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Celebrating Lunar New Year with Breakfast Television!

Kyle Mack | posted Thursday, Jan 23rd, 2020

Celebrating Lunar New Year with Breakfast Television!

Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year is celebrated by more than 20% of the world! In China, you’ll hear it being called chunjie (春节), or the Spring Festival. Chinese New Year is an opportunity to celebrate spring and mark the end of the coldest days.

The celebration begins on the first full moon of the Lunar calendar and ends 15 days later. The origins of the holiday are thousands of years old and have hundreds of legends relating to the celebration and festivities. According to the 2020 Chinese horoscope, the Lunar New Year starts on Saturday, January 25th and ends on February 11th, 2021.

2020 marks the year of The Rat! The Rat is the first sign from the 12 animals cycle of the Chinese Astrology, and for this reason, 2020 is considered a year of new beginnings and renewals. The Metal Rat Year is going to be a strong, prosperous, and lucky year for almost all Chinese zodiac signs. The Year of the Boar (2019) was thus fundamentally about completion, self-care and balance, while the Year of the Rat (2020) is expected to be more about progression and starting a new project with great energy, astrologers say.

Those who fall under the year of the rat are born in the below years:

1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020, 2032.

What characteristics make up a rat?

Rats are clever, quick thinkers, successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life! Rats are considered hardworking, resourceful and incredibly thrifty.

CELEBRITIES WHO ARE ALSO RATS

  • PRINCE HARRY
  • RON MCLEAN
  • SCARLETT JOHANSSON
  • EMINEM
  • DWAYNE “THE ROCK” JOHNSON

Want to celebrate Lunar New Year? Celebrations can be found in several places in the GTA!

 

 

 

Teachers’ Strikes in Toronto and Across Ontario

Romas Zabas | posted Monday, Jan 20th, 2020

It’s going to be a tumultuous week for students, parents, teachers and the provincial government because of the ongoing labour dispute with Ontario teachers’ unions. Today the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is holding a one-day strike at three boards: Toronto District School Board, York Region District School Board, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. The major issues for ETFO are more supports for students with special needs, addressing violence in schools, preserving full-day kindergarten and compensation.

ETFO will also hold a second one-day strike Tuesday at four school boards and it will not be the only teachers’ union on strike that day. The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation is holding its sixth one-day escalating strike and the Toronto District School Board is among the thirteen boards that will be targeted.  The OSSTF says their key issues are class sizes, e-learning and compensation.   The union says this will be their last strike action during the exam period but they have not ruled out a full strike in the future to press the Ford government.  The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association will also be on strike Tuesday at all of its elementary and secondary schools across the province.

The only one of the four teachers’ unions in the province that will not be on strike on Tuesday represents French teachers. The Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO) began an administrative work-to-rule campaign last Thursday but have not announced any walkouts that would close schools. AEFO is also the only union that has contract talks scheduled with the government.

ETFO will also hold rotating one-day strikes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at various school boards across the province to put more pressure on the government.

The Progressive Conservative government continues to ask the unions to return to the bargaining table. Last Thursday Premier Doug Ford said the protracted labour dispute is primarily about wages and the province would not go beyond the 1% wage increase that has been legislated for the public sector in Bill 124.  All four unions have launched a charter challenge to that bill arguing that it violates their right to free collective bargaining.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce also announced last week compensation for parents:  Families with children attending a child care centre at a closed school are eligible for $60 compensation, for children in kindergarten $40,  children in grades 1-7 $25, and children with special needs in kindergarten to grade 12 $40. The government estimates the program would cost as much as $48 million dollars a day if there was a full labour disruption.

The teachers’ unions have been without contracts since August 31.

 

 

Edibles, extracts, and topicals released for retail sale

Kyle Mack | posted Monday, Jan 6th, 2020

The latest in cannabis products will be available for legal sale in Ontario.

The Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) is releasing 59 new products including edibles, beverages, lotions, and concentrates in stores today but online Jan 16.

Prices of edibles range from $7.50 to $16 per item while beverages can cost between $4 to $10 and vapes falling between $25 – $125. Daniel Safayeni, Director of Policy at The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has previously released a statement on the THC limit per edible stating,

“The OCC supports a THC limit of 10-milligrams per discrete unit of edibles, as well as the sale of multi-packs or multiple products—up to a maximum of 100-milligrams of THC per package—within child-proof packaging. As we outline in the report, single-packs are costly, while multi-packs would allow licensed producers to create economies of scale. The proposed regulations, however, limit the amount of THC per package to only 10 milligrams, which is significantly lower than illegal alternatives and lower in other U.S. jurisdictions where recreational cannabis is legal”.

The THC cap may act as a barrier to shifting cannabis shoppers from making illicit purchases, where higher THC contents can be found.

For more information on edibles, visit the Ontario Cannabis Store.

Iran Promises Retaliation After U.S. Kills General

Kyle Mack | posted Friday, Jan 3rd, 2020

Following the airstrike that killed the Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the U.S. Embassy issued a statement saying that due to heightened tensions in the region, American citizens should depart Iraq immediately.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has stated that Iran and other freedom-seeking countries in the region will take revenge.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates released the below statement:

“Due to heightened tensions in Iraq and the region, the U.S. Embassy urges American citizens to heed the January 2020 Travel Advisory and depart Iraq immediately.  U.S. citizens should depart via airline while possible, and failing that, to other countries via land.  Due to Iranian-backed militia attacks at the U.S. Embassy compound, all public consular operations are suspended until further notice.  U.S. citizens should not approach the Embassy.  The U.S. Consulate General in Erbil is open for visa and American Citizen Services appointments, including passport issuance.  U.S. citizens in Iraq or those concerned about family in Iraq should contact the Department of State at +1-202-501-4444 or toll-free in the U.S. at 1-888-407-4747.

Actions to Take:

· Do not travel to Iraq

· Avoid the U.S. Embassy

· Monitor local and international media for updates”

Major General Qassim Suleimani, who led the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was killed by an American drone strike in Baghdad.

The Pentagon confirmed in a statement that Trump had ordered the strike, saying Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more.”

In addition to a call for retaliation, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued three days of national mourning.

This airstrike could lead to a ripple effect in any number of countries across the Middle East where Iran and the United States compete for influence.

Large crowds gathered for Friday prayer in Iran with mass protests while officials met privately to plot strategy and how to avenge General Suleimani’s death. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wrote on Twitter:

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif also released a statement calling the strike an “act of International terrorism”:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told his foreign counterparts that the United States was committed to de-escalation. Pompeo has posted several statements and a video on Twitter showcasing Iraqui’s ‘dancing in the street’ at the news of General Suleimani’s killing.

 

This act of aggression has generated different reactions across party lines – With Republicans praising Trump while Democrats expressed concerns about the legality and consequence of the attack.

Trial of Harvey Weinstein begins Monday

Kyle Mack | posted Friday, Jan 3rd, 2020

Harvey Weinstein, former renowned producer and once one of Hollywood’s most influential figures, is scheduled in court this coming Monday.

Faced with rape and sexual assault charges, a guilty verdict could lead to life imprisonment.

In October, Weinstein lost a bid to move the trial to suburban Long Island or to Albany, New York State’s capital after alleging that the intense media scrutiny made it impossible for jurors to give him a fair trial in Manhattan.

Jury selection begins on Tuesday in the New York State Supreme Court. Finding impartial jurors in a highly publicized case can be a challenge. Lawyers can excuse an unlimited number of potential jurors if they show bias for or against Weinstein. By using ‘“peremptory” challenges, potential jurors can be eliminated if they are believed to be unsympathetic without providing a reason. Canadian Criminal lawyer Kim Schofield stated Breakfast Television this morning that “It’s not about whether they’ve ever heard of Harvey Weinstein, its whether their views can affect their ability to judge this trial without bias, prejudice, and impartiality”.

The trial is expected to last about six to eight weeks and comes more than two years after a New York Times expose about the decades worth of sexual misconduct allegations.

Weinstein has previously pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges, one from 2006 and another in 2013. With more than 80 women (Including Hollywood superstars, Gwenyth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Lupita Nyong’o) have made allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Despite all allegations, Weinstein continues to deny having non-consensual sex with anyone.

As we shift into the next decade, this monumental trial marks a pivotal point in the #MeToo movement and can greatly affect how sexual misconduct trials are carried out in the future.

Liberals face challenge to climate, economic policies early in 2020

Mia Robinson, Canadian Press | posted Friday, Dec 27th, 2019

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads into 2020 promising to chart a path to Canada’s most ambitious greenhouse-gas emissions target yet: getting to a point within 30 years where Canada is adding no emissions that will stay in the atmosphere.

But one of the first things his government has to decide in the new year is whether to give cabinet approval to a major new oilsands project that environment advocates say is absolutely incompatible with reaching the “net-zero” target.

Environment groups say the decision will send a signal about how serious Trudeau is about ramping up Canada’s plans to cut emissions and do its part to slow global warming.

If his government rejects the project, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has warned, that will send a signal that Canada’s oil-and-gas sector has no future.

Rock, meet political hard place.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Trudeau said he has “been unabashed that we have to get ahead of the fight against climate change and be really thoughtful about how we are moving forward.”

Moments earlier, in the same interview, he acknowledged he is not ruling out approving the Teck Frontier mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta.

“We have a process that is ongoing and I am not going to speculate on those outcomes,” he said.

A joint federal-provincial review panel gave conditional approval to the $20.6-billion Frontier mine in July, finding it was in the national interest. It’s expected to create $12 billion in tax revenues for Ottawa and $55 billion in tax and royalty revenues for Alberta over its 41-year life. About 7,000 jobs will be created in building the mine and 2,500 workers will be needed to operate it.

The panel also found the mine would cause “significant adverse environmental effects” to local wetlands and old-growth forests, and have some irreversible impacts on biodiversity.

It will, the panel noted, be a significant producer of greenhouse gases and likely make it harder for Canada to meet both its 2030 targets under the Paris climate-change agreement and its loftier 2050 goals. That fact was irrelevant to the panel’s decision because the review was done under now-obsolete rules, under which climate change was not within the purview of the review panel.

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said during a visit to Calgary the week before Christmas that the Frontier mine’s approval will be contingent on determining how it fits into the “net zero by 2050” goal. Net zero, a phrase Canadians will be hearing a lot in 2020, means that whatever carbon dioxide or related substances are sent into the atmosphere can be absorbed by natural “sinks” like forests and wetlands, or engineered ones that capture carbon either to be used another way or stored.

The Frontier mine would be expected to produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day, and produce about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year, for more than 40 years. Every time Canada adds more emissions to the mix, it pushes the goals further and further out of reach.

Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada, said the mine review is “the first test” of the Liberals’ insistence that climate is at the heart of their policy-making.

“If they are serious about net-zero by 2050 they cannot in good faith approve the largest oilsands mine proposed in Canadian history, that is scheduled to operate until 2067,” Abreu said. “A project of that scale, of emissions of that concentration, just blows all of those targets and all of those good intentions out of the water.”

Wilkinson said there is no question, based on the results of the federal election in October, that Canadians want more ambitious action to slow climate change.

But he said it is also clear “the vast majority of Canadians also are pragmatic” and want climate action to come with a prosperous economy. For him, clean technology is the way out of the quagmire.

“In the short term it is about (getting) resources to market,” he said. “In the long term it will evolve towards clean technology, technology that will enable us to reduce the footprint we have and do so in a manner that will create economic opportunity.”

Wilkinson’s 2020 to-do list, he said, starts with figuring out how to close the 77-million-tonne gap between the policies Canada has in place and the existing 2030 climate target to reduce emissions to 30 per cent below where they were in 2005.

That figure, updated just a week ago, comes from projections of Canada’s emissions based on existing policies and those that are fairly firmly set to be implemented in the coming years, such as standards to make gasoline burn with fewer emissions and to curb methane released from oil and gas production, and plans to plant two billion new trees.

At the end of 2018, Ottawa expected to be 79 million tonnes shy of the 2030 goal.

When new policies like the carbon tax offset by increases in emissions from the oil and gas sector, and revisions to how much carbon dioxide trees are expected to absorb, the progress towards Canada’s 2030 goal in the last year was just two million tonnes.

The Paris target requires Canada to cut greenhouse gases produced from 730 million tonnes in 2005 to 511 million tonnes in 2030. The combination of existing and planned policies is projected to get Canada to 588 million tonnes by 2030.

But the government is now not just promising to hit the Paris targets. Trudeau promised during the election to exceed them, and get to net zero by 2050. Canada is also supposed to take a more ambitious plan to cut emissions to the next United Nations climate meeting, planned for Scotland in November.

Wilkinson warns that despite the pressure to act quickly, the needed changes are not going to get done overnight.

“What we’re talking about is changing the way we transport goods and people,” he said. “We’re talking about (changing) the way we generate energy, how we deal with waste, how we actually build our buildings, how we retrofit existing buildings. All of those are doable but people have to be realistic about how long that takes.”

Canadians can expect legislation in 2020 to set five-year goals on the way to both 2030 and 2050 emissions targets. Tim Gray, the executive director of Environmental Defence, said the details of that legislation are critical, including how it will be enforced. He is hopeful that the government will create an independent agency to file progress reports.

Abreu said she wants some very specific goals within those five-year increments, such as how many people will be using public transit by a certain year.

Canada has already set a goal for 10 per cent of all vehicle purchased to be electric by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030. Between two and three per cent of new vehicles are electric now.

Besides the Teck mine decision, Ottawa has another call to make early in the new year — whether to allow British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta to use their own proposed regulations to cut methane emissions, or be forced to use Ottawa’s version.

Alberta’s Premier Kenney put approving his province’s methane regulations on his list of demands from Trudeau when he visited Ottawa earlier in December. The first stage of the new federal regulations go into effect Jan. 1. Ottawa is allowing Alberta to use its own for now but is still negotiating a final agreement because federal officials don’t think Alberta’s version will reduce as much methane as Ottawa’s would. Alberta officials disagree.

Albertans are already set to start paying the federal carbon tax on Jan. 1, although Ottawa did recently give Alberta the green light to use its own pricing system for pollution coming from big industry like oilsands, power plants and mines.

Also coming up in 2020 is a review of carbon taxes for their impact on competitiveness, which could shine some light on whether the federal carbon tax is harming the economy.

The national carbon price on fuel purchases will rise to $30 a tonne on April 1, adding about another 2.5 cents to the cost of a litre of gas.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 27, 2019.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Suspected impaired driver crashes car into TTC bus shelter

kyle.mack | posted Friday, Dec 27th, 2019

A man is in custody for impaired driving after allegedly crashing his car into a TTC bus shelter in Scarborough early Friday morning.

The crash happened around 1 a.m. in the area of Sheppard and Progress avenues.

Toronto police said the vehicle veered into bushes before hitting the shelter.

There were people inside the shelter at the time but nobody was injured.

Man seriously injured in Etobicoke shooting

kyle.mack | posted Friday, Dec 27th, 2019

A man is in hospital with what police describe as “very serious” injuries after an early-morning shooting in Etobicoke.

Toronto police were called to a condo complex in the area of Eva Road and The West Mall just after 1 a.m. on Friday for reports of machine gun fire.

When they arrived at the scene, the man was found suffering from gunshot wounds. He was rushed to hospital.

Police have yet to release suspect information but say there are reports that a white car was chasing a black car in the area.