Archives for August2019

Toronto Public Library partners with Google to offer free take-home WiFi

The Toronto Public Library is partnering with Google Canada to offer free portable take-home WiFi devices at six of its branches in low-income neighbourhoods across the city.

The pilot project is being launched with 210 participants who will be able to borrow the hotspots for up to six months and can use up to 10 gigabytes of data per month.

The goal of the program is to provide free internet service to individuals and families who cannot afford a broadband connection at home.

“It is absolutely necessary to help provide the hand up that some people need in order to make sure they have every opportunity to show what they can do,” Mayor John Tory said during a press conference at the Thorncliffe Park branch Wednesday morning.

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    The Affordable Access Coalition, a group formed to lobby the government on affordable internet access, believes a broadband connection is a basic telecommunications service similar to having a home telephone line and that funding should be provided to make sure the service is available to everyone.

    Tory said he hopes more partners, specifically telecommunications companies, can jump online to either expand the program or present something better.

    “I’m going to be inviting those companies to see whether they would like to either create some type of similar program to the one Google has initiated here with the library system or perhaps even better join this program and make it bigger,” said Tory.

Belgium maintains security alert level despite threat report

BRUSSELS – Belgium’s security threat analysis centre said Wednesday it is keeping the security alert status at its current level despite reports that fighters from Syria could pose an imminent threat.

“We are still on level three, quite a high level of threat,” said Benoit Ramacker, spokesman for the Crisis Center. Level three out of a possible four means the threat is considered serious, possible and probable.

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The Derniere Heure tabloid reported Belgium’s anti-terror office has warned police that fighters with access to weapons could have left Syria about 10 days ago bound for Belgium and France.

The paper, which said it had obtained an alert message, said fighters travelling without passports were believed to be trying to reach Europe by boat via Turkey and Greece. A Brussels shopping mall, an American fast-food chain and police could be among their targets.

READ MORE: 4 charged with terrorism, 2 released after police raids in Belgium

Ramacker said, “these kinds of potential targets are under protection anyway” and that “nothing has changed in terms of security.”

He declined to comment specifically on the reports, saying only that “there is a lot of information coming in.”

Brussels police said they had not seen any such warning from the anti-terror office.

Belgium has been on level three or above since November, in the wake of the massacres in Paris that killed 130 people, with extra police and military mobilized.

It’s not the first report that fighters might have been dispatched to Europe since the March 22 suicide attacks on the Brussels airport and subway that killed 32.

On April 19, crisis centre chief Paul Van Tigchelt said there were signals from Islamic State that fighters were sent to Europe, including Belgium.

Urgent action needed to curb chronic diseases in First Nation communities: Cancer Care Ontario

TORONTO – Cancer Care Ontario is calling on the province to take urgent action to help a number of chronic health problems among aboriginal communities.

The organization says rates of disease are higher among first nations, Inuit and Metis populations than their non-aboriginal counterparts.

They say 63 per cent of First Nations people living off reserve and 61 per cent of Metis suffer from one or more chronic conditions, compared to 47 per cent of the general population.

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Cancer Care Ontario is recommending policies the Ontario government could put in place to combat diabetes, heart disease, cancer and respiratory disease.

READ MORE: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces $69M for indigenous mental health services

They focus on limiting commercial tobacco use, curbing excess alcohol consumption, reducing rates of physical inactivity and promoting healthy eating.

Cancer Care Ontario says the recommendations were developed with input from aboriginal communities and are based on pre-existing programs, such as Smoke Free Ontario, that have already produced positive results.

“The path towards healthier First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities involves not only taking practical actions directed at encouraging healthy behaviours, but also creating environments that encourage people to make healthier choices,” the organization’s director of the cancer control unit Alethea Kewayosh said in a statement.

READ MORE: Indigenous health system fixes are ‘medically necessary’: Indigenous Affairs Minister

“The recommendations in this report focus on creating supportive environments that empower First Nations, Inuit and Metis people to make healthy lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of chronic disease, including cancer.”

Other measures include ramping up the number of culturally appropriate alcohol treatment programs in aboriginal communities, anti-smoking efforts specifically targeting youth, social media campaigns promoting the benefits of tobacco- and alcohol-free living, and programs to teach people about growing and preparing traditional, healthy food.

Does drinking coffee cause cancer? World Health Organization doesn’t think so

LONDON – The World Health Organization’s research arm has downgraded its classification of coffee as a possible carcinogen, declaring there isn’t enough proof to show a link to cancer.

But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, or IARC, also announced in a report published on Wednesday that drinking “very hot” beverages of any kind could potentially raise the cancer risk.

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In particular, it cited countries including China, Iran and those in South America, where teas such as the bitter herbal infusion mate are traditionally drunk at extremely high temperatures – above 65 or 70 degrees Celsius (150 or 160 Fahrenheit) – considerably hotter than drinks would normally be served in cafes across North America and Europe.

READ MORE: Good news, coffee lovers: Caffeine doesn’t tamper with heartbeat, study suggests

Experts convened by the Lyon-based IARC concluded that there was inadequate evidence to suggest coffee might cause cancer, according to a letter published in the Lancet Oncology.

“I’m not really sure why coffee was in a higher category in the first place,” said Owen Yang, an epidemiologist at Oxford University who has previously studied the possible link between coffee and cancer. He was not part of the IARC expert group. “The best evidence available suggests that coffee does not raise the cancer risk,” he said.

Drinking very hot beverages, however, just might.

Dana Loomis, deputy head of the IARC program that classifies carcinogens, said they began to look into a possible link after seeing unusually high rates of esophageal cancer in countries where drinking very hot beverages is common. He said that even at temperatures below 60 degrees Celsius (140 Fahrenheit), hot beverages can scald the skin, and that consuming drinks at even higher temperatures could be harmful.

READ MORE: Why the FDA is warning parents about powdered caffeine

Loomis said very hot beverages might cause a “thermal injury” in the throat that could eventually promote the growth of tumors, but that evidence was limited. He said there wasn’t enough evidence to suggest if eating very hot food might also be risky.

Other experts said that people should remain focused on the leading causes of cancers including of the esophagus and that there were more important changes they could make other than waiting for their drinks to cool.

“Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption are much more significant for reducing cancer risk than the temperature of what you’re drinking,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. Brawley said the cancer risk posed by drinking hot beverages was similar to that posed by eating pickled vegetables.

READ MORE: Caffeine common for kids, even preschoolers, study shows

Still, he welcomed the news that coffee would no longer be deemed a possible carcinogen.

“As a heavy coffee drinker, I have always enjoyed my coffee guilt-free,” he said. “But now there is scientific evidence to justify that.”

Canadian brands cashing in on anti-Donald Trump sentiment

TORONTO – Canadian companies are cashing in on so-called anti-Trumpism in the United States, offering our neighbours to the south an escape plan should Donald Trump become president in November.

Come to Canada.

It’s a smart move, says one marketing and advertising expert who sees only benefits for firms trying to entice Americans north of the border because of the blowhard billionaire.

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“It makes a lot of sense for marketers to use Donald Trump because he’s so out there,” said associate marketing professor Grant Packard.

“He has obvious humour appeal and cultural currency. Trump is such a bombastic personality.”

Packard, who teaches at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, explains that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee is so polarizing that he is seen as the antithesis of how Canadians view themselves.

For homegrown Canadian brands, the businessman is an obvious target when companies want to appeal to like-minded Americans living in the U.S.

“For brands that kind of play on Canada’s modest pride, and our socially minded altruism, Trump is the anti-brand to that,” he said.

Appealing to Americans appalled by Trump likely works best for brands like Roots and Molson Canadian – two companies rooted in Canadian nationalism and with the ability to be tongue and cheek with their marketing campaigns.

READ MORE: Orlando shooting: Obama slams Donald Trump’s ‘shameful’ anti-Muslim rhetoric

Other Canadian companies like Bombardier aren’t known for having a sense of humour and and should probably shy away from advertising with a political flavour because it could be seen as opportunistic, Packard said.

There are also risks to wading into the murky political choices of another country since they could alienate potential customers who, in this case, may be Trump supporters.

That was a serious consideration for Air Canada earlier this month when the airline launched a campaign in five large U.S. cities urging Americans to “test drive” Canada with a visit before moving here post-election should Trump succeed in his bid for the White House.

The ad, featuring a cheery flight attendant, acknowledges that many Americans are searching online about starting over in Canada.

But “before you sell your house and book a one-way ticket, maybe it makes sense to check us out first,” urges the flight attendant, who points out that Air Canada operates 240 flights between Canada and the U.S. each day.

READ MORE: Donald Trump calls for ban on immigration from certain ‘areas of the world’

Ad agency J. Walter Thompson Toronto headed the campaign. The agency’s Sarah Stringer said the intention was to capitalize on an event that happens every four years in the U.S. – the presidential election – without mentioning specific candidates or pushing for a certain outcome.

“We were quite careful not to make a political statement. That’s not our business,” she said.

Stringer said ultimately, Air Canada saw the campaign as an opportunity to increase their brand recognition in the U.S. as it battles fierce competition from its American rivals.

It wasn’t the first time a Canadian company entered the fray of the U.S. presidential race to lift their profile.

In March, a Nova Scotia DJ launched the website “Cape Breton If Trump Wins,” letting Americans know that residents of the East Coast island will welcome them with open arms.

READ MORE: Clinton campaign releases mock infomercial for Trump University

A Kitchener, Ont., startup also launched a hiring campaign on Facebook and Instagram urging expats to come back to Canada if Trump becomes president. The ad, which features a grimacing Trump, asks: “Thinking of Moving to Canada? Sortable is Hiring.”

Even a new dating website got in on the anti-Trump sentiment by offering to pair Americans with Canadian singles.

The website promises to “make dating great again,” a nod at Trump’s signature slogan “Make America Great Again!”

MapleMatch长沙桑拿 has not officially launched but is currently operating a waitlist for those seeking love on both sides of the border.