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Canadian woman charged with smuggling cocaine into Australia: police

Emerald Bensadoun, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2019

A Canadian woman has been charged with importing cocaine into Australia after local authorities say border officials found about 12 kilograms of the drug hidden in her luggage.

The Australian Federal Police said the 42-year-old woman was travelling from Canada with her son and had landed in the Sydney International Airport on Sunday when she was targeted for an examination.

The force said border officers who X-rayed the woman’s three large suitcases found “several anomalies.”

“Officers discovered a white powdery substance concealed within the lining of the suitcases,” the force said in a statement. “Initial testing returned a presumptive positive result for cocaine, with a total weight of approximately 12 kilograms.”

The AFP said the woman was arrested and charged with one count of importing a commercial quantity of border controlled drugs. It noted that the maximum penalty for the offense is life in prison.

The force did not say where in Canada the woman was from.

The woman was to appear before a Sydney court on Monday, police said.

The AFP also said it was working with the Canadian consulate and New South Wales Family and Community Services to determine how to best take care of the woman’s son until he could return to Canada.

A spokesman for Global Affairs Canada said Canadian officials are in contact with local authorities and are providing consular services to the woman and her family. John Babcock said further information could not be provided due to privacy reasons.

A report from the Australian Institute of Criminology, a national research centre on crime and criminal justice, said that in 2016-17, Canada ranked as the third highest embarkation point for cocaine detections, behind the United States and South Africa, but ahead of Mexico and the United Kingdom.

It also said 50 kilograms of cocaine were detected via air cargo from Canada during that time period.

Last year, three Quebecers pleaded guilty to attempting to smuggle 95 kilograms of cocaine into Australia in suitcases aboard a luxury cruise ship.

Latest Kawhi Leonard rumours: Lakers now ‘first choice?’

Dave Zarum, Sportsnet | posted Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2019

Here’s what we know as it pertains to Kawhi Leonard‘s impending decision: Nothing.

But there are some things we can agree on: Leonard’s choices are down to Los Angeles and Toronto, with a clear scenario awaiting for him with the Raptors — return to T.O. and assume the role of being the most famous and popular athlete in Canada right now, while having a clear shot at back-to-back championships.

The scenario he’d inherit in L.A. is murkier, but no less enticing. He can return to his hometown and with the Clippers assume a similar challenge as last season by taking a strong supporting cast and carrying them into championship territory. Or with the Lakers, he can complete one of the most talented trios in NBA history and play for the team he watched growing up.

2 dead after car crashes into lake in Burlington

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2019

Two people are dead after a car crashed into Lake Ontario in Burlington on Tuesday.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at LaSalle Park around 8 p.m.

Halton police said a navy blue sedan drove down the laneway at LaSalle marina, crashed through a barrier and a sign and then drove into the lake — approximately 40 to 50 feet from the shore.

A witness told CityNews he saw the vehicle in the water and the driver of the car frozen in his seat.

“There was a driver in the seat that looked like he may have been suffering some kind of medical problem or it could have been just panic. He just looked like his arms were kind of locked at the steering wheel,” says Trevor Wadham, who was in his car near the marina when he heard the crash.

Wadham said two Good Samaritans jumped in the water and tried to rescue the occupants of the car, but were unable to help.

Emergency crews attempted a recovery mission but were unable to free the man, 55, and woman, 51, from the fully submerged vehicle.

A heavy tow and lake drivers were eventually able to extract the vehicle from the lake.

The identity of the two people inside the car have not been released.

Police continue to investigate the cause of the crash and are asking anyone who may have witnessed the incident and not yet spoken with officers, to do so.

2 workers injured after being trapped in trench in North York

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jul 3rd, 2019

Two workers have been injured after becoming trapped in an excavation trench in North York.

Police and paramedics along with 16 fire trucks and about 50 recuse personnel responded to a call for an industrial accident in the Shawfield Crescent and Underhill Drive area around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday.

A worker was in the trench when the ground started caving in. A second worker jumped in to try and help but also got trapped.

Both workers were buried in dirt, one to the waist and the other to the neck.

A technical rescue unit — the only one of its kind in the city — was called in to assist with the operation from a station 5.7 kilometres away.

Emergency crews managed to free the workers who were both conscious and breathing. Their injuries are not considered life threatening but they will be taken to hospital as a precaution.

Toronto Fire says the trench was 12 feet deep and “unboxed” — they found no plywood shoring up the trench or any other safety features. The men did not have a ladder but did have platforms set up at eight, six and four feet in the trench.

The Ministry of Labour has been notified.

Free Agency Winners and Losers: Kawhi keeps Raptors, Lakers, Clippers waiting

Dave Zarum, Sportsnet.ca | posted Tuesday, Jul 2nd, 2019

We didn’t have to wait long for the fireworks to get started — actually, we didn’t have to wait at all. A furious first night of NBA free agency saw the landscape of the league change drastically in a matter of hours.

There’s still plenty of dust to settle — including the much-awaited decision from Kawhi Leonard — but until then, here’s a look at early winners and losers of free agency.

Winner: Golden State Warriors

Despite reportedly offering him a max deal, the Warriors lost Kevin Durant to Brooklyn, but still wound up among the biggest — and most shocking — winners on Sunday night.

First, the team re-signed Klay Thompson to a five-year deal. If Thompson is back from his ACL injury by the new year, or trade deadline, then a Thompson-Steph Curry backcourt remains arguably the most lethal in the NBA and should keep the Warriors status as perennial contenders intact.

Then, the team went ahead and removed “arguably” from that last sentence by landing restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell from the Brooklyn Nets in a sign-and-trade. Russell, a 23-year-old all-star point guard last season and former second-overall pick, was always expected to be moved — but the Warriors name had never came up in any rumours or reports until the deal was done.

Russell gives the Warriors another lethal shooter who will help Golden State remain dangerous as they await Thompson’s return and let their new three-man backcourt run wild in the competitive West.

Winner: The East’s talent pool

The Eastern Conference All-Stars — if that were still a thing — got a lot stronger on Sunday night.

Leading up to free agency there was a chance that the East would weaken and lose a number of its stars, with rumours linking the likes of Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Kemba Walker and others to Western conference clubs.

All of those players remained in the East, although the chairs shuffled around quite a bit, while the conference gained a mega-star in the form of Kevin Durant.

In a world in which Kawhi Leonard returns to Toronto, the East could boast three or four of the NBA’s top five in Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Durant, and Joel Embiid.

Here’s are the highlights from the East’s great shakeup after night one:

• Kevin Durant to the Nets
• Kyrie Irving to the Nets
• Kemba Walker to the Celtics
• Jimmy Butler to the Heat
• Al Horford to the 76ers
• Josh Richardson to the 76ers
• Malcolm Brogdon to the Pacers

The other winner here is parity in the East; depending on what happens with Leonard, the East could be wide open. While the 76ers and Nets made the most improvements, all of the teams listed above have rosters that could compete for a spot in the Finals.

Of course, Leonard remains the biggest and most mysterious domino yet to fall. His decision will have a major impact on the East’s landscape (…and ditto the West). Should Leonard return to Toronto, the Raptors become the favourites to return to the Finals — and probably even title favourites — but if he leaves, there could instantly be as many as five or six teams jockeying for top spot in the East (and the Raps won’t be one of them).

Loser: The teams that won’t sign Kawhi

One, for the obvious reason that if a team strikes out on Leonard, they lose out on both the game’s top player and the opportunity to become instant championship favourites.

But after roughly 1,304 notable players found a home on the first night alone, the remaining free agent market is suddenly paper thin.

This isn’t really a factor for the Raptors, who aren’t likely to dive into the free agency pool apart from re-signing Leonard, but for teams like the Clippers and Lakers, their search for a star via free agency will be an abject failure.

Winner: the new-look 76ers
For awhile, it looked fairly bleak for Philadelphia. Jimmy Butler was reportedly on his way out — which turned out to be true — and right out of the gate, starter JJ Redick signed with the New Orleans Pelicans (another big winner on Sunday).

The team was able to re-sign Tobias Harris, which is good, but not enough to make up for two crucial losses.

But later in the night the Sixers pulled off a pair of big moves, first sending Butler to the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade that netted them another great defender and potent scorer in Josh Richardson. Then they signed five-time all-star Al Horford away from the Boston Celtics, a move that seemed to come out of nowhere.

Now the Sixers are a defensive juggernaut with a top-five of Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford, and Joel Embiid. Talk about re-tooling on the fly…

Winner: The small market teams

The Oklahoma City Thunder won one for the little guys last year by beating L.A. and re-signing Paul George. This year, it’s the Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers who were among the biggest winners — not for making a big splash on a marquee name, but for more subtle, yet potentially just as significant moves on Sunday.

The Jazz signed Bojan Bogdanovic, an underrated forward who was instrumental to Indiana’s strong season despite losing Victor Oladipo to injury. His shooting and scoring ability will provide a much needed boost to a Utah team that also signed quality reserve Ed Davis and recently traded for point guard Mike Conley, Jr. — making them a sleeper contender in the West.

The Pacers may have lost Bogdanovic, but surprised many when they acquired guard Malcolm Brogdon from the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for draft picks, and also signed under-the-radar scoring threat Jeremy Lamb.

Loser: Adam Silver and the anti-tampering movement

Frankly at this point it’s insulting to our intelligence. Teams and players can’t engage before the 6 p.m. ET start to free agency, we’re told, yet obviously negotiations have been long underway. In the hour leading up to 6 p.m., there were countless signings announced, and by 6:01, there were countless more.

Not sure what the answer is here for commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA, but for now, their ability to effectively enforce any anti-tampering rules is non-existent.


Winner: The Brooklyn Nets

There are obvious risks given there’s no precedent of a player at Durant’s age (32 when he’s expected to return at the start of the 2020-21 season) returning to form after an Achilles’ injury. But Durant’s size and skill-set should allow him to remain at least a highly-effective weapon on offence.

Who knows how much of a threat the Nets will be this season, but they’re eyeing a clear opportunity to make some noise in 2020 and beyond.

Loser: The New York Knicks

First, the obvious: The New York Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis — a 22 year-old seven-foot-three centre who shoots threes, blocks shots, defends, and runs the floor — for cap space and the opportunity to sign one of the many big-name free agents this summer, specifically a not-so-secret shot at signing Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, or both.

They signed neither, settling for Julius Randle — a fine young forward, but not in the class of reported targets like Durant, Irving, or even Walker.

After losing at the draft lottery, the franchise took another hit on Sunday night after ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported that the team decided to low-ball Kevin Durant, who was widely expected to receive a max contract. Of course, it was later reported that Durant and Irving both ended up taking a discount to go down the street to the Brooklyn Nets, another blow for a franchise that’s already punch-drunk.

Woman seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle near St. Clair West Village

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jul 2nd, 2019

A woman has been taken to hospital with serious injuries after being struck by a vehicle near St. Clair West Village.

Police were called to the scene just after 7 a.m. on Monday at Oakwood and St. Clair Avenue.

The victim, believed to be 60 to 70 years old, was conscious and breathing at the scene and was taken to hospital in non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver involved remained at the scene.

Police have not yet identified the woman and are asking her next-of-kin to contact them. She is described as five feet to five foot four inches, with a thin build and was wearing dark brown corduroy pants, black runners, and white shirt with blue vertical stripes when she was struck.

Hate crime investigators probing alleged assault at Canada’s Wonderland

The Canadian Press and News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jul 2nd, 2019

Police north of Toronto say an alleged assault at Canada’s Wonderland last Thursday is being treated as a possible hate crime.

York Regional Police say the force’s hate crime unit is looking into the incident at the theme park in Vaughan, Ont.

“We take every allegation of hate seriously and can assure our community it is being investigated thoroughly,” Const. Andy Pattenden said in a statement emailed to CityNews.

A spokeswoman for Wonderland says there was an “altercation between guests” near the park’s front gate at about 4:15 p.m.

In an email, Grace Peacock says police and Wonderland security “responded quickly and appropriately” and both parties were ejected from the park after an investigation.

Neither police nor the park would confirm any more details, however the advocacy group the National Council of Canadian Muslims called the alleged incident “extremely troubling.”

“Rest assured: we’re not going to let anyone get away with racism or Islamophobia,” the council tweeted Sunday.

Late Sunday night, a woman who says she was the one involved in the incident posted her version of events on social media. The woman claims her family was provoked and that the incident was not racially motivated.

CityNews is attempting to verify the woman’s claims and will continue to follow this story.

Maple Leafs trade Zaitsev, Brown to Senators for Ceci in six-player deal

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jul 2nd, 2019

The Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs have swapped underperforming defencemen.

The provincial rivals completed a deal that had been rumoured for nearly 48 hours on Monday, with Toronto trading Nikita Zaitsev to Ottawa for fellow blue-liner Cody Ceci.

The Senators also got forwards Connor Brown and Michael Carcone in the exchange, while the Leafs received defenceman Ben Harpur, centre Aaron Luchuk and a third-round pick that originally belonged to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The trade is important for the Leafs because it gets Zaitsev’s contract – which carries an annual average value of US$4.5 million for the next five seasons – off the books as the team facing a salary cap crunch looks to sign restricted free agent Mitch Marner and potentially add cheaper pieces to round out its roster.

Brown is scheduled to make $2.1 million in 2019-20 and is set to become an RFA next summer.

The cap for the coming season has been set at $81.5 million, down from an earlier projection of roughly $83 million.

Ottawa, meanwhile, is at the opposite end of the spectrum, needing to increase its wage bill to get to the cap floor of $62.2 million.

Zaitsev, who was due a $3-million signing bonus Monday, had to waive his limited no-movement clause for the trade to be completed.

The 27-year-old produced an impressive rookie campaign with Toronto in 2015-16, registering four goals and 36 points in 82 games. But his play has fallen off drastically in the two seasons since with just eight goals and 27 points in 141 outings to go along with two assists in 18 playoff games.

Zaitsev signed a seven-year, $31.5-million contract with the Leafs in the summer of 2016.

Toronto managed to shed veteran winger Patrick Marleau and his $6.25 million salary when the Leafs traded him along with a lottery-protected first-round draft pick and a seventh-rounder in 2020 to the Carolina Hurricanes last month. Carolina, which sent a sixth-round selection in 2020 the other way in the deal, bought Marleau out last week, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Much like Zaitsev, the 25-year-old Ceci has been a lightning rod for criticism related to his poor performances in the nation’s capital. The Ottawa native has 32 goals and 118 points in 440 career regular-season games, and has added three assists in 25 playoff contests.

An RFA with arbitration rights, Ceci was extended a qualifying offer by Ottawa last month. He made $4.3 million in 2018-19 and is set to become an UFA next summer.

Brown, 25, has 43 goals and 99 points in 253 career regular-season games to go along with five points (one goal, four assists) in 20 playoff contests. Selected in the sixth round of the 2012 draft by the Leafs, the Toronto native recorded a career-high 20 goals and 36 points in 2015-16 when played in a top-6 forward role.

Carcone came to Toronto in the Josh Leivo trade with the Vancouver Canucks in December. In 62 American Hockey League games in 2018-19, the 23-year-old put up 20 goals and 44 points before adding 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 13 playoff outings.

Harpur, 24, has one goal and seven points in 103 regular season games. A fourth-round pick in 2013, the six-foot-six blue-liner played a career-high 51 times with Ottawa last season. He’s added two assists in nine playoff games.

Luchuk, 22, split time between the AHL and ECHL in 2018-19, registering four goals and nine points in 27 games with the Belleville Senators.

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