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TORONTO — More murder charges are expected to be laid against a self-employed landscaper already accused in the presumed deaths of five men, as investigators continue to search properties linked to Bruce McArthur, Toronto police said Wednesday. Police have said that investigators had found two planters with the skeletal remains of three individuals, but Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga told reporters Wednesday there are still more than a dozen planters that need to be processed by forensic teams. “We have over a dozen planters and we’re not just grabbing every planter we see. If there is an indication from the canine units that there is some decomposition around that planter, we will grab it,” Idsinga said on Wednesday. “We have been doing that essentially since Saturday, going to different locations. It is quite a time consuming process.” McArthur, 66, was arrested and charged Jan. 18 in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen, 44, and Andrew Kinsman, 49, who police said went missing from Toronto’s gay village last spring. He was further charged Monday in the deaths of two missing men — Majeed Kayhan, 58, and Soroush Mahmudi, 50 — as well as Dean Lisowick, 47, who had never been reported missing. “We believe there are more victims on top of those five,” Idsinga said. “I can’t give you any idea about a number, but I do expect more charges to be laid.” Investigators plan to also excavate part of the lawn at a home in uptown Toronto where McArthur was known to have worked, Idsinga said Wednesday, adding that the work may start later this week or early next week. He said police have set up heaters on the property where the excavation work will take place to keep the ground from freezing. “There is a specialist who comes in, a forensic anthropologist who does that, and it’s essentially done by hand,” he said. “We can’t go in there with a digger and disturb any of the evidence.” Meanwhile, investigators are also searching the basement of the home on Mallory Crescent, but Idsinga said cadaver dogs did not detect anything that prompted the search. Source...

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OTTAWA — Longtime Sen. Colin Kenny is calling it quits months before his scheduled retirement later this year. Kenny officially notified the Governor General on Wednesday morning that he will leave the Senate at the end of the week, ahead of his mandatory retirement date in December. In a short letter to Rideau Hall, Kenny cites his health and his decades in the upper chamber as his reasons to leave at the end of business on Friday. “I have been experiencing continued ill health and feel the time has come to retire,” the resignation letter says. “I think I have done my bit. “It has been my great privilege to serve my country over the last forty-four years, both in the office of Prime Minister (Pierre) Trudeau and as a member of the Senate.” The elder Trudeau appointed Kenny to the Senate in the spring of 1984 after he spent a decade as a special adviser and assistant principal secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. The ensuring 34 years saw Kenny focus on military and security issues, becoming an outspoken critic of cuts to defence spending. But his tenure was marked by testy exchanges when he headed the Senate’s defence committee, the most memorable of which live online in videos capturing political bickering between Kenny and fellow senators. More recently, questions were raised about his conduct in relation to the workers in his office. In 2014, a Senate-appointed investigator cleared Kenny on allegations of sexually and verbally harassing his office staff. Two years ago, Kenny repaid more than $30,000 in expenses that were deemed unjustified after they were flagged in an auditor general’s report on Senate spending. Kenny is not the only senator who has opted to leave the upper chamber before hitting the mandatory retirement age of 75. Claudette Tardif, a Liberal from Alberta, announced last week that she would officially retire from the Senate on Friday. Fellow Liberal Joan Fraser will also retire on the same day, one year before her mandatory retirement date. Four more senators are scheduled to retire by the end of the year. There are already 11 seats vacant in the upper chamber. By The Canadian Press Source...

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OTTAWA — Changes to the way the federal prison system treats transgender prisoners mean offenders will now be placed in a men’s or women’s facility, based on how they self-identify. Correctional staff must also address transgender inmates by their preferred name and pronoun and offenders will be allowed to shop for both men’s or women’s items from the correctional service’s approved catalogue, regardless of their anatomy or the gender on their identification documents. These changes come after the federal government added “gender identity and expression” to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act last June. “We are overjoyed that CSC is making so many positive changes that recognize the human rights of trans people in the correctional system,” said Jennifer Metcalfe, executive director of Prisoners’ Legal Services. “These changes will improve the safety and dignity of transgender federal offenders in Canada, affecting every aspect of their daily lives.” A joint statement from Prisoners’ Legal Services, the Correctional Service of Canada and the Canadian Human Rights Commission said the reforms are the result of years of collaboration. The head of the human rights commission, Marie-Claude Landry, said the reforms are about respect and human dignity, which every person is entitled to, including those in the prison system. The changes also emphasize the privacy and confidentiality of an inmate’s gender identity, which will be shared only if relevant and only with those directly involved in a prisoner’s care. Individualized protocols will also be offered to transgender inmates, which include accommodations when accessing shower and toilet facilities and the choice of male or female officers to conduct frisk and strip searches, urine testing and camera surveillance. Commissioner Don Head said Corrections Canada is committed to building a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for everyone, including transgender staff, offenders, volunteers and visitors. Source...

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HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s highest court has ordered a new trial for a taxi driver acquitted of sexually assaulting a highly intoxicated passenger, saying the trial judge erred in law by finding there was no evidence of lack of consent. In a unanimous decision, the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal found the judge ignored or disregarded circumstantial evidence that would have allowed him to infer the complainant did not voluntarily agree to engage in sexual activity, or that she lacked the capacity to do so. Under the law, the Crown was obligated to prove the complainant was not capable of understanding the nature of the sexual act. The woman, who was found unconscious in the cab, told police she couldn’t remember what happened. During Bassam Al-Rawi’s trial, an expert testified that the young woman was extremely intoxicated after drinking five draught beers, two tequila shots and one vodka-cranberry drink while at a downtown bar. In an oral ruling delivered last March, provincial court Judge Gregory Lenehan said there was no evidence of a lack of consent or a lack of capacity to consent to the sexual act that took place in Al-Rawi’s cab on May 22, 2015. Lenehan’s decision — now the subject of a judicial council investigation — sparked public outrage when he concluded: “Clearly, a drunk can consent.” The appeal court found Lenehan’s statement was correct in law, but the three justices concluded the judge’s application of the consent test revealed a legal error when he equated incapacity only with unconsciousness. By The Canadian Press Source...

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The U.S. East Coast, Europe and most of South America and Africa were out of luck for the total eclipse. At Cape Canaveral, Florida, where a rocket delivered America’s first satellite to orbit exactly 60 years ago — Explorer 1 — the blue super moon loomed large in the sky. The second full moon in a calendar month is a blue moon. This one also happened to be an especially close and bright moon, or supermoon. Add a total eclipse, known as a blood moon for its red tint, and it was a lunar showstopper. NASA called it a lunar trifecta: the first super blue blood moon since 1982. That combination won’t happen again until 2037. For those looking ahead, the next supermoon is in February, the next blue moon is in March and the next total lunar eclipse is in July, according to NASA. NASA lunar scientist Noah Petro said he was astonished — and thrilled — by all the attention and fuss. The total solar eclipse that swept across the U.S. in August contributed to Wednesday’s buzz, he noted. Missing out on the eclipse from his home in Virginia, he watched the event online Wednesday morning with his two children, ages 3 and 7. “I hope that people use this as an opportunity to dig in a little more and learn about our own planet, our wonderful sister planet, the moon, and the sun and all the other great objects in the solar system,” Petro said on his way to work at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. A total lunar eclipse — considered the most scientific of Wednesday’s threesome — occurs when the sun, Earth and moon line up perfectly, casting Earth’s shadow on the moon. Scientists were keen to study the sharp, sudden drop in temperature at the lunar surface as Earth’s shadow blankets the moon. During the more than one hour of totality, the temperature plunged 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius), said Petro. He’s deputy project scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, circling the moon since 2009. His team took special precautions to keep the spacecraft warm during the eclipse. For the trivia crowd, the moon was 223,820 miles (360,200 kilometres) away at...

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Toronto police from North York’s 31 Division are seeking help finding a missing 27-year-old woman. Amerie Daniel was last seen at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30 in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue West area. She is 5’7” tall and 180 pounds with long straight hair. Daniel is said to have numerous tattoos on both arms. Police are concerned for her safety and are asking anyone with information to contact 31 Division at 416-808-3100 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).   Source...

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QUEBEC — The parents of the man accused in the slayings at a Quebec City mosque have made their first public statements since his arrest. In a letter to Radio-Canada published today, Manon Marchand and Raymond Bissonnette describe the killings at the Islamic cultural centre in Quebec City on Jan. 29, 2017 as inexcusable and totally inexplicable. Alexandre Bissonnette is facing 12 charges, including six counts of first-degree murder, and his trial is expected to begin in late March. His parents write they feel like they’re living a nightmare, but add the accused is their son, so they love him and he will remain part of the family. They also told the French-language broadcaster in a phone interview that they visit their son every week at the detention centre in Quebec City, where Alexandre Bissonnette has been since his arrest, but they don’t know if they’ll attend the trial. The family says they stayed away from the media in the past year and instead sent a letter of condolence directly to the families of the victims of the attack through the mosque. Since the tragedy, the couple and the suspect’s twin brother have been receiving psychological help and they also thanked those who’ve supported them. They say they live in fear of reprisals. By The Canadian Press Source...

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Traffickers most often pay for these materials with wire transfers and money orders processed by money service businesses, but sometimes use virtual currency such as Bitcoin. Fentanyl is typically smuggled into Canada through the postal system, then distributed through networks in a small area surrounding the arrival point, the alert says. “The laundering of the proceeds of fentanyl trafficking in Canada generally takes place through Canadian banks, caisses populaires and credit unions.” Fintrac is the first financial intelligence unit in the world to post an alert related to the lethal opioid, said Barry MacKillop, the agency’s interim director. Among the indicators a trafficker is using a money service business to procure fentanyl: — Wire transfers or money orders for amounts below the $10,000 reporting threshold at multiple money service businesses over a short time period, usually with cash or prepaid credit cards; — The transfers and money orders are sent by numerous, seemingly unconnected individuals in Canada to the identical recipients in China (especially Wuhan, Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Xianju and Shanghai), Ukraine and India; — The client’s mailing address is a post-office box; — He or she receives multiple direct deposits from global payment processing and-or virtual currency exchange platforms in amounts below the reporting threshold. MacKillop acknowledges many transactions take place in the shadowy corners of cyberspace. “I think shining the light on those obstacles is a first step in actually addressing them.” Signs of possible laundering of fentanyl proceeds through banks and other mainstream financial institutions include cash deposits followed by movement via email money transfers, transfers between accounts, drafts or cheques, or withdrawals, often at multiple financial institutions. Another indicator could be significantly more email money transfers — generally for small amounts — than normal for a customer with his or her profile. Dealings with firms that advertise pharmaceuticals, supplements, weight-loss medications and related products might also be red flags, the alert says. “These firms’ transactions can — knowingly or unknowingly — be used to mask fentanyl trafficking, since they use packaging and shipping services similar to those in the fentanyl trade.” Banks, caisses populaires and credit unions are also urged to be on the lookout for clients who: — Receive payroll deposits out of line with...

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Omidvar said the targets would be voluntary, not quotas, and that businesses would be able to take industry-specific factors into account. “It’s normal business practice to set targets on a whole bunch of indicators and benchmarks that businesses set themselves,” she said. The fact the legislation currently lacks targets likely stems from a reluctance to impose too many regulations, said Omidvar, who added she does not think her idea goes too far. “We actually think this is a bit more of a deliberate nudge, but it is still a nudge. We are going to nudge corporate boards along,” she said. “Without targets, we may see no improvement.” Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said the decision to use a comply-and-explain model reflects what has worked well elsewhere, including in Australia and Britain, and that the government’s approach has broad support from those affected. “This bill really reflects a lot of consensus, a lot of support from many in the business community, the not-for-profit organizations and people who want to see improvements to better outcomes in terms of diversity and gender representation at boards and senior management,” Bains said in an interview. “We feel those address those issues.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made gender equality a top theme for his Liberal government and it is expected to be a major priority in the 2018 federal budget, building upon its initial efforts to provide a gender-based analysis of its proposals last year. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said last month that the forthcoming budget will detail government efforts to boost the participation of women in the workforce. Omidvar said the Liberals — and all feminists — should remember that women are not the only ones being left behind. “Gender equity is really important. After all, half our population is women, but unless we dig deeper into the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, ability, Indigenous status, we are not going to get at the core of exclusion,” she said. “How can we know we’re making progress if all they’re measuring is gender? We have to measure these other benchmarks as well.” Omidvar said she was glad to see the Liberal government agree to earlier changes that would involve including a clear definition of diversity...

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WASHINGTON — Facing scores of his fellow Republicans publicly pleading with him not to cancel NAFTA, U.S. President Donald Trump refrained from his oft-stated threat to scrap the continental pact while promising to fix trade deals during his prime-time address Tuesday. In his first State of the Union, the president did not even mention NAFTA. He simply vowed to improve old agreements. “We will work to fix bad trade deals and negotiate new ones,” Trump told lawmakers gathered in the House of Representatives for the annual address. “America has finally turned the page on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies, our jobs, and our wealth. The era of economic surrender is totally over. “From now on we expect trading relationships to be fair and — very importantly — reciprocal.” It was the same message in a fact sheet on the speech issued by the White House. The White House release spoke of how Trump was renegotiating and modernizing NAFTA, in what it called the first renegotiation of a major trade agreement in U.S. history. In recent weeks, the president has sounded somewhat positive about the state of negotiations, telling the Wall Street Journal for instance that they were achieving progress. The speech came several hours after a strong show of support for NAFTA from his own party. A clear majority of Republicans in the Senate released a letter urging him to remain in the agreement. It was signed by 36 members, which represents about 70 per cent of the 51-seat Republican contingent in the Senate. “NAFTA supports 14 million jobs, representing thousands of jobs in each of the 50 states,” said the letter from Republican senators. “Mr. President, your leadership has jump-started our economy. The recent tax reform bill is already leading to economic success across all industries and the stock market is at record highs. The next step to advance the economy requires that we keep NAFTA in place, but modernize it to better reflect our 21st century economy.” The letter and speech came after a week-long NAFTA round where the U.S. trade czar saluted minor progress, but stressed that he wants to see more. The Trump administration faces a...

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