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Ryerson University confirms bedbugs were found in classroom

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

Bedbugs have been found in a classroom at Toronto’s Ryerson University, the school said Wednesday, noting that it was working to exterminate the insects.

A spokeswoman for the downtown university said staff used a canine unit to search two classrooms in its Victoria Building on Tuesday, and found bedbugs in one of the rooms.

“Bedbugs were found in a single desk in VIC 205,” Johanna VanderMaas said in a statement. “VIC 205 was treated with steam immediately.”

VanderMaas said a canine unit will be brought back into the room on Thursday to ensure it is clear of the bedbugs.

“Only once the room is deemed to be clear will students and faculty will be allowed back in,” she said.

The school’s efforts came after a student newspaper, The Eyeopener, published a report of insects found inside tables in a classroom. The paper said it took photos of the bugs and sent them to five exterminators, who all said they were bedbugs.

Jacob Dube, a student who worked on the piece, said Tuesday that Ryerson students reported seeing insects they believed to be bedbugs in a classroom in the school’s Victoria Building as far back as December.

Several students who spotted the insects, including Eyeopener reporter Stefanie Phillips, later said they found what appeared to be bug bites on their skin.

Dube said the university had been receptive to the student newspaper’s reporting, with officials asking the students to show them exactly where the bugs were spotted in order to independently verify their information.

On Tuesday, Ryerson said it was looking into the matter and noted that students had been helpful in bringing their concerns forward.

The university’s campus is located in the downtown core, close to the city’s bustling Yonge-Dundas Square.

Mother, two children dead in Ajax homicide

Daniela Germano and Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

Durham regional police say the 13-year-old girl found critically injured in an Ajax home died in hospital on Wednesday evening.

Const. George Tudos said a man was arrested in Oshawa, Ont., after officers found the bodies of a 39-year-old woman and her 15-year-old son in a home on Hilling Drive. A 13-year-old girl was also found in the home and taken to hospital in critical condition where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Police have not released any names, but said the 29-year-old suspect was believed to have been in a romantic relationship with the woman. Tudos said the man did not live in the home and was not the father of the two children.

Meanwhile, the president of a Toronto minor hockey organization identified the 15-year-old in the incident as Roy Pejcinovski, a star goalie with the major bantam Don Mills Flyers.

Peter MacInnis said Pejcinovski’s death is a “tremendous loss” for the team, which is in the city finals to qualify to represent the Greater Toronto Area for the provincial championship.

“It’s tough for the players on the team, the parents, the staff — he was a great kid,” MacInnis said. “And his buddies on the team are 14 or 15, how do you deal with that?”

MacInnis said the teen was a top player, who had promising prospects in next year’s Ontario Hockey League draft.

“He was an elite athlete, he was absolutely the team’s No. 1 goalie and he has been for several years,” he said, adding that grief counsellors were brought in at Wednesday night’s practice to break the news to Pejcinovski’s teammates.

MacInnis said the Flyers were scheduled to play Friday, but the team has asked the league to postpone the game as players cope with the loss of their goalie.

“There are a whole lot of mixed emotions,” he said. “If it happened in the summer, it would still be a tragedy, but the fact that the team is in the high part of the season, it’s very difficult.”

The team plans to do something in Pejcinovski’s honour, MacInnis said, but details will be discussed later.

Police said the suspect was arrested without incident and is expected make a court appearance Thursday morning, where he will likely be charged with three counts of second-degree murder.

Investigators said police were called to the Ajax home shortly before noon Wednesday after a woman stopped by to check on her friend.

They said a man answered the door, wouldn’t let the woman in and then left the area in a vehicle (pictured below) that was later found abandoned.

ajaxTRUCK

Tudos said he could not provide details on the deaths, but added that a post-mortem is expected Thursday or Friday.

“Right now we are not going to be speaking to any causes of death, any trauma or anything like that to the victims,” he said.

He said the woman had another daughter “who was found safe and sound” and was not at the house at the time of the incident.

Neighbours tell CityNews a mother lived in the home with her son and two daughters, and that the boyfriend was frequently seen at the home.

“I always see him around the house,” one neighbour said. “I worked out a couple of times with him at the gym. Very nice guy. He’s very respectable, but it’s a little too close to home.”

 

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Summer 2018

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 15th, 2018

Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital and production intern for its Summer 2018 term (May through Aug.). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

comments@bttoronto.ca
Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur to appear by video in a Toronto court

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2018

Alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur is expected to appear in a Toronto court today via video.

The 66-year-old self-employed landscaper is charged with the first-degree murder of six men who had ties to the city’s LGBTQ community.

Police have recovered the remains of seven people from planter pots found at a home in midtown Toronto where McArthur worked and stored equipment.

Prosecutor Michael Cantlon told court at McArthur’s last appearance in late February that the Crown would be turning over more evidence today.

Last week, Toronto police took the unusual step of releasing a photograph of a dead man they said was a victim of McArthur’s, saying they needed the public’s help to identify him.

Investigators have been combing through dozens of tips that have come in since then, but the lead detective has said it will take weeks to work through them all.

So far police have identified the remains of three men: Andrew Kinsman, 49, Soroush Mahmudi, 50, and Skandaraj Navaratnam, 40.

Homeowner stabbed by intruder who broke into Scarborough home

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2018

Toronto police are searching for a suspect who they say broke into a home in Scarborough and stabbed the homeowner.

Police were called to Horfield Avenue and Randall Crescent, near McCowan and Kingston roads, around noon on Tuesday.

Police say when the victim entered his house, he found an unknown man inside.

The homeowner confronted the suspect and was stabbed in the leg.

The victim’s injuries are serious but not considered life-threatening. He was found a short distance away from his home.

The intruder was also injured during the confrontation. He ran from the house, but evidence at the scene suggests he is bleeding heavily.

Police officers are now searching the area for the suspect.

Correction: An earlier version of the story said the suspect was found with a stab wound.

 

Ryerson University investigating possible bedbugs in class

Maija Kappler, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2018

A university in downtown Toronto is investigating a possible bedbug infestation in one of its classrooms.

A spokesperson for Ryerson University said officials are assessing the room and noted that students have been helpful in bringing their concerns forward.

The university’s assessment comes after a student newspaper published a report of insects found inside tables in one classroom.

Jacob Dube, a student who worked on the piece published in The Eyeopener, said Ryerson students have reported seeing insects they believed to be bedbugs in a classroom in the school’s Victoria Building since December.

Several students who spotted the insects, including Eyeopener reporter Stefanie Phillips, later found what appeared to be bug bites on their skin.

Ryerson officials told the student newspaper that pest control inspected the classroom in question, a lecture hall that Dube said can fit about 200 students. They said they found “no evidence” of insects after several inspections.

On Monday evening, Dube said he and several other student reporters decided to investigate for themselves. They knew where to look, he said, because many students had reported seeing bugs in the same place: inside the deep holes in the classroom’s large tables.

The insects weren’t initially obvious to the naked eye, but Dube said they found several bugs after shining flashlights into the holes and using paper clips to dig them out.

Dube said he sent photographs of the insects to five exterminators, who all confirmed that the insects were bedbugs.

He was startled that he and his friends found what pest control could not, he said.

“I was very surprised when they said teams that were trained to do this didn’t end up finding anything, but a bunch of journalists just came in and managed to do it pretty easily.”

But Dube said the university has been receptive to their reporting, with officials asking the students to show them exactly where the bugs were spotted in order to independently verify their information.

“There’s been so much documentation from students about this happening, and not much follow through,” he said. “Hopefully that will change this time.”

Bedbugs are difficult to deal with because of how hard they can be to spot and how quickly they can spread, said Neetu Gogna, office manager at Pestend Pest Control, one of the companies that identified the insects to Dube as bedbugs.

“They can easily migrate from one place to another place on the human body, clothes, shoes, purses,” she said. “Even one or two bedbugs … can spread very easily.”

Bedbugs can be hard to find because they can easily hide in very small cracks, Gogna said. Adults are usually dark brown or red, while newborns who haven’t fed yet are almost transparent.

Heat can kill bedbugs, which is why Gogna said anyone who fears they may have come into contact with the insects should wash and dry their clothes or other belongings in high heat.

Whether or not the insects at Ryerson turn out to be bedbugs, Gogna said everyone should be careful, and regularly do visual checks on their beds and clothing.

“They are very common, especially in downtown Toronto.”

Florida prosecutors seeking death penalty in school shooting

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2018

Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty for the former student charged with killing 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month even though attorneys for Nikolas Cruz indicated he would plead guilty if his life was spared.

Cruz, 19, is scheduled for formal arraignment Wednesday on a 34-count indictment, including 17 first-degree murder charges. The office of Broward County State Attorney Michael Satz filed the formal notice of its intentions Tuesday, though the action does not necessarily mean a plea deal will not be reached.

The only other penalty option for Cruz, if convicted, is life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Ira Jaffe, whose son and daughter survived the shooting, said he respects the wishes of the 17 families whose children were killed and that time is better spent finding solutions to the problem of mass school shootings.

“Live forever in jail or die – I don’t care,” Jaffe said in an email. “Cruz will rot in hell no matter when it is that he arrives there.”

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jamie Guttenberg died in the shooting, was angry the state decided to pursue the death penalty, noting how tortuously long capital punishment cases last.

“My reaction is as a parent of a deceased student, I expected that the state would have pulled the parents together to ask what we wanted and they didn’t,” he said.

“This guy’s is willing to plea and spend the rest of his life in the general population. Let him do that and let them do what they want with him,” Guttenberg added. “Why not take the plea and let the guy rot in hell?”

Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein, whose office is representing Cruz, has said there were so many warning signs that Cruz was mentally unstable and potentially violent, and that the death penalty might be going too far.

In an email Tuesday, Finkelstein said Cruz is “immediately ready” to plead guilty in return for 34 consecutive life sentences.

“If not allowed to do that tomorrow (at the hearing), out of respect for the victims’ families we will stand mute to the charges at the arraignment. We are not saying he is not guilty but we can’t plead guilty while death is still on the table,” Finkelstein said.

If Cruz does not enter a plea, a not guilty plea will likely be entered on his behalf by Broward Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer to keep the legal process moving along, his attorneys have said.

In other developments, a student who is credited with saving the lives of 20 students by attempting to close and lock a classroom door during the attack was improving at a hospital. Anthony Borges, 15, was shot five times. Weeks after being shot, he fell critically ill of an intestinal infection. After surgeries, his condition was upgraded to fair.

Meanwhile, Florida voters may get a chance to decide whether or not they want to approve new gun control restrictions.

While Gov. Rick Scott just signed a new school safety and gun bill into law, the state’s Constitution Revision Commission may vote to place gun restrictions on this year’s ballot. The commission, a special panel that meets every 20 years, has the power to ask voters to approve changes to the state’s constitution.

Tony Montalto, whose daughter was one of the 17 killed at Stoneman Douglas, asked commissioners at a public hearing Tuesday to put the proposals before voters. He said they need to act because the National Rifle Association has filed a lawsuit against the new law approved by the Legislature.

“You can help defeat this challenge,” Montalto told commissioners.

Shortly before the commission hearing in St. Petersburg, students from Tampa Bay area schools spoke passionately in favour of additional gun regulations, as did the father of a student who attends Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

“Our kids are not asking to do away with the 2nd Amendment. They’re not asking to take away people’s guns or their ability to hunt,” said John Willis. “What they’re saying is, that these weapons of mass destruction that do nothing but tear human beings apart in an unbelievable way, do not belong in civilian hands.”

Stephen Hawking, tourist of the universe, dead at 76

Raphael Satter The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Mar 14th, 2018

PARIS — In his final years, the only thing connecting the brilliant physicist to the outside world was a couple of inches of frayed nerve in his cheek.

As slowly as a word per minute, Stephen Hawking used the twitching of the muscle under his right eye to grind out his thoughts on a custom-built computer, painstakingly outlining his vision of time, the universe, and humanity’s place within it.

What he produced was a masterwork of popular science, one that guided a generation of enthusiasts through the esoteric world of anti-particles, quarks, and quantum theory. His success in turn transformed him into a massively popular scientist, one as familiar to the wider world through his appearances on “The Simpsons” and “Star Trek” as his work on cosmology and black holes.

Hawking owed one part of his fame to his triumph over amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a degenerative disease that eats away at the nervous system. When he was diagnosed aged only 21, he was given only a few years to live.

But Hawking defied the normally fatal illness for more than 50 years, pursuing a brilliant career that stunned doctors and thrilled his fans. Even though a severe attack of pneumonia left him breathing through a tube, an electronic voice synthesizer allowed him to continue speaking, albeit in a robotic monotone that became one of his trademarks.

He carried on working into his 70s, spinning theories, teaching students, and writing “A Brief History of Time,” an accessible exploration of the mechanics of the universe that sold millions of copies.

By the time he died Wednesday at 76, Hawking was among the most recognizable faces in science, on par with Albert Einstein.

As one of Isaac Newton’s successors as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, Hawking was involved in the search for the great goal of physics — a “unified theory.”

Such a theory would resolve the contradictions between Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, which describes the laws of gravity that govern the motion of large objects like planets, and the Theory of Quantum Mechanics, which deals with the world of subatomic particles.

For Hawking, the search was almost a religious quest — he said finding a “theory of everything” would allow mankind to “know the mind of God.”

“A complete, consistent unified theory is only the first step: our goal is a complete understanding of the events around us, and of our own existence,” he wrote in “A Brief History of Time.”

In later years, though, he suggested a unified theory might not exist.

He followed up “A Brief History of Time” in 2001 with the sequel, “The Universe in a Nutshell,” which updated readers on concepts like supergravity, naked singularities and the possibility of an 11-dimensional universe.

Hawking said belief in a God who intervenes in the universe “to make sure the good guys win or get rewarded in the next life” was wishful thinking.

“But one can’t help asking the question: Why does the universe exist?” he said in 1991. “I don’t know an operational way to give the question or the answer, if there is one, a meaning. But it bothers me.”

Hawking often credited humour with helping him deal with his disability, and it was his sense of mischief that made him game for a series of stunts.

He made cameo television appearances in “The Simpsons,” “Star Trek,” and the “Big Bang Theory” and counted among his fans U2 guitarist The Edge, who attended a January 2002 celebration of Hawking’s 60th birthday.

His early life was chronicled in the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything,” with Eddie Redmayne winning the best actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Hawking. The film focused still more attention on Hawking’s remarkable life.

Some colleagues credited that celebrity with generating new enthusiasm for science.

His achievements, and his longevity, also helped prove to many that even the most severe disabilities need not stop patients from achieving.

Richard Green, of the Motor Neurone Disease Association — the British name for ALS — said Hawking met the classic definition of the disease, as “the perfect mind trapped in an imperfect body.” He said Hawking had been an inspiration to people with the disease for many years.

Hawking’s disability did slow the pace of conversation, especially in later years as even the muscles in his face started to weaken. Minutes could pass as he composed answers to even simple questions. Hawking said that didn’t impair his work, even telling one interviewer it gave his mind time to drift as the conversation ebbed and flowed around him.

His near-total paralysis certainly did little to dampen his ambition to physically experience space: Hawking savored small bursts of weightlessness in 2007 when he was flown aboard a jet that made repeated dives to simulate zero-gravity.

Hawking had hoped to leave Earth’s atmosphere altogether someday, a trip he often recommended to the rest of the planet’s inhabitants.

“In the long run the human race should not have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet,” Hawking said in 2008. “I just hope we can avoid dropping the basket until then.”

Hawking first earned prominence for his theoretical work on black holes. Disproving the belief that black holes are so dense that nothing could escape their gravitational pull, he showed that black holes leak a tiny bit of light and other types of radiation, now known as “Hawking radiation.”

“It came as a complete surprise,” said Gary Horowitz, a theoretical physicist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “It really was quite revolutionary.”

Horowitz said the find helped move scientists one step closer to cracking the unified theory.

Hawking’s other major scientific contribution was to cosmology, the study of the universe’s origin and evolution. Working with Jim Hartle of the University of California, Santa Barbara, Hawking proposed in 1983 that space and time might have no beginning and no end. “Asking what happens before the Big Bang is like asking for a point one mile north of the North Pole,” he said.

In 2004, he announced that he had revised his previous view that objects sucked into black holes simply disappeared, perhaps to enter an alternate universe. Instead, he said he believed objects could be spit out of black holes in a mangled form.

That new theory capped his three-decade struggle to explain a paradox in scientific thinking: How can objects really “disappear” inside a black hole and leave no trace when subatomic theory says matter can be transformed but never fully destroyed?

Hawking was born Jan. 8, 1942, in Oxford, and grew up in London and St. Albans, northwest of the capital. In 1959, he entered Oxford University and then went on to graduate work at Cambridge.

Signs of illness appeared in his first year of graduate school, and he was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the New York Yankee star who died of it. The disease usually kills within three to five years.

According to John Boslough, author of “Stephen Hawking’s Universe,” Hawking became deeply depressed. But as it became apparent that he was not going to die soon, his spirits recovered and he bore down on his work. Brian Dickie, director of research at the Motor Neurone Disease Association, said only 5 per cent of those diagnosed with ALS survive for 10 years or longer. Hawking, he added, “really is at the extreme end of the scale when it comes to survival.”

Hawking married Jane Wilde in 1965 and they had three children, Robert, Lucy and Timothy.

Jane cared for Hawking for 20 years, until a grant from the United States paid for the 24-hour care he required.

He was inducted into the Royal Society in 1974 and received the Albert Einstein Award in 1978. In 1989, Queen Elizabeth II made him a Companion of Honor, one of the highest distinctions she can bestow.

He whizzed about Cambridge at surprising speed — usually with nurses or teaching assistants in his wake — travelled and lectured widely, and appeared to enjoy his fame. He retired from his chair as Lucasian Professor in 2009 and took up a research position with the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario.

Hawking divorced Jane in 1991, an acrimonious split that strained his relationship with their children. Writing in her autobiographical “Music to Move the Stars,” she said the strain of caring for Hawking for nearly three decades had left her feeling like “a brittle, empty shell.” Hawking married his one-time nurse Elaine Mason four years later, but the relationship was dogged by rumours of abuse.

Police investigated in 2004 after newspapers reported that he’d been beaten, suffering injuries including a broken wrist, gashes to the face and a cut lip, and was left stranded in his garden on the hottest day of the year.

Hawking called the charges “completely false.” Police found no evidence of any abuse. Hawking and Mason separated in 2006.

Lucy Hawking said her father had an exasperating “inability to accept that there is anything he cannot do.”

“I accept that there are some things I can’t do,” he told The Associated Press in 1997. “But they are mostly things I don’t particularly want to do anyway.”

Then, grinning widely, he added, “I seem to manage to do anything that I really want.”

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