• Secrets of Dragons’ Den: Behind the scenes

    Outside the studio during Dragons' Den auditionsOutside the studio during Dragons' Den auditions

    Darien and Jordan nervously walk down the stairs and enter the den. They are in Toronto for the popular CBC reality show Dragons' Den to ask for a large amount of money to mine gold in the Yukon.

    They claim to have found a new method of profit-sharing and say they could make the dragons a lot of money. They go through their plan for about 30 minutes and enter a lively debate with the dragons about their knowledge of the area and the value of their company.

    If this makes it to one of the 20 episodes, it will air sometime between September 2013 and March 2014. If it makes it to air, the viewing audience will see a pitch and debate that is only about five minutes long. But a lot goes into that five minutes of TV.

    It starts with trying to coordinate a schedule between the panel of investors and the CBC studio, which is done a year in advance. Long before taping commences, a team of producers travels the country hunting for budding entrepreneurs. This year they visited 45 cities over a little

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  • Children of some of the victims have filed suit against the RCMP, VPD and City of Vancouver, the B.C. Justice Ministry and Crown prosecutors.The horrific saga of Canada's most prolific serial killer is headed back to the courts in a lawsuit filed by his victims' relatives against, police, the B.C. government and two of the murderer's siblings.

    Robert (Willie) Pickton was convicted in 2007 of six counts of second-degree murder in the killing of women, mostly prostitutes, he picked up on Vancouver's drug-ridden Downtown Eastside. But he's thought to have killed dozens more, having confessed to a jail-cell plant to 49 murders. The remains or DNA traces of 33 victims were found on his suburban Vancouver pig farm.

    Now children of victims Dianne Rock, Sarah de Vries, Cynthia Feliks and Yvonne Boen, have filed suit against the RCMP, Vancouver Police Department and City of Vancouver, the B.C. Justice Ministry and Crown prosecutors, alleging negligence in the way the investigation was handled, according to The Tyee.

    The suit also names older brother David Pickton and sister Linda Wright, who co-owned the sprawling Port Coquitlam

    Read More »from Families of Robert Pickton’s victims suing police and murderer’s siblings
  • I buy the occasional lottery ticket, but I never expect to win because I used up almost all my luck avoiding death doing stupid stuff between the ages of 18 and, say, 30.

    Most often it involved alcohol, but even blotto, I wouldn't dream of teetering on a high-rise balcony because I've always been afraid of heights. Makes my stomach jump just thinking about it.

    Which brings me to Sydney Taylor, the Nova Scotia university student who died this week during a graduation trip to Mexico with some of her Acadia University classmates.

    [ Related: Acadia students return from Cancun after resort death ]

    Police say the 21-year-old honours political science student tumbled off a third-floor balcony of the resort in Cancun at 4:30 in the morning, CBC News reported. Alcohol, as they say, was involved.

    Such deaths aren't unusual among tourists in Mexico, it turns out.

    In March, a University of Southern California student on a spring-break trip fell six floors while trying to climb onto an outside

    Read More »from Balcony safety stressed after Canadian dies in Cancun, but what about booze safety?
  • An artist's sketch shows Chiheb Esseghaier making his first court appearance, in Montreal, April 23, 2013. REUTERS/AtalanteTwo of three suspects charged in connection to a terror plot to derail a passenger train outside of Toronto had previously considered contaminating air or water supplies to kill "up to 100,000 people," according to allegations coming to light.

    The allegation was made in court documents in the case of Ahmed Abassi, the third suspect tied to the VIA Rail terror plot, whose arrest in New York was confirmed on Thursday.

    Abassi has previously lived in Canada, and is alleged to be responsible for radicalizing one of two suspects arrested in Canada. But he had more recently been turned away at the border, according to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

    [ Related: 3rd VIA Rail terror suspect 'radicalized' Canadian suspect: FBI ]

    The Globe and Mail reports that Abassi, a Tunisian national, was refused a visa to return to Canada from Tunisia shortly before he was arrested in the U.S. on April 22. He has been charged with fraudulently applying for a U.S. work visa in order to remain in the country to

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  • Timothy Bosma, 32, disappeared after giving two men a test drive on Monday. Handout photoAn Ontario man who disappeared while giving two men a test drive in his truck may not have been the first target of a potentially-fatal deception, police said yesterday as they appealed for information about his whereabouts.

    Hamilton police say Timothy Bosma, 32, of Ancaster, Ont., disappeared Monday evening while trying to sell his pickup truck to two men who contacted him through an online posting.

    Bosma was last seen before leaving on a test drive with the two men, believed to be from Toronto. His cell phone has since been discovered in an industrial area near Brantford, Ont., police confirmed on Friday. Witnesses said his truck was spotted in the area about the same time.

    "We always have to hold out hope," Hamilton police Det. Sgt. Matt Kavanagh told reporters when asked whether Bosma was still alive. "That's all I can say."

    According to investigators, Bosma had listed his truck for sale on Kijiji.com, and the men contacted him through the phone number he left in his advertisement.


    Read More »from Tim Bosma, disappeared giving a test drive, may not have been first target
  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and members of council compiled a list of revenue tools they would not recommend the province use to fund transit projects. People have said for years that Toronto's city council is dysfunctional, so spoiled by infighting that nothing gets done, and that point was underlined yesterday during a debate on transit funding.

    Anyone following council’s debate on transit funding on Thursday was gifted with shouting fits, name-calling, time-outs and eventually ungracious indecision.

    The debate was intended to determine what revenue tools the city would recommend the province consider to fund while building Toronto-area transit infrastructure.

    The province asked how we'd like to fund transit growth and we responded with a resounding "no."

    The debate turned out to be about what ideas the city wouldn’t recommend, leaving the politically-taxing decisions to those at Queen’s Park. Council had less of an issue voicing their thoughts on how that money, whatever money, should be spent.

    [ Related: Toronto council rejects funding tools for transit expansion ]

    CBC News reports that the final result of Thursday’s transit vote was to

    Read More »from Toronto council avoids decision on transit funding; Rob Ford celebrates
  • A Via Rail Canada passenger train. REUTERS/Shaun BestPassenger trains and buses have been blessedly free of the kind of security screening that turns modern airline travel into a time-consuming ordeal.

    You buy your ticket and get on the train (or bus). That's it.

    But in the wake of last month's abortive rail-terror plot, Via Rail now says it's thinking about asking all passengers for identification, something it now does only occasionally as they board.

    “We only check ID when necessary,” Marc Beaulieu, Via's regional general manager for eastern Canada told the Commons public safety committee Thursday, The Canadian Press reported. “In other words, [we check] if we have a doubt as to the transaction that is going on. We do not, as a rule, ask all of our customers for ID.”

    The idea follows the arrest last month of two men who RCMP allege were plotting to mount an unspecified terrorist attack on a Toronto-New York passenger train with guidance from al-Qaida in Iran. Raed Jaser of Toronto and Chilheb Essghaier of Montreal face charges and the

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  • The eagle holds a sacred place in the traditions of many aboriginal cultures but a flourishing trade in eagle feathers and parts has caused a clash between First Nations tradition and conservation laws.

    One of the flash points has been the case of B.C. aboriginal carver James Carl Joseph, who was fined $11,000 this week after being convicted of several counts of illegally possessing eagle parts and one of trafficking in dead wildlife. The Crown had asked for a jail term and a $20,000 fine.

    Despite reservations about how the eagle parts are obtained, First Nations leaders have supported Joseph's contention that he had an aboriginal right to them.

    “We’re troubled when we see people nailed just for practising their aboriginal rights by maybe [taking] an eagle or hawk for cultural and spiritual ceremonies,” Grand Chief Doug Kelly of the Fraser Valley’s Sto:lo Nation told the Globe and Mail.

    [ Related: eBay ad leads to wildlife fines of $40,000 ]

    But the judge who heard the case in Surrey

    Read More »from B.C. native carver fined $11,000 for trafficking in dead, illicit wildlife
  • A Via Rail train pulls into Dorval Station in Montreal, in this July 22, 2009 file photo.
    A former Canadian resident has been charged in New York by state authorities on Thursday in connection to a plot to derail a passenger train outside of Toronto.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that Ahmed Abassi, a Tunisian citizen, has been charged with fraudulently applying for a U.S. work visa in order to remain in the country to facilitate an act of terror.

    The alleged act of terror in question was a plot to derail a VIA Rail passenger train as it travelled between Toronto and New York.

    The RCMP arrested two men, Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, on April 22 and charged them in the alleged plot. The RCMP said the suspects had scouted railroads in the Toronto area as part of their preparations.

    The pair had been under investigation for an extended period of time before their arrests. According to the FBI, it was Abassi who originally radicalized Esseghaier before he was arrested in Montreal.

    During his first court appearance Esseghaier dismissed the charges against him and

    Read More »from Third arrested in VIA Rail terror plot 'radicalized' Canadian suspect: FBI
  • The incident was first reported last year but the full story came out this week in the Jamaican media.Fresh details are emerging about a couple of incidents near Jamaica last year that left the Royal Canadian Navy looking foolish.

    Former Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding has confirmed he was the unnamed prominent retired politician whose fishing boat was stopped by a Canadian navy vessel in March 2012.

    The incident was first reported last year by Postmedia News, but the full story came out this week in the Jamaican media.

    Golding's boat was off the coast of his island nation in international waters when the Canadian coastal patrol ships HMCS Goose Bay and HMCS Kingston appeared. A Zodiac-type inflatable boat from one of the vessels then headed for the former Jamaican leader's boat, Postmedia News reported this week.

    Golding, who was prime minister from 2007 to 2011, told a Jamaican radio station the inflatable carried 10 men.

    [ Related: HMCS Toronto makes 2nd major drug bust ]

    “It came directly alongside me, at which time I discovered that they appeared to be foreigners, they were all

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