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Yonge-University line closed this weekend between St. George and Lawrence West

Patricia D'Cunha | posted Friday, Mar 18th, 2016

Subways won’t be running on Line 1 (Yonge-University) from St. George to Lawrence West stations on Saturday and Sunday due to track work and signal upgrades.

Shuttle buses will stop at all stations except Eglinton West, Glencairn and St. Clair West stations for Metrolinx and TTC work.

Due to the Metrolinx work, the shuttle bus will stop at Eglinton Avenue West and Bathurst Street. Also, the 63/363 Ossington and 109 Ranee buses will also divert in the area. At Glencairn Station, TTC crews will prepare for the upcoming installation of new fare lines.

St. Clair West Station will remain open but shuttle buses will stop at Bathurst Street and St. Clair Avenue West.

A TTC report proposing numbered subway lines was presented at a board meeting on Oct. 23, 2013. TTC

The TTC is also planning partial subway shutdowns on Line 1 and Line 2 (Bloor-Danforth) next month. Click here for a full list of scheduled subway closures.

Temporary service change on 501
The 501/301 Queen streetcar will not be running west of the Sunnyside Loop until 5 a.m. on Monday. TTC crews will be upgrading the overhead wire system at Humber Loop and replace a sub-station transformer on Lake Shore Boulevard West.

Click here for shuttle bus details.

Minimum wage increasing to $11.40

CityNews | posted Friday, Mar 18th, 2016

The general minimum wage in Ontario is being raised by 15 cents on October 1.

Currently, minimum wage is $11.25 and will jump up to $11.40 keeping Ontario’s wage the highest of any province in Canada.

“It’s important for people to know that there is a consistent, transparent and fair approach to setting the province’s minimum wage that ensures workers receive annual increases that keep up with inflation,” said Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour in a press release.

Liquor servers, students under the age of 18, hunting and fishing guides and homeworkers minimum wage will also increase at the same time.

The wage for liquor servers will rise by 10 cents to $9.90 and student under 18 that are working less than 28 hours a week will make $10.70 an hour, up from $10.55.

The last pay increase was from $11 per hour to $11.25.

This increase is the tenth minimum wage increase since 2003.

Spike Lee calls Donald Trump’s beliefs “un-American”

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Mar 18th, 2016

Spike Lee calls Donald Trump’s beliefs “un-American”

Renowned director, Spike Lee, calls on Americans to register to vote and believes it will be a step backward if Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. “I don’t know how we say we’re going forward, in my opinion, if Donald Trump is going to be the nominee for The Republican Party, I don’t think that’s going forward.” Lee said.

Lee, a supporter of Bernie Sanders, called Sanders ‘”very progressive” and appreciates that he has “no ties to Wall Street”. Despite Sanders’ results from Super Tuesday 3, Lee said ‘I will not be voting for Donald Trump, that’s for sure.” He calls Donald Trump’s hate and beliefs about women, Muslims and Mexicans “un-American” and says Americans should come together and vote.

Watch Lee’s interview with Dina Pugliese.

Ford family quashes online rumours of Rob Ford’s death

CityNews | posted Friday, Mar 18th, 2016

The family of Toronto councillor Rob Ford has refuted reports of his death.

After rumors began circulating on social media that the former mayor had died, his office issued a brief statement saying Ford was currently in hospital battling cancer, surrounded by family.

“The Ford family asks for privacy during this difficult time, and thank the people of Toronto and around the world for their ongoing prayers and support,” read the brief statement.

Ford’s chief of staff later told CityNews that his condition is unchanged and he’s not in “imminent peril,” adding that the statement was released to quell the online rumours.

Ford originally underwent surgery last spring after being diagnosed with a liposarcoma in his abdomen.

Last October, he returned to hospital after revealing he had been diagnosed with a growth on his bladder.

Late last month, Ford was again admitted to hospital for continued treatment on his bladder.

Canada hits population record, California still has more people

THE CANADIAN PRESS AND NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Mar 17th, 2016

The agency estimated Canada’s population at 36,048,500 on Jan. 1, up 62,800 from on Oct. 1, 2015.

Population growth slowed slightly to 0.95 per cent in 2015 compared with 1.04 per cent in 2014. The increase in the fourth quarter was due in part to 95,300 births compared with 67,900 deaths, based on preliminary estimates.

Net international migration was 35,400, up 600 from the same quarter in 2014.

Population growth was positive in all provinces and territories, except the Yukon.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 38.8 million people in California, the most populous U.S. state. No other state comes close, with Texas a distant second at just over 27 million.

China and India both have over a billion people, while the United States is No. 3 with a population of just over 300 million. Indonesia is the fourth most-populated country, with 234 million people.

SeaWorld says it will end killer whale breeding program

FREIDA FRISARO, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Thursday, Mar 17th, 2016

SeaWorld announced Thursday it is ending its practice of killer whale breeding following years of controversy over keeping orcas in captivity.

In a statement released Thursday morning, the company said the breeding program will end immediately. It also announced a partnership with the Humane Society of the United States.

The company also said it is ending theatrical shows at its parks and will introduce “new, inspiring natural orca encounters.”

The new shows will begin next year at the SeaWorld Entertainment Inc.’s San Diego park, before expanding to its San Antonio park and then to the Orlando park in 2019.

“SeaWorld has introduced more than 400 million guests to orcas, and we are proud of our part in contributing to the human understanding of these animals,” said Joel Manby, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.

“As society’s understanding of orcas continues to change, SeaWorld is changing with it. By making this the last generation of orcas in our care and reimagining how guests will encounter these beautiful animals, we are fulfilling our mission of providing visitors to our parks with experiences that matter.”

The company said its partnership with the Humane Society will help educate guests on animal welfare and conservation issues through interpretive programs at the parks and by expanded advocacy for wild whales, seals and other marine creatures.

“SeaWorld’s commitment to end breeding of orcas is a long-held goal of many animal advocacy organizations, and we commend the company for making this game-changing commitment,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society.

Criticism over keeping killer whales in captivity increased in 2010 after a killer whale named Tilikum grabbed trainer Dawn Brancheau after a “Dine with Shamu” show and pulled her into the pool, killing her. The death was highlighted in a documentary titled “Blackfish.”

Tilikum, who was also involved in the deaths of two others, is now very sick. He has been at SeaWorld Orlando for 23 years.

Justin Trudeau announces Canadian bid for seat on UN’s Security Council

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 16th, 2016

NEW YORK — Canada will vie for a seat on the Security Council for a two-year term starting in 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today.

The members of the General Assembly won’t vote on candidates for the vacancy until the fall of 2020, which means Trudeau will have to win another federal election in 2019 if he wants to personally see Canada return to the UN’s most powerful body.

If Canada succeeds, it would end the country’s longest absence from the council in the history of the United Nations _ 21 years since the end of Canada’s last two-year stint in 2000.

Trudeau launched the campaign this morning from the lobby of the United Nations building in New York in front of a crowd of staffers, visiting students and foreign diplomats.

Officials said they could only recall the room being used once this way for a public event in the last few years _ for the Pope.

In his speech, Trudeau said Canada wants to revitalize its entire relationship with the world body and he underlined peacekeeping as an area where Canada can have an impact.

“We are determined to revitalize Canada’s historic role as a key contributor to United Nations peacekeeping, in addition to helping advance current reform efforts,” he said.

“And Canada will increase its engagement with peace operations, not just by making available our military, police, and specialized expertise, but also by supporting the civilian institutions that prevent conflict, bring stability to fragile states, and help societies recover in the aftermath of crisis.

He repeated his oft-made claim that Canada is back as a player on the UN stage.

“It’s time. It is time for Canada to step up once again.”

But experts says Canada can’t rely on nostalgia alone if it wants to return to the council.

“Any campaign will also have to be clear about our agenda,” said Fen Hampson, director of the Global Security Program at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont.

“Those supporting our candidacy will not only want to hear that ‘Canada is back in the world,’ but also what exactly is it that we are bringing to the world and prepared to do.”

Paul Heinbecker, who was Canada’s UN ambassador during the 2000 stint on the council, said the western group is more competitive than any other, and Canada faces a tough battle, especially in Europe.

“There is the issue — or not — of the solidarity of the European Union. We were able to split the Europeans in 1999, but it’s not obvious to me that you can do that again.”

Ian Martin, executive director of the UN’s Security Council Report, said the most competitive elections now take place in Canada’s grouping.

“This year there’s a closely fought election between three European members” he said, referring to the contest between Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Lloyd Axworthy, Canada’s foreign affairs minister in the late 1990s, said Canada has lost standing at the UN over the last decade and needs to work hard to regain it.

He said Trudeau needs to come up with an agenda that shows a commitment to peacekeeping, which Canada has largely abandoned, as well as foreign aid, which has been declining steadily.

Loblaw to restock stores with French’s ketchup after uproar

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Mar 16th, 2016

TORONTO – Loblaw is reversing its decision to pull French’s ketchup from its store shelves following a social media uproar.

The company originally said it would stop selling the brand-name ketchup even after the condiment surged in popularity thanks to the French’s commitment to buy tomatoes from Canadian farmers.

“We’ve heard our Loblaws customers,” said Kevin Groh, the company’s vice-president of corporate affairs and communication, in a statement.

The grocery store chain will restock the product as soon as possible, he said. French’s did not respond to request for comment.

Earlier, Loblaw said it had stopped stocking French’s regular ketchup due to low sales over the past year. But it continued to stock French’s two flavoured varieties, Buffalo ketchup and garlic ketchup.

The popularity of French’s ketchup soared after a man’s Facebook post lauding the U.S.-based company for supporting local farmers went viral.

Brian Fernandez posted a photo of a French’s ketchup bottle in late February and said his family would no longer buy Heinz ketchup since the company closed its Leamington, Ont., plant and cost the community about 750 jobs.

French’s regular and flavoured ketchups uses 100 per cent Canadian-grown tomatoes, according to its website.

Fernandez’s post was shared more than 132,000 times, and prompted a member of the Ontario legislature to ask for the Queen’s Park dining room and cafeteria to switch to French’s ketchup.

Demand for French’s increased following the publicity. Fernandez later posted that a Zehrs in Orillia, Ont., sold out of 10 cases of the condiment on the same day it received them. Others weighed in with similar stories from their local grocers.

Groh said he hopes the enthusiasm shown for the product on social media and in the news will translate to in-store sales.

Loblaw also stocks its own brand of ketchup, under the President’s Choice label, including an organic variety, a low-sodium choice and regular ketchup. Loblaw did not respond to questions on whether they buy the tomatoes for their ketchups from Leamington or other Canadian tomato farmers, or elsewhere.

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