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Facebook to fact-check Canadian news stories and reduce spread of false articles

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Jun 28th, 2018

Facebook Canada will launch a third-party, fact-checking program to root out fake news and provide users with more context on articles they read on the platform.

The program is a collaboration with newswire service Agence France-Presse, who will have fact-checkers in Canada to review stories from local news outlets and rate their accuracy.

Content the fact-checkers deem to be false or a mixture of accurate and inaccurate will appear lower in news feeds and be accompanied with related, true articles from fact-checkers.

Pages that repeatedly share fake news will see their ability to monetize and advertise removed after several offences.

Publishers responsible for false stories will have the chance to dispute any inaccurate ratings they receive and will be able to issue corrections.

Facebook has long been the subject of complaints around fake news, which some say the platform has allowed to spread.

EXCLUSIVE: Many Canadians not ready for legalized pot, poll finds

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jun 28th, 2018

Although Ottawa has delayed legalizing recreational marijuana by a month, more than half of Canadians still think it’s all happening too fast, according to an exclusive poll for CityNews by Dart Insight.

Last week, after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Cannabis Act would go into effect on Oct. 17, a full 55 per cent of Canadians polled said they wanted the date pushed back by up to a year.

In fact, three provinces — including Quebec, where the desire for a delay is highest — asked for more time to figure out how to regulate the production, distribution and consumption of pot.

Members of the Senate’s Aboriginal people’s committee had also proposed a delay as they were particularly concerned about the risks to Indigenous communities already struggling with alcohol and drug abuse, mental health issues and a suicide epidemic.

But, the government promised the committee more funding for services, help with the licensing process and full reports to Parliament in the fall and within 12 months.

Still, 53 per cent of those polled are worried marijuana will have a negative effect on their community. Six in 10 don’t believe their municipal police force is ready for the change, and 55 per cent don’t believe their province has plans to deal with impaired driving.

Manitoba’s justice minister Heather Stefanson has said she’s concerned reliable roadside testing devices won’t be available by Oct. 17.

The survey found only one in five (21 per cent) Canadians are likely to use marijuana when it’s legal — nine per cent are more likely to do so — and many are concerned about the health effects.

Half are concerned about addiction for underage kids, and seven in 10 believe adults with children should be banned from smoking pot in their home.

Most — 73 per cent — want pot regulated the same as cigarettes.

Although provinces are creating their own distribution channels, seven in 10 Canadians are concerned a black market will continue for lower-priced pot.

And while six in 10 Canadians are cynical about the Liberal government’s motives for legalizing pot, two-thirds won’t vote them out in the next federal election because of it.

However, for at least one-third (35 per cent), marijuana legalization could affect how they vote.

“It may well be that for many who were going to vote against the Liberals already it just adds one more log on the fire,” Dart Insight said.

The survey was conducted between June 8 and 13 among 2,666 randomly-selected Canadian adults who are members of an online panel. It’s accurate to within +/- 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Last day of school comes as GTA gets ready for intense heat

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jun 28th, 2018

Thousands of excited elementary school children are counting down the hours Thursday, on the last day of school.

There will be many happy faces as students burst through the school doors later this afternoon and begin their summer vacation.

And the last day of school comes as the GTA gets ready for the intense heat, which is expected to roll into the region by Friday.

Toronto and the GTA remain under a special weather statement, calling for daytime highs in the mid-30s. On Friday, the humidex will be in the high 30s, but it will feel like the mid-40s with the humidity starting Saturday.

Environment Canada said heat warnings are likely to be issued on Thursday afternoon.

The high humidity is expected to stretch past the Canada Day long weekend.

As the school bell rings for the last time of the year, city council is thinking of new ways to make school zones safer.

More speed bumps, speed signs, and additional safety indicators are on their way to a school zone near you. Council has approved a $13-million additional investment into its Vision Zero Plan, which aims to reduce the number of fatalities on our streets to zero.

Tiny tabby thrown out of vehicle, OPP investigating

Dilshad Burman | posted Thursday, Jun 28th, 2018

The OPP is investigating after a kitten was allegedly thrown out of the window of a vehicle in Simcoe, Ont.

Police say they received a call about the incident from a concerned driver around 4 p.m. Tuesday.

They say an investigation revealed that a small orange kitten was thrown from a vehicle while it was travelling westbound on Queensway West between Elizabeth Road and North Main Street. The vehicle then continued south on Queen Street.

A concerned driver saw the feline being flung and stopped her vehicle. She found the kitten and took it to a local veterinarian.

The kitten was determined to be about six to eight weeks old and was injured in the incident. The driver has since taken the kitten home and police say it is likely she will adopt the tiny tabby.

Police say the vehicle involved was an older model green coloured vehicle. They have the license plate number and police will be following up with the owner.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact police

Mother, daughter dead after apparent drowning at Ontario resort

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 27th, 2018

A mother and her daughter are dead following an apparent drowning at a resort swimming pool north of Toronto.

Ontario provincial police Const. Martin Hachey says officers were called to the Mountain Springs Resort just west of Collingwood, Ont., on Tuesday evening at about 7:30 p.m.

He says the mother and daughter were taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead.

Hachey says an investigation is in its early stages and no additional information was expected to be released until Wednesday morning.

The names, ages and hometowns of the victims were not immediately available.

Park named after boy who died after wandering from home

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jun 27th, 2018

A park in North York has been renamed in honour of a three-year-old boy who froze to death on a bitterly cold night in February, 2015.

While his family slept, Elijah Marsh slipped out of his grandmother’s apartment on Neptune Drive, near Bathurst Street and Highway 401, in just his diaper, boots and a T-shirt.

Temperatures were below -20 C at the time.

Dozens of volunteers scoured the area in the hours that followed, and he was found behind a nearby house without a pulse.

Paramedics took him to North York General Hospital in critical condition, and he was later pronounced dead.

The tragedy touched many across the country and prompted a Toronto man to start a crowdfunding campaign that raised tens of thousands of dollars to pay for funeral costs and support the family.

Late last year, Coun. Josh Colle put forward a motion at city council to rename Rajah Park, where Elijah would often play.

“As part of the process to mourn and support his family, but also to support the community and the resiliency of this community, I put forward a motion here at council to rename the park that will now be called Elijah Park,” Colle said.

On Tuesday, the new park signs were unveiled “(not only) as a testament both to this wonderful little boy but also to a community that was suffering from the loss. And hopefully this will help them move forward,” he added.

A commemorative plaque was presented to Elijah’s family at the public ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and it will be installed in the park this fall, along with a memorial tree.

Toronto’s CN Tower unveils new upgrades aimed at accessibility

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 27th, 2018

Toronto’s CN Tower has unveiled upgrades that it says are aimed at making the attraction more accessible to visitors.

It says the renovations are the most significant in the national landmark’s 42-year history.

The upgrades include floor-to-ceiling windows with no railings, a feature that helps provide universal access for everyone, including those with mobility challenges.

A new glass floor has also been installed directly above the tower’s original glass floor, providing a two-tier vertical view toward the ground.

Adam Vaughan, a Toronto MP at a ceremony unveiling the upgrades, says everyone benefits when accessibility is part of the design process.

Canada Lands, the Crown corporation managing the CN Tower, says the Rick Hansen Foundation will complete an accessibility certification of the tower.

The tower first opened to the public on June 26, 1976, and for years it was the world’s tallest freestanding structure, with a height of 553.3 metres.

Toronto, Vancouver tie as most expensive Canadian cities in new survey

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 27th, 2018

An annual cost of living survey shows Toronto and Vancouver are Canada’s most expensive cities.

Mercer’s survey ranks more than 375 cities around the world and considers factors like the cost of housing, transportation, food, clothing and other expenses compared to New York City as the base.

In this year’s ranking Toronto advanced 10 spots to the 109th spot and Vancouver fell two spots to tie with Toronto.

Mercer says most Canadian cities fell in this year’s ranking, including Montreal – down 18 spots to 147 – and Calgary – down 11 spots to 154.

Mercer says the drop comes due to relatively stable market conditions.

The survey says Hong Kong, Tokyo, Zurich, Singapore and Seoul are the top five most expensive cities in the world.

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