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Woman charged following alleged racist attack against three women in Mississauga

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Jul 31st, 2018

Peel police say a woman has been charged with assault after allegedly flinging racial slurs at an 18-year-old woman and flicking a lighter towards her.

The alleged incident happened Sunday evening at a bus shelter at Hurontario Street and Paisley Boulevard in Mississauga.

Officers say another woman attempted to intervene, and the accused allegedly attacked her and tried to remove her hijab.

A third woman, a 56-year-old from Mississauga, was also allegedly assaulted and had racial slurs made towards her.

Investigators say the alleged assault is believed to be hate-motivated.

Police are asking the unidentified alleged victim to come forward so they can speak with her regarding some of the details of the incident.

Sharon Alexander, 35, of Mississauga has been charged with assault with a weapon, assault and uttering threats to cause bodily harm.

She is scheduled to appear in court at the end of August.

-with files from News Staff

Teenager goes missing while walking her dog in East York

News Staff | posted Monday, Jul 30th, 2018

Toronto police are asking the public for help in looking for a 15-year-old girl who went missing earlier this week in East York while walking her family dog.

Sydney Lakhani was last seen around 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the Cosburn Avenue and Coxwell Avenue area.

The family dog was later found tied up in the area she went missing.

She’s described as 5 foot 3 inches with purple dyed hair.

Lakhani was last seen wearing black skirt, white t-shirt and large hoop earrings. She is maybe carrying a pink and black knapsack.

Abdul Sultan Madhani, a friend of the family, said the family is in a lot of distress and they are frantically looking for her.

Anyone who may have seen her and had any contact with her is asked to contact police.

Prime Minister Trudeau to join mourners at funeral for Danforth shooting victim

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Jul 30th, 2018

Mourners will gather in east Toronto on Monday for the funeral of Reese Fallon, who died in last week’s mass shooting on the Danforth.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto Mayor John Tory are among those expected to attend the service, which follows a public visitation held Sunday for the 18-year-old.

Fallon was among the two people killed and 13 wounded when a gunman charged down Danforth Avenue last Sunday, shooting pedestrians and restaurant-goers. Ten-year-old Julianna Kozis was also killed in the shooting that has left the vibrant neighbourhood reeling. Police said the 29-year-old gunman shot himself after exchanging fire with officers.

In an obituary posted online, Fallon’s family says the recent high school grad and aspiring nurse will be “deeply missed but not forgotten.” At her visitation Sunday, a friend described her as a kind person who “loved to make new friends.”

Fallon was set to attend McMaster University in the fall to study nursing. She was also a member of the Beaches-East York (Toronto) chapter of the Young Liberals, a youth organization for party supporters.

After attending the public funeral at the Highland Funeral Home in Scarborough, Trudeau will visit Alexander the Great Parkette on the Danforth that has become a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Greektown shooting.

Man seriously hurt after being struck by vehicle in east-end

News Staff | posted Monday, Jul 30th, 2018

A man in his 40s is in life-threatening condition after being struck by a vehicle on Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Coxwell Ave.

Paramedics were called to the area before 9:30 p.m. Sunday night and rushed the man to a trauma centre in an emergency run.

Toronto police say the driver remained on scene.

Eastbound Lake Shore is closed from Northern Dancer to Coxwell for the investigation.

Toronto students become published scientists after sending worms to space

ADINA BRESGE, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 30th, 2018

Some researchers spend years working to conduct an experiment in space, but for a group of young Toronto scientists, all it took was a school project.

The four students were in grades 8 through 12 when they first proposed shooting a tube of microscopic worms into orbit so they could study the effects of low gravity on muscle deterioration.

Now, the young women are all published scientists – half before earning a high-school diploma – after their experiment’s unexpected findings were featured in the peer-reviewed academic journal “Gravitational Space Research” last week.

“I never would have thought in Grade 8 that I would be doing something so meaningful with science,” Annabel Gravely, 16, said in a recent interview. “The nature of science, it’s all about the obstacles. What’s really cool about the process is learning different ways to get around those obstacles.”

It all began four years ago when a teacher at the University of Toronto Schools put out a call for entries in a student competition to send an experiment to the International Space Station.

Overwhelmed by the possibilities of space-bound study, Gravely said she wanted her proposal to be “meaningful,” so she decided to study the neural disease that led to her grandfather’s death a few years prior.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, attacks the cells that control muscles, causing them to progressively deteriorate until a person loses the ability to move, swallow and, eventually, breathe.

Gravely drew a connection between the disease and the muscle loss astronauts suffer after spending extended periods in space, where they become weaker because their bodies aren’t working against gravity.

If an ALS-linked enzyme were to increase in worms exposed to microgravity, Gravely theorized, it could help researchers understand the mechanism that causes muscle atrophy, which would have implications for a host of degenerative diseases.

“My family … (was) super attached to the project,” said Gravely. “Instead of it just being a research project, it was something that was a big part of my life.”

Gravely and Grade 8 classmate Alice Vlasov teamed up with upper-year mentors Amy Freeman and Kay Wu to refine their experimental methodology as the group progressed through rounds of competition.

When it became clear the project’s scientific scope well exceeded the high-school curriculum, Gravely enlisted the help of leading researchers in Canada and the U.K., who were touched by the girls’ dedication and provided expertise and resources.

Jane Batt, a scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, lent the students lab space at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science as she guided them through the process of trial and error required to bring such an ambitious project to fruition.

“It’s a massive undertaking for a young student,” Batt said. “We have university students who can’t do this, and Annie did this of her own accord and took it all the way through.”

Vlasov, 17, said she and Gravely were “literally jumping for joy” and laughing in the hallways upon getting word that their experiment was one of the few selected to take off into space.

In the summer of 2016, the student scientists stood on the launch pad in Cape Canaveral, Fla., to wish their worms bon voyage as a SpaceX rocket carried them into orbit.

“It’s permanently engraved in my memory,” Vlasov said, a smile sweeping across her face. “We couldn’t believe it was actually happening.”

During the roughly 10 weeks the worms were in space or being shipped back on land, the team was running an identical experiment in the Toronto lab.

When the two tubes were compared, the results were not what they expected, said 19-year-old Wu.

She said they found the worms that had been exposed to microgravity had lower levels of the ALS-linked enzyme than the control group.

The researchers also discovered that the “space worms” were longer and thicker than their Earth-bound counterparts.

But one of the biggest surprises was that the worms survived for 69 days with limited oxygen and nutrients, which appears to be a novel discovery, according to the group’s paper.

“(Gravely’s) question asked three other questions that deserve a further look, and this is the way science works,” said Batt.

“This may be a real finding that could be quite significant for looking at regulation of muscle mass in the future.”

With Gravely and Vlasov heading into Grade 12, and university students Freeman and Wu mulling over medical school applications, the young scientists are unsure what’s ahead after their summer vacations.

But Freeman, 21, hopes a new cohort of young scientists are already busy at work with their next cosmic discoveries.

“At any age, you can do science, and you can participate in the scientific process,” she said. “If you have an idea, don’t just kind of ignore it because you think that you’re too young to do it.”

Doug Ford to cut Toronto city council by almost half: report

News Staff | posted Friday, Jul 27th, 2018

The Ontario government is planning to cut the number of seats on Toronto city council by almost half, according to a report in the Toronto Star.

The Star cited Conservative sources who say legislation will be tabled as early as Monday to reduce the number of councillors from 47 to just 25.

The move would re-draw ward boundaries to match federal and provincial ridings.

The report comes on the eve of a deadline for candidates to register for the municipal election on Oct. 22.

Premier Doug Ford has scheduled a news conference for Friday morning, just hours before the 2 p.m. cutoff.

Mayor John Tory’s spokesman said Tory had spoken with Ford Thursday evening and would also be making a comment Friday morning.

“This is unprecedented, anti-democratic and reckless,” Coun. Josh Matlow said on Facebook. “Premier Ford would be cancelling local elections after they’ve already started, ignoring elected council decisions, candidates have already received donations & are knocking at doors. Chaos is never good for a healthy democracy.”

Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam said the move would only concentrate power further.

“Amalgamation in 1996 disenfranchised the legacy cities and residents by centralizing power,” she said on Twitter. “Any further erosion will destroy our democracy.”

However, some councillors expressed support for Ford.

The Star’s sources say the move could save as much as $25 million, though that number hasn’t been confirmed.

The overhaul goes against a review from 2016 that found increasing the number of wards to 47 from 44 is essential for effective representation.

Ford, meanwhile, is also reportedly planning to cancel regional chair elections in Peel and York.

Such a move would put a damper on the political redemption hopes of Patrick Brown, whom Ford replaced as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives.

Brown, who stepped down as Tory leader in January amid allegations of sexual misconduct that he denies, had thrown his hat into the ring to become the chair of Peel Region.

Ontario opposition leader Andrea Horwath called the move “chilling” and accused him of having “cooked up a backroom plot.”

“It appears that Doug Ford cooked up a backroom plot to use his new power to meddle in municipal elections. He didn’t campaign on it. He didn’t consult people on it,’ she said in a statement released Thursday night.

“It’s clear that Mr. Ford wants a smaller number of councillors to have more power, fewer checks and balances, and less accountability. This is obviously a move to make it easier for the premier to control Toronto City Hall.

“The actions we hear Mr. Ford plans to take not only mean less accountability and transparency at City Hall, but that each Torontonian will have less help and less access to their city councillor.

“And reports that Mr. Ford is cancelling elections in which his political enemies are running – elections for the chairs of the York and Peel regions – are deeply chilling. ”

Representatives for the Progressive Conservative government did not immediately respond to requests for comment late Thursday.

Ontario government now wants to privatize marijuana sales: report

News Staff | posted Friday, Jul 27th, 2018

The LCBO will reportedly no longer have a monopoly on the sale of recreational marijuana when it becomes legal this October.

According to a report by the Globe and Mail, the Ontario PC government will instead turn to private retailers with licenses granted by the LCBO.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney-General Caroline Mulroney are reportedly expected to make the announcement as early as next week.

This comes just three months before the first Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is scheduled to open.

Last September, the province announced it plans to open 150 standalone stores to sell legalized marijuana by 2020, with the first 40 slated to open this summer.

Job postings for the OCS have already been online for several months.

A number of illegal cannabis shops are already running in Toronto and, in many cases, have been the targets of multiple raids by police.

This weekend is all about fun in Toronto

PATRICIA D'CUNHA AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Friday, Jul 27th, 2018

Fun is what everyone in Toronto needs this weekend. There is so much going on that you won’t be bored for even one moment.

It is a given that there will be TTC and road closures, so plan ahead for those. But don’t let that stop you from heading out.


A run with a view
Lace up your sneakers for the Toronto Carnival Run along the Martin Goodman Trail on Saturday morning. The Caribbean-inspired event takes place one week ahead of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival, along the same route. It kicks off at 8 a.m. from Sir Casimir Gzowski Park. The race offers a one-kilometre kids’ run, five-kilometre run/walk, and a 10-kilometre run/walk. Awards will be handed out for the top finishers.

Best in Sri Lankan street food
Named after a popular Sri Lankan street food dish, Kothufestshowcases the country’s food, culture, and music — with a focus on the best Kothu Roti. The festival, which is on Saturday, is usually held in the city’s east end, it moves to Yonge-Dundas Square this year. Several vendors will be on hand offering the street food delight. Aside from the mouth-watering food, there will also be performances from local musicians.

Where the streets have names
Two street festivals will take over two different neighbourhoods this weekend, which means pedestrians can roam without having to worry about cars. On Saturday, a stretch of Ossington, between Dundas Street West and Queen Street West, will be shut down for all things “F” in OssFest — no bad words, just “fun, fashion, food, and fitness.” Then on Sunday, Kensington Market will the scene of its second Pedestrian Sundays event of the summer, and there will be dancing in the street. There will also be live music, street food, an art market,  and a pop-up #LoveTorontoandFriends market of “All-Toronto merchandise. Made by Torontonians, for Torontonians.”

What’s the deal with Seinfeld?
Seinfeld fans will have the chance to step back into the ’90s this weekend, as Lloyd’s on Queen transforms into a Seinfeld pop-up shop. The bar will be serving up foods and drinks inspired by the sitcom. Drinks will be flowing starting at 5 p.m. and food will be served at 6 p.m. until it’s sold out.

Aloha it up in the square
Don’t forget your lei and hula skirt for this weekend’s fourth annual AlohaFest. The event takes place at Mel Lastman Square from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. The “Hula School in the Sun” will share the hula spirit with thousands of people through cultural performances, kids’ crafts and a marketplace. Guests can also indulge in local favourites and unique Hawaiian treats. The event is the city’s original — and only — united celebration of Polynesian culture.

Who is up for Charade?
“Oh, I love you Adam, Alex, Peter, Brian, whatever your name is. Oh, I love you.” You can see the loving chemistry between Audrey Hepburn and Carey Grant in the 1963 romance-comedy-mystery classic Charade, which is set and filmed in Paris. Head on down to Sorauren Park on Saturday to watch the film as the sun sets at 9 p.m. Ahead of the movie, enjoy pizza freshly made in an outdoor oven, and later snuggle up with some popcorn.

A different kind of capades
The unofficial start to the CNE kicks off this Saturday at Horse Palace at Exhibition Place. HorseCapades is designed to introduce the young and young at heart to the magical world of horses. It features interactive and educational games and activities, including guessing a horse’s weight, learning about nutrition and grooming, mini tractor rides and pony rides. There will also be two ‘HorsePower Live!’ shows each day. The event runs until August 16, with some elements continuing during the CNE between August 17 and September 3.

Fusion of fun in Etobicoke
The 12th annual Fusion of Taste Festival is taking over the Albion Islington Square BIA this Sunday. The multicultural festival features a wide range of vendors, activities, entertainment and a kids’ show. The outdoor celebration gets underway at noon and runs until 9:30 p.m. Admission is free.

TTC service

Partial Line 1 closure
This weekend, transit crews will be upgrading the signal system on Line 1 between Finch West and Lawrence West stations, which means subway service will be off-limits along that stretch. Shuttle buses will run between those two stations.

Road closures

Beaches Jazz Festival: Queen Street East from Woodbine to Beech avenues will be closed each night from 6 p.m. to midnight from Thursday to Saturday.

OssFest: Ossington Avenue between Dundas and Queen streets will be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday.

Kensington Market Pedestrian Sundays: Parts of Kensington Avenue, Augusta Avenue, Baldwin Street and St. Andrew Street will be closed from noon to 10:30 p.m. on Sunday

Fusion of Taste: Islington Avenue between Albion Road and Wardlaw Crescent will be closed from 6 a.m. on Sunday to 1 a.m. on Monday

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