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Vatican ruling against gluten-free hosts troubles celiac community

SALMAAN FAROOQUI, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

When Andrea Adam’s Catholic priest told her she was coming between her daughter and God, she knew it wasn’t because of her lack of faith.

It was because of gluten.

The Ontario woman’s daughter has celiac disease, which makes her extremely sensitive to gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, rye, and other products that make bread.

The condition means consuming hosts — the bread and wafers used to symbolize the body of Christ — at communion in Catholic churches has been a major problem for Adam’s daughter, who can become violently ill with even the smallest amount of gluten.

The Vatican, however, refuses to allow gluten-free hosts at communion and reaffirmed its stance in an announcement distributed last month. The notification said hosts used at communion had to contain at least a small amount of gluten to be valid.

For Adam, the Vatican’s position is deeply troubling and has affected how often she goes to church.

“When the church is struggling, I don’t understand why they’re chasing more people away,” she said.

The family’s first brush with the church’s ban on gluten-free hosts came seven years ago when Adam tried to take her daughter, who was seven years old at the time, for her first communion at her Catholic church in Dublin, Ont.

At the time, the priest at her church wouldn’t allow the use of a gluten-free host, even though a trace of gluten could make her daughter vomit over a dozen times.

When she tried to call another priest in the area to see if he would make an exception, he had already been warned about her case.

“He said it was ridiculous that I would do this to my daughter, and that I needed to just back off and let her do this,” said Adam.

In the end, Adam took her daughter to Ottawa, where she was able to receive communion with a gluten-free host.

Sue Newell, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Celiac Association, said the Vatican’s ban on gluten-free hosts has long been a contentious issue for her organization’s members.

“It is probably the most difficult problem for people who are active Catholics when they get this diagnosis,” said Newell. “We have priests and nuns who really struggle with what to do.”

For some with celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause a minor digestive upset, but for others, it can leave them ill for weeks, Newell said.

The Vatican has said extremely low-gluten hosts are valid at communion. Newell said those hosts have about 100 parts of gluten per million. Foods are generally defined as gluten-free when they have 20 parts per million or lower.

“Most people with celiac can tolerate them, but not everyone’s willing to do that,” said Newell. “Some people say ‘absolutely no gluten is going to cross my mouth.’”

According to Newell, some members of the celiac community have left the Catholic church because of its refusal to use gluten-free hosts.

But Terry Fournier, director of the national liturgy office for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops said claims of people abandoning the Catholic church over the issue is a “gross exaggeration.”

“I think some of that is that people don’t inquire into what the alternatives are, because there’s usually a pastoral solution to everything,” said Fournier.

People who can’t ingest even the smallest amount of gluten can choose to receive communion solely in the form of wine, which symbolizes the blood of Christ, Fournier said.

He added that the need for gluten in the host is significant because of historic references to bread in the Bible.

But in Adam’s case, having her daughter receive communion in the form of wine wasn’t an option.

Not only was she averse to a child drinking wine, but the chances of cross-contamination from others who had eaten the host and then drank from the cup were high. Adam said she could even see crumbs in the wine.

Adam said the issue has been devastating for her and her daughter, who already had to be excluded from things like Halloween and in-class baking activities because of her condition.

“(The church) was kind of our safe place, so to have so many struggles and then have this on top of it,” she said. “It really brought to light that it’s not just a dietary disease, it affects every aspect of life.”

These days, Adam said she still calls herself a Catholic, but said she rarely attends church now.

“We definitely miss that, you know, leaving the house, the church bells ringing and seeing everybody going to church, it was a great time … so it’s just tainted, it’s not something I enjoy anymore.”

Recall for glass mugs sold Canada-wide at HomeSense

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

Health Canada says certain glass beer mugs sold at HomeSense locations across the country are being recalled because they can break if used for hot liquids and can cause burns or lacerations. HANDOUT/Health Canada
Health Canada says certain glass beer mugs sold at HomeSense locations across the country are being recalled.

The agency says the glass mugs can break if used for hot liquids and can cause burns or lacerations.

It says TJX Canada is recalling the mugs after receiving one complaint in Canada of the mug breaking and causing a burn.

About 1,525 mugs, which are made in Poland, were sold in Canada between Jan. 1 and March 15.

Customers are being advised to return the mugs to the nearest HomeSense store for a refund.

Woodbine racetrack employees on strike

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

File photo of Woodbine Racetrack and Slots in Toronto in March 2004. (CP PHOTO – Steve White)
Hundreds of unionized Ontario Lottery and Gaming (OLG) employees have gone on strike at Woodbine Slots and Racing after rejecting a tentative agreement.

It was the second time union members had voted against a proposed deal from management.

The strike began at 12:01 a.m. on Friday.

It will be mostly business as usual, but there will be no access to electronic poker machines or the courtesy shuttle. There will also be limited hours for coat check.

Air Canada plane was within 30 metres of hitting 2 planes in San Francisco

JUSTIN PRITCHARD, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Jul 14th, 2017

An Air Canada flight makes its final approach as it lands at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Sept. 30, 2004. Air Canada is apologizing to a Prince Edward Island family after the airline bumped a 10-year-old boy from a flight. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
An Air Canada plane with 140 people on board came within 30 metres (100 feet) of crashing onto two of four planes lined up to take off at San Francisco International Airport last week, according to a preliminary report Canadian air safety regulators released Thursday.

The finding provided the first official accounting of how close the Air Canada plane came to causing what could have been one of the worst disasters in commercial aviation history.

Instead of lining up to land on the runway, the pilot of the flight from Toronto mistakenly descended toward a parallel taxiway just to the right of where four other airliners were idling in the darkness. Taxiways are the aviation equivalent of feeder roads that planes use to roll between runways and terminals, and have different lights than runways.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board released a short summary of the July 7 incident, which U.S. authorities are still investigating. The summary said Air Canada Flight 759 had already travelled one-quarter of a mile over the taxiway before aborting the landing.

As the Airbus 320 pulled up sharply it flew 30 metres over the first two jets, about 60 metres above the third and about 90 metres over the fourth, the summary said. It then circled and landed safely.

“This was very close to a catastrophic event,” said John Cox, a safety consultant and retired airline pilot.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which is heading the investigation, has not released any information and spokesman Keith Holloway said he could not comment on another agency’s data.

Transportation Safety Board of Canada spokesman Chris Krepski said he could not confirm the source of the data in the document, which was released as part of a “daily notification log” of safety incidents that Canadian air operators are obliged to report to regulators.

The most likely source was Air Canada, but company spokeswoman Angela Mah would only say in an email that the airline is “investigating the circumstances and co-operating with authorities.” She said because of the investigation, she could provide no more information.

Collisions on the ground are particularly dangerous because planes waiting to take off are loaded with fuel. The deadliest crash in aviation history occurred in 1977 when a KLM Boeing 747 taking off in the Canary Islands plowed into a Pan Am 747 that was waiting to take off; 583 people died in the crash and fires.

There are several cases in the United States when landing planes either hit another aircraft on the ground or barely cleared one. In the instances that safety consultant Cox recalled, including several at Los Angeles International Airport, the pilots of the landing plane could not see the other airplane.

“What is so unusual about this one is the airplanes could see each other and they still got this close,” Cox said. “These guys really did intend to land on this taxiway.”

In audio posted on LiveATC.net, which records flight communications, the pilot said he sees “some lights on the runway,” apparently alluding to planes on the taxiway.

According to the report released Thursday, the plane at that point was less than a mile from the taxiway. It would have been flying well over 160 km/h.

“That’s awful to let it go that far,” said Chris Manno, an American Airlines pilot for 32 years who regularly lands in San Francisco. “Pretty egregious.”

The controller assured the pilot there is no one on the runway. Seconds later, another voice – apparently one of the pilots on the taxiway – interjects, “Where’s this guy going? He’s on the taxiway.”

Only at that point did the controller order the Air Canada jet to pull up.

Pilot didn’t tell fliers of near-calamity, passenger says

KRISTIN J. BENDER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Jul 13th, 2017

Vehicles wait outside the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport on July 11, 2017, in San Francisco. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Marcio Jose Sanchez
A top California state official said Wednesday he was a passenger on an Air Canada jet that nearly landed on a taxiway where four other planes were sitting rather than the designated runway at San Francisco International Airport.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones was on the flight from Vancouver, B.C., returning from a conference of insurance regulators when the pilot mistakenly made his approach toward the taxiway Friday night instead of the nearby runway.

“It was just really strange because clearly something was wrong, but they didn’t really give us any information afterward. So to see that we almost landed on four planes full of passengers is a little disturbing,” said Jones.

Federal officials are investigating the incident.

Passengers were not told about the near-calamity after the plane landed safely, Jones said. Instead, he said the pilot told the 140 passengers on board that there was more traffic than usual and everything was fine, he said.

But he said he knew something was wrong because as the plane descended, the engines revved, and then the plane climbed.

“I’ve never experienced something like that for as low we were,” said Jones. “You could tell something wasn’t right.”

In audio posted on liveatc.net, which records flight communications, the pilot on the plane and the air traffic controller sounded calm as the close call unfolded.

At first, the pilot said he sees “some lights on the runway,” apparently alluding to planes on the taxiway, the aviation equivalent of feeder roads that planes use to roll between runways and terminals.

The controller assures the pilot there is no one on the runway. Seconds later, another voice — apparently one of the pilots on the taxiway — interjects, “Where’s this guy going? He’s on the taxiway.”

The controller orders the Air Canada jet to “go around,” and the pilot acknowledges the command.

Roughly 30 seconds later, a United Airlines pilot on the taxiway says the jet “flew directly over us.”

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor would not comment on how close Air Canada Flight 759 came to disaster, citing his agency’s ongoing investigation.

The National Transportation Safety Board also will review what happened.

Julie Payette to be next governor general of Canada: report

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Jul 13th, 2017

Canadian astronaut Julie Payette travelled into space twice during her more than 20 years as an astronaut before retiring in 2013. HANDOUT/NASA

The federal government is set to make the announcement Thursday outside the doors of the Senate.

The 53-year-old Montrealer, who speaks six languages, was picked from 5,330 applicants in 1992 to be one of four new astronauts with the Canadian Space Agency. Payette took part in two space flights to the International Space Station and was as the CSA’s chief astronaut between 2000 and 2007.

Multiple officials say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will make the announcement himself, and is expected to be flanked by the new viceregal just as Gov. Gen. David Johnston stood alongside Stephen Harper when he was tapped for the job in 2010.

Sources say Trudeau informed the Queen during an audience with her last week of his recommendation to the post.

Johnston’s term is set to expire in September, after Harper extended it by two years ahead of the 2015 federal election.

The identity of his replacement has been a closely guarded secret in Ottawa.

Traditionally, the viceregal job rotates between anglophones and francophones.

Johnston, who had a long career in academia, was chosen for the position off a short list presented to Harper by an ad hoc committee of experts struck with the express task of selecting a non-partisan person with constitutional knowledge.

At the time, Harper had a minority government and so who held the post of governor general was essential to maintaining the stability of government.

The names of those on the selection committee weren’t published until after Johnston’s nomination, but Harper would go on to make the committee a permanent body, saying a process to ensure a non-partisan approach to appointments was important.

When asked late last year how he’d pick the next governor general, Trudeau was noncommittal about what process he would use.

“I’m not going to change things just to reinvent the wheel,” Trudeau said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

“If there is a good process that we can improve by making (it) more open and transparent and more diverse, that I will probably do.”

Johnston is currently on a visit to China, and is expected to have an audience with the Queen next week when he travels to the U.K. for Canada 150 events, likely marking the last time he will sit face-to-face with the monarch he represents.

In his farewell speech on Canada Day, Johnston said he has learned much in his seven years on the job.

“These are challenging but exciting times,” he said.

“And together we can show the world what a great country looks like. To me it looks like Canada, a country that strives, always, to be smarter and more caring — to do better, together.”

Toronto condo resident learns her key opens other units

CRISTINA HOWORUN | posted Thursday, Jul 13th, 2017

A condo resident in Toronto’s east end is raising concerns about the security of her building after she learned her key opens not only her front door — but also the door to other units.

Aurella Daigle, who lives at Danforth and Coxwell avenues, said she’s convinced other tenants have master keys as well.

“Four days ago, I was lying down, having a nap — and it’s a good thing I had my chain on my door,” she said.

“Someone had opened my door and … it scared me. I got up. I said, ‘Who’s there?’ I was afraid to open it right away because I didn’t know who was on the other side.”

Daigle said her door has been opened before and her belongings, like makeup and clothes, have gone missing.

“I’m not the only person that’s missing things,” she said. “A lot of people are scared to come forward, because they’re scared of the landlord, they’re scared of management. But I have to do something.”

A few years ago, she and her boyfriend learned by accident that their key opened the doors to other units.

“There’s people that’s got little kids in here,” she said. “I’m not just afraid for myself, but for their safety as well.”

The property manager claimed he hadn’t received any complaints about people having master keys.

“If a tenant claims to have a key that opens another door or doors, we would expect them to advise us as soon as possible so that we could take corrective action immediately,” Bob Aykler said. “We have never been told of such an occurrence.”

But Daigle said she has left several messages for Aykler and told the superintendent several times as well.

“I told him so many times,” she explained. “But he said it’s all in my head. It’s not possible that somebody has a key.”

Daigle said the property manager did change her locks last year, but her old key still works — and her new key opens even more doors than before.

”My biggest concern is if I have this key, how many other people have got a key like this?” she said. “In all these years, I’ve been telling them since 2009 about this, and they’ve basically ignored me.”

In any case, Aykler said his company would change Daigle’s lock and key — and others, if necessary.

Bombardier admits it might miss TTC streetcar target this year

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Jul 13th, 2017

New TTC streetcars in Toronto. CITYNEWS/Diana Pereira
There were supposed to be 70 new streetcars on Toronto tracks by the end of the year, but Bombardier now admits reaching that delivery target is going to be a “challenge.”

The Quebec-based company — which is already in a legal dispute with Metrolinx over its ability to fulfill train orders in Toronto — said it informed the TTC about the problem on Tuesday.

“In all transparency, yesterday Bombardier informed the TTC months ahead that there is a potential challenge to meeting the full target of 70 streetcars for 2017,” spokesman Marc-André Lefebvre said in a statement.

“This is a potential, very limited, short-term issue. This does not mean Bombardier will not reach its target for 2017.”

The company said it’s taking “extraordinary” measures to have the streetcars ready, including extending the work week at its Thunder Bay plant from five to seven days, adding resources at all of its sites, and flying rather than shipping streetcar cabs from Vienna to save the month in transportation time it would take by sea.

“All cards are on the table. No stone will be left unturned,” Lefebvre said.

Bombardier will cover the cost of the extra resources, including the $750,000 Antonov flights, “to reinforce our commitment to the TTC and Toronto transit riders.”

TTC CEO Andy Byford said the company is to blame for the delay.

“I understand that it’s difficult, but they have got themselves into this position,” he said.

Bombardier said it’s still on track to deliver the entire fleet of 204 streetcars by the original contract deadline of 2019.

The TTC has received 40 new streetcars and was supposed to have a total of 70 by the end of the year, according to Bombardier’s revised schedule. Next year, 76 new streetcars are to be delivered, and in 2019, the TTC should receive the remaining 58 streetcars.

Related stories:

Metrolinx appealing court loss over $770M contract with Bombardier

Metrolinx to buy LRT vehicles from Alstom in shot against Bombardier

Metrolinx can’t cancel Bombardier contract: Ontario judge

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