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Abbott-brand nutrition beverages, such as Ensure, recalled for bacteria concerns

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Oct 16th, 2018

Abbott Nutrition is recalling a number of its canned nutritional beverages due to possible bacterial contamination.

The Chicago-based company is recalling products under its Ensure Plus, PediaSure, Jevity and TwoCal brands, among others.

Full details are available on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website, which says there has been one reported illness associated with the products.

The CFIA says people should not consume the products, which come in 235-ml metal cans.

It’s also warning hospitals and nursing homes not to sell or use the recalled products.

The agency says the recall was triggered by consumer complaints, and its investigation could lead to more products being recalled.

Private member’s bills aim to end auto insurance postal code ‘discrimination’

SHAWN JEFFORDS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Oct 16th, 2018

Two Ontario legislators from different parties introduced separate bills on Monday aimed at stopping auto insurance companies from charging drivers higher premiums based on where they live, saying it was time for the practice to end.

The politicians – one from the ruling Progressive Conservatives and another from the Opposition NDP – said they want the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, which regulates insurers, to stop the practice they call discriminatory.

Parm Gill, a Tory legislator from Milton, Ont., introduced a private member’s bill on the matter, saying drivers from the communities around Toronto pay higher auto insurance rates than those living in other areas of the province.

“Ontario’s auto insurance rates are amongst the highest in Canada despite having some of the lowest levels of accidents and fatalities,” he said. “Our government is committed to ensuring fairness in rate setting and ending discriminatory practices.”

Gill said his bill would ensure drivers are evaluated based on their driving record and not where they live.

“This bill, if passed, will promote personal responsibility,” he said. “A good driver in my riding of Milton should pay the same rates as a good driver anywhere else.”

NDP legislator Gurratan Singh introduced a similar bill on Monday and said his legislation, if passed, would require the Financial Services Commission of Ontario to refuse approval for risk classification systems that don’t consider the Greater Toronto Area as a single geographic region.

“Drivers in the Peel region and other parts of the GTA continue to arbitrarily pay significantly higher auto insurance rates than any where else in the province,” he said.

Singh said drivers in his riding in Brampton pay on average $1,000 a year more in auto insurance premiums each year than a driver in north Toronto. His bill would result in lower insurance rates for GTA drivers, he said.

“It will make sure that insurance companies are not allowed to gouge people simply based on the neighbourhood they live in or the municipality that they live in,” he said.

Singh wouldn’t say if he will work with Gill to meld their bills into one.

On Friday, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario announced insurance rate increases for the third quarter of 2018, approving a 2.06 per cent increase. In the second quarter of 2018 the commission approved a 1.11 per cent increase.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli wouldn’t say if the government will support the Gill’s legislation, committing only to review it once it is tabled.

Fedeli’s spokesman said the government is looking at the regulatory environment surrounding the province’s auto insurance sector, with the potential of allowing more competition in the marketplace.

“Our government is committed to ensuring fairness in rate setting, ending discriminatory practices and working towards a system that puts drivers first,” Robert Gibson said in a statement.

Pete Karageorgos, director of Consumer and Industry Relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said insurers would welcome modernization of the sector regulations and acknowledged that some of them are “stale.”

He noted that the Financial Services Commission of Ontario sets out how insurance rates are set, including various rating factors used to set premiums.

“They are the ones that set those rules in place in terms of using things like a person’s driving record, the type of car they drive, even where they live,” he said. “Geography is something that’s used and it’s used not just here in Ontario but in every insurance market across the country.”

Naked man who jumped in shark tank at Ripley’s Aquarium wanted for assault at Medieval Times

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Oct 16th, 2018

A man who stripped naked and jumped into a shark tank — twice — at Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Friday night is also believed to be the same man wanted for assaulting a customer outside Medieval Times earlier in the evening.

He has been identified as David Weaver, 37, of Nelson, British Columbia.

Police said he was asked to leave the shark tank by security after his first jump around 10:30 p.m. He exited but then jumped right back into the tank on the main floor. He then got out, put his clothes back on and left the aquarium.

Police believe the same man responsible for the “indecent act” also assaulted a customer at Medieval Times just two hours before the incident at Ripley’s.

Police say the suspect was being unruly and was escorted out of Medieval Times by staff. He then came back inside and allegedly kicked two glass doors, shattering them.

The man was escorted out again and allegedly assaulted a 34-year-old man outside. Police say the victim was taken to hospital with serious injuries, but paramedics say his injuries were minor.

Warning: The content in the video below may be offensive to some viewers.

The incident at Ripley’s Aquarium happened soon after.

“According to internal surveillance video, the individual in question entered Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada shortly after 10 p.m. After purchasing a ticket, he immediately disrobed and proceeded to climb over the security barrier into the exhibit,” Ripley’s said in an emailed statement.

Aquarium officials said police were called as staff tried to get the man to leave the tank.

The suspect is described as five feet 10 inches and 220 pounds. He has a shaved head, a dark goatee, is missing a front tooth and has a tattoo on his lower leg.

Weaver is believed to be driving a green Dodge Caravan with a B.C. license plate.

Happy bud-day: events across Toronto mark weed freedom

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Tuesday, Oct 16th, 2018

The end of pot prohibition is a cause for celebration for many across the country and the momentous occasion is being marked with special cannabis-centric events.

In Toronto, both Oct. 16 and 17 are packed full of legalization parties, conferences and other marijuana melees.

Here is a list of some of the pot parties, cannabis conferences and weed meets across the city. All events are 19+.

October 16 – “Cannabis Eve”

Live your Latitude: A night of candid cannabis conversation

What: Latitude, a women’s group of cannabis advocates and enthusiasts, is hosting “an evening of candid cannabis conversation.”
Six women will share their cannabis stories and answer questions in a panel moderated by 48Nrth CEO Alison Gordon and Model/DJ and cannabis advocate Chelsea Leyland.

Where: The Drake Hotel Lounge, 1150 Queen St. W.

When: 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Leafly Bud Drop: countdown to legal cannabis party

What: Cannabis website Leafly is hosting a cannabis eve party to ring in marijuana legalization in the country featuring live music collective Dwayne Gretzky.

Where: Mod Club, 722 College St.

When: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The marijuana industry in Canada: boom or bust. Which will it be?

What: Janus Conferences is hosting an all day business conference revolving around Canada’s cannabis industry.

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W.

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cannabis and Coffee presents: The great Canadian $25,000 cannabis scavenger hunt

What: Local coffee shop Cannabis and Coffee is attempting a Guinness World Record in several cannabis categories with a cannabis themed scavenger hunt in downtown Toronto. Teams of up to four people must register on their website to participate.

Where: Cannabis and Coffee, 346 Front St. W.

When: 4:20 p.m. to 7:10 p.m.

October 17 – Legalization day

Leafly learning hub pop-up

What: Leafly Canada is launching Leafly Learning Hub — a one-day pop-up aimed at educating people about legalization and other cannabis related topics including responsible consumption, regulations and cannabis products.

Where: 753 Queen St. W.

When: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Friendly Stranger ‘Wake n Bake’ breakfast and End of Prohibition party

What: The Friendly Stranger Cannabis Culture shop is hosting a “wake ‘n’ bake” breakfast event followed by an “end of prohibition” party to celebrate the legalization of cannabis. The event will include food trucks, live bands and a smoking and vaping lounge.

Where: Friendly Stranger, 241 Queen St. W.

When: The breakfast event begins at 8 a.m. leading into the party from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Legalization Day at Trinity Bellwoods

What: Event promoter Shaun Bee is hosting a free event at Trinity Bellwoods Park, with cannabis smokers gathering to celebrate legalization.

Where: Trinity Bellwoods Park, 790 Queen St. W.

When: 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Cannabis Society presents Canada’s Legalization party

What: The Cannabis Society is hosting a “dress to impress” legalization party, supported by Love Child Social House. The event will include sponsored cannabis lounges and educational opportunities.

Where: Love Child Social House, 69 Bathurst St.

When: Doors open at 6 p.m.

Legalize It: A tribute to Peter Tosh with House of David Gang

What: Toronto reggae collective House of David Gang is hosting a musical tribute night to beloved musician Peter Tosh, co-founder of legendary reggae group The Wailers, credited with coining the phrase “legalize it.”

Where: Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. W.

When: 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

The Graceful Network cannabis networking event and after party

What: The Graceful Network is hosting a cannabis networking event in partnership with Brasaii restaurant. The event will provide attendees with a curated networking experience and opportunities to hear from speakers and connect with investors and business owners in the cannabis industry. The after party is in partnership with La Noche and will including Latin dance lessons. Ticket holders will get access to both events.

Where: Brasaii, 461 King St. W.

When: The main event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The after party runs from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Toronto Cannabis Comedy Festival presents The Toronto Cannabis Legalized Party

What: The Toronto Cannabis Comedy festival is hosting a legalization party, inviting attendees out for a “night of laughter, food and dancing” featuring “some of Canada’s best stoner comics”

Where: Lithuanian House, 1573 Bloor St. W.

When: 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Majority of Canadians say legal age to obtain cannabis should be 21

DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Tuesday, Oct 16th, 2018

A new poll reveals that three quarters of Canadians want the legal age for obtaining marijuana to be 21.

The survey conducted by Postmedia/Dart Insight found that 76 per cent of Canadians want the higher age limit. The feeling was strongest among respondents in Quebec, with 82 per cent in favour.

As per federal law, the minimum age to obtain legal pot in Canada is 18, but individual provinces and territories are responsible for determining age restrictions in their jurisdictions.

The incoming Quebec government has already said it plans to raise the legal age for smoking cannabis to 21, with Prime Minister Trudeau cautioning that it could leave an opening for organized crime. The legal age in Ontario is set to 19.

According to Postmedia/Dart, the finding suggests that there is “real intensity” about the issue in the country. Compared to most issues surveyed, the response to this topic is “very intense and often not witnessed on issue-related public opinion soundings.”

The survey says the desire to increase the legal age cuts across all political stripes and most demographics and socioeconomic categories. The only marked difference was 79 per cent women versus 72 per cent of men and 81 per cent of older Canadians (55+) versus 71 per cent of younger Canadians (18-34) agreed with the age increase.

Along with raising legal age, the survey also found that around half of Canadians would back their municipality if it wanted to opt out of allowing marijuana stores to operate within it’s boundaries.

Fifty three per cent say they would support the idea of banning marijuana sales outlets in their respective municipalities, with middle-aged and older men being most likely to do so. Quebec topped the list, with 63 per cent of respondents saying they would be for the move.

When it comes to whether legalizing marijuana is a good thing, the numbers are also evenly split.

Fifty two per cent of Canadians feel legalization will do more harm than good, with 48 per cent sitting on the opposite side of the fence. Once again, those who feel legalization will have a negative impact are most likely to be from Quebec, standing at 64 per cent.

In addition, the survey also provides a profile of those who are likely to partake in legal marijuana.

It says 24 per cent of Canadians say they will use cannabis when it becomes legal and one in 10 said they will “very much” partake.

According to the survey, that 10 per cent is a “realistic core consumer group” and can be categorized demographically as follows:

• 11 per cent female, nine per cent male
• 19 per cent aged 18-34, 11 per cent aged 35-54 and four percent aged 55 and older
• 15 percent earn less than $50,000 household income per year, nine percent earn more than $100,000 per year and eight percent earn between $50,000 and $99,000 per year.
• 13 percent have technical school/college educations, 9 percent have University level or higher and eight per cent have high
school level or less education.
• Geographically, the core group is most likely to reside in Ontario (14 per cent) followed by those in
Alberta and British Columbia (nine per cent), Atlantic Canada (eight percent), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (seven percent) and
Québec (six percent).

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle expecting child in spring

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Oct 15th, 2018

Prince Harry and his wife the Duchess of Sussex are expecting a child in the spring, Kensington Palace said Monday.

The announcement came as Harry and Meghan Markle arrived in Sydney at the start of a 16-day visit to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand. Hundreds of people gathered to catch a glimpse of the couple after they landed.

“Their royal highnesses have appreciated all of the support they have received from people around the world since their wedding in May and are delighted to be able to share this happy news with the public,” the palace said in a statement.

The trip will include attending the Invictus Games, a visit to a Sydney zoo and visit the rural Flying Doctor service.

The prince and the former actress married in a glittering service in Windsor in May.

 

No surprise: Kanye’s free-style riffs dominate Oval Office

CATHERINE LUCEY, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Friday, Oct 12th, 2018

WASHINGTON – Declaring that his red “MAGA” hat makes him “feel like Superman,” rapper Kanye West made a free-styling appearance in the Oval Office Thursday.

Ahead of a private lunch, President Donald Trump and West spoke with reporters as they sat across from each other at the Resolute desk. West dominated the conversation with a series of monologues that touched on social policy, mental health, endorsement deals and his support for the president.

“Trump is on his hero’s journey right now,” West said, tossing out an expletive to describe himself.

West said that many people believe that, if you’re black, you have to be a Democrat and said he was pressured not to wear his red “Make America Great Again” hat. But he said “this hat, it gives me power.”

West credited Trump with preventing a war with North Korea and encouraged Trump to swap his usual Air Force One for a hydrogen-powered plane. West also argued that Trump deserved more respect, saying: “if he don’t look good, we don’t look good.”

During one pause in West’s comments, Trump said: “I tell you what that was pretty impressive.” He also described West as a “smart cookie.”

The rapper also spoke against stop-and-frisk policing policies, which Trump recently expressed support for. Trump said he was open to other ideas.

Trump recently tweeted praise for West, who closed a “Saturday Night Live” show wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat and delivering an unscripted pro-Trump message after the credits rolled.

West is married to reality television star Kim Kardashian West, who pushed Trump to grant a pardon for a drug offender this year.

North American stock markets continue downward slide

ROSS MAROWITS, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Oct 12th, 2018

Canada’s main stock index hit a six-month low Thursday while U.S. stock markets suffered another selloff day as investors are pricing in political and trade uncertainties they’ve long overlooked.

The result is they have now woken up to issues that have existed for the last six to 12 months, says Kash Pashootan, CEO and chief investment officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc.

“The longer they shrug them off the more of a price we have to pay at some point,” he said in an interview.

“When you’re trying to price in uncertainties that have existed for six, 12, 18 months over four or five trading sessions, of course you’re going to feel that in the markets.”

The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 200.27 points to 15,317.13, the lowest level since April with 389 million shares traded.

The 1.3 per cent selloff came a day after the TSX shed more than 330 points in the largest one-day decline in more than three years.

Energy posted the largest decrease, falling 3.37 per cent in a pullback from steady gains. The November crude contract was down US$2.20 at US$70.97 per barrel.

Gold stocks rose nearly eight per cent as the price of gold hit its highest level since August as investors sought a hedge against uncertainty. The December gold contract was up US$34.20 at US$1,227.60 an ounce.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 545.91 points to 25,052.83 after dropping more than 800 points on Wednesday. All companies were in the red for a second-straight day. The S&P 500 index was down 57.31 points to 2,728.37, while the Nasdaq composite was down 92.99 points at 7,329.06

Pashootan says the hemorrhage likely hasn’t ended.

“I would not be surprised if we saw a 10 to 15 per cent correction in the market,” he said, noting that the S&P 500 had gone 74 consecutive days without any plus or minus move above one per cent.

Even sophisticated and experienced investors have become accustomed over the last decade to a pretty easy ride in equities, he said.

The Canadian dollar traded at an average of 76.70 cents US compared with an average of 76.97 cents US on Wednesday.

The November natural gas contract was down 6.2 cents at US$3.22 per mmBTU.

The December gold contract was up US$34.20 at US$1,227.60 an ounce and the December copper contract was up 2.25 cents at US$2.80 a pound.

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