• The contrast between Canadians’ peaceful nature and the way we can become thugs when we pick up hockey sticks is hilarious comedy for the stand-up crowd. But it’s no joke when the violence spills over the boards and out into the streets. The Vancouver hockey riot of 2011 was the last big one, but with two Canadian teams still in the playoffs, we’re not out of the woods riot-wise.

    Of course, a sports riot is certainly not like the violence that’s popping up in the U.S. right now, and it would be wrong to compare Canadian skirmishes with what’s happen south of the border right now.

    But the Vancouver 2011 riot cost the city more than a million in damages and prompted the city to overhaul the way it holds public events, so it’s not trivial stuff.

    In that spirit, here are five factors that come together to form a hockey riot, some of which are avoidable, some the product of a good playoff run. But when they come together, the consequences can be severe

    1. A championship game.

    If there’s any

    Read More »from The five warning signs of a sports riot
  • Visitors are served by an Infinium-Serve UAV, designed to serve food and wait tables (Reuters)Visitors are served by an Infinium-Serve UAV, designed to serve food and wait tables (Reuters)

    The proliferation of drones for personal and commercial use is irking regulators and policymakers. In April, widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), colloquially known as drones, spurred Toronto city councillor James Pasternak to raise the issue at city hall, calling on city staff to develop a strategy and regulations.

    Pasternak’s goal is to examine current policies that can be leveraged to ensure the safety of the city’s airspace. He also wants to investigate possible restrictions to keep drones from snapping photographs above city parks.

    But Diana Cooper, head of law firm LaBarge Weinstein LLP’s Unmanned Aerial Systems and Robotics practice group, argues there are already rules in place that protect citizens and regulate both hobbyists and commercial drone users.

    “I think there’s always a tendency with new technology to freak out and want to regulate it,” she says. “But they don’t realize that we’ve already got regulations that actually cover a lot of what the technology

    Read More »from Demand for more drone regulation unfounded, experts say
  • This undated photo provided by Southwest Airline shows a side view of seats on future Southwest planes. The airline announced Tuesday, April 14, 2015, that future planes will have seats that are a bit wider and C-shaped to give passengers in the next row a smidge more knee room. The BE Aerospace seats will start showing up on Southwest's new Boeing 737-800s in mid-2016 and the forthcoming 737-800 Max in 2017. (Southwest Airlines via AP)This undated photo provided by Southwest Airline shows a side view of seats on future Southwest planes. The airline announced Tuesday, April 14, 2015, that future planes will have seats that are a bit wider and C-shaped to give passengers in the next row a smidge more knee room. The BE Aerospace seats will start showing up on Southwest's new Boeing 737-800s in mid-2016 and the forthcoming 737-800 Max in 2017. (Southwest Airlines via AP)

    Earl Diamond is still shaking his head at the stuff he saw at this year’s Airline Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.

    “You always see the ludicrous there,” says the CEO of Avianor – a Mirabel, Quebec-based aircraft maintenance and component manufacturing company.

    This year, the Rebel seat helped fill the “ludicrous” quota.

    Resembling the chairs in one of those sit-in fighter jet games you’d see at the movie theater, Rebel’s take on the future of airline seating is black and white, firm looking, with gold arm rests, seatbelts and a stylized “R” by the headrest. Much like movie theater seats, they snap up when your weight isn’t on them. The idea is that you can stand or sit; dependent on how you want to occupy your small bit of airline real estate.

    “What cracked me up was the name – it not only describes their attitude of coming up with rebellious idea like having stand-up seats,” says Diamond, chuckling. “But it also describes what the passengers are going to do when they get on that

    Read More »from The mystery (and misery) of the shrinking airline seat
  • (Photo via Thinkstock)(Photo via Thinkstock)

    I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream? Apparently, not as often as we used to.

    Ice cream consumption has been melting for decades across North America. When Dana McCauley was growing up, there was always ice cream in the freezer. McCauley, who is now a food trend expert based in Toronto, had a mother who thought nothing of scooping some ice cream for her kids several times per week.

    Oh, how times have changed. In 2015, most parents would frown upon others feeding their kids vast amounts of sugary, fat-laden, calorie-intensive ice cream. These days McCauley, the host of the YouTube channel Food Trends TV and parent to an 18-year-old son, thinks of ice cream as an occasional treat to enjoy on a hot summer’s day. She’s not alone in that thinking, either.

    The scoop on changing tastes

    In the U.S. availability of ice cream (seen as an indicator of the amount being consumed) hit its peak of 22.7 pounds per capita in 1946, according to the United States Department of Agriculture

    Read More »from Ice cream sales melting away, but Canada's big three producers not frozen out yet
  • Canada’s war of words at UN Indigenous forum

    AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde speaks at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 following the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian WyldAFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde speaks at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015 following the National Roundtable on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld


    Aboriginal leaders have taken the government of Canada to task at a United Nations conference on Indigenous peoples.

    Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde told delegates at the close of the meeting in New York this week that the federal government’s words to the world differ from its actions on the homefront.

    “It is frankly disturbing that the government of Canada claims that Indigenous rights and Indigenous peoples are a priority at international forums and in front of the international community yet their actions at home are serving to undermine Indigenous rights and peoples,” Bellegarde said after delivering his closing remarks to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

    For its part, the federal government laid out its progress and priorities for First Nations, including steps to address suicide and mental health and economic development.

    Françoise Ducros, senior assistant deputy minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, told delegates last week

    Read More »from Canada’s war of words at UN Indigenous forum
  • (Photo via Business Insider)(Photo via Business Insider)

    For Canadians suffering from long-term depression, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could be an effective alternative to taking antidepressants.

    MBCT is a group-based approach that combines mindful meditation practice with cognitive therapy. A new study in The Lancet medical journal in the U.K. found that for people with a history of recurrent depression, MCBT was just as effective as taking maintenance antidepressants. And a 2010 study by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health here in Canada also found meditation “provides equivalent protection against depressive relapse as traditional antidepressant medication.”

    “Depression is a recurrent disorder. Without ongoing treatment, as many as four out of five people with depression relapse at some point,” Willem Kuyken, lead author of the U.K. study and professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford , said in a press release.

    MBCT was developed to help people who have experienced repeated bouts of depression by

    Read More »from Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy as effective as antidepressants: Study
  • Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags flutter as thick cloud and fog roll over the area above Tengboche in Nepal. (AP)Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags flutter as thick cloud and fog roll over the area above Tengboche in Nepal. (AP)

    As images of the devastation in Nepal become more prevalent in the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, one brightly-coloured symbol flies in stark contrast to the rubble: Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags.

    According to a 2011 census, approximately 2.4 million people identify as Buddhist in Nepal. Despite only being about a tenth of the country’s population, the community has had an outsized impact on the world’s vision of Nepal, thanks in part to the prevalence of prayer flags at the base camp of Annapurna and Mount Everest, as many of the mountaining climbers' guides are Buddhist.

    Despite their ubiquity, they remain somewhat of a mystery to many who are not as familiar with Buddhism.

    “The parts of Buddhism that everyone knows about are mediation and karma, and trying to reach nirvana… through good karma,” says Todd Lewis, professor of world religions at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

    “What is less known are the Buddhist words that were taught by [Buddha] to make the world

    Read More »from Prayer flags a symbol of faith amidst Nepal earthquake's destruction
  • Vancouver's medical pot problem

    Buds are removed from a container at the "Oregon's Finest" medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregonin this April 8, 2014 file photo. The Oregon city of Medford, where officials say residents have long grumbled about the odor of marijuana growing operations, is considering a regulation that would fine pot growers if their marijuana is too smelly, city officials said on March 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)Buds are removed from a container at the "Oregon's Finest" medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregonin this April 8, 2014 file photo. The Oregon city of Medford, where officials say residents have long grumbled about the odor of marijuana growing operations, is considering a regulation that would fine pot growers if their marijuana is too smelly, city officials said on March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)


    A couple of years ago, there were a dozen marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. Today, there are more than 80.

    While the city of Vancouver and the federal health minister trade barbs over the laws and regulations that should or could reign in the city’s proliferating pot trade, Vancouver police say they don’t have the resources to deal with the burgeoning business.

    “With 80 stores, the capacity is to focus on those that are using violence to sell drugs in the city of Vancouver and that’s where we’re putting our resources and our finances – to protect people,” says Sgt. Randy Fincham, spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department.

    “Basically, what we have to do is take a priority based approach to them. Every other week a new one is popping up in Vancouver, so we then have to look at those.”

    On Tuesday, Vancouver city council is expected to discuss a report that recommends the city regulate the burgeoning industry, with a $30,000 fee for business licences and limits on where dispensaries

    Read More »from Vancouver's medical pot problem
  • North Charleston police officer Michael Slager (R) is seen allegedly shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he runs away, in this still image from video in North Charleston, South Carolina taken April 4, 2015. REUTERS/HANDOUT via ReutersNorth Charleston police officer Michael Slager (R) is seen allegedly shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he runs away, in this still image from video in North Charleston, South Carolina taken April 4, 2015. REUTERS/HANDOUT via Reuters


    In the 24 years since the videotape showing Rodney King’s vicious beating by police officers became public, the debate about the use of taped evidence seems to be far from resolved.

    There are unresolved questions about the value of videotaped evidence of police activities and also tapes taken by police themselves through dash and body cameras.

    King was an American taxi driver who became nationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991.

    Polls at the time suggested 90 per cent of L.A. residents believed the tape showed police used excessive force, but a jury concluded the video alone wasn’t enough to convict the officers, resulting in rioting and dozens of deaths.  A second trial would see two officers convicted and sent to prison.

    Fast forward to present day and debates continue to rage about the use of video, especially with the volumes of materials on social media. One question is context – can you tell the

    Read More »from Caught on tape: Recent footage of police activities ignites debate over use of video
  • Nepal Earthquake: How you can help and donate to relief efforts

    The death toll following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hitting scant miles from Nepal's capital of Kathmandu has soared past 3,700, and is expected to grow, as rescue workers are still trying to reach remote mountain villages in the region.

    Saturday's quake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. It was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.

    As people continue to search for their loved ones and belongings, thoughts are turning to how to help those who have been affected by the disaster, as shelter, fuel, food, medicine and workers are all in short supply in the region now.

    Several Canadian charities have taken action to help support the recovery effort.

    Here are Canadian charities where you can donate to help support the relief effort:

    Read More »from Nepal Earthquake: How you can help and donate to relief efforts

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