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Post Malone tweets thanks after jet lands safely

The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Aug 22nd, 2018

Rapper Post Malone is thanking fans for their prayers now that his private jet that blew two tires taking off from a small New Jersey airport has landed safely in New York.

In a tweet after the landing, he also disses those who “wished death” on him while he was in the air.

The troubled Gulfstream IV was en route from Teterboro to London Luton Airport in Luton, England, when the pilot realized shortly after takeoff that the tires had blown. The pilot began circling the airport for about 30 minutes before the jet was diverted.

The plane originally was to attempt an emergency landing at Westfield-Barnes airport, said Eric Billowitz, manager of Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport in Massachusetts.

A small group of the curious and fans who had heard Post Malone was on the plane gathered at the airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, hoping to watch the landing.

“We came down because he had the biggest day of his life yesterday and we wanted to make sure he is safe,” said Jessica Kielb, of Chicopee, Massachusetts.

Billowitz said he was told the plane was first headed to the Massachusetts airport because there is a Gulfstream service centre there and because the airport has “one of the longest runways in the Northeast” at 9,000 feet (2,740 metres), but the plane was then diverted to Stewart.

Stewart’s signature feature is a nearly 12,000-foot (3,650-meter) runway, long enough to handle the fat-bodied C-5A Galaxy planes laden with supplies and better for such emergencies.

More Post Malone fans started arriving at Stewart airport later Tuesday.

Post Malone was scheduled to perform at the Reading and Leeds Festival in England over the weekend, according to his website’s tour schedule.

The face-tattooed singer/rapper took home the song of the year award at the MTV Video Music Awards on Monday night in New York for his hit “Rockstar,” featuring 21 Savage. The song is from his latest album, “Beerbongs & Bentleys.”

The 23-year-old was joined on stage by rockers Aerosmith and 21 Savage for a wild performance that closed out the awards show.

The plane had 16 people on board when it left Teterboro Airport around 10:50 a.m. Tuesday, the Federal Aviation Administration said, but didn’t specify if the number of people aboard included the pilot.

Toronto Zoo welcomes new addition — a baby pygmy hippopotamus

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Aug 22nd, 2018

The Toronto Zoo is celebrating the birth of a rare and endangered pygmy hippopotamus.

Kindia, a 12-year-old female, gave birth to a female calf late Friday night.

The zoo says the species is endangered and there are only about 2,000 to 3,000 left in the wild in West Africa, mostly in Liberia. Small numbers also found in neighbouring Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast.

Over the past 100 years, the pygmy hippo’s habitat has declined dramatically due to logging, farming and human settlement.

While the calf appears healthy and is feeding well, the zoo says the first 30 days are critical for both mother and calf.

Kindia arrived at the Toronto Zoo from a zoo in France in June 2016 as part of a global breeding program. This is Kindia’s first surviving calf and the seventh birth of a pygmy hippopotamus in the Toronto Zoo’s history.

Manafort guilty of 8 counts; mistrial on 10

The Associated Press | posted Wednesday, Aug 22nd, 2018

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been found guilty of eight financial crime charges in the first trial victory for special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.

A judge declared a mistrial on 10 other counts after jurors failed to reach a unanimous verdict.

The jury deliberated for four days before announcing the verdict at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.

Prosecutors spent more than two weeks presenting their case as they sought to prove Manafort concealed millions of dollars in offshore accounts from the IRS.

Over 1000 residents displaced after Parliament Street highrise fire

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Aug 22nd, 2018

Over 1000 residents have been displaced after a challenging, six-alarm fire at a St. James Town highrise Tuesday afternoon.

Crews were called to the building near Parliament and Bloor streets around 1 p.m. Tuesday, after the fire started in a hydro vault in the basement and smoke quickly spread throughout the 20-storey building.

The fire has been completely extinguished and smoke has been cleared from all the buildings.

However, due to damage to the building’s systems, all residents have been evacuated and likely won’t be able to return for days as repairs are being made.

Pegg says due to the safety concerns, he has issued an ‘immediate threat to life notice’ and residents will be prohibited from returning to the building until repairs have been made or further notice.

Tory says between 1,200 and 1,500 people can expect to be out of their homes for days. He says they have yet to determine the exact number as some have gone to stay with friends or family.

At the height of the blaze, 26 vehicles, more than 100 firefighters, 17 pumpers and other equipment and personnel were at the scene.

Hydro had to be cut to the building and, with the elevators out, firefighters each had to carry more than 100 pounds of equipment up and down the stairs.

“Our crews are exhausted. It’s extremely difficult on them,” Chief Matthew Pegg told reporters. “We’ve upgraded the alarm levels to make sure that we have enough people here to continue the job in a seamless manner and afford our people the safety that they need or the rehab that they need to stay safe.”

Two people were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, but no serious injuries were reported.

Mayor John Tory said arrangements are being made to allow residents into their units to collect their belongings.

Those who can’t stay with family or friends are being housed in a temporary emergency shelter at Wellesley Community Centre.

Tory is also appealing to anyone who might able to provide housing to the displaced residents. If anyone is able offer hotel rooms, AirBnB rooms, or any type of housing, they are asked to email: gtaresponse@redcross.ca.

The cause of the fire and estimated damages has not been determined at this time.


President’s Choice to participate in buck a beer for limited time

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Aug 22nd, 2018

Loblaw Companies Ltd. says some of its President’s Choice beer will sell for a loonie for a limited time to celebrate the return of buck-a-beer in Ontario.

Premier Doug Ford lowered the minimum price of a bottle or can of beer with an alcohol volume below 5.6 per cent to $1 from $1.25.

The PC promotion begins Aug. 27 at the Beer Store, where some of the brand’s products will sell for $13.20 for a dozen bottles or $26.40 for 24 bottles.

The extra charge covers a deposit fee.

The company did not say when the promotion would end.

Many of the province’s craft beer brewers have spoken out against the new minimum, saying there is no way for them to maintain quality and offer their products at that price.

Flood watch: Is your home properly protected and insured?

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Aug 22nd, 2018

Some find the sound of pounding rain soothing, but for homeowners it can instill feelings of dread and anxiety.

And for good reason.

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), flooded basements can drain bank accounts and leave homeowners on edge every time dark clouds fill the sky.

And Ontario is notably water-logged.

According to Pete Karageorgos, IBC’s Director of Consumer and Industry relations for Ontario, claims for water damage from severe weather are reaching staggering levels in 2018.

“So far this year in Ontario the insurance industry has paid out to property owners almost $800 million in damage due to severe weather events,” he told CityNews. “That is a considerable amount considering the average for the last few years has been about a billion dollars across all of Canada for the entire year. So we are almost at $800 million and we still have about five months left in the year.”

Karageorgos says that number reflects statistics up until the end of July, and doesn’t include the recent soakings that have made headlines in the Greater Toronto Area.

A recent study by the Intact Centre on Climate Adaption and the University of Waterloo found that the average cost of a flooded basement in Canada is $43,000.

That can lead to some anxious moments when the rain starts pattering.

“It can be stressful, and the next time it rains you wonder if your basement is going to flood again,” Karageorgos added. “So it’s not just the financial costs, there’s a psychological cost that we pay when our basements flood too.”

Understand your coverage

Karageorgos advises homeowners to carefully go over their insurance policies so they understand exactly what they are covered for.

“You should never assume you’re covered for a specific event on your insurance policy,” he said. “Always sit down with your insurance representative and go through your policy and coverage. Some standard policies may include water damage through burst pipes, overflowing sinks and toilets and that is a water event … but it’s not the type of flood event we are seeing in great numbers now from these severe storms that are damaging properties.”

Karageorgos says insurance companies are increasingly offering flood insurance packages. But they’ll come at an extra cost. He believes it’s a small price to pay.

“A large number of insurance companies within the last three years have started to offer comprehensive flood insurance. That is an additional cost to homeowners, but the cost when you consider the price of a cleanup of a flooded basement and lost possessions — it’s really an affordable price to pay for some peace of mind.”

With more and more claims coming in for flood damage, Karageorgos says consumers could end up paying higher premiums.

“The insurance companies are going to look at their claims costs and adjust their premiums and rates accordingly,” he said. “Claims drive prices. So if you’re in a situation where the trend is upwards claims, prices or premiums will follow.”

Advice for homeowners

Karageorgos says there are several proactive steps homeowners can take to avoid a costly flood and the subsequent mess of insurance claims.

You can install backwater valves and sump pumps, disconnect downspouts and make sure there’s no cracks in your foundation.

He also advises carefully documenting the items in your basement, taking photos and keeping any receipts.

And if you know a storm is coming move any valuable or sentimental items to higher ground.

Last but not least, if you’re basement does flood and you hire help, make sure they’re reputable.

“You could be victimized twice,” Karageorgos warns. “Once from the storm and a second time from an illegitimate contractor.”

Another big burst of wet weather headed to the GTA

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Aug 21st, 2018

A special weather statement remains in effect for the GTA on Tuesday with the potential for heavy rainfall in the forecast.

The national weather agency is calling for a few rounds of showers and thunderstorms across portions of southern Ontario.

“At this point, it appears that many areas will receive between 20 to 40 (millimetres) of rain by this evening,” the statement said, adding that areas hit by thunderstorms may see higher rainfall amounts.

680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said Toronto will likely see record rainfall, with 30 milimetres of rain expected in the city.

Although there will be breaks from the precipitation, Environment Canada said the torrential downpours will bring “significant rainfall” over a short time-frame.

“There will be rounds of showers that could be at times heavy and thunderstorms. There’s even the potential that some of these storms could produce isolated tornadoes mainly north and east GTA,” Taylor said.

“For areas that get the thunderstorms, there could be heavy-duty downpours … flooding is certainly a risk.”

The previous record rainfall for this date was 24.4 millimetres, set in 1964.

Scarborough MP responds to criticism over wearing hijab, says she’s recovering from cancer

GINELLA MASSA | posted Tuesday, Aug 21st, 2018

A Scarborough MP who became the first woman to wear a hijab on Parliament Hill is speaking out after being subjected to criticism online. Salma Zahid said she never set out to break barriers – rather, her decision to don the religious headgear while on the job was a very personal one related to her health.

When Zahid addressed parliament this past May, it was the first time in her three years in office that she had ever done so while wearing a headscarf. Her current look is noticeably different from the photos that still adorn her office. Multiple head shots and framed pictures show the Scarborough Centre MP posing without the Islamic head covering.

“When I go to events now, at first look sometimes people don’t recognize me,” she said. “But I’m the same person; its the same Salma Zahid.”

While Zahid says reaction has been mostly positive, her hijab has garnered some negative attention — including that of right-wing commentator Ezra Levant who retweeted her photos from a recent veteran’s event, writing, “You don’t wear a hijab in your Liberal Party campaign propaganda photos. So why did you wear a hijab at the legion?”

“I never thought this would be a reaction, that people would be upset or worried,” Zahid told CityNews.

“It’s the way I look, it’s my choice, it should be left to me.”

But Zahid took to Twitter to explain that her choice was never about taking a political stance or making a religious statement, but instead, had everything to do with her health.

“For all those who are asking, I’ve chosen to wear a head scarf for now while I recover from the effects of my cancer treatment and chemotherapy,” she tweeted.

“When you’re facing that sort of illness, naturally you get more closer to your faith,” Zahid said.
“Explaining this… it’s a bit of an awkward situation.”

Levant appears to have deleted the original tweet — but later posted: “Zahid says she is recovering from cancer treatment and is wearing the hijab for that reason. That’s a good reason. She also supports hijabs for Islamist reasons. That’s not a good reason.”

“I’m wearing it for medical purposes, but I will stand for those who want to wear it,” Zahid said in response.

“I’m a strong believer that diversity is the great strength of Canada. It’s not a barrier, so everyone should have the right to wear what they want and no one should impose things on people.”

Zahid is now in remission and back to work on the hill after a two month sick leave. She says while her appearance has changed, what has stayed the same is her commitment to the community that elected her in 2015.

“The way I look doesn’t matter,” Zahid said.

“It’s what I do for the community and how we work for a better future.”

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