Possibility of tolls on Gardiner and DVP up for debate at city hall

TORONTO – A report on the possibility of tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway is up for debate at city hall today.

Toronto city councillors met today at 9:30 a.m. for the first time since the fall session reconvened, with topics such as tolls and the tunnelling of the Gardiner up for debate.

Gardiner, DVP tolls

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The detailed report on possible road tolls was presented to the executive committee on Monday in an effort to offset funding, operating and maintenance costs for the Gardiner and DVP, which is seeing significant revitalization.

The report said the Gardiner currently sees approximately 164,00 vehicles each weekday from west of Spadina, 228,000 vehicles east of Highway 427 and 110,000 vehicles on the DVP north of Bayview Avenue.

“Tolling could be significantly expensive for people that use the Gardiner Expressway or the Don Valley Parkway,”said Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong.

“If it’s a one off then it may be affordable, but if you got to get to work and use the Gardiner Expressway or the Don Valley Parkway, that’s $6 a day.”

Tory said he doesn’t necessarily think tolls are fair for roads that have already been paid for.

“This report is being received today and will likely be sent back for more information,” he said.

“There is not proposal on the table today to impose tolls on any road, anywhere and I guess that’s where that stands as of today.”

One suggested toll would see a flat fee of $1.25 or a distance-based fee of 10 cents per kilometre for a 30-year period.

A more expensive recommendation would see a flat fee of $3.25 or a distance based fare of 35 cents per km to recover costs in a shorter period of time.

Any excess revenue would be used to cover other transportation alternatives such as transit.

It is estimated the cost to upgrade, operate and maintain both the DVP and Gardiner would cost $5.7 billion.

The report also said tolls would reduce vehicle emissions and cut commuter times by three to five minutes.

Tunnelling the Gardiner

Seen as an eyesore and barrier to the city’s waterfront, the possibility of removing and burying portions of the Gardiner has been a persistent debate.

A report before the executive committee recommends no further analysis of  tunnelling options for the Gardiner, saying the aging expressway requires immediate attention because its elevated decks continue to deteriorate and it will be deemed unserviceable beyond 2020.

Councillor Jim Karygiannis put forward the further exploration of a potential tunnel.

“We are trying to see if it would be feasible to build a tunnel at the same time we are looking to keep the Gardiner up and running for the next couple years,” said Karygiannis.

“A tunnel would be massively more expensive and it would take substantially longer,” added Minnan-Wong.

“The tunnel is so complicated, that we would just get the approvals and permits and environmental assessments in time [when] we’re actually cutting the ribbon on the new Gardiner expressway.”

The cost for tunnelling was estimated at $2.5 billion but the report said would exceed $10 billion and that “the opportunity to undertake a tunnel for all or portions of the Gardiner Expressway has passed.”

Cities like Boston and Seattle currently have tunnelled expressways.

©2015

Mississauga teacher faces 5 more sexual assault charges

TORONTO — A 49-year-old Mississauga teacher is facing five more charges after two more women were allegedly sexually assaulted during school hours, and police think there may be more victims.

Chinedu Okoro now faces a total of 15 charges, 11 for sexual assault and four for sexual exploitation after Toronto police said he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old student and a 17-year-old student during school hours.

Police allege that from November 2014 to January 2015, and from July 6 to July 29, Okoro sexually assaulted the 19-year-old girl.

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READ MORE: Mississauga teacher faces 10 charges in alleged sexual assaults of 2 students

Investigators also alleged the 17-year-old girl was sexually assaulted during the same time period in July.

Police announced Monday that Okoro allegedly sexually assaulted two other women during school hours, one in June 2014 and another from April 17 to June 29 of this year on four separate occasions.

Okoro was re-arrested and charged on Wednesday. He appeared in court in Toronto the same day.

Investigators said Okoro was an employee of the Toronto District School Board, working in the northwest area of Toronto.

Police previously said Okoro was most recently a teacher at C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute at 340 Sentinel Rd. in Toronto, but was also a teacher at Emery Adult Learning Centre at 3395 Weston Rd. from Sept. 2014 to June 2015.

Police believe that there may be other victims.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-3100, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 杭州桑拿按摩论坛杭州夜生活222tips杭州桑拿, or by texting “TOR” and your message to CRIMES (274637).

A sexual assault is any form of unwanted sexual contact. It includes, but is not limited to, kissing, grabbing, oral sex and penetration. To learn more about sexual assault, including how to report a sexual assault, please visit the Toronto Police Sex Crimes website.

©2015

Man seriously injured in brazen daytime shooting in Forest Heights

CALGARY – Police are investigating a brazen daytime shooting in the community of Forest Heights.

Officers were called to the 4500 block of 7 Avenue S.E. at around 9:15 a.m. on Monday for reports that a man had been shot.

EMS said a man in his 20s was rushed to hospital in potentially life-threatening condition. His condition was later upgraded to serious but stable, according to police.

Global News has learned the victim is Henry Le Nguyen. Le Nguyen is associated with high profile gang violence in Calgary.

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One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said Le Nguyen had been shot in the abdomen and foot.

“We heard the ‘pop, pop’ and then I saw him out my window banging on doors, asking people to let him in because he said he’d been shot,” she said.

“I held his hand, I was trying to give him comfort. He was having a hard time breathing.”

Another neighbour, Sandra Graval, was on the way to the grocery store when the shooting occurred.

“I live here, and you think you’re safe… but you’re not. I guess you’re not safe anywhere,” she said.

Witnesses describe hearing multiple shots fired.

“One shot woke me up first – and then there was a burst of four or five,” said a neighbour who didn’t wish to be identified. “So five or six shots.”

No other injuries were reported, however, some area residents were briefly evacuated after a stray bullet hit a gas line which began leaking. Police say the leak was contained quickly.

“There’s holes in the fences, there’s a hole in the gas metre,” said Duty Insp. Paul Magnus. “Rounds flying through the air in a neighborhood is never good for a community.”

Police have not yet released a description of the suspects.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact police or call Crime Stoppers.

– With files from Sarah Offin, Carolyn Kury de Castillo and Nancy Hixt

Apple security breach could impact Canadians with iPhones and iPads

TORONTO – Apple announced a rare security breach over the weekend that means some Canadians may have unwittingly infected their iPhones and iPads with malware that could expose their iCloud passwords and other personal data.

Apple Inc. has removed some applications from its app store after developers in China were tricked into using software tools that added malicious code to their work.

Apple hasn’t provided details about which companies’ apps were affected.

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READ MORE: Canadian researchers help uncover problems with South Korean app putting children at risk

But Tencent Ltd. said its popular WeChat app was hit; the company released a new version after spotting the offending code. Chinese news reports said others affected included banks, an airline and a popular music service.

Many of the affected apps were only available on the App Store in China, yet some that were reportedly infected by the malware – including WeChat, business card rolodex CamCard and file extractor WinZip – are available in Canada.

Users are advised to uninstall the affected apps or update to the latest version released after the malware was discovered, and to change their iCloud passwords.

The malicious code spread through a counterfeit version of Apple’s Xcode tools used to create apps for its iPhones and iPads, according to the company. It said the counterfeit tools spread when developers obtained them from “untrusted sources” rather than directly from the company.

The malicious software collects information from infected devices and uploads it to outside servers, according to Palo Alto Networks, a U.S.-based security firm. The company said the breach could result in fake password prompts aimed at harvesting iCloud details or other logins.

READ MORE: Here are the new features coming to your iPhone, iPad with iOS 9

It was first publicized last week by security researchers at Alibaba Group, the Asian e-commerce giant, who dubbed it XcodeGhost.

The creators of the malware took advantage of public frustration with Beijing’s Internet filters, which hamper access to Apple and other foreign websites. That prompts some people to use copies of foreign software or documents that are posted on websites within China to speed up access.

“Sometimes network speeds are very slow when downloading large files from Apple’s servers,” wrote Claud Xiao, a Palo Alto Networks researcher, on its website. Due to the large size of the Xcode file, “some Chinese developers choose to download the package from other sources or get copies from colleagues.”

Companies with apps that were affected include taxi-hailing service Didi Kuaidi, Citic Industrial Bank, China Southern Airlines and the music service of NetEase, a popular Web portal, according to the newspaper Yangcheng Evening News.

The incident is the only the sixth time malicious software is known to have made it through Apple’s screening process for products on its App Store, according to Xiao.

– With files from the Associated Press

©2015

Halifax man charged with string of assaults, including four sexual assaults – Halifax

HALIFAX – 35-year-old Jean-Marie Richard Bertrand has been charged in connection with a string of assaults that happened on Thursday of last week, Halifax police say.

Between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:30 pm on Thursday police responded to seven separate incidents where a man was approaching women on the street in the south and west end of Halifax.

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In five incidents, the man grabbed the women while they were walking or jogging. In another incident, he touched a women in a sexual manner over her clothes and attempted to force her into an alley, but she was able to fight him off.

In the final incident, the man made an obscene comment to a woman, but didn’t touch her.

Some of the incidents that were originally classified as assaults were determined to have sexual overtures, so police laid sexual assault charges in three of the seven incidents.

Bertrand was arrested on Thursday evening and held in the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility over the weekend.

He is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on Monday on two counts of assault, four counts of sexual assault, and one of forcible confinement in connection with six of the incidents.

Over the weekend, police received a call about a suspicious circumstance where a 40-year-old woman reported being followed to her car after she left a building on Marginal Road just before midnight on September 16. The woman said the man pressed himself against the window of her car, but didn’t say anything or touch her.

The man was described as a white man, 30-40 years old wearing baggy jeans, and about 5’9″ in height.

Police are investigating whether this incident may be connected to the others.

They also ask anyone who has experienced a similar incident, or has information on the incidents that have happened to call police at 902-490-5016, or contact Crime Stoppers.

©2015Global News

Miley Cyrus visits B.C. to discuss wolf cull

Entertainer Miley Cyrus and her brother, Braison, spent the weekend on B.C.’s central coast, as the pop star visited Klemtu to meet First Nations and discuss the province’s plan for an expanded wolf kill.

A video was posted to YouTube of her travelling in a boat with a dozen or so locals and joining them in song.

Earlier this month, Cyrus asked her Instagram followers to sign a petition by Pacific Wild, a local conservation group, aimed at stopping the killings. The petition has since grown to almost 200,000 signatures.

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According to Pacific Wild, the sister and brother-duo spent two days with members of the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation, two biologists and an American ecologist.

“When I first spoke out, I knew in my heart that the wolf cull was wrong,” Miley said in a statement from Pacific Wild. “But after this visit, I know science is on my side, not just on the wolf cull, but also on the trophy hunt issue.

“Both are unsustainable and both are horrific. Both have to end,” she said.

Both Miley and B.C.-native Pamela Anderson have recently criticized the hunt. On Thursday, Anderson called on B.C. Premier Christy Clark to find a better solution to save caribou than the slaughter of wolves.

In response to Cyrus, Clark said she didn’t think the American singer knew enough about B.C.’s environmental plan to save caribou herds to be jumping into the debate, reported.

“If we need help on our twerking policy in the future, perhaps we can go and seek her advice,” Clark said on Friday.

In an open letter to the B.C. premier, Anderson said she’s “deeply disturbed that my beloved province is allowing people to hunt and kill wolves.”

“We all want to restore the populations of endangered caribou, but gunning down wolves is not the answer,” the honorary director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in the letter.” Rather than spending millions in taxpayer dollars to kill more animals, we need to invest in a plan to protect Canada’s forestland.”

B.C. is aiming to increase the number of wolves it kills this winter in the second year of a plan to save endangered caribou.

with files from

©2015

Understanding the ‘guevedoce’: Children raised as girls who develop penises at puberty

Imagine being raised as a girl and then, when puberty hits, developing a penis.

Puberty is a difficult time for anyone, but for those who go through this, it can be more difficult than we can imagine.

A BBC2 documentary series, Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You, has examined children in a small village in the Dominican Republic with this condition. The children there are called “guevedoce,” which translates to “penis at twelve.”

The science of our bodies

The way we develop is a complicated process.

You may remember that the typical human being has 46 chromosomes that come in 23 pairs. One pair is the sex chromosomes: Y for male, X for female.

Men carry both the X and Y chromosomes; women, just the X. If two X chromosomes pair, the fetus develops into a female. If you get an XY pairing, a male develops.

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X and Y chromosomes

Development of external reproductive organs is controlled by something called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into DHT. Both males and females start off with the same bits, but if DHT is missing, then genitalia develops into the female parts, with the genital folds remaining unfused. If DHT is present, then the folds enlarge and wrap around the penile urethra, becoming the penis.

‘Penis at 12’

In 1974, Doctor Julianne Imperato, an endocrinologist from Cornell University went to study the children of the Dominican Republic who had been rumoured to have been born with female genitalia but who had developed male genitalia at puberty.

What she discovered was that these children were lacking DHT at birth. But when they reached puberty, they got a surge of the enzyme, which then increased testosterone levels and caused the development of penises. This condition was called 5-alpha reductase deficiency (5-ARD).

That’s not to say that those with 5-ARD have nothing that resembles a male. The children have undescended testicles, and a small penis that looks more like a clitoris as well as an underdeveloped prostate. However, in most cases, these children are raised as girls.

The condition isn’t just relegated to the Dominican Republic. There have been cases around the world including New Guinea, Turkey and the United States.

Follow @NebulousNikki

©2015

The biggest threat to Canada’s fragile economic recovery isn’t oil

As recessions go, Canada just experienced about as mild of a downturn as it gets in the first half of the year, and is once again in growth mode, economists from TD Bank said in a new forecast on Monday.

“The weakness in the first half of the year is in the rear-view mirror and the Canadian economy stands ready to resume growth,” the new report said.

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The country’s economy will expand by 1.2 per cent for the whole year, according to TD, but “the annual figure masks a rebound in the second half of the year” as growth kicks back into gear at an annualized clip of 2.5 per cent.

Not great most economists would say, but not bad either.

MORE: ‘Best. Recession. Ever.’

A lower loonie and rising U.S. demand means exports are finally “back in the game,” as evidenced by strong trade numbers in June and July, the latest data available. A discounted Canadian dollar – which TD now sees dropping to as low at 73 cents US – is also fueling the second-half rebound through increased tourism, with foreigners taking advantage of the currency drop.

Low interest rates should keep households in the spending mood, too, buoyed by “modest” employment and income gains, TD said, “resulting in steady, if unremarkable, consumption growth.” All told, the economy will grow just over 2 per cent next year through 2017.

That’s if all goes to plan. But as always, there are risks.

MORE: 5 things to know about the economy ahead of federal leaders debate

“While we consider this the most likely outcome, we cannot ignore a number of prominent downside risks to the outlook,” TD chief economist Beata Caranci, deputy chief economist Derek Burleton and economist Brian DePratto, said.

‘Largest risk’

The biggest potential disruption to Canada’s growth plans is admittedly a broad one consisting of several components, the biggest being China and the slowdown now gripping the world’s second-biggest economy.

A slowdown abroad, led by China, poses a bigger threat than a housing bust or debt bubble among Canadian households, TD said.

What happens in China matters to Canada, which is a net exporter of commodities. China accounts for as much as 80 per cent of new metal demand at any given time, and a third of worldwide oil demand, according to TD’s economists.

“China is a major driver of global [commodity] prices,” they said.

MORE: 5 reasons why China’s ‘new normal’ is rattling world markets

While U.S.-bound exports are poised to rise, it remains uncertain what the slowdown in China will mean for exported goods and materials headed for it as well as other regions – a Chinese slowdown is symptomatic of a slowing global economy, experts say.

TD’s 2016 outlook “depends” on a Canadian export boom next year for more than a quarter of the bank’s estimated GDP growth. “Any disappointment in exports presents a key risk to our outlook,” the economists said.

Here’s how TD sees Canada’s economic growth quarter by quarter over the next couple of years:

WATCH: With Canada in a recession, the economy is going to be top of mind for voters. Here’s a quick explainer on how we got into a recession and what it means to Canadians.

©2015

Rogers Centre flooded after urinal ripped from wall at Friday’s Blue Jays game

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

Elections Canada warns staff to look out for dirty ‘voter suppression’ tricks

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