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Diana's 20th Death Anniversary

Floral tributes laid at Kensington Palace for Diana anniversary

DANICA KIRKA, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017

Media and crowds of Diana well-wishers gather outside Kensington Palace gates in London, England, on Aug. 31, 2017, to pay tribute on the 20th anniversary of her death. Photo: Amer Ghazzal/Barcroft Media/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Dozens of floral tributes, photos and personal messages have been laid at the gates of London’s Kensington Palace on Thursday as Britain remembered Princess Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death in a Paris car crash.

Royal fans gathered at the palace, Diana’s former home, to mark two decades since the princess’ death triggered a flood of grief across Britain and beyond. Her admirers began paying tribute to Diana before dawn, placing candles shaped in the letter “D” at the palace gates.

“We had never met her and been nowhere near her, but I think she touched so many people because of who she was, the way she conducted herself in the context of where she was living and who she became,” said Mara Klemich, 55, a royal well-wisher from Sydney, Australia.

Princes William and Harry honoured their mother Wednesday at Kensington Palace, visiting a garden where she would stroll by and ask the gardeners about their ever-changing displays.

The princes and the Duchess of Cambridge met with well-wishers afterward, but aren’t expected to take part in any engagements Thursday.

The weeks leading up to the anniversary have been met with reflection in Britain as the public remembers “the people’s princess” and considers her contributions to the country.

The 36-year-old princess died in the early hours of Aug. 31, 1997. Her Mercedes, pursued by paparazzi, crashed into a concrete pillar in the Alma Tunnel in Paris while travelling at more than 100 km/h.

Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver Henri Paul were all killed. Her bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was injured but survived.

In Paris, royal watchers also gathered at the Alma Tunnel to remember her life.

“It’s been 20 years now but there are people you don’t forget, and she is one of them,” said Sylviane Rives of Paris, who works nearby. “That is what I wrote on a little card for her.”

Many took to social media to express their grief and to recall her kindness.

The co-designer of Diana’s wedding dress, Elizabeth Emanuel, tweeted a picture of the princess shortly after her arrival at St. Paul’s Cathedral for her 1981 wedding.

“Thinking of the wonderful times we spent with Diana and the great joy she brought into our lives and all those who knew her,” Emanuel tweeted.

Rosa Monckton, a friend of Diana’s, told the Times of London that she “busted the myth of being a fairytale princess” and that Diana’s many troubles helped people relate to her.

“I think that given the life she had, when you think what she had to overcome, and all of this in the public eye, I think she was a truly extraordinary woman,” she said. “Very damaged, very flawed, as we all are, but underneath it all this incredible resilience.”

Associated Press writers Kevin Scott and Oleg Cetinic contributed to this story.

Eligible Ontario homeowners to get smart thermostats under new program

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017

A smart thermostat on display at a Green Ontario Fund news conference at Artscape Wychwood Barns on Aug. 30, 2017. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera
Eligible Ontario homeowners will be able to get smart thermostats for free under a new government program.

Environment Minister Chris Ballard announced Wednesday that $377 million in proceeds from Ontario’s cap-and-trade auctions this year will be used to establish a Green Ontario Fund.

That not-for-profit provincial agency will oversee programs and rebates for homes and businesses to reduce energy costs.

Part of that will be the GreenON Installations program, under which eligible households can register to have a technician visit and install a smart thermostat at no cost. The province says 100,000 smart thermostats will be available under the program.

Smart thermostats are connected to the internet and adjust themselves automatically and can be programmed and adjusted through smartphones.

A smart thermostat on display at a Green Ontario Fund news conference at Artscape Wychwood Barns on Aug. 30, 2017. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera


Owners and renters of detached and semi-detached homes, townhouses and row houses can register through the Green Ontario Fund website, though renters must have their landlords’ permission.

Registration opened Wednesday with installations starting in the fall on a first-come, first-serve basis. At one point, the website crashed.

The Green Ontario Fund website crashed on Aug. 30, 2017.

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How Ontario’s cap-and-trade system works: a few basic details

Bride launches class-action lawsuit against Air Transat for ruining wedding

ROSS MAROWITS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017

An Air Transat sign is seen on May 31, 2016 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
A disgruntled B.C. bride has filed a national class-action lawsuit against Air Transat for ruining her wedding by allegedly misrepresenting flights as non-stop.

Vancouver law firm Rosenberg Kosakoski LLP said Wednesday it has launched the claim against the airline operated by Montreal-based tour company Transat A.T.

The claim alleges the airline fraudulently misrepresented its efforts that were designed to increase ticket prices and reduce costs by using “sub-standard aircraft.”

The law firm says Air Transat advertised direct flights that typically garner higher prices. However, the aircraft ultimately made stops that were not disclosed to passengers until the plane was airborne.

The class action was filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court by Jessica Spencer, a 33-year-old accountant from Victoria, on behalf of herself and other passengers who were misled.

Spencer claims Air Transat’s actions ruined her dream destination wedding.

The lawsuit hasn’t been tested in court.

Transat couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The class-action suit comes as the Canadian Transportation Agency held a hearing Wednesday about passengers being trapped for hours aboard two Air Transat jets earlier this summer in sweltering heat with a lack of water and facing the stench of vomit in the cabin.

Christophe Hennebelle, the airline’s vice-president of corporate affairs, offered an apology to passengers, saying the hearings showed the complexity of the situation on July 31.

Both planes were originally bound for Montreal — one from Brussels, the other from Rome — but were forced to divert to Ottawa due to weather conditions. They were among about 20 other planes that couldn’t land in Montreal or Toronto during a two-hour window.

Whitby woman, 60, denied pet adoption because of her age

AMANDA FERGUSON | posted Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017

A Whitby woman says she experienced discrimination at a PetSmart this week when she was turned away from adopting a kitten because of her age.

Betsy Foster, 60, says she went to the store in Oshawa on Sunday and a little black-and-white kitten quickly caught her eye.

She struck up a conversation with a volunteer from a rescue agency and was surprised to learn she wasn’t allowed to apply to adopt the cat.

“I told her, ‘We just want one cat.’ And she says, ‘We won’t allow a senior to adopt a kitten,’” Foster told CityNews. “I said, ‘Why?’ and she says, ‘Seniors are going to get older and the cat could outlive you.’”

Foster then relayed what happened to her husband Rick, 71, who was shocked.

“I was pissed,” he said. “I got home and wanted to make sure I’m onside, so I went to talk to my neighbour Marlene — she’s a senior too — and she says, ‘That’s age discrimination.’”

CityNews reached out to PetSmart to enquire about its pet adoption policy, and the company said the Fosters should not have been turned away.

PetSmart said it works with a number of charities and rescue agencies and declined to identify the agency involved.

“We require all of our partners to treat everyone with respect regardless of age, race, religion, gender, and orientation,” said spokewoman Christina Martinez.

“PetSmart Charities of Canada has an established assessment process in place that it uses to identify partners, which includes requiring the organization to abide by an anti-discrimination policy. We take any allegation of discrimination seriously and we are looking into the allegations.”

The Toronto Humane Society, another agency that works with PetSmart, said the only age requirement it enforces is a minimum of 18 years.

Lawyers for Omar Khadr in court to seek easing of bail conditions

DEAN BENNETT, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017

Omar Khadr speaks to the media outside his lawyer’s home after being granted bail in Edmonton on May 7, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Lawyers for former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr are to appear in an Edmonton court Thursday seeking to ease his bail restrictions and grant him unsupervised visits with his sister.

Khadr is also seeking unrestricted internet access and more freedom to move around Canada while on bail pending the appeal of his conviction by a U.S. military commission for five purported war crimes.

Khadr, now 31, has been free on bail for more than two years and notes no issues have arisen since his release.

Right now, he can only have contact with his sister Zaynab Khadr if one of his lawyers or bail supervisor is present.

Khadr is arguing he wants to reconnect with his family and is old enough that he can’t be negatively swayed.

Several years ago, Zaynab and her mother infuriated many Canadians by expressing support for the al-Qaeda terrorist group.

In 2005, Zaynab was investigated by RCMP for allegedly aiding al-Qaeda, but no charges were filed. She is now reportedly living in Sudan with her fourth husband, but is planning a visit to Canada.

Thursday’s hearing is the next phase in a 15-year legal journey for Khadr that has ignited sharp and divisive debate among Canadians over terrorism, human rights and the rule of law.

Related stories:

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The Toronto-born Khadr spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught, as a teenager, and accused of tossing a grenade that killed army medic Christopher Speer during a firefight at an al-Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

In 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to multiple charges before a U.S. military commission, including to killing Speer, but has since said he can’t remember if he tossed the fatal grenade. He has said he entered the plea to try to get out of Guantanamo, where he says he was mistreated, and into the Canadian justice system.

He returned to Canada in 2012 to serve out the rest of the eight-year sentence he was given.

Canada’s Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that Khadr’s charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and Canadian officials contributed to that violation.

Khadr filed a $20-million lawsuit against the government and last month it was revealed he had settled the case for a reported $10.5 million. That set off a fierce debate.

Khadr has said he wants to get on with his life. He recently married and plans to move to the city of Red Deer, halfway between Edmonton and Calgary, to begin studies to become a nurse.

TDSB will continue to block WiFi access to Snapchat, Netflix, and Instagram

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017

Emojis in the Snapchat app are shown in Toronto on March 7, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Toronto District School Board will continue to block WiFi access to Snapchat, Netflix, and Instagram for the entire school year.

The board said it made the decision so that WiFi could be used for other things.

“This continued measure will help alleviate congestion and boost network capacity while minimizing the impact on teaching and learning,” the TDSB said in a statement on Wednesday.

In May, the TDSB said that the three sites accounted “for more than 20 per cent of our daily network activity and, on our older, slower network, make many necessary operational tasks, such as attendance, registration and report cards, nearly impossible to complete.” The sites were blocked at that time.

While the board began to upgrade its internet network over the summer, there were “unexpected delays,” the board said, and the three sites will continue to be blocked.

The decision will be revisited in June 2018.

Trustees vote to temporarily suspend TDSB’s school resource officer program

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Aug 31st, 2017

A police officer walks with students in a Toronto school. CITYNEWS/File photo.
Trustees have voted to temporarily suspend the Toronto District School Board’s controversial school resource officer program for the start of the school year.

A permanent decision will be made after more data is collected and a report can be released.

This comes almost a week after activists and members of the public disrupted a Toronto Police Services board meeting, arguing armed officers in schools intimidate students and contribute to the marginalization of people with diverse backgrounds.

The program deployed 36 officers in 75 schools across the city.

It was put in place after 15-year-old Jordan Manners was shot and killed at C. W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute in 2007

An interim report on the review’s findings is expected to be released in January.

Related stories:

Review of controversial SRO program goes ahead despite angry opposition

Police Services Board defers cops in school decision until December

Who’s sorry now? Not Kathy Griffin over Trump photo

LYNN ELBER, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Aug 30th, 2017

In this Dec. 9, 2015, file photo, Kathy Griffin attends The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast in Los Angeles. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Invision/Jordan Strauss
Kathy Griffin retracted her apology for a gory image of a fake Donald Trump head, saying anger against her was overblown and should be directed at Trump and his administration.

A feisty Griffin, interviewed Tuesday on Australian TV in advance of an international comedy tour, slammed the president and his actions as she reversed course from her tearful mea culpa in May.

“So the picture happened, the outrage was ridiculous, I made an apology, and now in light of all the crazy stuff that he (Trump) and this administration are doing … He’s unhinged,” she said on the morning show “Sunrise.”

The comedian condemned Trump’s pardon of former Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio and the president’s call for a ban on military service by transgender people. She also referred to Trump as a “fool,” among other derogatory terms.

One “Sunrise” host pressed her on whether it was out of line to pose for photos and a video with a mask of Trump covered in tomato sauce to simulate blood from a severed head. Griffin pushed back.

“Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the president of the United States is committing,” she said.

Griffin said she lost friends and work, and received death threats during the uproar.

She had quickly apologized in a video in which she called the Trump image “disturbing” and also during a tearful news conference, but was fired from her most high-profile job as co-host of CNN’s New Year’s Eve Celebration. Comedy gigs were cancelled.

It didn’t take long for her to realize that what was happening to her could be the basis of laughs, Griffin said during a satellite interview, and she decided to embark on the “Laugh Your Head Off” tour.

She’s also on “a mission to tell people, honestly, if it happened to me, as big mouthed and obnoxious as I am, it can happen to you,” said Griffin.

Griffin spoke this week by satellite to “Sunrise” and another Australian show, “The Project,” to promote her upcoming appearances there. She’ll also be on stage in Europe and elsewhere.

Related stories:

Kathy Griffin apologizes for Trump photo: ‘I went too far’

CNN sacks Kathy Griffin over Trump video as backlash builds

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