Wynne urges elementary teachers to accept same deal as high school colleagues – Toronto

TORONTO – Elementary teachers escalated their work-to-rule campaign Monday and threatened one-day strikes as Premier Kathleen Wynne urged them to accept essentially the same deals as their colleagues in high schools and the Catholic system.

“I’m not happy about the fact there’s increased disruption in our public elementary schools,” said Wynne. “I don’t think kids should be caught in the middle.”

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The government is offering the elementary teachers virtually the same deal that was ratified last week by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and the Catholic Elementary Teachers Association, added Wynne.

READ MORE: Elementary teachers union threatens rotating strikes in October if deal not reached

“The fact is we have been able to come to agreements with all of the other teacher groups,” she said.

The two other large teachers’ unions voted to approve agreements that included a one per cent bonus and a 1.5 per cent pay increase, while the union representing teachers in Francophone schools also reached a tentative contract.

There are special situations in elementary schools that will be addressed, but teacher must be willing to accept what their colleagues have accepted, said Wynne.

“Obviously it will be a similar agreement to the other teachers because…the parameters are set,” she said. “So my hope is that we’ll be able to get there quickly.”

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation said its members will not take part in parent-teacher meetings or class trips and will not fill in for absent colleagues. Teachers may also wear shirts or buttons protesting the lack of a contract, and the union warned it would start one-day rotating strikes within two weeks if there’s still no deal.

READ MORE: Elementary teachers’ union reject Wynne’s ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to deal

“Despite what the government is implying, it has not offered our members the same conditions as secondary teachers,” ETFO president Sam Hammond said in a release.

Hammond said there is “a significant disparity” in how elementary and secondary schools are funded.

“That funding gap results in larger class sizes, fewer student supports and poorer working conditions in our elementary schools,” he said. “The deal the government insists ETFO accept does absolutely nothing to close that gap.”

Wynne insisted she was not concerned by the union’s decision to call the one-day rotating walkouts “Wynne Wednesdays,” insisting it’s never personal for her.

“It’s being personalized because that’s a political tactic,” she said. “It’s not about my personal feelings. It’s about how do we get an agreement that’s in the best interests of kids in this province.”

Wynne said she was prepared to explain to her granddaughter why a teacher may have the premier’s picture or name across the front of a T-shirt.

“What I’ll say to her is: ‘Livvy, we’re trying to get this agreement in place, to work with the teachers so that you can have the best year possible in Grade 1,”‘ she said.

Hammond said ETFO’s last contract expired in August 2014, and no new negotiations have been scheduled.

“If the Liberal government had stayed at the table and not walked away, it’s possible we could have reached a deal by now, and the escalation of ETFO’s work-to-rule could have been avoided,” he said.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees is also trying to negotiate a new contract for 50,000 non-teaching staff in Ontario schools.

©2015The Canadian Press

Apple security breach could impact Canadians with iPhones and iPads – National

TORONTO – Apple announced a rare security breach over the weekend that means some Canadians may have unwittingly infected their iPhones and iPads with malware that could expose their iCloud passwords and other personal data.

Apple Inc. has removed some applications from its app store after developers in China were tricked into using software tools that added malicious code to their work.

Apple hasn’t provided details about which companies’ apps were affected.

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READ MORE: Canadian researchers help uncover problems with South Korean app putting children at risk

But Tencent Ltd. said its popular WeChat app was hit; the company released a new version after spotting the offending code. Chinese news reports said others affected included banks, an airline and a popular music service.

Many of the affected apps were only available on the App Store in China, yet some that were reportedly infected by the malware – including WeChat, business card rolodex CamCard and file extractor WinZip – are available in Canada.

Users are advised to uninstall the affected apps or update to the latest version released after the malware was discovered, and to change their iCloud passwords.

The malicious code spread through a counterfeit version of Apple’s Xcode tools used to create apps for its iPhones and iPads, according to the company. It said the counterfeit tools spread when developers obtained them from “untrusted sources” rather than directly from the company.

The malicious software collects information from infected devices and uploads it to outside servers, according to Palo Alto Networks, a U.S.-based security firm. The company said the breach could result in fake password prompts aimed at harvesting iCloud details or other logins.

READ MORE: Here are the new features coming to your iPhone, iPad with iOS 9

It was first publicized last week by security researchers at Alibaba Group, the Asian e-commerce giant, who dubbed it XcodeGhost.

The creators of the malware took advantage of public frustration with Beijing’s Internet filters, which hamper access to Apple and other foreign websites. That prompts some people to use copies of foreign software or documents that are posted on websites within China to speed up access.

“Sometimes network speeds are very slow when downloading large files from Apple’s servers,” wrote Claud Xiao, a Palo Alto Networks researcher, on its website. Due to the large size of the Xcode file, “some Chinese developers choose to download the package from other sources or get copies from colleagues.”

Companies with apps that were affected include taxi-hailing service Didi Kuaidi, Citic Industrial Bank, China Southern Airlines and the music service of NetEase, a popular Web portal, according to the newspaper Yangcheng Evening News.

The incident is the only the sixth time malicious software is known to have made it through Apple’s screening process for products on its App Store, according to Xiao.

– With files from the Associated Press

©2015The Canadian Press

Halifax man charged with string of assaults, including four sexual assaults – Halifax

HALIFAX – 35-year-old Jean-Marie Richard Bertrand has been charged in connection with a string of assaults that happened on Thursday of last week, Halifax police say.

Between the hours of 7:30 am and 8:30 pm on Thursday police responded to seven separate incidents where a man was approaching women on the street in the south and west end of Halifax.

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In five incidents, the man grabbed the women while they were walking or jogging. In another incident, he touched a women in a sexual manner over her clothes and attempted to force her into an alley, but she was able to fight him off.

In the final incident, the man made an obscene comment to a woman, but didn’t touch her.

Some of the incidents that were originally classified as assaults were determined to have sexual overtures, so police laid sexual assault charges in three of the seven incidents.

Bertrand was arrested on Thursday evening and held in the Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility over the weekend.

He is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on Monday on two counts of assault, four counts of sexual assault, and one of forcible confinement in connection with six of the incidents.

Over the weekend, police received a call about a suspicious circumstance where a 40-year-old woman reported being followed to her car after she left a building on Marginal Road just before midnight on September 16. The woman said the man pressed himself against the window of her car, but didn’t say anything or touch her.

The man was described as a white man, 30-40 years old wearing baggy jeans, and about 5’9″ in height.

Police are investigating whether this incident may be connected to the others.

They also ask anyone who has experienced a similar incident, or has information on the incidents that have happened to call police at 902-490-5016, or contact Crime Stoppers.

©2015Global News

Miley Cyrus visits B.C. to discuss wolf cull

Entertainer Miley Cyrus and her brother, Braison, spent the weekend on B.C.’s central coast, as the pop star visited Klemtu to meet First Nations and discuss the province’s plan for an expanded wolf kill.

A video was posted to YouTube of her travelling in a boat with a dozen or so locals and joining them in song.

Earlier this month, Cyrus asked her Instagram followers to sign a petition by Pacific Wild, a local conservation group, aimed at stopping the killings. The petition has since grown to almost 200,000 signatures.

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According to Pacific Wild, the sister and brother-duo spent two days with members of the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation, two biologists and an American ecologist.

“When I first spoke out, I knew in my heart that the wolf cull was wrong,” Miley said in a statement from Pacific Wild. “But after this visit, I know science is on my side, not just on the wolf cull, but also on the trophy hunt issue.

“Both are unsustainable and both are horrific. Both have to end,” she said.

Both Miley and B.C.-native Pamela Anderson have recently criticized the hunt. On Thursday, Anderson called on B.C. Premier Christy Clark to find a better solution to save caribou than the slaughter of wolves.

In response to Cyrus, Clark said she didn’t think the American singer knew enough about B.C.’s environmental plan to save caribou herds to be jumping into the debate, The Canadian Press reported.

“If we need help on our twerking policy in the future, perhaps we can go and seek her advice,” Clark said on Friday.

In an open letter to the B.C. premier, Anderson said she’s “deeply disturbed that my beloved province is allowing people to hunt and kill wolves.”

“We all want to restore the populations of endangered caribou, but gunning down wolves is not the answer,” the honorary director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said in the letter.” Rather than spending millions in taxpayer dollars to kill more animals, we need to invest in a plan to protect Canada’s forestland.”

B.C. is aiming to increase the number of wolves it kills this winter in the second year of a plan to save endangered caribou.

with files from The Canadian Press

Understanding the ‘guevedoce’: Children raised as girls who develop penises at puberty

Imagine being raised as a girl and then, when puberty hits, developing a penis.

Puberty is a difficult time for anyone, but for those who go through this, it can be more difficult than we can imagine.

A BBC2 documentary series, Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You, has examined children in a small village in the Dominican Republic with this condition. The children there are called “guevedoce,” which translates to “penis at twelve.”

The science of our bodies

The way we develop is a complicated process.

You may remember that the typical human being has 46 chromosomes that come in 23 pairs. One pair is the sex chromosomes: Y for male, X for female.

Men carry both the X and Y chromosomes; women, just the X. If two X chromosomes pair, the fetus develops into a female. If you get an XY pairing, a male develops.

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X and Y chromosomes

Development of external reproductive organs is controlled by something called dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

An enzyme called 5-alpha reductase converts testosterone into DHT. Both males and females start off with the same bits, but if DHT is missing, then genitalia develops into the female parts, with the genital folds remaining unfused. If DHT is present, then the folds enlarge and wrap around the penile urethra, becoming the penis.

‘Penis at 12’

In 1974, Doctor Julianne Imperato, an endocrinologist from Cornell University went to study the children of the Dominican Republic who had been rumoured to have been born with female genitalia but who had developed male genitalia at puberty.

What she discovered was that these children were lacking DHT at birth. But when they reached puberty, they got a surge of the enzyme, which then increased testosterone levels and caused the development of penises. This condition was called 5-alpha reductase deficiency (5-ARD).

That’s not to say that those with 5-ARD have nothing that resembles a male. The children have undescended testicles, and a small penis that looks more like a clitoris as well as an underdeveloped prostate. However, in most cases, these children are raised as girls.

The condition isn’t just relegated to the Dominican Republic. There have been cases around the world including New Guinea, Turkey and the United States.

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