• The next time you get caught trying to sneak a full-size bottle of shampoo or, say, a pipe bomb in your carry-on past baggage screeners at the airport, take comfort in the fact probably you will not miss your flight.

    You're gonna get the stink eye but nothing more. You'll be on your merry way. Don't believe me? Just ask Skylar Murphy.

    The 18-year-old resident of Spruce Grove, Alta., an Edmonton bedroom community, was headed to an international flight last fall when, according to court documents, the uniformed screeners employed by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) discovered black powder and a pipe bomb in his carry-on bag, The Canadian Press reports.

    We're not talking about some thoughtlessly packed nail clippers or a bottle of water purchased outside the price-gouging confines of the pre-flight security cordon. It was a bomb, or at least the makings of one.

    The screener confiscated Murphy's explosives but the teen was allowed to board his flight on Sept. 20.

    [ Related:

    Read More »from Pipe bomb incident at Edmonton airport reveals flaws in screening protocols
  • Smile wide, Kingston. You are apparently Canada's happiest city. This comes according to Jetpac City Guides, a hipster tour group that calculated the "smile score" of all the cities in Canada.

    The company found that Canada’s widest smiles come from Kingston, Ont., home to Queen’s University, a historical downtown and the country’s first capital city.

    According to Jetpac, "Finding the Happiest City in Canada took doing image proicessing on over 100 million Instagram photos to count and size the smiles on people's faces from all the cities in Canada. From counting the pixels, we were able to come up with a Smile Score for each city."

    In short, the wider the smile, the bigger the score. Smirks counted less than grins, grins counted less than smiles. The more teeth captured in the photo, the more points it scored.

    Before we question the process (do bigger smiles really mean happier people?), here is a list of the Top 10 happiest cities:

    1. Kingston
    2. Regina
    3. Quebec City
    4. Gatineau, Que.

    Read More »from Smile wide: Kingston, Ont., deemed Canada’s happiest city
  • Anyone who attended grade school has some experience with offensive, political or otherwise controversial T-shirt slogans sending school officials into a tizzy.

    Whether it be the graphic images that adorn Iron Maiden gear or T-shirts featuring Bart Simpson's "eat my shorts" catch phrase or the hysterical "FBI: Female Boob Inspector" slogan, which can still be found in the closets of "hip" older uncles from coast to coast to coast.

    We have all seen them, many of us have worn them and some of us have refused to stop wearing them despite being ordered to do so.

    In most cases these slogans are banned for obvious reason: graphic language, sexual content, racial connotations and negative stereotypes. They cause distraction by their outrageousness, leaving one wondering how they were allowed to leave home in the first place.

    In other cases, however, there is more to the debate than foul language. Religious messages can ruffle feathers, declarations of public advocacy can be misread and political

    Read More »from ‘Got Land? Thank an Indian’ sweater joins ranks of controversial T-shirt slogans
  • An unidentified man was photographed urinating on Vancouver's Komagata Maru Memorial.What started out as a potential hate crime has devolved down to . . . nothing.

    Vancouver police say no charges will be laid against the man they believe urinated on a memorial aimed at highlighting the scourge of racism.

    "In laying a charge, investigators would need to establish that a criminal offence took place, laying a charge was in the public interest and that there was a substantial likelihood of a conviction," police spokesman Sgt. Randy Fincham told CBC News and other news outlets via email.

    "In this case, it was determined that all three criteria had not been established."

    Late Tuesday, police elaborated on the decision following what they said were inaccurate media reports.

    "While the actions of an individual may be offensive and disrespectful, it does not make those actions criminal," Const. Brian Montague said in an emailed statement to Yahoo! Daily Brew and other outlets.

    "In this case, investigators determined that the actions were not criminal and confirmed this

    Read More »from No charges against Vancouver man who urinated on Komagata Maru memorial against racism
  • Saddlebrook, the temporary neighbourhood built north of High River for flooded-out residents.

    There's good news and bad news in word that one of the two camps set up to house victims of last summer's devastating southern Alberta flood is set to close.

    The Great Plains camp in Calgary will shut down at the end of this month, 660News reports.

    The camp, neat lines of modular homes connected with wooden boardwalks, was opened in October and originally designed to house up to 700 people. However, only 70 families actually moved in and just 28 remain, 660News said.

    That's the good news. The bad news is that hundreds of people in a second, larger camp are still out of their homes they struggle to fix or replace their flood-damaged houses and settle compensation with the government and insurance companies.

    Alberta officials said they are trying to find affordable alternative housing for the remaining Great Plains residents, who may end up in the remaining Saddlebrook camp, near High River. The town, about 40 km south of Calgary, was badly damaged by flood waters.

    The flood in late June,

    Read More »from Six months after Alberta floods, hundreds are still living in temporary camps
  • Sgt. Shirley Jew and her service dog, Snoopy. There have been long-simmering questions about how post-traumatic stress disorder is treated in Canada, about whether the military has done enough to help veterans who return from stressful missions overseas and whether the government is doing enough to help them re-acclimate to society.

    That question came to a head this week when a Canadian veteran attempting to fly to Toronto to attend a funeral was told the dog she relies on to cope with PTSD was not considered a service animal.

    Sgt. Shirley Jew says she was told by Air Canada that PTSD was not recognized as a disability and that she would be charged $50 to have her pug-schnauzer-terrier Snoopy ride with her from Edmonton to Toronto.

    The original Air Canada response to her request, posted to the MSAR - Service Dogs Facebook page, suggested the issue was that Canada does not currently recognizing PTSD as a condition that necessitates the use of a service animal.

    "We have spoken with our medical desk and they have informed us that they

    Read More »from Recent PTSD case shows increasing value of service animals as treatment option
  • Who dropped the ball, or should I say balls, when two men died on their own doorsteps after being sent home from a Winnipeg hospital in taxis?

    Manitoba Health Minister Erin Selby seems to think it's the cabbies.

    "No one's expecting cab drivers to make medical decisions. It's up to doctors to determine whether or not somebody is safe and healthy enough to go home," CBC News reported her saying.

    "All we are asking is to formalize what is already happening in many, many cases ... just an extra pair of eyes on someone to make sure they make it through the front door."

    Really? Let's just think about that for a minute.

    Last month, staff at Grace Hospital released 78-year-old David Silver and put him in a cab. He died on the front porch of his home from what health officials said was a heart-related health complication, CBC News said.

    A day later, 62-year-old Wayne Miller, who suffered from a major aneurysm (a potentially fatal ballooning of a blood vessel) and was awaiting admission to palliative

    Read More »from Are cabbies to blame when discharged hospital patients die on their own doorsteps?
  • They came for our peanuts and we were silent. Because who really needs peanuts, anyway? But the idea of banning eggs and dairy from an Ontario elementary school, from the milk in the cafeteria, to cheese in the sandwiches, to the pudding in the pudding packs? That seems to be one bridge too far.

    The National Post reports that a Hamilton, Ont., mother has launched a human rights complaint against her six-year-old daughter's school for failing to remove eggs and dairy from campus to accommodate the child's allergies.

    “I’m not looking for a guaranteed allergy-free environment because I know it’s not possible," said the woman fighting to have eggs and dairy removed from the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Elementary School. "But reasonable accommodations that fall in line with our doctor’s diagnosis is just plain common sense."

    [ Related: Quebec cabinet minister says government won't back down on charter of values ]

    On one hand, it is hard to imagine an elementary school being forbidden from

    Read More »from Human rights complaint launched to ban eggs and dairy from Ontario elementary school

  • Librarians stereotypically value silence, but they're getting ready to speak up on the Conservative government's dismantling of several federal libraries in the name of cost-cutting and efficiency.

    The 3,000-member Canadian Library Association (CLA) has been disturbed by Ottawa's dismantling of nine libraries, including seven regional facilities run by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

    "Our greatest concern is whether there was consultation with the communities these libraries served as well as the impact on service and access to content," Marie DeYoung, association president and a librarian at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, told The Tyee.

    [ Related: Research cutbacks by government alarm scientists ]

    The government is closing seven of its 11 DFO libraries by next year. Officials have said no information will be lost, claiming important information will be digitized and made publicly accessible, and only duplicate hard copy material will be destroyed. However critics point

    Read More »from Canada’s librarians question Tories’ policy of closing government-run libraries
  • Mississauga construction site collapse, via Twitter user @JustinHebb_.One man is dead after a construction accident in Mississauga, Ont., pinned him beneath debris for nearly two hours on Monday.

    Peel Regional Police say that the man was injured in an accident at the Sheridan Mall, on Erin Mills Parkway near the Queen Elizabeth Way.

    It appears the construction worker was struck when steel scaffolding collapsed at the site shortly after 11 a.m. Reports suggest the man was pinned until the debris for about two hours before rescue efforts were able to move the debris enough to free him. He was confirmed dead by paramedics shortly after he was pulled free.

    "We had to assess the area to make sure it was safe for our workers, for the firefighters to go in and start the extraction," Mississauga Fire Platoon Chief Mike Corcoran told reporters at the scene.

    "Once we were the scene was safe for us to move it, it was a slow process to position air bags and cribbing (and) to move the material that had the worker trapped slowly."

    Courier Greg Butry told The Mississauga

    Read More »from One dead in construction site collapse at Mississauga mall


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