Archive for September, 2018

A timeline of the Toronto Zoo’s elephant exhibit

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

TORONTO – The elephants at the Toronto Zoo are being moved to a
sanctuary in the United
States. A vote by City Council on Tuesday
night approved the motion to send the elephants to a warmer climate.  


News looks at the evolution of the Elephant Exhibit at the Toronto Zoo.



Toronto Zoo opens it’s first elephant exhibit.


July 2006

elephant, Patsy, is euthanized due to long-term degenerative arthritis.



elephant at the Toronto Zoo, Tequila, dies. The cause of death was never
released to the public.



to minutes from a board meeting at The Toronto Zoo there is a concern among
board members about the condition of the elephant exhibit. Board members are
concerned that if the exhibit is not expanded the Zoo may lose it’s accreditation
under the Association
of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).


November 2009

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Tara, the zoo’s largest elephant dies. In the days following
her death, the non-profit organizations Zoocheck and In Defence of Animals,
called for the remaining elephants to be moved to a sanctuary with more room
for them to roam.



Toronto Zoo commissions a study on the conditions of the elephant exhibit and
the future of the 37-year old exhibit. The review finds the “exhibit design,
layout and wildlife collection has always been a fundamental planning
initiative undertaken each year by the Zoo’s professional and expert staff.”


April 2011

game show host, Bob Barker, visits Toronto
to urge City Council and the Toronto Zoo to cancel the elephant exhibit and
send the elephants south to a sanctuary. According to Bob Barker the health
problems the elephants face in Toronto are in
part caused by the cold climate and could be alleviated by moving to California.


May 2011

Zoo officials vote 5-2 to move Toka, Thika and Iringa to another zoo


25, 2011

City Council votes 31-4 in favour of the motion to send the Toronto Zoo’s three
aging elephants, Toka, Thinga and Iringa, to a sanctuary in California. The sanctuary has 80 acres for
the elephants to roam as well as a whirlpool to treat arthritis.


Property lines turning into battle lines in Mission

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

CALGARY – Being a good neighbour can prove a challenge sometimes, especially when construction is involved.

A long time Mission resident is upset townhouses are being built beside his home and property lines are quickly turning into battle lines.

“Their pile driver actually hit the edge of the garage and forced the sheeting together and caused a one foot hole,” says Howard Zarvie.

An angry inch away there’s frustrated builders who have approval to put pilings right up to the property line for the new townhouse project. They say repeated and ongoing negotiations with Zarvie haven’t gotten them anywhere.

“We provided him with options. We are more than willing to accommodate him with a brand new garage. If it requires a setback of a foot or so that might be the case, we are not even certain of that,” says Shawn Burstyn, Director of rpdhomes. “That was always on the table – new garage, no questions asked.”

Zarvie’s current garage is right on his property line. The garage has been repaired but not to Zarvie’s satisfaction. The city says it has no jurisdiction unless safety becomes an issue but it is trying to come up with a good neighbour policy to help ease tensions around inner city development.

“There is in the works, as a matter of fact, a practical guide to construction that we have started to employ and some of it is around what you speak of where we would in essence explain to neighbouring properties what your work is going to be about,” says Marco Civitarese, Chief Building Inspector.

As for Zarvie, he says he’s is as upset with the city as anyone else. “The city should never let people build, especially in a neighbourhood like this, to property line on subgrade.”

However, the city says to reduce urban sprawl, building up is the only alternative to building out.

Rdphomes tried to buy Zarvie’s property over three years ago but those negotiations also failed.  


It survived the Blitz, but St. Paul’s Cathedral shuts doors over anti-capitalist campsite

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

LONDON – St. Paul’s Cathedral has welcomed visitors for 300 years, but for almost a week its heavy oak doors have been shut, locked because of an anti-capitalist protest camp outside the landmark building.

Church officials say the campsite is a health hazard, and on Wednesday London’s Anglican bishop asked the demonstrators to leave. But hours later, the church appeared to acknowledge that the protesters are settling in for a long stay.

The protesters accuse the church of choosing the wrong side in the standoff between capitalism and idealism that has spawned sit-ins from New York to Sydney.

“We want this church to open,” said a 50-year-old protest spokesman who gave his name as Akira. “We were shocked that they closed it.”

The Dean of St. Paul’s, Rev. Graeme Knowles, said Wednesday evening he was optimistic that the cathedral would reopen Friday following changes to the layout of tents used by the protesters.

The cathedral is considering all its options in response to the protest – including legal action – Knowles said, adding that a final decision would be made Thursday on whether St. Paul’s could open in time for a midday service Friday.

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Business owners, residents and officials in cities where encampments have sprouted up are increasingly complaining about sanitation problems, disruptions to business, and crime.

In Glasgow, Scottish police said Wednesday they were investigating reports a woman was raped in a tent in the city’s George’s Square, where protesters have set up camp.

In recent days, authorities in several cities around the world have swooped in to evict encampments of anti-corporate demonstrators inspired by New York’s Occupy Wall Street movement, clashing with demonstrators in some U.S. cities.

But London’s campsite has grown since protesters erected tents near the base of the cathedral steps on Oct. 15. They had hoped to camp outside the nearby London Stock Exchange, but were stopped by police. Cathedral officials initially permitted the protesters to stay.

The camp, perhaps 100 tents and 500 people strong, has the air of a scruffy village carnival, with banners, speeches, activities – and even, one recent afternoon, a singalong. “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,” sang a small but enthusiastic group attempting a Stealers Wheel classic. “Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”

That is a fair summary of how cathedral officials feel. They say they support the right to demonstrate and did not want to shut the building – for the first time since German bombers blitzed London during World War II – but made the decision last Friday because the protesters’ tents, stoves and generators pose a threat to public safety.

The closure is costing the cathedral thousands of pounds (dollars) a day – St. Paul’s charges adults 14.50 pounds ($23) for admission, unless they are attending a service – and means disappointment for tourists hoping to visit Christopher Wren’s domed church, one of London’s most famous buildings and the site of the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer.

On Wednesday, Bishop of London Richard Chartres, the third highest-ranking cleric in the Church of England, asked the protesters to go home, saying: “The camp’s presence threatens to eclipse entirely the issues that it was set up to address.”

The protesters say they have worked with health-and-safety officials to make sure the site is safe, and want to negotiate a compromise with the church.

The protest is less than two weeks old but has a semi-permanent feel. There is a kitchen dispensing donated food and water, a tent offering free “tea and coffee and empathy,” a technology tent linking the camp to the world via the Internet, a music tent, a meditation tent, a library, a movie theatre and a newspaper.

There are twice-daily meetings to plan strategy, and near-constant debates. The activists include many students and veteran protesters, but also, organizers say, doctors, shopkeepers and teachers.

Their demands are diverse, ranging from tighter control of banks to the complete dismantling of the capitalist system. But that diversity, the protesters say, is the point.

“This is a free space – a free space for ideas, for discussions, for coming together and trying to brainstorm something, as a collective,” said Emma Medoes, a student who works part time in a bar.

Similar camps have sprung up across the United States and around the world since activists took over a plaza near New York’s Wall Street seven weeks ago to protest corporate greed and social inequality.

Most have withered or been dismantled, sometimes by force. On Tuesday police in Oakland, California, fired tear gas and bean bags to disperse about 170 protesters who had been camping in front of City Hall for the past two weeks. Police in Atlanta also moved in to break up a 2-week-old camp.

Several high-profile protests remain. In the hub of Asian capitalism, Hong Kong, 30 to 40 protesters are camped outside the headquarters of banking giant HSBC.

In Germany, crowds of several thousand demonstrated on Oct. 15 and again on Saturday, and a small camp has been pitched outside the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. But the protests have failed to catch fire in a country that has one of Europe’s strongest economies.

As winter approaches in London, it’s unclear whether the protest will prosper or shrink.

At the moment police can’t remove the protesters, who technically are not trespassing – they camped with the Cathedral’s approval. A handful of people have been arrested for public disorder offences since the protest began, but police say it has been mainly peaceful.

The local governing authority, the City of London Corporation, says it is taking legal advice on the best way to evict the protesters – but that could be a long process.

An anti-war vigil outside Britain’s Parliament has continued for 10 years, despite repeated legal attempts by local authorities to move it. A handful of die-hards remain, even though legal challenges have limited the protesters to the sidewalk, rather than the grass area of Parliament Square.

The issue is complicated because this patch of London dates back to medieval times, with complex ownership split between the local authority and the cathedral.

Bookmaker William Hill is taking bets on a reopening date, offering 50 to 1 odds on the building still being shut at Christmas.

The camp is drawing support from some of the tourists, office workers – and even bankers – who stop by the site to take photographs and chat. Many say they understand the anger at bankers at a time when economic crisis and government austerity are bringing rising unemployment, higher prices, scarcer services and dwindling pensions.

“I agree with some of the things they are saying,” said David Pressman, a 19-year-old trainee investment banker. “I think there is a lot of greed from a small number of people.”

The protest has already spawned a second, smaller camp, a mile (1.6 kilometres) away in Finsbury Square. But a local councillor claimed this week that infrared photographs revealed that 90 per cent of the tents at St. Paul’s were unoccupied at night as protesters returned home to hot showers and warm beds.

Camp organizers insist that most of the tents are occupied at night, saying there are plenty of newcomers willing to take over from those whose who have to leave.

Protester Malcolm Blackman, 44, said the photographs were probably taken before midnight – when many demonstrators were in the pub.

“If you’re going to have a tent city in the middle of London, you’re going to enjoy London,” he said. “We’re not all so poor we can’t afford a pint.”


Associated Press Writers Juergen Baetz in Berlin and Peter Enav in Hong Kong contributed to this report.

Manitoba’s NDP government to limit class sizes to 20 students in early grades(2)

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

The equation seems pretty simple, more money plus more teachers equals smaller classes. 

It’s execution that earns the province an incomplete grade. 

“These are very early days in regards to figuring out what this looks like,” said Manitoba Education Minister Nancy Allan. 

Tuesday the NDP government followed through on a key election promise, capping class sizes at 20 children for kids from kindergarten through to grade three. 

It will take half a decade before the plan is fully in place. 

“I think one of the reasons for doing it over five years is it will give us time to iron out the details in regards to how that moves forward,” said Allan. 

$20 million a year will be set aside to fund the anticipated 250 new teaching positions, and $85 million will build more class space. 

That is already at a premium, with many school divisions bursting at the seams. 

“We’ve been adding portables, and we’ve got a new school approved that is in design and we’re hoping we’ll have another school approved,” said Superintendant Brian O’leary. 

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British Columbia and Ontario already cap class sizes. 

A committee here will be looking for their advice to make this all happen. 

The Manitoba Teachers Society says work loads are a serious issue, so even with no firm details, they’re eager for this plan to be put into place. 

“That can allow a lot more time per child it can also allow a lot more time for the kind of high level planning that allows you to get at a broader range of needs,” said Manitoba Teachers Society spokesperson Paul Olson. 

While that’s something parents can get behind, some wish it could happen sooner. 

“There is a difference when you have a group of 3 students than a group of 10 students. You have a lot of the shyer students that won’t speak up if they are in a larger group,” said a parent Renee Agren. 


NATO postpones formal decision to conclude Libya mission due to consultations with UN, Libya

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

BRUSSELS – NATO unexpectedly postponed a definite decision to end its bombing campaign in Libya as consultations continued Wednesday with the U.N. and the country’s interim government over how and when to wind down the operation.

Last week, the alliance announced preliminary plans to phase out its mission on Oct. 31. NATO’s governing body – the North Atlantic Council, or NAC – was expected to formalize that decision Wednesday.

Air patrols have continued in the meantime because some alliance members were concerned that a quick end to NATO’s seven-month operation could lead to a resurgence in violence.

On Wednesday, spokeswoman Carmen Romero said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was consulting with the United Nations and Libya’s National Transitional Council.

“The NAC will meet with partners on Friday to discuss our Libya mission and take a formal decision,” she said, adding that there was an “ongoing process” in the U.N. Security Council.

U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday that some of Libya’s leaders had called for NATO to continue its mission “during this interim as they try to establish some new governance.”

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And at the United Nations, Libya’s deputy U.N. ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi asked the Security Council on Wednesday to hold up on lifting the no-fly zone and ending its authorization to protect civilians.

However, a NATO official who could not be identified under standing rules, said the alliance had not received any formal request from the Libya’s transitional government to prolong its air and naval patrols past the end of the month.

NATO’s 26,000 sorties, including 9,600 strike missions, destroyed about 5,900 military targets since they started on March 31. These included Libya’s air defences and more than 1,000 tanks, vehicles and guns, as well as Moammar Gadhafi’s command and control networks.

The daily airstrikes enabled the rebels’ ragtag forces to advance and take Tripoli two months ago. On Sunday, Libya’s interim rulers declared the country liberated, launching the oil-rich nation on what is meant to be a two-year transition to democracy.

In Qatar, Libya’s interim leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil attended an international planning conference Wednesday with representatives of Gulf states and Western powers that participated in the Libyan operation.

The meeting is expected to focus on how the allies could help the new authorities bring stability to the nation.

Qatar, a leading Arab backer of the uprising to topple Gadhafi’s regime, contributed warplanes to the NATO-led air campaign and helped arrange a critical oil sale to fund the former rebels.

The United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Sweden also joined in the NATO war effort.


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