May 19

Ontario Liberals eye separate bill to end winter electricity disconnections

TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government will introduce legislation Wednesday to end disconnections of electricity during the winter months, if all of the local distribution companies don’t voluntarily stop.

Both opposition parties have been pressuring the government over the practice, calling on the Liberals to table a separate piece of legislation to deal with it, instead of having it as a section of the omnibus Burden Reduction Act. But the government denied their attempts to get that done Tuesday.

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All parties traded shots over who supported that bill and when, and who should pass what.

READ MORE: Ontario energy minister calls on utility companies to end winter disconnections

“I am disappointed that a motion was put forward to the House today and the government said no,” said Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown. “They could have ended it today. I don’t want to delay a week. I don’t want to delay another day. We need action on winter disconnects today.”

Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault last week asked all Ontario electricity distribution companies to voluntarily stop disconnecting customers’ power during the winter months for non-payment.

He said “quite a few” have already complied, but if all have not done so by midnight, the government will introduce standalone legislation Wednesday.

“We’ve been asking to have this done since June, so we recognize this is an issue,” Thibeault said.

READ MORE: Brown and Horwath demand immediate end to winter hydro disconnections

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it should happen through legislation anyway.

“It should not be about the whim or the good nature of the utilities,” she said. “It should be the law in the province of Ontario that people’s electricity bills do not get cut off.”

The majority Liberal government could have passed the omnibus legislation already, or they could have supported attempts from both opposition parties to get standalone bills passed Tuesday, she said.

“It appears that the premier will only agree to keeping people’s power on if she and her Liberal party get the political win,” she said in question period. “Shame on her.”

READ MORE: Ontario Energy Minister says relief from winter disconnections won’t come this year

About 60,000 disconnections occur in Ontario each year, though the Ontario Energy Board doesn’t have seasonal data. The government notes that most customers are re-connected within 48 hours.

Hydro One has already stopped the winter disconnection practice and has said it would re-connect 1,400 customers whose electricity was cut off for not paying their bills.

Progressive Conservative Todd Smith said rising hydro rates are the reason the winter disconnection issue is “out of control.”

“People can no longer afford to pay their electricity bills,” he said. “They’re doing the best that they can to try and pay their bills.”

Wynne has promised more relief and a source familiar with the discussions said that incrementally increasing an eight-per-cent rebate is being considered. The government is also considering more targeted relief for people who are particularly struggling, such as those in rural and northern communities and low-income ratepayers.

May 19

Saskatchewan Rush forward Adam Jones reaches career milestone

The Saskatchewan Rush earned their fifth-straight win Saturday on a milestone night for forward Adam Jones.

The sixth-year pro recorded two assists to reach 400 career points, doing it in his first game against his former team, the Colorado Mammoth.

“It does make me feel old, but it’s good. Once I was traded here, I was glad to be here, and the way the offence works here it’s super exciting for us in a big win,” Jones said.

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    READ MORE: Saskatchewan Rush defeat Colorado Mammoth 8-7 in battle of the west

    Jones had a career-high 51 goals and 93 points with Colorado in 2014.

    He has nine goals and 17 assists so far this season with the Rush.

    The Rush are back in action on Saturday when they host their arch-rivals, the Calgary Roughnecks.

    The action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. CT at SaskTel Centre on “Super Heroes Night.”

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    The Rush are teaming up with TD Bank to raise money for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan.

    “At TD, we believe that one of the best ways that we can support our communities is by investing in children’s health,” Ryan Barclay, TD Bank district vice-president, Saskatchewan, said.

    “TD believes that every child deserves the opportunity to live life to its fullest.”

    “We are so pleased to partner with community super heroes like TD and the Saskatchewan Rush to honour our youngest real life heroes, pediatric patients across the province,” Brynn Boback-Lane, president and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan, added.

    Fans can bid on game-worn, autographed jerseys, which have a super hero theme.

    “The children currently admitted to pediatric departments across Saskatchewan are real life super heroes and our players will be honouring them by wearing the jerseys during the game, as we rally our fans together to help raise money for their amazing cause,” Andrea Haughian, vice-president, marketing and partnerships for the Rush, said.

    One Bad Son will also be at the game, performing two songs during the pre-game ceremonies and another three at half-time.

May 19

Australian man captures powerful close-up footage after plane slams into mall

Dramatic footage showed the aftermath of the light-plane crash in Australia on Tuesday which killed all five people on board.

A pilot and four American passengers were killed when the small plane crashed in to the roof of a shopping mall after taking off from an airfield outside Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, police said.

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    Kane O’Toole, a carpenter who was working directly across the Tullamarine Freeway from the scene, was one of the first people to arrive on the scene and took a few video clips showing heavy smoke rising from the scene as firefighters were hosing down the fire.

    O’Toole told Reuters that he witnessed the explosion and could feel the heat from the scene.

    A cracking sound can also be heard from O’Toole’s footage.

    WATCH: Australian PM quotes Winston Churchill in criticism of Trump’s fake news claims

    The twin-turboprop Beechcraft King Air plane suffered engine failure and crashed into the mall near the end of the runway at Essendon Airport, according to Victoria state police assistant commissioner Stephen Leane .

    Police said the plane crashed just before 9 a.m. local time Monday, about an hour before the Direct Factory Outlet shopping mall was due to open.

    WATCH: Five confirmed dead after plane slams into mall in Australia

    There were no fatalities other than those aboard the aircraft, police added.

    In a police statement, all the victims were identified as men – the pilot was Australian and the four passengers were from the U.S..

    The plane had been bound for King Island in Bass Strait between the mainland and the southern island state of Tasmania and Australian newspapers reported that at least two of the men were travelling to play golf on the island’s famed links.

May 19

Extreme weather – not terrorism – is the biggest risk to the world in 2017: World Economic Forum

Last year was a roller coaster; world governments were shaken by events like Brexit and Donald Trump’s surprise presidential win, populations changed as the refugee crisis continued and terror attacks in Europe and the U.S. had people on edge.

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But 2017 may not be a walk in the park either, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual global risk report, which surveys the top 10 risks facing our world.

READ MORE: Donald Trump, terrorism and Brexit: 10 big stories that shook the world in 2016

According to the survey, released in January, extreme weather events ranked as the top risk in terms of likelihood and second in terms of the impact extreme weather will pose. Natural disasters ranked third on the list of the most likely risks, with man-made environmental disasters ranking eighth.

However, these natural events pose a greater risk in terms of impact, according to the World Economic Forum. While extreme weather events ranked second in terms of impact, water and food crises, as well as the failure of climate-change adaptation also made the list of the top 10 risks in terms of impact. Over 750 experts assessed 30 global risks and underlying trends that could amplify as a result of those risks in order to create the list.

Source: World Economic Forum.

These risks are not new – weather related events have ranked high on the risk scale for the past seven global risk reports – and have already made an impact this year.

Last month, 29 people were killed after an avalanche buried a hotel in central Italy. The avalanche came after record amounts of snow within the region, as well as several strong earthquakes throughout the country.

Terrorist attacks ranked fourth on the list of most likely threats, but ranked eight in terms of impact.

READ MORE: Muslim misconceptions: The everyday Islamophobia facing Canadians

But terrorism remains a big topic of conversation, due to the political landscape in the United States under President Donald Trump‘s new administration. The beginning of the year was marked by news of Trump’s controversial travel ban, which temporarily prevented those with passports from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S.

Despite accusations the so-called travel ban targeted Muslims, Trump insisted the executive order was created to help further “extreme vetting” measures in the country.

READ MORE: Trump calls it a travel ban, White House says it’s not a ban. So what is Trump’s immigration order?

Trump has repeatedly warned of the threats posed by “radical Islamic terrorism.”

Technology threats, such as data fraud and theft and cyberattacks, also made the list of likely threats.

While cyberattacks against governments have been a large topic of conversation, particularly surrounding elections, experts agree the average Canadian has a high chance of being affected by technological threats.

In late 2016, popular domain name server (DNS) provider Dyn was targeted with a large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that knocked its systems offline and caused widespread outages for websites like 桑拿会所, Netflix, Amazon, Spotify and Airbnb. The attack was a rude awakening for consumers, after it was revealed that hackers orchestrated the takedown using malware to infect “smart” devices connected to the so-called Internet of Things.

READ MORE: From your smart TV being held hostage to personalized healthcare: What to expect from tech in 2017

Cybersecurity experts told Global News at the time that attacks like these are expected to ramp up over the next year, because it’s easy money for criminals.

“The bad guys realized it’s easier to enslave these devices, rather than a computer that has anti-virus software,” explained David Masson, Canada country manager for cyber security firm Darktrace. “Imagine you come home and your TV is hacked and you want to watch the game. Would you pay 50 bucks to unlock it?”

May 19

New video aimed at helping Maritime Arabic-speaking families use car seats

A new instructional video series aimed at Arabic-speaking families in the Maritimes gives essential and important instructions on properly installing and using car seats for babies and small children.

The series consists of three videos narrated in Arabic with accompanying Arabic subtitles, explaining things like height and weight limits, installation instructions, and recommendations for rear- and front-facing car seats. They were created by the IWK Health Centre’s injury prevention program Child Safety Link.

READ MORE: What you need to know before buying a used car seat

The first video gives parents tips on selecting a car seat, then a second gives instructions on installing a car seat that’s either rear- or front-facing. A third video gives instructions on strapping your car seat into your car, whether with a seatbelt or the universal anchorage system.

The tutorials also feature children of different sizes, giving a range of guidelines and examples for families.

WATCH: Car seat safety and mistakes you might be making

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The video release coincides with the one-year anniversary of the arrival of many Syrian families to the region.

“For many newcomers to Canada, the first time they used a car seat may have been the day they arrived,” health promotion specialist with Child Safety Link, Katherine Hutka said in a release.

“These families want to know how to use car seats to best protect their children according to the law. We know that many Syrian families, for example, are now starting to purchase their first vehicles, and so the need for resources in their own language is growing.”

READ MORE: How to properly strap your child into a car seat

Child Safety Link says a recent study shows that while 99 per cent of families in Nova Scotia buckle their children in a car-seat, 65 per cent of rear-facing and 79 per cent of forward-facing car seats are used incorrectly.

The video is also told in English and French, with accompanying subtitles.

WATCH: The English version of the Arabic-narrated and subtitled video aimed at showing Arabic-speaking families how to choose and use car seats

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