• A woman smokes marijuana during the 4/20 Rally at the Civic Center in Denver, April 20, 2014. (Reuters)A woman smokes marijuana during the 4/20 Rally at the Civic Center in Denver, April 20, 2014. (Reuters)

    A pungent cloud of marijuana smoke will be wafting over many parts of Canada on Monday. Yes, it’s 4/20 again, the unofficial holiday that openly celebrates pot, reefer, ganga, weed, Mary Jane or whatever you like to call it.

    In most places, though, you’re unlikely to see police swooping in to corral the tokers. Even though pot possession remains illegal, the narcs probably won’t be busting anyone except dealers.

    Part of the reason is practical; charging dozens, if not hundreds of people is a logistical nightmare. Another part is a reflection of the times, the increasing tolerance, if not acceptance, of marijuana as a part of mainstream culture. It’s no longer on the fringe.

    Despite the federal Conservative government’s determination to crack down on illegal marijuana use and sales, the drug has edged steadily out into the open.

    Successive federal governments, including the current Tory regime, have been partly responsible by creating a regulatory framework for medical marijuana since

    Read More »from Ahead of 4/20, marijuana losing its rebellious stigma, gaining more acceptance
  • Earlier this week, a school principal was filmed  having a discussion with the parent of a teen whose iPhone 6 she had confiscated. According to CNET, Linda M. Carroll took the phone for disciplinary reasons, and says she will return it to the student in "a few weeks" as per the school's policy (the school is not identified, but CNET found a Principal Linda Carroll at Northeast High School in Philadelphia).

    There are a lot of unknowns here: We don't know why the phone was taken, or if there was any prior interaction with Carroll and the parent who filmed the video. Raven Hill, a spokesperson for the School District of Philadelphia, did provide this statement to CNET when queried:

    According to the Northeast High School student handbook, which every student receives at the beginning of the school year, all confiscated cell phones, cameras, electronic and other telephonic devices will be returned at the end of each academic quarter. There are no exceptions. In this case, the end of the

    Read More »from We want to know: Do school administrators have the right to withhold phones from parents?
  • Parks Canada divers beneath the Arctic sea ice explore the remains of the Franklin Expedition's HMS Erebus.Parks Canada divers beneath the Arctic sea ice explore the remains of the Franklin Expedition's HMS Erebus.

    A dive team is finishing up a challenging expedition to explore the wreck of the HMS Erebus where it lies on the floor of the Arctic Ocean.

    A team of eight Parks Canada underwater archeologists and 20 navy divers are working with the Department of Defence and the Canadian Rangers on the current expedition to explore the ship abandoned by Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew in 1845.

    “There are folks on the ice as we speak,” Martin Magne, director of the archeology and history branch of Parks Canada, said in a recent interview.

    Weather has been a complicating factor, he says. During the last expedition to the wreck last fall, divers faced three-metre swells on the surface that forced them to take shelter from being bounced around even deeper under the surface.

    They were forced to wait out three days of their five-day window for the dive because of the conditions.

    “This is the high Arctic. The weather is very unpredictable,” Magne says.

    Franklin and his crew of 129 men left

    Read More »from Franklin shipwreck divers provide underwater video tour of HMS Erebus
  • Christine Cushing is worried about turning into one of “those” crazy Greek women, the cheeky kind that would bring olive oil to a restaurant.

    She kind of is.

    “I have these little 100 ml samples I used for the tenth anniversary and I actually did it yesterday, it’s really bad but I don’t care,” says the Greek-Canadian celebrity chef, referring to her line of extra virgin olive oil. “I said to my mum ‘there’s no way I’m eating this salad dressing.”

    Sure, it can be misconstrued as pretentiousness, but after a decade of producing her own, she’s an olive oil insider, intimate with last year’s poor harvest. 2014 was a black year for olive oil, a 15-year low in global production that saw key producers like Spain, Italy and Morocco’s output falling 40 to 50 per cent below average.

    An abnormally hot spring threw the weather-sensitive growing process out of whack, coupled with olive fly infestations and diseases affecting the fruit trees prompted a bad year for producers. The result, according

    Read More »from The great olive oil swindle
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper makes an announcement during a visit to a school in North Vancouver, B.C. Tuesday, April 7, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan HaywardPrime Minister Stephen Harper makes an announcement during a visit to a school in North Vancouver, B.C. Tuesday, April 7, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

    With a federal election on the way and a pre-election budget in the offing, a new report takes issue with the Conservative government’s claims about job creation.

    The economy will be a plank issue for the ruling Conservatives but employment numbers have declined over the Tory tenure, says Andrew Jackson, author of the analysis and an economist with the Broadbent Institute.

    His analysis of employment and unemployment figures from 2006 to 2014 also suggests a shift toward low-paying and part-time work in the jobs that have been created.

    “The federal government is only one influence on the economy. There’s lots of other things going on and it would be absurd to give them all the blame or all the credit. That said, they’ve been making strong claims about their record using a particular construction of the numbers,” Jackson tells Yahoo Canada News.

    “We’re certainly not back to where we were before the recession in terms of the job market.”

    Jackson looked at Statistics Canada’s labour market

    Read More »from Think-tank questions Conservative claims on jobs numbers
  • (Photo via CBC)(Photo via CBC)

    Poor Darwin the IKEA monkey just can’t seem to catch a break.

    The world’s most famous monkey in a shearling coat may soon find himself homeless, if Story Book Farm, the sanctuary where he currently resides, can’t find a new site to relocate to in the next two months.

    The founder of the sanctuary, who started Story Book Farm 14 years ago, is now selling the house and land where the sanctuary resides and will no longer be able to host the sanctuary there. In order to relocate, Story Book Farm needs to raise $250,000.

    Many people found out about the Sunderland, Ont. sanctuary as part of the IKEA monkey saga, the viral story that started when a tiny monkey in a coat was spotted at a Toronto-area IKEA in 2012. His owner, Yasmin Nakhuda, ended up being fined $240 for owning an exotic pet, and Darwin was sent to Story Book Farm, although not before the Internet made as many IKEA monkey memes as possible.

    Despite Darwin’s worldwide fame, it didn’t result in significantly increased funding

    Read More »from Darwin the IKEA monkey facing imminent homelessness as Story Book Farm faces financial troubles
  • Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R), with Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff General Tom Lawson, announces military support for Ukraine during a news conference in Ottawa April 14, 2015.     REUTERS/Blair GableCanada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper (R), with Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff General Tom Lawson, announces military support for Ukraine during a news conference in Ottawa April 14, 2015. REUTERS/Blair Gable

    Canadian soldiers are heading to Ukraine to train military personnel there and none too soon, suggests one report.

    Incompetence within the senior ranks of the Ukrainian army pose a serious risk to the former Eastern bloc country’s democratic future, says the report prepared earlier this month by the International Crisis Group.

    “…incompetent, sometimes corrupt senior commanders are incapable of designing effective combat operations or unwilling to lead them, leaving junior officers on their own, under serious pressure,” says the report from the independent, non-profit organization that monitors global crises.

    While a ceasefire is now in place, there is fear that war could resume any time.

    “Ukraine’s army is enmeshed in a command crisis the country’s leaders seem unwilling to admit or address. For the separatist rebels, the command and control Moscow provides could give them the advantage in any new fighting,” says the report.

    No one from the group was immediately available to comment.

    Read More »from Canadian soldiers to take on training 'incompetent, corrupt' military in Ukraine: report
  • Nuisance deer have some Nova Scotia farmers fed upNuisance deer have some Nova Scotia farmers fed up

    If Maritimers have had enough of winter, you can bet wildlife probably feel the same after the snowmageddon that buried the East Coast this past winter.

    In Nova Scotia, the concern has shifted from the weather to the stress placed on the deer population due to the snow cover. More deer are being hit by cars this winter and there are even anecdotal reports about deer aborting their unborn fawns because of their inability to find food.

    Andrew Hebda, curator of zoology at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, said he has not seen official reports on the dead deer, but he said people often call the museum about these incidents, which are recorded.

    “We’re getting reports of different patterns of distribution of animals this winter. Through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia there was heavier snowfall and Western PEI got over five metres of snow. It has resulted in accumulation of fairly substantial snowpack.”

    Below the snowpack many of the small animals and rodents were able to remain well

    Read More »from Maritime deer population struggling as snowpack lingers
  • A retired couple take in the ocean during a visit to the beach in La Jolla, California January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mike BlakeA retired couple take in the ocean during a visit to the beach in La Jolla, California January 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake


    A growing number of Canadian grandparents live with their grandchildren and a significant number of them help pay the bills, says a new report.

    Close to 600,000 of the seven million grandparents living in private homes in 2011 shared those homes with their grandchildren, according to the study by Statistics Canada.

    Of those 12 per cent, or about 72,000, had no middle-generation person in the home, says Anne Milan, senior analyst for the federal statistics agency.

    “That’s about 75,000 grandparents in Canada that are essentially raising their children’s children,” she says.

    It may be a small portion of the overall number but Betty Cornelius, founder of Cangrands, a support group for grandparents in that situation, says she receives about 14 calls a week from seniors who find themselves the primary caregiver for their grandkids.

    Cornelius, now 62, raised her own granddaughter from age 3 ½. She’s now 21.

    In her experience as a grandmother and as an advocate, the situation is usually a

    Read More »from More grandparents living with grandchildren in Canada and footing the bill
  • (CBC Photo)(CBC Photo)

    If you haven’t already filed your income tax return, don’t worry. You’ve got another two weeks. But it’s probably starting to nag at you a little bit, right?

    You’re not alone. According to data compiled by H&R Block Canada, about a quarter of us waited until the final week before the April 30 deadline to file last year, up 10 per cent from a decade ago. The figure could be one in three this year, the firm’s analysts suggested.

    As of April 12, about 13.1 milllions Canadians filed a tax return with Canada Revenue Agency, according to to CRA data, compared with about 12.3 million for the same period last year. About 28.3 million returns covering the 2013 tax year were filed last year, which means if the total number of returns filed this year is roughly the same, about half remain to be filed.

    Apparently we don’t get too wound up about it, perhaps because if we don’t owe anything there’s no financial penalty for filing a late return to the Canada Revenue Agency – what’s known as a soft

    Read More »from Tax season poses health risks to those with something to be worried about

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