Archive for October, 2018

TORONTO – In the past, Toronto Blue Jays fans have been called wild and unruly — more than two decades without playoff ball can do that.

Running on the field scaling the outfield walls, vomiting in the stands, and fisticuffs all come to mind. (Yes, this all happened in one season in 2013.)

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But with this year’s team on the cusp of a post-season berth, the first since 1993, one might expect a more gracious or perhaps cordial crowd.

That wasn’t the case at Friday night’s game against the Boston Red Sox when a fan managed to rip a urinal from a bathroom wall around the sixth inning, causing water to flood the concourse level.

READ MORE: Stroman shines in 2015 home debut, holds Red Sox in check as Jays win 6-1

Blue Jays spokesperson Jay Stenhouse confirmed the Herculean feat did take place but could not elaborate on where exactly it happened.

VIDEO: (Tue, Apr 23, 2013): Some have said the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays fans were the most obnoxious ever. Carey Marsden reports.

It didn’t take long though for fans to chime in as several witnesses in attendance were shocked over the incident.

According to the Globe and Mail, water from the cracked pipe flooded the 500 Level concourse and made its way into the Jays’ 400 Level offices disabling an elevator car.

READ MORE: Blue Jays fans make hilarious parody of Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’

Meanwhile, the alleged perpetrator was apparently “half-dressed” during the incident and some on social media suggested he was asleep when conducting his business.

There’s no word yet on the cost of the damages or if the alleged urinal destroyer will be allowed back at future Blue Jays games.

©2015

OTTAWA – Elections Canada has quietly warned staff to be on the lookout for increasingly sophisticated tactics aimed at discouraging – or even stopping – voters from casting a ballot.

The advanced voter suppression techniques flourishing in the United States are likely to spill into other countries, employees were advised in a presentation aimed at raising awareness prior to the Oct. 19 federal election.

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The digital revolution has fuelled intensive data analysis south of the border that allows political parties to zero in on people who support rival candidates and then find ways to prevent them from voting.

The development prompted Elections Canada to comb through academic papers and media reports and talk to experts and lawyers about the phenomenon of electoral malpractice.

“It’s important for us to identify potential risks in order to be prepared to detect and respond to incidents that may occur, including incidents that could compromise the integrity of the election,” said Elections Canada spokesman John Enright.

A copy of the May 2014 presentation, “An Introduction to Emerging Trends and Threats in Electoral Operations,” was released to under the Access to Information Act.

READ MORE: Harper says Liberal plan to scrap F-35s shows only Tories can keep Canadians safe

It was prepared just months before Conservative campaign worker Michael Sona was convicted of taking part in a scheme to misdirect voters in Guelph, Ont., to phoney poll locations during the 2011 campaign.

The research revealed that rough-and-tumble American political campaigns are the seedbeds of such behaviour – identifying 17 cases in 15 states from 2004 through 2012.

“We need look no further than the United States to find a vast overview of contemporary voter suppression and surveillance practices,” the presentation notes say.

Elections Canada cites four stages of a successful voter suppression plan:

Identify non-supporters;Gather information on them;Prevent them from going to the polls through scare tactics, misinformation or systematic challenging of registrations;If electors get to the polls, prevent them from voting by contesting eligibility or identification, and through intimidation.

Eleven years ago, one party took the fairly broad-brush approach of assuming students at a historically black college in Florida would not be supporters, the presentation points out. The party then systematically challenged the eligibility of voters on that list, resulting in long poll lineups and delays.

But today the same computer software that allows parties to build massive databases with detailed information about likely supporters also enables them to more precisely identify – and target – non-supporters.

READ MORE: Greens file complaint to CRA in bid to get Elizabeth May into Munk debate

Parties use voter lists, digital maps, and information from public or commercial sources to build personal profiles – each containing up to 250 pieces of data, from basic demographic information to culinary or musical tastes.

“These databases allow campaigns to send micro-targeted messages to specific audiences,” the notes say.

For instance, Spanish-speaking voters in Arizona received robocalls and mailouts in 2012 advising them to vote after election day.

In Maryland, tens of thousands of Democratic voters were apparently targeted by robocalls in 2010 falsely saying their candidate had already won the election.

The U.S. has also seen the rise of “poll watchers” recruited by activist groups, the notes say. “They often harass voters in predominantly minority voting districts, create anxiety and agitate voters.”

Another tactic involves handing out flyers threatening jail time or other penalties for those who vote “illegally” – a means of dissuading those who are unsure of their registration status or whether they have the correct identification.

A multi-party parliamentary system like Canada’s may be especially affected by such micro-targeting, which tends to “consolidate power in the larger, more well financed political parties” at the expense of smaller ones, the Elections Canada notes say.

In addition, micro-targeting can have a “disproportionate impact” on parliamentary systems, where subtle shifts in voter behaviour of specific slivers of the electorate in key electoral districts “can indeed affect the distribution of seats in the legislature and even the composition of the government.”

©2015

Viola Davis’ history-making Emmy win and call for more diversity on TV thrilled most viewers of Sunday’s Emmycast.

But not soap star Nancy Lee Grahn. Instead, the long-time cast member of General Hospital had a 桑拿会所 fit.

“Emmys not venue 4 racial opportunity,” she declared in a tweet later deleted.

This was followed by a tweet hailing Davis, the star of ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder who became the first African-American to win a best actress Emmy, as “the bees knees.” But Grahn said Davis has never been discriminated against.

WATCH: ‘It doesn’t end here,’ says Viola Davis after historic Emmy win

Before long, Grahn seemed to cool off, tweeting that Davis is “a goddess.”

Finally came a string of apologies.

“Color me heartbroken,” tweeted Grahn, observing, “桑拿会所 can bring out the best & sadly tonight the worst of us.”

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©2015

CALGARY – Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) is tightening its grip on the Fort Hills oilsands project by paying $310 million to take an additional 10 per cent stake off one of its partners hands.

The seller is Total E&P Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Paris-based Total SA, which will retain a 29.2 per cent interest — remaining the second-largest partner after Suncor.

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Once the transaction closes, Suncor will own 50.8 per cent of the $15-billion project and 20 per cent will be owned by Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TCK.B), which has waived its right to increase its share proportionately.

The deal comes as U.S. crude prices hover at around US$46 a barrel — around half of where they were a year ago — with no end to the doldrums in sight.

In a release, Total said it had weighed how its global assets stack up in the context of low oil prices and decided to reduce exposure to Canada’s oilsands.

Despite the gloomy outlook, Suncor CEO Steve Williams said the purchase makes sense in the long term.

“This opportunity to acquire an additional interest at a discounted price underscores Suncor’s confidence in its position within the oilsands,” he said in a release.

“We consider this project to be one of the best opportunities for long-term sustainable growth in the industry today, thanks to the exceptional quality of the resource and our disciplined project execution.”

Suncor said the transaction can be undertaken within its current 2015 capital budget of between $5.8 billion and $6.4 billion. Engineering is over 90 per cent complete and construction is more than 40 per cent complete.

The mine, north of Fort McMurray, Alta., is expected to start producing oil in late 2017, eventually ramping up to 180,000 barrels a day.

Desjardins Capital Markets analyst Justin Bouchard said there’s a strategic element to the deal, as Suncor now has majority control of Fort Hills.

“We believe this reduces the operational risk of the project,” he wrote in a research note. “For items that require majority approval, Suncor now has the ability to move ahead without its partners (if needed).”

In all, Suncor’s capital spending increase at Fort Hills is estimated at just over $1 billion, when both the acquisition and $700 million in future spending is taken into account.

In a research note, CIBC analyst Arthur Grayfer said Suncor is getting a good deal for the price — the increased stake means an additional 18,000 barrels of day of production that won’t decline for 50 years.

Assuming prices improve, Grayfer said Fort Hills will be the “free cash flow engine for all growth initiatives for the next decade.”

Follow @LaurenKrugel on 桑拿会所.

Taraji P. Henson wowed in a custom lace Alexander Wang gown in black with bike-chain straps, and Amy Schumer stepped up her fashion game in a strapless blue-grey Zac Posen as the Emmys parade of pretty kicked off Sunday in Los Angeles.

Henson paired her edgy look that had a tiny, triangular cutout below the breast with a bob and minimal jewelry. Of the designer, Henson said: “He was my first date to the Met ball so I thought he should shine tonight.”

READ MORE: Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls movement wins the Emmys 2015 red carpet

If two is a trend then count Claire Danes with Henson as she, too, went for chunky chain details, her look a purple sequin Prada with gold links at the shoulders and sides.

“It IS a little rock star-esque,” she said.

Schumer did a little dance as she walked with her sister in her busty full gown. “We feel like the evil stepsisters,” she said. “We’re pretty psyched.”

Joanna Newsom went way outside the box as she walked the red carpet with hubby and the evening’s host, Andy Samberg, in a strapless Delpozo creation that had a huge oval applique with seashells on it, choosing a back ‘do with a severe middle part that hid her ears. She appeared more kicky nun than wow.

Some adored Heidi Klum’s Atelier Versace silk chiffon confection with one long, flowing sleeve and a skinny strap on the other side. Sheer to the upper thigh and dotted with crystals, it was busily adorned with petals.

“I called Donatella (Versace) and I said, ‘I have to have this canary yellow dress,’ and here it is,” Klum explained.

One of the early ladies in red was youthful Sarah Hyland, in a fitted maroon Zac Posen with an elegant neckline and a dainty strap falling to the shoulders and encircling her back. She rocked a wavy bob and sexy side part.

“I’m so sweaty,” she said. Styled by Brad Goreski, she wore long drop earrings and a jewel-encrusted cuff of the same colour.

Mindy Kaling, Padma Lakshmi, Taylor Schilling and Dascha Polanco joined the yellow patrol. It wasn’t possible for Lakshmi to be any sexier in her bombshell Romona Keveza in chartreuse. The strapless gown featured a draped silk sweetheart bodice and showed off her curves.

“It fits me, which is impressive,” the beauty smiled.

Jaimie Alexander of NBC’s Blindspot glistened from neck to toe in a body-hugging, blue, purple and red Armani Prive she wore with a slicked-back ‘do and delicate purple crystal earrings from Baccarat.

“It covers all the leftover tattoo residual stuff I have on my body right now,” she said of her high neckline and long sleeves.

In the all-about-the-pattern department, Zoe Kazan was part peppermint, part test pattern in her swirly striped Miu Miu gown. And that’s just fine with her. She said she picked it because it looked like a candy cane. And it did.

Kazan said she’s a great admirer of designer Miuccia Prada.

Kiernan Shipka, quite the little fashion darling with her regular attendance at New York Fashion Week, earned raves from style maven Nina Garcia on 桑拿会所 for a yellow Dior Haute Couture cut-off ball gown that was embroidered yellow with a sheer panel on top, paired with black wool cigarette pants and simple black heeled pumps.

Garcia tweeted that it was “fun, fashion forward, different & chic.” Others also praised Shipka’s look, but designer Michael Costello, who appeared on Project Runway and now designs his own lines, wasn’t a fan.

“It’s the Emmys and I think you shouldn’t show up looking like you’re wearing two different outfits,” he said. “That was just a fashion disaster.”

Costello loved Schumer’s curvy gown. In fact, he loved all the curves on the red carpet.

“That colour on Amy was absolutely beautiful. She was old Hollywood glamour, but we’re used to seeing that in sizes 2, 4 and 6,” he said. “It’s nice we’re now seeing it in 8, 10 and 12.”

Ellie Kemper in a sleeveless, multicolored Naeem Kahn that had a sparkly, striped design earned accolades. She also wore a big smile, with her hair slicked back in a middle part.

Always the bombshell, Laverne Cox showed up at the Microsoft Theater in a custom Calvin Klein Collection silk crepe dress in teal. It had a cut-out back and was designed by Francisco Costa.

The evening’s bright pop of pink came courtesy of Christine Baranski, worn with golden pearl drop earrings with diamonds from Chopard. Gina Rodriguez dazzled in a strapless paler shade of pink. It was a beaded silk tulle gown by Lorena Sarbu.

Kerry Washington walked in a silver-encrusted Marc Jacobs fresh off the New York Fashion Week runway and falling to the mid-calf with a side slit.

January Jones went for a teal green but in a strapless jumpsuit with a sweetheart neck.

Julianne Hough attended Marchesa’s fashion week show in New York and grabbed Look No. 1 for herself, a strappy black sheer praised by some but criticized by others as a bit too Frederick’s of Hollywood.

And then there was Sofia Vergara, in her usual wow mode. This time, she picked Italian gold lame, a custom gown encrusted with Swarovski stones and designed by St. John with a softly flared train and a curved strapless neckline.

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©2015