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Mom accused of murder takes witness stand

Mom accused of murder takes witness stand

TORONTO — Looking over at the jury that will decide her fate, a Toronto woman accused of murdering her severely disabled daughter said she did not kill her child. Cindy Ali testified at her first-degree murder trial Monday, where she has pleaded not guilty in the death of 16-year-old Cynara, who had cerebral palsy and couldn’t walk, talk or feed herself. Crown prosecutors have argued Ali murdered Cynara in February 2011 by smothering her with a pillow and then spun an elaborate web of lies about a home invasion to cover up the crime. Ali, however, took the court through a blow-by-blow account of the alleged invasion, teared up when recalling how she didn’t want to take her child off life support and was calm when asked by her lawyer whether she did “anything at all” to cause Cynara’s death. “No I did not,” Ali said clearly. When a Crown lawyer suggested Ali was lying, the 45-year-old repeatedly said she “didn’t do anything to Cynara.” “I never hold the pillow over my daughter’s face,” Ali said. “I never did anything like that.” Taking care of Cynara was not easy, Ali admitted. “But it was a big joy for me as a mother. I have no complaints.” On the morning of Feb. 19, 2011, when Ali and Cynara were home alone, the doorbell rang, court heard. “There were two masked men that pushed the door in,” Ali said, noting that the men were “well-dressed,” with black coats, black shoes, ski masks and gloves. They appeared to have dark skin and Jamaican accents, she said. Ali recalled that her immediate concern was Cynara, who she had left lying on the living room couch. The woman testified that she ran through the kitchen to get to the living room, grabbing two kitchen knives laying on the counter and hurling them at one of the men, who was pursuing her. At that point, Ali noticed one of the men had a gun, court heard. That man started asking her about a “package,” she said. “I said what package? I have no clue what you’re talking about,” Ali recounted....

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Leading Canadian medical journal to be revamped

Leading Canadian medical journal to be revamped

TORONTO — Canada’s premier medical journal will be undergoing a revamp with the aim of bolstering its ranking among international research publications, including the hiring of a new editor-in-chief to guide the 105-year-old academic weekly, the Canadian Medical Association announced Monday. The “restructuring and modernization” plan for the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) will be based on recommendations from a task force, which will consult with member physicians as well as outside researchers and academics about their wish-list for the publication, the doctors organization said. “We really felt we needed to be thinking further down the road and (about) what kinds of things can we do to make sure it is a top academic journal in the future,” said CMA president Dr. Cindy Forbes. The journal is facing a number of challenges, including falling advertising revenue and the changing habits of readers, said Forbes, noting that a high proportion of the CMA’s 82,000 members are Gen-Xers or younger. As well, “CMAJ is competing with many respected global medical journals — some of whom are promoting themselves in Canada — to attract the best research,” she said. In recent years, the CMAJ has seen a decline in submissions of new studies as well as its “impact factor” — defined as the average number of citations received for research published in an academic journal. The CMAJ’s impact factor is 5.9, far below many of the top medical journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine’s rating of 55, the Lancet’s 45 and the Journal of the American Medical Association’s 35. “We wanted to make sure we have the ability to attract the highest quality research in Canada … So we really wanted to make sure that we can compete,” said Forbes. “But we also want to make sure the journal is publishing the types of things that the physicians and the academic world are interested in.” As a result of the decision to take the CMAJ in a new direction, Dr. John Fletcher was terminated as editor-in-chief after eight years in the position, Forbes confirmed. A journal oversight committee, which had in part provided counsel on issues of editorial independence, has...

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Police release security camera footage of two shootings at same North York apartment

Police release security camera footage of two shootings at same North York apartment

Police have released security camera footage of suspects wanted in two shooting investigations involving the same Neptune Drive and Rajah Street apartment. Police said a number of shots were fired into a ground floor apartment at 155 Neptune Dr. Jan. 6 around noon. The suspect, who was seen running from the area towards a school and public hockey arena, wore black pants, a black jacket with hood, black sneakers, and a black mask covering half his face. The same apartment was shot at Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 1:55 a.m. by two male suspects. Police believe a dark-coloured sedan was involved in this incident. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 416-808-3200 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477. Source...

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NDP should review Leap Manifesto: former MP

NDP should review Leap Manifesto: former MP

OTTAWA — The Leap Manifesto, which is being embraced by more than a dozen NDP riding associations ahead of the party’s April convention, should serve as a reference point for future policy discussions, says former MP Craig Scott. The manifesto is a good idea, but it would be unwise for the NDP to adopt it as policy without further debate, Scott said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “The bottom line is, the Leap Manifesto is hugely welcome, but plopping it into our policy book in one big vote with no serious advance discussion and debate within the party … I don’t think is a recipe for renewal,” he said. “The democratic reform critic in me, as I was for three years, tells me that the process matters and that having much more ownership amongst the membership of a major … policy renewal is as important as what the policy itself is.” The Leap Manifesto — which has a wide range of supporters, including actors, labour unions and environmentalists — offers a number of recommendations, including a proposal to wean the country off fossil fuels to address climate change. As the NDP approaches its April convention in Edmonton the party’s federal council plans to prioritize hundreds of resolutions submitted by party riding associations and commissions. Scott said he plans to promote a resolution that was adopted by his Toronto-Danforth riding association as the best path forward. “Ours says ‘let’s take the Leap Manifesto as a really productive starting point and work it through in serious policy discussions with the grassroots for the next two years so it comes back for the 2018 convention more fully worked through with more party ownership, as in more ownership from the members’,” Scott said. The NDP riding association in Vancouver East has proposed a similar vision backed by former MP Libby Davies. At the time of the manifesto’s release last September, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair did not endorse it, but he said he welcomed new ideas and understood it reflected a desire for change. “Canadians want change in Ottawa and I love the debates of ideas,” Mulcair said at the time....

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Toronto could lead the way in banning chewing tobacco

Toronto could lead the way in banning chewing tobacco

Toronto could become the first municipality in Canada to ban chewing tobacco from stadiums and public parks if Toronto Board of Health Chair Joe Mihevc gets his way. Mihevc announced Feb. 29 he would be placing a motion before the board in March asking the Medical Officer of Health to report on the shape of a bylaw that would ban the practise. Although chewing tobacco has no second-hand smoke impact, Mihevc said when professional and amateur athletes use it in the course of play, it encourages young people to take up the practise themselves. “Just as we did with cigarette smoking and hookah smoking we need to limit the exposure that youth have to tobacco products and practises that promote their use,” he said. Michael Perley of the Ontario Campaign Against Tobacco noted the practise of using chewing tobacco has increased significantly among young people as professional athletes set an example. “What in effect happens when a major league baseball player is seen chewing tobacco anywhere is that his young followers and fans assume this is a good thing to do or should be a part of their baseball practises,” he said. “This is something we have to stop.” Perley said the number of youth using chewing tobacco is in the “thousands.” “There are many young baseball players and also many young hockey players,” he said. Chewing tobacco has already been banned in public places in Los Angeles, Boston and New York. According to Joanne Di Nardo of the Canadian Cancer Society, chewing tobacco contributes to oral and other cancers as well as other serious diseases of the mouth. Source...

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The charges stem from an 1989 attack. Police say a taxi picked up two men and a woman on October 28, 1989, dropping them off at Park Vista Drive and Dawes Road in East York. Source...

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Saks Off 5th Ontario stores will open in March

Saks Off 5th Ontario stores will open in March

TORONTO — Saks Fifth Avenue’s discount chain, Saks Off 5th, will open its Ontario stores in March. The company says it will open Saks Off 5th outlets in Vaughan, Halton Hills and Niagara-on-the-Lake on March 17. A fourth store in Ottawa is scheduled to open on March 24. Starting this fall, the discount chain is expected to open four more Canadian locations in Quebec City, Montreal, Winnipeg and Delta, B.C. Saks Off 5th sells high-end fashion labels at a discounted price. The company plans to open up to 25 locations across Canada by 2019. By The Canadian Press Source...

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A woman has been arrested in connection with an attempted murder investigation going back to 1989, but police say they are still looking for a pair of male suspects. During the weekend before Halloween, 25 years ago, police were called out to the Park Vista Drive and Dawes Road area after a cab driver had been assaulted with a weapon. Start the conversation, or Read more at CKNW News Talk 980. Source...

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VANCOUVER — Lawyers for British Columbia foster parents fighting to adopt a Metis toddler they have raised since birth are expected to be in the Court of Appeal today. The Vancouver Island couple, who cannot be named, are seeking an interim order to prevent the Children’s Ministry from taking the toddler before their appeal of a lower-court ruling can be heard. The ministry wants to move the two-and-a-half-year-old girl to Ontario to live with her older siblings, who she has never met. The foster mother is Metis, while the caregivers in Ontario are not, pitting the importance of cultural background against that of blood relatives. Last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge dismissed the couple’s petition to stop the ministry from moving the girl, finding it was an abuse of process because a similar petition filed by the foster parents had already been dismissed. The couple has filed an appeal of the decision but it could be some time before it can be heard, and in the meantime, they want an interim order to stop the ministry from moving the toddler. By The Canadian Press Source...

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KKK members linked to violent brawl released

KKK members linked to violent brawl released

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Five Ku Klux Klan members who were arrested following a vicious brawl in Anaheim were released because evidence shows they acted in self-defence, police said. Seven people who remained in custody were seen beating, stomping and attacking the Klansmen with wooden posts, Sgt. Daron Wyatt said Sunday. A police statement said the clash, which erupted after six Klan members arrived at a park Saturday for a planned anti-immigration rally, was started by a larger group of 10 to 20 counter-protesters who had “the intent of perpetrating violence.” Police said the Klansmen stabbed three counter-protesters with knives and the decorative end of a flag pole. “Regardless of an individual or groups’ beliefs or ideologies, they are entitled to live without the fear of physical violence and have the right, under the law, to defend themselves when attacked,” the statement said. Mayhem ensued Saturday as soon as the Klan members pulled up in a black SUV for an anti-immigration rally they had advertised in advance and pulled out signs saying “White Lives Matter.” Dozens of protesters swarmed in and someone smashed a window. The SUV then sped away, leaving three Klansmen dressed in black shirts decorated with the Klan cross and Confederate flag patches outnumbered. “(The counter-protesters) were so angry, they would have torn these folks limb from limb,” said Brian Levin, who directs the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino. “I was afraid for their lives.” Levin, who went to Pearson Park expecting to record the rally for research, found himself protecting the Klansmen until police could intervene. On a video Levin shot and posted to Twitter, he later asked one of them, “How do you feel that a Jewish person helped save your life today?” “I thank you. I thank you,” said the Klansman, waving away the question with his blood-spattered arm. “I would have saved a colored man’s life,” he added. Much of the clash was captured on video and posted online. In one, a man cries “I got stabbed,” lifting his T-shirt to show a wound to his stomach. A fire hydrant where the man...

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