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OPP receive complaints after Thunder Bay Amber Alert sets off phones Ontario-wide

Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

An Amber Alert for a missing 8-year-old put Ontario’s Emergency Alert system to the test Monday morning after the child was reported missing in Thunder Bay.

The alert was issued around 11:30 a.m. to phones across Ontario. A second alert, this time in French, was sent out shortly after. A third alert rang out around 1:30 p.m. after the child was found safe.

Test alerts were sent out to LTE enabled phones across eight provinces and two territories on May 9. A glitch in the messaging system caused problems for alert’s testing in Ontario, where only a small set of mobile users received the notification. In Quebec, no alerts were received.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ordered wireless providers to implement the system to distribute warnings of imminent safety threats, such as tornadoes, floods, Amber Alerts or terrorist threats.

“There is no opt out,” said CRTC spokesperson Patricia Valladao when contacted by the Star on Monday. “Given the importance of warning Canadians of imminent threats to their safety, life and property, it will not let you opt out of receiving alerts.”

Pelmorex Corp., the company that controls the service that disseminates amber alerts, said on their website that “the issuing government authority” of the alert decides which areas it’ll be sent to. OPP spokesperson Sgt. Carolle Dionne confirmed that the police form sent to the alert system has a checkbox to specify whether or not the incident warrants a “provincial alert.”

“People need to remember that it’s a quick alert that may potentially save a child’s life,” Dionne said. The OPP received numerous complaints from people about the alert causing disruptions.

The message lead to fervent discussion on social media, with many questioning the effect of an emergency alert issued across the province for an Amber Alert in Thunder Bay. Further concerns were raised on the impacts that the alerts may have on drivers who are startled by phones that were intentionally left on silent.

Martin Davies says he was at his work desk with his iPhone set to “do not disturb,” a setting that blocks incoming calls and text messages from disrupting the user. Davies was listening to music when the alert came in — loudly — through the headphones he was wearing. Later, Davies says he was driving to lunch when a second alert came in, this time over his car’s Bluetooth.

“All of a sudden it starts going off like crazy,” Davies said. “If someone was easily startled that could now cause distracted driving.”

The Alert Ready website notes in its FAQ section that a device set to silent will display an emergency alert, though may not play the alert sound.

“The emergency alert sound will usually play at whatever the current volume setting is on the wireless device,” the page reads. “However, this behaviour can differ depending on your wireless device.”

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TD Bank discounts 5-year variable mortgage rate as competition heats up

Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

TD Bank is joining a rival bank in offering a highly discounted variable mortgage rate as competition among Canada’s biggest lenders heats up.

The Toronto-based bank said Tuesday it’s lowering its five-year variable closed rate to 2.45 per cent, or 1.15 per cent lower than its TD Mortgage Prime rate, until May 31.

TD’s special rate follows last week’s move by the Bank of Montreal, which discounted its variable mortgage rate to 2.45 per cent until the end of May.

Canada’s lenders often offer special spring mortgage rates as home-buying activity picks up, but Robert McLister — founder of rate comparison website — said last week that BMO’s special discounted variable rate was the biggest widely advertised discount ever by a Big Six Canadian bank.

TD’s discounted rate on Tuesday brings its variable mortgage rate offer in line with BMO’s.

TD spokesperson Julie Bellissimo says its special five-year variable rate applies to new and renewed mortgages, as well as the variable rate term portion of certain TD home equity lines of credit.

“We are confident this is a strong offer for new and renewing customers, while ensuring we remain competitive in a changing environment,” Bellissimo said in an emailed statement.

The moves come amid slowing mortgage growth. The Canadian Real Estate Association said Tuesday that national home sales volume sank to the lowest level in more than five years in April, falling by 13.9 per cent from the same month last year. The national average sale price decreased by 11.3 per cent year-over-year.

Home sales have slowed due to various factors, including measures introduced the Ontario and B.C. governments to cool the housing market, such as taxes on non-resident buyers.

Other headwinds for mortgage growth include higher interest rates and a new financial stress test that makes it more difficult for would-be homebuyers to qualify with federally regulated lenders, such as the banks.

As of Jan. 1, buyers who don’t need mortgage insurance must prove they can make payments at a qualifying rate of the greater of two percentage points higher than the contractual mortgage rate or the central bank’s five-year benchmark rate. An existing stress test also stipulates that homebuyers with less than a 20 per cent down payment seeking an insured mortgage must qualify at the central bank’s benchmark five-year mortgage rate.

The tighter lending rules are making it harder for homebuyers to qualify for uninsured mortgages, and shrinking the pool of qualified buyers for higher-priced homes, CREA’s chief economist Gregory Klump said in April.

Meanwhile, Canada’s largest lenders all raised their benchmark posted five-year fixed mortgage rates in recent weeks as government bond yields increased, signalling a rise in borrowing costs.

In turn, the central bank’s five year benchmark qualifying rate — which is calculated using the posted rates at the Big Six banks — increased last week to 5.34 per cent. This qualifying rate is used in stress tests for both insured and uninsured mortgages, and an increase means that the bar is now even higher for borrowers to qualify.

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Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

Premier Wynne Highlights Hiring Commitment during National Nursing Week

TORONTO — A re-elected Liberal government would add 3,500 more nurses to Ontario’s health care system this year, delivering better care for people at home and in the community.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement today at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where she toured an oncology unit. The Premier was taking part in the Registered Nurses’ of Ontario Association’s “Take Your Politician to Work Day” during National Nursing Week.

In the 2018 Budget, Ontario Liberals boosted hospital funding by 4.6 percent, or $822 million, this year to help ensure Ontario’s nurses have the resources they need to improve access to care and better serve patients across the province. The Liberals also committed to reaching a provincial average of four hours of care for seniors in long-term care homes, beginning with hiring one additional registered nurses for each of the province’s 627 long-term care homes.

Taken together, the Liberals are hiring 3,500 nurses this year across the health system, including 2,500 nurses in hospital settings, with a priority on hiring registered nurses.

A re-elected Liberal government is also committed to:

•          Continuing to work with nursing and health system partners to ensure nursing vacancies are filled quickly and full-time work is prioritized.

•          Continuing to make health care settings safe for patients and health care providers by implementing the recommendations of the Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table.

•          Developing a health workforce planning strategy and ensure health care providers have a seat at the table.

 The Doug Ford Conservatives will cut billons from the services people depend on — like health care, education and transit – while rewarding the rich with unnecessary corporate tax cuts. The NDP have no plan to strengthen Ontario’s economy – which supports the services people depend on – and they would slam businesses with a huge tax hike. Only the Ontario Liberals will build a stronger economy that supports strong public services.

The Liberal plan expands publicly funded prescription drugs to one in two people in Ontario, makes the largest mental health care investment in Canadian history, builds a record amount of transit, boosts hospital funding, helps more people go to college or university with publicly funded tuition and lets more parents go back to work by funding preschool child care from 2 ½ to kindergarten. Ontario’s economy is the strongest it has been in two decades, but that growth and the care and services it funds are at risk this election.


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Aishwarya Bachchan slays in a peacock gown with daughter Aaradhya

Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan looks breathtakingly beautiful in a ‘peacock’ gown designed by Dubai-based designer Michael Cinco. She is joined by her daughter Aaradhya. Ash shared the pictures of her Cannes appearance on her Instagram account.

Aishwarya’s little princess Aaradhya Bachchan looks adorable in a red ruffled dress. The actress made her daughter twirl and even shared the pictures and videos on social media.

“Circle of life,” Aishwarya captioned the image.

On Thursday night, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan left for the French Riviera with her daughter. The mother-daughter duo was escorted to the airport with heavy security.

This is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s 17th Cannes appearance. Her association with the event dates long back. Aaradhya has been accompanying her mom since she was a baby. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will represent cosmetics giant L’Oreal at Cannes along with other brand ambassadors, Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone.


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Karan Johar played cupid for Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi

Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

It seems like it is officially the wedding season in Bollywood. A couple of days ago it was Sonam Kapoor’s big, fat Punjabi wedding which was every bit of a starry night. And, now the lovebirds who got married in a hush-hush ceremony are Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi. The two tied the knot on 10th May in an extremely private affair. For her wedding, Neha was ethereal in an Anita Dongre lehenga choli while Angad was dashing in white kurta pyajama and a turban. They took the nuptial vows in a Sikh wedding setup in Delhi and we couldn’t help but notice how lovely the couple looked together.

Neha Dhupia announced her wedding by sharing a picture from their wedding, and captioned it, “Best decision of my life.. today, I married my best friend. Hello there, husband! @angadbedi.”

Angad Bedi took to his Instagram and wrote, “Best friend.. now Wife!!! Well hello there Mrs BEDI!!! @nehadhupia” The newly-weds then released a joint statement which said, “Marrying your best friend is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and we are extremely fortunate to have found love in each other.” While Neha Dhupia and Angad Bedi’s wedding was a surprise for all their fans, it came out that even their friends from the Bollywood fraternity were unaware of the wedding. Bollywood celebs expressed their surprise reaction on social media and congratulated the couple. Acknowledging all the wishes and congratulatory messages, Neha and Angad took to their social media to thank everyone.

The actress took to Twitter to reveal the person who played cupid for this happy couple. She tweeted, ‘Thank you Cupid @karanjohar its all because of you … our hearts are exploding with joy and you are a huge reason for this happiness … jab miya biwi #raazi toh picture toh hit hi hogi na’.

After getting married, the couple took off for their Honeymoon to the United States of America.


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Had suicidal attempts: Zaira Wasim opens up about depression

Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

After Deepika Padukone, ‘Dangal’ actress Zaira Wasim opened up about battling depression. The 17-year-old actress said that she has been suffering from depression and severe anxiety for a very long time.

Zaira, who was last seen in ‘Secret Superstar’ took to her social media account to talk about fighting depression.

“I’m writing this to (finally) admit and confess that I, for a very long time have been suffering from severe anxiety and depression.

It’s almost been 4 years and I’ve always been embarrassed and scared to admit it not only because of the stigma that goes around with the word DEPRESSION with it but most importantly because of always being told that *You’re too young to be depressed* or *It’s just a phase*

Perhaps it could’ve been *JUST A PHASE* but this awful phase has put me in situations I never wished or chose to be in. Popping 5 antidepressants everyday, anxiety attacks, being rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night, feeling empty, restless, anxious, hallucinations, having sore limbs from sleeping too much to not being able to sleep for weeks, from overeating to starving myself, unexplained fatigue, body ache, self loathing, nervous breakdowns, suicidal thoughts were all parts of this PHASE.

I knew that something wasn’t right with me, I sensed it could be DEPRESSION. I still remember my first panic attack at the age of 12, the other one at 14 and now all I remember is losing count of the number of panic attacks, losing counts of the number of medicines I’ve had and I’m still having, losing count of the number of times I have been told- ‘It’s nothing, you’re too young to be depressed I was always made to believe that there’s nothing wrong with, but I knew- I always did and I still do.

I remember being told that there’s no such thing as depression, it only happens to people to were above 25.

But I could never actually accept the fact that I suffer from a disorder called DEPRESSION- that affects almost 350 million people worldwide; without asking for their permission to ruin their mental and emotional state or asking them their age.

I was always pushed into the bubble of denial, despite knowing the reality and I would always lie to myself and others and just shake my head in yes when they would say – It’s nothing, you’re too young to be depressed, I would just lie to myself and call the doctors crazy.

Depression and anxiety is not a feeling, it’s an illness. Its not somebody’s choice or fault. It can affect anyone-anytime.

It’s almost been four and half years since I’ve been diagnosed with depression and anxiety and today I’m finally ready to understand my illness and embrace the version of myself which I’ve always wanted to accept, without being ashamed, embarrassed and having the fear of being judged for it.

I just need a complete break from everything, my social life, my work, school and especially social media. I’m really looking forward to the holy month of Ramadhan as it may be the perfect opportunity to figure things out.

Please remember me in your prayers.

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Karan Johar REPLACES Sidharth Malhotra opposite Kareena Kapoor, ropes in Janhvi Kapoor & Kartik Aaryan

Posted on 17 May 2018 by admin

We exclusively told you a few days ago that Karan Johar is all set to helm a fancy ensemble film and has roped in bestie Kareena Kapoor Khan for the same. We also told you that he was looking at casting Sidharth Malhotra opposite the diva and has one more younger lead pair in mind. Now the latest update on the film is that while KJo has apparently roped in Kartik Aaryan and Janhvi Kapoor to be his second lead couple, but he is unsure if Sidharth Malhotra is the right fit for Bebo on screen. Our well-placed sources in the industry tell us that he is scouting for a male superstar to be cast opposite Bebo. Now, this sure is a great news for Kartik and Janhvi but not so amazing for Sid who is going through a bit of a slump in his career.

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Power outages continue in Toronto three days after vicious windstorm

Posted on 09 May 2018 by admin

Widespread destruction made process much slower, leaving as many as 600 people still without power Monday night.

The widespread destruction caused by a Friday windstorm made the process to restore power to people’s homes slower, leaving hundreds still without electricity more than 72 hours later, Toronto Hydro says.

“We had over 400 wires down across the city, and at one point we had 1,500 different outage events in the queue at the same time,” spokesperson Brian Buchan said.

Buchan said that the outages are individual incidents spread across the city, instead of a concentrated area, making it more labour-intensive than usual.

He said 630 people were still without power as of late Monday afternoon, and said Hydro Toronto is working to get that number to zero.

Buchan said he hoped to have the majority of people back with power Monday night, but it may take longer for people who have experienced major property damage.

Janine Smith said her apartment building in Downsview had been without power or water since Saturday. While it’s an inconvenience for her, it caused serious issues for elderly and disabled tenants.

“It’s annoying for me, it’s dangerous for other people,” she said Monday afternoon.

One of her neighbours is recovering from cancer, and is hooked up to medical equipment.

“His immune system is just wiped so he can’t leave his apartment,” she said. “And even if he could, he can’t take oxygen tanks and all of his equipment down 36 flights of stairs.”

Smith said some tenants left their apartments to stay with other people. Smith said she had to shower at her sister-in-law’s house on Sunday.

Toronto Hydro said power to her building had been restored by Monday evening.

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Calgary police constable gets jail sentence for assaulting suspect during arrest

Posted on 09 May 2018 by admin

Const. James Othen was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon after Clayton Prince was injured trying to run from police in July 2016.

CALGARY—A Calgary police officer who used excessive force against a suspect during an arrest has been handed a 90-day sentence.

Const. James Othen was found guilty of assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon back in February for his role in a traffic stop where Clayton Prince was injured trying to run from police.

Prince suffered broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a facial cut and significant bruising in the July 30, 2016, arrest.

Court heard that when Prince was in the cruiser, Othen dug the point of a key into Prince’s neck behind the ear.

The injury became infected and required medical attention.

Othen, who is suspended, will begin his sentence later this month and will serve his sentence on weekends.

Two other officers who were charged in connection with the arrest were acquitted.

Prince told the trial that he ran because he had been at a music festival and had been smoking marijuana prior to the traffic stop.

After he was pulled over, he jumped out of his vehicle and ran through a nearby restaurant.

Prince said three officers caught him, placed him in handcuffs and proceeded to punch and kick him.

Othen testified in court last fall that his adrenaline was pumping and he feared for his safety as he and about a half dozen other officers were trying to take down Prince.

He said at one point Prince started to move toward officers, so he thought there was going to be a fight.

Charges against Prince of resisting arrest and possession of marijuana were later stayed.

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Toronto home prices are steadying, amid dramatic year-over-year declines

Posted on 09 May 2018 by admin

Despite a 12 per cent April decline, the Toronto Real Estate Board predicts moderate increases ahead.

Toronto area housing statistics continue to look dramatically lower than the steeply rising figures of early last year. But there are signs that the market is flattening.

The average home or condo sold for 12.4 per cent less year over year in April with all types of resale houses and condos averaging $804,584 across the region.

But preliminary seasonally adjusted prices from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) show prices down only 0.2 per cent from March with 1.6 per cent fewer sales month over month, about the same as February to March, a much gentler drop than the start of the year.

The number of homes that actually sold in April — 7,792 — was down 32.1 per cent from last year.

The decline in both sales and prices was greatest among detached houses, which sold for about $1.03 million on average, down 14.4 per cent from a year ago. The number of house sales dropped 38.4 per cent.

Condo sales saw a moderate 3.2 per cent price increase compared to last year, to an average of $559,343, with the number of units sold dropping 26 per cent.

The average cost for all houses and condos this year to date, including semi-detached and townhomes, was $779,400 in April, compared to $886,923 a year ago.

York Region continues to see the biggest year-over-year price declines in the Toronto area, while city of Toronto home values held steady, according to the real estate board’s Home Price Index.

Jason Mercer, TREB director of market analysis, says the dramatic year-over-year differences “mask the fact that market conditions should support moderate increases in home prices as we move through the second half of the year, particularly for condominium apartments and higher density lowrise home types.”

Condos and townhouses have become the predominant starter homes in the Toronto region because of their relative affordability.

Meanwhile, high-end homes in the $2-million-plus range accounted for only 5.5 per cent of detached house sales this year compared to 10 per cent in April 2017.

“The year-over-year change in the overall average selling price has been impacted by both changes in market conditions as well as changes in the type and price point of homes being purchased,” said a TREB release.

It urged provincial parties to make housing a priority in the June election. The board is pushing for tax relief for buyers, particularly the provincial land transfer tax and the municipal land transfer fee unique to Toronto.

“We believe that any attempt to increase the Toronto land transfer tax should require approval from the provincial government given the significance of Toronto’s economy to the province, and the connections between the Toronto real estate market and that of the broader GTA,” said TREB president Tim Syrianos in the release.

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