• A volunteer at the Food Bank transfers food donated by a supermarket to charity in France. (Reuters)A volunteer at the Food Bank transfers food donated by a supermarket to charity in France. (Reuters)

    Wasted food is a tremendous global problem. Depending on how you define waste, anywhere from 30 per cent to – in developed countries – upwards of half the food grown for human consumption ends up being thrown away.

    Almost everyone involved, from farmers to consumers, bear a share of the blame but France is taking a radical step to address it by targeting its supermarkets. A new law will make it illegal for large grocers to dispose of food that’s still edible into the garbage stream.

    The law, approved last week by the National Assembly, requires store operators to donate unsold still-edible food, whether packaged or fresh, to charities. To ensure compliance, they’ll be required to make contracts with recipient organizations.

    Food no longer fit for human consumption must be processed into animal feed or compost.

    It took a grassroots campaign by one French politician to bring about the legislation because, as in Canada, this serious issue flies pretty much under the public’s radar.

    Read More »from Would France’s anti-food waste law work for Canada?
  • It was March 1944.

    War had ravaged Europe for almost five years. In a few months, thousands of Canadian and other Allied troops would make landfall at Normandy in the D-Day invasion. In a little more than a year, the Allies would accept Germany’s surrender.

    But the Commonwealth officers in the German prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III – Canadians among them - were planning an operation of their own.

    Under cover of darkness the night of March 24, 80 airmen crawled through a 400-foot tunnel they’d dug by hand, secreting the dirt out for more than a year hidden in pant legs and pockets.

    The daring breakout was immortalized in the 1963 movie “The Great Escape,” starring Steve McQueen and James Garner.

    The fictional, Americanized film was a huge success but there were only two Americans involved in the real escape. About a third of the 2,000 men involved were Canadian; others were British, Australians, New Zealanders and other Commonwealth airmen.

    “It’s terrific entertainment but it’s a

    Read More »from The Great Canadian Escape: author recounts untold story of WWII drama
  • A man carries his luggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on December 20, 2013. A man carries his luggage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on December 20, 2013.

    This week, anyone flying out of Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport with Air Canada will want to pay special attention to their baggage, emotional and otherwise. The airline began issuing red tags to those passengers whose carry-on luggage conforms to the company’s size regulations. Every passenger is allowed one standard suitcase or bag measuring no more than 23 by 40 by 55 centimetres, and one personal item, like a backpack, laptop bag, or handbag. If your effects exceeds these limits, no tag for you. You’ll be asked to check the offending piece of luggage for a $25 fee.

    When the crackdown announcement was made last week, it was met, predictably, with collective grumbling. The salvo represented a new turn in the so-called Carry-on Crisis that began last fall when the airline announced it would start charging for checked bags on domestic flights. (A fee had already been attached to international trips.)

    Air Canada claims it’s clamping down on carry-on transgressions as a way to

    Read More »from Dear Air Canada, you’re clamping down on the wrong behaviour
  • 25I-NBOMe can be sold as a cube, liquid, powder, or blotted onto paper. (Thinkstock)25I-NBOMe can be sold as a cube, liquid, powder, or blotted onto paper. (Thinkstock)

    A relatively new hallucinogenic drug, 25I-NBOMe, was thrown into the spotlight again this week after a CBS News story out of Boston highlighted the case of two young people who were arrested “for displaying strange, self-destructive behavior” while under its influence.

    A similar case occurred just before New Year’s in the quiet bedroom community of Stouffville, Ont. just north of Toronto.

    Police say the drug is being marketed as a cheap version of LSD, but is less predictable and potentially more dangerous.

    “25I-NBOMe is much more potent than LSD, and if taken accidentally or in excess, can lead to erratic behavior, seizures, cardiac arrest and possibly death,” says Constable Andy Pattenden of the York Region Police, which investigated the Stouffville case.

    “It comes in a variety of forms, including cubes, liquid, powder and blotted onto paper. Its common street names are 2-5-I, N-Bomb, Wizard, Future and Smiles.”

    A big part of the attraction? It’s cheap. Gauging the price of street

    Read More »from 25I-NBOMe and other designer drugs proving difficult to police
  • Two day hikers in the Whistler Mountain alpine with Fitzsimmons, Overloard and Fissile mountains behind are shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Paul MorrisonTwo day hikers in the Whistler Mountain alpine with Fitzsimmons, Overloard and Fissile mountains behind are shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Paul Morrison
    It’s one of the most popular ski destinations in the world and, after this month, Whistler-Blackcomb will be smoke-free.

    As of May 31, tobacco, marijuana, e-cigarettes and vaporizers will be prohibited anywhere on the mountain, including chairlifts, ski runs, hiking and biking trails and parking lots.

    It’s a move resort president Dave Brownlie says fits with Whistler-Blackcomb’s healthy, family-oriented philosophy.

    It’s also a move spurring debate over the new wave in tobacco control – prohibition in outdoor spaces or even city-wide bans.

    “A lot of these restrictions on outdoor areas are simply driven by the community,” Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, tells Yahoo Canada News.

    “As people become accustomed to smoke-free areas, they’re not accustomed to being exposed to a smoky place so they don’t like it – even just as a nuisance.”

    Since smoking was reluctantly banned in hospitals and retail stores in 1976, Canada has seen some of the toughest

    Read More »from Resort’s crackdown on smoking puts public health first, but questions over personal freedoms persist
  • Ducklings try to cross race course during a 2013 IndyCar practice. (Screengrab/YouTube)Ducklings try to cross race course during a 2013 IndyCar practice. (Screengrab/YouTube)

    The urge to protect and rescue the helpless is ingrained in most human beings, so you can understand the reflex some motorists have to stop when they see some confused waterfowl on a busy roadway.

    But should they? The answer experts give is no in most instances.

    Toronto police actually closed a section of the busy Don Valley Parkway, the main artery into downtown, last Sunday to allow a Canada goose and her goslings to cross the expressway. The incident produced a couple of humorous tweets from the department.

    Police spokeswoman Const. Caroline de Kloet said the the decision to act as wildlife crossing guards for the little critters likely stemmed from concern for their safety and the potential mayhem of drivers moving at freeway speeds trying to dodge the gaggle of birds. Or, god forbid, someone stops.

    The consequences of that were demonstrated in Quebec five years ago when a woman stopped her car in the left-hand lane of a provincial highway to try to corral some motherless

    Read More »from Should you rescue ducklings on the highway? Most times no, experts say
  • Comedian Jen GrantComedian Jen Grant
    Stand-up comedian Jen Grant has criss-crossed the country, performing her comedy for rowdy crowds in every corner of Canada.

    But it was at a corporate event at an Ontario country club where Grant was recently forced off stage near tears after a male audience member repeatedly sexually harassed her from the audience.

    “What I experienced wasn’t heckling,” Grant tells Yahoo Canada News. “It was harassment. I’ve never experienced anything like that before.”

    Like the City News reporter victimized by FHRITP, a mind-numbingly stupid prank that knuckle-draggers like to pull on female reporters while they’re live on air, Grant was at work.

    The job earlier this month was entertaining the crowd at an awards dinner at the St. George’s Golf and Country Club in Toronto, organized by the Ontario Printing and Imaging Association. The audience was 80 per cent male.

    The man was an employee of TC Transcontinental Printing, the largest printer in Canada. He’s been suspended pending an investigation of his

    Read More »from “What I experienced wasn’t heckling. It was harassment," says comedian after disturbing audience encounter
  • Protesters march for animal rights at Central Park West. (Getty Images)Protesters march for animal rights at Central Park West. (Getty Images)

    It’s safe to say that cultural attitudes about animals have evolved substantially over the past century, and especially in the last few decades. Since then, we’ve learned a few things—like the fact that canine brain activity captured in an MRI scanner seems to indicate that dogs “have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child.” The public has come to abhor inhumane treatment of circus, lab and farm animals, having become aware of the depth of animal intelligence. Despite this, the section of the Canadian Criminal Code that addresses cruelty to animals remains largely unchanged since 1892, the year the legislation was written.

    At that time, says Ewa Demianowicz, a campaign manager at Humane Society International’s office in Montreal, authorities didn’t even bother to define the term “animal” and only addressed those that were the lawful property of an individual. Strays and wildlife were not protected by the Criminal Code, and they still aren’t. According to Demianowicz

    Read More »from Canadian animal abuse laws lacking compared to new FBI rules
  • Birth has enough drama and confusion to it when it’s done in a hospital bed. So it must be even more interesting when you do one at 500 miles per hour, seven miles above the ocean, and hoping desperately that the person who answered that ‘doctor on board’ call isn’t actually a psychopath.

    And of course, once that’s all over, you get to not only come up with a name, but also figure out what the little miracle’s nationality is.

    A Canadian couple is currently sorting through that quagmire after giving birth high over the Pacific while on a flight to Tokyo. Baby Chloe is just fine, but her parents Wesley Branch and Ada Guan (who actually didn’t know Guan was pregnant, which probably makes the citizenship issue item 14 on their list of new things to think about now) have some red tape to wade through.

    “There’s all these different iterations that are possible when a child is born on a plane,” says Kelly Goldthorpe, an immigration lawyer at Green and Spiegel LLP.

    We’ll file this under

    Read More »from How to determine the nationality of a baby born on an airplane
  • GoPro CEO Nick WoodmanGoPro CEO Nick Woodman

    Nick Woodman, CEO of portable camera maker GoPro and the highest paid exec in the U.S. last year became a household name last weekwhen he paid $229 million back to his company to keep a promise. 

    The costly gesture was part of a commitment Woodman made to his first employee Neil Dana while the pair were roommates at the University of California. The story goes, Woodman offered Dana 10 per cent of any proceeds he received from the sale of the company’s shares.

    As GoPro neared an initial public offering in 2011, Woodman made good, granting Dana more than six million options and agreeing to pay the company back when Dana exercised options. Dana, the company’s director of music and specialty sales, exercised his options last week with Woodman paying out of pocket to refill the company’s coffers. 

    Not that it’ll be missed; the GoPro CEO’s networth is around $2.3 billion.

    Woodman now adds his name to a stable of “nice guy” CEOs – company founders and business owners who aren’t afraid to

    Read More »from Five CEOs who prove that nice guys can still finish first


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