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Mumps outbreak on Prairies prompts alert

Mumps outbreak on Prairies prompts alert

REGINA — A mumps outbreak in Manitoba has reached the highest number of cases in two decades and that’s causing concern in neighbouring Saskatchewan. Manitoba Health says there have been 176 confirmed cases of mumps in the province since September and up to last Friday. “Normally, we do have between four and maybe eight in a bad year and so, yes, that’s why we’re classifying this as an outbreak,” Dr. Richard Rusk, Manitoba’s medical officer of health for communicable diseases, said Tuesday. “But as soon as it goes to the community, that’s where it becomes that little bit more risky that it can spread.” Most of cases were initially university students between 18 and 29 years old, living in Winnipeg or involved in sports. One case in Manitoba involves a member of the Brandon Wheat Kings with the Western Hockey League. But health officials say mumps cases are now being seen in all ages and throughout Manitoba. Rusk said it’s the highest number of cases since 1996 when Manitoba introduced a program to give two doses of the mumps vaccine to children. Some of those infected were fully vaccinated, said Rusk, who noted the vaccine is about 85 per cent effective. “We see it’s spreading, but it’s not quite as severe as back in the ’60s, when you would have quite a lot more of those severe outcomes.” Rusk said Saskatchewan health officials are right to be concerned. There’s a really high probability the virus will spread because of how mobile people are between provinces. “It could be through a sports team, for instance. That’s probably how it got through to Alberta.” In that province, seven players and a coach with the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers have also been hit by mumps. Officials have said there have also been up to four cases of mumps in Edmonton, which typically sees zero to two cases each year. Dr. Denise Werker, Saskatchewan’s deputy chief medical officer, said Saskatchewan residents and doctors need to be on alert. “My concern is that it is just a matter of time,” Werker said. “There are health-care providers who may never...

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Noisy protest greets opening of Trump Tower

Noisy protest greets opening of Trump Tower

VANCOUVER — People carrying anti-Trump signs took part in a raucous demonstration to the sound of reggae music outside the grand opening of the Trump Tower in Vancouver on Tuesday. Some protesters carried signs reading “Love Trumps Hate” and “Deport Racism” behind metal barriers protecting the 69-storey building, which has become a focal point for demonstrations against U.S. President Donald Trump. The $360-million hotel and condominium development, with a unique twisting design by late architect Arthur Erickson, had a soft launch last month. Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, and his daughter Tiffany attended the grand opening. “We’ve had an unbelievable past year on so many fronts as a family. We’ve opened so many great properties,” Eric Trump told the official opening. “This building now sits in a great portfolio of what we consider the best buildings in the world, best architectural masterpieces anywhere in the world. And that is what our brand is all about, that is what our father’s vision was all about, creating the most iconic buildings anywhere in the world.” Vancouver’s Trump International Hotel and Tower was built by developer Joo Kim Tiah, the president and CEO of Holborn Group, who is the son of one of Malaysia’s wealthiest businessmen. The Trump Organization does not own the tower, but licensed its name for branding and marketing, while the Trump Hotel Collection operates the 147-room hotel. It has become a destination for protests over the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, comments about women and promises to build a wall to keep Mexican migrants out of the United States. Several protesters began singing the national anthem and there were some heated arguments between small numbers of pro-Trump attendees and the anti-Trump protesters. Police officers were lined up outside the tower but were mostly standing and watching, although officers separated two men who were arguing. Beth Nesbit, who moved to Vancouver two years ago from Los Angeles and attended the protest with her two-year-old son Liam, said Trump doesn’t represent what Americans believe in. “He doesn’t believe in women’s rights. He doesn’t believe in public education,” she said, adding that she supports Mayor Gregor Robertson’s call for the...

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Site near Grassy Narrows still leaking mercury:study

Site near Grassy Narrows still leaking mercury:study

TORONTO — A northwestern Ontario First Nation plagued with mercury poisoning for more than 50 years said Tuesday it has evidence that toxic material is still leaking from an upstream paper mill. A new report commissioned by the Grassy Narrows community and funded by the government of Ontario suggests there is ongoing mercury contamination from the Dryden, Ont., mill, which was decommissioned decades ago. The report, authored by five mercury experts and released Tuesday, lays out the results of tests conducted last summer on mud samples from the bottom of the Wabigoon River as it passes by the mill, as well as from two lakes upstream of the site. John Rudd, one of the study’s authors, said that mercury levels downstream of the plant should have returned to normal by now in the absence of leaks, but the tests show significantly higher levels downstream of the plant compared with upstream locations — roughly 130 times higher. He said that suggests the area is suffering from ongoing pollution rather than simply the aftermath of chemicals released in the 1960s. The researchers recommend a thorough ground water study at the site to determine how and where mercury is leaching into the river, which they say could begin as early as this summer. Chief Simon Fobister of Grassy Narrows called the results “deeply concerning,” adding he hopes this latest study will help bring an end to the community’s plight, which he said had long been ignored by previous governments. “They thought the mercury would just wash itself away and that would be it,” he said. “Sad to say that didn’t happen.” Though the provincial government recently committed to cleaning up the site, Grassy Narrows residents are “still living with mercury poisoning and people are still suffering,” he said. Fobister said he has also asked Ottawa for help but has received no official response, though he stressed the cleanup would move forward “with or without the feds.” The community, near the Manitoba border, has dealt with mercury poisoning since the mill dumped 9,000 kilograms of the substance into the Wabigoon and English River systems during the 1960s. But mercury concentrations haven’t...

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Protesters, security gather as Trump Tower opens

Protesters, security gather as Trump Tower opens

VANCOUVER — Dozens of police and security guards surrounded the Trump Tower in Vancouver on Tuesday as protesters arrived in advance of the building’s grand opening. The building has become a focal point for demonstrations against U.S. President Donald Trump. The $360-million hotel and condominium development, with a unique twisting design by late architect Arthur Erickson, had a soft launch last month. Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, were scheduled to attend the grand opening of the 69-storey building. Vancouver’s Trump International Hotel and Tower was built by developer Joo Kim Tiah, the president and CEO of Holborn Group, who is the son of one of Malaysia’s wealthiest businessmen. The Trump Organization does not own the tower, but licensed its name for branding and marketing, while the Trump Hotel Collection operates the 147-room hotel. It has become a destination for protests over the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, comments about women and promises to build a wall to keep Mexican migrants out of the United States. George De Young was outspoken about his opposition to the building’s namesake. “Trump is very scary,” said the Vancouver native, shaking his head. “I don’t like any show of acceptance for what Trump represents.” Henry Ho, also from Vancouver, had never been to a protest before but arrived in front of Trump Tower carrying signs that read “Dump Trump” and “Is it 2020 yet?” “We’re not just going to be quiet and let things happen the way they are,” said the 27-year-old self-described supporter of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “We will show that we can come together and aren’t divided by all the hate he spews out.” After Trump’s call in 2015 for a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S., a petition urging Holborn Group to dump the Trump name attracted 56,000 signatures. Mayor Gregor Robertson wrote a passionate letter to Tiah in December 2015 urging that the name be dropped. “Trump’s name and brand have no more place on Vancouver’s skyline than his ignorant ideas have in the modern world,” Robertson wrote. The building’s more than 200 condominium units reportedly sold out last year. Tiah...

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Ontario wants feedback on ticket sales

Ontario wants feedback on ticket sales

TORONTO — Ontario is looking for public feedback as it crafts legislation to improve the process of buying and selling tickets online for shows and games. The Liberal government said last year it would look at tackling computer “scalper bots” after an outcry from fans who were shut out of buying tickets to the Tragically Hip’s farewell tour. Attorney General Yasir Naqvi has admitted it would be difficult to determine the source of the bots that scoop up huge blocks of tickets, so he’s asking fans for ideas for “practical solutions.” He says he knows it is frustrating to see tickets to an event sell out within minutes then pop up on resale sites for double the original price. Naqvi says people can go to ontario.ca/tickets until March 15 to give feedback on how to make sure everyone has a fair shot at buying tickets, concerns about resale prices and enforcement. The Opposition has blamed the Liberals for the growing online resale market because the government changed the Ticket Speculation Act in 2015 to make it legal to resell tickets above their original face value. By The Canadian Press Source...

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Toronto police updating murder case of pregnant Candice Rochelle Bobb

Toronto police updating murder case of pregnant Candice Rochelle Bobb

Toronto police will update the media Tuesday, Feb. 28 on the shooting death in Jamestown last May of expectant mother Candice Rochelle Bobb that rocked the city. On Sunday, May 15, Bobb was one of four people in a vehicle on Jamestown Crescent around 11 p.m. when a shooter fired a hail of bullets at the vehicle. She was five months pregnant. Bobb and the other vehicle occupants were returning home from a men’s league basketball game in the city’s east end. Bobb was in the vehicle’s back seat. Police said she was the only one hit. Friends rushed Bobb to nearby Etobicoke General Hospital where attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful. Doctors performed an emergency C-section, and Bobb’s four-month premature baby was transferred to a local trauma centre. Bobb’s baby boy died exactly three weeks later on June 5. The Malton woman was the mother of two other children. -With files from Cynthia Reason Source...

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BMO has $1.49 billion of net income in Q1

BMO has $1.49 billion of net income in Q1

TORONTO — The Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) grew its first-quarter net income by 39 per cent to $1.49 billion, beating analyst expectations by a wide margin. The first-quarter for the three months ended Jan. 31 figures include a $168 million after-tax gain on the sale of Moneris U.S. During the same period last year, BMO had $1.07 billion of quarterly profit. The earnings amounted to $2.22 per share, up from $1.58 per share during the first quarter of 2016. After adjustments the bank earned $2.28 per share, up from $1.75 per share a year ago. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.88 per share, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters. The bank also reported $5.41 billion of revenue, compared with $5.08 billion a year ago. “The good momentum in the business is the consequence of a clear strategy and consistent execution, doing what we said we would do,” BMO CEO Bill Downe said in a statement. “Our roadmap is focused on providing customers with intuitive products and services that meet their evolving preferences, while improving efficiency in all of our channels.” Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter. By The Canadian Press Source...

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Scotiabank has $2 billion of net income in Q1

Scotiabank has $2 billion of net income in Q1

TORONTO — Scotiabank had $2.01 billion of net income during the first quarter, up 10 per cent from the same period last year on strong results from its Canadian and international banking operations. The earnings amounted to $1.57 per diluted share, up from $1.43 per diluted share a year ago, when Scotiabank had had $1.81 billion of net income during the first quarter. After adjustments, Scotiabank had $1.58 of earnings per diluted share — one cent higher than analyst estimates, according to Thomson Reuters data. The bank (TSX:BNS) also announced it had $6.87 billion of revenue during the quarter, up $500 million from $6.37 billion during the first period of last year. Scotiabank said its dividend will go up by two cents to 76 cents per share, payable on April 26. “Canadian banking had another strong quarter, achieving solid results while investing in digital capabilities to improve customer experience,” Brian Porter, Scotiabank president and CEO, said in a statement. “International banking continues to generate momentum with record quarterly results reflecting the sixth consecutive quarter of earnings exceeding $500 million. The results were underpinned by solid growth in our key Pacific Alliance countries where we continue to see great potential.” Follow @alexposadzki on Twitter. By The Canadian Press Source...

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South Asian autism group finds new hope in vacant Scarborough building

South Asian autism group finds new hope in vacant Scarborough building

Started in the basement of a Scarborough home eight years ago, the South Asian Autism Awareness Centre (SAAAC) has grown ever since. The community’s need is that big. Space in the charity’s current Ellesmere Road facility isn’t. Now the City of Toronto is helping SAAAC move to a larger building near Scarborough Town Centre, one that’s sat unoccupied for at least a decade. “When your parents come into this lobby, they will feel like kings and queens,” Glenn De Baeremaeker, a local councillor, promised SAAAC supporters touring the industrial unit on Feb. 22. One was Erasiah Kobikrishna, a parent who joined SAAAC when it was a one-woman operation run by executive director Geetha Moorthy. Kobikrishna’s autistic son Niroshaanth, or Niro, was then nonverbal and very low-functioning. Thanks to SAAAC, Niro, at age 19, now enjoys dance and music therapy, sports, and one-on-one therapy. The charity is a gathering place for parents of autistic children. “It’s a big relief to talk to each other,” said Kobikrishna, adding the 150 volunteers — excluding parents, who often help out themselves — “are passionate to do this job.” “A lot of the (autistic) kids are still hiding. The parents don’t bring them out,” he added. One reason for that is stigma attached to autism, which many South Asians blame on a child’s parents or their past actions. “People judge you,” said Moorthy, who’s determined to educate the community on autism, and parents on their autistic child’s rights. An accountant and teacher of Indian traditional dances, Moorthy organized dance programs for children with autism, but never saw South Asian families there, she said. But a dozen came to her first South Asian dance workshop in Scarborough. She later took children into her basement, and the park across the street. By 2010, the group, then operating from the basement of a Hindu temple on Middlefield Road, could hire therapists part time, and in 2012 SAAAC moved to Ellesmere, where it serves 250 families with free or subsidized programs. With early intervention, autistic kids show huge progress, but SAAAC...

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Interac e-transfers down for several hours

Interac e-transfers down for several hours

TORONTO — Interac says its e-transfer and Interac Online services are up and running again following an outage on Monday evening. The debit card service says a technical issue “knocked the network out for about five hours.” Numerous users awaiting e-transfers took to social media to complain about the outage and the lengthy wait for transfers to work. Interac issued a tweet to customers at about 11 p.m. ET saying notifications were being sent but that it would “take some time” to work through the backlog. The company said it expected the backlog to “clear over the next few hours” and notifications would be sent automatically or manually. Interac, which also apologized to its customers, has not yet indicated what caused the outage. By The Canadian Press Source...

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