• Does the Lord's Prayer have any place in city council meetings?Grey County has a long-standing tradition of opening its city council meetings with a recital of the Lord's Prayer.

    Peter Ferguson is trying to change that.

    The Kimberley, ON, man has filed legal papers in a bid to end what he calls an "illegal" practice.

    In the affidavit sworn by Ferguson, he states that Grey County council's "practice of praying at meetings is breaching my Charter rights to freedom of conscience and religion, as well as the rights of other non-believers, agnostics or atheists, and the followers of non-Christian faiths in Grey County," QMI Agency reports.

    Ferguson insists that even though he doesn't believe in God, his campaign isn't anti-Christian.

    "The religious aspect is secondary. It's the legal aspect that's important," he said. "It's a matter of principle. I don't believe our politicians should be breaking the law."

    Ferguson says he first became "sensitized to the issue" a year and a half ago when Owen Sound's council meetings, which started with the Lord's

    Read More »from In Ontario’s Grey County, the Lord’s Prayer is headed to court
  • Breaking a court-ordered curfew will cost a 16-year-old girl less than the price of a coffee.It will certainly be the luckiest loonie she's ever spent.

    As QMI Agency reports, a 16-year-old female delinquent got off for less than the price of a coffee after a Winnipeg judge decided the teen didn't deserve the 30-day sentence the Crown had sought for breaching her court-ordered curfew.

    And it's unlikely Judge Judith Elliott's decision will encourage her to keep it, either.

    Since the girl was convicted in October 2011 for assaulting police and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, she's breached her curfew six times.

    "At some point, there has to be some responsibility taken for the breaches she (has committed)," Crown attorney Wendy Friesen told Elliott during the trial. "The Youth Criminal Justice Act speaks to meaningful consequences and clearly, in my submission, the consequences have not been meaningful (to her) up to this point."

    The young offender was sentenced to one day in custody and 18 months probation following her criminal activities. In the period between

    Read More »from Multiple-offender given a $1 sentence for breaching curfew again
  • Last week we reported UFO sightings across Canada are hitting nearly record-high levels, with almost 1000 sightings in 2011. While none of those were linked to alien activity, it appears that Canadians in some of our country's major urban hubs have a better chance for a close encounter than others.

    A grand total of 986 UFO sightings were reported last year, lasting an average of eleven minutes each. As Nadine Bells reports, 11 per cent of them couldn't be explained, leaving some room for the imagination to run wild.

    Here's a closer look at the three cities in Canada that had the highest rates of UFOs reported:

    Toronto: 34

    Torontonians are often accused of thinking their city is the centre of Canada — perhaps the aliens agree. You could chalk up the high number of UFO sightings in Toronto to it being the most populous city in the country, but what's the fun in that?

    Locals even claim to have seen UFOs as recently as last week, when Southern Ontario was hit by a major lightning storm.

    Read More »from Which Canadian city should be preparing for an alien invasion?
  • Homeowner Loretta Yates is afraid her ceiling could collapse under the weight of honey and bees infesting her home.Forget every nightmare unwanted houseguest story you've ever heard: Loretta and Kevin Yates have you beat by a hive.

    Or, rather: multiple hives.

    As QMI Agency reports, the Varney, Ont., couple recently learned they've been sharing their home with 80,000 thousand bees.

    Two colonies of honeybees and a hive of yellow jacket wasps have settled in to the space between the main-floor ceiling and the floor of the upper level over the kitchen and living room, according to a beekeeper who inspected the premises.

    The Yates family said they knew they had a bee problem, but it wasn't until they started getting honey hair treatments two weeks ago that they realized how bad their situation had gotten.

    "We don't hear them buzzing or anything. It's just the crack in the ceiling. Like you're standing in the kitchen and you get honey dripped down your hair. It's not pleasant," Loretta Yates told QMI.

    Several cracks, burdened under the weight of honey, have appeared along the affected areas.

    [ More Daily

    Read More »from Ontario couple faces ‘sweet’ nightmare as bees overrun their home
  • Members of Canada's contingent take part in the athletes parade during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium July 27, 2012. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT OLYMPICS)With the Olympic Games now in full swing — and the subsequent outbreak of Olympic fever in TV-watchers everywhere — Toronto's city council is reviving the dream of one day hosting the world-class event.

    On Friday, council voted to investigate the possibility of a 2024 Summer Games bid, the Toronto Star reports. This comes as an amendment to another motion: to study the possibility of a World Expo 2025 bid.

    Two separate reports — one on each bid — will be submitted to Toronto's economic development and culture committee in March 2013, CBC News reports.

    Toronto lost its bid for the 2008 games to Beijing, an extensive — and expensive — process. Toronto lost its 1996 bid to Atlanta.

    Last year, councillor Doug Ford declared that Toronto was in no position to host the Games as the city contemplated a 2020 bid. This time around, Mayor Rob Ford is backing the motion to investigate the 2024 possibility. Doug Ford was absent from the vote, the Toronto Star reports.

    [ Full coverage: London 2012

    Read More »from Toronto pondering potential 2024 Summer Olympics bid
  • James Holmes first appeared in court July 23 in Centennial, Colorado. Holmes, 24, is accused of shooting dead 12 people and wounding 58 others at a cinema in Aurora, outside Denver. (AFP Photo/Rj Sangosti)James Holmes, the man accused of opening fire inside an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater was back in court Monday to formally face charges for the July 20 massacre that killed 12 and wounded 58 others.

    During the hearing which lasted less than an hour, prosecutors charged the 24-year-old PHD student with 12 counts of first-degree murder, 12 counts of murder with extreme indifference and 116 counts of attempted murder.

    He was also charged with one count of possession of an explosive and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

    In contrast to Holmes' first appearance in court last Monday, no cameras were permitted in the courtroom but, according to ABC News, Holmes appeared wearing a maroon colored jumpsuit, his hair still dyed an orange-pink color, and similar loopy mannerisms to his first appearance in court.  Throughout the hearing, Holmes' eyes sporadically grew wider as he raised his eyebrows, stared blankly around the room, and then stared down into his lap.

    [ Full coverage

    Read More »from Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes charged with 24 counts of murder
  • Lord Conrad Black attends the National Business Book Awards in Toronto on May 28. Black's book 'A Matter of Principle' is one of the three finalists for the award. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris YoungShortly after his release from a U.S. prison this past spring, The Canadian Press wrote a story suggesting we'd see a different Conrad Black.

    The national news service interviewed Black's friends and colleagues who opined that the former media baron would be calmer, less bombast and more averse to publicity — a "Conrad Black lite" if you will.

    In reality, however, it's the same old same old.

    In the midst of his very public battle to keep his Order of Canada, Black, 67,  is in the media spotlight again hinting that he might want to get back into the newspaper industry.

    According to an article in the Huffington Post, Black recently spoke of the "untapped value in some of Canada's legacy newspapers."

    Here's an excerpt from the article:

    Although Black maintains he is not actively looking for an opportunity to invest in newspapers, he said some of the legacy titles are leaving money on the table. And at times his guarded responses and unwillingness to provide detail suggested a man planning

    Read More »from Conrad Black hints at a return to the newspaper industry
  • Parks Canada has a new program that helps new Canadians learn how to camp in the great outdoors.Though the days of igloo and husky-mobile stereotypes are long behind us (we think), the vision of Canada as some untamed wilderness has still managed to cling to life outside our borders.

    And while newcomers know that we drive motor vehicles and our cities contain concrete buildings, the opportunity to explore the country's more rugged terrain can prove an irresistible draw.

    But if you've never pitched a tent or prepared for a nocturnal bear invasion, the task can seem more than a little daunting.

    That's why Parks Canada and Mountain Equipment Co-op have jointly launched a new program to help new Canadians learn one of the quintessential Canadian pastimes: camping.

    [ Related: Mountie takes a turn at the drums with band at camp ]

    As Westerly News reports, the program is designed to "infuse camping into the lifestyle of new Canadians."

    "This is to build their skills and their confidence and to make sure that they've got the information and the skill building that they need in a

    Read More »from New Canadians offered lessons on how to camp
  • Gene and Sandy RalstonGene and Sandy Ralston on Giauque Lake, Northwest Territories. Jaron McKay photo, environmental consultants from Idaho, have been recovering bodies from lakes and rivers across North America — intervening when authorities can't or won't — for 29 years.

    "We look beyond that morbid part of it, the gooey part of it," Gene told the Globe and Mail. "We look way beyond that, to what it means to the family."

    In 1983, the couple volunteered their jet-boat to help search for a suicide victim. Since then, the Ralstons have recovered nearly 80 bodies — more that a dozen in Canada — simply because people asked them to.

    They call their unique service a hobby. They don't get paid for what they do, only asking to be reimbursed for their travel expenses, reports South Dakota Public Broadcasting. They can rack up to 50,000 kilometres a year driving across North America in their 32-foot motor home.

    On July 20th, the couple recovered the body of Jaxon Smith, whose Toyota Land Cruiser fell through the ice on Giauque Lake, northeast of Yellowknife, in 2007. The

    Read More »from Idaho couple helps recover drowning victims for mourning families
  • Blue Jays Curtis shown near his vegetable patch. He and his partner, Stickie Caddle, dug the drainage ditches. Two Toronto volunteers are learning the true meaning of the phrase "no good deed goes unpunished."

    As CBC News reports, Stickie Caddle and Blue Jays Curtis have been ordered by the city's parks department to cut back on the maintenance work they've been doing for the last two decades — free of charge — at their local park.

    But it's not for aesthetic reasons that the department has put a kibosh on some of their activities at Fergy Brown Park.

    Officials are concerned that either volunteer could injure himself while whacking weeds or tending to Curtis' vegetable garden. And they're even more concerned, perhaps, that the men could later sue the city.

    [ Related: Trail airport a labour of love for volunteer crew ]

    This bureaucratic rationale has left both men frustrated.

    "Any place in Barbados you could go and do this kind of work — and people would object to it? Man, they'd give you two more weed whackers," Caddle told the news network.

    Curtis is upset that he will no longer be able to grow

    Read More »from Award-winning Toronto volunteers ordered to stop maintaining public park


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