Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Canadian who holds the key to the Internet

Cathal Kelly Staff Reporter

It’s housed in two high-security facilities separated by the North American landmass. The one authenticated map of the Internet.

Were it to be lost – either through a catastrophic physical or cyber attack – it could be recreated by seven individuals spread around the globe.

One of them is Ottawa’s Norm Ritchie.

Ritchie was recently chosen to hold one of seven smartcards that can rebuild the “root key” that underpins this system – called DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions). In essence, these seven can rebuild the architecture that allows users to know for certain where they are and where they are going when navigating the Web.

“In the event of a major disaster – if both facilities were destroyed – there has to be someone who can regenerate the (root) keys. That’s where we come in,” says Ritchie.

Ritchie, a DNS expert who works for the non-profit Internet Systems Consortium, received his smartcard two months ago at a ceremony at one of the secure sites, in Culpeper, Va.

The other is located in El Segundo, Calif. Both are overseen by the Web’s U.S.-based chief watchdog, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers).

Only a few dozen people on Earth are allowed access to the inner rooms or “harbour security module.” Ritchie and the other six cardholders – called “trusted community representatives” – are among them.

Inside, each facility contains one of two identical DNSSEC brains.

DNS provides the map that allows us to traverse the Internet – type in a domain name and DNS does the number crunching that sends you where you want to go.

“If DNS were to stop working, it would render the Internet effectively non-responsive,” said Byron Holland, CEO of CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority).

DNS is vulnerable to so-called “man in the middle” attacks – wherein thieves, terrorists or other malfeasants interject themselves between you and, say, your bank’s website. Current Estimates indicate that up to 8 per cent of all Web traffic goes to fraudulent sites.

DNSSec will eliminate that possibility by assuring that no one can slip between the user and his/her website. The security protocol has only just begun rolling out, and will likely take years before it envelops the Web.

“(DNSSEC) is a cloak that drapes over DNS – the backbone of the Internet,” said Holland. “If both facilities were to disappear overnight, that’s not to say the Internet would turn off. You’d still type in and get to Chapters. What would go away if those facilities were, say, blown up, is the ability to authenticate (your destination).”

The buildings are nondescript, “hardened” facilities. The walls are reinforced concrete. Armed guards line the halls leading into the centre. Each of the locked doors into the central vault must be opened by a separate keyholder.

At Ritchie’s ceremony, he estimates, 25 people were on hand: a dozen or so cryptology officers who man the pair of sites, the seven cardholders and a series of other witnesses there to monitor the handover.

Ritchie offers up that his smartcard – which resembles a silver credit card with a chip embedded at one end – is now in a safe.

At home?

“I don’t think I should say. But it is in a safe,” Ritchie said.

He has showed it around some to friends. He keeps it inside a tamper-proof evidence bag.

In the event of catastrophe, five of the seven cardholders – who also hail from the U.K., the U.S., China, Burkina Faso, Trinidad & Tobago and the Czech Republic – would be required to submit their keys in person and begin reconstruction of the system.

So how do they come and get you? Black helicopter? Air Force One?

“Well, the design of the system is pretty smart,” said Ritchie. “If something were to happen, there’d be time to round people up. There’s unlikely to be the sort of emergency where everything’s wiped out at one moment.”

And if there was such an emergency?

“Then we probably have bigger things to worry about than the Internet.”

Old Spice Guy doubles sales, gets movie deal

Old Spice Guy doubles sales, gets movie deal

July 28, 2010

Lesley Ciarula Taylor

A lot more of you smell like the man your man could smell like.

Old Spice body wash sales zoomed 107 per cent in the last month, spiking after the most popular video ad campaign ever, according to data from The Nielsen Company.

“Our business is on fire,” James Moorehead, brand manager for the men’s cologne, deodorant and body wash, told BrandWeek magazine.

Behind it all is Isaiah Mustafa, the Old Spice pitchman with the caramel voice and chiselled chest whose videos have been watched more than 30 million times in YouTube.

A week-long social media campaign starting July 13 saw him produce 186 customized videos, collect 90,000 Twitter followers and sign up 675,000 Facebook fans.

And soon, you’ll be able to get more than 33 seconds of Mustafa at one sitting.

Mustafa has told The Hollywood Reporter that he has a role in Warner Bros.’ Horrible Bosses, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman.

In a Q&A with The Reporter, Mustafa talks about the fluke that made him the Old Spice Guy, how he stays in shape, and what he hopes for the future.

“It’s a smaller role, but who wouldn’t want to be in one of these funny, irreverent comedies?” he says of his film part. “I’m playing a cop because I play these authoritative characters well.”

Sales for Red Zone body wash, the product the Old Spice Guy was initially pitching, reached $1.6 million in the four weeks ended July 11, a 49 per cent increase over the four weeks ended Feb. 21, SymphonyIRI Group data show.

Overall sales for all Old Spice body wash products are up 11 per cent in the last 12 months and 27 per cent in the last six months, according to Nielsen data supplied by Mike Norton, director of external relations for male grooming at P&G.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Liberals hear consumers' cry, vow to retool eco-fee July 19, 2010 Rob Ferguson

Bowing to growing pressure from consumers and Canadian Tire over its eco-fee scheme, the Ontario government is killing the latest round of controversial charges on potentially toxic household products and going back to the drawing board.

Sources said Environment Minister John Gerretsen will announce Tuesday that the policy is being retooled — less than three weeks after the fees from embattled recycling agency Stewardship Ontario kicked in on thousands of household items from cleaners to fire extinguishers.

“The government will be looking at solutions to the concerns heard from Ontarians about the program that would ensure household hazardous waste continues to be diverted from our landfills, while ensuring that Ontario consumers are protected,” said a government source.

It was unclear whether retailers and manufacturers would still have to pay the eco fees to Stewardship Ontario — or whether they would get the same break as consumers.

The move came after senior government officials spent the weekend looking at options from banning the fees outright, scrapping and retooling them, or taking the responsibility away from the independent but government-regulated Stewardship Ontario and running the program directly, another source said.

No time line was set for revamping the fees, which took consumers by surprise when they kicked in July 1 along with the new 13 per cent Harmonized Sales Tax. Some retailers faced difficulty in calculating the fees and applying them to products, resulting in some shoppers being overcharged.

“The only question is what does the fix look like?” said one industry representative.

The government’s about-face comes after Canadian Tire announced Monday that it was scrapping eco fees on 8,700 items in its stores, saying the recycling charge is too confusing for customers.

“We are pleased Canadian Tire has made this decision,” Gerretsen’s office said in an email to the Star.

The move from one of the country’s leading retailers “is just further proof of the chaos at cash registers across the province and that Dalton McGuinty’s eco tax plan has been a disaster,” said Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who has pledged that a Tory government would kill the fees outright.

Canadian Tire had asked Stewardship Ontario and Gerretsen to take the controversial eco fee program back to the drawing board and come up with a replacement that makes more sense.

“Safely recycling toxic materials like rust remover or camping fuel is important so we don’t have toxic waste seeping into our landfills and environment,” Mike Arnett, president of Canadian Tire Retail, said in a letter to customers Monday.

But the company “can no longer support passing along a recycling fee to customers that has inconsistencies between products and is difficult to explain.”

For example, different bottles of bleach can have different eco fees depending on their ingredients and Ph level. And the rules required the eco fee on a boater safety kit including a bailer, whistle and waterproof flashlight be based on the total weight of the kit, not just the flashlight and its batteries to which it actually applied, Arnett added in an interview.

“We’ve come across some things that don’t seem to make sense,” he said. “Because these eco fees are based on ‘materials’ instead of ‘products,’ it means that two similar brands of cleaning products could have two different eco fees depending on slight variations in their ingredients.”

After Canadian Tire’s announcement, Stewardship Ontario said it will require “prior disclosure” under which companies making or importing products subject to the eco fees provide the agency with information on the fees they’re charging for validation and display on the Stewardship Ontario website.

Canadian Tire’s decision ratcheted up pressure over the program that has some retailers adding eco fees of up to $6.66 to the price of some products — such as hand sanitizers, fertilizer, bleach and fire extinguishers — to defray the costs of disposing them at the end of their life cycle.

The company last week apologized to customers for mistakenly charging higher than authorized eco fees because of difficulties translating the Stewardship Ontario regulations to actual products.

Those problems proved a lightning rod for complaints about the eco fees, which increasingly became a political headache for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals, who earlier this year scrapped a controversial new sex education curriculum and pulled it back for a revamping as well.

Stewardship Ontario apologized to consumers on Friday for confusion over the eco fees but shot back at Gerretsen for publicly “tarnishing” the agency with a letter earlier in the week demanding an audit and compliance program for retailers when that is beyond the agency’s scope.

Information technology staff at Canadian Tire were working overnight and into Tuesday to eliminate the fees from computer systems at the company’s stores across the province.

Star readers have also written about confusion with the new fees, such as C. Powell of West Hill, who pleaded in a letter to the editor on Saturday: “Mr. McGuinty, if as you say eco fees are to encourage recycling, please advise me how do I recycle fertilizer after spreading it on the lawn?”

Along with Home Depot, Canadian Tire has been one of few big retailers charging the fee, with others like Wal-Mart Canada Corp., Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Shoppers Drug Mart absorbing it for now instead of passing the cost on to consumers.

For example, Shoppers has been assessing the fees while Loblaw stores were charging them only on compact fluorescent light bulbs and tubes.

Home Depot and Wal-Mart officials did not return calls from the Star on Monday.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Gusher stops; BP might still have to siphon oil Testing blocks leak completely, but don't be surprised if oil flows again

Gusher stops; BP might still have to siphon oil

Testing blocks leak completely, but don't be surprised if oil flows again

Transcript of: Pressure builds in pivotal moment for BP

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: It may be temporary, it may not hold, but we want to show you something that, for a long while here, it didn't seem like we were ever going to see. Right now, there is no oil spilling into the gulf. For now, the cap is on and working. No new billowing oil beyond, of course, the three-month supply already in the gulf waters and on the shores and in the marshes. They are testing the pressure now. This stoppage may not last. It's not a permanent solution. That can only come from those relief wells. But now we're able to visualize, at least, the day we have been hoping would arrive. We want to begin again tonight with our chief environmental affairs correspondent Anne Thompson , in Venice , Louisiana . Anne , good evening.

ANNE THOMPSON reporting: Good evening, Brian . You know, even though this is the day that the people here along the gulf have waited some three months for, reaction is muted tonight because people here are hoping that it's when this test stops that the oil is still not flowing. On day 87, the oil stopped, if only temporarily. BP closed all the valves on its new ceiling cap at 3:25 Eastern time this afternoon, at last giving a moment's relief to so many people along the Gulf Coast devastated economically and emotionally by this spill.

Unidentified Man: It's finally an end to the Groundhog Day of waking up and it being the same and oil still spilling.

Unidentified Woman: We're just happy. Finally there's an end in sight. There's finally a light at the end of a tunnel.

THOMPSON: But BP isn't celebrating just yet.

Mr. DOUG SUTTLES (BP Chief Operating Officer): We have to manage our expectations. It's possible, if the -- if the pressures are low that we'll have to re-initiate the flow and capture it.

THOMPSON: At the White House , President Obama was every bit as cautious.

President BARACK OBAMA: I think it is a positive sign. We're still in the testing phase. I'll have more to say about it tomorrow.

THOMPSON: The well integrity test will take two days, and all eyes will be on the pressure levels. Engineers and scientists in the Houston command center will monitor those readings, hoping to divine what they cannot see under the seabed.

Mr. DON VAN NIEUWENHUISE (University of Houston): I think it's important to know whether the well has leaks or not. And it could be an important issue for them to watch while they're doing the kill operation itself.

THOMPSON: The kill operation with the relief well, the permanent solution, is still weeks away. Standing on one of the new sand berms built to block the oil, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said the cleanup doesn't stop just because the oil did.

Governor BOBBY JINDAL (Republican, Louisiana): This is a very, very -- potentially a very important step forward, if they're successful. But we also know this fight's not over for Louisiana . We know this is a marathon.

THOMPSON: Everyone involved realizes this may only be a pause in this disaster.

Admiral THAD ALLEN, Retired (National Incident Commander): Make no mistake, the number one goal is to shut in the well and kill it and stop it at the source. This is merely an intermediate step to contain the oil pending the finishing the relief wells and plugging the hole.

THOMPSON: Now, every six hours BP and government officials will assess those test results and decide whether or not to move forward. This is going to be a very slow and deliberate process. Brian :

WILLIAMS: For however long it's shut off, Anne , we'll take it. Anne Thompson in Venice , Louisiana , again tonight. Thanks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Vatican rules: the good and the bad

The Vatican introduced new revisions to canon law on Thursday to deal with accusations of sexual abuse against its priests. The additions and modifications, which are strictly internal Church rules and do not affect civil or criminal law, will speed up the defrocking of priests, extend the statute of limitations on abuse cases from 10 to 20 years, will make the penalties for the abuse of mentally challenged adults with those of children and will make the possession and distribution of child pornography a “grave crime.”

The revisions also call for the inclusion of lay participants in Church trails of suspected abusers and clarifies the link between bishops and the Vatican when it comes to dealing with accusations sex abuse.

What follows are two interviews that shed different perspectives on Thursday’s announcement.

The first is with Robert Ventresca, an associate professor of history at the University of Western Ontario. He believes the inclusion of the laity in canonical trials is an historic and welcome step. Prof. Ventresca is now writing a biography of Pope Pius XII.

The second is with Christopher Bellitto, a professor of Church history at Kean University in New Jersey. Prof. Bellitto, the author of 101 Questions and Answers on Popes and the Papacy (Paulist Press 2008), believes the new document fell down on two main issues: oversight of bishops and including the issue of female ordination of women in the same document, a move he called “bizarre.”

Holy Post: What is the overall impact of this document?
Robert Ventresca: The document provides greater accountability, greater clarity and greater transparency — the things that have been demanded by Catholics. Many of these policies have been in place unofficially for several years but by enshrining them in law you are giving them much more power and gravitas.

HP: Why is it important that the laity will now be involved with Church trials of alleged abusers?
RV: This is remarkable because you now have the laity entering into the judicial branch of Church governance. This is an important historical move and certainly follows the direction [since Vatican II] for greater lay involvement in the life of the Church. What will the lay person bring that a cleric doesn’t? Is it because they’re parents? Certainly the scourge of clerical abuse is at least the product of a culture that has been exclusionary. So I think in that regard the involvement of the laity in this regard has to be seen as salutary precisely because lay people bring to the table different sensibilities and different understanding of the Church in the world.

HP: Bishops are usually considered independent. But the revisions also note that the bishops report to the Vatican’s doctrinal office on sexual abuse issues. Why was that significant?
RV: I don’t what it will look like in practice but it does seem the Vatican is centralizing its control over bishops when it comes to sex abuse cases.

HP: How much should we expect from these new rules?
RV: One of the things I thought immediately was it’s fine that the letter of the law will be clearer and more forceful. But for a long time the Church has declared these crimes to be the most serious offences and yet we had a clerical abuse scandal. The letter of the law is often not enough; you also have to look at the culture. That’s why I think bringing in lay people is so important. This could bring a new spirit in which we move beyond the closed inner circle of the Church.

HP: Why raise the issue of female ordination in this document? It seems out of place.
RV: I don’t think of this as a document on one thing, but more of a list of things the Vatican has been working on. I don’t think they were linking the two things.


Holy Post: What was missing from this document?
Christopher Bellitto: The complete lack of oversight of bishops who moved abusers around. While the crime of pedophilia turns our stomachs, the crime and sin of transferring pedophiles without punishing them must be laid fully on bishops’ doorsteps. And the fact that’s not there is sitting in people’s craws. Nixon learned long ago it’s not the crime but the cover-up that will get you.

HP: But Benedict is sending bishops to various countries where there have been problems. The Archbishop of Toronto will be going to Ireland, for example.
CB: But what we need is a formal system where bishops will review cases of fellow bishops who are alleged to move pedophiles around. Sending bishops to Ireland is a good step but that it has to be made a regular practice and not an ad hoc practice.

HP: Why did the Vatican add the prohibition against female ordination in a document about sex abuse?
CB: It’s completely bizarre. It leaves the impression that the Church is equating sex abuse of children with female ordination. But it fits this papacy which has continually had a tin ear. The issue of the female ordination is only a reaffirmation of what has existed so why put it in this document? By reading it alone it looks like they’re equating abuse and female priests. The moderate good of this document is going to be steamrolled by the linkage of the sex abuse crisis with the reaffirmation that women can’t be priests. Did nobody sit down at the Vatican and say, “The only thing anyone is going to focus on is the reaffirmation of the ban on female priests and link it to child abuse.”

Science answers the question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Lesley Ciarula Taylor Staff Reporter

Scientists wielding a powerful supercomputer have cracked the mystery of which came first, the chicken or the egg.

The short answer: the chicken.

The long answer is contained in the analysis called Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by Eggshell Protein by British scientists Colin Freeman and John Harding of the University of Sheffield and David Quigley and P. Mark Rodger of the University of Warwick, published in the current journal Angewandte Chemie.

“It had long been suspected that the egg came first, but now we have the scientific proof that shows in fact the chicken came first,” said Freeman.

Sort of.

What came first was a particular chicken protein found in the bird’s ovaries that governs crystal growth and how it spawns an eggshell overnight.

The protein ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) is found only in the hard part of the shell, but scientists have long wondered what its role has been in the creation of calcite crystals and an eggshell.

Using the U.K. national supercomputer in Edinburgh to simulate how the protein clamps on to a surface, the researchers also noticed that OC-17 sometimes just falls off on its own.

The research took 5 million core hours of computer simulations using a tool called metadynamics, the team reported.

What evolves is “an incredibly elegant process” of formation, detaching and more formation that manages to produce an eggshell within 24 hours.

That knowledge, said Harding, “can also give clues towards designing new materials and processes.”

Whether the Warwich-Sheffield solution definitively answers the age-old conundrum remains to be seen.

A few years ago, a British geneticist, a philosopher and a chicken farmer pooled their resources and concluded that the egg came first. The first egg to have the DNA of a chicken would hatch into a chicken, said professor John Brookfield of the University of Nottingham in 2006.

Chimed in scientific philosophy professor David Papineau of King’s College London:

“If a kangaroo laid an egg from which an ostrich hatched, that would surely be an ostrich egg, not a kangaroo egg.”

Brookfield and Papineau were speaking at the behest of Disney as a promotion for the film Chicken Little. But their theory has been the prevailing one.

According to How Stuff Works, “Two non-chickens mated and the DNA in their new zygote contained the mutation(s) that produced the first true chicken. Prior to that first true chicken zygote, there were only non-chickens.”

Alice Shirrell Kaswell took a different tack in her 2003 experiment. Using the U.S. Postal Service, she separately mailed a chicken and an egg.

The chicken arrived first.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Canadian Tire apologizes for eco fee errors

By Personal Finance Columnist Ellen Roseman

Isabella Lam bought a $1 jug of bleach at Canadian Tire last week. Her bill was $1.55, which included an eco fee of 37 cents and HST on top of that.

Ron Compton bought three $1 bleach jugs at Canadian Tire and was charged eco fees of 57 cents on each one.

April Holman bought a $3 bottle of laundry detergent at Canadian Tire and paid a 60-cent eco fee.

Barb Harren bought a $20 driveway sealer at Canadian Tire and paid an eco fee of $3.23, while Viren Desai paid an eco fee of $4.03 on the same product.

These examples of inconsistent and excessive eco fees will be fixed by Wednesday, says Amy Cole, a spokeswoman for Canadian Tire.

“This is a very complex program and we made an error programming our point-of-sale systems,” she said.

“We’re reaching out to customers to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. Customers that return to the store with a receipt will be reimbursed the difference between the correct fee and the adjusted, correct fee.”

On July 1, Ontario expanded its eco fee program to cover 22 types of household products. The goal is to shift the cost of disposing of hazardous wastes from taxpayers to manufacturers and importers of the products.

But how much confidence can consumers have when one of Canada’s largest retailers makes repeated mistakes in showing the right eco fees on its bills?

Do we have to become eco-vigilantes to make sure we’re paying the right amount?

After hearing many stories from readers, I went to two Canadian Tire stores to look for errors in what I was charged.

It didn’t take long to find cases where I paid more – often a whole lot more – than the examples used by Stewardship Ontario, a non-governmental body that runs the program.

My 2.26-litre bottle of Cascade dishwasher detergent should have had an eco fee of less than one cent.

Instead, I paid a 43-cent eco fee at two Canadian Tire stores I visited (Yonge St., north of Davenport Rd., and Bay St., corner of Dundas St.).

What happened? The stores didn’t differentiate between corrosive products, such as toilet bowl cleaners and rust removers, and detergents – which are classified as irritants.

I also paid 28 cents on a package of four double-A non-rechargeable batteries at a Canadian Tire store when the correct eco fee was actually 6 cents.

“Eco fees were not intended to generate profit for us and we’re working to ensure the correct fees are charged going forward,” Cole said.

Any money that is not reimbursed to customers will be remitted to Stewardship Ontario to pay for its recycling and disposal efforts, she added.

Diane Brisebois, president of the Retail Council of Canada, blamed the pricing errors on the number of individual products – known as stock-keeping units or SKUs – carried in large stores.

While some manufacturers will incorporate the eco fees into the price of their goods, others will pass them on to retailers – which pass them on, in turn, to customers.

“I wish I had a simple solution, but this program is so complex and touches so many products,” says Brisebois, who’s also a member of Stewardship Ontario’s board.

In her view, “a communications snafu” resulted when the second phase was launched on July 1 without advance notice to customers.

“The industry did not spend enough time to educate, inform and motivate consumers, as it did in 2008. Instead, it spent more time on the implementation,” she said.

After my column last Saturday, I heard from many people who tried to check the eco fees and found Stewardship Ontario’s website hard to navigate.

I also heard from people who went to the affiliated website,, and couldn’t find any drop-off locations close to their homes.

Wayne Jenkins, who lives in Waterford, Ont., was given drop stations in Cambridge, Hamilton and Dundas – about an hour’s drive from his home. He thinks he’ll never be able to use the service.

John Hamlin, a painting contractor in Thunder Bay, was told to go to a landfill site to drop off leftover cans of paint and petroleum products and pay disposal fees of 81 cents to $4.03 per container.

Stewardship Ontario never responded to his letter last fall, asking why – if he’s paying eco fees to buy these products – he’s also charged a second time to dispose properly of hazardous waste.

Finally, many people said that eco fees should be considered a tax – especially when the Ontario government stands to gain money from the HST applied on top of them.

Many suggested that retailers should have to show eco fees on price tags and shelf labels, instead of surprising customers with them after they paid their bills.

Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Developer charged in razing of 118 moraine trees

The Town of Aurora has filed several charges against a development company and its two owners after claims that more than 100 trees were destroyed to make way for a golf course before it was approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

The town says 118 trees, including ash, pine, cedar, maple and oak, were injured or destroyed in the area of Leslie St. and Bloomington Rd., without a permit.

A resident complained June 17, the city says. After an investigation, nine charges were filed against West Hill Redevelopment Company Ltd. and its principals Joe and Wolf Lebovic.

The allegations highlight a flaw in municipal and provincial regulations that often makes it cheaper for developers to pay fines for making unapproved land alterations and proceed with their projects, rather than go through years of applications and appeals.

The project in question was initially put forward almost 12 years ago and rejected by the town in 2008. That decision is being appealed before the OMB.

If convicted, the developers face a maximum fine of $100,000 for violating the town’s tree-cutting and zoning bylaws.

Aurora Mayor Phyllis Morris is outraged at the precedent this case sets for other developers.

“Once you cut down trees and the land is cleared, what’s left to a town council and a mayor who wants to have protected them? We believed in the moraine legislation; we believed the region’s tree-cutting bylaw, the town’s tree-cutting bylaw, and the TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority) oversight would have been sufficient to deter someone,” Morris says.

“We are concerned that if this becomes the normal practice, then doesn’t that negate a town trying to protect its environment? You just hope people would follow the rules.”

The project, an 18-hole golf course and 75-unit condominium complex on both sides of Leslie St. north of Bloomington Rd., has a long and complicated history with the town.

The property would fall under the provincial Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, but because the project dates back so far, it’s subject to the regulations in effect before the plan became law in 2001. The town says it will adversely affect ground aquifers and adjoining woodlots and wetlands. Many homes in Aurora use well water drawn from the deep aquifers below.

David Donnelly, a lawyer for Environmental Defence, a non-profit based in Toronto, says he has seen many cases where a developer is alleged to have altered land in advance of an OMB decision to quicken or circumvent the approvals process.

“It’s a rare occurrence but it happens commonly enough that I think we need to tighten the rules around altering subject properties,” Donnelly says.

“Cutting trees in advance of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing or a court process robs the decision-maker of the opportunity to hear a complete defence of the environment.

“Most importantly, it takes away from the public’s right to have the environmental laws that we have in place applied fairly.”

Maureen Carter-Whitney, research director at the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy, agrees: “I believe the penalty should be so high people aren’t willing the chance of committing these kind of offences. To me, it points out a huge flaw in the system.”

West Hill did not respond Thursday to numerous attempts by the Star to contact the company for comment. The corporation is expected to appear at a Newmarket court Monday.

Brothers donate $50M to Mount Sinai

Last Updated: Friday, October 27, 2006 | 3:51 PM ET

Two brothers have donated $50 million to Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital in what is believed to be the largest single donation to a Canadian hospital.

Joseph and Wolf Lebovic had already made their mark at the world-renowned hospital when in 2002 they gave the health centre what was then the largest single private pledge — $10 million.

Brothers and businessmen Joseph, left, and Wolf Lebovic donated  $50 million to Mount Sinai hospital Friday. Brothers and businessmen Joseph, left, and Wolf Lebovic donated $50 million to Mount Sinai hospital Friday.
(Canadian Jewish News)

The money was presented to Mount Sinai officials at a special ceremony held Friday to recognize the generosity of philanthropists.

Wolf Lebovic said he has a personal connection to the hospital because Mount Sinai took care of his parents and five of his six children born in the hospital.

The two businessmen are Holocaust survivors who made their fortunes in real estate development after they moved to Canada from Hungary in the late 1940s.

The pair from Southern Ontario have donated to numerous universities, art institutions and hospitals over the years, and said that most of their incomes go toward charities.

The hospital plans to spend part of the money on an expansion of the women's and infants' health unit.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Lindsey Lohan Lindsay Lohan wants to appeal; her lawyer quits

Lohan Has A Message To The Judge Painted On Her Middle Finger...

Shawn Chapman Holley, the lawyer who represented actress Lindsay Lohan at her court date this week, made her smartest move since she passed the bar: According to TMZ, the attorney has resigned as Lohan's counsel.

Lohan is scheduled to begin serving her 90-day jail sentence, plus a three-month stint at an in-patient rehab centre, on July 20 for missing court-mandated alcohol-education classes, stemming from a conviction for driving under the influence after two DUI incidents in 2007, during which she also tested positive for cocaine.

TMZ had contacted Holley on Thursday for a comment on a Lohan story, only for the lawyer to inform them she was no longer representing the actress. Holley didn't provide her reasons for quitting, but Lohan insiders tell TMZ the Mean Girls star has been talking about appealing her prison sentence and telling friends, "I'm not going to jail!"

Lohan's chances of winning on appeal are very, very low, but as her recent Twitter posts indicate, she may not have a firm grasp on how her case relates to the legal system as a whole.

"It is clearly stated in the Article 5 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights that 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment,'" Lohan wrote after her sentence was announced. "This was taken from an article by Erik Luna. 'November 1 marked the 15th anniversary of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. But there were no celebrations, parades, or other festivities in honor of this punishment scheme created by Congress and the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Instead, the day passed like most others during the last 15 years: Scores of federal defendants sentenced under a constitutionally perverted system that saps moral judgment through its mechanical rules.' "

To ostensibly help her in her quest for justice, Lohan has hired Tiffany Esther Feder-Cohen to represent her. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the rookie lawyer only passed the bar last November — and the law school she attended, the West Los Angeles Law School, lost its accreditation in the mid-2000s. We have a feeling Lohan's appeal is going to go really, really well.
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Eco Tax plus HST Effective July 1 2010

Checking her receipt as she left a downtown Canadian Tire, Chris Colorado noticed a new charge.

Her $1.99 bottle of dish soap was accompanied by a 13-cent “eco fee.”

The levy for thousands of new products, from pharmaceuticals to fire extinguishers, quietly came into effect July 1, the same day as the harmonized sales tax.

But unlike that tax, provincial agencies have done little to publicize the new fees, catching consumers like Colorado by surprise.

“I’ve never heard anything about this fee. No one’s talking about it,” she said. “The fact they just put it without us knowing, I don’t think it’s honest. I don’t like it.”

Manufacturers must pay the province a levy for recycling their products. Some companies are passing these costs, ranging from a few cents to several dollars per product, onto consumers.


What gets the fee:
All aerosol containers, from paint to hairspray.

Rechargeable batteries, as well as non-lead acid motive batteries.

Corrosives and irritants, such as household bleaches, drain cleaners and detergents.

Assorted toxic, flammable and reactive products.

Syringes and needles.

Pharmaceuticals for humans and pets, including prescription medicine, over-the-counter drugs and natural health products.

Fluorescent tubes and bulbs.

Fire extinguishers.

For a full list and details on where to dispose these items, visit


Stewardship Ontario, the agency overseeing the eco fees, began its $2.5 million public education campaign at the beginning of the month, which consists of posters and radio spots, as well as a group which tours public events and provides information about the program.

“We would rather spend the money to educate people than to spend the money months ahead to say, ‘Hey, there’s a new eco fee coming,’ ” said spokeswoman Amanda Harper Sevonty.

“Our message to consumers isn’t about the eco fees. Our message to consumers is about here are the materials and what to do with them.”

By clicking the website and inserting their postal codes, residents can find which products they can recycle and where the closest collection site is located. There are 92 special disposal sites across the province.

Some retailers and consumers, however, say the silence has hurt the cause. If the consumers don’t know of the fees before they buy the item, they won’t know what to do with the waste.

When the first round of products was levied in 2008, Len McAuley was given a sign explaining the fees to customers at Pollock’s Home Hardware on Roncesvalles Ave.

“With this second phase, they haven’t sent us anything,” he said. “Basically, the list is getting longer. The government’s not communicating to the public.”

The fees now cover all aerosol containers from hairspray to whipped cream, pharmaceuticals, syringes, mercury-containing devices and other toxic, corrosive or flammable products.

The start date of the new levies was set when the program came into effect two years ago and by coincidence fell on the same day as the HST launch, Harper Sevonty said.

Progressive Conservative Environment Critic Toby Barrett criticized some of the fees as being a tax grab “under the guise of environmentalism,” noting particular concern with levies on fire extinguishers, which range from $2.22 to $6.66 depending on the weight.

“I feel the Ontario government has a bit of explaining to do. I think that would eliminate a lot of the frustration,” he said.

However, Harper Sevonty stressed that the fees aren’t a tax.

“They are the program cost to collect and manage this material out of the waste stream,” she said.

The companies that produce the goods are being charged a levy, which pays for the hazardous waste to be properly recycled instead of being dumped into landfills. It’s up to the manufacturers and retailers whether to download the charge onto customers, she said.

At Queen’s Park, Environment Minister John Gerretsen defended the recycling fees as “the right thing to do.”

He noted the stewardship councils were set up under enabling legislation that was passed by the previous Progressive Conservative government in 2002, so it’s odd that the Tories would be so critical.

“It’s not a tax. The government does not see one penny of it. It all goes to the stewardship councils to make sure that all of these materials do not end up in our landfill sites,” the minister said.

With files from Robert Benzie

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Canadian Premier Stamp

The stamp was not sticking to envelopes.

This enraged the Premier who demanded a full investigation.

After a month of testing and spending $4.1 million,
a special commission presented the following findings:

1. The stamp is in perfect order.

2. There is nothing wrong with the adhesive.

3. People were spitting on the wrong side of the stamp.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Scan32.exe 100% CPU Usage Solved

I have been dealing with this technical issue on 1 of my many PCs it is a pain in PC, Macaffe Anti Virus runs a program called scan32.exe which will take over your pc and going into task manager will not allow you to kill the process. So you must use the solution below to regain control of your PC task manager.

If you want to end a process for which you don't have permissions to end (e.g. the scan32.exe process), run the following command:

GoTo Start
Then Run
The Command C:/ prompt comes up then type in the exact line below which I have placed in red to simply highlight the script: at 12:05 /interactive taskmgr

NOTE: Replace 12:05 with the time you want the taskmanager to run in interactive mode.

This runs the task manager in interactive mode, which permits you to terminate the process....

This will give you control of the PC again...then check the schedule for the anti virus to run and change it to be at a tim 2-3:00Am when you are asleep.

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