Reported flu cases increase slightly in Saskatoon

Written by admin on 15/11/2018 Categories: 长沙桑拿

SASKATOON – There are renewed calls from the Saskatoon Health Region to roll up your sleeves and get a flu shot. Officials say they have seen a slight increase in the number of confirmed influenza cases.

There have been 67 cases reported so far this season.

That’s a big change from the 451 cases reported at this time last year.

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  • Flu season off to slow start, expected to increase in coming weeks

    “This hasn’t been a typical influenza season, and we are just now beginning to see an upswing in confirmed influenza cases that could last well into March,” said Dr. Simon Kapaj, the region’s deputy health minister.

    “Of particular concern are the health risks that seasonal influenza poses to our most vulnerable populations, including the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems or other chronic health conditions, and their caregivers.”

    Officials expect influenza activity in the province will peak in the third or fourth week of February.

    READ MORE: Why this year’s flu season is off to a slow, nearly non-existent start

    Those looking to get a flu immunization shot can do so by booking an appointment with their nearest public health office, making an appointment with a doctor or visiting a pharmacy offering the vaccine. More information is available online from the health region.

    To date, over 83,000 people in the Saskatoon Health Region have been immunized, including 63 per cent of the region’s staff.

    Meaghan Craig contributed to this story

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WATCH: Hé Ho, Festival du Voyageur gets ready to open to public

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

WINNIPEG —; Manitobans, get ready to put on your sashes and throw on your plaid, the 47th annual Festival du Voyageur is about to kick off. The ten day winter event begins Friday at 5 p.m.

Festival organizers, as well as Premier Greg Selinger, Mayor Brian Bowman, and MP Dan Vandall were outside Fort Gibraltor Thursday morning to give the public a sneak preview.

READ MORE: MAP: Festival du Voyageur snow sculptures around Winnipeg

“It’s a great honour to be here,” Bowman said. “To welcome Winnipeggers, Canadians and visitors from around the world, who will be visiting us at the Voyageur Park. It’s a beautifu festival that celebrates our Francophone and Métis culture.”

Premier Greg Selinger, MP Dan Vandal and Mayor Brian Bowman celebrating the Festival du Voyageur.

Global News

Official Festival Family, The Sorin family.

MP Dan Dan Vandal helping unveil the CMHR exhibit, Let Them Howl.

This year’s festival has lots of new events, such as a Valentine’s Day “Single’s Day”,  Karaoke Night, as well as a board game night.

WATCH: Mayor Brian Bowman, Premier Greg Selinger and MP Dan Vandall outside Fort Gibraltor Thursday morning, celebrating the Festival du Voyageur

Mayor Bowman calls for residents to ‘Be Voyageur’


Mayor Bowman calls for residents to ‘Be Voyageur’


Premier Selinger kicks off Festival du Voyageur


Saint Boniface–Saint Vital MP hypes up Winnipegers for Festival du Voyageur

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Although there is plenty of new activities to take in, there will also be all of the old favourites. Snow and ice sculpting, traditional arts and trades and crafts demonstrations, snowshoe workshops and tours will run throughout the festival.

READ MORE: Festival du Voyageur showcases this year’s entertainment line up

“Winnipeg is buzzing with excitement and people are embracing winter like never before,” said Dan Leclerc, president of Festival du Voyageur. “Tomorrow Voyageur Park will open its doors and welcome tens of thousands of visitors.”

The organizers also unveiled the new Canadian Human Rights Museum exhibit, Let Them Howl, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of Manitoba women winning the right to vote.

CMHR Exhibit: Let Them Howl

Festival du Voyageur kicks runs from February 12 to the 21.

The ten day festival pass for adults costs $32. Youth between the ages of 13 and 17 can get the pass for $16, while kids aged six to 12 cost $11 a head. Kids under the age of five get in free. Eager beavers can knock a few bucks off each of those prices by buying pre-sale tickets.

Single-day passes cost $18 for adults, $11 for youth and $9 for kids over the age of five.

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Undercover Uber: The inside scoop on ride-sharing

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

MONTREAL – With tensions rising between Uber and the taxi industry, the pressure is on municipal and provincial governments to find solutions.

Montreal taxi drivers have been protesting the ride-sharing service, shutting down streets and blocking access to the airport.

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Some have even gone as far as smashing the phone of an Uber-driving cabbie.

Drivers claim the ride-sharing service is against the law and is eliminating their jobs, but that didn’t stop the City of Edmonton from legalising the service.

READ MORE: Edmonton paves the way in Canada for Uber

This puts the ball into the court of the provincial governments to figure out their stance on the issue.

For now, Quebec has agreed to call a parliamentary commission to look into Uber’s entry into the marketplace.

Quebec’s Transport Minister Jacques Daoust warned that “disruptive technologies” like Uber are probably here to stay, but that a solution has to be found.

Christopher Nardi, a journalist at the Journal de Montréal, sat down with Senior Anchor Jamie Orchard to discuss his first-hand experience working as an undercover Uber driver for a week.

“Just in my first day, I was really stunned to notice all the clients are really young,” Nardi said.

“I can count on my two hands the number of clients I had over 30.”

He believes the demographic of Uber users reflects the service’s low price and convenience, since students were his biggest clientèle.

He mused that the large attraction to Uber could mean the future of transportation may very well be ride-sharing services rather than the conventional taxi system.

WATCH: Montreal taxis fight Uber

Taxi drivers confront Uber


Taxi drivers confront Uber


Montreal taxi drivers continue fight against Uber


New Montreal taxi laws come into effect


Montreal taxi mystery shoppers

Nardi revealed many Uber drivers feel threatened by their taxi counterparts; passengers will often sit in the front seat or retrieve their own luggage from the trunk to “look more subtle in case taxi drivers are on the hunt.”

“They’ve developed tricks actually so that they kind of pass the test when taxi drivers are looking for them,” he said.

Nardi noted passengers even refrained from checking their phone too often while waiting for an Uber driver to avoid detection.

Despite the possibility of threats, he said Uber will pay any tickets or fees incurred upon drivers, including impounding charges if a car is seized.

Based on his experience, Nardi said Uber tries to make it very appealing for drivers to join the service, having no signup fees, no set schedules and no extra insurance required.

On the other hand, becoming a taxi driver in Montreal requires licenses and permits, as well as 150 hours of training.

The Commission des transports du Québec estimates the average cost of the permit at $189,180.

Taxi drivers claim it is unfair that their jobs are being taken by ride-sharing services and autonomous drivers who don’t have proper permits.

All the same, Nardi foresees change and modernisation in the taxi industry following Edmonton’s legalisation of Uber, and insists the question is not if it will be legalised in Quebec, but when.

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Why W-18, a drug 100 times stronger than fentanyl, will be hard to track

Written by admin on 15/10/2019 Categories: 长沙桑拿

Story highlights

W-18 100 times stronger than fentanyl

First discovered at the University of Alberta in 1982

Calgary police seized 3 pills in 2015 drug bust

Drug being manufactured in China and shipped to west coast

SASKATOON – It was a word unfamiliar in many households across the nation but as 2015 unfolded it was one many families would never forget. In Saskatchewan there have been at least 30 fentanyl-related deaths since 2013 and there were 213 deaths in Alberta in 2015 alone.

Now officials are warning the public about W-18, a drug even stronger than fentanyl. The drug was first discovered at the University of Alberta in 1982 and only just recently by Calgary police during a drug bust last August.

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    According to police, 110 pills were seized at a home in Rocky View County believed at the time to be fentanyl. Test results from Health Canada have since confirmed three pills contained the drug W-18, a powerful synthetic opioid that may still be on the streets.

    READ MORE: New drug W-18 ‘100 times more powerful than fentanyl’: Calgary police

    The drug is 100 times stronger than fentanyl and 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

    “It’s so potent that regardless of how they cut it down and market it, you are going to end up with a situation somewhat similar to fentanyl where you’re going get a lot of people using it naively, overdosing and dying,” said Dr. Peter Butt, an addiction specialist with the Saskatoon Health Region in mental health and addiction services.

    While the colour of the pill recovered by Calgary police has not been disclosed, police in Saskatoon say it doesn’t matter, it’s a gamble every time you take drugs.

    “When it comes to something like fentanyl or this new W-18, you have no idea what you’re taking and your first time, as we’ve seen, could be your last time,” said Det. Sgt. Dean Hoover with the Saskatoon Police Service.

    According to law enforcement, W-18 is being produced in China then sent to the shores of British Columbia.

    “All it takes is a chemist with access to the chemical structure and they can duplicate the compound,” explained Butt. The advantage for dealers to have illicit drugs that are more concentrated is they’re easier to ship and hide.

    As for when it could end up in Saskatoon, it may be only a matter of time, according to Hoover, since 90 to 95 per cent of illegal drugs trafficked here are from the west coast.

    “If it ends up here, we’re likely going to see deaths so yes we’re concerned.”

    Current police protocol requires officers to send seized drugs for testing any time a case is expected to enter into a preliminary hearing or trial.

    “We seize it as an exhibit and it’s sent to the Health Canada lab which is in British Columbia, they identify it for us and send it back, tell us if it’s a controlled substance or not and then we can charge or not charge from there.”

    W-18 is not currently regulated under the Controlled Drug and Substances Act.

    READ MORE: Police on alert for W-18, drug more powerful than fentanyl

    The big question is if it does come to Saskatoon how long will it take before we know it? Saskatoon police can’t currently track W-18; neither can RCMP in the province.

    In an email to Global News the Health Ministry confirmed the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory is aware of the potential and is working on developing a test for the drug but that could take up to three to six weeks.

    The Office of the Chief Coroner relies on that same lab for test results that may confirm if there has been a drug-related death.

    A Naloxone kit may work to reverse the drug in the event of an overdose but it may be more challenging given it’s potency.

    “The more potent the opioid and the stronger it binds with the opioid receptors, the harder it’s going to be for Naloxone to dislodge it so it would take more than a less potent opioid,” said Butt.

    If Naloxone was to wear off, which is more likely with W-18, a person could return to an overdose state. That happens approximately 30 minutes after it is first administered and why you need to seek immediate medical attention in the event of an overdose.

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Robert Downey Jr. helps 9-year-old with cystic fibrosisbecome ‘Iron Boy’

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

It was an exciting day in Sydney, Australia Thursday as Iron Man himself, Tony Stark, helped a plucky young hero defeat a villainous android on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.

The hero in question? Nine-year-old Domenic Pace, a child battling cystic fibrosis who got to live out a dream thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the New South Wales Police Department, and actor Robert Downey Jr.

Pace’s day began around 9 a.m. local time, when he was flown via helicopter to New South Wales police headquarters.

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  • Canadian Iron Man demonstrates homemade exoskeleton by lifting a car

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  • Robert Downey Jr. pardoned for felony drug conviction that sent him to prison

    There, he received his mission: rescue “reporter” Hope Joy from the clutches of the evil android Ultron. He also received his suit of Iron Man-style armour and a sidekick, Air Force Colonel James Rhodes AKA War Machine, played by Pace’s older brother Joseph Pace.

    WATCH:Canadian Iron Man demonstrates homemade exoskeleton by lifting a car

    Ferried by police speedboats to Sydney harbour, Iron Boy managed to defeat Ultron’s henchmen, subdue the evil robot himself, and rescue his hostage.

    And in true Iron Man fashion, he also found time to bask in front of his adoring public.

    “On behalf of a grateful police force and indeed the people of Sydney, I would like to thank Domenic for his tremendous efforts today,” New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said in a press release.

    “It can’t be easy dealing with an illness like his and we feel privileged to be able to work with Make-A-Wish Australia to ensure his wish to be a famous superhero came true,” he added.

    Pace’s day wasn’t over yet, though. Having beaten the bad guy, rescued the girl, and saved the day, Iron Boy got a special message from Iron Man himself, Tony Stark, played by actor Robert Downey Jr.

    “I hear you’ve had quite the day,” Downey mused in his video message to Pace. “It’s hard work saving the world, isn’t it?”

    WATCH: Robert Downey Jr. gets in character as Tony Stark to deliver special message to sick little boy

    The 50-year-old actor, who made the character a household name with his performances in both the solo Iron Man films and the crossover Avengers franchise, finished his message by welcoming “Iron Boy” into the elite superhero team.

    “I don’t do this very often. I’m making you an honorary member of the Avengers,” Downey said. “I hereby dub thee, because, guess what? Iron Man loves you.”

    WATCH: ‘Captain America: Civil War’ trailer pits Avengers against each other

    Pace isn’t the only kid to have his superhero dreams come true in recent years. A five-year-old leukemia patient donned Batman’s iconic cape and cowl to become Batkid in San Francisco in 2013.

    Then last September, a six-year-old Edmonton girl who lives with acute lymphoblastic leukemia pulled on the webs to become Spider-Mable and rescue Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference.

    As a last thank you, the police awarded Iron Boy the with Commissioner’s Award for Gallantry, both for defeating Ultron and for the bravery he displays in battling his own condition.

    “Not only has Domenic battled villains and saved his city, he’s stared down his illness and won the day,” the commissioner said.

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Cosby’s wife must give deposition, but may refuse certain questions

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

BOSTON – A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled Thursday that Bill Cosby’s wife must give a deposition in a defamation lawsuit against the comedian, but said she can refuse to answer questions about private marital conversations.

In the lawsuit, seven women claim Cosby defamed them by branding them as liars after they went public with accusations that he sexually assaulted them decades ago.

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A lawyer for the women has sought to compel Camille Cosby to give a deposition. Last month, a magistrate judge rejected Cosby’s bid to quash the deposition subpoena.

READ MORE: Kanye West scorned on 桑拿会所 after declaring Bill Cosby ‘innocent’

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Mastroianni upheld the magistrate’s ruling, but said Camille Cosby may refuse to answer questions that call for testimony prohibited by the Massachusetts marital disqualification rule. The rule generally prohibits spouses from testifying about private marital conversations.

The women’s lawyer, Joseph Cammarata, hoped to depose Camille Cosby on Feb. 22, but it was not immediately clear if that date is firm.

Camille Cosby’s lawyers praised the ruling. In a statement, they said the ruling affirms “the confidential nature of and protection afforded to marital communications.”

Cammarata has argued that since Camille Cosby has been married to Cosby for 52 years and was also his business manager, she could have useful information.

But since the judge ruled that she can refuse to answer questions about her private conversations with her husband, it is now unclear how much information she will supply.

READ MORE: Judge refuses to throw out sex assault case against Bill Cosby

In his ruling, Mastroianni said the right to refuse to answer certain deposition questions does not entitle someone to refuse to appear for a deposition altogether. The judge also said that the marital disqualification rule only applies to private conversations and there are exceptions, including when a third party was present and heard the conversation, if both spouses were jointly engaged in criminal activity or if the communication was written.

“Accordingly, in light of the relatively narrow scope of the rule, the existence of various exceptions, and (Camille Cosby’s) unique role in Defendant’s life for over fifty years, she may possess a good deal of relevant, non-protected information which can be uncovered in a deposition,” Mastroianni wrote.

The seven women suing Cosby for defamation are among about 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct. He has denied their allegations.

Cosby, 78, was charged in December in Pennsylvania with drugging and sexually assaulting a former Temple University athletic department employee at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty. A judge last week denied a motion by Cosby’s lawyers to dismiss the charges and scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 8.

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How parenthood changed the Global Edmonton family

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With Family Day approaching, we asked some of our Global Edmonton parents which habits they gave up in order to be better role models for their children.

Su-ling Goh, Health Matters reporter

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  • Global Edmonton launches Family Matters

    I gave up warmth in winter. I used to avoid going outside when the temperature dropped below -5°C (I know – I’m a terrible Canadian). Now that I have my boy, Danick (age 5), I force myself to bundle up and leave the house. We go on nature walks, tobogganing and to winter festivals. I even bought myself a toque and heavy winter boots! I want my son to be active, no matter what season it is. And now we have some great snowy memories.

    Christine Meadows, Early News producer

    I gave up television as background noise. I didn’t realize how much we had the TV on until the baby grew into “screen watching” age and would stop what he was doing to see what was on TV.

    Tom Vernon, Political Affairs reporter

    I’m not going to be so naive to say I’m completely eliminating Coca-Cola, but I would like to cut my two-decade-old habit of having it daily. I don’t want my daughter to see it as a normal drink. I no longer keep it in my home. Now I just need the will power to walk on past the machine at work!

    Erin Chalmers, Morning News reporter/anchor

    I pretend to like spiders, which I am actually terrified of!! I have even let one walk on my hand before—which may not seem like a big deal—but for me that is HUGE!!

    When Logan was about two years old we were outside and he saw a spider and started to squeal. He ran away, saying he doesn’t like spiders because he’s scared of them. That’s when I realized he got that fear from me.

    I don’t want him to be scared of something—or for that matter, love something—just because I do or l am. I want him to decide how he feels about things. So now, I am very aware of anything that scares me. I am honest with him in saying I don’t love spiders, but I try to show him they are not something to fear.

    Kendra Slugoski, reporter

    I gave up “my time to work out in the evening” so I can spend time with the boys.

    I incorporate some exercise into our activities. If we go to the park, I will run and push them in the stroller. In the winter they may sit in the sled while I run with the rope around my waist. I look like a mad woman pulling my kids and dog around my waist – but hopefully they see how being active can be part of our everyday life.

    Kerry Powell, managing editor

    I had to give up America’s Next Top Model, which I used to love to watch. The models were such train-wrecks—shallow, insecure, viciously catty—but all my daughter saw was the pretty girls and the constant evaluation of them. I couldn’t bear for her to see it without the protection of a developed sense of irony.

    Jennifer Crosby, Morning News anchor

    I try to be careful of what I say around body image stuff – how I speak about myself and others. We are all—girls especially I think—bombarded with these messages that we are not good enough or that we must constantly be “fixing” something. I want her to feel good about herself and make positive decisions, not decisions made out of what she perceives others’ expectations to be.

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UBCO team may have revolutionized glass

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

KELOWNA – A discovery by team of engineers out of the UBC Okanagan (UBCO) could revolutionize a simple household staple.

Associate professor Kenneth Chau and three engineers from UBCO are in the midst of developing something that could, in the future, turn an average window frame into a big screen TV or an energy efficient thermostat. Their innovation involves adding silver to glass.

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“I don’t think we were surprised when the equations told us it was possible. I think we were surprised when we actually did it in the lab and looked at this piece of glass and saw there was more light going through it when we added metal,” says Chau.

“It’s counterintuitive because metals naturally reflect light. When you look in the mirror it’s a thin coating of metal that causes it to reflect your image. So it’s not expected that adding metal to a piece of glass will actually allow you to see through it more.”

The upgraded pieces of glass have been dubbed “smart windows.” They are more transparent than glass, and able to selectively absorb heat and light.

However, Chau says the main draw is that the project promotes sustainable living.

“In the future we’re going to have materials that we can use to more efficiently use the energy that the sun provides us. I think that’s the vision. We want to re-envision what a building really means. A building should be a smart place to live where we adapt to what is supplied to us by the sun,” says Chau.

“The consensus opinion is that it’s a very exciting finding. It’s new, it changes the way we think about metals, and maybe it could lead to more exciting discoveries.”

Development of the project began in 2014. However, don’t count on tuning into the big game on your window anytime soon. The team of researchers say commercial use is still a ways off.

– with files from Timm Bruch

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PHOTOS: Find your Festival du Voyageur pictures here

Written by admin on 16/09/2019 Categories: 长沙桑拿

WINNIPEG —; Festival du Voyageur has officially wrapped up. The 10 day event saw more than 102,000 visits to the official festival site, and hundreds also stopped by Global’s table at the souvenir tent.

Global set up a booth where visitors were able to get their photo taken with our green screen technology on one of our three backgrounds. Our Global news staff had a great time going through all the fun pictures, thanks so much for everyone for coming out!

Green screen days: 

Friday Feb. 12 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.)Monday Feb. 15 (10 a.m. – 7 p.m.)Friday Feb. 19 (5 p.m. – 9 p.m.)

Green Screen photo gallery – Feb 19

Green Screen photo gallery – Feb 15

Green Screen photo gallery – Feb 12

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Filmmaker captures ‘drastically different’ surfing experience near Saint John

Written by admin on  Categories: 长沙桑拿

Is Saint John about to become surf city?

It already is if you ask a group who rides the waves in the Bay of Fundy.

“It’s a lot different than anywhere else in the world,” says veteran surfer and filmmaker Sean Doucet.

Doucet has chosen Saint John as the spot to film a pilot documentary series about out-of-the-ordinary cold-water surf spots around the world.

“No one realizes that you can actually surf here,” he said.

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Several times each week, Sean and a group of about 15 thrill-seeking friends ride the waves rolling in with the tide.

“It’s a lot different with all of the industry that we have here. You don’t really get to surf anywhere else where you have a refinery right behind you pumping,” he said.

Doucet says Saint John is a prime surf spot because the tides are “so drastically different” and powerful.

In winter, the water temperature hovers just above freezing.

Jaime Worden lives near Bayshore Beach, one of the place the group likes to surf. She said some days she thinks they are crazy.

“Some days they are beautiful to watch, but some days they disappear in the fog and I just hold my breath until I can see them again.”

Chasing the powerful Fundy tides from one beach to another can be risky. If you don’t know where and when to head out, the tides here can quickly drag you out to sea.

But for Doucet the thrill is worth the risk to capture the perfect swell.

“I used to be a professional snowboarder, and when I would go snowboarding in the mountains I would get the feeling of being small,” he said. “So when I come to the ocean, I kind of get the similar feeling of being a lot smaller than I really am and it’s pretty powerful.”

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Drake getting key to the City of Toronto, says Mayor John Tory

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Toronto mayor John Tory tweeted on Thursday that international music star Drake will be presented with a key to the city on Friday.

After saying it’s the “highest honour” the city can give, Tory added, “I want these moments to inspire us as a city, and send a real message: Toronto can do great things.”

Mayor John Tory and Drake meet at Tory’s office Feb. 3, 2016. The homegrown rap star is to get the key to the city on Friday.

Office of Mayor John Tory / Handout

READ MORE: Drake and Rihanna film music video at Toronto eatery

Tory posted a collection of tweets honouring Drake (whose real name is Aubrey Graham) and his commitment to bringing Toronto to the world stage. Here are a few of them:

As indicated in the tweets, Tory met with Drake recently, and the pair discussed Toronto’s music scene, inspiring the city’s youth and ensuring Toronto maintains its vibrance through the arts.

READ MORE: From the Dalai Lama to Nickelback: Recent key to the city recipients

Of course, the bestowing of the key falls on the same night as the NBA All-Star Weekend begins, which is being held in Toronto. Drake has famously endorsed the Toronto Raptors here and abroad, so it’s only fitting that these events are culminating.

Started from the bottom, indeed.

Follow @CJancelewicz
Drake Timeline | PrettyFamous

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Is Zika virus causing a spike in microcephaly in babies?

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New evidence is pointing to a strong link between Zika virus and microcephaly in babies while other research suggests the rare condition was in Brazil years before the mosquito-borne virus surfaced.

On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said Zika virus was found in tissue samples from two babies with microcephaly who died within 20 hours of birth along with two miscarried fetuses.

All four mothers had signs of Zika virus during the first trimester of pregnancy.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Zika virus found in tissue from babies, fetuses with microcephaly

  • Pregnant Australian woman tests positive for Zika virus

  • Colombia says 3,177 pregnant women with Zika; no microcephaly

    In another case, also released Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, academics document an incident involving a European woman who had spent time in Brazil. In February 2015, she became pregnant there and fell ill 13 weeks later, with what was suspected to be Zika virus.

    READ MORE: Zika virus: What doctors know about how it potentially spreads

    She returned to Europe at 28 weeks pregnant and terminated her pregnancy four weeks later. Testing pointed to fetal anomalies. The fetus showed “prominent microcephaly.”

    For months, global health officials have suspected a link between Zika virus and microcephaly as Brazil grapples with the biggest epidemic of the virus to date.

    Health officials in El Salvador, Brazil, Jamaica, Ecuador, Honduras and Colombia told residents to stave off pregnancy until doctors better understand if the infection tampers with brain development in infants. So far, it’s been linked to a 20-fold increase in microcephaly in babies, in which the newborns are born with irregularly small heads and underdeveloped brains.

    But a study published last week by the World Health Organization suggested that there was a rise in babies born with abnormally small heads since 2012 – three years before Zika virus surfaced in Brazil.

    READ MORE: Canadian pregnant women who’ve visited Zika-affected countries should see their doctor

    In this study, Brazilian scientists looked at the health data of 16,208 babies born in Paraiba region since 2012. Up to eight per cent matched the criteria for microcephaly – that’s 648 babies born with the rare condition since 2012.

    “Some people are saying perhaps this is not new, perhaps it’s been here all along. It’s what we call a reporting bias, where when we look for something, you find it,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, a tropical infectious disease specialist at Toronto General Hospital and the University of Toronto, told Global News.

    Scientists need to consider if these cases are being detected because of increased surveillance. But the case reports on finding Zika in the brain tissue of developing babies with microcephaly are striking, he said.

    “It’s a significant finding and it raises more questions. It’s another arrow pointing in the right direction. They’re clues but by no means can we say that one thing causes another,” he explained.

    Jason Tetro, a Canadian microbiologist and author of The Germ Files, says there are many factors at play. It isn’t as simple as saying Zika virus definitely causes microcephaly, for example.

    “The problem with Zika virus is it can go throughout the body. We’ve seen it in saliva, in urine, in semen, but you would have to somehow break the maternal fetal barrier in order to cause infection in the baby,” he explained.

    “Most likely this is due to some kind of compromised immune system in the mother. It could very well be that the mothers have a weakened immune system due to environmental factors,” he said.

    READ MORE: Should Canadians worry about Zika virus?

    Experts hypothesize that Zika in the blood of a pregnant woman crosses into the placenta and affects the fetus during a critical time in neurological development and growth in the central nervous system.

    Both Canadian experts cautioned that more research needs to be done about the virus the medical community is steadfastly working to unravel.

    “We still need to understand the mechanism of infection in the brain before we can jump to any conclusions either supporting or detracting from Zika virus as the cause of microcephaly,” he said.

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Halifax deputy mayor Matt Whitman faces complaint over social media conduct – Halifax

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A Halifax man is asking Mayor Mike Savage to remove Matt Whitman as deputy-mayor because of his conduct on social media.

Scott Warnica describes himself as a constituent and neighbour of Whitman’s in Kingswood who says he’s fed up with Whitman’s tweets and Facebook posts, which he says cross a line for an elected official.

He’s also an RCMP officer, but stresses he’s not making his complaint as a police officer, but as a concerned resident.

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“I just think it’s time for council to hold him accountable,” Warnica said.

The matter came to a head for Warnica on Tuesday when Whitman tweeted with the hashtags “#powertrip” and “#getalife” in reference to a man ticketed by the RCMP for operating an ATV on a roadway.

The all-terrain vehicle was equipped with a plow and the man was cleaning up snow on the public roadway in his cul-de-sac. It’s illegal to operate an ATV on a roadway in Nova Scotia and the man was issued a $406 fine.

Warnica says the tweet and its hashtags cross a line.

He says Whitman has a history of using social media inappropriately, citing a 2013 tweet calling for Kingswood residents to dial 911 if they spotted a red Charger speeding in their neighbourhood. Whitman cited the street the driver lives on.

Warnica said that sort of tweet is unprofessional for an elected official and that it encourages people to call an emergency number for non-emergencies.

That is one in a long list of complaints he has sent to Savage about Whitman.

“As a remedy I would like Deputy Mayor Matt Whitman removed as deputy-mayor for HRM, I would like to see him tweet an apology while admitting he acted unprofessionally and irresponsibly as well as publicly apologize to those affected,” Warnica writes in his complaint to the mayor.

Read then full complaint:

View this document on Scribd

Global News contacted Whitman, who responded with a text message saying he was not going to comment on the allegations or the complaint.

Halifax Regional Municipality officials are governed by Administrative Order 52, which details a code of conduct for elected officials. The administrative order deals with conflict of interest but also calls for elected councillors to observe a high standard of morality, and to treat employees, contract workers and the public with “dignity, understanding and respect.”

In his complaint, Warnica alleges Whitman violated sections of the code of conduct requiring him to be objective and honest.

He also says Whitman violates the section requiring councillors to recognize the importance of working with other levels of government and organizations in Nova Scotia.

The mayor said there is a code of conduct for all Halifax elected officials and that once a complaint is lodged several steps must be followed.

“We take any official complaint very seriously,” Savage said. “There is a process we intend to use to deal with it.”

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