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The 8th Annual Canadian Book Challenge – January Roundup (Sticky Post— Scroll down for most recent post)

Posted January 31, 2015 by John Mutford


How to add your link:
1. Click on the icon above
2. Add a link to your review. (Please link to your specific review, not an entire webpage.)
3. Add your name and in parentheses the title of the book, such as John Mutford (Anne of Avonlea)
4. In the comment section below, tell me your grand total so far. (ex. “This brings me up to 1/13″)

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Cowichan Conversations: CVRD-Hiring a 108K per year ‘Communications Coordinator’ An Unwelcome Intrusion Into the Political Domain

Posted January 31, 2015 by Richard Hughes

Richard Hughes

In keeping up with the latest of local government culture the newest must have is a so called ‘Communications Coordinator’ to spin out the message that should be delivered by the politicians that we have just recently elected to represent and speak for us.

There are times when Department Heads should speak up, about technical background matters, but it is the elected officials who are the only ones who should be speaking on political issues.

In Don Maroc’s post he mentioned that CAO Brian Carruthers told the Directors that he was spending too much time rewriting releases from various (Read more…)

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North Shore tensions simmer as mountain biker alleges attack from pole-wielding hiker

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

Tensions between mountain bikers and hikers on the North Shore mountains continued to rise this weekend with new allegations that a rider was assaulted by a woman walking her dogs on Mount Fromme. Editor of the online magazine NSMB.com Cam McRae said h…

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B.C. MP Randy Kamp says he won’t seek re-election

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

A British Columbia Conservative MP has decided not to seek re-election, saying it is time for him to move on to a new chapter of his life.

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Dez Bryant — DUNK FAIL … In Charity Hoops Game

Posted January 31, 2015 by TMZ Staff

Apparently, Dez Bryant is human after all. TMZ Sports has footage of the Dallas Cowboys superstar going up for a wide open dunk at a charity hoops game in AZ on Saturday … only to get STUFFED by the rim. It was a rare athletic misfire by the N…

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Amazon’s Echo lets you control iTunes, Pandora and Spotify with your voice

Posted January 31, 2015 by Jon Fingas

If you accepted an invitation to buy Amazon’s Echo speaker, you’ve noticed that the device didn’t have a vast musical vocabulary at first — you could tell it to play iHeartRadio or Prime Music tunes, and that’s about it. You’ll have a better time of…

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Magna Carta: A Documentary

Posted January 31, 2015 by a1@pocketpollster.com

Any regular watchers of Sun News will know John Robson & Brigitte Pellerin. They want to make a compelling documentary about the Magna Carta document: They need help to do this so have launched a KickStarter campaign. You can read…

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Marijuana activist Marc Emery hopes for tourism high as dollar goes to pot

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

A Vancouver entrepreneur and marijuana activist wants Americans to boost local tourism by coming north to get higher as the Canadian dollar gets lower. “Hello, American would-be visitors, weed here is $3.50 to $8 US a gram,” Marc Emery posted to Instagram on Thursday as Canada’s dollar continued to plunge — dropping from about par to the U.S. dollar two years ago to 79 cents on Friday.

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Cattle ranchers can finally cash in

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

It’s a great time to have a home on the range. B.C. cattle ranchers are enjoying record returns after nearly a decade of poor beef prices that caused many to exit the industry.

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College agrees to help parents save their daycare

George Brown College will accept private donations, after all, to help save its highly regarded non-profit daycare at Scotia Plaza.

Earlier in January, the college said it could not provide tax receipts for a $2.5-million parent-organized fundraiser aimed at keeping the centre open after its one-year rent-free lease extension expires in June.

But on Friday, the college added a feature to its donor webpage allowing “friends” of the college’s early childhood education lab school daycares and the Scotia Plaza centre to make donations and receive tax receipts.

College vice-president Mark Nesbitt said the college is keen to explore all options with the city, including the parents’ fundraising efforts, to keep its centre at Scotia Plaza.

“But what George Brown and the foundation can’t do is accept Scotia Plaza parent donations under the promise of reaching a deal with (the landlord) that we have no control over,” he said.

If the centre ultimately closes, donations will help support the college’s nine other daycares, he added.

“Obviously we’re very happy,” said lawyer Ian Cooper, whose two daughters attend the centre. “Now we have to get to work to raise the money and plead our case. We don’t have a lot of time.”

Cooper and other parents acknowledge their fundraiser is part of a larger political and public-relations effort they are waging to draw attention to the loss of an important public asset.

“We think losing this centre will set a dangerous precedent,” Cooper said.

The daycare’s 25-year rent-free lease — part of a city deal that gave the developer of the building permission to add more floors — ran out last June, leaving the landlord free to offer the space to a for-profit child-care chain willing to pay market rent. However, city daycare subsidies can’t be used in such commercial child-care centres, meaning low- and modest-income families who depend on those subsidies would lose an essential service.

After a Star story last summer about the centre’s pending demise, the landlord extended the lease for another year. But the parents wanted to do more.

After discussions with the landlord last fall, they estimate they will have to raise $2.5 million to secure a new 10-year lease. Nesbitt says the college usually gets a 40 per cent property tax exemption on facilities it rents in commercial space. The parents hope they can convince the city or Queen’s Park to exempt the rest.

Elaine Baxter-Trahair, general manager of children’s services for the city, said she would support exempting property taxes on non-profit daycares “in principle” but would need to consult other city and provincial officials on the viability of such a policy change.

About 20 other non-profit daycares in Toronto have 25-year rent-free leases. But no others are at risk this year, she said.

Child-care expert Martha Friendly blames Queen’s Park and its lack of a provincial child care policy for the mess.

“The idea of activist middle-class parents who have skills and resources coming together to save their child care is admirable,” she said. “But what about the daycares with kids whose parents don’t have those resources? It comes down to luck, which is crazy, if you think about it.”

Downtown councillor Pam McConnell says she would love to see the Scotia Plaza daycare remain. But if the parents’ efforts are ultimately unsuccessful, she said she will push the city to continue to look for other non-profit options downtown.

“To me, having a George Brown training facility in that location is a real bonus in the Bay Street corridor,” she said. “If it’s not George Brown, then a non-profit daycare in the area becomes a crying need.

“We just can’t ignore that if we want workers to be productive, then we have to look for child-care opportunities for their little ones. It’s fundamental to building a healthy city.”

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Ten things to do in Metro Vancouver on Sunday, February 1

Posted January 31, 2015 by Jennie Ramstad

Ten things to do in Metro Vancouver on Sunday, February 1Keep busy with these events.

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Opposition charges Stephen Harper is the ‘root cause’ of terrorism are absurd

Posted January 31, 2015 by Anonymous

We all remember this fall when two separate attacks of terrorism occurred on Canadian soil.

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Marriott is no longer fighting for permission to block WiFi hotspots

Posted January 31, 2015 by Mariella Moon

Marriott wants you to know that it’s completely done trying to block guests’ personal WiFi connections — it has even given up convincing the FCC to give it permission to do so, a spokesperson told Engadget. The company already announced that it won’…

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Bobbi Kristina — Found Face Down in Bathtub … Drug Search Completed

Posted January 31, 2015 by TMZ Staff

Bobbi Kristina was face down in the bathtub when she was found this morning, and police searched her home for drugs … TMZ has learned.Law enforcement sources tell us when Nick Gordon and a friend found Bobbi Kristina she was on her stomach, an…

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Boxer Deontay Wilder — Jay Z Ain’t For Me … Not Joining Roc Nation

Posted January 31, 2015 by TMZ Staff

Another boxing superstar is taking a pass on Roc Nation Sports … with WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder saying he won’t “jump ship” to join Jay Z’s crew. As we previously reported, RNS is making a serious run at the top boxers in the world …

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Ruling protects religious freedom

Posted January 31, 2015 by Anonymous

Last week the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia declared that province’s ban on Trinity Western University law school students to be illegal.

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Harper boldly names real threat

Posted January 31, 2015 by Anonymous

On Friday, the federal government introduced a new anti-terrorism bill.

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Let us not pray

Posted January 31, 2015 by Anonymous

There are no magic words but there are sacred deeds. There are no crucial statements but there are essential actions. I refer to the holy tempest in a municipal teapot that is the campaign in Brampton, Ont., to restore the Lord’s Prayer to the local council chamber.

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Why our health ministry is following doctor’s orders: Cohn

Posted January 31, 2015 by Martin Regg Cohn - Provincial Politics

The doctor is in. Now the pressure is on.

As Dr. Eric Hoskins tries to chart a new course as health minister, he’s already offside with his fellow health-care professionals: Physicians walked out of pay negotiations earlier this month, while home-care workers walked off the job this week for higher wages.

Labour strife is par for the course at the $52-billion-a-year Health Ministry, where funding for doctors and nurses consumes most of its budget. But as the new minister is fast learning, reining in salaries to bend the cost curve will only take you so far.

Despite his narrow margin of manoeuvre (or perhaps because of it), Hoskins is determined to make his mark. Taking on the job six months ago, he was fast off the mark — dealing with doctors, laying down the law to medical regulators, and bracing for a possible Ebola outbreak.

Now, he plans to start laying out a broader vision for health-care reform, with a major speech Monday. But the vision thing remains a work in progress.

Interviewed ahead of the speech, Hoskins says his two top priorities — transformation and transparency — are merely a means to an end in a never-ending process.

He has latched onto transparency, which is eminently doable and affordable, as a way to energize the transformation, which is a far more ambitious and elusive goal: shifting health care from a traditional, institutional approach to a more patient-centred model that delivers more care in the home than the hospital.

“There’s a real appetite out there for continuing with the transformation,” he says. “It’s the lens through which I look at everything . . . How is this going to affect the end user, the patient?”

That means a “patient-centred approach to health care, which people have talked about probably since the beginning of time — so it’s not that new — but it’s something we have to constantly strive for.”

Home care is “cheaper, it’s more efficient, it leads to a better quality of life, it’s more respectful.”

Reaching that destination requires integrating health-care delivery to break silos, but it also needs a push. Hoskins believes he can achieve faster results through greater accountability, by putting the accent on transparency, collaboration and innovation across the system.

His impulse toward transparency coincided with Toronto Star stories exposing unprofessional practices at private clinics — which the professional regulators refused to open up about. Hoskins ordered the self-regulating colleges (whose authority is delegated by government) to release their findings and propose fuller disclosure plans by December.

Hoskins stresses the value of “open data and transparency” in helping people identify problems and achieve best practices: “Having it in the public domain builds confidence in the health-care system . . . Our default is we disclose and reveal and share and are transparent.”

In trying to transform the ministry, Hoskins also seems transformed himself as minister. The first physician to helm the health portfolio in decades, he is back in his comfort zone trying to shake things up — more in control than as minister of economic development, where he had limited success nursing Ontario’s ailing economy back to health.

Hoskins concedes that being a doctor helps him “get up to speed faster,” but insists he retains a healthy dose of humility: “I didn’t want to come in here a week after becoming minister and declare, ‘Here’s my vision for the province.’”

That was six months ago. He moved quickly to ban “medical tourism” (wrongly depriving the province of extra revenues, in my view), and is pressing ahead with partial funding of in vitro fertilization (also wrongly, in my opinion, adding extra costs to the system). But he got it right on Ebola and applied the right touch to the ornery Ontario Medical Association.

Now he’s ready to lay out his own direction on transparency, transformation, innovation.

He is also pitching for a national pharmacare program to complete the unfinished business of medicare. The idea is long overdue — pharmaceuticals play a greater role than ever in managing disease — and Hoskins believes with a federal election looming, Ontario can help push it onto the national agenda.

Whether it’s the dream of national pharmacare or the reality of provincial medicare, Hoskins needs willing partners at ground level. A natural loner in the world of wheeling-and-dealing politicians, he is now without allies among his fellow physicians.

An ambitious plan to claw back payments to doctors and reallocate it to community care has alienated the powerful OMA, whose members act as gatekeepers for most health-care spending, which consumes 42 per cent of the provincial budget. Talks to reform an outdated fee-for-service model have been put on hold by the OMA.

Hoskins still belongs to the OMA. And he makes a point of practising family medicine several days a year (pro bono, to avoid any conflict over the minister billing his own ministry).

Seeing patients is a useful reminder that a lone doctor can only help one person at a time, while as minister he can improve the health of an entire province. And as the most visionary physicians quickly learn, you can’t do it on your own.

Martin Regg Cohn’s Ontario politics column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. mcohn@thestar.ca , Twitter: @reggcohn

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Climate change causes volcanoes

Posted January 31, 2015 by JR

We all know that volcanoes can affect climate.  But now Time Magazine reports “in the stupidest article about climate ever” that climate change causes volcanoes “everywhere”.More on the science of  Catastrophic Anthropogenic Vulcanology.

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Warren Kinsella: Comments, vomments

Posted January 31, 2015 by Warren

That’s what Raymi calls the really nasty ones – vomments. Fits.

Got a really nasty one from someone who has apparently been nursing a grievance for 30 years. Thirty years! Tried to write them to respond. But the email was fake, and the email address too. Cowards are as cowards do, I guess.

Reminded me of this from Arianna Huffington, when she banned anonymous comments on HuffPo. Maybe I should do likewise.

“Freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they’re saying and not hiding behind anonymity.”

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Warren Moon — Tim Tebow Should End NFL Comeback … Focus on TV

Posted January 31, 2015 by TMZ Staff

Tim Tebow needs to move on from the NFL … and STOP trying to get back in the league — so says Hall of Famer Warren Moon who tells TMZ Sports Tim should focus on his real future, TV hosting. Despite the fact he hasn’t played in an NFL game sin…

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Blue Jays pursuit puts Orioles’ Duquette in spotlight

Posted January 31, 2015 by Anonymous

BALTIMORE—Dan Duquette’s job description includes making trades that will help improve the Baltimore Orioles.

This off-season, Duquette was in the middle of a potential blockbuster deal.

Duquette, the Orioles president of baseball operations, acknowledged Saturday “there was substance” to reports that the Toronto Blue Jays were in pursuit of him to be club president.

“A lot of times, players will be a trade rumour and sometimes managers get traded,” Duquette said. “It’s even more rare that executives get traded, but occasionally it happens. It’s a unique experience. I think when you have a good team and you do well, people take notice.”

Under Duquette’s guidance, the Orioles won 96 games last season, captured the AL East for the first time since 1997 and advanced to the AL Championship Series.

That piqued Toronto’s interest.

“As you get better as an organization, things that you’re doing are trying to be either emulated or acquired,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter noted. “It’s inevitable as an organization that, as you get better, people are going to be coveted more.”

Because Duquette is under contract with Baltimore through 2018, the Blue Jays had to offer Baltimore ample compensation to secure his services.

No deal was made, so Duquette was talking about Orioles baseball on Saturday at FanFest, the team’s annual winter convention.

He insisted that Toronto’s advances did not distract him from seeking to put a better club on the field in 2015.

“It’s important for the Orioles fans to know that my focus — and my singular focus — is on improving the team,” he said. “We do that day by day, trade by trade, addition by addition. We did that this year in the off-season like we’ve done it in the past.”

With the exception of Duquette’s potential departure, it’s been a quiet off-season for Baltimore. The losses include free agent outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis, along with reliever Andrew Miller.

The most notable addition is outfielder Travis Snider, obtained in a trade with Pittsburgh.

But that’s typical of Duquette, who followed a quiet winter in 2014 by adding Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez during spring training.

“While it’s important to improve your ballclub in the off-season, we’re not really trying to win the off-season,” Duquette said. “We’re trying to put together a team that can compete and get to the off-season and prevail. That’s different from making headlines in the winter time.”

The Orioles played much of the 2014 season without injured stars Manny Machado and Matt Wieters. Having them in the lineup will make more of a difference than any trade or free agent addition.

In other news, suspended Orioles slugger Chris Davis said Saturday his use of Adderall last season was not as a performance enhancer but rather a way to cope with an oblique injury that landed him on the disabled list and played havoc with his swing.

“It was never a baseball issue,” he said. “Just an everyday life thing.”

Davis was suspended for 25 games. The punishment will expire after opening day.

Davis said he had previously been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, which got him a green light from Major League Baseball to use the drug in 2008.

“I had an exemption in the past. It was denied in 2013 and obviously, I shouldn’t have been taking it last year,” Davis said. “It was a moment of weakness.”

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Collective agreement reached between the United Steelworkers and Canadian National Railway

Posted January 31, 2015 by Canada News Centre - National News

Today, the Honourable Dr. K. Kellie Leitch, Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women, congratulated the United Steelworkers and Canadian National Railway (CN) on the renewal of their collective agreement. The agreement was reached following d…

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BigCityLib Strikes Back: Da Youth Iz Down With Surveillance

Posted January 31, 2015 by bigcitylib

And the kids have a point.  The Internet used to be for porn; now it’s also for spying. Stalking  old girl-friends, digging up embarrasing tweets from enemy politicians,tracking your husband’s movements through the GPS on his cell-phone, using honeypots to trick pedos into revealing their IP addresses.  Little brother spies on little brother.  The Corporate World spies on the Consumer. 

The younger you are the more you have grown up in this reality.  So why not allow the nation’s security service to do what Walmart’s already doing?  And, really, if you want be radical and get away with it? (Read more…)

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Four decades later, coroner finally identifies body of 26-year-old B.C. man

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

VANCOUVER — The body of an unknown man found in Vancouver almost four decades ago has finally been identified.

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Kenji Goto, the last Japanese hostage, seen beheaded in unconfirmed ISIS video

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

The video, released via militant websites, bore the symbols of previous Islamic State group videos. It could not be immediately independently confirmed

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the woodshed: A uniform does not a hero make

Posted January 31, 2015 by Kevin Wood

Ignore the dust and cobwebs in the corners of the blog, it has been a long time since I’ve spent much time around here and obviously the whole place needs to be stripped to the wall studs and rebuilt, but that is a project for another night.No, tonight I want to tug on your coat sleeve about something else. A bunch of related something elses that all connect to an issue that has been bugging me for a long time that seems to be getting more and more out of hand in North America and by extension the rest (Read more…)

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Did fracking cause this ‘freaky’ Alberta earthquake?

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

Lee-Anna Jack was in her bedroom watching TV with her husband just before midnight on Jan. 22 when the door slammed open and the bed moved. “All of a sudden our bedroom door opened up. It was kind of freaky. The door slammed and the bed moved — it felt like when you’re on a roller-coaster and how your stomach does flip flops,” Jack said from her home in Fox Creek, 260 kilometres northwest of Edmonton.

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Online video purports to show beheading of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Associated Press

CAIRO—An online video purports to show Islamic State group militants beheading Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

The video, released late Saturday, shows a militant with a British accent beheading Goto.

The video, released via militant websites, bore the symbols of previous Islamic State group videos. It could not be immediately independently confirmed by The Associated Press.

Japan’s deputy foreign minister, Yasuhide Nakayama, said late Friday that efforts to free Goto were “in a state of deadlock.”

Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old adventurer taken hostage in Syria last year, was beheaded a week ago after being filmed with Goto in hostage videos released by militants.

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Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Megamind Time Machine

Posted January 31, 2015 by John Klein

We kicked off a Netflix addiction with “The Croods” [5/10] last night, and “Megamind” [8/10] this morning. At Christmas we replaced a tube TV with a more modern LED version that can get free broadcast channels and hook up to a laptop. Cutting the cable was made possible also with the prospect of Netflix, which I managed to hold off pushing the go button on until last night. My parents stopped by with some pencils for the kids, some cell phone stands for us, and some birthday cards from The White House for my Grandmas’ birthdays.

I’ve spent enough time (Read more…)

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The Pirate Bay comes back weeks after a police raid

Posted January 31, 2015 by Jon Fingas

We’re starting to wonder if it’s nigh-on impossible to keep The Pirate Bay down. Just weeks after Swedish police raided the bootleg file site and knocked it offline, it’s back — TorrentFreak reports that almost everything is up and running once agai…

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Willes: Rebounding Gino Odjick thankfully looks ahead to a possible role with Canucks

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

Nine months ago, when his heart was operating at 28 per cent of its capacity, doctors were telling Gino Odjick he might have a year to live. Today, his heart is operating at 58 per cent of its capacity and the doctors are saying he might have three yea…

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Miss Marple actress Geraldine McEwan dies at age 82

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Associated Press

LONDON—The family of longtime actress Geraldine McEwan says she has died following treatment for a stroke. She was 82.

McEwan was known for many roles including playing the famous Agatha Christie detective Miss Marple in 12 TV movies.

Her son and daughter said in a statement that she died Friday after suffering a severe stroke at the end of October. They thanked staff at London’s Charing Cross Hospital for their work on her behalf.

McEwan worked for many years in theatre, television and films.

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Tracy Morgan — Long Hard Recovery

Posted January 31, 2015 by TMZ Staff

Tracy Morgan is taking it step by step as he continues his recovery from that horrible truck accident.Tracy is still walking with assistance, showing clear signs the June crash has taken its toll.He was out in NYC Saturday and didn’t want to ta…

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VICE Special: Prison Tennis, Cambo, and Riff Raff’s Diet: Latest on VICE

Posted January 31, 2015 by VICE Staff

The backwoods of Alabama with Cambo, diamond mining in the Central African Republic, the weight gain diet with Riff Raff, and tennis with inmates. This is the latest on VICE.

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London, Ont. man charged for impersonating a police officer with fake cruiser

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Canadian Press

LONDON, ONT.—A 50-year-old London, Ont., man is facing charges after police say he equipped his vehicle to look like a police cruiser and pulled over numerous drivers.

Police say they spotted a silver four-door 2007 Dodge Charger, not unlike the ones used by police, equipped with a siren and flashing red and blue lights Thursday evening.

Police say they stopped the car after other vehicles on the road were seen pulling over for the Charger.

Terry Mertick is facing one charge of false representation as a peace officer. Mertick also faces one charge of possession of a prohibited weapon, after officers allegedly discovered a switchblade in the vehicle.

He is due in London court to face the charges on March 12.

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Former COPE employee loses bid to withdraw guilty pleas for sex offences against young girls

Posted January 31, 2015 by The Province - News

A judge has denied an application by former COPE civic party employee Ibata Hexamer to withdraw his guilty pleas to sex offences against underage girls. In August 2012, Hexamer entered his pleas to six counts in a 23-count indictment but became unhappy…

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