Open doors to Syrian refugees, Cressy urges city council – Toronto

TORONTO – The ongoing Syrian crisis has sparked a possible new settlement program backed by Councillor Joe Cressy.

“The refugee crisis is not just a Middle Eastern issue, it’s not just European issue, it’s a global humanitarian issue and all of us have a role to play, including our city,” Cressy said.

“We have a history – and a proud history – of opening our borders and our doors in times of crisis and this program will help us establish and do just that.”

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The settlement program would see pre- and post-settlement supports for refugee arrivals put in place, using city departments like Toronto Public Health as well as facilities and resources.

“Prior to their arrival, the city would put into place an inter-agency task force that would work with organizations like Lifeline Syria and the Canadian Red Cross to coordinate arrival,” Cressy said.

“After arrival, it will be a range of supports that it will bring to bear, from employment support, to housing support, to health support related to dental care and psychological treatment.”

READ MORE: 5 things the Canadian government can do to immediately help Syrian refugees

The report is seeking the approval of a one-time $600,000 infusion from the city’s Tax Rate Stabilization Reserve to fund the settlement program.

The $600,000 cost would, in part, cover a possible assurance fund that would cover start up costs for refugees if a sponsor experiences change of financial circumstances and are unable to continue to support the refugees.

“These are bonds that are put into place to backstop private sponsors,” the councillor said.

“If you are a private sponsor you have to put out money. If you suddenly don’t have the financial means, we don’t want the refugees to suffer, so it’s looking at creating assurance bonds.”

READ MORE: ‘No hope’ of family reunion, says Syrian refugee living in B.C.

Cressy hopes to see a strong show of support for the report from the executive committee.

“Refugees are coming to Toronto and we have to be prepared to support them.”

Teen arrested after Saskatoon drug store robbed – Saskatoon

SASKATOON – A teen is facing a number of charges after allegedly robbing a Saskatoon drug store. The robbery happened Friday morning at the store located in the 200-block of Acadia Drive.

According to the police report, the teen entered the store, pointed both a rifle and handgun at employees and demanded cash. He then took off in a vehicle.

Officers were able to identify the suspect and determine the vehicle had been reported stolen. He was found at a nearby residence where police seized several imitation guns.

READ MORE: Three arrested in Wilkie, Sask. pharmacy break in

The 17-year-old is facing 10 Criminal Code charges including armed robbery, possession of stolen property, weapons-related offenses, breach of probation and breach of an undertaking.

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Frost advisory for Saskatoon into the final full day of summer – Saskatoon

UPDATE: All advisories mentioned in this story have ended

A frost advisory has been issued for Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert and other parts Saskatchewan.  Environment Canada says plants and crops may be damaged or destroyed by frost overnight into early Tuesday.

Saskatoon is likely to fall a degree or 2 below freezing early Tuesday morning for the first time in nearly four months.

The last time the mercury fell into minus territory in the city was on May 29, 2015 when an overnight low of -2.8 was reached.

Clear skies and light winds are expected to prevail Monday night into Tuesday morning as a high pressure system drops in cool air that will pull much of central Saskatchewan below zero.

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READ MORE: Warm, dry weather needed for 2015 Sask. harvest

This is the final frost advisory of the season for the province as Environment Canada issues frost advisories in central and southern Saskatchewan whenever temperatures are expected to fall below freezing between the May long weekend and September 21.

The advisory also spans to cover much of Alberta including the cities of Edmonton and Calgary where patchy frost is expected.

The agency recommends taking preventative measures to protect frost-sensitive plants and trees.

Watch below: How gardeners can protect plants against frost

Tuesday is the final full day of summer with autumn officially beginning Wednesday at 2:55 a.m. CT.

After a frosty finish to summer, the first few full days of fall are shaping up to be much more summer-like with daytime highs approaching the low 20s.

For weather on the go download the Global News SkyTracker weather app for iPhone, iPad or Android.

Frost advisory ended for:

SaskatoonReginaLloydminsterMartensville – Warman – Rosthern – Delisle – WakawPrince Albert – Shellbrook – Spiritwood – Duck LakeKindersley – Rosetown – Biggar – Wilkie – MacklinOutlook – Watrous – Hanley – Imperial – DinsmoreThe Battlefords – Unity – Maidstone – St. WalburgMeadow Lake – Big River – Green Lake – PiercelandFort Qu’Appelle – Indian Head – Lumsden – Pilot ButteLeader – Gull LakeSwift Current – Herbert – Cabri – Kyle – Lucky LakeShaunavon – Maple Creek – Val Marie – Cypress HillsMoose Jaw – Pense – Central Butte – CraikAssiniboia – Gravelbourg – CoronachMoosomin – Grenfell – Kipling – WawotaCarlyle – Oxbow – Carnduff – Bienfait – StoughtonEstevan – Weyburn – Radville – Milestone

Big beauty brands using lip-reading technology developed by U of T prof

Canadian technology originally developed years ago to enhance speech recognition is now being used by some of the world’s biggest beauty brands.

University of Toronto engineering professor Parham Aarabi designed lip-reading software more than a decade ago that initially garnered interest from the military community.

“The goal was to read lips and combine that with audio to do better speech recognition,” Aarabi said.

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“The idea was that in certain environments – noisy environments or very far away from the person you’re trying to listen to – audio doesn’t work, so you have to use computer vision to read someone’s lips to guess what they might be saying.”

The technology worked about half the time, he said.

“You could eavesdrop on someone from very far away and based on the image zoomed in on their face guess as to what they were saying.”

But the algorithms he built to track contours of lips proved adept in the beauty industry.

That’s when his company, ModiFace, was born. The company grew slowly since launching in 2007.

Aarabi says the technology is now used by cosmetics companies from L’Oreal to Unilever and Yves Rocher for different applications, such as adding different shades of lipstick to an image of a face uploaded by a user.

About a year ago demand for ModiFace began to surge. At the time, he said, there were about 20 brands using the software.

Now, he said, 52 brands have licensed his technology that appears in more than 200 apps, with a total of more than 60 million downloads.

“I don’t know what the catalyst was, but everyone is rushing to have augmented reality as part of their apps, websites and retail solutions,” Aarabi said.

He expects that total to double in the coming year.

It turns out his lip-reading software solved a long-standing problem.

“One of the biggest challenges in the beauty industry is that most people don’t know what product is best for them,” he said.

“The way the beauty industry has worked for a century is you’re shown what a model looks like and because it looks good on a model – or because the skin care makes the model look perfect by some definition of perfection – therefore this product must be the right product for you,” he said.

“What we found is that if we can show the product in a very realistic and truthful way to the consumer on their own image … it is substantially more effective as a marketing and educational tool than if you show an image of a model.”

In the next year or two Aarabi says his technology will allow customers to walk into a store, glance at a mirror and have different shades of lipstick on their reflection looking back at them.

©2015The Canadian Press

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak’s tips for how to get fit for fall – National

Monday marks the first day of the free Fit for Fall Charity Challenge. Its mission is to get you to conquer 100 miles (160 kilometres) of cardio in eight weeks. It may sound like a lot, but it breaks down to just 30 minutes of cardio a day, which is pretty doable.

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Aside from helping you shed any unwanted summer pounds, the challenge can also benefit your favourite charity. All you have to do is download the Charity Miles app and for every mile you complete, a sponsor will donate to a charity of your choice on your behalf.

The team behind the initiative, Tone It Up, will also choose five participants every week and donate $200 to their chosen charities.

Those who sign up will have access to fitness tips and recipes, as well.

Getting started

If a fitness challenge isn’t your thing, there are still simple steps you can take every day to get in better shape. Walking is an easy start.

“You don’t need any equipment. Park your car further away. Take the stairs,” said Toronto’s Harley Pasternak, who has trained countless A-list celebrities like Halle Berry, Rihanna, Megan Fox, and Kim Kardashian.

The important thing is to just get moving. The Canadian physical activity guidelines for those aged 18 to 64 are “at least 150 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.”

Pasternak is of the belief that Canadians are overexercising but underactive. For the most part, many of us lead very sedentary lives which consist of lying in bed for eight hours, then sitting in as we commute to work, where we sit some more for another eight hours.

READ MORE: 4 ways to combat sitting disease

A spin class twice a week (where you sit again) isn’t going to cut it, Pasternak stressed.

“Stop thinking of exercise as workouts and start thinking of it as activity, as movement.”

If you have a Fitbit, which Pasternak endorses, aim for 10,000 steps a day.

Diet

The device can help track your heartrate, as well as your sleep and diet — both of which Pasternak said are crucial.

His word of advice?

“Eat less Timbits. All the ab exercises in the world aren’t going to make up for a bad diet.”

Aim for protein, fibre and healthy fat in your meals. You should have three of them a day plus two snacks, added Pasternak, who’s also big fan of blending.

As for the portions, his rule of thumb is:

limit your protein to the size of the palm of your handhave a palm-full of high-fibre grains or high-fibre fruitsenjoy unlimited veggiesinclude at least a thumb-size of healthy fat each meal

Your snacks should be one-third the size of your meals.

READ MORE: The skinny on snack bars —What to look for on the nutrition label

“Move more, sleep better, eat properly,” Pasternak said. “Then if you want to do a work-out, do a workout. That comes after.”

Workouts

Want washboard abs? Don’t waste your time on sit-ups. They can create poor posture, according to Pasternak, and actually injure your lower back and neck.

Try planks instead.

And contrary to what you may have heard, you don’t need to feel pain to have a good workout, nor do you need to sweat a lot. Working out in the heat is also not better than doing it in the cold.

“You burn significantly more fat in a cold climate. When it’s cold outside, your body has to create heat, and it creates heat by burning calories.”

That’s good news for Canadians, especially as we approach our colder months. So don’t be afraid to take a walk in the brisk weather — just make sure you warm up beforehand.

Here are three of Pasternak’s top exercises to try.

The Walk-Lunge

How to do it: Keep your head straight up, do not look down at the ground; look where you are going. Make sure your leading knee does not go past the laces of your leading foot.

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak demonstrates how to do a proper Walk-Lunge.

Shahin Edalati, Fitbit creative director

Spider Plank 

How to do it: Try to draw your right knee to your right elbow; then return to the start position and do the same on the left side.

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak demonstrates how to do a Spider Plank.

Shahin Edalati, Fitbit creative director

The TRX Row

How to do it: Make sure your body is a rigid plank. Your nose, chest, knees and toes should all be on one plane. Try not to curl your wrists in as you draw your hands into your chest. Make sure you pull your hands and forearms high to your torso.

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak demonstrates how to do a proper row using the TRX.

Shahin Edalati, Fitbit creative director

Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak demonstrates how to do a proper row using the TRX.

Shahin Edalati, Fitbit creative director

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