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Raptors beat T’Wolves to win a Canadian-record 15 consecutive games

LORI EWING AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 11th, 2020

Through 15 consecutive victories, the Toronto Raptors have proven fearless in the face of adversity, unfazed by countless injuries.

And they’ve made Canadian pro sports history in the process.

The Raptors roared to their 15th win in a row on Monday, beating the revamped Minnesota Timberwolves 137-126.

The win streak topped the Calgary Stampeders, who won 14 straight in 2016, for the longest single-season win streak from a major Canadian-based professional team (NBA, NHL, MLB and CFL).

“They play with a sense of urgency and have a great identity about them.”

What’s remarkable is this Raptors’ run, is they’ve accomplished it with a revolving door of a roster, thanks to significant injuries to numerous key players.

“I think we can win right?” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of his squad. “I think these guys have proven enough that they can win. We’ve have a lot of injuries this year, but they just keep stepping up and playing and we’ve just gotten used to it.

“You at least have to go out and give a great effort, give yourself a chance to win, and don’t let them play harder than you. If you think you’re under-talented or undersized or whatever, then you’ve got to take your energy and toughness up a notch and think we’ve done that most nights.”

Pascal Siakam scored 34 points to top Toronto (40-14). Kyle Lowry, who was back after missing a game with whiplash, had 27 points and 11 assists, while OG Anunoby had 16 of his career-high 25 points in the third quarter and grabbed 12 rebounds. Fred VanVleet chipped in with 16.

“There’s a reason they’ve won 15 games in a row,” said T’Wolves coach Ryan Saunders. “They play with a sense of urgency and have a great identity about them.”

Karl-Anthony Towns topped the Timberwolves (16-36) with 23 points, while D’Angelo Russell had 22 in his Minnesota debut.

espite missing key players for major chunks of this streak — Marc Gasol (hamstring), Norman Powell (broken finger) and Serge Ibaka (illness) were all sidelined Monday — the Raptors continue to find ways to win.

“We’ve barely had our team and we’ve always had to adjust and figure it out,” Siakam said. “Guys know now that you have to be ready every day. You never know what’s going to happen. Today you might be sitting on the bench and the next day you’re starting. That’s just got to be the mentality and I think everyone knows that.”

No. 15 was a hard-fought victory that saw the Raptors finally take their first double-digit lead late in the third quarter. In a thrilling ending to the frame, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stole the ball off Russell with 3.6 seconds left in the quarter and his dunk sent Toronto into the fourth with a 106-94 advantage. Hollis-Jefferson gestured to the Scotiabank Arena fans to cheer. They obliged.

“You at least have to go out and give a great effort, give yourself a chance to win”

James Johnson’s three-pointer pulled the T’Wolves to within two points early in the fourth, but the Raptors responded with a 20-5 run capped by Lowry’s three-pointer with 3:07 to play that gave the Raptors a 19-point cushion. And it was all but game over.

The winning streak comes during the dog days of mid-season, and days before the NBA all-star break when some teams and players are looking forward to a few days off.

“Obviously winning feels good. Everyone wants to win, so the fact we can go out there, play some basketball and have some fun — and you can see it out there: whenever anyone is doing great, everyone feels like they’re doing great,” Siakam said. “That’s just how we are and it feels good. It makes you want to keep winning but at the same time it’s just about us understanding what we need to work on and understanding what we need to get better at while having fun.”

The Raptors’ previous record win streak was 11 games, set twice (2016, 2018). Coach Nick Nurse said the streak, which is the best in the NBA, wasn’t a focus with his players.

“There isn’t a whole lot of conversation about it but I think everybody, it’s pretty much front and centre on everything you see post-game . . . if you see anything across the bottom or on your app or on anything you’re looking at, that’s what they’re talking about,” Nurse said. “But there’s not a lot of in depth discussion about it.”

Among other lengthy Canadian win streaks, the Montreal Canadiens won 12 straight in 1968 en route to winning the Stanley Cup, while the Toronto Blue Jays won 11 in a row five times. Toronto’s new trans-Atlantic rugby team the Wolfpack won 23 straight games last year.

The league-leading Milwaukee Bucks won 18 in a row earlier this season.

While the Raptors made no moves at last Thursday’s trade deadline, the Timberwolves overhauled more than half their roster, sending away seven players — including Canadian Andrew Wiggins, who went to Golden State for Russell — and acquiring eight new ones in three separate deals.

Two days after the deadline, the T’Wolves ended a 13-game skid with a 142-115 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Raptors scored on their first eight shots to take a nine-point lead. They shot 69.6 per cent in the first quarter but Minnesota didn’t miss many either, and Toronto led just 40-36 to start the second.

Russell’s three-pointer midway through the second quarter capped a 21-7 Minnesota run that had them up by seven. They would go ahead by eight before Toronto closed the half with a 13-6 run of its own, pulling to within 75-74 at the break.

The Raptors play the Nets in Brooklyn on Wednesday in their final game before NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago. Lowry, Siakam and Nurse were all honoured before tipoff as Toronto’s representation in Sunday’s all-star game.

‘It’s not an accident’ alleges stepfather of girl found dead with biological dad in Rattlesnake Point

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Feb 11th, 2020

The four-year-old girl found deceased with her biological father in Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area late Sunday night has been identified by family as Keira Kagan.

The girl’s stepfather, Philip Viater, told CityNews that Keira’s mother was locked in a lengthy custody battle with her ex, who he identified as Robin Brown.

According to Viater, Brown lost custody of Keira in a trial and had his access to her reduced in August for what he described as “bad behaviour.”

“I have so many court orders, it’s going to take hours to go through all of them,” he said.

Keira and her biological father ventured out for a hike at Rattlesnake Point in Milton some time between 2:30 and 3 p.m. on Sunday.

They were expected back around 5 p.m.

When they didn’t return, authorities were notified.

An extensive search took place and shortly after 11 p.m. their bodies were found.

During an update Monday morning, Const. Ryan Anderson said both were located at the base of the escarpment, and had injuries “consistent with a fall.”

“There was significant trauma on the victims,” Anderson said, adding that the Homicide Unit is investigating — a standard procedure when a child under the age of five is involved.

“It is not considered a homicide investigation at this time,” Anderson stressed. He also said it’s early in the investigation and police are not “ruling anything out.”

Viater doesn’t think it was an accident and believes police spoke prematurely.

“When they made that statement, no officer had even spoken to us, had copies of any court orders, or knew anything about the case other than the fact that there is a father and daughter who allegedly fell,” he said.

Homicide detectives are now at the couple’s home, speaking to them and looking over court documents, Viater explained.

“They (police) probably shouldn’t have made (the statement), because quite honestly it’s actually caused us more grief because now I have people texting, apologizing and giving condolences for this horrible accident and I’m just like ‘It’s not an accident, I’ve been telling you for three years he’s going to do something like this.’ ”

“I do believe that they fell,” he concluded. “I believe that they did not fall innocently.”

Ontario elementary schools closed as teachers hit the picket line in province-wide strike

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 11th, 2020

Elementary teachers are hitting the picket lines en masse in Ontario today in their second province-wide strike to put pressure on the government in contract talks.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is also using the other four days of the week to stage rotating strikes, ensuring each board is hit twice a week.

All four major teachers’ unions are engaging in strikes as bargaining appears to be at an impasse.

ETFO president Sam Hammond has said the union was close to a deal with the government after three days of recent talks, but the province’s negotiators suddenly tabled new proposals at the 11th hour that the union couldn’t accept.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said compensation is the main issue, and that the teachers are advancing higher wages at the expense of their students.

Teachers in the French system are holding a province-wide strike on Thursday, and high school teachers are staging a one-day strike at select boards that same day.

For a look at strikes planned across the province this week, click here.

2nd plane carrying evacuees from Wuhan lands at CFB Trenton

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Feb 11th, 2020

A second Canadian plane carrying evacuees from the quarantined region of Hubei, China, has landed at the Canadian Forces Base Trenton in southern Ontario.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said there was room for about 200 passengers aboard the flight from Wuhan.

Myriam Larouche, one of the 213 Canadians who were flown in Friday from the Chinese epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak, says life under quarantine at the base feels like summer camp.

Renowned Canadian epidemiologist Bruce Aylward made his way to China to lead a team of World Health Organization experts to study the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Aylward and his team will be looking to the origin of the virus and the severity of the disease.

The virus has killed 1,016 people among 42,638 confirmed cases in mainland China, and infected more than 43,000 people globally.

Princess Cruises confirms new Canadian coronovirus case aboard Diamond Princess

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 10th, 2020

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Princess Cruises says a Canadian is among an additional 66 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in the Japanese port city of Yokohama, just outside Tokyo.

The company says in a release issued early Monday morning that the positive test results were confirmed by the Japanese Ministry of Health and that it is following the ministry’s “disembarkation protocols to provide medical care for these new cases.”

This latest case raises to eight the number of Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess who have contracted the new virus.

The other seven were earlier taken to Japanese hospitals for treatment and monitoring.

The federal government said Sunday that it was monitoring the well-being of 285 Canadians quarantined on the Diamond Princess and another cruise ship anchored off Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in a statement Sunday that none of the 213 evacuees from Wuhan, China — the epicentre of the outbreak — who are quarantined at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., have exhibited any symptoms of the virus.

In a win for the world, ‘Parasite’ takes best picture Oscar

JAKE COYLE AND THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 10th, 2020

LOS ANGELES — Subtitle this: “Parasite” is the first non-English language film to win best picture in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards.

Bong Joon Ho’s masterfully devious class satire took Hollywood’s top prize at the Oscars on Sunday night, along with awards for best director, best international film and best screenplay. In a year dominated by period epics — “1917,” “Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood,” “The Irishman” — the film academy instead went overseas, to South Korea, to reward a contemporary and unsettling portrait of social inequality in “Parasite.”

True to its name, “Parasite” simply got under the skin of Oscar voters, attaching itself to the American awards season and, ultimately, to history. The win was a watershed moment for the Academy Awards, which has long been content to relegate international films to their own category.

Multiple standing ovations greeted Bong’s several wins. “I am ready to drink tonight,” Bong said, prompting roars from the crowd. Unexpectedly called up again for best director, Bong saluted his fellow nominees, particularly Martin Scorsese, and concluded: “Now I’m ready to drink until tomorrow.”

The win for “Parasite” — which had echoes of the surprise victory of “Moonlight” over “La La Land” three years ago — came in a year in which many criticized the lack of diversity in the nominees and the absence of female filmmakers. But the triumph for “Parasite” enabled Hollywood to flip the script, and signal a different kind of progress.

In doing so, the film academy turned away another history-making event, again denying Netflix its first best-picture win despite two contenders in “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story,” and a big-spending awards campaign blitz.

All of the acting winners — Brad Pitt, Renee Zellweger, Joaquin Phoenix, and Laura Dern — went as expected.

Few categories were more certain coming into Sunday’s Oscars than best supporting actor, which Pitt has had locked down all awards season. While Pitt (who in 2014 shared in the best picture win for “12 Years a Slave,” as was a producer) has regaled audiences with one-liners in the run-up to the Oscars, he began his comments on a political note.

“They told me I have 45 seconds to speak, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” Pitt said, alluding to the impeachment hearings. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin does a movie about it.”

Pitt said the honour had given him reason to reflect on his fairy-tale journey in the film industry, going back to when he moved to Los Angeles from Missouri. “Once upon a time in Hollywood,” said Pitt. “Ain’t that the truth.”

Most of the early awards went according to forecasts, including Dern winning for her performance as a divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.” Accepting her first Oscar, Dern thanked her in-attendance parents, “my legends, Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern.”

For the 87th time, no women were nominated for best director this year, a subject that was woven into the entire ceremony — and even into some attendees’ clothing. Natalie Portman wore a cape lined with the names of female filmmakers who weren’t nominated for best director, including Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) and Mati Diop (“Atlantics”).

Coming on a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, the ceremony was soggy and song-heavy. Some performances, like Eminem’s performance of “Lose Yourself,” were unexpected (and drew a wane response from Martin Scorsese). All of the song nominees performed, including Elton John who won with his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin for their “Rocketman” tune.

The hostless ceremony opened on a note of inclusion, with Janelle Monae performing “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and her own song, “Come Alive,” with an assist from Billy Porter. “I’m so proud to be standing here as a black queer artist telling stories,” Monae said. “Happy Black History Month.”

Two former Oscar hosts, Chris Rock, and Steve Martin, provided the opening monologue. “An incredible demotion,” Martin called it. Martin also reminded that something was missing from this year’s directing nominees. “Vaginas!” Rock replied.

There were milestones, nevertheless. In winning best adapted screenplay for his Nazi satire “Jojo Rabbit,” the New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi became the first indigenous director ever to win an Oscar. He dedicated the award to “all the indigenous kids in the world who want to do art, dance and write stories.”

“We are the original storytellers,” Waititi said.

“Joker” composer Hildur Gudnadottir became only the third woman to ever win best original score. ”To the girls, to the women, to the mothers, to the daughters who hear the music opening within, please speak up,“ said Gudnadottir. ”We need to hear your voices.“

Awards were spread around to all of the best-picture nominees, with the lone exception being Martin Scorsese’s 10-time nominee “The Irishman.”

“1917,” acclaimed for its technical virtuosity, took awards for Roger Deakins’ cinematography, visual effects, and sound mixing. The car racing throwback “Ford v Ferrari” was also honoured for its craft, winning both editing and sound editing. Gerwig’s Louisa May Alcott adaptation “Little Women” won for Jacqueline Durran’s costume design. “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” for Barbara Ling’s production design.

Netflix came in with a leading 24 nominations. Along with the win for “Marriage Story,” the streamer’s “American Factory” won best documentary. The film is the first release from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions. No studio has spent more heavily this awards season than Netflix, which is seeking its first best picture win after coming up just shy last year with “Roma.”

Pixar extended its domination of the best-animated film category, winning for “Toy Story 4.” It’s the 10th Pixar film to win the award and second “Toy Story” film to do so, following the previous 2010 installment.

It was an early award for the Walt Disney Co. which despite last year amassing a record $13 billion in worldwide box office and owning the network the Oscars are broadcast on, played a minor role in the ceremony. The bulk of its awards came from 20th Century Fox (“Ford v Ferrari”) and Fox Searchlight (“Jojo Rabbit”), both of which the company took control of after its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox last year.

Disney’s ABC, which is broadcasting the show live, hoped a widely watched field of nominees — including the $1 billion-grossing “Joker,” up for a leading 11 awards — will help viewership. Last year’s show garnered 29.6 million viewers, a 12% uptick.

In a year of streaming upheaval throughout the industry, this year’s Oscar favourites were largely movies released widely in theatres. They also predominantly featured male characters and came from male directors.

After a year in which women made significant gains behind the camera, no female directors were nominated for best director. The acting categories are also the least diverse since the fallout of #OscarsSoWhite pushed the academy to remake its membership. Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”) is the only actor of colour nominated. Those results, which have been a topic in speeches through awards season, stand in contrast to research that suggests the most popular movies star more people of colour than ever before.


The AP’s Amanda Lee Meyers contributed to this report.

Teachers with Ontario’s four main unions set to continue job action this week

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Feb 10th, 2020

All four major teachers’ unions in Ontario are currently taking job action. Here is a list of their planned strikes and work-to-rule campaigns.

Public Elementary Schools

The union representing Ontario’s public elementary school teachers has scheduled rotating strikes for every day of the coming week, including a province-wide strike on Tuesday where all 83,000 members will walk off their jobs.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario said the rolling strikes mean that each school board in the province will strike twice next week — once on Tuesday’s province-wide walkout, and again on a designated day of the week.

Public High Schools

Ontario’s high school teachers at nine boards will go on a one-day strike on Thursday. Affected districts include Peel, Superior-Greenstone, Greater Essex Country, Avon Maitland, Niagara, Limestone, Renfrew and Huron-Superior Catholic.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation says members will also continue their work-to-rule campaign, which started in November. That means teachers will not participate in staff meetings outside school hours or provide comments in report cards.

Catholic Schools

The union representing Ontario’s English Catholic teachers has announced it will ramp up its administrative job action on Tuesday. The new action means that teachers will only undertake scheduled teaching and supervision duties and won’t accept additional work. Teachers will still participate in extracurricular activities and go through with parent-teacher interviews if they’ve been scheduled.

Catholic teachers have already stopped preparing report cards, participating in standardized testing or attending Ministry of Education initiatives as part of an effort launched in January.

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association says it’s trying to minimize the effect of the job action on students.

Ontario French Schools

Twelve-thousand members of the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) will begin walking off the job once a week, with the first strike planned for Thursday.

AEFO says it will also continue its work-to-rule program, in which members of the union no longer complete some administrative duties.

The union recently met at the bargaining table but negotiations fell apart.

Missing man, 4-year-old child found dead in Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Feb 10th, 2020

A man and his four-year-old daughter have died after the two went missing on Sunday in Rattlesnake Point.

According to police, the pair got to the Conservation Area between 2:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. and went off on a hike.

They were expected to return at 5 p.m. When they didn’t, authorities were notified.

Police said they deployed “significant resources” including canine units near the Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area to search for the two.

Shortly after 11 p.m. officers found the bodies of an adult male and a female child.

“This is an unimaginable tragedy, and we are grieving with (the friends and family of the deceased) at this time,” Halton police said in a release.

Police said next of kin has been notified and the investigation is ongoing.

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