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Extreme heat continues in GTA; power outage in Forest Hill

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Sep 26th, 2017

Toronto and the GTA are in store for another day of potentially record-breaking heat on Tuesday, as a heat warning remains in effect.

Temperatures are expected to soar to 30 C, but it will feel like 40 C with the humidity, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.

While the heat didn’t break a temperature record at Pearson International Airport on Monday, the region is expected to break a record on Tuesday. A record high of 29.6 C was set on this day in 1998.

The GTA is also on track to beat a record on Wednesday. The high is expected to hit 28 C – the record high was 27.2 set on that day in 1973.

Much of southern Ontario has been under a heat warning by Environment Canada since Saturday. However, the national weather agency said a cold front is expected to move across southern Ontario through the day on Wednesday, bringing with it cooler temperatures by Thursday. The high for Thursday is expected to be 19 C.

The Toronto District School Board cancelled all outdoor activities for both Monday and Tuesday due to the extreme heat. The school board has also taken precautions in many of its schools because about 20 per cent don’t have air conditioning.

Meanwhile, it was an uncomfortable night for many residents in Forest Hill who had to deal with an power outage overnight, which meant no air conditioning in this stifling heat.

Power went out at around 8:30 p.m. on Monday after a fault in Toronto Hydro’s underground infrastructure.

The affected area is bounded by Bathurst Street, Avenue Road, Glencairn Avenue and Eglinton Avenue, affecting around 1,000 customers.

The power utility initially said crews were hoping to have power restored by 7 a.m. However, at around 6 a.m. Toronto Hydro said the restoration time was now mid-to-late morning since crews are having issues pinpointing the fault location.


Crash closes Toronto-bound QEW at Burlington Skyway

CityNews | posted Monday, Sep 25th, 2017

The Toronto-bound QEW will be closed for several hours at the Burlington Skyway due to a multi-vehicle crash.

The OPP said it happened around 6:15 a.m. on Monday.

The multi-vehicle crash involved a transport truck, as well as a motorcycle.

There has been no word on injuries.

All traffic is being rerouted to Eastport Drive.


Mexico: As quake search continues, thousands homeless

CityNews | posted Monday, Sep 25th, 2017

As the search continued Sunday for survivors and the bodies of people who died in quake-collapsed buildings in Mexico, thousands of people have been left homeless because their houses or apartment buildings are uninhabitable.

Specialists have fanned out to inspect buildings and determine which are unsafe after Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake, which has killed at least 318. Civil Defence chief Luis Felipe Puente reported the new death toll on Twitter and said 180 of the deaths came in the capital.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera reported that 7,649 properties have been examined and 87 per cent of those are safe and require only minor repairs. But that means about 1,000 left standing have been determined to be uninhabitable – and the number seemed likely to rise as more are inspected.

Mancera also said Saturday night on Twitter that nearly 17,000 people have been “attended to” at 48 shelters, though it’s not clear how many of those are being housed there. Many are bunking with family or friends.

Families have been camped out for days at the site of collapsed apartment and office buildings awaiting word on missing loved ones and holding out hope they may still be found alive.

Inspectors were also evaluating the safety of schools and planned to begin getting kids back in classrooms after nearly a week away. The government said it would soon release information about which schools have been cleared to reopen Monday.

Search and rescue crews have pulled dozens of lifeless bodies from the wreckage of buildings – and numerous survivors, too. Mexico’s marines, considered the nation’s most elite troops, said they have recovered 102 bodies and rescued 115 people in the aftermath.

Many of those survivors are now in hospitals with injuries ranging from fractures and bruises to severe brain injuries. Many face an uncertain future.

In a hospital room blocks away from where he survived 26 hours buried under the rubble of his nine-story apartment building, Jose Luis Ponce lay sedated and on a respirator Saturday, alive but with fractures to multiple bones and damage to his lungs and a kidney.

“You said you would be with me always,” his daughter, Claudia Ponce, 30, told him. “Now is not the moment to leave.”

North Korea, Venezuela on new Trump travel restrictions list

CityNews | posted Monday, Sep 25th, 2017

Citizens of eight countries, including North Korea and Venezuela, will face new restrictions on entry to the U.S. under a proclamation signed by President Donald Trump on Sunday that will replace his expiring travel ban.

The new rules, which will impact the citizens of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, will go into effect on October 18.

The restrictions range from an indefinite ban on visas for citizens of countries like Syria to more targeted restrictions. A suspension of non-immigrant visas to citizens for Venezuela, for instance, will apply only to certain government officials and their immediate families.

The announcement comes the same day as Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries was set to expire 90 days after it went into effect. That ban had barred citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the U.S. Only one of those countries, Sudan, will no longer be subject to travel restrictions.

“Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet,” Trump tweeted late Sunday after the new policy was announced.

Unlike the first iteration of Trump’s travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials stressed they had been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.

To limit confusion, valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. The order also permits, but does not guarantee, case-by-case waivers for citizens of the affected countries who meet certain criteria.

That includes: having previously worked or studied in the U.S. for a lengthy and continuous period of time activity; having previously established “significant contacts” in the U.S.; and having “significant business or professional obligations” in the U.S. Still, officials acknowledged the waiver restrictions were narrower than the exemptions for people with bona fide ties to the United States that he Supreme Court mandated.

The restrictions are targeted at countries that the Department of Homeland Security says fail to share sufficient information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.

Over the course of the last three months, DHS worked to developed new security baselines, which includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information, report lost or stolen passports to INTERPOL, and share information about travellers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The U.S. then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.

A total of sixteen countries did not comply with the rules at first, officials said, but half worked with the U.S. to improve their information-sharing and security practices. The remaining eight are now subject to the new restrictions until they are deemed in compliance.

The includes a suspension of all immigrants visas for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen and Somalia, and the suspension of non-immigrant visas, such as for business and tourism, to nationals of Chad, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Yemen.

Citizens of Iran will not be eligible for tourism and business visas, but remain eligible for student and cultural exchange visas if they undergo additional scrutiny. Such additional scrutiny will also be required for Somali citizens applying for all non-immigrant visas.

Trump last week called for a “tougher” travel ban after a bomb partially exploded on a London subway.

“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!” he tweeted.

Critics have accused Trump of overstepping his legal authority and violating the U.S. Constitution’s protections against religious bias each time he has ordered new travel restrictions.

And the inclusion of Venezuela and North Korea appeared to be an attempt to block challenges from advocacy groups and others who have called the restrictions a ban on Muslims. Trump during his campaign called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

The U.S. had already imposed wide-ranging sanctions on certain high-ranking Venezuelan government officials to protest the government’s attempts to consulate power. The new visa sanctions will apply to all officials from five Venezuelan government security agencies and their immediate families.

But officials argue the measures as necessary to keep Americans safe.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement the president was carrying out his duty to protect the American people. He said the State Department would co-ordinate with other federal agencies to implement the measures in “an orderly manner” and would” continue to work closely with our allies and partners who share our commitment to national and global security.”

The new policy could also complicate the Supreme Court’s review of the order, which is scheduled for argument next month.

Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment platform, to debut in Canada this week

CityNews | posted Monday, Sep 25th, 2017

Chinese online shopping giant Alibaba Group’s online payment platform AliPay will officially launch in Canada through a partnership with Canadian tech firm Snap Pay Inc.

Canadian retailers will be able to accept Chinese currency from Chinese shoppers starting this week.

AliPay North America president Souheil Badran says the company wants to offer Canadian merchants the opportunity to access the Chinese market.

He says more than 450 Canadian merchants already accept AliPay in an unofficial capacity.

But the partnership gives the payment platform an opportunity to aggressively explore opportunities for expansion in the education, winery, restaurant and retail sectors.

The company touts the increasingly lucrative role Chinese consumers could play for Canadian businesses, given the country’s growing middle class.

AliPay was launched in 2004 and has more than 450 million active users.

“We want to continue offering Chinese consumers visiting Canada the ability to pay as they would in China. But we also want to offer Canadian merchants the opportunity to access the Chinese market,” Badran said.

AliPay surpassed PayPal as the world’s largest mobile payment platform in 2013. It is the payments platform division of online commerce giant Alibaba, founded in 1999. The parent company operates online marketplaces and support services such as cloud computing, logistics and digital media.

The launch comes as Alibaba gears up to host heavy hitters including the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Toronto Mayor John Tory at its Gateway ’17 Canada conference Monday in Toronto.

Trudeau will take the stage with Alibaba executive chairman and founder Jack Ma at the conference aimed at promoting e-commerce opportunities for Canadian businesses in China.

Ma hosted Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Canadian business representatives at the company’s campus in Hangzhou, China last September.

Jose Bautista helps Blue Jays beat Yankees in final game in Toronto

CityNews | posted Monday, Sep 25th, 2017

Jose Bautista had two hits, drove in one run and scored another to help lift the Blue Jays to a 9-5 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday in what was likely his final home game in a Toronto uniform.

Bautista, a six-time all-star and two-time silver slugger, was met by a loud ovation each time he stepped to the plate. He brought back Usher’s “OMG” as his walk-up music – the song he used during his 54-homer 2010 season.

Bautista walked in the third and scored on a three-run double from Russell Martin, then drove in Teoscar Hernandez with a bases-loaded single in Toronto’s four-run fourth inning. He nearly scored later in the frame but was tagged out at home plate. The Blue Jays challenged the call, which was upheld after a video review.

Bautista singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch in the first inning, flied out to right in the sixth, and hit a high pop out in the eighth in his final at-bat.

Bautista was replaced by Ezequiel Carrera in right field after Roberto Osuna got the first out of the ninth, hugging each of his teammates as he left the field and waving at the fans as he stepped into the dugout.


The 36-year-old signed a one-year deal with Toronto prior to the 2017 season that includes a mutual option for 2018 that’s unlikely to be picked up.

Bautista waved to the crowd of 47,394 when he took his spot in right field before the game. The Blue Jays close out the season with a pair of three-game series in Boston and New York next week.

Marcus Stroman (13-8), who was wearing a black Bautista jersey during warmups in the bullpen, allowed three runs, five hits and four walks and struck out two through 5 2/3 innings.

Stroman, three innings shy of reaching 200 for a second straight year, left the field to a loud ovation after walking Todd Frazier. He clapped at the fans and tapped his chest as he disappeared into the dugout.

NOTES: Sunday’s game was the 17th sellout of the year, bringing the season attendance total to 3,203,886.

Jose Bautista rose from obscurity to fame with the Blue Jays and helped return baseball to prominence in Canada, leading the team to back-to-back American League Championship Series while providing a slew of memorable moments along the way. Here are the top five:


Bautista provided one of the most iconic images in Blue Jays history with one flip of his bat. But what a flip it was. Emotionally-charged after hitting a tiebreaking three-run homer in Game 5 of the 2015 American League Division Series against Texas, Bautista paused for a moment as the ball flew out of the park, then tossed his bat high over his shoulder as the sold-out Rogers Centre crowd erupted. The Rangers had taken a 3-2 lead in the top of the inning on what was ruled a throwing error on Russell Martin, and Toronto was on the verge of elimination in its first post-season appearance since 1993. But Kevin Pillar scored on a Josh Donaldson force out to tie the game, then Bautista hit his line drive homer – the most significant in Toronto since Joe Carter’s World Series winner in ’93 – to propel them into the AL Championship Series.


Bautista could hit a home run regardless of his mood, but the ball always seemed to fly more freely when he was angry. He had a knack for making a pitcher pay for plunking him with a pitch, nearly plunking him, or even just saying something he didn’t appreciate. That was never more true than against the Baltimore Orioles, especially reliever Darren O’Day. The Bautista-O’Day feud began on June 21, 2013 when the Baltimore side-armer struck out Bautista to end an inning, then made a comment as he skipped off the mound. When the two faced each other the next day, Bautista took O’Day deep, and as he rounded third base, made a talking gesture with his hand in the pitcher’s direction. Two years later Bautista tagged two Baltimore relievers over a 10-day span after both threw a pitch behind him earlier in the at-bat. The first was off O’Day on April 12, 2015, a two-run homer in the eighth inning. The other was a seventh-inning two-run blast against Jason Garcia on April 21.


Bautista reached rarefied air on Sept. 23, 2010, when he launched a homer run off Seattle ace Felix Hernandez at Rogers Centre to become just the 26th player in Major League history to hit the 50-homer plateau in a single season. The homer came in Bautista’s first at-bat and represented Toronto’s only run in a 1-0 win. While Bautista finished the year with 54 homers, his 50th stands out, not only because of the milestone itself, but because of when it happened – at a time when fan attendance in Toronto was at an all-time low. Only 12,590 people saw the historic homer in person and the Blue Jays closed out the year 12th in overall attendance out of the 14 AL teams. Those numbers steadily increased over the next seven years thanks in large part to Bautista. Toronto led the AL in total attendance in 2016 and 2017.


Bautista’s bat may have created a formidable rivalry with the Rangers, but it was his face – and Rougned Odor’s fist – that solidified it. Tensions between the two teams boiled over on May 15, 2016, almost seven months to the day of Bautista’s infamous bat flip, when the Rangers second baseman clocked Bautista in the jaw following his aggressive slide at the bag. Bautista had reached first base when Texas reliever Matt Bush hit him in the triceps with a 98 mile-per-hour fastball, and slid hard into second two batters later on a ground ball from Justin Smoak. Odor’s punch prompted a benches-clearing brawl and six ejections. After the game Bautista told reporters: “He got me pretty good, so I have to give him that. It takes a little bit bigger man to knock me down.” Odor was suspended eight games for the incident, later reduced to seven. Bautista received a one-game suspension.


Bautista was never one to shy away from a good quote, but an unlikely foe (or hero, if you’re an Indians fan) made him eat his words during the 2016 ALCS. Following the Blue Jays’ Game 4 win against the Indians, which cut Toronto’s series deficit to 3-1, Bautista told reporters that Cleveland’s Game 5 pitcher, rookie Ryan Merritt, would be “shaking in his boots” when facing the potent Toronto lineup the next night. Merritt, who had pitched only 11 innings over four games before that, shut down the Blue Jays, holding them to just two hits over 4 1/3 frames as the Indians won the game 3-0 and the series 4-1. Cleveland had some fun at Bautista’s expense after the game, holding up a pair of cowboy boots in the clubhouse as they celebrated. A number of players took to Twitter to rub it in publicly, including pitcher Trevor Bauer, who posted a photo of a champagne bottle inside a boot.

GTA extreme heat could break more records this week

CityNews | posted Monday, Sep 25th, 2017

A heat warning remains in effect for Toronto and the GTA after a weekend of record-breaking temperatures in the region.

Environment Canada says temperatures will reach the low 30s on Monday and Tuesday, with humidex values approaching 40.

Such a warning is issued when “very high temperature or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion,” the weather agency says.

Health risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, and those who work and exercise outdoors.

Temperature records were broken across Ontario over the weekend, and that trend is expected to continue in the GTA this week.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor says it will be mainly sunny on Monday with a high of 31 C. But with the humidity, the temperature will feel like near 40 C. The record of 33.8 C was set on this day back in 2007.

The heat continues on Tuesday with a high of 30 C and a humidex near 40. A record of 29.6 was set on that day in 1998.

A high of 29 C is expected on Wednesday, but that could also break another record – a temperature of 27.2 C was set on that day back in 1973.

“While it will be hot and humid [Monday] we’d have to surpass 33.8 C to break record for today. We are more likely to break records for Tuesday and Wednesday,” Taylor said.

Although it will still be hot on Wednesday, a cold front is expected to move through the day, bringing cooler temperatures for the remainder of the week.

Over the weekend, temperatures exceeded the 30 C mark in many areas, including the GTA. On Saturday, the temperature at Pearson International Airport hit 33.1 C, breaking the previous record of 30.6 set in 1959. On Sunday, the temperature was 33.6 C, which broke the record of 30.8 C set in 2010.

Meanwhile, the heat is also causing commuter headaches on GO Transit’s Lakeshore East line on Monday. Riders are dealing with delays of up to 30 minutes because the extreme heat forced crews to do track work overnight near the Rouge Hill station.

Metrolinx spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins told CityNews she hopes the delays will be cleared up in the next few hours.



Tory talks traffic from Skymaster One with Darryl Dahmer

CityNews | posted Friday, Sep 22nd, 2017

Mayor John Tory got a bird’s eye view of all that ails Toronto drivers on Thursday afternoon.

The mayor flew in Skymaster One with 680 Traffic ace Darryl Dahmer while answering questions about the city’s congestion and gridlock issues.

Tory answered questions about road tolls, implementing pedestrian streets and road construction congestion — including the traffic headache caused by the creation of the Eglinton LRT.

Watch the full video of the ride below.

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