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TSX says ‘hardware failure’ to blame for Friday outage, not cyber attack

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 30th, 2018

The TMX Group says Friday’s early shutdown of its exchanges in Toronto and Montreal was due to a hardware failure and not the result of a cyber attack.

The company said in a statement on Saturday that the outage began just after 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon due to a failure in a central storage appliance of the trading system.

The issue prompted the TMX group to shut down its exchanges at 3 p.m. Friday, with the last data reading showing the S&P/TSX up 31.34 points at 15,668.93.

“This hardware failure impacted both the primary and the redundant components preventing storage failover procedures from engaging,” read the statement.

It says that due to the timing of the incident, it was impossible to implement disaster recovery systems in time to reopen on Friday.

“This incident was not the result of a cybersecurity attack.”

Besides the Toronto Stock Exchange, which primarily handles equities of some of Canada’s biggest companies, the company also operates the TSX Venture Exchange, the TSX Alpha Exchange and the Montreal Exchange, which is Canada’s largest market for trading derivatives.

The Canadian Securities Exchange, a much smaller operation under different ownership, was unaffected.

“We apologize to all of our valued clients across Canada’s capital markets and around the world,” TMX CEO Lou Eccleston said in the Saturday statement.

“TMX is committed to applying the lessons learned from this incident to help us prevent such issues from recurring in the future.”

Liberals, NDP gain ground, but PCs maintain strong lead: poll

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Apr 30th, 2018

The Ontario election is less than six weeks away, and a new poll suggests the Liberals and NDP have gained some ground among voters, but the Progressive Conservatives are still holding a strong lead.

The Mainstreet Research poll, which was conducted April 16-18, says Doug Ford’s party has the support of 44.9 per cent of decided voters — that’s more than 16 per cent ahead of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, who are in second place with 28.2 per cent.

The NDP is in third place with 21.3 per cent followed by the Green part at four per cent.

The Mainstreet poll that was done after the Liberals’ budget at the start of the month had the PCs at just over 50 per cent support.

“We are not surprised to see the PCs come down in support from our previous poll,” said Quito Maggi, the CEO of Mainstreet Research. “They have surrendered their lead in Toronto to the Liberals, but there is no doubt that the PCs will be starting the campaign as the frontrunners.”

The poll also found that the PCs have leading by a large margin in every part of Ontario, except Toronto. In the city, the Liberals have 37.6 per cent support of all voters, while the PCs have 30 per cent.

The NDP gained a bit of ground since the last Mainstreet poll, with more respondents saying they have a favourable opinion of its leader Andrea Horwath. Mainstreet says her net favourability rating has increased by six points to 14 per cent.

While Wynne’s favourability rating has increased by 10 points, her net rating remains -35.6 per cent, while Ford’s is -6.5 per cent.

The latest survey polled 1,763 voters using automated telephone interviews. The margin of error is +/- 2.33% and is accurate 19 times out of 20.

#TorontoStrong vigil: ‘We are strong, we will move forward together’

News Staff and The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Apr 30th, 2018

The site of a deadly van attack was transformed into a place of mourning Sunday evening, as the streets of north Toronto echoed with thousands of people singing O Canada at a vigil for the victims.

Religious leaders of multiple faiths led the speakers’ list at the event, all of them sharing messages of support and strength in the face of the tragedy that left 10 people dead and 16 more injured.

Many speakers commended emergency service personnel on their work the day of the incident, including the officer who was able to arrest the suspect without firing his gun.

“In Toronto, in Ontario, in Canada, we don’t run away – we run to help others,” said Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl of the Beth Tzedec Congregation, the largest synagogue community in Canada.

Frydman-Kohl also referenced other van attacks in cities such as Paris, Beirut and Charlottesville, Virginia.

“Toronto has felt the pain of other places, and those cities now share our horror and hurt,” he said.

Before the vigil, thousands took part in what was billed as a walk of “healing and solidarity,” roughly following the route of last Monday’s attack.

“It’s amazing how on this one stretch of street, so many people are connected and affected by it,” said Jennifer Ludlow, who is from the area and attended the walk and vigil.

“To come together as a large group really does bring us all together, and shows us there is hope on the other side.”

Multiple politicians also took part in Sunday’s ceremony, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Mayor John Tory and federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh.

Singh said it was particularly touching to see how multicultural the event was, wish speakers including rabbis, an imam and a Buddhist monk.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been to an event that’s been so well represented by such a wide diversity of faiths – and secular thoughts as well,” said Singh.

“The fact that despite this act of hate, people came together in really incredible numbers in an act of love is really incredible.”

One volunteer said around 200 people worked throughout the day to prepare for tens of thousands of mourners to show up.

Kevin Joachin said volunteering was an opportunity to give back to the community after it suffered through a tragedy.

“It’s been a great help so far – just by the numbers, the support, the encouragement,” said Joachin.

“Today’s event is a great demonstration – not just to the community here, but to Toronto – that we are strong, and we will move forward together.”

Adrienne Lyog said many of her friends were traumatized after witnessing the attack, and Sunday’s event would play a large part in helping them move forward.

“It’s devastating,” said Lyog. “Hopefully it’ll make them feel like there’s support, that they’re not alone.”

On Friday, officials released the names of all eight women and two men who were killed in the incident.

They ranged in age from 22 to 94, and included a student from South Korea and a man from Jordan.

By Sunday morning, a city-organized fundraiser for the families of those affected had raised almost $1.7-million.

Alek Minassian, 25, of Richmond Hill, Ont., has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder in the incident. Police say they will be laying three additional attempted murder charges.


#TorontoStrong: A weekend that will bring the city together

Patricia D'Cunha | posted Friday, Apr 27th, 2018

It has been an emotional and traumatic time for our city. This weekend, let us try to start the healing process by going back into the community and taking back the spirit that was lost. Several events are taking place, including a vigil that will bring us together in strength and solidarity. Have a safe weekend, everyone.


#TorontoStrong vigil
This Sunday, the city is holding a vigil to remember the victims of Monday’s van attack. Over the past week, memorials and moments of silence were held across the city and around the country, including a growing memorial at Olive Square — just steps away from where the horrific attack happened along a stretch of Yonge Street in North York. And now, the city will come together again for the #TorontoStrong vigil, which is taking place at Mel Lastman Square at 7 p.m. The vigil in being organized in partnership with Faith in the City, and the Toronto Area Interfaith Council. Earlier this week, the city set up the #TorontoStrong Fund to help the victims and their families, first responders, and those affected by the trauma.

Ahead of the vigil, a walk will be held along that section of Yonge, in an effort to help heal and show support for victims and those traumatized by the attack. “Let’s link arms and reclaim our our sense of safety and community,” the group writes on Facebook. Organizers plan to meet at 5:30 p.m. on the north side at Olive Square and on the south side at Albert Standing Park. Both groups will then converge at Mel Lastman Square.

The best in documentaries
Over the past 25 years, Hot Docs has been showcasing the best in documentary films, and that tradition continues this year. From now until May 6, the festival will showcase 247 films and 16 other projects from 56 countries. Some of the documentaries include The Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution, which delves into the kitchens of the world’ top women chefs; Active Measures, an investigative look into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 U.S. presidential election; The Blue Wall, which is about the police killing of an unarmed black teen in Chicagoand a free screening of The Trolley, detailing how the streetcar changed public transit around the world. The festival will also include films that were screened in its first year: The War Room, which is about the campaign strategists that shaped Bill Clinton’s run for the White House in 1992; and a recount of the 1990 Oka Crisis in Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance.

Khalsa Day reflection and parade
Sikhs from across the GTA and beyond, as well as politicians and other dignitaries, will be taking part in the 40th annual Khalsa Day celebration on Sunday to mark Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year. The event starts at 9 a.m. at the Enercare Centre on CNE grounds with prayers, hymns, traditional music, and food served from a communal kitchen. It will be followed by a colourful parade that will make its way to Nathan Phillips Square. The parade starts just after 1 p.m. and will travel east on Lakeshore Boulevard to York Street, and then onto University Avenue. The festivities will continue at the square until 5:30 p.m. During the day-long event, prayers will be offered for the victims of this week’s van attack in North York and the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan.

Canada’s Wonderland opens for new season
You know that summer is around the corner when Canada’s Wonderland opens for a new season. On Sunday, amusement ride enthusiasts and their families will descend on the park to soak in all the fun. Aside from the existing fan favourites, the two new attractions include Lumberjack, which takes riders 360 degrees in the air on two swinging ‘axe’ pendulums, and Flying Canoe, an interactive family ride that lets you control the journey. Some of the other highlights include food and street festivals, and a month-long celebration for Canada Day.

Walk for Muscular Dystrophy
Forget the boots and lace up your sneakers for a walk that is being held Saturday in support of those who are living with neuromuscular disorders. The walk takes place on different dates in more than 45 cities across Canada. The walk on Saturday is being held in North York at Earl Bales Bark. Participants can choose between one-kilometre and five-kilometre routes. The event also includes children’s activities, snacks, refreshments, and prizes.

Road closures

Allen Road partial closure
Drivers who need to use Allen Road this weekend will have to divert around a closure. Allen is scheduled to be partially closed in both directions between Sheppard Avenue West to Highway 401 from 11 p.m. on Friday to 5 a.m. to Monday. Road crews will be completing spring maintenance tasks. During the shutdown, drivers can use Dufferin and Bathurst streets.

The Bum Run
Lane restrictions will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Sunday in the area bounded by Bloor Street, Spadina Avenue, College Street and Bay Street for the event that raises money and awareness for colon cancer. Queen’s Park Crescent will also be closed from College to Bloor.

Khalsa Day
The southbound and northbound curb lanes of University Avenue will be closed 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday for the Khalsa Day Parade.

Halifax cartoonists capture public mood following Toronto, Humboldt tragedies

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Apr 27th, 2018

Halifax cartoonist Michael de Adder says he was simply trying to find a small bit of positivity with an image that has garnered national attention for its depiction of recent tragedies in Toronto and Humboldt, Sask.

The cartoon, published in the aftermath of Monday’s van attack in Toronto that killed 10 people and injured 14, shows two boys in hockey sweaters sitting on a bench, sticks by their sides.

The boys, one wearing a green and yellow Humboldt Broncos jersey and the other wearing a blue and white Toronto Maple Leafs sweater, have their arms around one another, supportive in crisis.

“The reality is, I’m just happy to perhaps in a small way add a little bit of positivity in a very negative situation, so that’s all I’m trying to accomplish with that cartoon,” de Adder said in an interview.

De Adder, an award-winning national freelancer, is one of two Halifax cartoonists regularly garnering attention for works that appear to capture the national mood.

Bruce MacKinnon, the Halifax Chronicle Herald cartoonist for whom de Adder often substitutes, gained a similar audience for a cartoon this month following the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that claimed the lives of 16 people and injured 13.

MacKinnon said there’s no set protocol for producing work in such trying circumstances.

“There is a lot more sensitivity involved and you have to consider all the factors a lot more carefully because every nuance in the cartoon is going to be examined very carefully by the reader,” he said. “Sometimes that adds to the power of the cartoon if you get all those nuances right — if you don’t you could end up being a lightning rod for a lot of anger.”

MacKinnon’s Humboldt cartoon depicts the provinces and territories as a group of red-shirted hockey players coming to the aid of a green-shirted Saskatchewan player. The slumped player has his arms around his closest neighbours, Manitoba and Alberta, who are supporting his weight.


“The thing that stands out about the story aside from the obvious sadness … is the outpouring of compassion of Canadians,” he said of his inspiration for the drawing.

De Adder said his Toronto cartoon was the result of an evening of struggle to come up with what he thought would be an appropriate response to the tragedy.

He said he probably worked on 10 thumbnail sketches before gradually deciding he was on the right track, adding that it’s one thing to get an idea, but another to depict it.

“I knew I was going to have Humboldt consoling Toronto, but I didn’t know if I was going to do adults, or a couple, or two guys. I went with kids and it sort of worked the best.”

The cartoon was posted on de Adder’s Twitter account and has since received thousands of likes from people calling it “heartwarming” and a “beautiful tribute.”

The image was re-tweeted by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, who remarked “well done @deAdder” as part of a message expressing condolences to the victims and their families and thanking first responders.

Another Twitter user said: “I am from Saskatchewan and this hit hard. Thank you for remembering our recent loss as well.”

Over the years, MacKinnon has received national and international acclaim for several of his cartoons, including one following the shooting death of army reservist Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial in Ottawa in 2014.

That cartoon trended on Twitter and requests to use it came from media outlets like CNN, Fox News, and The Independent newspaper in the United Kingdom.

Another MacKinnon cartoon depicting the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings last fall — Uncle Sam re-assuring the NRA that “you’re safe” amid the bodies of gunshot victims — was also picked up and re-tweeted by a host of celebrities, including actors Ron Perlman and Mark Hamill.

Both Halifax cartoonists downplay the attention for work emanating from a smaller market such as Halifax.

They also say they have known each other for years, and share a friendship rather than an outright rivalry.

“We’re sort of in our own little drawing-table worlds,” said MacKinnon. “We are always trying to outdo each other and that kind of thing and that’s a healthy environment.”

Bill Cosby found guilty in sexual assault retrial

Michael R. Sisak and Claudia Lauer, The Associated Press | posted Friday, Apr 27th, 2018

Bill Cosby was convicted Thursday of drugging and molesting a woman in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, completing the spectacular late-life downfall of a comedian who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as America’s Dad.

Cosby, 80, could end up spending his final years in prison after a jury concluded he sexually violated Toronto native and Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He claimed the encounter was consensual.

Cosby listened to the verdict stoically, but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele and called him an “a–hole” after the prosecutor asked that Cosby be immediately jailed because he might flee. The judge decided Cosby can remain free on bail while he awaits sentencing.

The verdict came after a two-week retrial in which prosecutors put five other women on the stand who testified that Cosby, married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too. One of those women asked him through her tears, “You remember, don’t you, Mr. Cosby?”

The panel of seven men and five women reached a verdict after deliberating 14 hours over two days, vindicating prosecutors’ decision to retry Cosby after his first trial ended with a hung jury less than a year ago.

Cosby could get up to 10 years in prison on each of the three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He is likely to get less than that under state sentencing guidelines, but given his age, even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.

Constand, 45, a former Temple women’s basketball administrator, told jurors that Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called “your friends” and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no.

It was the only criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations from more than 60 women who said the former TV star drugged and molested them over a span of five decades.

“The time for the defendant to escape justice is over,” prosecutor Stewart Ryan said in his closing argument. “It’s finally time for the defendant to dine on the banquet of his own consequences.”

Another prosecutor, Kristen Feden, said Cosby was “nothing like the image that he played on TV” as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing father of five Dr. Cliff Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”

Cosby’s retrial took place against the backdrop of #MeToo, the movement against sexual misconduct that has taken down powerful men in rapid succession, among them Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken.

The jurors all indicated they were aware of #MeToo but said before the trial they could remain impartial. Cosby’s lawyers slammed #MeToo, calling Cosby its victim and likening it to a witch hunt or a lynching.

After failing to win a conviction last year, prosecutors had more courtroom weapons at their disposal for the retrial. The other accusers’ testimony helped move the case beyond a he-said, she-said, allowing prosecutors to argue that Cosby was a menace to women long before he met Constand. Only one other accuser was permitted to testify at Cosby’s first trial.

Cosby’s new defence team, led by Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, launched a highly aggressive attack on Constand and the other women.

Their star witness, a longtime Temple employee, testified that Constand once spoke of setting up a prominent person and suing. Constand sued Cosby after prosecutors initially declined to file charges, settling with him for nearly $3.4 million over a decade ago.

“You’re dealing with a pathological liar,” Mesereau told the jury.

His colleague on the defence team, Katheen Bliss, derided the other accusers as home-wreckers and suggested they made up their stories in a bid for money and fame.

But Cosby himself had long ago confirmed sordid revelations about drugs and extramarital sex.

In a deposition he gave over a decade ago as part of Constand’s lawsuit, Cosby acknowledged he had obtained quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with, “the same as a person would say, ‘Have a drink.”’ The sedative was a popular party drug before the U.S. banned it more than 30 years ago.

Cosby also acknowledged giving pills to Constand before their sexual encounter. But he identified them as the over-the-counter cold and allergy medicine Benadryl and insisted they were meant to help her relax.

The entertainer broke racial barriers as the first black actor to star in a network show, “I Spy,” in the 1960s. He created the top-ranked “Cosby Show” two decades later. He also found success with his “Fat Albert” animated TV show and served as pitchman for Jello-O pudding.

Later in his career, he attracted controversy for lecturing about social dysfunction in poor black neighbourhoods, railing against young people stealing things and wearing baggy pants.

It was Cosby’s reputation as a public moralist that prompted a federal judge, acting in response to a request from The Associated Press, to unseal portions of the deposition.

Its release helped destroy the “Cosby Show” star’s career and good-guy image. It also prompted authorities to reopen the criminal investigation, and he was charged in late 2015.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission. Constand has done so.

Britain’s new prince is named Louis Arthur Charles

The Associated Press | posted Friday, Apr 27th, 2018

The new prince has a name. Britain’s royal palace says the infant son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has been named Louis Arthur Charles.

The palace said Friday that the baby’s full title is His Royal Highness Prince Louis of Cambridge.

William and Kate’s third child was born Monday a brother to four-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who is almost three years old.

Louis is fifth in line to the throne after his grandfather Prince Charles, his father and older siblings.

North and South Korea agree to push for talks to end war

The Associated Press | posted Friday, Apr 27th, 2018

North and South Korea say they will jointly push for talks with the United State and also potentially China to officially end the 1950-53 Korean War, which stopped in an armistice and left the Koreas still technically at war.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced after their summit on Friday that the Koreas will push for three-way talks including Washington or four-way talks that also include Beijing on converting the armistice into a peace treaty and establishing permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The two leaders said they hope the parties will be able to declare an official end to the war by the end of this year.

While President Donald Trump has given his “blessing” for the Koreas to discuss an end to the war, there can be no real solution without the involvement of Washington and other parties that fought in the war because South Korea wasn’t a direct signatory to the armistice that stopped the fighting.

North and South Korea have also agreed to stop all hostile acts over “land, sea and air” that can cause military tensions and clashes, after a summit between their leaders at a border truce village.

The leaders announced that starting May 1 they will suspend all loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts the countries have been blaring at each other across their heavily-armed border. They will also dismantle broadcasting equipment.

The Koreas also agreed to stop flying propaganda leaflets across their border.

The countries also agreed to take steps to defuse the relatively frequent clashes around their western maritime border by designating the area as a “peace zone” and guarantee safe operations of fishermen from both countries.

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