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Wilson-Raybould’s submission on SNC-Lavalin could be released Friday

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Mar 29th, 2019

The SNC-Lavalin affair will once again take centre stage on Parliament Hill, as new evidence into the scandal could be released as early as Friday.

Earlier this week, former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould filed a written submission with the Justice Committee that she said would contain text messages, email, as well as additional facts and evidence from her original testimony.

The documents had to be translated and redacted of personal information before being released, and that work could wrap up as early as this afternoon.

During her initial testimony, Wilson-Raybould accused the Prime Minister’s Office of improperly pressuring her over the SNC-Lavalin case. The Liberals have disputed her claims and used their majority to end the committee investigation, prompting this written submission.

It is not clear if there will be any further bombshell details in those yet-to-be-released documents.

The Justice Committee hearings into this controversy were shut down by the Liberal majority; however, the ethics commissioner is investigating.

Wilson-Raybould said the written submission would be “within the confines of the waiver of cabinet confidence and solicitor-client privilege” she was granted before testifying orally. That waiver covers up until Jan. 14, when she was shuffled out of her dual role as justice minister and attorney general.

Wintry weather expected for the GTA this weekend

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Mar 29th, 2019

It will feel like spring in the city on Friday — as it should — but wintry weather is expected for parts of the GTA this weekend.

According to 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor, rain will be in store for Toronto and most of the GTA on Saturday morning, but wet snow could hit the northern York and Durham regions.

For the areas getting rain, around 12 millimetres of precipitation is expected to fall. But for the northern GTA, that area could get around 3-8 centimetres of snow.

Although it will be dry on Sunday with sunshine, the cold front will linger with a windchill of -6.

On the bright side, enjoy the sunshine and high of 9 C on Friday.

Chicago seeking reimbursement from Jussie Smollett

Kyle Mack | posted Friday, Mar 29th, 2019

It was reported on Tuesday that prosecutors have dropped their charges against Empire actor Jussie Smollett.

Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, has said that he is seeking reimbursement from Smollett. A spokesperson for the city’s legal department has said that Chicago is seeking $130,000 to cover the cost of the investigation.

Smollett, who is black and gay said that two men attacked him in January while making homophobic and racist remarks. The men allegedly continued the harassment by putting a noose around Smollett’s neck. Investigators later charged Smollett with staging the confrontation and paying two men to pretend to attack him as a means to gain public sympathy.

Smollett has denied any involvement in the attack.

Worker rescued from Scarborough trench

Kyle Mack | posted Thursday, Mar 28th, 2019

Emergency crews rescued a worker from a 2.4-meter trench in Scarborough on Wednesday night.

Between Generation Boulevard and Rainbow Ridge Avenue, near Sheppard and Meadowvale, firefighters, police, and paramedics were called after a man working at the location became trapped.

It was a race with time as concrete and sand began filling up the trench.

Using special equipment, the worker was pulled from the trench at 8:30 PM.

The workers as taken to the hospital, but police have said that his injuries are not life-threatening.

17 Jackson works to be auctioned this spring as AGO aims to diversify collection

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Mar 28th, 2019

TORONTO — Art collectors will have a chance to bid on works by the Group of Seven’s A.Y. Jackson as the Art Gallery of Ontario culls its collection to make room for underrepresented artists.

The Heffel Fine Art Auction House estimates the selection of paintings and oil sketches will fetch a total of more than $660,000, with 17 canvases set to go up for sale this spring.

The profits from the deaccessioned works will go towards purchasing new acquisitions with the aim of diversifying its Indigenous and Canadian collection, an AGO spokeswoman said.

“One of the AGO’s key collecting priorities is to buy works by artists who have traditionally been underrepresented in art museums, allowing us to redress historical gaps and better reflect the people who live here,” Caitlin Coull said in an email.

Art collections are “dynamic” and need to be refined over time Julian Cox, AGO deputy director and chief curator, said in a statement.

The AGO boasts an extensive collection of works by the Group of Seven, and will continue to hold a robust representation of Jackson’s career as a landscape artist, Cox said. For every Jackson piece slated for sale, a comparable work will remain in the AGO’s holdings, according to the statement.

“We are most honoured to … assist with the thoughtful divestment of these very special Jackson paintings,” David Heffel, president of Heffel Fine Art Auction House, said in a statement.F

“This is a unique opportunity for passionate collectors to bring home a piece of Canadian history.”

The Jackson paintings will be offered in a series of auctions kicking off with Heffel’s online and live sales in May.

Among the highlights are “Laurentian Hills,” a winter scene valued between $250,000 and $350,000.

The works will be previewed prior to Heffel’s spring live auction on May 29.

The Canadian Press

Multiple homes evacuated after house fire in Mississauga

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 28th, 2019

Multiple homes were evacuated Wednesday night after fire broke out at a home near Derry Road and Professional Court in Mississauga.

Firefighters were called to the home around 9 p.m. Peel police say no one was injured in the fire.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze by 10:30 p.m.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Icelandic budget airline WOW Air ceases operations

Egill Bjarnason, The Associated Press | posted Thursday, Mar 28th, 2019

REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Icelandic budget airline WOW Air ceased operations on Thursday, stranding passengers across two continents.

In a statement on its website the airline, which had earlier suspended all its flights, told passengers there would be no further flights and advised them to check flights with other airlines for ways to reach their destinations.

The airline, founded by entrepreneur Skuli Mogensen, began operations in 2012 and specialized in ultra-cheap flights between North America and Europe, with flights to airports in cities including Washington, D.C, New York, Paris, London and its Reykjavik hub.

Its bankruptcy comes after six months of turbulent negotiations to sell the low-cost carrier, first to its main rival and flag-ship carrier Icelandair and later to Indigo Partners, an American company operating the airline Wizz.

“I will never forgive myself for not acting sooner,” Mogensen said in a letter to employees Thursday. “WOW was clearly an incredible airline and we were on the path to do amazing things again.”

Tourism is Iceland’s largest industry and WOW’s disappearance is set to have an effect on this summer’s high season.

In its early years the airline expanded fast to 37 destinations and reported up to 60 per cent annual growth in passenger numbers. Its revenue per passenger, however, has not kept up and fell by about 20 per cent in 2017, according to the last earnings report.

WOW grounded at least six planes in North America that were set to leave late Wednesday from Montreal, Toronto, Boston, Detroit, New York and Baltimore.

In Europe, Reykjavik-bound planes from seven cities — Amsterdam, Dublin, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt and Copenhagen — did not take off Thursday morning.

Blue Jays trade Kendrys Morales to Athletics for minor-leaguer

Shi Davidi, Sportsnet | posted Thursday, Mar 28th, 2019

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays eased some of their roster challenges and created a spot on the 40-man by trading DH Kendrys Morales and cash considerations to the Oakland Athletics for minor-league infielder Jesus Lopez and international bonus pool room.

The deal, on the eve of the 2019 season, is somewhat of a stunner given the game’s recent aversion to offence-only players. More impressive is that general manager Ross Atkins not only found a taker for the one-dimensional 35-year-old who posted a .760 OPS over his two seasons in Toronto and is widely respected as a top-flight teammate, but he also returned some assets.

That wouldn’t have been possible without the money to offset the $12 million Morales is due this season – more than $10 million, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Essentially, the Blue Jays bought Lopez, a 22-year-old from Nicaragua who posted a .695 OPS in 84 games at low-A Beloit last year, along with the pool room.

But in moving off Morales, they’ve found more at-bats to spread around their position player group while giving themselves a spot on the 40-man to add a non-roster reliever – Javy Guerra is the current favourite – for Thursday’s season-opener against Detroit.

They now have only 11 position players on the 25-man roster, but an industry source indicated outfielder Anthony Alford was on his way to join the club. That would allow the Blue Jays to give Teoscar Hernandez plenty of time at DH while fielding a strong defensive outfield with any combination of Kevin Pillar, Randal Grichuk, Billy McKinney and Alford.

The Blue Jays signed Morales to a $33-million, three-year contract as a free agent in November 2016, a divisive agreement that came a day or two after Edwin Encarnacion turned down a four-year contract that would have guaranteed him $80 million.

Morales never provided the type of offensive impact the team hoped for from him – totalling 0.9 WAR as calculated by Baseball Reference over his two seasons – but was deeply admired and beloved by his teammates. His influence on and care for the club’s young players, the Latinos especially, brought an unquantifiable value.

A sample of the feeling towards him:

The additional bonus pool room, on the heels of the $500,000 acquired from the Baltimore Orioles for Dwight Smith Jr., allows the Blue Jays to make some additional adds in Latin America to bolster their prospect pool.

Assistant GM Andrew Tinnish, who oversees the club’s international scouting, and vice-president, baseball operations Ben Cherington were recently in the Dominican Republic.

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