• Kavna the beluga was immortalized in children's entertainer Raffi's 1979 song, "Baby Beluga."

    Kavna, the oldest captive beluga in North America, died on Monday at the Vancouver Aquarium. She was 46.

    Veterinarians at the aquarium called Kavna's life a "long and healthy" one.

    "Beluga whales in the wild are believed to live to about 25 to 30 years old," the aquarium said in a statement.

    "At approximately 46 years old, Kavna was considered to be at the end of her life and had lived a long and healthy life in the care of the aquarium's marine mammal care team."

    While aquarium staff are still awaiting the results of a necropsy to determine the exact cause of death, they speculate she died of natural causes relating to old age, CTV News reports.

    [ More Daily Brew: Star candidate Jacques Duchesneau makes first gaffe ]

    Raffi tweeted the news on Monday night:

    "Just heard the news, sad she's gone. Loved meeting her in '79 — gave me a kiss, inspired a song now known to millions!"

    Kavna was 16

    Read More »from ‘Baby Beluga’ dies at age 46, Raffi mourns her passing on Twitter
  • Jacques Duchesneau's candidacy for the third-ranked Coalition Avenir Québec in Sept. 4 provincial election is seen by some as a potential game-changer.

    With Premier Jean Charest's Liberal government under attack for its handling of university tuition protests and corruption, and the fractious Parti Quebecois winning few friends for beating the sovereignty drum, the CAQ's chances of making gains seemed boosted by the tough-talking, corruption-fighting former cop.

    Quebec whistleblower could change election trajectoryThe third-place party in the Quebec election campaign, the Coalition for Quebec's Future, has introduced an anti-corruption whistleblower as a candidate. Jacques Duchesneau's candidacy could be a game-changer.

    But a day after his candidacy in the riding of Saint-Jerome was announced Sunday, the former Montreal police chief and head of the province's anti-collusion unit made what some are seeing as his first apparent campaign gaffe.

    In a radio interview Monday morning,

    Read More »from CAQ star candidate Jacques Duchesneau makes first apparent gaffe
  • Think of it as one of the few remaining jobs that still requires a human touch.

    Or in the case of maple syrup, a human tongue.

    Canada's maple syrup industry accounts for 80 per cent of the world's pure supply. Last year, Statistics Canada put our production numbers at 8.6 million gallons of syrup and syrup products, which pretty much amounts to a non-stop pancake and waffle deluge.

    Of those 8.6 million gallons, the Toronto Star reports, many first had to pass through a procession of expert taste buds — or in other words, people whose full-time job it is to try batch after batch after batch.

    One such set of highly qualified receptors belongs to Ray Bonenberg, an Ontario maple syrup producer who has been around the sweet stuff his entire life.

    "Every time I pull a batch off my evaporator, I taste it," he told the paper. "It's just a fascinating process. You learn something every day, all the time."

    Bonenberg samples up to 20 batches a day to make sure they make the mark. A batch can be

    Read More »from Maple syrup testers may be getting an electronic boost
  • Nick Lam, data controller, monitoring the Mars rover Curiosity at NASA's laboratory. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)I'm old enough to remember sitting in front of our black and white TV for hours transfixed by the first manned landing on the moon in 1969. I saw the blurry pictures of Neil Armstrong's first steps and knew I was sharing that experience with millions of people worldwide who were watching it live.

    Historic. Unforgettable. Yeah, but the Eagle didn't have its own Twitter feed.

    When Curiosity, the new super-sized Mars rover, landed on the Red Planet late Sunday night (Pacific time), first word came via Twitter.

    "I'm safely on the surface of Mars," Curiosity tweeted after entry into the planet's atmosphere, followed by the most complex landing sequence in the history of space exploration. "GALE CRATER I AM IN YOU!!! #MSL."

    [ Related: Curiosity makes historic Mars landing ]

    The US$2.5-billion Mars mission landed the compact car-sized rover via a huge parachute that slowed the craft from supersonic speeds to the point where retro rockets could fire, allowing the spacecraft to hover above the

    Read More »from Mars rover Curiosity landing brings space exploration to Twitter
  • A medical worker examines a sample at a Tuberculosis (TB) testing facility.Tuberculosis has been largely under control in Canada for half a century, so word that more than 80 infants were potentially exposed to the deadly lung disease in a Toronto hospital was disturbing.

    The Toronto Star reports that 87 babies were being tested for TB after a nurse who worked in Scarborough General Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit was found to have the disease.

    Dr. Peter Azzopardi, the hospital's chief of pediatrics, said the unidentified nurse "absolutely followed the protocols of the hospital," reporting her symptoms as soon as she felt ill.

    [ More from Daily Brew: Maple syrup testers may be getting an electronic boost ]

    At first, tests did not reveal she had the disease and her symptoms were so slight she was allowed to continue working in the neonatal unit. But results of a secondary test four weeks later confirmed TB on July 18, the Star said, and she stopped working to begin treatment.

    "This serves as a reminder to all of us that these types of infections are in

    Read More »from Almost 90 babies potentially exposed to tuberculosis at Toronto hospital
  • Shooting at Sikh temple in Wisconsin (Radio Canada photo)A gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple in a suburban Milwaukee community of Oak Creek on Sunday, Aug. 5. After two hours of confusion, police have confirmed that at least seven people, including the suspected shooter, were killed.

    At least three more were wounded, hospital officials have confirmed.

    A 20-year veteran police officer who showed up first on the scene killed the gunman but was hit in the shootout. He was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.

    [ Related: Photos from the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting ]

    At the time of the attack, the worshipers were preparing for a meal and many women and children were supposed to be inside the large temple. Even more people could have been hurt if the attack happened just a little later.

    The shootings started in the parking lot and continued inside. Smiran Kaleka, the niece of one of the wounded men, said an unknown number of gunmen walked into the kitchen of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin and started shooting. She said her mother had

    Read More »from Deadly Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin called 'domestic terrorism'
  • Gay marriage supporters, from left, Emmie Hesley, Cathy Dear and Amy Paffenroth hold signs in front of a Chick-fil-A in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. Thursday in protest of the chicken eatery's stance on gay marriage. (The Associated Press)Last month, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy told the Baptist Press that his company backed "the biblical definition of a family," and opposed same-sex unions.

    Almost immediately, Americans were taking sides, taking the fast-food restaurant owner's views as seriously as federal election candidates'.

    The Jim Henson company pulled its toys from Chick-fil-A's kids meals.

    A fake Facebook account in support of the company only helped spiral the situation into a PR disaster.

    (Hint: If you want to set up a fake account, don't use a stock image as your profile pic. Everyone's Harriet the Spy these days.)

    [ Related: Chick fil-A plucks one-day record from gay marriage blowup ]

    On Wednesday, thousands of customers, urged by former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, flocked to Chick-fil-A to show their support of Cathy's stance. The "Appreciation Day" set a one-day sales record, the Associated Press reports.

    One gay employee called the day "hater appreciation day."

    Today, gay rights activists and

    Read More »from Puckering up in protest: LGBT communities promote ‘Kiss-in’ at Chick-fil-A
  • The Vancouver Island Marmot is one of North America's most endangered mammals.Of all the endangered species most Canadians can list off the top of their head, it's doubtful these cute little critters would even graze the periphery.

    But Vancouver Island's marmot population has been in crisis since the 1980s, when scientists first alerted the province to their declining numbers.

    Island marmots can be distinguished from their mainland peers by patches of white fur on their nose, chin, forehead and chest (and according to one website, for their deep devotion to peanut butter.)

    Clear-cutting, habitat loss, rising temperatures and a never-ending supply of predators transformed this particular rodent strain into what these scientists then declared to be "the most endangered mammal in Canada."

    [ Related: 10 facts about Vancouver Island marmots ]

    At their lowest, the National Post reports, only 30 pairs of marmot whiskers could be found foraging for greens along the island's sub-alpine meadows.

    That warning bell set off a multimillion-dollar initiative to preserve the

    Read More »from Repopulation efforts paying off as marmots slowly returning to Vancouver Island meadows
  • Police set up a perimeter outside Toronto's Eaton Centre shopping mall following a shooting Saturday, June 2, 2012. Two people were killed and five injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Victor BiroIn the wake of Toronto's Eaton Centre shooting on June 2nd, mall storekeepers called for tighter security.

    "In terms of security, the Eaton Centre is lacking," Sheryll Pagulayen, assistant manager at the Aldo shoe store near the food court, told the Globe and Mail following the shooting.

    Two months later, one security expert is claiming that the mall is still lacking.

    David Nako, owner of Nako Security and former security team member at the Eaton Centre, recently walked through the shopping mall and couldn't find any upgraded security measures since the food-court shooting that killed two and wounded five.

    Nako told Newstalk 1010 that during his 40-minute walk he only spotted one security guard.

    CBC News took a similar tour through the mall and also spotted just one guard.

    "If you do have security there, such as when people start shoving, that's when it's important. If security is there they can make a call, back up comes in, the groups are split and escorted off. That's what stops the

    Read More »from Two months after shooting, Eaton Centre still isn’t safe enough: Security expert
  • James Holmes behavior "odd" weeks before shooting, says a psychiatrist treating the man accused of murdering a dozen people in a Colorado movie theater.Could anything have been done to prevent the Dark Knight movie theatre massacre?

    With shooting suspect James Holmes now officially charged with 24 counts of murder, that's the question being asked throughout the United States and particularly at the University of Colorado campus, where Holmes attended.

    According to ABC News, sometime in late May or early June, Dr. Lynn Fenton, the psychiatrist treating Holmes, warned her colleagues on a university safety committee that her patient might be a "threat to others."

    A source told ABC that the so-called 'threat assessment team' didn't take any action, however, because Holmes dropped out the university on June 10.

    That has raised the ire of some experts who say Holmes' departure should have been a red alert.

    "You know, I think that's the signal that you should intensify your efforts, not walk away," Barry Spodak, a threat assessment expert told ABC News.

    "Under those circumstances, most well-trained threat assessment teams would have gone

    Read More »from Psychiatrist warned colleagues about Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes

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