• SkyTrain light rapid transit cars in Vancouver, B.C., May 1, 2014. (CP/Bayne Stanley)SkyTrain light rapid transit cars in Vancouver, B.C., May 1, 2014. (CP/Bayne Stanley)

    Vancouver writer Jessica Barrett chalked up a minor victory for Millennials this week when, over Sunday brunch, she convinced a friend to switch her vote in the West Coast region’s hotly debated transit-tax referendum from a “no” to a “yes.”  

    No one likes to pay more taxes, and saying “yes” means regional residents will pay an additional half per cent on the existing seven per cent sales tax to fund sweeping transit expansion plans across the fast-growing region.

    “No” means keeping more money in your own pocket – a powerful lure for the 1.5 million voters living in the country’s most expensive urban centre, and particularly so for younger adults, many of whom are under-employed and struggling to keep financially afloat.

    But Barrett, 32, believes firmly that a vote against the tax is a vote against her generation. Indeed, without the proposed improvements, people her age will be unfairly doomed to a lifetime of clogged roads, choking pollution and a public transit system that can’t

    Read More »from High-stakes transit tax vote in Vancouver pitting Millennials against Boomers
  • 'Sextortion’ scams on the rise: What to watch for

    Victims being lured through online dating sites into sharing revealing images

    A warning for online daters: be careful who you wish for.

    RCMP in Richmond, B.C., have issued a public warning about online “sextortion,” saying they’ve seen a recent increase in the number of such cases, and they’re asking people to be cautious.

    Victims are being befriended on dating websites, said Richmond RCMP spokesman Const. Dennis Hwang.

    “A suspect then entices the victim in performing intimate acts streamed over webcam or mobile device. Unbeknownst to the victim, the interaction is secretly recorded,” Hwang said.

    “The suspect then threatens to release the video online unless they are paid by the victim.”

    The Mounties said the suspects generally are using free dating or companionship sites. Contact may be innocuous for days or even weeks. The suspect avoids meeting in person and may only be able to talk or chat at odd hours.

    The RCMP is cautioning the public against sharing intimate photos online or sending money if they end up targeted.

    Reminiscent of Amanda Todd case


    Read More »from 'Sextortion’ scams on the rise: What to watch for
  • Harper and Netanyahu during their joint news conference in Jerusalem January 21, 2014. (Reuters)Harper and Netanyahu during their joint news conference in Jerusalem January 21, 2014. (Reuters)

    A definitive win for Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in Tuesday’s Israeli election ensures Canada’s “special friendship” with the nation, and its leader, will continue.

    Netanyahu’s win has been called stunning. Polls had put him behind rival Isaac Herzog and the Zionist Union last week and in a last-ditch effort to hold onto government, Netanyahu tacked hard to the right.

    He said he was abandoning the commitment to negotiate a Palestinian state and warned voters, in a video posted on Facebook on the day of the election, that Arabs were going to the polls in droves. His late in the game anti-Arab campaign seems to have worked, striking enough fear in the hearts of Jewish voters to get them to the polls and keep him in power.

    The Conservative government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper has cozied up to Israel and Netanyahu more than any Canadian government in the past.

    It was expected that a win from Herzog could, perhaps, mend relations a bit between Israel and nations like the

    Read More »from Netanyahu’s victory ensures 'special friendship' with Harper will continue
  • This past Sunday the Sun’s surface threw off the largest explosion seen in two year and it had Earth in its cross-hairs. By early morning Tuesday the energetic and fast moving blast wave slammed into our planet’s protective magnetic field, causing intense Northern Lights shows across the entire Northern Hemisphere — including Canada — last night.

    Skywatchers in parts of Canada and as far south as Kansas and Virginia reported on social media distinct, colourful glows, but if forecasters have it right, a cosmic second act may be in the works for tonight.

    It turns out that two of these titanic bubbles of charged particles known as coronal mass ejections were belched by the sun over the weekend, but on their trip over to Earth, they merged into one gargantuan cloud measuring many times the size of our planet.  

    Once these fast moving particles hit Earth’s magnetosphere, they get naturally funneled down by the magnetic field towards the north and south poles. There they enter the

    Read More »from Prepare for another dazzling Northern Lights show in Canada Wednesday night
  • Kevin the cat disappeared from his Anderson, S.C. home in the fall of 2013.

    The orange house cat — he had been rescued from a shelter just months earlier — had gone outside, as he often did, but failed to return.

    His owner, Cheryl Walls, eventually assumed he was gone for good.

    Earlier this month, however, an inspector at the Arizona-California border heard meowing inside a U-Haul trailer that had just been driven across the country.

    He found Kevin, dehydrated but in relatively good health.

    (Riverside County Animal Services/Facebook)(Riverside County Animal Services/Facebook)

    The cat’s microchip helped track down Walls.

    "I assumed someone must have picked him up," Walls told the Associated Press. “Now he has seen more of the country than me.”

    Today, Kevin will be making the trip from Palm Springs back to North Carolina.

    "We have handled some pets with crazy back stories, and this is one more for the list," Riverside County Department of Animal Services Director Robert Miller said.

    "The good news is we know the owner, she wants her pet back, and we’ll make that happen."

    Read More »from South Carolina cat missing since 2013 shows up in California
  • 'Mango' looks around the private jet, flying her to her new home. (Imgur)'Mango' looks around the private jet, flying her to her new home. (Imgur)

    Reddit user blahblahblahokay had to leave her dog, Mango, with a friend in Florida for health reasons and move back in with her parents in Pennsylvania.

    When she was healthy enough, she returned to Florida to visit — and was shocked by what she found.

    “[Mango] was living in a crack house, didn’t have dog food, covered in fleas, and my friend is now an addict,” she wrote, herself a recovering addict.

    The dog owner didn’t want to leave her dog behind, but was due to fly out of state without her.

    Fortunately, the Reddit user’s mom’s boss overheard a conversation about the situation and offered a very generous solution: a ride home in a private jet for owner and pet.

    “My mom works at a private airport and her boss overheard her talking about the situation. It just happened that a friend of hers, who is a pilot there, was flying a family down to the area I was staying at and returning empty. Her boss secretly offered because she has a huge heart for dogs. So this was more for Mango (my

    Read More »from Dog flies out of bad situation on a private jet
  • Ashley Brady and the note left for her. (Facebook)Ashley Brady and the note left for her. (Facebook)

    When a neighbour parks in your parking spot, leaving a note on their windshield — instead of immediately calling a tow truck — is a polite way of asking them to park elsewhere next time.

    One Ohio woman, however, didn’t appreciate the correction — and fired back with a nasty note now going viral.

    Ashley Brady, 26, was on the receiving end of the cruel note.

    Brady lost her right leg in an accident last year. After learning to walk again with a prosthetic, she found that walking across her apartment complex’s icy parking lot was a real challenge.

    "I struggled a lot across the snow and ice in the parking lot trying to learn how to balance and walk," Brady told ABC 22. “I fell multiple times all of which my neighbours have seen.”

    So the complex designated a parking spot for Brady that was closer to her door.

    Just days after being awarded her new spot, Brady discovered that a neighbour, who has no physical disability, was using the spot.

    Brady left the neighbour a note explaining why she

    Read More »from Ohio woman’s rude note over handicapped parking spot goes viral
  • When we forget things we often chalk it up to our memory failing us, but new research suggests that this brain process is just a way for us to wipe out irrelevant information that is cluttering our minds.

    “It’s an active mechanism to get rid of memories that distract us from remembering the truly relevant things,” lead author Maria Wimber from the University of Birmingham said in an interview with Yahoo Canada News.

    “And in our study we have been able to even watch individual memories while they are being ‘wiped out’ in the brain."

    A team of British researchers who published their findings this week in the journal of Nature Neuroscience, developed a method that allows them to identify the “neural fingerprints” of individual memories as they return to the brains of human volunteers who were monitored using an MRI scanner.

    Each participant’s brain images were divided into tiny three-dimensional pixels. Researchers could then observe detailed patterns of brain activity that pictures like

    Read More »from Remembering the past can wipe out irrelevant memories, new study suggests
  • It seems Stephen Harper likes the Governor General, a man readily praised by diplomats in Ottawa, so much he’s keeping him around.

    David Johnston will be Canada’s Governor General longer than the typical tenure. His term was set to wrap up in 2015, but on Tuesday Prime Minister Harper announced a two-year extension for the Queen’s representative in Canada.

    Since 2010, Johnston has conducted the ceremonial duties of the Governor General with aplomb, impressing new ambassadors and high commissioners as he officially welcomes them to Canada.

    Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence, is where new ambassadors present their letters of credence to the governor general — a ceremony that makes their posting as a head of mission in Canada official.

    Johnston, they say, always has an anecdote or two to share with the new ambassadors from Belgium to Indonesia or Ecuador as he shakes their hands in those credential ceremonies. Diplomats in embassies and high commissions have nary a negative

    Read More »from David Johnston, an ambassador's best friend, to stick around as Governor General
  • Demonstrators carry sings while protesting on a national day of action against Bill C-51. (CP)Demonstrators carry sings while protesting on a national day of action against Bill C-51. (CP)

    According to an analysis of social media activity centered around Bill C-51 from March 11 to March 15, May’s Twitter account was the most tweeted individual account on March 14 during cross-country protests against the government’s controversial anti-terror legislation.

    One of her posted messages about the rally in Toronto, held in Nathan Phillips Square, was retweeted 458 times — the most tweeted message in that time span— according to an analysis done by Full Duplex, a public affairs and research company based in Ottawa.

    Saturday’s cross-country rallies saw thousands come out to protest the Conservative government’s anti-terror bill. The Green Party leader was joined at Nathan Phillips Square by Toronto NDP MPs Peggy Nash, Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Andrew Cash. May was one of two party leaders attending Saturday’s rallies; NDP leader Tom

    Read More »from Elizabeth May's voice rings loudest against Bill C-51 in flood of online chatter


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David vs. David