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4th suspect arrested in armed kidnapping of international student in Markham

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jul 11th, 2019

York police say they have arrested a fourth suspect wanted in the armed kidnapping of a 22-year-old international student back in March.

Kyle Main, 31, of Keswick is facing nine charges, including kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault with a weapon. He is being held until his next court appearance on July 18.

On March 23, Wanzhen Lu was allegedly taken from his condo building’s parking garage by three men armed with tasers. A fourth man stayed in the suspect vehicle.

Three days later, Lu was found by a homeowner in Gravenhurst with minor injuries. He has since returned to Markham and been reunited with his family who flew to Canada from China.

Two other men, Hashim Abdullahi, 33, and Abdullahi Adan, 37, were previously charged and remain in custody. Both will be appearing again in court on July 25.

Nathan Plater, 22, was also charged with kidnapping, forcible confinement and possession of a prohibited firearm., but police wouldn’t comment on the details of his involvement in the case.

A Canada-wide arrest warrant remains in effect for fifth suspect, 28-year-old Muzamil Addow of Toronto.

No charges laid after hate crime investigation into Wonderland incident

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jul 11th, 2019

Police in York region will not be laying any charges in connection with an altercation at Canada’s Wonderland nearly two weeks ago.

Police said the force’s hate crime unit was called to look into an incident at the theme park in Vaughan on June 27 after a video was posted on social media alleging an 18-year-old woman was verbally and physically attacked by a group of people in what they claim was an anti-Islam motivated altercation.

A spokeswoman for Wonderland confirmed there was an altercation between guests near the park’s front gate and that security responded “quickly and appropriately” and both parties were ejected from the park.

At the time, the National Council of Canadian Muslims called the alleged incident “extremely troubling,” adding they were not “going to let anyone get away with racism or Islamophobia.”

A woman who says she was the one involved in the incident posted her version of events on social media, claiming her family was provoked and that the incident was not racially motivated.

In a brief statement released late Wednesday afternoon, police said that after reviewing “all the facts, video and witness accounts” they determined this was not a hate-motivated incident and no charges would be laid.

“We stand with community partners in safeguarding all our communities,” the force tweeted out.

Emmy-winning actor Rip Torn has died at the age of 88

BOB THOMAS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Jul 10th, 2019

LOS ANGELES — Rip Torn, the free-spirited Texan who overcame his quirky name to become a distinguished actor in theatre, television and movies and win an Emmy in his 60s for his comedy turn on TV’s “The Larry Sanders Show,” has died. He was 88.

Torn died Tuesday afternoon at his home with his wife, Amy Wright, and daughters Katie Torn and Angelica Page by his side, according to his publicist Rick Miramontez. No cause of death was given.

His career on stage and screen spanned seven decades, ranging from an early career of dark, threatening roles to iconic comedic performances later in life.

After acclaimed performances in “Cross Creek,” “Sweet Bird of Youth”: and other dramas, Torn turned to comedy to capture his Emmy as the bombastic, ethically challenged television producer in “The Larry Sanders Show.” Created by and starring Garry Shandling, HBO’s spoof of TV talk shows aired from 1992 to 1998 and is widely credited with inspiring such satirical programs as “30 Rock” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Born Elmore Rual Torn, the actor adopted the name Rip in his boyhood, following the tradition of his father and uncle. It was the subject of endless ridicule during his early days as a stage actor in New York, and fellow drama students urged him to change it.

With customary stubbornness, he refused, eventually overcoming the jokes with a series of powerful performances that led to his being regarded, along with Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and James Dean, as actors of a postwar generation who brought tense realism to their craft. He was also a political activist who joined James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte and other cultural and civil rights leaders for a frank and emotional 1963 meeting with then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy about the country’s treatment of blacks.

Torn made his film debut in 1956 in an adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ “Baby Doll,” and within a few years was a respected film and television actor, working on occasions with his second wife, Geraldine Page. At the Actors Studio, he gained the attention of Elia Kazan, who hired him as understudy to Alex Nicol, then playing Brick Pollitt in the Tennessee Williams classic, “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” Toward the end of the show’s Broadway run, Torn took over the role of the alcoholic, emotionally troubled former football hero. He did so billed against his wishes as Elmore Torn.

Cast later in a “U.S. Steel Hour” production for television, he was told to either change his name or forfeit the role. He threatened to return to his native Texas, but finally agreed to be credited as Eric Torn. He was billed as Rip Torn thereafter. His success eventually inspired a younger cousin to take up acting, too — Oscar winner Sissy Spacek.

Other film credits included: “Critics Choice” and “The Cincinnati Kid.” In Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life,” he was featured as a gregarious attorney in the afterlife.

On television he played such figures as Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson and Walt Whitman.

His career hit a dry spell in the 1970s, and he blamed it on the buzz in Hollywood at the time that he was difficult to work with, a reputation sealed when tension on the set of “Easy Rider” led to his being replaced by Jack Nicholson for the 1969 release and missing out on one of the biggest hits of the era.

“I wouldn’t say that I was blacklisted,” he told The Associated Press in 1984, “but the word got around that I was difficult and unreliable. Unreliable! In all my years in the theatre I have never missed a performance.”

He managed to keep working in small projects in theatre, films and TV, returning to the mainstream in 1983 with “Cross Creek,” in which he played table-smashing backwoodsman Marsh Turner. The role brought him his only Oscar nomination, for best supporting actor.

Among his other films: “City Heat,” “The Hunt for Red October” and “Men in Black.”

But he never entirely shook his rebellious reputation.

“What do they say about all the guys that are tremendous actors?” he told The New York Times in 2006. “Don’t they say they have a volatile temper and emotions? Yeah, sure they do! They’re not saying they like a nice, mild guy. Look at Sean Penn.”

In 1994, actor-director Dennis Hopper said on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” that Torn once pulled a knife in a New York restaurant as he complained about being replaced in “Easy Rider.” He sued Hopper for slander and won a $475,000 judgment.

He remained active in film and television in later years, including a recurring role in “30 Rock” and a voice acting gig in the 2007 animated “Bee Movie.”

He weathered a couple of drunken driving arrests, including one in December 2008 near his home in Salisbury, Connecticut, that led to his placement in an alcohol education program.

Born in Temple, Texas, Torn initially studied agriculture at Texas A&M and acting at the University of Texas. After service as a military policeman during the Korean War, he hitchhiked to Hollywood. Landing only tiny roles in movies and TV dramas, and supporting himself as a fry cook and dishwasher, he decided to shift to New York and seek more training as an actor.

Torn and his first wife, actress Ann Wedgeworth, had a daughter, Danae, before divorcing. In 1963 he married Page, with whom he had co-starred in the touring production and movie version of “Sweet Bird of Youth.” They had three children, a daughter, Angelica, and twins Jon and Tony, and appeared in productions together until her death in 1987. Torn also had two children, Katie and Claire, with actress Amy Wright.

Masai Ujiri: ‘Don’t lose one second of sleep’ over Kawhi’s departure

STEVEN LOUNG, SPORTSNET | posted Wednesday, Jul 10th, 2019

Ujiri said that during the negotiating process he and his staff were feeling pretty good about their chances.


Ujiri expressed gratitude to Leonard for helping the Raptors win their first-ever championship.


Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri has a message to fans who might still be broken up over the departure of 2019 Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard: “We’re gonna be alright.”

Speaking to the media for the first time since it was reported that Leonard was heading to the Los Angeles Clippers, Ujiri expressed gratitude to Leonard for helping the Raptors win their first-ever championship but didn’t seem too nonplussed about his parting in free agency.

“I do want to say that he definitely has our blessings,” said Ujiri to reporters in Las Vegas. “He gave it everything while he was with us and we really appreciate that. I communicated to him afterwards and it was very good and I think we got a great deal out of it. We won a championship. And now it’s onto the next.

“This is the NBA and this is how it works. I always say, ‘You can’t hide underneath the table and cry.’ Honestly, I’ve lost no sleep, I’m not disappointed. It’s onto the next. I’m telling Raptors fans and everybody: Don’t lose one second of sleep. We’re gonna be just fine.”

“this was not my first rodeo”

With that said, Ujiri did say that during the negotiating process that he and his staff were feeling pretty good about their chances to convince Leonard to stay.

“I think with these things you’re always confident with what you’re doing,” said Ujiri. “In the whole process I was confident but I understand how free agency is, too. You base things on some of the things that we’ve done and we’re biased a little bit – we won a championship, it went well, blah, blah, blah.”

In the end, though, it didn’t prove enough. One thing for sure though, Ujiri did appear to value Leonard – and maybe only Leonard – during this process.

“I think he was,” said Ujiri when asked if Leonard was upfront with the Raptors before suspiciously pausing and adding, “Kawhi was.”

“I know what we’re dealing with here,” he added. “I appreciate what the process was and I know free agency, this was not my first rodeo, so things are going to go up and down and this was a different kind of free agency. It was high stakes and we understood that.”

Military’s second-in-command to resign, links decision with Mark Norman case

The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jul 10th, 2019

The Canadian military’s second-in-command has announced his surprise resignation and is reportedly linking the decision to an aborted attempt to reinstate Vice-Admiral Mark Norman into the position.

Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk’s decision to leave the Canadian Forces, effective Aug. 9, represents the latest blow to the military, whose senior leadership has been in perpetual turmoil since Norman was suspended in January 2017.

The Defence Department released a statement announcing Wynnyk’s resignation late Tuesday, nearly a year after the former army commander took over the vice-chief of the defence staff position on a permanent basis. A replacement has not been named.

In the statement, Wynnyk is quoted as saying he had considered the decision for several months and decided with his wife that it was time for their family to be reunited. Wynnyk has maintained a permanent home in Edmonton.

“I would like to thank the chief of the defence staff, Gen. Jon Vance, for the confidence he showed in me when he appointed me as the vice-chief and for his leadership of the (military) during what have been challenging times recently,” Wynnyk said.

Yet while Wynnyk attributed his decision to resign to his desire to return to his family, a letter obtained by Global News reportedly sent by the outgoing vice-chief of the defence staff to Vance suggests different reasons.

In particular, the letter reveals that Wynnyk had planned to retire this summer before Vance asked him last year to serve on a permanent basis as the vice-chief of the defence staff. Vance reportedly insisted on a two-year commitment from Wynnyk.

Previous to that, Wynnyk had been one in a string of senior officers filling the role in an acting capacity as the military waited for Norman’s breach-of-trust case to make its way through the courts.

“After much thought and consultation with my wife, I agreed to continue to serve away from my family and beyond maximum pensionable time,” he wrote to Vance, “giving you my word that I would not seek outside employment until retiring in 2020.”

However, according to the letter, Vance asked Wynnyk to resign and make way for Norman to resume his duties as the military’s second-in-command after the case against Norman was dropped in May.

“You advised that my continued service as the VCDS was no longer in the best interests of the (military), that you intended to restore Vice-Admiral Norman to the position,” Wynnyk wrote.

The comment represents the first confirmation that Vance was intending to reinstate Norman, who had asserted after the case against him was dropped that he wanted to return to his former position.

But that was before the government reached a settlement with Norman, who in the process announced his own resignation from the military last month. According to the letter, Vance at that time asked Wynnyk to stay on until next summer as planned.

Wynnyk, however, writes: “While I appreciate the change of heart, I respectfully decline and intend to take my release from the Canadian Armed Forces as expeditiously as possible.”

Bombardier laying off 550 workers from Thunder Bay plant: source

The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jul 10th, 2019

Bombardier Inc. is laying off half of the 1,100 workers at its Thunder Bay, Ont. railway car plant, according to a federal government source.

Two major contracts in Ontario — for the Toronto Transit Commission streetcars and Metrolinx GO Transit rail cars — are slated to halt by the end of the year.

Local union president Dominic Pasqualino says he fears more job losses are on the horizon beyond the initial 550 as the contracts wind down.

He says part of the blame for a lack of new contracts lies with the Trump administration, which has backed Buy America-like clauses requiring a minimum threshold of local content.

Last month, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford said Ontario’s regional transportation agency, Metrolinx, extended an offer for 36 additional rail cars to Bombardier, but Pasqualino says the plant needs 10 times that amount to sustain employment.

The regional transit agency has also given Bombardier the option to slow down production of the 63 remaining rail cars slated for completion by year’s end.

Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney, responded to the news in a statement.

“Our government has spoken to executives at Bombardier to express our disappointment that their company has taken this step,” she said. “We urge the company to work with the provincial government to come to an agreement that would see jobs remain at the Thunder Bay plant.”

TTC spokesman Stuart Green tweeted saying they do not expect any problems with the delivery of the new streetcars and have not been advised of any impacts on timelines.

“With 166 shipped, they are on target to meet the 204 target by the end of the year. They come to us from Thunder Bay and Kingston,” he said.

‘Back to zero:’ Canada’s premiers gather in Saskatoon, but none are women

STEPHANIE TAYLOR AND BILL GRAVELAND, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jul 9th, 2019

Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial leaders are in Saskatchewan this week, but for the first time in years, the annual gathering won’t have women at the table.

“Symbolically, it’s very significant that there is no woman premier,” said Sylvia Bashevkin, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, who researches women in politics and recently edited a book on the effect of women in the premier’s office.

She said the last time Canada was without any woman as premier was between November 2002, when Pat Duncan left her post in the Yukon, and in November 2008, when Eva Aariak was sworn in as premier of Nunavut.

By early 2014, more than half of Canadians lived in a jurisdiction governed by a woman. Rachel Notley was the last one standing until her government was defeated in Alberta three months ago.

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have never had a woman as premier.

The Council of Federation conference, running Tuesday through Thursday, should serve as a reminder of the under representation of women at the premier’s table, Bashevkin said.

It may also cause people to question whether gender diversity in Canada was really improving, she added.

“It’s not just that things have stalled, but they’ve measurably gone backwards,” Bashevkin said.

“We have to come back to the picture that’s going to come out of this premiers’ meeting and ask ourselves … what does it mean when we felt we’ve made all these breakthroughs and then we can go back to zero?”

The Council of Federation conference starts at Big River First Nation, where the premiers are to meet with leaders of national Indigenous organizations, including the Assembly of First Nations.

The gathering then shifts to Saskatoon, where premiers will participate in two-days of closed-door meetings at a downtown hotel.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who is hosting the event, said health care, reducing trade barriers and increasing economic competitiveness are all topics on his agenda.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has said that in addition to trade and the need to further develop the energy sector, he’ll be pushing for jurisdictions to mutually recognize professional credentials so workers can more easily move between provinces for work.

Moe and Kenney kicked off the week together at the Calgary Stampede, where they met with their conservative counterparts from Ontario and New Brunswick, along with the premier from the consensus-based government of the Northwest Territories.

They discussed hurdles in getting Canadian resources to market, as well as their opposition to federal bills overhauling resource reviews and banning oil tankers from the northern B.C. coast, and their common causing in fighting against the federal carbon tax.

Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are all challenging Ottawa’s carbon levy in court.

Bashevkin said she doesn’t think an absence of women at the Saskatoon meeting will affect the content and tone of discussions.

There are assumptions that women tend to be less confrontational and seek consensus more than men, she said, but it’s not necessarily true.

“We could ask right now … are the relations between British Columbia and Alberta any better than they were when we had two women premiers?

2 arrested after woman, 2 dogs die in Hamilton fire

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jul 9th, 2019

Two people are under arrest and homicide is investigating after a woman died following a fire at a multi-unit residential building in Hamilton on Monday.

Emergency crews responded to a call just before 7 p.m. on Beach Road, in the Gage Avenue and Barton Street area, where smoke was seen coming from an apartment on the second floor of the building.

Police said the woman and two dogs were pulled from the unit.

The woman did not have vital signs and was transported to hospital where she was pronounced dead. CPR was performed on the dogs but they did not survive.

The fire was deemed suspicious by officials and was then escalated to a homicide investigation.

According to police, a male and a female have been arrested.

There has been no word on charges.

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