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German supporters celebrate on Front Street in Toronto following Germany's victory over Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday, July 13, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

Here’s a guide to World Cup pubs in the GTA

News Staff | posted Thursday, Jun 14th, 2018

Whether you’re a footie fan or not, it’s hard not to get swept up in World Cup fever.

There’s no better way to watch a match than cheering alongside die-hard supporters at a packed pub in Toronto — even if it’s at 9 o’clock in the morning (yes, the city has passed a motion allowing alcohol to be served at 9 a.m. from June 14 to July 15).

Here’s a map showing dozens of locations to enjoy the month-long tournament in the GTA.

Where do you watch the World Cup?

If you have any suggested hot spots, Tweet us or post a message on our Facebook page.

Canada wins vote to co-host 2026 FIFA World Cup with U.S. and Mexico

Sportsnet Staff | posted Wednesday, Jun 13th, 2018

Delegates of Canada, Mexico and the United States celebrate after winning a joint bid to host the 2026 World Cup at the FIFA congress in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. Standing on front row from left: Steve Reed, president of the Canadian Soccer Association, Carlos Cordeiro, U.S. soccer president and Decio de Maria, President of the Football Association of Mexico. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
The biggest and most popular sporting event on the planet is coming to Canada.

In a historic vote held in Moscow on Wednesday, the “United Bid” of Canada, Mexico and the United States beat out Morocco to win the right to co-host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, marking the first time that international soccer’s marquee event will touch down on Canadian soil.

The “United Bid” won the vote over Morocco during a special congressional meeting where every single member nation of FIFA, excluding the four potential host countries, cast a ballot.

Mexico previously hosted the World Cup in 1970 and 1986. The United States staged the tournament in 1994. Canada has never held the competition, but it did host the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Canada’s only appearance at the World Cup came in 1986 when it loss all three of its games and crashed out in the first round.

Historically, the host nation has always automatically qualified for the World Cup — it hasn’t been forced to play games in order to qualify for the tournament.

However, FIFA previously ruled that should the “United bid” beat out Morocco, the number of host countries to automatically qualify for the 2026 World Cup would be decided by another vote by the FIFA council sometime in the future.

The 2026 World Cup will expand to 48 teams from 32, and will feature a new format of 16 round-robin groups of three teams with the top two from each pool advancing to a 32-nation knockout round. The tournament will still take place over 32 days.

The “United Bid” calls for the U.S. to host 60 matches, including all games from the quarter-finals through to the final. Canada and Mexico would each host 10 games.

Three Canadian cities – Edmonton, Montreal, and Toronto – could potentially host matches. The “United Bid’s” organizing committee will now work in conjunction with FIFA to decide which cities will get games, although FIFA makes the final call.

The American candidate cities are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

The Mexican candidate cities are Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey.

In total, 23 cities are part of the “United Bid,” and 16 cities will be selected by FIFA to host games.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Thursday, with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar.

Canadian soccer official calls 2026 World Cup bid vote a ‘watershed moment’

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press | posted Wednesday, Jun 13th, 2018

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Canada, the U.S. and Mexico will make one last pitch Wednesday at the FIFA Congress in Moscow for their joint 2026 World Cup bid.

It is limited to 15 minutes, with bidding rival Morocco to follow at the Moscow Expocentre.

More than 200 FIFA member associations will then cast their ballot, deciding who gets to hold soccer’s biggest showcase.

“It’s a watershed moment for our country and for our sport,” said Peter Montopoli, general secretary of the Canadian Soccer Association and Canada’s bid director. “It’s not only about our sport and sports, it’s building a nation, it’s a nation-builder. And it gives us eight years to tell and deliver a great story for soccer, for youth, for grassroots, for men’s (soccer) alignment and for sports in general.

“It’s a game-changer.”

It would likely open the door to Canada finally returning to the men’s world stage — a widely expected scenario as co-host that has yet to be officially confirmed. But with the tournament expanding from 32 to 48 teams in 2026, tripling the hosts would not cause as many ripples.

Under the current blueprint, the U.S. would host the lion’s share of games with 60, compared to 10 each for Canada (with Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto serving as host cities) and Mexico.

But that could change after Wednesday’s vote when FIFA takes over the tournament planning. Canadian officials have already said that there is a movement to stage games in all three countries on the tournament’s opening day, should the so-called United bid carry the day.

Traditionally, the opening day has featured one game involving the tournament host. With three host countries, it would be natural to give all three host sides a Day 1 showcase.

The United bid made a presentation to UEFA officials on Tuesday, with CSA president Steve Reed handling the Canadian portion. They had done presentations for the five other confederations on Monday.

“We felt our message was very strong,” said Montopoli.

On paper, the two bids are worlds apart.

In rating the risk assessment of both bidders, with grades of low-, medium- and high-risk, FIFA’s own bid evaluation report gives Morocco three high-risk grades (stadiums, accommodation, and accommodation and transport), 10 medium and seven low.

The so-called United bid gets 17 low-risk assessments and three medium (organizing cost, legal-government support, and human rights and labour standards).

The evaluation report also offers a “technical scoring” of the two bids, with Morocco getting 274.9 out of 500, compared to the United bid’s 402.8 total.

Morocco plans to use 14 stadiums, nine of which have yet to be built with the other five due for renovation. The United bid plans to use 16 from a list of 23 — 17 of which are deemed just fine the way they are, with six needing renovation.

The United bid also has a massive edge when it comes to the all-mighty dollar — a key factor considering FIFA uses the world showcase to bankroll its operations. The North American bid projects US$14.3 billion in revenue compared to $7.2 billion for Morocco.

Hard numbers aside, it is a vote with Gibraltar having the same say as China.

And unlike past World Cup hosting decisions, it is being made by the 211 FIFA members associations (minus the bidding countries and any under suspension) as opposed to the FIFA executive committee.

President Donald Trump’s negative comments on African countries and his bid to tighten immigration restrictions on some nations have likely helped Morocco’s cause. However, the New York Times has reported that United bid officials have letters from the U.S. president saying all teams that qualify — and their fans — will be able to enter the country.

Montopoli, speaking for the Canadian portion of the bid, said only that they had the government guarantees they had required.

“Not to comment really on the U.S. side, but maybe they felt that they wished to go further in some additional letters which they had received from their president,” he added.

Montopoli says there could be as many as 1,000 people in the room when the two rival bids make their presentations. The FIFA member associations usually come with three delegates each and there will also be a good number of guests.

Taking no chances, Montopoli is pulling out his lucky charm.

“There’s a pair of socks that I like to wear for these type of situations,” he said in an interview.

The socks are red and Montopoli wore them when Canada won the right to host the 2015 Women’s World Cup as well as the 2012 and 2016 women’s Olympic bronze-medal matches.

Ontario’s tough distracted driving rules to take effect Jan. 1

News Staff | posted Wednesday, Jun 13th, 2018

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 The new laws for distracted driving in Ontario are set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2019, police sources have revealed to 680 NEWS.

The fines for distracted driving would increase from a maximum of $1,000 to up to $2,000 on a second conviction and up to $3,000 for third or subsequent incidents, as well as six demerit points for multiple offences.

Offenders would also see their licence suspended for three days on a first offence, seven days after two convictions, and 30 days for third and further convictions.

However, officers won’t be able to seize a driver’s licence at roadside. A judge would have to order it suspended only after the driver is found guilty.

The rules received royal assent earlier this year.

Speeding fines may double around Toronto schools

Betty Wondimu | posted Wednesday, Jun 13th, 2018

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Toronto is considering doubling speed fines around elementary schools in an effort to slow motorists down, and photo radar could be a part of the picture too.

The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee is considering a report Tuesday that would replace existing school zones with new community safety zones around more than 750 elementary schools.

Unlike school zones, community safety zones wouldn’t have a perimeter limit of 150 meters and drivers would have to pay attention to signage, flashing lights and zebra-style road markings to identify the zones.

If approved by council, speeding fines would increase and the city would be one step closer to using photo radar to catch drivers in these zones. For photo radar to become a reality, the province would have to enact regulations in the Safer School Zones Act first.

The report under review is a part of the city’s Vision Zero safety plan, which aims to bring the number of road deaths in Toronto to zero.

At least two young children have died so far this year while getting dropped off or picked up from Toronto schools.

Kim commits to ‘complete denuclearization’ during nuclear summit with Trump

ZEKE MILLER, CATHERINE LUCEY, JOSH LEDERMAN AND FOSTER KLUG, THE ASSOCITED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jun 12th, 2018

U. S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island Tuesday, June 12, 2018 in Singapore. (Kevin Lim/The Straits Times via AP)

President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un concluded an extraordinary nuclear summit Tuesday with the U.S. president pledging unspecified “security guarantees” to the North and Kim recommitting to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Meeting with staged ceremony on a Singapore island, Trump and Kim came together for a summit that seemed unthinkable months ago, clasping hands in front of a row of alternating U.S. and North Korean flags, holding a one-on-one meeting, additional talks with advisers and a working lunch.

Both leaders expressed optimism throughout roughly five hours of talks, with Trump thanking Kim afterward “for taking the first bold step toward a bright new future for his people.”

Trump added during a news conference that Kim has before him “an opportunity like no other” to bring his country back into the community of nations if he agrees to give up his nuclear program.

Trump announced that he will be freezing U.S. military “war games” with its ally South Korea while negotiations between the two countries continue. Trump cast the decision as a cost-saving measure, but North Korea has long objected to the drills as a security threat.

Trump acknowledged that the timetable for denuclearization is long, but said, “once you start the process it means it’s pretty much over.”

Trump sidestepped his public praise for an autocrat whose people have been oppressed for decades. He added Otto Warmbier, an American once detained in North Korea, “did not die in vain” because his death brought about the nuclear talks.

Trump said Kim accepted his invitation to visit the White House at the “appropriate” time.

Light on specifics, the document signed by the leaders largely amounted to an agreement to continue discussions as it echoed previous public statements and past commitments. It did not include an agreement to take steps toward ending the technical state of warfare between the U.S. and North Korea.

The pair promised in the document to “build a lasting and stable peace regime” on the Korean Peninsula and to repatriate remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action during the Korean War.

Language on North Korea’s bombs was similar to what the leaders of North and South Korea came up with at their own summit in April. At the time, the Koreans faced criticism for essentially kicking the issue of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal down the road to Tuesday’s Trump-Kim summit. Trump and Kim even directly referenced the so-called Panmunjom Declaration, which contained a weak commitment to denuclearization and no specifics on how to achieve it.

The formal document signing followed a series of meetings at a luxury Singapore resort.
After the signing, Trump said he expected to “meet many times” in the future with Kim and, in response to questions, said he “absolutely” would invite Kim to the White House. For his part, Kim hailed the “historic meeting” and said they “decided to leave the past behind.”

In a moment that would never happen in North Korea, reporters began yelling questions to Trump and Kim after they signed the document, including whether they had discussed the case of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who suffered brain damage while in North Korean custody and died in June 2017, days after he was returned home to Ohio.

In the run-up to the meeting, Trump had predicted the two men might strike a nuclear deal or forge a formal end to the Korean War in the course of a single meeting or over several days. But in the hours before the summit, the White House unexpectedly announced Trump would depart Singapore earlier than expected – Tuesday evening – raising questions about whether his aspirations for an ambitious outcome had been scaled back.

The meeting was the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

Aware that the eyes of the world were on a moment many people never expected to see, Kim said many of those watching would think it was a scene from a “science fiction movie.”

After meeting privately and with aides, Trump and Kim moved into the luncheon at a long flower-bedecked table. As they entered, Trump injected some levity to the day’s extraordinary events, saying: “Getting a good picture everybody? So we look nice and handsome and thin? Perfect.”

Then they dined on beef short rib confit along with sweet and sour crispy pork.

And as they emerged from the meal for a brief stroll together, Trump appeared to delight in showing his North Korean counterpart the interior of “The Beast,” the famed U.S. presidential limousine known for its high-tech fortifications.

Critics of the summit leapt at the leaders’ handshake and the moonlight stroll Kim took Monday night along the glittering Singapore waterfront, saying it was further evidence that Trump was helping legitimize Kim on the world stage. Kim has been accused of horrific rights abuses against his people.

“It’s a huge win for Kim Jong Un, who now – if nothing else – has the prestige and propaganda coup of meeting one on one with the president, while armed with a nuclear deterrent,” said Michael Kovrig, a northeast Asia specialist at the International Crisis Group in Washington.

Trump responded to such commentary on Twitter, saying: “The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S., say the haters & losers.” But he added “our hostages” are back home and testing, research and launches have stopped.

Giving voice to the anticipation felt around the world as the meeting opened, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday he “hardly slept” before the summit. Moon and other officials watched the live broadcast of the summit before a South Korean Cabinet meeting in his presidential office.

The summit capped a dizzying few days of foreign policy activity for Trump, who shocked U.S. allies over the weekend by using a meeting in Canada of the Group of Seven industrialized economies to alienate America’s closest friends in the West. Lashing out over trade practices, Trump lobbed insults at his G-7 host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Trump left that summit early and, as he flew to Singapore, tweeted that he was yanking the U.S. out of the group’s traditional closing statement.

The optimistic summit was a remarkable change in dynamics from less than a year ago, when Trump was threatening “fire and fury” against Kim, who in turn scorned the American president as a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” Beyond the impact on both leaders’ political fortunes, the summit could shape the fate of countless people – the citizens of impoverished North Korea, the tens of millions living in the shadow of the North’s nuclear threat, and millions more worldwide.

Alluding to the North’s concerns that giving up its nuclear weapons could surrender its primary deterrent to forced regime change, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the U.S. was prepared to take action to provide North Korea with “sufficient certainty” that denuclearization “is not something that ends badly for them.”

He would not say whether that included the possibility of withdrawing U.S. troops from the Korean Peninsula, but said the U.S. was “prepared to take what will be security assurances that are different, unique, than America’s been willing to provide previously.”

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump’s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes – and said they would even increase if diplomatic discussions did not progress positively.

De Niro in Toronto talking Trump tirade as trade war looms

ADRIAN GHOBRIAL, JESSICA BRUNO AND DILSHAD BURMAN | posted Tuesday, Jun 12th, 2018

Actor Robert De Niro arrives at a press event in Toronto to publicize Nobu Toronto, which is marketed as the first intergrated Nobu Residences, Nobu Hotel and Nobu Restaurant, on Tuesday, May 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

After cursing out U.S. President Donald Trump during an awards show appearance over the weekend, actor Robert De Niro took the opportunity to take another jab at the president for his stance on Canada-U.S trade while in Toronto for a restaurant unveiling on Monday.

“I just want to make a note of apology for the idiotic behaviour of my president,” said De Niro, followed by applause from the crowd. “It’s a disgrace and I apologize to Justin Trudeau and to the other people at the G7”

 

De Niro’s apology was in response to President Trump’s Twitter tirade that took aim at Canadian industry, trade and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the G7 summit. It comes on the heels of De Niro’s Tony Awards speech, which made international headlines on Sunday night.

“I’m going to say one thing — F*** Trump,” De Niro said on the Tony’s stage, to thunderous applause and a standing ovation from the audience. “It’s no longer ‘down with Trump’, its ‘f*** Trump.”

Following his remarks, some CityNews viewers said on Twitter that the actor deserves a key to the city and even Canada. De Niro said he’d be happy to accept.

“That’d be nice, I’ll take it,” he told CityNews reporter Adrian Ghobrial. “The sooner he’s out of office the better for all of us. (Trump is) an idiot, he’s just done something unspeakable…it’s terrible”

De Niro’s remarks come following a tumultuous weekend for U. S. — Canada relations when Trump and Trudeau joined other G-7 leaders in Quebec.

In a press conference, Trudeau called U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs unjust and promised retaliatory tariffs. He said the U.S. had moved forward with the tariffs on the basis of “national security”, a position Trudeau called “kind of insulting.”

After Trudeau’s statements, Trump fired back in tweets, calling the Canadian Prime Minister “meek and mild” as well as “very dishonest and weak.”

De Niro is one of many who have thrown their support behind Trudeau, including G7 allies German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. At home, support has crossed the political spectrum. Ontario premier-designate Doug Ford, who is known to have praised Trump in the past, says he’s standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Trudeau on trade.

Political tension of this scale between Canada and the U.S. has not been seen since perhaps as far back as the 1960s, with the contentious relationship between Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and President John. F. Kennedy.

Former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. Allan Gotleib says the “special relationship” Canada shared with the U.S. is no more, painting a bleak picture of the trade tiff the two nations are currently embroiled in.

“The advice I would give now to anybody who is in a position of decision-making is to keep cool and don’t react in anger, although it’s understandable,” says Gotleib, who worked with former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.

“Keep cool because what we can see from the President is very unpredictable. The Trump of today is not necessarily the Trump of yesterday, or the trump of tomorrow.”

In the current climate, Gotleib also stresses the importance of the diversification of Canada’s trade relations.

“It’s taken us about 50 years to realize how important diversification is and every political leader in Canada since that time has talked about the need for diversification,” he says.

But he says all that talk has not necessarily resulted in major policy changes, adding that while Canada now conducts trade with China, Mexico and other world powers, on the whole the country has not diversified as much as it needs to.

Got-Leib adds that 80 percent of all of Canada’s exports go to the United states. And they’re our top import partner too, so with Canada planning to impose tariffs of its own, the consequences will be felt in your wallet. Douglas Goold with the Toronto Region Board of Trade says price increases could go beyond the price of vehicles, to the cost of dairy and fresh produce at the grocery store. He adds that if this dispute drags on, negative consequences are inevitable.

“(The board)  is very concerned about the latest Trump comments, which I think are relatively unprecedented in diplomatic terms, and not helpful to the process,” says Douglas Goold, VP Policy, Toronto Region Board of Trade.

Goold says the board is “broadly supportive” of the NAFTA negotiations that are currently underway and wants to see them come to fruition.

“We want to see at all costs, the avoidance of a trade war, and I think the worry is it’s going to get worse not better,” he says.

“We’re really worried about the uncertainty that these trade disputes are leading to and investors, above all, like certainty. And I think the longer this goes on, the more the problem will persist.”

Goold adds that if the trade relations remain unstable, it’s possible fewer tourists will visit from south of the border, which in turn could impact Toronto’s tourism industry.

Mother facing charges after letting 3-year-old steer on the highway

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Jun 12th, 2018

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Durham police say a mother from Beaverton is facing multiple charges after letting her three-year-old daughter drive on the highway.

On May 31, several videos surfaced on social media of a woman driving on different occasions on a highway at a high rate of speed with her daughter on her lap, steering the vehicle.

Police say the suspect also filmed the incident on her cellphone and neither of them were wearing seatbelts.

They were able to identify the suspect and have arrested her. The Children’s Aid Society has also been notified.

The 33-year-old woman is facing multiple charges including parent not providing the necessities of life and careless driving.

Her name is being withheld to protect the identity of the child.

Anyone with information related to the investigation is asked to contact police.

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