• 1 Windsor-Essex beach closed, swimming not recommended at 6 others1 Windsor-Essex beach closed, swimming not recommended at 6 others

    Taking a long leap off a short pier into cool water is no problem for many Canadians when the lazy, hazy days of summer hit.

    Fortunately, most of those refreshing dips are in some of the cleanest waters on the planet.

    “By and large swimming in fresh water, swimming in the oceans in Canada is extremely safe. We are very lucky to have very clean water supplies,” says Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases consultant at University Health Network in Toronto.

    Still, swimmers should remember that they share lakes, rivers, ponds and oceans with lots of different organisms, big and so small they can’t be seen, some of which can put a damper on that summer fun by sending the swimmer sprinting for the bathroom or dealing with a nasty rash. Most cause only mild symptoms but there are those rare times when tragedy strikes. An Oklahoma swimmer died Aug. 12 after picking up a brain-attacking amoeba while swimming in a lake the week before. Called Naegleria fowleri, the freshwater amoeba is
    Read More »from The hidden perils of swimming in open Canadian waters
  • The Who Is She fundraising campaign, launched Wednesday in Toronto by Ontario’s First Nations, will raise money for a judicial inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

    The federal government has repeatedly declined to hold a public inquiry into the matter. Now Ontario’s chiefs will attempt to fund their own inquiry through the Who Is She campaign. 

    “It’s going to be designed by us as First Nations, for First Nations,” deputy grand chief Glen Hare of Anishinabek Nation told Yahoo Canada News. “It’s going to be our work for our women and our girls.”

    The fundraising campaign’s launch follows the Ontario chiefs’ decision in June 2014 to organize their own inquiry into the tragedy. The fundraising aspect of Who Is She will raise money towards an aboriginal-run inquiry, but there is not yet a set financial goal or timeline, Hare said.

    “We don’t want to put a dollar figure on it,” Hare said. “It’s something we’re starting as First Nations because nobody else is doing it.”


    Read More »from Ontario First Nation chiefs launch ‘Who Is She’ campaign for inquiry into missing women
  • While the cool, wet summer weather might come as a relief to some who struggle through the heat, farmers in parts of Southern Ontario are feeling its affects, particularly on tomato crops.

    A fungus called late blight has ruined a number of commercial crops, particularly the organic variety.

    Other parts of Canada are dealing with the destructive disease, which isn’t harmful to humans. The federal government issued an alert in Prince Edward Island, advising farmers to adopt PLANT-Plus system, a prediction system, to help farmers “with the implementation of reduced risk management strategies on their farm.”

    In British Columbia, the ministry of agriculture has a comprehensive breakdown of the fungus on its website, from its symptoms to tips on late blight management.

    Monica Brandner, a farmer with Brandner Farms in Ruthven, Ont., says since she grows tomatoes organically, it’s been particularly hard. The fungus has affected up to 80 per cent of her tomato crops.

    “For us, it’s a bit more

    Read More »from Late blight fungus ruining tomato and potato crops
  • It turns out the federal Conservative government is fighting its battle against Muslim niqabs at citizenship ceremonies on two fronts.

    In 2011, the Conservatives introduced new legislation forbidding women from wearing face-coverings, such as niqabs that cover the head and face except for the eyes while pledging the oath of citizenship. 

    The controversial policy prompted a high-profile court challenge from Ontario’s Zunera Ishaq, a Pakistani woman who called the ban a “personal attack” on her and all Muslim women who choose to wear a niqab.

    But while Ishaq’s case winds its way through the courts, a second woman is fighting the niqab ban on a different front.

    Maiia Mykolayivna Zaafrane has filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, alleging religious discrimination by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

    On Dec. 4, 2013, Zaafrane was forbidden from taking part in a citizenship ceremony unless she removed her niqab. 

    Like Ishaq, she was willing to take the garment off in

    Read More »from Second woman fights Harper government’s citizenship ceremony niqab ban
  • The shoeshine boy kept trailing me, insisting on polishing my walking shoes, which were a little dusty from my stroll through Aleppo’s ancient souk. His sweet, sad eyes haunted me so I relented. Those shoes, which I used for another 12 years after my Syrian trip in 2000, stayed pitch black forever.

    Today, I sit in Berlin watching thousands of Syrians walk to freedom. I wonder if that boy is among them, or whether he died in one of the numerous artillery battles or barrel bombs or gunfire fights that have scorched Syria into a charred memory.

    I was in Syria for two weeks. I tasted homemade ice cream in Damascus, stood in the immaculate and stunning Umayyad Mosque, ventured through the desert to wander the ruins of Palmyra, helped a waiter write a love letter in English to a tourist he had met, devoured the most delicious falafel in Hama and ran into Alexander, who owned a table mat and cloth stand in Aleppo’s 1,000-year-old souk.

    “You are Canadian?  You look like your Governor General —

    Read More »from A Canadian view of the Syrian response in Germany and Canada
  • You gonna eat that? (Thinkstock)You gonna eat that? (Thinkstock)
    Maybe your kindergarten teacher was right all along: we should all learn to share.

    One of the biggest and most well-known examples of the sharing economy trend is Airbnb, and its a big deal. More than 40 million people have used the site to book rooms, condos and even castles in 34,000 cities in 190 countries. Similarly, Uber is shaking up the taxi industry, allowing users to summon a private car via an app on their smartphones.

    Looking to cash in on the peer-to-peer market bandwagon, other startups aim to connect renters with parking spaces, bikes and tools, bypassing the traditional marketplace.

    If you like the idea of a peer-to-peer economy for environmental reasons, or think you can make a buck sharing your stuff, here are a few to try:


    Bike rental services such as Bixi Montreal, a network of 5,200 bikes at docking stations around the city, make sense because you can grab one whenever you need it.

    Private bike rentals sound like a bit of a logistical nightmare. Spinlister

    Read More »from What's yours is mine: how to use the sharing economy for just about everything
  • There's a new push to allow parents to be allowed to choose the gender of their children. Angie Asimus has more.There's a new push to allow parents to be allowed to choose the gender of their children. Angie Asimus has more.

    Brianna, a 27-year-old from Cobourg, Ont., wants to help a gay couple experience the joy that she has every day waking up to her boys.

    Cathy, a 46-year-old from Dieppe, N.B., would like to help parents have a child they are obviously willing to go above and beyond to have.

    Both have listed themselves as potential surrogate mothers on a website that attempts to pair those looking for fertility help with those offering.

    “I am a great mom and I would love to give the gift that I have every day to someone less fortunate,” writes Brianna on surrogatefinder.com.

    They are among a growing number of Canadian women who are willing to offer their wombs to those who cannot conceive or carry their own children but who wish a genetic link.

    “There are more women joining… but there still isn’t enough to meet the need,” says Sally Rhoads-Heinrich, owner of Surrogacy in Canada Online, a website dedicated to connecting would-be surrogates to parents seeking their help.

    She has seen her client load at

    Read More »from Demand for Canadian surrogates surging, industry insiders say
  • A student walks past the bell tower at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., on Monday August 24, 2015.  A student walks past the bell tower at Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., on Monday August 24, 2015.

    Earl Phillips is facing a conundrum.

    At the moment, the B.C. Supreme Court is deliberating over whether or not to allow future graduates of Trinity Western University’s proposed school of law, which Phillips is the executive director of, to practice law in the province.

    The point of contention is the Christian school’s community covenant or rather, the portion of the covenant that says community members agree to voluntarily abstain “from the sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”

    It was precisely that wording that prompted the Law Society of British Columbia (LSBC) to block accreditation of future grads, which resulted in the matter being brought before the courts last week.

    “The TWU covenant is discriminatory because it effectively excludes those in the LGBTQ community and those in common-law relationships,” David Jordan, communications officer for the LSBC told Yahoo Canada via email.

    But the province isn’t the first to have a law

    Read More »from Why Trinity Western University remains defiant despite anti-LGBTQ claims
  • Saskatchewan students, teachers celebrate back to school with selfiesSaskatchewan students, teachers celebrate back to school with selfies

    Dear Anonymous, or the Ashley Madison hackers, or even Lisbeth Salander. I don’t really care which.

    Now that Labour Day is past, we’re running into that awful point on the calendar that retailers call “Back to $chool”, and the rest of us call “Choke the Internet with pictures of your kid in a backpack” week. Now, you may think that pictures of smiling 8-year-olds with new pink sneakers doesn’t exactly represent a threat to the fabric of society, and in modest numbers, it’s all good. But we’re at the point where Facebook, Tumblr, Snapchat - all the places we go to nose through our friends’ (and ex-friends’) lives - are taken over for a few days by endless, interchangeable pictures of children celebrating what really should be pretty far down the list of things about which to crack open the champagne.

    It’s great to be proud of your kid. And I’m sure little Caleb has as much potential as the next blank slate in the schoolyard. But to be honest, just suiting up for the first day of

    Read More »from Hackers, please shut down social media on the first day of school
  • Justine Holmlund and her pug TysonJustine Holmlund and her pug Tyson

    Even years after he was abducted from outside a Calgary Safeway, Justine Holmlund refused to give up hope that her beloved pug Tyson would be found.

    When he first went missing in October 2010 she pounded the pavement for days, calling his name and papering the area with missing posters offering $3,000 for his return.  

    For Holmlund, Tyson was more than just a pet.

    “I lost my 3 ½ month old son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2008, my dog was a huge emotional link as he was great with my son, helped me cope and was just highly intuitive towards me emotionally. When Tyson was stolen I was pregnant and I went into preterm labour a month and a half early only two days after his abduction. I know the stress of that played a key factor in [my daughter] being born early,” she said.

    Earlier this week, Holmlund was reunited with Tyson after nearly five long years, thanks to the help of a Calgary-area pet detective and animal lover.

    In the years since Tyson was stolen Holmlund and her family

    Read More »from Owner never gave up even 5 years after Calgary pug’s abduction


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