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Toronto terrorist leader is locked up, but was still on social media

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

The former terrorist leader Zakaria Amara is locked away at Millhaven maximum-security prison, serving a life sentence for plotting Al Qaeda-inspired truck bombings in downtown Toronto.

But for the past six months, a Facebook page in his name has been posting his prison photos as well as what purported to be his jailhouse prose, including a telling of what made him a terrorist.

Facebook deleted the account on Wednesday, an hour after Global News asked about it. The social media company said the Amara page was taken down “for violating our community standards.”

“We don’t allow mass murderers to maintain a presence on Facebook,” the company said, adding it also did not let impersonators maintain accounts.

The Correctional Service Canada said Thursday it was “currently looking at ways we can work with social media companies to identify questionable content and respond appropriately.”

 Amara was the ringleader of the Toronto 18, the terror group that held a training camp for potential recruits in Washago, Ont., and then began preparing a series of truck bombings inspired by Al Qaeda.

The group had selected the Toronto Stock Exchange, Toronto CSIS building and a Canadian military base as targets but was infiltrated by CSIS and the RCMP, which arrested the extremists in June 2006.

The Amara Facebook account appears to be have been operated from Mississauga, Ont. A message requesting confirmation that the page was actually Amara’s garnered the response, “this is a real account.”

Asked how a convicted terrorist leader could post his views and photos on Facebook, the Correctional Service Canada said inmates did not have access to the internet.

“It does happen on occasion that individuals post on behalf of inmates,” said Esther Mailhot, a CSC spokesperson. “CSC does not have control over these postings.”

She also said that while inmates were not allowed to have cameras, they could purchase pictures taken by a photographer. “Inmates are able to send photos out of the institution to family or other contacts in the community.”

According to the telling on the Facebook page, Amara “never felt Canadian” because he wasn’t white and got “caught up in a perfect storm of internal and external influences.”

“Many of you have probably wondered why the Muslim world has produced so any radicalized individuals,” it said. “When I look at what the people of that region have been going through for over 100 years, I am actually surprised there aren’t more radicals,” it said.

“What happens to a people who have to live under the deadly shadow of drones? What happens to a person who witnesses their entire family get wiped out by a ‘precise’ missile strike?”

“Desperate for belonging to a people in my teen years, these are the only people I ever felt I belonged to, and as they radicalized, I radicalized with them.”

“Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq and its resulting massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis represented the crossing of the Radical Rubicon for me. You can pretty much draw a straight line from there to my arrest in 2006,” it said.

But Amara said he realized he was wrong when the so-called Islamic State began committing atrocities in Syria and Iraq, according to the Facebook essay.

“Holding out became harder and harder, until it finally became impossible and I simply had to let go out of sheer disillusionment.”

Phil Gurski, who was the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s lead analyst on Islamist extremism during the Toronto 18 investigation, was unimpressed and noted Amara’s “distinct lack of ownership or responsibility” for his actions.

 “You had a choice and you opted for violent extremism. There were other avenues,” Gurski wrote on his website. “You could have worked to become part of Canada. And yet you didn’t. None of this is anyone’s fault but yours.”

Amara was stripped of his Canadian citizenship in 2015 but it was returned to him when the Liberals came to power and scrapped a law that allowed the government to revoke the citizenship of convicted terrorists who hold dual nationalities.

Another convicted terrorist at Millhaven is also online. Serving a life sentence for his role in a plot to conduct attacks in the United Kingdom, Momin Khawaja’s photo and profile appear on a website for inmates seeking pen pals.

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Horwath addresses caucus in Scarborough saying role of Official Opposition more important than ever

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

SCARBOROUGH — Andrea Horwath gathered the NDP caucus in Scarborough Friday, delivering a leader’s report in which she said the role of the Official Opposition in Ontario is as critical as it ever has been.

“Doug Ford has attacked the courts. He’s attacked democracy. Now, he’s attacking any person in Ontario who dares to disagree with him,” said Horwath.

“This week has been a stark reminder that the work we do together, with and for the people of Ontario, is more important that ever.”

The NDP caucus meeting in Scarborough comes following a controversial week of sitting of the legislature, called so Doug Ford could reintroduce a bill to meddle in Toronto’s municipal election. Ford’s original bill — written to exact revenge on political foes — was struck down by the court for violating the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In response, Ford reintroduced the bill, but added a suspension of those Charter rights using a notwithstanding clause.

Horwath said it’s up to New Democrats not only to stand up to Ford’s attack on people’s rights; but to push for the legislature to focus on the problems that have been going from bad to worse under Ford — like long waits for health care, neglected schools in need of repair, and job losses.

“Too many families are still facing painfully long wait times for the health care that they need, only to be moved onto a gurney in a hallway rather than a hospital bed,” said Horwath. “So many of our children’s schools need critical repairs, so kids are in sweltering classrooms with no air conditioning on hot days, and will be wearing their winter coats in freezing and drafty classrooms on cold days. Many even have water fountains that kids can’t drink from because of lead in the water. Meanwhile, an astronomical 80,000 jobs were lost in Ontario in August alone.

“But rather than improving health care, fixing crumbling schools or creating jobs, Doug Ford has dragged things backwards — from bad to worse.

“We know it doesn’t have to be this way, and so do the people of Ontario.”

On Friday afternoon, Horwath and the NDP caucus will hold a community event in Scarborough, hearing about the concerns, ideas and priorities from Scarborough residents and community leaders.

 

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Akshay Kumar – Vidya Balan to star in R. Balki produced first ever INDIAN SPACE FILM

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

A while back it was announced that the film Chanda Mama Door Ke would be India’s first ever astronaut film, however the project was later shelved due to budgetary issues. Now we hear that Akshay Kumar is all set to star in what will be the first ever Indian astronaut film that will be produced by R. Balki, Viacom and Akshay.

If what we hear is true, then apparently, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Hope Productions that is headed by R. Balki will be joining hands for this venture. If that wasn’t all, the said project we hear will also feature Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan and Nimrat Kaur in the lead, while two more actresses are being locked for the project. Commenting on the same a source close to the development says, “Yes Viacom and Balki have come together for a film which will be the first ever Indian movie on astronauts. In fact, the film will be about sending a crew of chosen people to Mars.” Further talking about details of the film, the source goes on to add, “The said project is yet to be titled, but it will be directed by Jagan Shakti who has earlier been an associate director on films like PadMan, Holiday, and Akira to name a few.”

Besides this, reports also have it that Akshay Kumar, who has already been roped in for the venture will also be co-producing the project. As of now, an official announcement on the same is awaited.

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THACKERAY: Amrita Rao returns to films with this powerful role as Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s wife in Balasaheb Thackeray biopic

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

Balasaheb Thackeray is one of the most iconic political figures in India and his biopic is much awaited by many, especially the ones who reside in Maharashtra. The bilingual film Thackeray is all set to release next year with Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the lead and we hear that Amrita Rao has been roped in to play the prominent role of Meenatai. For the uninitiated, Meena Thackeray was the wife and support system of Balasaheb Thackeray.

Thackeray, directed by Sanjay Raut, will mark the return of Amrita Rao on the big screen after five years. The actress was in news two years ago after she tied the knot with RJ Anmol. Explaining about his choice of having Amrita on board as Meenatai, director Sanjay revealed in recent reports that the actress’ face reflects the same innocence that was on Meenatai’s face. Despite her soft nature, Raut considers her as the pillar of Thackeray’s life and his family. He believes that her strong nature held them all together, thereby also helping Thackeray’s party Shiv Sena.

He described Meenatai as an embodiment of matrutwa [which means motherhood]. As for Amrita’s character, Sanjay pointed out that her character spans over three decades, from 1969 to 1995. He also expressed about how Amrita shared a great camaraderie with Nawazuddin Siddiqui. This is the first time where the two of them will be paired opposite each other and Amrita is already said to have completed her portions of the shoot.

Coming to Thackeray, we had earlier got a slight glimpse of Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Balasaheb Thackeray in the teaser that was released a few months ago. As for the trailer, the release date is yet to be announced. The film is expected to hit the big screens on January 23 and will have to face three Bollywood films that are scheduled to release in the same week, which includes, Manikarnika – The Queen of Jhansi, Super 30 and Cheat India.

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Janhvi Kapoor to next feature in this Karan Johar production – biopic on IAF officer Gunjan Saxena

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

Janhvi Kapoor is undoubtedly the next blue eyed protégé of Karan Johar after Alia Bhatt. The actress, who made her debut with the filmmaker’s production Dhadak, seems to have made a hattrick with the director-producer. After she was signed on for the multi-starrer period drama Takht, Janhvi is all set for her third film with Karan and it is a biopic based on woman warrior Gunjan Saxena.

Set against the backdrop of the 90s during the Kargil War, this will be Janhvi Kapoor’s first female centric biopic as the leading lady. Speaking of Gunjan Saxena, she was awarded for her courage and valour with Shaurya Vir during the Kargil War and she was the first women to receive the honour. She was a part of the first batch of 25 women who were selected as IAF [Indian Air Force] trainee officers in the year 1995 and she along with another woman officer Srividya were assigned the duty of Kargil War. The film will be an untold story of how this young woman turned out to be an inspiration for many.

As for the film, the title and the director for the same are yet to be decided. Janhvi Kapoor, however, has already started her prep for the film. We hear that the actress recently met Gunjan, the army officer herself to understand her thought processes and mannerisms.

We hear that during the Kargil War in 1999, Flight Lieutenant Gunjan Saxena along with another Flight Lieutenant Srividya were given the responsibilities of medical evacuations, supplying drops and understanding the Pakistani war positions in their small Cheetah flights. What added to the risk was that they were unarmed and defenceless. Despite the danger that lurked, both of the flight lieutenants carried out their duties with aplomb, coming in and going out of their war zones.

Coming to the film, we hear that it is slated to go on floor sometime next year but it is yet to be seen if the shoot will commence before or after Takht.

 

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Whoa! Kareena Kapoor Khan to start her own RADIO show and here’s what it is about

Posted on 19 September 2018 by admin

Well from an actress to a designer to now a radio jockey, there is no stopping to Kareena Kapoor Khan.  Not too long ago, we heard that the actress is contemplating on launching her own label of clothes and accessories. Now, another update is that Kareena is planning to explore the world of radio with her own show. In fact, her bestie and popular filmmaker Karan Johar is expected to be rocking it with his radio show and looks like it has inspired the Veere Di Wedding actress too!

If reports are to be believed, it is being said that Kareena Kapoor Khan discussed about her move with Karan Johar, before taking this process forward. And while he gave her thumbs up to go ahead with the idea, the actress too decided to start her own radio show. Interestingly, Kareena will mark her radio debut in the same channel as Karan Johar, ISHQ 104.8 FM.

Furthermore, reports also suggest that Kareena Kapoor Khan has already started with the prep for the same and kicked off the same with a photoshoot for it. She will also be recording for the show in a few days. As for the show, although not many details are revealed, we hear that it would be a great opportunity for her fans to interact with their idol on the radio platform. The show is expected to go on air in December.

Kareena Kapoor Khan confirmed about the show in recent reports wherein she also expressed her excitement adding that she can’t wait for everyone to hear it.

On the film front, Kareena Kapoor Khan will next be collaborating with her bestie Karan Johar for two films. One will be Good News which will feature her alongside Akshay Kumar and also stars Diljit Dosanjh and Kiara Advani. She will also play the leading lady in the Karan Johar directorial Takht, which also stars Ranveer Singh, Vicky Kaushal, Alia Bhatt, Bhumi Pednekar and Anil Kapoor.

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Ottawa looking into climate change impact for East Coast ferry ports, airport, bridge

Posted on 07 September 2018 by admin

Ottawa has posted a tender asking engineering firms to assess how climate change and extreme weather will affect some of Atlantic Canada’s major ferry terminals, airports and the Confederation Bridge.

The tender posted last week seeks analysis on the vulnerability of the infrastructure to rising sea levels, harsher storms and changing waves.

It says the federal government wants to know how the sites may be at risk of “failure, damage and loss of service,” due to the climate events that could hit the region.

The report will look at six ferry terminals, including Nova Scotia facilities at Digby and Caribou; the Saint John, N.B., terminal, and the Prince Edward Island terminals in Wood Islands and Souris, along with the Cap-Aux-Meules terminal on the Magdalene Islands.

It will also examine the impact of climate change on the airports at Wabush and St. Anthony’s in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The federal advisory panel on climate change adaptation recently noted that average temperatures in Canada have increased by 1.5 C between 1950 and 2010, with higher rises in the north.

Average precipitation has also been rising, and both heavy precipitation and extreme precipitation events are projected to become more frequent.

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Toronto police to no longer offer uniformed officers as crossing guard backfill

Posted on 07 September 2018 by admin

On the first day back to school, Toronto police say they will no longer have uniformed officers help fill in as crossing guards.

The move comes as part of the Action Plan: The Way Forward which was approved in 2017 and recommends transitioning the School Crossing Guard Program to the city of Toronto’s transportation service’s division.

“As part of this transition, starting this school year, TPS will no longer be providing uniform police officers to backfill for a school crossing guard who is not able to come to work,” a statement sent out by police Tuesday morning said.

 “TPS and the City of Toronto have worked together to develop an alternative to backfill absent school crossing guards.”

The statement said Neptune Security Services is taking over as a supporting backfill option for school crossing guards. It said the security guards will undergo the same screening process officers had too as well as the same training. They will also have to carry an identification card and wear a vest that clearly states they are a crossing guard.

The Action Plan: The Way Forward is a modernized policing model for the city that includes 32 recommendations accepted by the Toronto Police Services Board in February 2017.

 

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Rising oil prices expected to spur spending by small, intermediate producers

Posted on 07 September 2018 by admin

Rising oil prices that encouraged more spending by small and intermediate oil and gas companies in Western Canada in the first six months of 2018 are expected to lead drilling budgets to grow even further this fall.

Producers say last week’s steady march by U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil prices to higher than US$70 per barrel, a level last seen in early July, will encourage some to open their wallets.

 “A lot of us spent a fair bit of our capex for the year in the first quarter, and before spring break in the second quarter, during that four-month period,” said George Fink, CEO of Bonterra Energy Corp., in an interview.

Bonterra spent $55 million in the first half of 2018, almost 75 per cent of its $75-million exploration and development budget for the year, in part because it was able to lock in good prices for drilling and well completion services, Fink said, adding it is considering but hasn’t yet committed to spend more in the second half.

Small and intermediate oil and gas companies reported spending an average of about 50 per cent of their planned 2018 exploration and development budgets in the first six months of the year, according to a report this week from analysts at CIBC World Markets.

That’s up from about 47 per cent in the first half of 2017 and just 38 per cent in early 2016, when confidence faltered as WTI prices plunged below US$30 per barrel, the depths of the price crisis that began in late 2014, the bank added.

Drilling activity was strong in the three months ended June 30 thanks to warm weather that shortened spring break, the annual slowdown when the thawing landscape in Western Canada prevents companies from moving heavy equipment on provincial roads.

Several producers have signalled increases in their 2018 capital budgets to match expected increases in cash flow in the second half, but the market has tended to punish them with lower valuations, CIBC says.

“Realistically, we expect more producers to follow suit with additional budget increases by year-end — even if share buybacks and debt reduction remain the preferred outlets for free cash flow as far as most investors are concerned,” it said.

Light oil producer Whitecap Resources Inc. raised its dividend early this year and has bought back about $20 million worth of its shares, CEO Grant Fagerheim said in an interview, adding it plans to spend more next year.

The company is benefiting from higher oil prices and the magnifying effect of the low Canadian dollar, as its products are sold in U.S. dollars but its expenses are paid in Canadian loonies, Fagerheim said.

Extra development spending this year will come mainly from companies that produce oil or natural gas liquids, CIBC said, while producers of dry natural gas will remain in survival mode, hoping for positive investment decisions on liquefied natural gas export terminals to create demand that may bolster low gas prices.

Low natural gas prices were cited by the Petroleum Services Association of Canada in recently cutting its 2018 Canadian drilling forecast to 6,900 oil and gas wells, 200 fewer than were drilled in 2017.

WTI oil prices averaged US$67.91 per barrel in the second quarter ended June 30, up from US$48.33 in the same period of 2017, but Alberta natural gas prices fell to C$1.20 per million British thermal units from C$2.69.

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Toronto Real Estate Board threatens legal action against realtors in battle over home sales data

Posted on 07 September 2018 by admin

TORONTO – A lawyer representing the Toronto Real Estate Board says it is considering whether to fight for adjustments to a Competition Tribunal order that enabled the publication of Greater Toronto Area home sales data.

TREB lawyer Brian Facey says the board representing 50,000 GTA realtors has yet to decide if it will try to modify the order that came into effect when the Supreme Court refused to hear a case dealing with the data’s online publication last week.

The Supreme Court’s dismissal of the case forced TREB to allow the data’s publication, but only through password-protected webpages called virtual office websites (VOWs) that realtors allow clients to access.

In the wake of the dismissal, real estate companies rushed to post the data online under password protections, but a few posted the numbers outside of VOWs.

A statement from TREB says members who don’t comply with the order will see legal action taken against them, their TREB membership revoked and their access to the Multiple Listing Service database, where sales data is compiled when deals closed, removed.

Facey says TREB has already asked some non-complying websites to stop violating the ruling, but is refusing to say whether the board has taken legal action against any already.

Online listing site Zoocasa posted the information shortly after the ruling with no password protections, but later made the numbers accessible only through a VOW.

Rival listing site Bungol had the data on its webpage long before the Supreme Court ruling and has not put the numbers behind a password.

Facey, who insisted on answering questions by email, said TREB will continue to educate members on how to comply with the ruling and will review language in its realtor and listing agreements to ensure buyer and seller privacy concerns are addressed.

He says that review is not meant to limit data from VOWs, but is instead meant to ensure buyers and sellers know their rights and realtors have a clear understanding of the order.

 

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