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LOCAL HEADLINES

›  ?No evidence? London attacker was linked to Daesh or Al Qaeda, official says


LONDON—A senior British counterterrorism officer says police have found “no evidence” Westminster attacker Khalid Masood was associated with Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) or Al Qaeda.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu says Masood clearly had “an interest in jihad,” but police have no evidence he discussed his attack with others.

Basu says in a statement that the attack in which Masood used an SUV and knives to kill four people in London “appears to be based on low sophistication, low tech, low cost techniques copied from other attacks.”

He says Masood was not a “subject of interest” for counterterror police or the intelligence services before last week’s attack.

The mother of Masood said she is “deeply shocked, saddened and numbed” by his murderous actions.

In a statement released through the police, Janet Ajao says that “since discovering that it was my son that was responsible, I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.”

Ajao says she wants to make it “absolutely clear” that she does not condone his actions or support the beliefs that led him to carry out the attack.

Masood was born in southern England in 1964 as Adrian Elms, and took the name Adrian Ajao after his stepfather, whom his mother married when he was a small child. Police say he changed his name to Khalid Masood in 2005.

Janet Ajao lives in rural Wales.

Read more:

London attacker sent encrypted message on WhatsApp minutes before rampage

U.K. attacker taught English in Saudi Arabia, officials say

As attacks continue, Brexit could hamper European counterterrorism efforts



›  Most Scarborough residents will be on the bus longer with subway option, analysis finds


Building a one-stop subway extension in Scarborough will leave most residents facing longer bus rides compared with the light-rail alternative, according to data analyzed by Ryerson University researchers.

Despite subway advocates’ claims of substantial time savings — claims that have not, to date, been backed by evidence — the Ryerson analysis shows most transit users travelling to the proposed Scarborough Town Centre subway station would on average spend longer on the bus than they do today with the existing Scarborough RT and longer than if a seven-stop LRT were built instead.

A transit user travelling from the area near the previously proposed LRT stop at Sheppard Ave. East and Markham Rd. would have to travel an additional 19 minutes by bus with the subway plan compared with the LRT option.

Reddit AMA: I am Jennifer Pagliaro, city hall reporter for the Toronto Star - Ask Me Anything about the Scarborough subway

Ryerson University associate professor Murtaza Haider, who specializes in transportation planning and statistical models, and research assistant Liam Donaldson used a standard transit planning method to calculate how long it would take a transit user to get between 123 different census tracts in Scarborough and the closest rapid transit station.

The researchers performed this analysis using federal census data and publicly available data from Google for three scenarios: with the existing SRT; with a previously planned seven-stop LRT that was to be fully funded by the province; and with the planned $3.35-billion one-stop subway extension.

They determined the average travel time by bus to the closest transit stop would be 20.5 minutes with the seven-stop LRT, 23.7 minutes with the existing SRT, and 27.3 minutes with the one-stop subway — meaning the average time spent on the bus with the subway option would be 6.8 minutes longer than with the LRT.

Individual commutes could be longer or shorter than the average times.

On average, a commuter would have to travel an additional 1.4 kilometres on the bus to get to the subway compared with the bus trip to the nearest LRT station.

“It is so obvious, but still one has to quantify it, so we quantified it even though we knew the answer,” Haider said. “When we quantified it we see that most Scarborough residents would experience an increase in their access commutes to the nearest rail transit station.”

City staff estimate that those using the six-kilometre subway extension to get between Scarborough Town Centre and west of Kennedy Station could save eight minutes compared with the existing SRT. That time saving, staff say, is a result of the quicker “express” subway ride and eliminating the transfer currently required at Kennedy station.

Read more:

Scarborough Town Centre owner drops funding for pro-subway group

Toronto still more than $7 billion short for transit projects even after federal budget funding

Subway, LRT, SRT? What we know about transit in Scarborough

But those travel time savings are partly cancelled out by the additional time the average transit user will have to spend on the bus to get to the subway.

The Star spoke with two veteran transportation planners who vouched for Haider’s expertise.

For Scarborough’s more than 622,000 residents, there is little to gain with a subway, said transportation consultant and former senior TTC planner David Crowley.

“It doesn’t really address any real problem except the re-election of the mayor,” said Crowley, who helped create the Transportation Tomorrow survey that serves as a guide for the city’s transit plans.

Any claims of significant travel time savings with the subway are false, transportation consultant and transit historian Ed Levy told the Star.

“It’s ludicrous,” Levy said of the claim. “The way the Scarborough subway is being proposed now, it will serve very few of the people it needs to serve and result in an overall increase in travel time rather than any savings.”

Levy noted the subway would do little to help residents travel within the region.

Data cited by the city shows that 23 per cent of all transit trips that begin in Scarborough are destined for downtown and 48 per cent of trips started in Scarborough end in Scarborough.

Although Mayor John Tory and city staff have proposed a 17-stop LRT along Eglinton Ave. E. in addition to the subway extension, that plan currently lacks adequate funding.

Those advocating for an LRT network say it could be built with the $3.56 billion in available funding.

“Such a simple logic says that the one-stop location is not going to serve a hell of a lot of people,” Levy said.

“From all indications, the idea is a poor one and an expensive one and unwarranted and all political.”



›  Ex-Raptor Terrence Ross happy to see some familiar faces in return to ACC


Terrence Ross wasn’t a stranger to highlight-reel moments during his near five seasons with the Toronto Raptors.

January 2014 was a particularly good month for the young forward, thanks to a franchise-record tying 51-point game against the Los Angeles Clippers and an instant classic dunk on Denver Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried.

But those moments aren’t what tugged at Ross’ heartstrings as he returned to his adopted home on Monday, his first time in town since a trade for Serge Ibaka sent him and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic in mid-February.

“Just the team, really, the staff, all the people that I’ve grown to know over the years, everybody you kind of connect with over the years. That’s more what I’ll look back on more so than the highlights in my career and the accomplishments. It’s just the people,” the former Raptor said.

Those people, too, consider Ross family.

To Patrick Patterson, he’s a brother. To coach Dwane Casey, he’s like a son.

Delivering the news of the trade to Ross last month was admittedly a tough task for the Raptors’ leader, who remains confident the one-time eighth overall draft pick has a successful future ahead of him.

“You watch a young man come into the NBA, he’s wet behind the ears, learning the league and growing up right in front of you, it’s difficult,” Casey said. “But like I told him, it’s a business. As much as I’d love him to stay here for ever it’s not going to happen.”

It’s not like the Raptors “got a bag of doughnuts” for Ross, Casey said; acquiring Ibaka has been key to Toronto’s defensive resurgence as of late, an important factor when it comes to surviving — and thriving — without the injured Kyle Lowry.

That didn’t make the move easier for Ross, who had never before known the NBA outside of Toronto.

“It’s always just that you’re kind of wondering what’s next, what’s the next step, what’s to come,” he said. “I think that’s the part I was looking forward to. I didn’t know what happens next when you’re traded. It was all a learning experience for me. I just take it step by step.”

He’s still getting adjusted to life with Orlando, but has started all fifteen games he dressed for, coming into Monday night. He’s averaging more than 31 minutes and knocking down more than 20 points on two separate occasions.

Magic coach Frank Vogel has asked him to take on a bigger role in Orlando than he occupied behind DeMar DeRozan and Lowry in Toronto.

So far, the boss likes what he sees.

“Like him more than even I thought I was going to like him. He was one of those guys that tortured us when I was in Indiana, big threes and bring a solid defence,” Vogel said.

“To me, the way the league is playing now, the more three-point shooting, ball-handling wings that can guard multiple positions, the more of those guys you can have, the better. He certainly has brought that to the table for us, given us a big lift.”

That would be no surprise to former teammate Patterson, who won’t soon forget any of Ross’ scene-stealing moments.

But, like the good older brother figure he his, Patterson made sure to get some chiding in, too.

Ross, he said, plays like he didn’t know he was about to tie Vince Carter’s points per game record back in 2014, which is why he missed a last-minute free throw.

Patterson said don’t believe the ruse.

“I’m like, ‘Come on man, you know how many points you had.’”



›  Cool your jets. United Airlines had a right to enforce dress code: Menon


There are many things in the world that deserve moral outrage.

Animal cruelty, gun violence, racism, terrorism, sexism, people who drive below the speed limit in the passing lane, boot-cut denim, hidden service charges, 80 per cent of the Kardashians, cauliflower, ER wait times, the Snuggie — I will happily hoist my pitchfork and mob with you in solidarity over these abominations.

But unless I’m missing something — and this is always a 50-50 prospect — the outcry this weekend after two teen girls were barred from a United Airlines flight because they were garbed in leggings does not qualify as a moral outrage.

I’m not sure it even warrants mild indignation.

So help me understand what I’m not getting. Help me follow the jet fuel of this alleged discrimination that drew the ire of celebrities, including Chrissy Teigen, William Shatner, Seth Rogen, LeVar Burton and Patricia Arquette.

To recap: the girls were en route from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday morning when they were told their leggings were inappropriate and they’d need to change if they wanted to board the flight. Another traveller, Shannon Watts, witnessed the kerfuffle and fired off a series of tweets, framing the incident as “sexist.”

Read more:

United Airlines defends decision to bar two girls from flight over leggings

This sentiment snowballed and soon United was under an avalanche of scorn.

“As the mother of 4 daughters who live and travel in yoga pants, I’d like to know how many boys @United has penalized for the same reason,” wrote Watts.

I suppose that’s a reasonable first reaction. I have 10-year-old daughters who basically live in leggings, whether they are on terra firma or jonesing for a $15 Kit Kat at 30,000 feet. If I had to guess, about 40 per cent of the females who were on my flight last week from Samana to Toronto were in leggings or yoga pants.

Economy might as well be called sardine class these days. Are airline seats now supplied by Graco? The point is: no traveller, male or female, should be penalized for taking an active interest in comfort, even if that means the rest of us are subjected to the retina-searing blight of flip-flops and tank tops.

So if you travel by air, if you’ve noticed the rapid hobofication in how passengers dress, it seems likely there might be more to this story than random and appalling discrimination. That is, it seems there might be a simple, non-controversial explanation for why the leggings girls were told to change.

And sure enough, there was: the leggings girls were what United calls “pass riders,” meaning they were “relatives or friends (of employees) who also receive the benefit of free or heavily discounted air travel.”

They were not paying customers. They were travelling under the terms of a corporate benefits program, one that is bound by its own internal logic and rules, including a dress code. Now, whether that dress code is anachronistic and in need of an update, as Sarah Silverman observed on Twitter, that’s another matter.

But for those girls who expected to be on that flight in those leggings, the problem was not sexism. If they were not “pass riders” and had instead purchased tickets, they could have boarded without issue. But since United views “pass riders” as ambassadors for the brand, it has every right to enforce an existing dress code.

Remember, this is the airline industry, where pilots wear crisp uniforms and flight attendants are often bedazzled with scarfs, pins and jaunty hats. It might seem goofy and pretentious to everyone else, but frontline optics are a central plank in consumer marketing. Yes, those girls obviously do not work for United. But as “pass riders,” they must abide by their responsibilities in what amounts to a great perk.

If an airline offered me a free ticket but asked that I fly in either a tux or hazmat suit, I’d now be browsing Freeman Formalwear or the closest Level 4 lab.

So come on, overreacting celebrities! At least wait until you hear all the facts before strapping yourselves into the outrage machine. Save a bit of contempt for the real disgraces and barbarities in our midst.

These girls were not victims of anything except their own ignorance.

As United pointed out: “We regularly remind our employees that when they place a family member or friend on a flight for free as a standby passenger, they need to follow our dress code. To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome.”

You see? Your leggings are welcome. End of story. Now enjoy your flight and please check any moral outrage before arriving at the airport.

vmenon@thestar.ca



›  MP Michael Chong calls writer?s attempt to breastfeed his baby ?odd? but inconsequential


Conservative leadership candidate Michael Chong called a Globe and Mail column that outlined the writer’s attempt to breastfeed one of Chong’s children — without his knowledge or consent and while she wasn’t lactating — “odd” but inconsequential.

The column, written by Leah McLaren, was posted to the Globe’s website March 22, but it has since been removed. The Globe and Mail couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

“This incident happened over 10 years ago. It was odd, no doubt, but not of any real consequence,” Chong said in an emailed statement Monday. “I entered this race to discuss important challenges facing Canada. I am happy to discuss those. But I won’t be making any further comment on this.”

Archived versions of the column began circulating Sunday night on Twitter, drawing incredulous reaction on social media.

In the column, McLaren wrote that she was “about 25” at the time of the incident, which happened at a “Toronto house party.” She didn’t know Chong — but noted that he was already the Conservative MP for Wellington-Halton Hills — nor who the baby belonged to.

McLaren wrote that she went upstairs and walked into a bedroom “with coats piled high on the bed and noticed that in the corner, sitting wide awake in a little portable car seat, was the cutest baby I’d ever seen.”

After smiling at the baby, McLaren, who wrote she was feeling “a bit glum and distracted,” picked the baby up and sat down in a chair to cuddle him.

“Somehow, my pinky finger ended up in his mouth and I was astonished at strength of his sucking reflex. ‘C’mon lady,’ said his eyes,” she wrote.

“And I suddenly knew what he wanted. And I of course wanted to give him what he wanted. The only problem was, I had no milk. But would it be so bad, I wondered, if I just tried it out — just for a minute — just to see what it felt like?”

McLaren wrote that she began to unbutton her blouse, before Chong walked in and picked up his son, leaving with a “swift and polite goodbye.”

The column concluded with McLaren saying that since having her own children, she’s breastfed her friends’ babies and allowed hers to be fed by them, and that “it doesn’t actually feel odd at all.”

“In any case, this is all to say that breastfeeding is a lovely and marvellous thing, as is co-feeding and everyone should do it. Just don’t try it with a stranger’s baby in a bedroom at a party if you are 25 and stupid,” she wrote.

“Apologies to Mr. and Mrs. Chong.”

There appear to be several chronological inconsistencies in McLaren’s account. Based on McLaren’s age, the incident appears to have happened around 2001. However, Chong wasn’t elected as MP until 2004.

As well, a Toronto Star profile on Chong in January, 2015 lists his sons as ages 10, 7 and 5, suggesting the earliest his oldest child was born was in 2004.

This isn’t the first time this month Chong has been part of an unusual story outside his political career.

A Canadian tourist in Guatemala tweeted a photo of the MP being used to advertise top-quality, “hygienic” experience in the public washrooms there. It’s unclear how his photo ended up on the poster.



›  United Airlines defends decision to bar two girls from flight over leggings


United Airlines barred two teenage girls from boarding a flight Sunday morning and required a child to change into a dress after a gate agent decided the leggings they were wearing were inappropriate. That set off waves of anger on social media, with users criticizing what they called an intrusive, sexist policy, but the airline maintained its support for the gate agent’s decision.

The girls, who were about to board a flight to Minneapolis, were turned away at the gate at Denver International Airport, the company said Sunday. United doubled down on that decision, defending it in a series of tweets on Sunday.

The incident was first reported on Twitter by Shannon Watts, a passenger at the airport who was waiting to board a flight to Mexico. In a phone interview from Mexico Sunday afternoon, Watts said she noticed two visibly upset teenage girls leaving the gate next to hers. Both were wearing leggings.

Read more: Cool your jets. United Airlines had a right to enforce dress code: Menon

Watts went over to the neighbouring gate and saw a “frantic” family with two young girls, one of whom was also wearing leggings, engaged in a tense exchange with a gate agent who told them, “I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.”

Watts said the girl’s mother told her the two teenagers had just been turned away because the gate agent said their pants were not appropriate travel attire. The woman had a dress in her carry-on bag that the child was able to pull on over her pants, and the family boarded the flight.

“The girl pulled a dress on,” Watts said. “But please keep in mind that the dad had on shorts that did not hit his knee — they stopped maybe 2 or 3 inches above his knee — and there was no issue with that.”

Watts judged that the two girls who were barred from boarding were in their “young teens” and the girl who changed into a dress was 10 or 11.

Watts described the situation in a series of tweets before her flight to Mexico took off. By the time she landed her tweets had been shared widely, often accompanied by sharp criticism directed at the airline.

Jonathan Guerin, a spokesman for United, confirmed that two teenage girls were told they could not board a flight from Denver to Minneapolis because their leggings violated the company’s dress code policy for “pass travellers,” a company benefit that allows United employees and their dependants to travel for free on a standby basis.

Guerin said pass travellers are “representing” the company and as such are not allowed to wear Lycra and spandex leggings, tattered or ripped jeans, midriff shirts, flip-flops or any article of clothing that shows their undergarments.

“It’s not that we want our standby travellers to come in wearing a suit and tie or that sort of thing,” he said. “We want people to be comfortable when they travel as long as it’s neat and in good taste for that environment.”

The company did say Monday that regular-paying flyers are welcome to wear leggings aboard its flights, even though two teenage girls were barred by a gate agent from boarding a flight from Denver to Minneapolis on Sunday because of their attire. Chicago-based United sought to clarify its stance in a post on its website late Sunday titled, “To our customers ... your leggings are welcome!”

The post said employees are “regularly reminded” about its dress code.

Guerin said both teenage girls stayed behind in Denver, “made an adjustment” to their outfits and waited for the next flight to Minneapolis. Guerin did not know if they had successfully boarded or not, and also had no information about the girl Watts said she saw change into a dress at the gate.

The company largely confirmed Watts’ account earlier in the day in a response to her on Twitter that did little to mollify the concerns of its critics.

In a series of dozens of tweets, the company said the incident was not simply the result of an overzealous gate agent. Instead, it said United Airlines reserved the right to deny service to anyone its employees deemed to be inappropriately dressed. It also referred to the dress code applied to pass travellers.

“In our Contract of Carriage, Rule 21, we do have the right to refuse transport for passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed,” the company tweeted. It added, “There is a dress code for pass travellers as they are representing UA when they fly.”

Few critics appeared to be satisfied by that explanation, which also did little to de-escalate a perilous public relations situation for the company. United was the target of scores of angry and mocking tweets Sunday, including from social media savvy celebrities like model Chrissy Teigen and actor LeVar Burton.

“I have flown united before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress. Next time I will wear only jeans and a scarf,” Teigen wrote on Twitter.

By Sunday afternoon, the company’s Twitter account was engaged in a tense back-and-forth with Academy Award winning actress Patricia Arquette, who posted dozens of angry tweets about the situation.

Employees running United’s Twitter account spent the day walking a public relations tightrope: explaining to angry social media users why the company was not wrong to bar the young women from boarding, while reassuring potential customers that they would not also be barred if they showed up in leggings.

People like to be comfortable when they fly, Watts said, and leggings and yoga pants have become pretty standard casual attire for women.

“I’m pretty sure yoga pants are a thing,” Watts said. “They’re part of modern America. They’re a staple, a go-to clothing item.”

Guerin said the company was aware of the criticism levelled at its social media team, but said they were “working as hard as they can.”

“We could have stopped to immediately ask the right questions,” he said. “We are always engaging with our customers as quickly as possible. Now we are going back. All day we’ve been going back since that earlier tweet. Now we’re going back and telling people what is actually going on.”

With files from the Associated Press



›  Diamond & Diamond attempting to quash bill aimed at protecting accident victims


Personal injury law firm Diamond & Diamond has hired a lobbyist to persuade politicians to kill a private member’s bill aimed at fixing a system critics call a “black hole” for accident victims.

The public affairs firm, the CCS Group, registered to lobby for Diamond & Diamond, known for its flashy, U.S.-style advertising, the day after Liberal MPP Mike Colle (Eglinton-Lawrence) introduced the Personal Injury and Accident Victims Protection Act.

“We are asking that members don’t support the private bill,” reads the CCS Group’s filings on behalf of Diamond & Diamond.

The bill calls for major restructuring of Ontario’s contingency fee system — “you don’t pay unless we win” — including a dramatic curb on how much lawyers can charge for their services.

“Why are they so afraid of this bill?” Colle said. “Why not make the bill a vehicle to improve protection for accident victims? … There are people who are victims of serious accidents who are trying to get justice and they are put through hell and we shouldn’t be standing by and allowing it.”

Critics say that hiring a lobbyist in an attempt to quash a private member’s bill is an unusual move considering such proposed acts rarely become law.

Neither Diamond & Diamond nor the CCS Group has responded to the Star’s requests for comment.

The Toronto-based lobby firm, which calls itself “one of Ontario’s leading public affairs firms” on its website, also represents medical marijuana company MedReleaf Corp., an environmental waste company, road-builder the Miller Group, and several First Nations, according to the lobbyist registry.

The CCS Group’s public filings with the provincial lobbyist registry show the firm is targeting numerous MPPs, including those in Barrie, London, Hamilton and Mississauga, where Diamond & Diamond has offices. Also targeted are the offices of Ontario’s attorney general and minister of finance.

Colle’s bill was inspired in part by an ongoing Star investigation into Ontario’s contingency fee system, referral fees and the marketing practices of personal injury lawyers.

The bill’s introduction came a month after Ontario’s legal regulator decided to crack down on referral fees and advertising. On Feb. 23, the Law Society of Upper Canada voted to cap the fees lawyers take when they refer clients to other lawyers and decided the lawyers can no longer advertise for services they don’t intend to provide.

Late last year, the Star looked at Diamond & DiamondDiamond & Diamond and found that for many years it has been attracting thousands of would-be clients and then referring cases out to other lawyers in return for sometimes hefty referral fees. The Star found that the firm’s marketing, which has included women in tight T-shirts and ads above the urinals at the Air Canada Centre, has raised the ire of some lawyers and the law society. Diamond & Diamond has told the Star it has a growing number of lawyers working cases at the firm, but would not say how many cases are referred out.

In another story, the Star found that for years many personal injury lawyers working on contingency for accident victims have been “double dipping” — taking more money from their clients than the law allows. As a result, many Ontario residents have been overcharged thousands of dollars and probably do not know it.

In simple terms, lawyers working on contingency cannot take a sum of money called “costs” in addition to a percentage of the settlement, according to the Solicitors Act, legislation governing how lawyers behave.

Colle’s proposed bill calls for contingency fees to be capped at 15 per cent of the settlements awarded to accident victims. The Star’s investigation showed that lawyers often take 30 per cent or more of a victim’s settlement. The bill also calls for a ban on lawyer referral fees and would require clients to give their express written consent for any referral.

As well, it would require all contingency fee agreements to state clearly how lawyers will get paid, make any advertising for legal services subject to approval by the law society, and grant clients who have signed up with a personal injury lawyer a 10-day cooling-off period in which to cancel their agreement.

Since Colle tabled Bill 103 on March 8, he told the Star he has heard from Diamond & Diamond and is willing to meet with them. He has also been contacted by Adam Wagman, president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, which represents about 1,600 personal injury lawyers, clerks and staff, and plans to meet with him.

In a written statement to the Star, Wagman said the trial lawyers association was looking forward to meeting with Colle. Calling a cap on contingency fees an “attack on access to justice and accident victims,” Wagman said the bill as proposed “gives insurance companies and other huge corporations carte blanche to run roughshod over injured accident victims.”

In a separate written statement to the Star, Paul Harte, a past president of the trial lawyers association, said it is “disappointing” that Diamond & Diamond would so quickly hire a lobbyist to quash an attempt to protect the public from misleading advertising and referral fees.

“Lawyers have a professional obligation to improve our legal system,” he said. “They should avoid such obviously transparent attempts to protect their business interests at the expense of vulnerable consumers.”

Colle told the Star that to counter the lobbying activities, he will do his best to give his side of the story, a story that “cries out for something to be done.”

He said a range of players, including the legal community, the law society, the government and insurance industry, are to blame for the “totally inoperable” system that accident victims must go through — a system Colle calls a “black hole,” that is “confusing, so expensive, so long. What’s good about it?”



›  Leafs goalie Frederik Andersen suffered jaw injury: Source


With the proviso that any head injury can be unpredictable, the early indications are that Frederik Andersen’s season does not appear to be in jeopardy.

The Maple Leafs No. 1 goaltender took a blow to his jaw from a player in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Sabres, a source told the Star. The source added that Andersen has since expressed optimism he’ll be available to play as early as Tuesday’s home game against the Panthers.

Garret Sparks was recalled by the Leafs in time for practice on Monday, and was working out with goalie Curtis McElhinney before practice officially began.

Andersen worked out in full gear around 10 a.m., an hour before the Maple Leafs were scheduled to take the ice at the MasterCard Centre.

The Leafs practised with three goalies. Sparks — recalled on an emergency basis — was also on the ice Monday, as was goalie Curtis McElhinney. Andersen worked out with goalie coach Steve Briere about an hour before practise, followed by Briere working out with Sparks and McElhinney.

Andersen, who was removed from Saturday’s game after the first period at the behest of the Sabres’ team doctor in a precautionary move that called to mind concussion protocol, has not complained of concussion symptoms since the injury, the source said. Which is not to say caution isn’t in order.

Andersen will undoubtedly be examined by a Maple Leafs team doctor today, when the team is scheduled to resume practice after taking Sunday off, and both sides will surely hope this isn’t an uncanny echo from last season, when Andersen suffered a March jaw injury that threatened to ruin his chances at the NHL playoffs.

A year ago this week Andersen, then a member of the Anaheim Ducks, took a speeding puck to the jaw in a practice — a shot that eventually triggered bouts of dizziness and affected his ability to track shots. That injury was announced by the Ducks as a concussion, although Andersen later told reporters that he didn’t believe he’d suffered one.

In any event, while Andersen initially attempted to play through the effects of that 2016 jaw injury, he was ultimately left unavailable for most of two weeks down the regular-season stretch. And while he returned to start Game 82, the Ducks began the playoffs with Andersen’s season-long platoon mate, John Gibson, as their starter.

The Leafs, of course, don’t have a goaltending alternative as accomplished as Gibson, although Toronto’s journeyman backup Curtis McElhinney has put up respectable numbers, including a .919 save percentage, in 10 appearances for the club this season.

With the Leafs clinging to a playoff berth, Andersen had been getting better at the right time. Heading into Saturday, when he stopped 14 of 16 shots before being pulled, Andersen had complied a 6-1-1 record while posting a .940 save percentage for the month of March. Playing at that level, he amounts to the most important single piece in Toronto’s stretch run and beyond.

A year ago around this time, Andersen eventually bounced back from his jaw-related setback with an impressive performance. After Anaheim lost its opening pair of playoff games with Gibson in the crease, Andersen got the nod in Game 3 and produced a 3-0 shutout win that suggested he’d overcome his injury while vaulting the Ducks back into the series. In all, Andersen started the final five games of the series, allowing a combined seven goals against as the Ducks were ultimately eliminated in a 2-1 Game 7 loss.

Andersen’s reputation for managing his position’s inevitable doses of hurt while weathering the post-season heat was surely among the factors that led the Maple Leafs to make the June trade that brought him to Toronto, where he promptly signed a five-year contract worth $25 million.

“There’s always pressure no matter what time of year,” Andersen was quoted as saying before his first playoff start of 2016. “This is the most fun kind of pressure. So I’m excited to play.”

The Leafs also called up forward Kasperi Kapanen from the Marlies Monday.

The 20-year-old Kapanen has 43 points in 43 games with the Marlies. With injuries to Nikita Soshnikov and Eric Fehr, Kapanen is likely destined to fourth-line duty.

With files from Kevin McGran



›  A young person is shot every day in Ontario, Sick Kids study finds


A child or youth is shot in Ontario almost every day, according to a groundbreaking study that attempted to identify at-risk groups for firearm injuries.

In the study, based on government health and immigration databases and published today in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, a team of Toronto researchers found Canadian-born youth, particularly males, have higher rates of unintentional firearm injuries compared with immigrant youth.

The study found there were an average of 355 firearm injuries a year between 2008 and 2012, when a total of almost 1,800 firearm injuries were reported among children and youth in Ontario.

Canadian-born males suffer 12.4 such injuries per 100,000 people — 72 per cent higher than the 7.2 among immigrant males.

However, the risk of being a victim of intentional firearm assault is 43 per cent higher for refugees, at 4.7 per 100,000 people, than for non-refugees (2.4 per 100,000 people), the study found.

Also, immigrant children and youth from Africa are almost three times as likely, and those from Central America are more than four times as likely, to be a victim of such targeted firearm assault than their Canadian-born counterparts, said the study by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.

Dr. Natasha Saunders, the study’s lead author and a pediatrician and associate scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children, said the findings are astonishing.

“A child or youth injured by a gun each day in this province is staggering,” Saunders said.

“Our findings indicate that this is a conversation we should be having with our patients and their families, particularly with these newly identified high-risk populations.”

While Canadian-born males under age 24 suffered 1,032 accidental and 304 assault-related firearm injuries over five years, the comparable numbers for their immigrant counterparts were 148 and 113 respectively.

Female non-immigrants had 137 unintentional and 31 assault-related firearm injuries; female immigrants had 12 and less than six in the respective categories.

Although immigrants had a lower rate of unintentional firearm injury, overall they were as likely to suffer such injuries in targeted assaults as Canadian children and youth. Children and youth in rural areas were more prone to unintentional firearm injuries, but urban residence was positively associated with the risk of assault from a firearm.

The data did not allow the researchers to dig deeper into why some subgroups face a higher risk of firearm assault.

“It’s hard to extrapolate but vulnerable youth are more likely to be victimized,” said Dr. Astrid Guttmann, chief science officer at ICES and a pediatrician at Sick Kids.

Possible contributing factors, the study suggests, may relate to higher rates of poverty, lack of access to resources and more bullying and peer aggression among first-generation immigrant adolescents.

“The observed variation in firearm injury by region of origin may have been related to higher participation in Canadian gangs by Indo-Asian, Caribbean and African immigrants than by those from other regions, and it highlights the need to ensure a healthy transition to Canada by these particular at-risk groups,” the study said.

Publication of the report coincided with the release of the Canadian Pediatric Society’s updated position statement on firearm safety, which includes several recommendations for clinicians, including asking families if they have firearms at home, particularly for kids struggling with mental health issues.

Given that three-quarters of the firearm injuries among children and youth are accidental, Guttmann said, the report speaks to the importance of gun safety and storage for gun manufacturers and gun owners, as well as the enforcement of gun control legislation as part of the prevention strategy.

“The majority of these injuries are unintentional and are entirely preventable, making this an important public health problem that needs to be addressed with targeted prevention programs,” Guttmann said.



›  Man dies after accident at construction site


A 40-year-old man is dead following a construction site accident Monday morning, said the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

Paneling had fallen onto the worker as it was being unloaded, and the man became trapped, Toronto Police said. Paramedics received a call just before 11:30 am on Monday about the accident.

The man was rushed to a trauma centre before being pronounced dead in hospital, the Ministry of Labour reported.

Two Ministry of Labour inspectors and one engineer have been assigned to investigate the incident.



›  Sex offender ?Swirl Face? settling down in Vancouver


High risk sex offender Christopher Paul Neil, also known as “Swirl Face,” is settling down in Vancouver after serving prison time in Canada and Thailand for abusing underage boys, according to B.C. corrections officials.

Neil, 42, a former schoolteacher originally from Maple Ridge, B.C., was the focus of a massive international manhunt after German police found more than 200 online images in 2004 of a Caucasian man sexually abusing young boys.

He was dubbed “Swirl Face” because his image in the photos was digitally obscured to conceal his identity.

Neil was arrested in Thailand in 2007 after Interpol unscrambled the photos.

After serving a five-year sentence in Thailand, Neil was deported to Canada in October 2012.

He lived in B.C. under strict bail conditions until March 2014, when he was arrested on new charges.

In December 2015, he was sentenced to 5 ½ years more in custody after pleading guilty to sexual touching and invitation to sexual touching of two Cambodian boys aged nine and 13 and possession of child pornography.

That Canadian sentence was cut to roughly 15 months because of pre-sentencing custody.

“[W]e want the public to be aware of this individual’s presence in the community and to contact authorities if they observe Mr. Neil engaging in any activity that could be considered a violation of his court order,” Rose said. “To be clear, any breach of conditions can result in an offender’s return to custody.”

B.C. Corrections will work closely with Vancouver police and other government agencies “to monitor and enforce Mr. Neil’s 18 court-ordered conditions,” Rose said.

“These conditions include no in-person or online contact with anyone under 16, not possessing any computer or any device capable of accessing the Internet, and not being near parks, schools, daycares, libraries, arcades, recreation or community centres,” Rose said.



›  U.S. Senate to question Trump adviser Jared Kushner over meetings with Russians


Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner, U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and a close adviser, as part of their broad inquiry into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to the Kremlin, according to administration and congressional officials.

The White House Counsel’s Office was informed this month that the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, wanted to question Kushner about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, according to the government officials. The meetings included a previously unreported sit-down with the head of Russia’s state-owned development bank.

Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

Until now, the White House had acknowledged only an early December meeting between Kislyak and Kushner, which occurred at Trump Tower and was also attended by Michael T. Flynn, who would briefly serve as the national security adviser.

Later that month, though, Kislyak requested a second meeting, which Kushner asked a deputy to attend in his stead, officials said. At Kislyak’s request, Kushner later met with Sergey N. Gorkov, the chief of Vnesheconombank, which the United States placed on its sanctions list after President Vladimir Putin of Russia annexed Crimea and began meddling in Ukraine.

A White House spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, confirmed those meetings, saying in an interview that nothing of consequence was discussed and that they went nowhere. Gorkov, who previously served as deputy chairman of the board at Sberbank, Russia’s largest state-owned bank, could not be reached for comment.

Read more:

Trump adviser Jared Kushner’s ties to Israel raise questions of bias

Former Trump campaign manager Manafort will answer Russia questions

Trump is putting on a brave face, but this is not going as planned: Analysis

Members of presidential transition teams routinely meet with foreign officials, and there is nothing inherently improper about sitting down with the Russian ambassador. Part of Kushner’s role during the campaign and the transition was to serve as a chief conduit to foreign governments and officials, and Hicks said he met with dozens of officials from a wide range of countries.

She added that Kushner was willing to talk to Senate investigators about the meetings with Kislyak and the banker, saying, “He isn’t trying to hide anything and wants to be transparent.”

Still, meetings between Trump associates and Russian officials or others linked to Putin are now of heightened interest as several congressional committees and FBI investigators try to determine the scope of the Russian intervention in the election and links between Russians and anyone around Trump.


 

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