• Over the past few days, Toronto and the rest of Canada has been granted access to online video recordings of the shooting death of Sammy Yatim, who was killed following a police interaction while brandishing a knife on an empty downtown streetcar.

    The small video snapshots we've seen – with another, most vivid video coming on Tuesday – paint a picture that has even Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair calling the incident troubling. He is vowing to provide answers, we continue to demand them. But as we do that, we come to our own conclusions.

    There is video of the incident shot from a long distance. There is video shot from much closer, captured amid a gathering of passersby walking in front of the camera on occasion. There is other video as well, all of it posted online for the world to see. To judge.

    Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack has asked the public to hold judgment until the full story is out. Until the investigation is complete.

    He says grainy cell phone video of the

    Read More »from New footage of Sammy Yatim shooting one more troubling snapshot
  • It's going to be a while before all the facts come out on how teenager Sammy Yatim ended up dead on a Toronto streetcar from a hail of police bullets.

    That hasn't stopped journalists and social media from trying to fill in the blanks.

    There's nothing new about people wanting to know more about the victim of a tragedy or a criminal suspect, but Canada.com trends editor Ishmael N. Daro's commentary Monday about Yatim's death points out a pitfall of the Internet Age.

    Some on social media are using Facebook photos of Yatim and some of his buddies in tough-guy poses to paint a negative picture of the 18-year-old Syrian immigrant, shot down when he refused police orders to drop the knife he was holding.

    [ Related: Streetcar shooting video not whole story, police union says ]

    The images were posted on Reddit, which also hosted a vigorous debate about Daro's column.

    For Daro, though, it was clear that some in the judgemental coldness of cyberspace had already written off Yatim, implying he possibly

    Read More »from How useful is social media in giving us a true picture of Sammy Yatim?
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    The death of one young man on a downtown Toronto streetcar launched a protest against the city's police force that filled streets and shook members of the force.

    The death of Sammy Yatim, who was killed last weekend following a standoff with police officers, is being held up as the latest, most visible example of Toronto police overbearance.

    It is being taken seriously, Chief Bill Blair asserts. And it should be, because everything about what happened in the early hours of Saturday, July 27, has left pointed questions on the minds of Toronto residents.

    What was to be a vigil Monday evening turned into an all-out protest, as hundreds of gathered Toronto residents demanded justice for Yatim.

    The 18-year-old's mother and sister were at the centre of the crowd as several of his friends took turns demanding answers for his death.

    “Justice for Sammy” was a common chant; so was “shame.” Placards read “Protect us from our protectors.”

    According to The Canadian Press, Yatim's disconsolate mother

    Read More »from Fallout from Sammy Yatim shooting won’t end with one night of protest
  • Teen entrepreneur Xavier Menard posted a YouTube video detailing his grievances with Quebec's language laws after the province blocked his business application. Photo via YouTube.It has been a while since Quebec's language police have done anything notably heavy-handed, but fear not. Because droughts never last forever.

    CTV Montreal recently reported on the end of that streak, detailing the story of 17-year-old entrepreneur Xavier Menard and his failed attempt to launch a business because his company name sounded too English.

    What did Menard do? He took to YouTube to eviscerate the Quebec government over its idiotic stance on business and employment.

    Menard, a clear anglophone scourge as evidenced by his name alone, tried to register his graphics company under the name of "Wellarc," which is a combination of French words that happens to sound a bit bilingual.

    He says he was refused by the Quebec business registry because it didn't live up to the Charter of the French language, or Bill 101 -- which requires all businesses to feature French in their names and signs.

    An Office de la langue francaise representative confirmed to CTV Montreal that the name did not pass

    Read More »from Quebec teen, Xavier Menard, fights French language law
  • An undated image of Sammy Yatim, who was killed early Saturday morning, courtesy of Facebook.[ Update 5 p.m. ET: CBC News reports that the officer accused of shooting Sammy Yatim has been suspended with pay.]

    As residents of Toronto express anger over the death of Sammy Yatim, who was shot dead on a downtown streetcar over the weekend, Police Chief Bill Blair has vowed to investigate the actions of his officers.

    "I want to assure all the citizens of the city of Toronto of our unwavering commitment to get the answers they seek," Blair said in a brief news conference on Monday.

    The comments come after the 18-year-old was shot dead in Toronto shortly after midnight on Saturday.

    The Canadian Press reports that Toronto police received a call about a man with a knife on board a streetcar near Dundas Street West and Bathurst Street. A short time later, Yatim was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound and later pronounced dead.

    Witnesses say the man had pulled a knife and ordered everyone to get off the streetcar.

    [ Related: Ontario ombudsman to review police shooting ]

    A video of the

    Read More »from Toronto officer involved in shooting of Sammy Yatim has been suspended
  • Motorists caught texting and driving in Manitoba will be hit with demerits. Photo via CBC.There are so many dumb ways to die. Texting while driving is just one of them.

    A Canadian medical journal is urging family doctors to get involved in the campaign to stop people from using cell phones in a moving car, suggesting doctors question and counsel patients on the dangers of distracted driving.

    In an article posted in the latest issue of Canadian Family Physician, three Alberta doctors identify using a cell phone while driving as a significant health concern.

    “As physicians, patients regard us as community leaders and experts in health and safety,” the article reads. “We are in a unique position to influence the thoughts and behaviour of people regarding their overall health and well-being by educating them about the issue of distracted driving."

    The numbers are telling and, by all accounts – including logic – using cell phones while driving is a bad idea. Texting while driving increases the risk of collision by 23 times, according to the article.

    [ More Brew: Teen Que.

    Read More »from Family doctors urged to warn us about dangers of texting while driving
  • A rainbow painted crosswalk is reflected in a storefront window in Vancouver, British Columbia July 29, 2013. REUTERS/Andy Clark
    Vancouver's West End, home to the city's Gay Village, is marking the kickoff for Pride Week with a symbol of the city's welcoming attitude; rainbow crosswalks.

    The vibrantly-coloured crosswalks were unveiled Monday at the intersection of Davie and Bute streets, in the heart of the district, the Vancouver Sun reported.

    Spencer Chandra Herbert, the district's openly gay New Democrat MLA, welcomed the new crosswalks to an area that has “kind of been a cultural capital, so to speak, for LGBTQ folks across Canada.”

    “This is where the Pride Parade started, it’s where the fight for marriage equality started, the right to adopt,” Herbert told the Sun. “It makes sense to mark that history and a little colour is a good thing.”

    Vancouver hosted its first Pride Parade 35 years ago, the Sun noted. It has become the fifth largest in the world with more than 650,000 participants last year. This year's parade takes place next Sunday.

    [ Related: Vancouver bar behind Russian vodka boycott over anti-gay laws

    Read More »from Vancouver unveils rainbow-coloured crosswalks as Pride Week begins
  • The Correctional Service of Canada announced plans to add 2,700 beds to men's and women's prison facilities across Canada, but overcrowding continues to be a concern.Everybody stop committing crimes, we are running out of places to put you.

    New details suggest that half of Ontario's jails are overcrowded and holding more prisoners than they were designed for.

    On top of that, recent figures outline an issue of overcrowding across Canada's federal prison system as well, with an influx of new inmates likely to put further strain on the system.

    The Canadian Press reports 14 of Ontario's 29 jails were at more than 100 per cent capacity, while the system overall sat at 98.5 per cent capacity.

    Among the most packed institutions are Toronto's Don Jail at 117 per cent, the Windsor Jail at 111 per cent and London Jail at 105 per cent.

    [ More Brew: Sask. still the most dangerous province: Stats Canada ]

    “Due to capacity issues the facility had three inmates to each cell and one cell with five inmates,” reads an internal memo, obtained by CP, regarding the London Jail.

    But the issue of prison overcrowding is by no means limited to Ontario jails.

    Last year, Canada's

    Read More »from Overcrowded jails cause concern inside Canadian correctional system
  • We are deep in the hardball phase of discussions about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project.

    Analysts are trying to parse U.S. President Barack Obama's latest comments about the contentious plan to pipe Alberta oil sands crude across America to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

    Over the weekend, Obama told the New York Times, he doubted the rosy job-creation numbers being attacked to the project and said his administration would approve or reject it based on its contribution to global carbon emissions.

    “Republicans have said that this would be a big jobs generator,” Obama said in an interview with Times. “There is no evidence that that’s true.

    "The most realistic estimates are this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction of the pipeline, which might take a year or two, and then after that we’re talking about somewhere between 50 and 100 jobs in an economy of 150 million working people.”

    The president also questioned whether the pipeline would help lower pump prices

    Read More »from Ottawa quick to respond to Obama’s skepticism over Keystone pipeline
  • And here's a bulletin from our Dubious World Records Desk: An Edmonton tattoo artist claims to have broken the record for the most tattoos inked in 24 hours.

    Diankh Lopez created 818 tattoos by Sunday morning, beating the previous Guinness World Records mark of 801 set by an Arizona skin-inker Hollis Cantrell in 2008, the Edmonton Journal reported.

    “It’s exciting, it’s amazing, but I’m just really exhausted right now,” Lopez said. “I can’t wait to lie on my bed.”

    Lopez told CTV News she was actually aiming to do more.

    "My original goal was 1,000," she said.

    [ Related: Top 10 World Cup 2010 tattoos ]

    The record bid was organized to raise money for the Edmonton Humane Society. Lopez set up shop at Duke's Bar and Grill at 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning and set to work.

    By late afternoon there was a lineup of bar patrons waiting to be tattooed. Tattoos and booze go together, don't they?

    For $20, customers got their choice of a small paw print or infinity symbol in black ink. Lopez, a tattoo artist

    Read More »from Edmonton artist Diankh Lopez inks record 818 tattoos in 24 hours

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