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Toronto man, 72, identified as Canadian victim of Ethiopia plane crash

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  • TORONTO — A 72-year-old Toronto man was identified Wednesday as one of the Canadian victims of the plane crash in Ethiopia.

    The Ismaili Centre said Ameen Noormohamed was on board the Ethiopian Airlines plane that went down on Sunday moments after takeoff from Addis Ababa, killing all 157 passengers and crew.

    “We understand that members of the deceased’s family have made their way to Kenya and are in the midst of making arrangements,” the centre said in a statement.

    Noormohamed, who lived in the Toronto area, was one of 18 Canadians who died in the crash.

    The youngest was a nine-month-old baby girl — the only Canadian citizen in her family — who was travelling with her mother, grandmother and two older siblings to meet her grandfather in Kenya for the first time. Rubi Paul’s grandfather said he was struggling to accept the devastating loss of much of his family.

    A Brampton, Ont., family was also mourning six of its members who had been on their way to enjoy a safari in Kenya. Two teen sisters — 13-year-old Anushka Dixit and 14-year-old Ashka —  their mother, Kosha Vaidya, 37, and father, Prerit Dixit, 45, were killed. The girls’ grandparents, who were believed to be Indian citizens, were also killed in the crash.

    A Hamilton-area family, meanwhile, was mourning a special education teacher who had a passion for volunteering with the vulnerable. Cody French said his mother, Dawn Tanner had been travelling to visit friends in Kenya.

    A number of other victims had been travelling to a United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi when their Ethiopian Airlines flight went down.

    Micah Messent, Danielle Moore and Angela Rehhorn and Darcy Belanger were all slated to attend the conference through various humanitarian or conservation organizations.

    Other victims included Stephanie Lacroix, who was working with the United Nations Association in Canada, and career aid worker Jessica Hyba, who was employed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

    Forestry advocate Peter deMarsh of New Brunswick, Carleton University literature professor Pius Adesanmi, Calgary accountant Derick Lwugi, and a mother and daughter from Edmonton — Amina Ibrahim Odowaa and five-year-old Sofia Faisal Abdulkadir — were also killed in the crash.

    Ethiopian authorities have said it will take several days to identify the remains of the victims.

    The Canadian Press

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    Scheer accuses Trudeau of ‘stacking the deck’ to get re-elected

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  • OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says the Liberals’ decision to name an anti-Conservative union to a panel that will decide which media outlets receive government funding is the latest example of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “stacking the deck” in his favour to get re-elected in October.

    Scheer told The Canadian Press today he believes the decision to include Unifor on the panel — which will determine eligibility for a $600-million bailout package —is unacceptable and will undermine the credibility of the panel’s work.

    Unifor has campaigned against the Conservative party and the union has recently published tweets calling itself Scheer’s “worst nightmare.”

    Scheer says this is the latest in a string of moves by Trudeau to give himself an upper hand ahead of the fall federal election.

    He also points to changes made to pre-election spending for political parties that impose restrictions that he says mainly affect the Conservative party, while no limits have been placed on government spending or travel in advance of the writ period.

    Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has defended Unifor’s place on the panel, saying the union represents over 12,000 journalists and media workers and has been included among other journalism groups to ensure broad representation from the industry.

    The Canadian Press

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    Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

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  • Toronto police say it’s “impressive” that they didn’t have to arrest anyone after the Raptors’ historic win on Saturday night sent thousands of celebratory fans careening onto the streets.

    The roar of fans cheering and chanting “We the North” and “Let’s go Raptors” flooded the downtown core after Canada’s sole NBA team earned a spot in the final for the first time in franchise history.

    On social media, videos emerged of fans running into intersections and dancing on top of streetcars and buses, but on Sunday, police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante confirmed that not a single arrest was made.

    “It’s impressive. It certainly is,” said Arrogante. “We’re amazed — police were there to keep the peace and that’s exactly what happened.”

    The festivities ramped up shortly after 11 p.m. when the Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94, becoming the Eastern Conference champions and advancing to the NBA Finals.

    Earlier in the day, fans lined up for hours to pack Jurassic Park, but a thunderstorm prompted Toronto police to post on Twitter that they wouldn’t open the fan zone on schedule because of safety concerns. The ban was lifted an hour later and Jurassic Park quickly overflowed with Raptors supporters who braved the rain to watch the game outside Scotiabank Arena.

    There was a heavy police presence as some fans got rowdy, but officers say everyone managed to stay out of trouble as the celebrations continued.

    Arrogante said officers were called to various spots around the city to assist with crowd control and directing traffic, but no one was arrested. She said she saw videos of fans dancing on streetcars but said there were no reported injuries, and in terms of arrests: “nothing came out of that,” she said.

    “It turned out better than it could have,” said Arrogante.

    She said police will be out again Thursday night when the Raptors play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors in Game 1 and she hopes fans will continue to have fun safely.

    Arrogante said fans planning on drinking should get a designated driver or take public transit.

    “We’re reminding anyone that is going to be celebrating or taking part in any events forthcoming of the playoffs, is to be respectful.”

    Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press

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