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Police say 14-year-old abducted teen found ‘safe’

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Mar 6th, 2020

Toronto police say a 14-year-old boy who was the subject of an Amber Alert has been found safe after he was allegedly abducted on his way to school.

No details have been released except that police say the teen was taken to hospital for a medical checkup.

Investigators are expected to provide more information about the case at a news conference Friday morning at police headquarters.

The news comes hours after police revealed the boy’s abduction was retribution for an unpaid drug debt owed by his stepbrother.

Supt. Steven Watts said the deal in question dates back to the summer of 2019 and involves 100 kg of cocaine with an approximate value of $4-million.

“You need to release (him),” said Watts in a direct appeal to the kidnappers. “This is a 14-year-old, innocent child. He is not a part of that business, he is not a part of that lifestyle.”

Police said the boy was last seen in the area of Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue at around 8:25 a.m. Wednesday morning while walking to school. It was then that police say “two to three males” forced the boy into a black Jeep Wrangler.

The suspects are described as men between 18 and 22 years old, who were wearing bandanas and black jackets.

Watts says the burned-out vehicle has since been found near the town of Caledon, northwest of the city.

The Toronto District School Board says four staff members at Newtonbrook Secondary School have been placed on home assignment while the board investigates why the parents of the abducted teen were not notified about his absence from school until after 6:09 p.m. on Wednesday.

TDSB spokesperson Ryan Bird says attendance reporting is done each period with automated absence calls going out twice a day.

Both the union representing high school teachers and the TDSB tell CityNews the current work to rule campaign had no impact on the attendance report not being filed on time.

Dogs, cats can’t pass on coronavirus, but can test positive

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Mar 5th, 2020

Pet cats and dogs cannot pass the new coronavirus on to humans, but they can test positive for low levels of the pathogen if they catch it from their owners.

That’s the conclusion of Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department after a dog in quarantine tested weak positive for the virus Feb. 27, Feb. 28 and March 2, using the canine’s nasal and oral cavity samples.

A unidentified spokesman for the department was quoted in a news release as saying, “There is currently no evidence that pet animals can be a source of infection of COVID-19 or that they become sick.”

Scientists suspect the virus known as SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease originated in bats before passing it on to another species, possibly a small wild mammal, that passed it on to humans. However, experts from the School of Public Health of The University of Hong Kong, the College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences of the City University of Hong Kong and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) have unanimously agreed that the dog has a low-level of infection and it is “likely to be a case of human-to-animal transmission.”

The dog, and another also in quarantine which has tested negative for the virus, will be tested again before being released. The department suggested any pets, including dogs and cats, from households where someone has tested positive for the virus should be put into quarantine.

In general, pet owners should maintain good hygiene, including washing hands before and after handling animals, their food and supplies and no kissing them. People who are sick should avoid contact with pets and a veterinarian’s advice should be sought if changes in a pet’s health conditions are detected.

“Apart from maintaining good hygiene practices, pet owners need not be overly concerned and under no circumstances should they abandon their pets,” the spokesman said.

Woman with presumed case of COVID-19 in critical condition in B.C.

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Mar 5th, 2020

A woman in her 80s with a presumptive case of the novel coronavirus is in critical condition at a Vancouver hospital.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, says the woman developed symptoms a couple of days after returning from Hong Kong and India about one week ago.

She said the woman, who also has other health issues, started feeling tired after her arrival in B.C. She called her family physician and shortly afterwards was transported by ambulance to the Vancouver General Hospital’s emergency department.

“Unfortunately she has had quite a severe illness, and she is currently in critical condition in isolation in the ICU,” she explained. “The hospital, of course, has been preparing for this and has taken all precautions to ensure that everybody in the hospital — the health care workers, the visitors, the other patients — are safe and being protecting and providing her the care that she needs at this critically time.”

Henry says the woman didn’t have any symptoms while travelling and it’s not clear where she was exposed to the virus.

“We’re looking at the time period that she and others were on a tour group in India,” she said, adding some of the other people in the group are in other parts of Canada and Hong Kong. Considering the timing of the woman’s virus, Henry says it is more likely to be linked to Hong Kong.

It is the 13th case of COVID-19 in British Columbia, bringing Canada’s total number of infections to 34.

Among the 12 other people in British Columbia who have tested positive for the virus, Henry says four have fully recovered and three no longer have symptoms but remain in isolation.

The remainder are considered to be in stable condition and are also in isolation at home.

“The risk is changing day by day globally and we are continuing to monitor carefully,” Henry told a news conference at the legislature.

“Within British Columbia the risk still remains very low.”

Files from NEWS 1130 were used in this report

Teachers’ unions move ahead with job action despite new government offer

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Mar 5th, 2020

TORONTO — Two of Ontario’s major teachers’ unions will go ahead with provincewide strikes today despite government movement during contentious contract talks.

Teachers in the province’s French and English Catholic school systems say they’re going ahead with plans to walk off the job in all schools.

Meanwhile some public high school teachers will also hold a walkout at nine school boards as part of their union’s ongoing series of rotating, one-day strikes.

The job action comes after the government capitulated on its earlier demands to increase class sizes and requirements for mandatory e-learning.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce has said the change should prompt all four major teachers’ unions to return to the bargaining table.

Union members from the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association are planning a demonstration at the provincial legislature, which is set to get underway this morning.

Amber Alert issued for 14-year-old boy

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 5th, 2020

An Amber Alert has been issued for 14-year-old Shammah Jolayemi.

Toronto police said around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday they received a call from a father concerned that his child was missing and he believed the boy had been abducted.

Police say the boy was last seen in the area of Jane Street and Driftwood Avenue at around 8:25 a.m.

It’s believed he was walking to school when a vehicle stopped and two men got out, forcing the boy inside the vehicle.

“We found witnesses who saw this and heard the child screaming ‘help me! Help me!’” Insp. Jim Gotell explained.

Jolayemi is described as five-foot-11 to six-feet with a slim build and short dark brown hair. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody and grey track pants with a thin orange stripe, a shinny black coat and black and yellow Air Jordans.

Police say a vehicle of interest was spotted when the boy was last seen. It is described as a black Jeep Wrangler with oversized front tires and a front brush bar with round fog lights.

Police are looking for two suspects, both wearing black jackets and bandanas on head, ages 18 to 22. They’re asking the two suspects to release the boy immediately to a safe location so he can be reunited with his family.

Police say they would also like to speak with Jolayemi’s stepbrother, Olalekan Osikoya. Osikoya is not a suspect but police believe he may have information pertinent to the investigation.

“Police are extremely concerned for his safety and urge anyone who recognizes him, or has any information about his whereabouts, to contact officers,” investigators said in a release late Wednesday night without elaborating on why it took so long to release the news about the missing teen.

Ontario teachers plan second mass protest at legislature on Thursday

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 4th, 2020

Ontario teachers and education workers are planning a second mass demonstration at the legislature this week.

Strikes by English Catholic teachers and Toronto high school teachers are happening on Thursday, and members of those unions plan to congregate at the legislature.

The teachers have told legislative security they are expecting about 15,000 people — which would be about half the expected crowd at a legislature protest last month, when elementary teachers were also involved.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario is not engaging in any strikes this week, but the union has said if contract deals aren’t reached by Friday, they will begin a new phase of strikes effective Monday.

The Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation has not bargained with the government since Dec. 16. They were involved in informal, exploratory talks between Sunday and Tuesday, but announced they had ended on Tuesday night and no future bargaining dates had been scheduled.

Issues in this contentious round of education bargaining include increased class sizes, mandatory e-learning, seniority-based hiring rules and compensation.

Arson suspected in fire at Scarborough collision reporting centre

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Mar 4th, 2020

Police are investigating a possible case of arson after a fire broke out at a collision reporting centre in Scarborough overnight.

Emergency crews were called to the scene in the Lawrence Avenue East and Howden Road area, just west of Birchmount Road, around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Police said it appears someone smashed open the two glass front doors, dumped gasoline on the carpet inside the building and lit it on fire.

The suspects then fled the area.

Officials said the fire was knocked down quickly and the building was ventilated to get all the smoke out.

No suspect description has been released.

Bank of Canada expected to cut interest rate amid coronavirus concerns

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 4th, 2020

The Bank of Canada will announce Wednesday morning its trend-setting interest rate amid economic concerns stemming from the novel coronavirus outbreak.

In January, governor Stephen Poloz opened the door to a possible interest rate cut if weakness in the economy was more persistent than expected.

But that was before COVID-19, as the virus is named, spread to more countries outside of China, disrupting global supply chains and shaving forecasts for economic growth in Canada and elsewhere.

Economists are widely forecasting the bank will cut its rate today following an unexpected 0.5 percentage point cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday to its rate as an emergency economic measure.

The central bank is expected to cut its rate by one-quarter of a point and leave open the possibility of mirroring the American cut of half a percentage point.

Markets had already baked in at least one rate cut this year, but now forecasts peg today’s decision as the first of what could be multiple reductions to the central bank’s key interest rate target, which stands at 1.75 per cent.

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