is expected to take place Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and overnight work will take place on the weekends.

Detailed information is available on the City of Toronto website.

Liberals introduce long-awaited bill to legalize marijuana

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 13th, 2017

The federal Liberal government has finally launched its long-awaited effort to legalize recreational marijuana, setting in motion a host of sweeping policy changes for public safety and health across Canada.

The suite of bills — which would establish 18 as the minimum legal age to buy pot — was introduced in the House of Commons by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, Health Minister Jane Philpott and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

The new legislation would establish a “strict legal framework” for the production, sale, distribution and possession of pot, and make it a specific criminal offence to sell cannabis to a minor.

Adults over 18 would be allowed to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent in public, share up to 30 grams of dried cannabis with other adults and buy cannabis or cannabis oil from a provincially regulated retailer.

They would also be permitted to grow up to four plants per resident for personal use, as well as make legal cannabis-containing products at home.

The government aims to establish “significant penalties” for those who engage young Canadians in “cannabis-related offences” and a “zero-tolerance approach” to drug-impaired driving, along with a “robust” public awareness campaign.

It would also provide additional investment for licensing, inspection and enforcement challenges.

Provinces, territories and municipalities would be able to tailor rules for their own jurisdictions, enforcing them through mechanisms such as ticketing.

They will also be permitted to set their own licensing, distribution and retail sales rules, establish provincial zoning rules for cannabis businesses and change provincial traffic safety laws as they deem necessary.

Philpott says criminalizing cannabis has not deterred use among young people, noting products like alcohol and tobacco are legally available with restrictions.

Once passed, the Liberal bills introduced today would make Canada the first member of the G7 to legalize marijuana for recreational use across the country.


Related stories:

Legal pot bill could require logo, brand free packaging

Ontario police gearing up for rise in drugged driving after pot legalization

Trudeau says legalized pot will keep youth safe, take money from gangs

Maple Leafs begin quest for Stanley Cup in Washington

CityNews | posted Thursday, Apr 13th, 2017

The Toronto Maple Leafs kick off their first Stanley Cup playoff series in four years on Thursday as they take on the Capitals in Washington.

The puck drops at 7 p.m.

While the Leafs haven’t won the Cup since 1967, the Capitals haven’t won Lord Stanley since the team’s inception in 1974. Washington won the Presidents’ Trophy for having the most wins this season.

Toronto’s goalie Frederik Andersen is expected to be between the pipes, but the Buds will be without rookie defenceman Nikita Zaitsev. He is sitting out Game 1 after a hit into the boards in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

As the Leafs begin their quest for the Cup, hundreds of fans are expected to gather at Maple Leaf Square on Thursday night for a tailgate party. Gates open at 5 p.m.

The Leafs are one of five Canadian NHL teams who have made the Stanley Cup playoffs this year. Last spring, all seven of Canada’s teams missed the playoffs for the first time since 1969-70.

The Buds are not the only Toronto sports team in the playoffs. For the first time in 15 years, the Leafs and the Toronto Raptors are playoff-bound at the same time.

Malala Yousafzai receives honorary Canadian citizenship

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 13th, 2017

The irrepressible Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Nobel Peace Prize winner who famously survived a Taliban bullet in 2012, delivered an enduring message of hope, perseverance and inspiration Wednesday _ and did it as an honorary Canadian citizen.

Yousafzai used her newfound membership in the Canadian family and towering presence on Parliament Hill to apply a little friendly pressure, calling on the country to go beyond honorifics and take a global lead in ensuring more girls can go to school.

“I know where I stand,” Yousafzai said during a moving speech to a joint session of Parliament that was punctuated frequently by thunderous standing ovations.

“If you stand with me, I ask you to seize every opportunity for girls’ education over the next year.”

The 19-year-old called on Canada to make girls’ education the centrepiece of its work as host of the G7 next year something that would bring full circle the process of how the Pakistani activist became Canada’s sixth honorary citizen.

The accolade was originally to be conferred by former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, whose inner circle thought honouring Yousafzai would be a logical offshoot of their government’s focus on women and girls’ health when Canada last led the G7.

“Malala is an international symbol of perseverance for not only girls and women but for all of us, she embodies what it means to be Canadian,” Harper said in a statement Wednesday.

“Malala’s incredible story and tireless work to give millions of girls a voice will leave a lasting impression for generations.”

She was to have personally received the honour on Oct. 22, 2014, but on that day a gunman rampaged through the very building where Yousafzai stood Wednesday before an audience of dignitaries, MPs, cabinet ministers and diplomats.

“The man who attacked Parliament Hill called himself a Muslim — but he did not share my faith. He did not share the faith of one and a half billion Muslims, living in peace around the world. He did not share our Islam — a religion of learning, compassion and mercy,” she said, her parents beaming from their front row seats.

“I am a Muslim and I believe that when you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill innocent people, you are not a Muslim anymore.”

The gunman “shared the hatred” of the man who attacked the Quebec City mosque in January, who killed civilians and a police officer in London three weeks ago, who killed 132 school children at Pakistan’s Army Public School in Peshawar, she said.

“The same hatred as the man who shot me.”

Malala sang Canada’s praises throughout her speech, which even included a subtle jab at the shifting political landscape in the United States.

“‘Welcome to Canada’ is more than a headline or a hashtag,” she said.

“It is the spirit of humanity that every single one of us would yearn for, if our family was in crisis. I pray that you continue to open your homes and your hearts to the world’s most defenceless children and families — and I hope your neighbours will follow your example.”

She urged the federal government to put its upcoming presidency of the G7 to good use, and also to use its influence to help fill the global education funding gap, noting some 130 million girls are without access to education.

“The world needs leadership based on serving humanity — not based on how many weapons you have,” she said. “Canada can take that lead.”

Equal parts humour and humility, Yousafzai appeared at times even younger than her now-famous activist countenance as she related how much excitement there was at home over the prospect of meeting Trudeau in person.

They say: ‘He’s the second-youngest prime minister in Canadian history! He does yoga! He has tattoos!’ she grinned.

“While it may be true that he is young for a head of government, I would like to tell the children of Canada: you do not have to be as old as Prime Minister Trudeau to be a leader. I used to think I had to wait to be an adult to lead. But I’ve learned that even a child’s voice can be heard around the world.”

She added, to the “young women of Canada” in particular: “Step forward and raise your voices. The next time I visit, I hope I see more of you filling these seats in Parliament.”

Trudeau said later he was inspired by her words.

“She challenged us as Canadians to think about how we can continue to strive for justice, for equality for opportunities for girls and women around the world,” he said. “I certainly look forward to renewing our efforts to have a positive impact in the world.”

Canada’s other five honorary citizens are the Dalai Lama, the Aga Khan, Nelson Mandela, Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi and Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg.

Ontario teacher contract extensions come with 4 per cent raises

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 13th, 2017

Contract extensions agreed to by Ontario’s teachers and education workers come with more than $275 million in additional funding as well as four-per-cent raises.

All central education unions have now ratified agreements to extend their contracts to 2019 – past the next provincial election.

The deals were set to expire this August, and the two-year extensions mean the Liberal government won’t have to contend with contentious teacher bargaining ahead of the election.

High school, elementary, English Catholic and French teachers as well as support staff will get four per cent in salary increases over the two years.

They will also get a one-time payment for professional development, supplies and equipment equivalent to a 0.5-per-cent salary increase.

The deals come with $219 million in new funding for hiring, which the government says could support about 875 teachers and between 1,600 and 1,830 education workers.

Another $56 million is in the elementary deal to hire teachers and early childhood educators so class sizes can be reduced to a cap of 30 students in most full-day kindergarten classes next school year and down to 29 the following year.

There will also be another $3.5 million allocated to school boards for professional learning and about $800 million more for school boards with costs involved in keeping schools open late for community uses.

Legal pot bill could require logo, brand free packaging

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Apr 13th, 2017

Growers on the cusp of Canada’s nascent marijuana industry are bracing for Thursday’s long-awaited Liberal legislation on legal pot, which sources say is expected to require the newly unshackled drug to be sold only in plain, brand-free packaging.

The prospect of plain packaging, which tobacco manufacturers are also opposing, has pot producers warning the federal government that they won’t be able to compete with the black market without some form of branding.

Health Minister Jane Philpott spoke to a Senate committee Wednesday about requiring plain packages for tobacco products – a measure that was also recommended by the federally appointed task force on marijuana.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Philpott would neither confirm nor deny that the new bill would require plain packaging for legal marijuana, offering only that there are indeed public health lessons to be drawn from the experience with tobacco.

Prior to the bill’s introduction, a number of prominent producers lobbied the government to resist the notion of plain pot packaging.

Seven companies– Tilray, Tweed, Mettrum, CannTrust, Green Organic Dutchman Holdings, RedeCan Pharm and Delta 9 Bio-Tech – wrote to Philpott and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to warn about the potential consequences.

“Without branding and in-store marketing collateral, it will be difficult to educate consumers about the products they are buying and help them differentiate between products,” they wrote.

“Brands also ensure accountability, encouraging producers and retailers to provide quality products and support in the new market.”

Members of the medical community will also be watching to see if Ottawa proceeds with a recommendation to limit sales to those over 18 – something Trudeau seemed to endorse last year when he described it as a reasonable compromise.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to say if he still feels that way, saying only it would “legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access” to cannabis in a careful way to keep it out of the hands of young people and to prevent criminals from profiting.

For its part, the Canadian Psychiatric Association has warned about the mental health implications of cannabis for young people, and recommended an age limit of 21, as well as quantity and potency limits for those under 25.

Early and regular cannabis use can affect memory, attention, intelligence and the ability to process thoughts, said CPA President Dr. Renuka Prasad, and exacerbate the risk of psychotic disorders and other mental health issues among those already vulnerable.

The driving purpose of the Liberal government’s plan is to address Canada’s “very high rates” of cannabis use among young people that are among the highest rates in the world, Philpott said.

Criminalizing cannabis has not deterred its use by young people, she added, noting other products including alcohol and tobacco are available with restrictions for legal consumption despite known harms.

Marijuana is a perfect example of the look-before-leaping approach the Liberals took to their 2015 campaign promises, Conservative MP and leadership candidate Erin O’Toole told The Canadian Press in an interview Wednesday.

He sided firmly with those provinces who want the federal government to pick up the tab for additional law enforcement costs sure to result from the new landscape.

“I think the federal government has an obligation because they started this move,” O’Toole said.

O’Toole said he would rather see a “hybrid” version of decriminalization that would allow police to ticket users, while retaining the ability to lay a criminal charge at their discretion.

He also disagreed with his running mate Kellie Leitch, who said Tuesday she would reverse Trudeau’s pot plan if she became leader and eventually prime minister.

“To suggest … after the horses are all out of the barn that we are going to get them all back in the barn, I also don’t think is a pragmatic policy statement.”

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