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What's Happening: Los Angeles Food News in April 2015

What's Happening: Los Angeles Food News in April 2015

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Here’s what’s happening this month on the Los Angeles dining scene

Café Gratitude is now open in in Los Angeles’ downtown Arts District.

Beer-centric Barrel Down Opens in Downtown
The beer-centric bar and restaurant Barrel Down has opened in downtown L.A. The extensive bar offers over 40 American craft taps with a menu of sandwiches, salads, and shared plates.

Bettolino Kitchen Opens in Redondo Beach
Bettolino Kitchen, a modern Italian restaurant, has opened in Redondo Beach. The menu features authentic homemade pastas and traditional Italian dishes.

Café Gratitude Brings Organic Cuisine to Downtown L.A.
Café Gratitude has recently opened in L.A.’s downtown Arts District. The all-organic menu serves breakfast, lunch, and a just-launched dinner menu daily.

Komodo Venice Hosts Fried Chicken Pop Up
Komodo Venice is hosting a special night devoted to fried chicken. Diners can choose from Nashville-inspired deep-fried chicken or lowcountry-style buttermilk brined chicken with sides of miso-bacon corn, slaw, and bottomless macaroni and cheese for $20.

Mad Men Inspired Cocktails and Events
The final season premiere of Mad Men is inspiring specialty cocktails at West Hollywood’s Now Boarding and Silver Lake’s El Cóndor. El Cóndor is offering a special Don Draper-esque menu of cocktails including an Oaxacan Old Fashioned, and Now Boarding is hosting a viewing party on April 5 with a specialty cocktail menu of a number of character based drinks.

New Chef at Tipple & Brine
Chef Marc Johnson is taking over the kitchen at Sherman Oaks’ Tipple & Brine, where he plans to elevate the seafood-forward menu.

Tickets for 34th-Annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival On Sale Now
Book your stay at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua and order your tickets for the 34th-Annual Kapalua Wine and Food Festival from June 11 to 14.

20 Of The Coolest Events Happening in Los Angeles This Week

It’s time for Dodger baseball. The L.A. Dodgers take on the San Diego Padres today at 1:10 pm in Chavez Ravine for opening day on Monday. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to pitch. What more could you ask for? If you don't have tickets for the game, check out places nearby like the Spring Street Smokehouse and Boomtown Brewery to celebrate.

The Business: Los Angeles is a free weekly comedy show at Little Joy in Echo Park. Hosted by Bucky Sinister, Sean Keane, Megan Koester, Anna Seregina and Chris Garcia, the lineup features: Jon Daly, Debra DiGiovanni, The Puterbaugh Sisters, Casey Ley and Danielle Radford. Doors at 8 pm, show at 9 pm. Ages 21+.

Michael’s chef Miles Thompson teams up with Kali's Kevin Meehan on Monday at Kali to celebrate California cuisine and ingredients. Diners will enjoy a 5-course dinner for $70 with items from both restaurant menus as well as new items created for the evening. Reservations are available between 6-10 pm tables must be reserved by calling Kali at 323.871.4160.

On Monday night, Film Independent at LACMA presents a free screening of Gifted, a film directed by Marc Webb from a Black List film script written by Tom Flynn. The film stars Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer, about a man (Evans) raising his child prodigy niece and the external forces that try to separate them. The free screening starts at 7:30 pm.

EMO NITE (Sad AF Music)
The monthly Emo Nite returns to the Echo and Echoplex on Tuesday, bringing together people through a shared love of emo music from the ‘90s to today. Bands playing at the Echo are: This Wild Life, Romance & Rebellion, Arlington and Gardenside. Doors open at 8:30 pm. The first 100 people in line get in for free, $10 after that. Ages 21+.

Live Talks L.A. presents actor/director/author Andrew McCarthy in conversation with essayist/novelist Pico Iyer to discuss the writing life and McCarthy’s debut novel Just Fly Away on Wednesday at 8 pm at the Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre at the New Roads School in Santa Monica. Tickets: $20-$95.

On Wednesday, Washington DC’s famous Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken opens in Downtown Los Angeles (516 W. 6th St). They’re giving away a free doughnut to everyone who follows @astrodoughnuts on Instagram (and shows them at the register).

There’s a Sci-Fi at Union Station film series that begins this week with classic films screened for free inside the historic ticketing hall. On Wednesday, the series presents Blade Runner (1982), which has scenes filmed in the same hall. Doors at 7 pm and the screening begins at 7:30 pm with an introduction by former Los Angeles Times entertainment reporter Susan King. Them! Screens on May 12 in the station’s North Patio and Her screens June 9 in the Historic Ticketing Hall. Admission is free and seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rooftop Cinema Club returns this week to the rooftop of the Montalbán Theater in Hollywood for screenings under the stars with wireless headphones,lounge chairs, food from Heritage LA and more. On Wednesday Blade Runner (1982) screens on Thursday, Donnie Darko (2001). Screenings are 18+. Tickets: $17-$25.50.

JOHN JOSEPH (Book talk)
The Last Bookstore presents hardcore legend John Joseph who reads from his memoir, The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. The book recounts his youth spent in foster homes and his time in the underground punk scene in the Cro-Mags. He also discusses his homelessness, addiction, betrayal and insanity. A Q&A follows the chapter reading.

SIEL JU (Reading)
On Wednesday at 7:30 pm, Skylight Books presents Siel Ju, who reads from her debut novel-in-stories, Cake Time, with guests. The book was the 2015 Red Hen Press Fiction Manuscript Award. Joining Ju are Jim Ruland, Victoria Patterson and Janice Lee.

HISTORY’S GREATEST CAT (Lecture and slideshow)
There’s a free lecture and slideshow by feline history expert Dr. Paul Koudounaris on Wednesday at Hyperion Tavern in Silver Lake at 9:45 pm. Learn about Humphrey, a British cat, and enjoy performances by Dame Darcy, The Lodestones, a DJ set by Don Bolles. Free.

TICKLING GIANTS (Film + discussion)
Tickling Giants is a documentary by director Sara Taksler that follows Bassem Youssef, a former heart surgeon-turned-comedian who became known as “Egypt’s Jon Stewart.” Youssef fought for free speech that is still being fought. Cinefamily presents a special screening at the Vista Theatre on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. The screening’s followed by a Q&A with director Taksler and Youssef, moderated by Larry Wilmore (The Daily Show, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore). DJ set by Chris Holmes. Tickets: $18. Youssef also has a book talk, presented by Book Soup, at the Freud Playhouse on Thursday at 8 pm. Tickets: $15-$38.

The eighth annual TCM Classic Film Festival opens in Hollywood on Thursday. The festival’s Opening Night Gala celebrates the 50th Anniversary of In the Heat of the Night (1967) with the film’s director Norman Jewison, producer Walter Mirisch, actors Lee Grant and Scott Wilson, composer Quincy Jones and casting director Lynn Stalmaster appearing. Individual tickets (which run $20) will not be sold for the Opening Night Red Carpet Gala screening, the poolside screenings or panels—as they’re passholder exclusive events. (Passes: $299-$2,149.)

The Craft and Folk Art Museum presents Craft Night: Ama-Zine Workshop with Rhea Tepp on Thursday from 6:30-9 pm in the museum courtyard. Learn to craft zines while drinking, and then stick around for the free screening and reading with Snatch Power! — the "afrofuturistic women's liberation artist collective." Admission: $7, free for members.

Banned in Tucson is a half-hour sketch comedy show that combines news, sketches and videos from a Latino point of view. The show takes its title from the banning of ethnic studies in Arizona—and it takes place at UCB Sunset on Thursday at 5:30 pm. Tickets $5.

Two pop/soul bands Busty & The Bass and Lawrence co-headline the Troubadour on Thursday night. The Young Wild opens. Tickets: $15. Doors at 7:30 pm.

More than 2,000 knitters, crocheters, weavers and spinners are expected to participate in the L.A. County Yarn Crawl from Thursday to Sunday. Yarn stores across the country are welcoming fiber artists to browse, learn new skills, buy yarns, patterns and supplies and hang out with other fiber enthusiasts.

On Thursday and Friday, National Geographic Live presents The Mystery of Our Human Story with National Geographic Explorer-In-Residence and Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Learn about how the discovery of a trove of bones hidden deep within a South African cave led to a classification of a new species of human ancestor. The program, which begins at 7:30 pm each night, runs about 70 minutes and includes a Q&A with Berger. Tickets start at $50.

There’s a benefit for the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts on Thursday night at Largo. Hosted by Jeff Garlin, guests include Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, Tom Papa, Tommy Chong and others. Doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm. Tickets: $50-$100.

Want the 411 on additional events and happenings in LA? Follow @LAist or me (@christineziemba) on Twitter.

Newsletter: Essential California: Lawler’s Law, explained

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Wednesday, April 17, and here’s what’s happening across California:

Now, with the Clippers in the playoffs and longtime broadcaster Ralph Lawler calling the final games of his career, we started wondering: How often did Lawler’s Law hold true? This is one of the 80-year-old Lawler’s signature catchphrases and is used when a team breaks the century mark. Lawler exclaims, “You know Lawler’s Law. First to 100 wins. It’s the law.” Well it’s not actually the law, but The Times crunched the numbers and found that, aside from being catchy and alliterative, Lawler’s Law turned out to be remarkably accurate. Over the last 23 years, among more than 27,000 NBA games, the first team to reach 100 won 94% of the time. But the modern game may be changing the law. Los Angeles Times

Behind the story: How basketball stats bolstered math theory for one number-crunching reporter. Los Angeles Times

Reliving the comeback: The Clippers’ game on Monday against the top-seeded Golden State Warriors was crazy. They resume their playoff series Thursday in L.A. Los Angeles Times

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay a record $8-million settlement to a teenager who was sexually abused by the athletic director at her Catholic high school, who continued to work despite prior allegations of misconduct. The award is the highest individual settlement by the archdiocese in a sex abuse case. The religious organization apologized to the victim for her suffering, and Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said he would personally meet with her and her family. Los Angeles Times

Until recently, Adrian Salgado lived a quiet life mowing lawns and trimming trees in Santa Ana. Then the 65-year-old gardener got swept up in a drama, like the ones he sees in his old Mexican action movies — and his face was broadcast all over television. It was a gripping tale with a surprisingly happy ending. But the most remarkable part of the story didn’t come until later, far from the cameras, the day after Salgado was robbed. Los Angeles Times

Warming up: The ominous gray clouds that were above Los Angeles on Tuesday aren’t likely to produce much more than the occasional sprinkle for the region before summer-like temperatures return later in the week. Los Angeles Times

The reality: L.A. opens a homeless shelter in Hollywood. But those still outside say they have it worse than ever. Los Angeles Times

Good question: L.A. officials are housing more homeless people than ever, but how? KCRW

And: “A group of Venice residents opposed to plans for a 154-bed homeless shelter in the beachside neighborhood are gearing up for an expensive legal fight.” Curbed LA

Fascinating story: To steer her child away from obesity, a mother turns her life upside down. Los Angeles Times

Clapping back: The Game, T.I., Snoop Dogg and other rappers have threatened Fox News’ Laura Ingraham with another boycott after the conservative host criticized a song featuring Nipsey Hussle the day after the rapper’s funeral procession took over South L.A. Los Angeles Times


Worrying times: Members of a tiny Nepali community with temporary protected status now targeted by the government say they will fight to stay in the U.S. Los Angeles Times


Big housing vote: The Los Angeles City Council is expected to vote Wednesday on an ordinance that would bar landlords from establishing blanket bans on tenants with Section 8 vouchers. Los Angeles TImes

Automation battle: Facing a crowd of more than 1,200 protesting dockworkers, the Port of Los Angeles’ Harbor Commission delayed a decision over whether to approve a permit that would open the way to automation in North America’s largest terminal. Los Angeles Times

2020 watch, Part 1: While Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders can boast that more than 80% of his hefty campaign account comes from donations of less than $200, other big-name candidates are nowhere close, according to the first round of campaign finance disclosure statements. Los Angeles Times

2020 watch, Part 2: “About 1,600 donors have given more than $200 to multiple Democratic presidential candidates this year, with the largest overlap existing among donors who gave to both Kamala Harris and at least one other campaign.” BuzzFeed

Plus: Silicon Valley’s biggest Democratic donors are still wrestling with which candidate they want to support in the upcoming primary. ReCode

Fatal police shootings down, but … : After adopting policies to reduce shootings, the use of deadly force by Los Angeles police and the number of suspects killed in violent encounters dropped in 2018, according to a report released Tuesday. Even with reductions, the LAPD led the nation in fatal officer-involved shootings last year, with 14, the report said. Two of the deaths were self-inflicted by suspects. Los Angeles Times

Figuring out what’s happening: Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has announced the creation of a task force that will investigate conditions at Santa Anita Park after 23 horses died at the racetrack over a three-month period. Los Angeles Times

In court: A Palo Alto couple accused of paying $25,000 to rig their son’s college entrance exam asked a federal judge this week to dismiss the indictment against them, claiming there was no conspiracy among the parents entangled in the college admissions scandal. Los Angeles Times

Plus: Donna Heinel, the former USC senior associate athletic director who was fired in March after being indicted in connection with the college admissions scandal, has listed her home in Long Beach for sale at $1.998 million. Los Angeles Times

Clearing the backlog:Thousands of San Franciscans who had their driver’s licenses suspended for missing their date in traffic court now have a significantly better chance of getting back on the road legally.” San Francisco Chronicle

A San Francisco connection: As Notre Dame Cathedral burned in the heart of Paris, the news reached one of its sister cathedrals more than 5,000 miles away. Los Angeles Times

Ending the battle: Apple Inc. and Qualcomm Inc. have agreed to end a two-year legal war over billions of dollars of technology licensing fees that had threatened to reshape the chipmaker’s most profitable line of business. Qualcomm’s stock soared 23% on the announcement. Los Angeles Times

A wild, deep dive: Fifteen months of fresh hell inside Facebook. Wired

The way we live: The longer author Roxane Gay lives in Los Angeles, the more she tries to find places where she feels like a thread in the fabric of something bigger than herself. Enter: Little Dom’s. Bon Appetit

The newest King: Todd McLellan is the new coach of the Los Angeles Kings. Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles area: sunny, 73, Wednesday partly cloudy, 80, Thursday. San Diego: sunny, 69, Wednesday partly cloudy, 75, Thursday. San Francisco area: sunny, 64, Wednesday partly cloudy, 70, Thursday. San Jose: sunny, 74, Wednesday partly cloudy, 82, Thursday. Sacramento: sunny, 77, Wednesday sunny, 82, Thursday. More weather is here.

Today’s California memory comes from Joel Leanse:

“My father, circa 1918, came from Minnesota to California along with one of his brothers on motorcycles, mostly over dirt roads, settling in what would be the Leimert Park area. As a youngster, 39th Street seemed like our domain. Everyone seemed know the name Elizabeth Short, the “Black Dahlia,” and even though I didn’t understand the circumstances, when others visited us we would walk to the rear of the large, then-vacant lots on Crenshaw Boulevard, as they wanted to see the spot where her life had been taken. It was a time before freeways, and on late weekend afternoons we would stand on our street corner counting the bumper-to-bumper cars going west after football games at the Coliseum. Needless to say, our efforts to sell lemonade on those days never proved positive.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.

What's Happening at Los Angeles Schools?

The second-largest public school system in the nation shut down Tuesday morning after officials received a threat against an unspecified number of its more than 900 campuses.

Ramon Cortines, t he superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), said that an email was sent to members of the school board Tuesday morning, threatening “many schools” of the system. He advised parents and families to not bring their children to school and ordered searches of all school locations.

The New York Police Department said shortly after Los Angeles officials announced the closures that it too received a similar threat via email against the city’s schools Tuesday morning. But officials determined it was not a credible threat and will investigate it as a hoax.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the threatening email was sent to “a number of different places simultaneously,” according to CBS New York .

The message was “written in a fashion that suggests that it’s not plausible, and we’ve come to the conclusion that we must continue to keep our school system open,” de Blasio said. “In fact, it’s very important not to overreact in situations like this.”

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the message mirrored recent episodes of a Showtime series about the war on terrorism. “I think the instigator of the threat may be a Homeland fan,” he said.

Cortines defended his decision to close the schools at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

“I could not take the chance as it relates to one student or our staff that serve our students,” he said.

Los Angeles officials hinted at their New York counterparts at the same press conference.

“I would say this to people who are critical: It is very easy in hindsight to criticize a decision based on results that the decider could have never known,” said Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck. “It is also very easy to criticize a decision when you have no responsibility for the outcome of that decision.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti appeared to distance himself from the superintendent’s decision to close the schools.

“The decision to close the schools is not mine to make, but it is mine to support as mayor of the city of Los Angeles … it is easy for people to jump to conclusions, and I have been around long enough to know that what people think in the first few hours is not necessarily how it will play out in later hours,” he said.  

Cortines said the school district receives threats “all that time” that prompt evacuations or lockdowns of particular schools. The threat officials received Tuesday morning, however, was “rare,” he said.

LAUSD has more than 640,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade, according to its website. Schools are scheduled to close for the holidays on Friday.

Cortines cited growing concern over terrorism threats after deadly attacks in California, Paris, and elsewhere in his decision to shut down the school system. The threat came less than two weeks after a husband and wife shot and killed 14 people, allegedly in the name of the Islamic State, at a center in San Bernardino, just over an hour’s drive east of Los Angeles.

“I think the circumstances in neighboring San Bernardino, I think what has happened in the nation, I think what happened internationally—I, as superintendent, am not going to take the chance with the life of a student,” he said.

Steve Zimmer, the president of LAUSD’s Board of Education, said at a news conference Tuesday morning that the decision to close the schools for the day was “appropriate given the situation we are in.”

“We need the cooperation of the whole of Los Angeles today,” Zimmer said. “We need families and neighbors to work together with our families and employees to make sure our kids are safe throughout the day. We need employers to show the flexibility that a situation like this demands. And we ask you to show the maximum possible flexibility with your employees who are primarily mothers and fathers and guardians today in this situation.”

Bratton said the NYPD is working with Los Angeles police and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate the threats.

This is a developing story and we’ll update as we learn more.

Read more from The Atlantic:

This article was originally published on The Atlantic.

Ontario to replace Dr. David Williams as chief medical officer: media reports

Supporters of U of T doctor describe allegations of anti-Semitism as ɽisingenuous' and stifling

Ontario extends ban on interprovincial travel until June 16

1 dead, 4 injured following Mississauga, Ont., shooting, Peel police say

Residents fight to save massive boulder unearthed during city work

Ontario extends ban on interprovincial travel until June 16

The Ontario government has announced that it has extended its ban on interprovincial travel until June 16 as part of its emergency measures implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19. The ban, which applies to non-essential travel, affects Ontario's land boundaries with Manitoba and Quebec. In an email on Saturday, Stephen Warner, spokesperson for Ontario's solicitor-general's ministry, confirmed the extension, saying the order will remain in place until June 16 and it is being imposed in 14-day increments. "We will communicate with the public prior to its termination," Warner said in the email. The original order was made on April 16, 2021 and was set to be revoked on June 2. It has now been extended by 14 days. Other orders aimed at helping manage the COVID-19 pandemic have also been extended until June 16. Those include an order closing public lands to recreational campers, an order allowing for the transfer of hospital patients without their consent, and another that removes bureaucratic red tape to allow health workers to be redeployed more efficiently for pandemic purposes. Under the interprovincial travel ban, the government has restricted travel into Ontario from Manitoba and Quebec, with the exception of travel for the purposes such as work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Indigenous or treaty rights. At the time that the order was imposed, Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a news release: "The rising spread of variants means we must take stronger measures to limit transmission and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed. "As we continue to work to vaccinate those in the areas with the highest rates of transmission, everyone must adhere to public health measures and stay at home as much as possible to protect capacity in our health system and the health of thousands of Ontarians." Ontario's stay-at-home, meanwhile, remains in place until June 2.

Ontario to replace Dr. David Williams as chief medical officer: media reports

TORONTO — Media reports say Ontario is replacing its chief medical officer of health more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple anonymous sources told the Toronto Star that Dr. Kieran Moore will replace Dr. David Williams as the province's top doctor. Toronto's CityNews issued a similar report. Moore currently heads up the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health Unit. Representatives from the premier's office, the Ministry of Health and the Kingston-area public health unit did not immediately respond to The Canadian Press's requests for comment. Williams has faced much criticism over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ontario's COVID-19 Long-Term Care Commission lambasted Williams' response during the early days of the crisis. The government-appointed commission said Williams and the government repeatedly ignored the warnings of scientists, doctors, local public health officials and even the minister of long-term care. More recently, Premier Doug Ford has ignored Williams' recommendation to reopen schools for the last month of the academic year, turning instead to dozens of public health experts, local health units and education stakeholders for advice. That marked a departure for the premier, who has previously voiced strong support for Williams and even asked him to delay his pending retirement to remain at the helm of the province's pandemic response. Ford's decision on whether to reopen classrooms is expected in the coming days. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2021. The Canadian Press

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1 dead, 4 injured following Mississauga, Ont., shooting, Peel police say

One person is dead and four people have been taken to trauma centres "in various conditions" following a shooting in Mississauga, Ont., Saturday, Peel Regional Police said. Officers said they responded to reports of a shooting in the area of Glen Erin Drive and The Collegeway just before 7:30 p.m. ET. Speaking to reporters from the scene Saturday night, Peel police Const. Danny Marttini said officers found five victims suffering from gunshot wounds. One person was pronounced dead at the scene, while four other victims were taken to different trauma centres. Marttini could not provide an update on the conditions, genders or ages of the victims. Police say the shooting happened in a plaza in the vicinity of multiple food shops. They could not confirm whether the incident happened indoors or outside. They also could not say what led up to the shooting. Peel police Const. Danny Marttini says investigators don't yet know how many suspects they are looking for and have "very limited information" about the incident that left one person dead and four others injured.(Mark Bochsler/CBC) No arrests have been made as of Saturday night. Police have yet to confirm how many shooters they are searching for, adding they have "very limited information" about the incident. No suspect description has been released. The homicide unit has taken over the case and investigators are appealing for witnesses or anyone who may have dashcam footage to contact them. There are significant road closures in the area while police investigate.

New Brunswick hits 60 per cent with one shot of vaccine, reports 10 new virus cases

FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick say just over 60 per cent of residents aged 12 and older have received a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Officials say more than 46,000 people have been at least partially immunized in the past week. The province is also reporting 10 new cases of the virus today. Five cases have been identified in the Moncton region, four in the Fredericton area and one in the Bathurst region. The province has 143 known active infections with seven people hospitalized, including six in New Brunswick and one out of province. Two patients are in intensive care, including one patient in the province and the patient hospitalized in another province. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2021. The Canadian Press

3 people with gunshot wounds walk into hospital after St. James Town shooting

Toronto police say three people made their way to hospital following a shooting in St. James Town Saturday evening. Emergency crews were called to the area of Wellesley Street East and Bleecker Street shortly before 9:30 p.m. ET for reports of shots fired and multiple people seen fleeing the area. When officers arrived, they say they found evidence of gunfire but did not locate any victims at the scene. Police say they were later informed that three victims with gunshot wounds walked into a hospital. There is no update on the conditions, genders or ages of the victims. Police taped off the area near a playground, but could not confirm exactly where the shooting happened. Police do not have any suspect information and are appealing for any witnesses to contact investigators at 416-808-2222.

Hollywood actor Seagal joins pro-Kremlin party, proposes tougher laws

Hollywood actor Steven Seagal, a long-time admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has joined a pro-Kremlin party, the the party said on Sunday. Seagal received a party membership card of an alliance named Just Russia - Patriots - For Truth on Saturday, a video relased by the party showed. It was formed earlier this year, when three leftist parties, all of which support Putin, merged into one.

Health Canada extends expiry for some Ontario AstraZeneca doses by one month

TORONTO — Ontario received permission from Health Canada to extend the expiry of some doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on Saturday, saving thousands of shots from potentially going to waste. A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the change means doses with an original expiry of May 31 can now be used until July 1. "Health Canada has issued an authorization to extend the expiry date of specific lots of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from six months to seven months, following the review of submitted stability data," Alexandra Hilkene said in a statement. Pharmacies and physicians offices had been rushing to administer thousands of shots this weekend ahead of their previous Monday expiry date to avoid wasting doses. Ontario had been trying to redistribute a stockpile of 45,000 shots expiring on May 31 and 10,000 more going bad in June. But quality checks held up the delivery of thousands of the shots, and many didn't reach their final destinations until Friday. The head of the Ontario Pharmacists Association said Health Canada's decision is not unprecedented when it comes to evolving data associated with a new vaccine. "It's good news," Justin Bates said. "Although I do appreciate this is going to create a lot more questions . so people can continue to make an informed consent decision." Bates said pharmacies in different parts of Ontario had ramped up efforts to get shots into arms and avoid wasting any doses, and those efforts will continue. "It does give us a longer runway and reduces the risk of any (waste), which I think is a good thing and that's the silver lining in all of this," he said. The province paused the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month due to an increase in reports of rare but deadly blood clots. It started offering it again this week as a second shot to people who received the dose between March 10 and March 19 at pharmacies in Toronto, Windsor and Kingston, and at some primary care offices. Approximately 90,000 people participated in an AstraZeneca pilot between March 10 and March 19. The province said 148,972 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in the past 24 hours for a total of over 8.8 million doses issued over the course of the immunization effort. Ontario reported 1,057 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 15 more deaths linked to the virus. Meanwhile, Ontario's COVID-19 science table said Saturday that the province can re-open schools safely on a regional basis while still limiting the risk of further virus transmission. The new advice comes in response to Premier Doug Ford's request for input on whether or not the province should reopen schools as cases trend downward across the province. The group said some regions could reopen based on the advice of local medical officers of health and continued adherence to public health measures. "We believe that Ontario can re-open schools safely on a regional basis to mitigate the significant short and long-term harms arising from school closures, while managing the risk of virus transmission in this sector," the group said in a letter to Ford released Saturday. The province closed schools in April as COVID-19 cases surged and Ford has said he wants a consensus on the issue from stakeholders before making a decision. Ford wrote to those experts and education stakeholders Thursday, giving them a day and a half to respond to a series of questions on the possible reopening of classrooms for in-person learning. The premier has said he doesn't want to rely solely on the advice of the province's top public health official, Dr. David Williams, who believes students should return to the classroom. "I know very clearly where Dr. Williams stands,'' Ford said Friday. "But I want the scientists to weigh in. I want to make sure the teachers' unions weigh in. I want other educational workers to weigh in. I don't want to rush this.'' The science table said in Saturday's report that the closure may be harming some students' physical and mental health and reopening would allow schools to re-establish contact with teachers and peers. "This deterioration is now evident in the form of increased ambulatory care use and hospital admissions, most poignantly for children and youth with eating disorders," the report said. "We believe these mental health indicators represent the tip of the iceberg and that children and youth mental health will present significant long-term challenges during our recovery from the pandemic." The science table recently said reopening schools could cause COVID-19 case rates to rise between six and 11 per cent. But the group said Saturday it now believes the resulting case increases from re-opening schools would be small and most public health units feel that they can manage those increases. "Schools that re-open should maintain their public health measures vigorously and build on the strategies they have already deployed to limit spread," they said. The group also called on the province to use the summer to improve school ventilation and continue efforts to vaccinate students. The letter from the province's science advisers was co-signed by 10 other groups including the Ontario Medical Association, The Hospital For Sick Children and the Council of Ontario Medical Officers of Health. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

In Mexico, cartels are hunting down police at their homes

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The notoriously violent Jalisco cartel has responded to Mexico’s “hugs, not bullets” policy with a policy of its own: The cartel kidnapped several members of an elite police force in the state of Guanajuato, tortured them to obtain names and addresses of fellow officers and is now hunting down and killing police at their homes, on their days off, in front of their families. It is a type of direct attack on officers seldom seen outside of the most gang-plagued nations of Central America and poses the most direct challenge yet to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's policy of avoiding violence and rejecting any war on the cartels. But the cartel has already declared war on the government, aiming to eradicate an elite state force known as the Tactical Group which the gang accuses of treating its members unfairly. “If you want war, you'll get a war. We have already shown that we know where you are. We are coming for all of you,” reads a professionally printed banner signed by the cartel and hung on a building in Guanajuato in May. “For each member of our firm (CJNG) that you arrest, we are going to kill two of your Tacticals, wherever they are, at their homes, in their patrol vehicles,” the banner read, referring to the cartel by its Spanish initials. Officials in Guanajuato — Mexico's most violent state, where Jalisco is fighting local gangs backed by the rival Sinaloa cartel — refused to comment on how many members of the elite group have been murdered so far. But state police publicly acknowledged the latest case, an officer who was kidnapped from his home on Thursday, killed and his body dumped on a highway. Guanajuato-based security analyst David Saucedo said there have been many cases. “A lot of them (officers) have decided to desert. They took their families, abandoned their homes and they are fleeing and in hiding,” Saucedo said. “The CJNG is hunting the elite police force of Guanajuato.” Numbers of victims are hard to come by, but Poplab, a news cooperative in Guanajuato, said at least seven police officers have been killed on their days off so far this year. In January, gunmen went to the home of a female state police officer, killed her husband, dragged her away, tortured her and dumped her bullet-ridden body. Guanajuato has had the highest number of police killed of any Mexican state since at least 2018, according to Poplab. Between 2018 and May 12, a total of 262 police have been killed, or an average of about 75 officers each year — more than are killed by gunfire or other assaults on average each year in the entire United States, which has 50 times Guanajuato’s population. The problem in Guanajuato has gotten so bad that the state government published a special decree on May 17 to provide an unspecified amount of funding for protection mechanisms for police and prison officials. “Unfortunately, organized crime groups have shown up at the homes of police officers, which poses a threat and a greater risk of loss of life, not just for them, but for members of their families,” according to the decree. “They have been forced to quickly leave their homes and move, so that organized crimes groups cannot find them,” it reads. State officials refused to describe the protection measures, or comment on whether officers were to be paid to rent new homes, or if there were plans to construct special secure housing compounds for them and their families. “This is an open war against the security forces of the state government,” Saucedo noted. López Obrador campaigned on trying to deescalate the drug conflict, describing a “hugs, not bullets” approach to tackle the root causes of crime. Since taking office in late 2018, he has avoided openly confronting cartels, and even released one capo to avoid bloodshed, saying he preferred a long-range policy of addressing social problems like youth unemployment that contribute to gang membership. But former U.S. Ambassador Christopher Landau said in April that López Obrador views the fight against drug cartels “as a distraction . So he has basically adopted an agenda of a pretty laissez-faire attitude towards them, which is pretty troubling to our government, obviously.” Mark Stevenson, The Associated Press

UK PM Johnson marries in low-key, surprise ceremony

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson married his fiancee Carrie Symonds at Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, capping a week of political drama with a wedding kept so under wraps that his office did not confirm it until the following day. "The Prime Minister and Ms Symonds were married yesterday afternoon in a small ceremony at Westminster Cathedral," Johnson's office said on Sunday. Johnson, 56, and Symonds, 33, have been living together in Downing Street since Johnson became prime minister in 2019.

Nova Scotia reports four COVID-19 deaths, highest single-day total in last year

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is reporting its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 in just over a year with four new deaths related to the virus. Health officials say the deaths include two men in their 80s and a woman in her 70s in the Halifax area, as well as a man in his 80s in the western zone. The province's previous single day high was recorded on May 3, 2020 when six people died as a result of COVID-19. A total of 84 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic. Officials also reported 33 new cases of the today, with 21 in the Halifax area, seven in the eastern zone, three in the western zone and two in the northern zone. There are 566 known active cases of the novel coronavirus in Nova Scotia and 43 people in hospital, including 18 in intensive care. The province's chief medical officer of health gave his condolences to the families of those who died in a news release Saturday, along with a warning to the public. "I cannot emphasize enough how critical it is to follow both the letter and the spirit of the public health measures to prevent further illness and death from this virus," said Dr. Robert Strang. "We must never forget that it is all around us, and that is why it is so important we loosen restrictions and reopen slowly and gradually." Nova Scotia announced what it called a cautious plan to lift lockdown restrictions that have been in place since the end of April on Friday. Premier Iain Rankin unveiled a complex, five-phase strategy that won't progress until the province meets certain vaccination rates and hospitalization numbers. This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2021. The Canadian Press

Newsroom Ready: The Montreal Canadians and fans are reunited for the first time in over a year

For the first time since March 2020, a Canadian NHL team will have paying fans in the arena tonight. After Quebec loosened COVID-19 restrictions, the Montreal Canadiens will be permitted to have 2,500 fans in the 21,273-seat Bell Centre for Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Vietnam finds new virus variant, hybrid of India, UK strains

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has discovered a new coronavirus variant that’s a hybrid of strains first found in India and the U.K., the Vietnamese health minister said Saturday. Nguyen Thanh Long said scientists examined the genetic makeup of the virus that had infected some recent patients, and found the new version of the virus. He said lab tests suggested it might spread more easily than other versions of the virus. Viruses often develop small genetic changes as they reproduce, and new variants of the coronavirus have been seen almost since it was first detected in China in late 2019. The World Health Organization has listed four global “variants of concern” – the two first found in the U.K. and India, plus ones identified in South Africa and Brazil. Long says the new variant could be responsible for a recent surge in Vietnam, which has spread to 30 of the country’s 63 municipalities and provinces. Vietnam was initially a standout success in battling the virus — in early May, it had recorded just over 3,100 confirmed cases and 35 deaths since the start of the pandemic. But in the last few weeks, Vietnam has confirmed more than 3,500 new cases and 12 deaths, increasing the country’s total death toll to 47. Most of the new transmissions were found in Bac Ninh and Bac Giang, two provinces dense with industrial zones where hundreds of thousands of people work for major companies including Samsung, Canon and Luxshare, a partner in assembling Apple products. Despite strict health regulations, a company in Bac Giang discovered that one fifth of its 4,800 workers had tested positive for the virus. In Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s largest metropolis and home to 9 million, at least 85 people have tested positive as part of a cluster at a Protestant church, the Health Ministry said. Worshippers sang and chanted while sitting close together without wearing proper masks or taking other precautions. Vietnam has since ordered a nationwide ban on all religious events. In major cities, authorities have banned large gatherings, closed public parks and non-essential business including in-person restaurants, bars, clubs and spas. Vietnam so far has vaccinated 1 million people with AstraZeneca shots. Last week, it sealed a deal with Pfizer for 30 million doses, which are scheduled to be delivered in the third and fourth quarters of this year. It is also in talks with Moderna that would give it enough shots to fully vaccine 80% of its 96 million people. Hau Dinh, The Associated Press

Ontario principal removed after twice wearing hair of Black student like a wig

A school board in London, Ont., has removed a high school principal from his position after video surfaced on social media of him wearing the hair of a Black student as if it were a wig. A student who spoke to CBC News said the principal also wore the hair a second time six months after the first incident as part of a Halloween costume. The Conseil scolaire catholique Providence (CSC), the board that oversees francophone Catholic schools in southwestern Ontario, announced on Saturday that Luc Chartrand has been "immediately removed . from his current position." Chartrand was principal at Monseigneur-Bruyère, a French-language Catholic high school in north London. In an emailed statement that came in response to calls for comment from CBC News, CSC director general Joseph Picard said: "We strongly condemn this type of behaviour and maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward any racism, discrimination or the appearance thereof." Chartrand did not respond to a request for comment from CBC News. The move comes in response to two incidents that occurred in 2019, but they only came to light Friday evening when the London branch of Black Lives Matter posted a video on its Instagram account. The four-second video shows Chartrand during a school assembly that was being held as a fundraiser for a student who was battling cancer. Students were shaving their heads to support the student and to raise money for her. This still image shared Friday on Black Lives Matter London's Instagram page shows high school principal Luc Chartrand wearing hair recently shorn from a student as a wig. The school board announced Friday that Chartrand has been removed from his position.(Black Lives Matter London/Instagram) CBC News has spoken with two students who were in the gym that day and who verified the contents of the video. CBC News has agreed not to name the students for privacy reasons. One of the students whose hair was shorn that day is Black and had long dreadlocks. In the video, Chartrand is seen putting a clump of the shaved student's hair on his own head, and he then begins to flaunt for the crowd. A former student said Chartrand wore the hair at school a second time six months later, at Halloween, as part of a costume that included a basketball jersey in an apparent attempt to dress up like the student who had his hair shorn. The student plays basketball. A former student whom CBC News has agreed not to name for privacy reasons said the two incidents left many students at the school disgusted and offended. "It bothers me racially, because dreadlocks are so important to my culture," said the student, who is of Haitian descent. The student said it was inappropriate for Chartrand to keep the hair, only to wear it again at Halloween. The student who had cancer died in August of that year. ➫solutely wrong' Alexandra Kane, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter London, said the video raises all kinds of red flags. "There are levels of cultural appropriation here," Kane said. "You can see he puts the hair on and he starts being ɻlack' with his body movements and his actions. It is absolutely wrong. Our clothes, our hair, our skin, is not a costume for you to wear and parade around." Kane said the student may have felt compelled to let Chartrand use the hair in this way, given that he was an authority figure. Alexandra Kane, a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter London, says a white principal wearing the hair of a Black student as part of a costume raises serious problems. 'There are levels of cultural appropriation here,' Kane said.(Andrew Lupton/CBC) "Even if the student gave permission for this to happen, it's not OK to put that kind of pressure on a student," she said. "It's not OK to say, 'I'm going to be you for Halloween' as a white man. It's like you're mocking him." Since posting the video, Kane said she's been contacted by current and former Monseigneur-Bruyère students. She said many are questioning why Chartrand's actions are only surfacing and being addressed by the board now, two years after the first incident in the gym. The student who confirmed the contents of the video also shared with CBC News a letter sent to the school board in June 2020 demanding changes at the school to create a better climate for Black students. The student said the letter was partly in response to Chartrand's actions the previous Halloween but also in response to other incidents at the school and the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer a month earlier. The student said she received no response from the board. Kane said she's heard similar stories from students who've spoken out since the photo of Chartrand was posted Friday. "The school board was aware of the situation when it happened," she said. "The students sent a petition to the school board and they did nothing. I hope they do more to eradicate racism in their own board. They need to find out where the problems are." 'I left for the same reasons' News of the principal's behaviour hit a nerve with Arielle Kayabaga, a London city councillor. She attended Monseigneur-Bruyère when she was in high school but transferred to another school before graduation over what she said was a climate of racism at the school. "I left for the same reasons. I just felt there was discriminations happening towards people of colour," she said. "The racism I experienced at that school made me want to switch schools, and that was 10 years ago. "The students there now are experiencing the same thing. It's not just about the principal." Arielle Kayabaga, a London city councillor, attended Monseigneur-Bruyère in high school, but said she transferred to another school before graduating due to what she called a climate of racism at the school.(Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Brazilians stage nationwide protests against President Bolsonaro's COVID response

RIO DE JANEIRO/BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazilians staged protests against President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in at least 16 cities across the country on Saturday, carrying signs such as "Out with Bolsonaro" and "Impeachment now." Bolsonaro's popularity has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 460,000 Brazilians as the far-right leader played down its severity, dismissed mask wearing and cast doubt on the importance of vaccines. Organized by leftist political parties, unions and student associations, Saturday's protests in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro were peaceful, but in the northeastern city of Recife, police threw tear gas and shot rubber bullets.

Investigators identify body found along Highway 1 near Yale as 19-year-old woman

Homicide investigators say foul play is suspected in the death of a 19-year-old woman whose body was found along Highway 1 north of Hope, B.C. earlier this week. Boston Bar RCMP said a passing motorist reported seeing a human body near Highway 1 between Hope and Yale on May 26 at approximately 1:50 p.m. The victim has been identified as Melissa Elizabeth Steele, according to the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT). She was known to frequent the downtown area of Vancouver and led a transient lifestyle. Sgt. Frank Jang said in a written release on Friday that investigators are working to develop a timeline of Steele's activities before her death. They are also looking for dashcam footage from anyone who was travelling between Boston Bar and Hope on May 25 and 26. Anyone with information is urged to call IHIT at 1 877 551-IHIT (4448), or email at [email protected] Anonymous reports can be made at Crime Stoppers:, or by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Moosomin First Nation promises 'revitalization' with new horse-racing track

After months of uncertainty, the future of horse racing in Saskatchewan is seeing some stability with Moosomin First Nation's announcement of a new racetrack, planned for construction the municipality of Corman Park. The track, to be called Moosomin Downs, will play host to an assortment of events, ranging from thoroughbred horse racing to equine therapy programs. Moosomin First Nation leaders say it will be a renewal for the sport in the province. "Over the last 25 years, our First Nation had a dream of developing our Treaty Land Entitlement lands in the RM of Corman Park. We will now be breaking ground and participating in the economy by utilizing the lands our treaty promise ensured us," Moosomin Chief Brad Swiftwolfe said in a Friday news release. "We're going to be inclusive and will be reaching out to all stakeholders and interests when our implementation plan is more substantive." Whether horse racing in Saskatchewan would continue was in question for months leading up to Friday's announcement. Earlier this year, Prairieland Park indicated it would no longer be operating Marquis Downs in Saskatoon — the province's only race track — leaving many in the horse-racing community in limbo. Now, assets from Prairieland will be donated in kind to the endeavour. While the move is welcomed by leaders in the RM of Corman Park — the municipality that surrounds Saskatoon — some members of the horse-racing community say the industry will suffer as people wait for a new track to be constructed. "Time is not on our side when it comes to waiting for the construction of new tracks," said Nicole Hein, an apprentice jockey who races at Marquis Downs and leader of a grassroots effort to save the track. "Everything is ready to go, ready and waiting right here in Saskatoon." Nicole Hein, an apprentice jockey and an advocate for the Saskatchewan horse-racing industry, is seen in this supplied photo during a morning gallop at Prairieland Park. She feels many in the horse-racing community in Saskatoon will still be affected as they wait for the construction of a new track.(Leanne King Photography) The group is currently working to get heritage status for Marquis Downs. They say that effort will continue, even as a new track is in the works, and plan to make a presentation to the city in June. Hein says the fact people are looking at other ways to continue the sport proves there's a viable market for horse racing in Saskatchewan, and for the continuation of Marquis Downs, which she says is being abandoned. While the issue is complex, she says she is overall pleased that horse racing will continue in Saskatchewan. "I'm glad things aren't completely over, but I wish we could all come together to focus on something that exists right now, that can provide the service to the community immediately, and not in the future." Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron says the announcement is an important step, both for Moosomin First Nation and reconciliation in the province as a whole. The development "will provide the foundation for revitalization of a part of our identity as First Nations people that was on the brink of being lost," Cameron said in Friday's news release. "We honour the cultural and spiritual impact of our sacred relationship with the horse spirit, and we are proud to see its sacred teachings once again throughout our treaty lands." The Moosomin First Nation Economic Development Corporation will be the official body behind the project.

Brothers killed in drive-by shooting ɽidn't expect to die,' family says

At the home of Abdulaziz and Mohamad Abdullah, their half-eaten food remains on a plate, their shoes at the front door. "Never to be worn again," said a family member, whom CBC Ottawa is not naming because of concerns for her safety. The two men — Abdullaziz, 34, and Mohamad, 27 — were shot dead in a drive-by shooting outside an Alta Vista strip mall Friday evening. A third brother, Fawaz Abdullah, who was shot in the leg and underwent surgery at hospital, is expected to survive his injuries. Ottawa police believe the shootings, and the men, were targeted. The drive-by shooting occurred just after 6:30 p.m. The brothers, believed to have been unarmed at the time, were shot near their white Range Rover at the sidewalk edge of a packed parking lot at the intersection of Alta Vista Drive and Dorion Avenue. Eyewitnesses who described the confrontation told CBC they heard gunshot after gunshot. Police and paramedics descended on the area. One of the brothers was found dead inside the vehicle, while another was on the ground. Police covered the driver's side window of the SUV with a white sheet and placed a yellow tarp on the dead man on the ground. They cordoned off the entire parking lot and plaza, which contains a Shoppers Drug Mart and Tim Hortons, with police tape. A group of men stood watch across the street Friday evening near the bodies of their slain friends, their numbers slowly growing as police remained at the scene. The family said it was Fawaz who alerted relatives and friends about what happened, telling his mother and sister that his brothers had been killed. At the family home, mourners arrived to offer their condolences to a family struck by unimaginable tragedy — three brothers shot in one evening — and police officers stood guard through the night, the family member said. History with courts Two of the Abdullah brothers have a history with the criminal courts and gang-related violence. Abdulaziz Abdullah, or "EZ," has been convicted numerous times for gang-and-gun violence. He was due in court in Toronto in September to face an attempted murder charge. His convictions range from gun possession to being an accessory after a homicide. He was also convicted for his involvement in a 2008 gang-related drive-by shooting in Ottawa's south end. In 2011, Abdulaziz was convicted of brandishing a gun to get rid of people from a hotel party. He then barricaded himself inside a room and a six-hour standoff with police ensued. He was convicted of possessing and carelessly handling a semi-automatic handgun. The parking lot of the Alta Vista Drive strip mall where 34-year-old Abdulaziz Abdullah and 27-year-old Mohamad Abdullah were shot to death on May 28, 2021, is seen here the following morning. (Uday Rana/CBC) Court records tell the story of a family that tried to steer him and his brothers away from a life of guns. He came to Canada from Kuwait when he was seven years old, according to the sentencing decision from the hotel case. After youth brushes with the law and "what his family considered to be undesirable friends," the family returned to Kuwait. Abdulaziz returned to Canada in 2007, and criminal charges and convictions continued. He pleaded guilty in October 2016 to being an accessory and getaway driver in the 2015 homicide of Sharif Said. Fawaz, or "Caesar," was charged with two counts of attempted murder in a drive-by shooting in 2014. He pleaded guilty to lesser firearms charges in 2016 and was sentenced to three years and 131 days in prison. 'They paid their debt' Despite their mistakes, they didn't deserve to be victims of such violence, their family member said. The three brothers, along with their sister and mother, are the only members of the family living in Ottawa, the woman said, adding that the brothers were devoted to their mother and family. "But when with boys in the street, they were different men," she said. "Every time they leave the house, they are afraid it's their last day because of mistakes in the past." They came to Canada as immigrants and grew up in a rough neighbourhood, the woman said. There were times that the family — devout and religious Muslims — distanced themselves from the brothers. Despite their negative past, they were still loved, respected and had a family. They were truly victims. - Family member But in recent years, the woman said, they were growing up and becoming adults. They recently celebrated Eid together. They were making plans to plant a garden. Their mother, the woman said, refused to leave them because she feared if she did that, they would choose the wrong path for good. On Friday evening, Abdulaziz and Mohamad "didn't expect to die," the woman said. They were all just innocently hanging out together, as brothers, in the parking lot. "They paid their debt to society," she said. "Despite their negative past, they were still loved, respected and had a family. They were truly victims." Police appeal for information Since the killing, police have found a white Acura parked in Kanata South off of Old Richmond Road that was reported stolen from Toronto, according to police sources. It's believed to be the getaway vehicle used in the triple shooting. The Abdullah brothers' deaths are the fifth and sixth homicides in Ottawa in 2021. Police do not believe that Friday's double homicide is related to the fatal shooting of Abdulkadir Yusuf earlier this week. They are asking anyone with information to call the homicide unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5493.

Squamish husband and wife who died hours apart from COVID-19 honoured at truck rally

Two long-term residents of Squamish, B.C., who recently died hours apart of COVID-19 were honoured at a truck rally on Saturday. Margaret (Gail) Ross and Harvey (Merrill) Ross died 17 hours apart on May 5 and 6, respectively, of complications from COVID-19 after a month-long battle with the disease, according to their obituary. Merrill was 76 and Gail was 73. "This is not the way Merrill and Gail's story was supposed to end," said JR Transport owner Darren Doak, who organized the rally. "I miss them every day." Beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Doak says, thousands of locals came out to watch about 90 trucks meander through Squamish and onto the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Hard worker and team mom Doak says he had known Merrill for 50 years from their shared careers in the trucking and logging industry. According to their obituary, Gail and Merrill Doak were married for 54 years and had moved to Squamish from Montague, P.E.I, in 1969. Merrill was known to many for his "old-school work ethic." "Merrill was an extremely hard worker, whether he was going to work for five minutes, one load, or whether it was going to be a 15-hour day," Doak said, adding that Merrill worked right up until he became ill. His wife, Gail, was known in town as "the ultimate team mom" who volunteered with hockey, soccer, baseball and ringette youth teams in the community. She often travelled with her husband on his trips. Doak says the couple were sent to the Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver shortly after they fell ill. He doesn't know if they had been vaccinated against COVID-19. The pair leave behind four children and seven grandchildren.

More Canadians turning to cannabis to help deal with pandemic pressures

Kacie Fann had three kids and a full-time job as a realtor when the pandemic hit last year. Like so many others, her life was turned upside-down and she found herself at a loss as to how to cope. "I didn't know how I was going to do it," Fann said. "I started having severe anxiety attacks because I was so overwhelmed with the news and everything else." Fann walked away from the career she had spent years building, taught herself how to trade stocks to generate some income, and turned her attention to helping her kids, including a two-year-old, navigate online school. However, despite these radical lifestyle changes meant to help reduce daily pressures, Fann says her attacks did not abate until she tried something completely new to her. "A friend of mine told me about CBD," she said, referring to cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis plants. "And I would say within the first week [of trying it], my nerves started to calm down and I was able to just think and come up with a plan of how I was going to do this, how I was going to manage." At first she did worry about the stigma associated with cannabis, especially as a mom of three, but after doing her own research she says she felt comfortable with the choice. Fann adds that cannabis has made more of a difference to her stress levels and mood than anything else she's tried, including exercise and meditating. "It has tremendously helped relieve me of my anxiety," she said. Fann is far from alone among Canadians who are turning to cannabis in some form during the pandemic. According to a recent Statistics Canada survey that looked at changes in alcohol, drug and medication consumption habits, 20 per cent of Canadians now report using cannabis, up from 14 per cent before COVID-19. Kacie Fann says she started having severe anxiety attacks during the pandemic because she was, 'so overwhelmed with the news and everything else.'(Perlita Stroh/CBC) The StatsCan report also found that the top reasons Canadians cited for using cannabis include increased stress, boredom and loneliness. Yad Singh is the owner of Dolly's Cannabis, a dispensary in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. He has a degree in nuclear medicine, and became interested in therapeutic uses of cannabis while looking for ways to alleviate some of the symptoms a family member was suffering as they battled terminal cancer. These days, he says his dispensary is helping people ease some of the stress they are experiencing as a result of repeated pandemic lockdowns. "You know, a good majority of everyone that comes here is definitely affected by COVID and how it's impacting their mood," Singh said. "So, whether they put on a good face about it, it's still impacting them and is still tough to deal with." Yad Singh is the owner of Dolly’s Cannabis, a dispensary in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood. He said new customers often tell him they are trying to deal with increased fear and anxiety surrounding the pandemic.(Perlita Stroh/CBC) Singh says he's seen a marked increase recently in the number of people coming in for the first time — people who've never tried cannabis before. "I've noticed in the last two months new users increasingly coming to our store. I would say, from our perspective, maybe about a five to 10 per cent jump in these types of customers," Singh said. He adds that people tell him they are trying to deal with increased fear and anxiety surrounding the pandemic, and they often come to the dispensary after trying other means to regulate their mood. Some also say they're trying to avoid turning to other substances, such as alcohol. "I hear from people in casual conversation, they'll tell me, 'you know, you can't drink beer all the time, and I need something to kind of get through this period,'" Singh said. Cannabidiol, used to produce CBD oil, is a compound found in the cannabis plant. (Mike Segar/Reuters) Researchers at Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) have been monitoring the uptick in cannabis consumption. "The pandemic has certainly created the perfect storm in terms of use," said Dr. Leslie Buckley, chief addictions psychiatrist at CAMH. Researchers at CAMH note the potential health risks associated with frequent reliance on cannabis. Possible long-term effects include heightened anxiety, depression and even psychosis, especially among those with a family history of mental health issues. CAMH is urging younger people and pregnant women to avoid using cannabis entirely, as well as warning people to wait at least six hours to drive after consuming it. It also cautions all users to exercise moderation. "One way to reduce risk is to decrease the THC content, and decrease the amount of cannabis being consumed," Dr. Buckley said. Despite these warnings, Singh says he is seeing people all along the spectrum of anxiety and depression who are trying cannabis. One of his dispensary's new customers, Daniel Guedes de Andrade, is an articling student who came to Dolly's for relief for intense anxiety after several visits to the emergency room with a racing heartbeat that shook him. "When it was really bad, I had a very fast heart rate and it felt like pressure in the chest and a shortness of breath," Guedes de Andrade said. "This pandemic has definitely increased my levels of anxiety." Daniel Guedes de Andrade said CBD has helped him relax and focus.(Perlita Stroh/CBC) Guedes de Andrade is currently being monitored by a doctor to rule out any cardiac issues, but he says at times the anxiety was so intense that it was debilitating. He was unable to focus on work or calm down enough to enjoy much of anything, he adds, but since starting to vape CBD he says that's changed. "It has helped me a lot with managing anxiety and with enabling relaxation as well," he said. "It works in a matter of a few seconds and it's been very helpful. It's like, I'm able to be functional and excited to be doing my work." Fann says she plans to keep using CBD oil. She was initially using the oil once a day, but adds that she now needs less of it to cope than she did when she first started using it. "I'm pretty much down to maybe like one drop a week now, because I've gotten to a place where I've been able to manage everything that I have on my plate," Fann said. Dr. Buckley says CAMH plans to continue studying the usage levels of people, to see if cannabis consumption goes down or stays at the same level after the pandemic. Watch full episodes of The National on CBC Gem, the CBC's streaming service.

Chinese city locks down neighborhood after virus upsurge

BEIJING (AP) — The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou shut down a neighborhood and ordered its residents to stay home Saturday for door-to-door coronavirus testing following an upsurge in infections that has rattled authorities. Guangzhou, a business and industrial center of 15 million people north of Hong Kong, has reported 20 new infections over the past week. The number is small compared with India’s thousands of daily cases but has alarmed Chinese authorities who believed they had the disease under control. The spread of infections was “fast and strong,” the official Global Times newspaper cited health authorities as saying. Saturday's order to stay home applied to residents of five streets in Liwan District in the city center. Outdoor markets, child care centers and entertainment venues were closed. Indoor restaurant dining was prohibited. Grade schools were told to stop in-person classes. People in parts of four nearby districts were ordered to limit outdoor activity. The city government earlier ordered testing of hundreds of thousands of residents following the initial infections. The government said some 700,000 people had been tested by Wednesday. China reports a handful of new cases every day but says almost all are believed to be people who were infected abroad. The mainland’s official death toll stands at 4,636 out of 91,061 confirmed cases. On Saturday, the National Health Commission reported two new locally transmitted cases in Guangzhou and 14 in other parts of the country that it said came from abroad. Most of the latest infections in Guangzhou are believed to be linked to a 75-year-old woman who was found May 21 to have the variant first identified in India, state media say. Most of the others attended a dinner with her or live together. That infection spread to the nearby city of Nanshan, where one new confirmed case and two asymptomatic cases were reported Saturday after people from Guangzhou were tested, according to The Global Times. The Associated Press

What’s Happening Los Angeles: March 2017

On March 17, Casey’s Irish Pub in downtown Los Angeles will host the 44th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival. The 20-hour celebration will feature live DJ performances and traditional Irish food and drinks.

Esters Wine Shop & Bar Launches New Lunch Menu

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The #1 Way to Lose Weight, According to Doctors

The #1 way to lose weight according to doctors isn't a mystery, but it is hard for many of us to sustain. For all we've learned about the science of losing weight—perhaps most importantly, that low-fat and super-low-calorie diets don't work—more Americans are overweight or obese than ever. Further complicating matters: Recent studies have found that when we lose weight, our bodies actually try to hang on to fat. When pounds drop off rapidly, metabolism slows down in an attempt to keep things stable.But successful weight loss is possible by shaking off the fads and committing to a few key concepts. Here's what doctors say are the most effective ways to lose weight. Read on for the top 5 tips, counting down to #1—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 17 Most Weight-Loss Friendly Foods on the Planet. 5 Exercise Regularly … With Caution All of us should exercise daily for health. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise—such as brisk walking—per week. But exercising for weight loss is tricky. You can't out-exercise a bad diet, and exercise can make you hungry, which can lead to taking in more calories. However, building muscle via resistance exercise can boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss. So experts recommend exercising most days of the week with at least two strength-training workouts weekly. Just be realistic about its effects and make it part of a weight-loss regimen, not your whole plan. 4 Eat More Vegetables Vegetables are high in fiber, which is extremely satiating. When you're satisfied, you'll eat less. "Non-starchy vegetables really fill you up," says JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of preventive medicine at Brigham&Women's Hospital. These include broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, salad greens and mushrooms. (Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, peas and corn, may be less effective because starch is converted in the body to sugar.) Experts recommend allotting at least half your plate to vegetables at every meal. 3 Eat Less Sugar To lose weight, doctors agree that it's essential to consume less added sugar. Sugary drinks and foods cause blood sugar to spike and crash, causing cravings for more sugar and the consumption of more calories. Choose foods with as little added sugar as possible, and take sugar-laden drinks like soda off your menu ASAP. "Avoid all sugary drinks, as they provide ɾmpty calories' that don't fill you up. The sugar may uniquely act on the liver to produce belly fat," Dean Schillinger, MD, chief of the University of California, San Francisco Division of General Internal Medicine, told Time magazine. 2 Eat More Whole Foods Most of the standard American diet—its apt acronym is SAD—involves processed foods that are stripped of nutrients and high in sugar and sodium. Generally, they're not satisfying, which causes you to take in more calories. "A high-quality diet will almost automatically lead to better calorie control—you're going to be eating foods with higher satiety," says Manson. "A high-quality eating plan is something like the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish and olive oil, while being low in red meat, processed meats and processed foods." 1 Achieving a Calorie Deficit is the Most Scientific Way to Lose Weight—But You Must Also Focus on Your Relationship With Food To achieve weight loss, the bottom line is that you need to expend more calories than you take in over an extended period of time. "The truth is, almost any diet will work [for weight loss] if it helps you take in fewer calories," says Harvard Medical School. To burn calories, get daily exercise. To limit the calories you take in, be mindful of portion size, and ensure your meals emphasize whole foods like vegetables and whole grains to fill you up, while limiting processed foods and sugar. That said, "when focusing on nutrition and the root cause of obesity, it's important to look past the obvious ⟊lories in vs calories out' and focus on our relationships with food," says Lorraine Kearney BASc, CDN, CEO New York City Nutrition and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist. "Some factors to take into consideration are gut health, stress levels, sleep schedule, medical conditions, food and taste preferences, financial resources, accessibility to food, and even self-esteem. Nutrition education (based on scientific evidence) is the best way to improve our relationships with food and achieve the long-term sustainable results they desire. Our relationship with food is driven by a biological need as well as a psychological need. The Biological need for food is related to the benefits nutrition has on our overall health as well as our energy levels. The psychological need for food is related to taste, texture, smell, cultural food and food cravings. If we do not tap into the relationship with food on the psychological level, the average person will not understand their food cravings and why they want to make changes to their diet." So seek help if you need it, and now that you know what to do, get inspired by these 19 Weight Loss Foods That Really Work, Say Doctors.

5 Sure Signs You've Ruined Your Brain, Say Experts

Your brain. As long as the body's command center seems to be in reasonably working order, most of us don't think too much about it. But many experts say it's time to get more proactive about our brain health, which can deteriorate as we get older. The number of people living with dementia worldwide is expected to triple by 2050, as the population ages and life expectancy increases. Although there is no cure for dementia at present, several studies have found you can take action to keep your brain healthy—and there are many destructive patterns that can wreck this incredibly vital organ. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 19 Ways You're Ruining Your Body, Say Health Experts. 1 You're Chronically Lonely Out of necessity, most of us have been isolated during the pandemic. But staying lonely can endanger your brain health. Loneliness seems to cause a stress reaction in the body that, over time, can weaken the heart, immune system, and brain. "Social isolation and loneliness have negative health impacts on par with obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and are associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia," says Scott Kaiser, MD, a board-certified geriatrician at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, and director of geriatric cognitive health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute. 2 You're Not Getting Enough Sleep Sleep is incredibly important to your brain. During that time, it self-cleans, eliminating proteins and waste that can lead to dementia. Don't get enough sleep, and you'll raise your risk of temporary fog now and dementia later on. "The quantity and quality of sleep have profound physiological impacts that impact our day-to-day thinking, memory, and mood as well as our long-term risk of cognitive decline," says Kaiser. Experts recommend that adults get seven to nine hours of quality sleep every night. 3 You're Not Exercising If you're not exercising regularly, you aren't just endangering your heart and waistline. A sedentary lifestyle has been associated with an increased risk of dementia and cardiovascular diseases like stroke. "The benefits of regular physical activity are so numerous, especially for our brain health, that in a sense exercise is the closest thing we have to a miracle drug," says Kaiser. According to the Mayo Clinic, simply walking briskly for 30 to 60 minutes, three to five times a week, can lead to "measurable brain improvements." 4 You're Not Eating Enough of These Foods Recent studies suggest that the concept of "brain food" is not a myth. "An extensive and growing body of research demonstrates the brain-health benefits of certain foods, especially those rich in certain antioxidants and other neuroprotective compounds," says Kaiser. Some studies show that people who consume more phytonutrients called flavonoids intake have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. These natural chemicals seem to protect the brain against injury. Flavonoid-rich foods include berries, leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, tea, and dark chocolate. 5 You Don't Have a Sense of Purpose Feeling adrift? It's not just bad for your bank account your brain can suffer too. One long-term study found that people who had a high sense of purpose or meaning in life were 2.4 times less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than people with low purpose. Preserving a sense of meaning seems to keep your brain healthy, even if it's been physically damaged through injury or stroke. You don't have to have the answer to the meaning of life just get involved—studies have found that volunteering, mentoring, and taking classes are all effective ways to improve your brain health. So seek help if you need it, and to stay trim well into your later years, get inspired by these 19 Weight Loss Foods That Really Work, Say Doctors.

Motherhood: A Manifesto (M)otherhood The Motherhood Complex review – calling time on the cult of the perfect parent

Motherhood: A Manifesto (M)otherhood The Motherhood Complex review – calling time on the cult of the perfect parentEliane Glaser, Pragya Agarwal and Melissa Hogenboom offer challenging responses to the contradictions of so many parenting guides Pragya Agarwal is concerned with issues of her identity in her book. ‘What does it mean to want to be a mother?’ Photograph: Anastasiya Shumilina/Getty Images/iStockphoto

40 Ways You're Ruining Your Heart, Say Doctors

What could be worse than a broken heart? The fact that you may be doing the breaking. According to the CDC, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans every year—accounting for one in every four deaths—many of them preventable. You can make easy changes to your lifestyle to reduce your risk. Here are 40 things you've probably been doing that hurt your heart—and what you can do to make it better. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these 19 Ways You're Ruining Your Body, Say Health Experts. 1 You Don't Know the Signs Most of us think stabbing chest pain is the telltale sign of a heart attack. In the movies, there's the classic scene where the man gasps, clutches his heart, and collapses. But heart attacks don't only strike men—heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. And in women, the symptoms can be much less dramatic. According to experts at the National Heart Association, women having a heart attack may feel:Uncomfortable pressure or a feeling of fullness in the chest that lasts for a few minutes, or goes away and comes backPain that radiates into the shoulders, neck, jaw, back, or either armShortness of breath with or without chest painBreaking out in a cold sweat, vomiting and nausea, extreme fatigue, or feeling lightheadedThe Rx: These heart attack signs may be subtle, but they're no less deadly. Man or woman, if you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital. 2 You Think You're Too Young to Have a Stroke You're out shopping with a friend when your arm gets tingly and your words start slurring. This couldn't be a stroke—you're too young for that, right? Nope. Compared to 20 years ago, strokes are on the rise in people under the age of 45. A study in JAMA Neurology found that acute ischemic stroke hospitalization rates in women aged 18 to 34 rose nearly 32 percent. Researchers think this is linked to an increase in high cholesterol, tobacco use, high blood pressure and obesity.The Rx: Know the signs of a stroke. This acronym is easy to remember: FAST, which stands for facial drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulties, and time to call 911. 3 Your Eyes Are Turning White If you notice a white or gray ring around your iris, and you aren't a zombie, it might mean you have arcus senilis—a potential sign of high cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic, it's not unusual if you're over 30 years of age. If you're younger than that, it could be cause for concern. Whitening in the cornea in younger people is a potential sign of familial hyperlipidemia, a common genetic disorder that increases blood fats and increases your risk of a heart attack.The Rx: Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice these white rings around your cornea to check your cholesterol levels. 4 You're Not Flossing Enough Taking care of your teeth isn't just about having a bright white smile. The American Heart Association's journal Hypertension says there is a link between gum disease and heart disease. Poor dental health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in your bloodstream (because it could get in through your bleeding gums). And, there is a connection between tooth loss and coronary artery disease.The Rx: We know it's a pain but floss every night, brush your teeth at least twice daily, and go to your dentist for a cleaning. 5 You Have a Lot of Angry Outbursts Do you see red when a driver cuts you off in traffic, or your favorite football team fumbles the ball? Uncontrolled anger can lead to an increase in heart trouble, according to the Journal of American Medicine. When you get angry, stress hormones flood your body, which causes your face to flush, your heart to race and your blood pressure to rise. Chronically angry people have a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease. And if you're a man, you're more likely to experience this rage: males reported "higher rates of anger attacks/aggression, substance abuse, and risk-taking compared with women."The Rx: Anger is natural—we all get ticked off sometimes. But unsuppressed anger is bad for you, and it takes a toll. You might seek anger management therapy to find ways to manage your emotions. There's no proof it will prevent a heart attack, but it can help your peace of mind. 6 You Have a Broken Heart There really is such a thing as dying of a broken heart—it's not just something made up for romance novels. Broken Heart Syndrome is triggered by major stress, like the death of someone you love or an ugly breakup. It's a temporary heart condition sometimes called takotsubo cardiomyopathy that disrupts your heart's ability to pump normally. The good news is, broken heart syndrome is treatable and usually clears up within a few weeks.The Rx: Don't try to deal with the stress of losing a loved one alone. Reach out for help—whether to a trusted doctor, a therapist, or family and friends. No one has to go through that pain alone. 7 You Don't Have a Dog Want to get heart healthy? The American Heart Association says that owning a dog is associated with lower risk of heart disease. Not only are dogs great companions, they get more than wagging their own tails—they get your tail moving. That's because dogs need to be walked every day, and dog owners are 54 percent more likely to get at least the recommended level of exercise.The Rx: Consider adopting a pet from the Humane Society. 8 You're Rocking Out Heavy metal music gets your blood pumping, but it doesn't do much for your heart health. A study by the University of Florence found that patients who listened to classical, Celtic, or Indian music and practiced slow breathing for a half hour each day had significant improvements in blood pressure.The Rx: Don't throw out your favorite AC/DC t-shirt. But be aware of the calming effects of classical, and add some Mozart to your musical mix. 9 You Have Insomnia Sleep is essential for your health. When people suffer from insomnia, they're not just exhausted—they're at greater risk for all kinds of health problems. Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by not being able to fall asleep or stay asleep. Chronic insomnia is a sleep disturbance that happens at least three times per week and lasts for at least three months. This kind of insomnia is what puts you at greater risk. According to a report published in Hypertension, chronic insomnia is associated with a significant increase in hypertension.The Rx: You don't have to live with insomnia—it is treatable. The National Sleep Foundation recommends talking with your doctor for treatment options. 10 You're Sleeping Too Much There really can be too much of a good thing when it comes to sleep. According to a study conducted in the United Kingdom, sleeping more than 9 hours per night is linked to a 30% greater risk of early death. And napping during the day can be just as dangerous. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that women who take naps every day are 58% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease.The Rx: Get a good night's sleep – between 7 and 9 hours. 11 You're Ignoring Your Snoring If you wake up feeling exhausted every morning, and your partner complains that you snore a lot, you may have a condition called sleep apnea. It's more than just annoying—it's dangerous. Symptoms include high blood pressure, waking up gasping for air, and the inability to concentrate. With this disorder, the muscles in the back of your throat fail to keep the airway open. Not only does this give you a terrible night's sleep and low blood oxygen levels, the National Sleep Association says it can lead to congestive heart failure, heart attack, and cardiac arrhythmia (a disturbance of your heart's rhythm).The Rx: Snoring can be a major health problem, so ask to see a sleep specialist if you think you might have sleep apnea. They can give you a diagnosis and treatment to help you get some quality sleep. 12 You're Gaining a Lot of Weight—and It's in Your Waist For decades, we've been told to worry about our body mass index (BMI) when it comes to weight. But a study by the North American Menopause Society showed that it's not how much fat, but where it is on your body that matters most to your heart. Belly fat, also called visceral fat, is the most dangerous kind because it surrounds your vital organs deep inside your body. Women who carried fat mostly in their torso were three times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than women who have more fat in their legs.The Rx: If you're having trouble keeping the weight off, talk to your doctor for advice on how to manage your risk. 13 You're Skipping the Doctor Do you only go to the doctor when you want a prescription, or think you have the flu? If so, you're not alone—26 percent of people in one recent survey said they had trouble paying for healthcare services, and 20% had canceled a visit because they couldn't afford it. (Even if you can afford it, you might be too busy to go.) If you're skipping out on your annual checkup, you could be putting your health at risk. The cuff that squeezes your arm is an important part of your screening according to the National Heart Association, because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms—so you won't know if it's out of control without going to the doctor's office. You may also have your cholesterol levels checked to see if you're at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke.The Rx: We know it can be expensive and inconvenient, but see your doctor for preventative check-ups if at all possible. 14 You're Sitting Too Much Working at a desk, driving to work, binge-watching Netflix—all of that downtime has a high price. Australian researchers found that every hour spent watching TV is linked to an 18% greater risk of death from cardiovascular disease, the same as smoking two cigarettes.The Rx: You don't have to give up watching Westworld. But take breaks every now and then to get up, stretch your muscles, or jog in place to keep your blood flowing. 15 You're Not Hanging Out with Friends Being lonely really can hurt your heart—in a literal way. According to research published in the journal Heart, people who reported not having close friendships or feelings of loneliness had a 32% higher risk of stroke, and a 29% increased risk of coronary heart disease. People who have a good circle of friends have a better chance of a longer life—social connections can help us feel more positive, recover from illness faster, and increase immune function.The Rx: Pick up the phone and call your friends. If you're feeling depressed, talk to a doctor or a therapist to get help. 16 You're Too Serious Does the weight of the world hang on your shoulders? You might benefit from a good laugh. Research has shown that laughter is linked to chemical changes in the body that reduce stress and increase pain tolerance. According to a study in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, adults over the age of 60 who participated in weekly "group laughter sessions" had an increase in mineral bone density. Findings also show that people with a sense of humor are linked to a 73% lower risk of death from heart disease.The Rx: The next time it's your pick on movie night, choose a comedy instead of a dark documentary. 17 You're Taking Antibiotics By now you've probably heard that taking too many antibiotics isn't a good idea—because bacteria become resistant to them and morph into "superbugs." But antibiotics can also be bad for your heart. According to European Heart Journal, long-time antibiotic use changes the microbiome in your gut and associated with significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease.The Rx: We're not saying to stop taking your antibiotics—that can lead to other health problems. But just be aware that long-term use of any medication carries risk, and talk to your doctor about it. 18 You've Been Hospitalized Hospitals are where you go to get well—but laying in your hospital bed for too long without moving can put you at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). That's when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in your leg. When that clot breaks off and travels up to your lungs, it's a life-threatening condition called a pulmonary embolism. Warning signs of DVT include leg pain or tenderness, leg swelling, skin that feels warm to the touch, and red streaks on the skin.The Rx: The American Heart Association recommends wearing compression stockings or getting out of your hospital bed quickly after surgery if possible. Talk to your doctor about how to manage your risk of deep vein thrombosis. 19 You're A Woman On "The Pill" Oral contraceptive pills are a highly effective birth control—but they increase risk of high blood pressure in some women. According to the American Heart Association, this is most likely in women who smoke, are overweight, have had high blood pressure during pregnancy, or have a family history of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a silent killer – many adults don't even know they have it because there are often no obvious symptoms.The Rx: Don't quit taking your medication without talking to your doctor first. 20 You Smoke (Or You Breathe Secondhand Smoke) The science is clear: smoking is bad for your heart. According to the CDC, smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease—and not just in the ways you might think. Lighting up can raise triglycerides (a fat in your blood), lower your "good" HDL cholesterol, make your blood stickier and more prone to clotting, cause thickening and narrowing of your blood vessels, and a whole host of other nasty side effects. The effects are significant for nonsmokers who breathe secondhand smoke at home or work, too—a 25% increased risk of heart disease and 20% greater risk of stroke.The Rx: Quit the sticks. If you're having trouble kicking your smoking habit, talk with your doctor. And to live your happiest and healthiest life, don't miss this essential list of the Worst Things For Your Health—According to Doctors. 21 You Are Depressed The mind-body connection is well known in the medical community. So, it comes as no surprise that mental pain can cause physical pain. Research shows that people with cardiovascular disease are more likely to have depression, and people with depression are more likely to have cardiovascular disease—the two are linked. But they link is also proportional, which means the more severe your depression, the more likely you are to develop heart disease and die from it.The Rx: Don't suffer from depression in silence. Seek help from a therapist—there's zero shame in taking care of your mental health. 22 You Don't Know Your Numbers There is debate about whether keto diets are good for your health, but the science is clear on one thing: too much LDL cholesterol is linked to heart disease. LDL causes fatty deposits to build up in your arteries, which reduces the flow of blood and oxygen to your heart. The American Heart Association says it's vital for men and women to keep a close eye on their cholesterol.The Rx: Start eating a heart-healthy diet and limit your red meat, saturated fats like coconut oil, and full-fat dairy. You can also increase your intake of "good" HDL cholesterol 23 You're Not Eating Your Veggies Your mom was right—you have to eat your vegetables if you want to be healthy. The CDC recommends 2 cups of fruit per day and 3 cups of vegetables for adults for a healthy diet because they are rich in nutrition and low in calories. And, according to an English study of 65,000 adults over more than 7 years, those who ate the most produce every day lowered their risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 31%.The Rx: Any amount of green is good for you, so don't be scared off by a high target. 24 You're Eating Too Much Sugar Sorry donut lovers: even if you're at a healthy weight, a diet high in sugar may increase your risk of heart disease. According to a study published in the Journal of American Medicine, people who ate more than 25% of their calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those whose diets had less than 10% sugar. Now, not all sugars are "bad"—naturally occurring sugars like lactose (milk) and fructose (fruit) aren't the same as added sugars, like the ones in your large vanilla latte.The Rx: The American Heart Association advises women to limit added sugar—less than 100 calories per day, or about 6 teaspoons. For men it's about 150 calories, or 9 teaspoons.RELATED: The #1 Cause of Obesity, According to Science 25 You've Had Breast Cancer Breast cancer is one of the scariest things a woman can go through. If you're over the age of 45 and have completed your cancer treatment, you have a greater risk of heart disease. According to a Brazilian study published in Menopause, when compared with women over 45 who had not experienced breast cancer, those who underwent treatment have a much higher likelihood of cardiovascular problems.The Rx: You can manage your risk by making heart-healthy lifestyle changes, like eating less saturated fat and exercising more. 26 You Are A Woman with Diabetes Diabetes is a common condition in the United States—affecting about 1 in every 11 people. It's what happens when your body can't make enough insulin, and sugar builds up in the bloodstream. According to the CDC, women with diabetes have a 40% greater risk of developing heart disease and a 25% greater risk of stroke than men do.The Rx: If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about how to lower your risk of heart disease. 27 You're Chewing Tobacco Some people think they can avoid the nasty side effects of cigarettes by chewing tobacco instead—but it's not a safer option. Chewing tobacco is a smokeless tobacco that's placed in the cheek and sucked, and doing so raises your heart rate and blood pressure. According to the CDC, smokeless tobacco is linked to cancer, addiction to nicotine, and increased risk of death from stroke or heart disease.The Rx: Just don't do it. If you're already chewing tobacco, see your doctor to get help quitting. 28 You Are Stressed Out When you have trouble at work or an unexpected bill, can you handle it? Everyone feels and experiences stress differently. But when your stress gets out of control, you can feel it in your body – because stress makes your body release adrenaline. That hormone makes your breathing and heart rate speed up temporarily as you prepare for "fight or flight." According to one study, "prolonged inflammatory response may inflict serious damage upon its host."The Rx: If you are feeling super stressed, try doing some yoga or going for a walk—or for a quick fix, watch some cat videos. Laughter really can be the best medicine. 29 You Have Anemia If you feel exhausted all the time, it might be because you have anemia. This condition develops when your blood doesn't have enough healthy red blood cells (or hemoglobin). These cells carry oxygen. So, when you don't have enough red blood cells, your body doesn't get enough oxygen and your organs don't function properly. This can lead to an irregular heartbeat, because your heart has to pump more to make up for the lack of oxygen in the blood – which can lead to an enlarged heart or heart failure. According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, anemia is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.The Rx: Eat more leafy greens (like spinach) with high levels of iron—or take an iron supplement—to help combat anemia. 30 You're Not Exercising Enough The next time you think about skipping exercise to sleep in, think twice. As many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States are linked to a lack of exercise. In fact, being a couch potato is one of the top five risk factors for heart disease, along with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and obesity.The Rx: The American Heart Association advises adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. You don't have to compete in the Ironman—ballroom dancing, a round of tennis, or a brisk walk will do the trick.RELATED: 9 Everyday Habits That Might Lead to Dementia, Say Experts 31 You're Exercising Too Much Love hitting the gym for hours at a time? You could be putting your heart at risk. A study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that adults who did more than three times the recommendations—150 minutes of moderate exercise per week—could be doing cardiovascular damage. Another study from Denmark found that people who jogged a lot, and at higher intensity, were more likely to die during the course of the study than those who exercised less often. In fact, it was almost the same risk as those who did not exercise at all.The Rx: Don't overdo it—20 minutes of moderate exercise every day is the sweet spot for heart health. 32 You Have High Blood Pressure Here's a scary thought: almost half of all adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and most of us don't even know it. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is called a silent killer because it often doesn't show any obvious symptoms. Hypertension is what happens when the force of blood is consistently too high. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80. When left unchecked, high blood pressure can lead to damage to your circulatory system, stroke, heart attack and other health problems.The Rx: See your doctor regularly to have your blood pressure checked. Limit salt and alcohol, and try to exercise regularly. 33 You're Taking Too Much Aspirin You might think of aspirin as a harmless over-the-counter drug, and since it's been pushed as heart-healthy, why not pop one? It might surprise you to learn that aspirin can actually cause deadly complications in some people. The FDA warns that while aspirin can help prevent a heart attack by "thinning" the blood, that could cause the unwanted side effect of bleeding in the heart or brain.The Rx: Talk to your doctor before you start taking aspirin for your heart so you can weigh the benefits and risks. 34 You're Eating Too Much Red Meat Sorry, carnivores—that juicy steak is bad for your heart. A recent study published in the European Heart Journal found that people who eat red meat—but not vegetarians or those who eat only white meat like pork—have increased levels of the chemical trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). This compound is made by gut bacteria to digest food, and has been found to raise the risk of heart disease and early death. Not only that, but a diet heavy in red meat can actually change kidney function. Some people in the study had a ten-fold increase in TMAO levels after only a month of eating red meat, which didn't happen in people who ate poultry, fish, or other non-meat sources of saturated fat.The Rx: Watch your intake of red meats. The American Heart Association advises baked fish, skinless poultry, and trimmed lean meats—but no more than 5.5 cooked ounces daily.RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers. 35 You Haven't Tried Probiotics By now, you've probably seen bottles of probiotics on the pharmacy shelf. Many people reach for them to stay "regular," or help reset the system after taking antibiotics. Probiotics are "good bacteria" found in foods prepared by fermentation like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. So, when you pick up a container of yogurt and read "active live cultures Lactobacillus"—that's your probiotic. Some scientists think probiotics may help lower risk of heart disease. The European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that certain yogurts decreased total cholesterol by 4% within one to two months.The Rx: Studies on probiotics are ongoing, so more therapeutic uses are likely to come. It never hurts to eat a little yogurt (as long as it's not loaded with too much sugar). 36 Your Heart Rate Is Too Low Do you get dizzy or feel like you might pass out for no reason? You might have a low heart rate. This is sometimes a sign of a strong heart—but if it's too slow, it can be cause for concern. A normal resting heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute – that means your heart isn't working too hard to pump blood. Elite athletes in top cardiovascular condition often have heart rates under 60 BPM. But if you're not training for a triathlon, it could be a sign of bradycardia, where your heart isn't pumping often enough. Left untreated long-term, this can lead to heart failure, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, and chest pain.The Rx: A low heart rate doesn't always require treatment. If you're noticing dizzy spells or other troublesome symptoms, talk to your doctor.RELATED: This Supplement Can Raise Your Heart Attack Risk, Experts Say 37 You Love Your Hot Tub Too Much Soaking in a hot tub is one of the best ways to relax and unwind—but for some, it can be dangerous. When you spend too long immersed in hot water, you could experience blood pressure that's too low. That's because heat can make your vessels dilate, which lowers your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder, which is taxing on an unhealthy heart.The Rx: The Mayo Clinic says it's probably ok for people with stable heart disease to use hot tubs, as long as they limit the time to 15 minutes or less. 38 You Haven't Tried CBD Oil Cannabidiol (CBD) oil is a natural remedy that seems to be everywhere right now. It's created by extracting only CBD from the cannabis plant. That way, you get the health-related benefits of cannabis without the "high"—because CBD is not psychoactive. While the overall health benefits are still uncertain, recent research has shown a link to heart health, stating "a single dose of CBD reduces resting blood pressure and the blood pressure response to stress."The Rx: The effects of CBD oil are still being studied, so it's uncertain exactly what the risks and benefits are. If you're taking other medications, be sure to speak with your doctor or pharmacist before giving this remedy a try. And to get through life at your healthiest, Don't Take This Supplement, Which Can Raise Your Cancer Risk.

Bees give me a sense of calm: discovering nature in my back garden

Bees give me a sense of calm: discovering nature in my back garden. Their busy buzzing supplies the soundtrack to our summer – and by spotting them I’ve found a fresh sense of inner peace

Chick-fil-A Has a Secret Dipping Sauce Most People Don't Know About

Chick-fil-A is best known for its chicken sandwiches, of course, but among the die-hard fans of the chain, the adoration extends beyond standard food items to the restaurant's popular sauces. Currently, these sauces include the eponymous Chick-fil-A Sauce, the Barbeque Sauce, the Garden Ranch, their famed Polynesian Sauce, and on the list goes—in total, there are eight sauce varieties to choose from.Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A is currently experiencing a sauce shortage, which means that customers now get a limited amount of the complementary item with each meal. And yes, that includes ketchup and mustard, too. This may be the reason why an ingenious Chick-fil-A sauce hack has recently surfaced on the internet.RELATED: Chick-fil-A's Popular Secret Menu Item Is Now Officially On the MenuFans of the chain have begun spreading the word of another sauce option that's something of a Chick-fil-A secret menu item: at many of the chain's locations, you can ask for a side of the cheese sauce used in their Mac&Cheese. This creamy sauce can then be used for dipping the famous waffle fries, chicken nuggets, or Chick-n-Strips, for pouring over hash browns or biscuits, and in extreme cases, for spreading on sandwiches.According to Chick-fil-A's site, the cheese sauce is a special blend of cheeses including Parmesan, Cheddar, and Romano. But while a delicious option, keep in mind that a serving of this rich cheesy blend will add at least a dozen grams of fat to your meal, and much of it the unhealthy, saturated kind.If you're trying to avoid added fat in your Chick-fil-A order, weɽ recommend staying away from the Garden Herb Ranch sauce as well, which is almost on par with the cheese sauce when it comes to the fat content. On the other hand, the Barbecue Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce, and the Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Sauce are fat-free.For more on Chick-fil-A, check out:Chick-fil-A Is Launching a Brand New Type of RestaurantChick-fil-A Announces New Locations In This City and Residents Aren't HappyWe Tried Every Chick-fil-A Sauce&This Is the Best OneAnd don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

So, Are Banks Open on Memorial Day 2021?

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CDC Issues This COVID Warning for Memorial Day

You may feel like the coronavirus pandemic is over, with so many people vaccinated, and cases, deaths and hospitalizations going way down. You have a right to be optimistic—but not complacent. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), appeared at a press briefing this week to offer a word of warning to those who are unvaccinated. The virus still ping-pongs among that group—including children who have yet to get the shot. Be careful out there, she advises this Memorial Day weekend. Read on to hear her warning, and pass it along to those who need to hear it—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Had COVID And Should Tell Your Doctor.CDC Chief Says Unvaccinated People "Remain at Risk" This Weekend"We are continuing to watch the data closely and I remain cautious, but hopeful, they will continue to trend downward as vaccination scales up," she said. "This coming weekend is Memorial Day. I know that many of you are looking forward to spending time with your family and friends at picnics and bars. Thanks to vaccines, tens of millions of Americans are able to get back to something closer to normal visiting friends and family. And these are the events we missed over the last year. And we are now safe to do [them] when we are vaccinated. This past weekend, I spent time outside with my family and I was encouraged to see so many others outside and to see so many of their smiles working to regain so much of what we have lost. All of this is possible because vaccinations are going up and cases and risk of community transmission across the country are going down."She continued: "Here are the important points to remember going into Memorial Day weekend: If you are vaccinated, you're protected and you can enjoy your Memorial Day. If you are not vaccinated, our guidance has not changed for you. You remain at risk of infection. You still need to mask and take other precautions."RELATED: Signs You're Getting One of the "Most Deadly" Cancers.Take Time This Weekend to Get Vaccinated, She Says"If you are not vaccinated," Walensky went on, "I want to encourage you to take this holiday weekend to give yourself and your family the gift of protection by getting vaccinated. We are on a good downward path, but we are not quite out of the woods. Yet cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all declining because of the millions of people who have stepped forward and done their part to protect their health and the health of their communities to move us out of this pandemic." So do so. And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss: This Supplement Can Raise Your Cancer Risk, Experts Say.

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This Type of Meat Is More Likely to Have Dangerous Bacteria, New Study Says

Not sure whether or not to spring for the organic meat at your supermarket? It can be a tough call. As far as nutrients go, the meat will pretty much off there same vitamins and minerals as its conventional counterpart, though it may spare you from eating harmful hormones and antibiotics. However, new research may give you extra incentive to buy organic meat. As it turns out, organic meat is significantly less likely to contain harmful bacteria that could put you at risk for foodborne illnesses.A new study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, published in the journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, finds that non-organic meat is more likely to contain multidrug-resistant organisms that can leave meat-eaters at risk for serious health issues.RELATED: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now"Multidrug-resistant organisms are germs that can cause infections which are more difficult for physicians to treat with antibiotics," Gabriel K. Innes, VMD, PhD, the study's first author, told Eat This, Not That! In an interview. "This can lead to longer healthcare stays, higher incurred costs, and more deaths."The study looked at data on bacterial contaminations for four kinds of meat—chicken breast, pork chop, ground beef, and ground turkey—between the years 2012 and 2017, totaling about 40,000 samples. Researchers looked at how the meat was both produced (what animals were raised, including what they ate) and processed (packaged in a facility) to better understand the connection between meat and contamination.What did they find? Some 4% of the samples produced and processed in non-organic facilities were contaminated with pathogens that cause foodborne illnesses such as E. coli and salmonella. Meanwhile, less than 1% of organically produced meat samples that were processed in "split" processing facilities (handling both organic and conventional meat) were contaminated. However, animals that are raised on farms that follow organic practices and then taken to facilities at the end of their life that exclusively process organic meat are the safest to consume.In fact, the study even revealed that among conventionally-produced meats, those that were also processed at facilities that exclusively handled conventional meats were contaminated with bacteria one-third of the time. On the other hand, conventional meats handled at split facilities were contaminated with bacteria one-quarter of the time."How we raise and process our food animals matters, not only for the health of the animal but for [you] as well," said Innes.If you can afford to spend the extra money on organic meat, it's probably a good idea. For more insight on how to steer clear of pathogenic bacteria in food, be sure to check out these 17 Foods Most Likely to Give You Food Poisoning.

The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee review – the best American novel of the year is by a Brit

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How to Watch and Stream the 2021 National Memorial Day Concert on PBS

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How Norah’s Chef Mike Williams went from combat to the kitchen

Chef Mike Williams has found inspiration for his cooking in many places. As the executive chef of Norah Restaurant in West Hollywood, Calif., the Orange County native designed a wildly popular eclectic menu influenced by his travels around the United States, Southeast Asia, India, and South America. But the main inspiration for his successful culinary career comes from a very unexpected source: his time as a Marine in Iraq.

Before 9/11, Williams signed up for the Marine Corps Reserves at age 17 and completed boot camp a year later. During his junior year of college at Cal State Fullerton, Williams got called up from the Reserves for nearly a year of active duty in Iraq, an experience that gave him many skills he still uses in the kitchen.

Williams is extremely humble about his service in the Marines and his success as a chef in Los Angeles. In addition to Norah, he is the executive chef of the upcoming restaurant Margo’s in the Culver City hot spot The Platform.

“Aside from just being a veteran and maybe traveling a little bit, I’m just a normal chef here in LA doing my best like so many other people are,” he says.

Recalling his time in the Marines, he says that the experience instilled in him “discipline, but also work ethic, the ability to just keep your head down, no matter what the external circumstances are, and just keep pushing.”

The Norah executive chef runs his current kitchen in a diplomatic manner with the leadership skills he learned from the Marines. “One thing specifically that carried over is knowing how to lead people and not just be a manager, but lead from the front and inspire them get them to want to listen to you,” Williams says. “You have to do a lot of micromanaging as a chef. You’re constantly hiring and firing and making sure that people are doing things exactly the way you want them to do it.”

When he returned from Iraq after his tour of duty, Williams was inspired to get out of the college classroom into the kitchen. He attended one semester of culinary school at Orange Coast Community College and then got a job as a sous chef in San Francisco, where he lived for three years.

“When I came back, I just wasn’t feeling the liberal arts degree that I was getting,” Williams says. “I was really passionate about cooking. I think part of it was that I’m an only child and I was kind of a latchkey kid, so I was forced to be comfortable in a kitchen to make my own food. I was really, really into it and I can’t explain it.”

After San Francisco, he moved to Nantucket, Massachusetts, to work at a restaurant called American Seasons , which produced its meats, breads, and pastas in-house. It’s also where Williams met his future wife. When the restaurant closed for the winter, the couple moved to Portland, Oregon, and then Los Angeles. Williams worked at The Tasting Kitchen on Venice’s famous Abbot Kinney Boulevard before becoming chef de cuisine at its sister restaurant, The Parish in Downtown LA.

In 2014, Williams became the executive chef at the Sherman Oaks spot Tipple & Brine, which opened to much fanfare but closed in late 2015. Norah opened in early 2016 to much buzz that has continued throughout its two years of operation. The West Hollywood restaurant has expanded its offerings with a brunch menu and an early-evening light bites menu.

“We describe the cuisine at Norah as eclectic, American cuisine and the word eclectic is really important to me,” Williams says. “I like for the cuisine to be personal to me. I like it to be able to showcase some of my travels.”

Norah’s menu changes seasonally, giving Williams many opportunities to be inspired by his past - and future - experiences.

Opinion: L.A. is broken. The ‘People’s Budget’ would finally do something to fix it

Los Angeles is a city where policing has long been violent, secretive and anti-Black. In the past 20 years, local police have killed nearly 900 civilians, almost 80% of whom were Black or Latino. In that same time period, only two officers were charged. The Los Angeles Police Commission, which oversees the Los Angeles Police Department, is inept, detached and financially compromised.

But as Angela Y. Davis wrote in “Freedom Is a Constant Struggle,” when people join together in a cause, “we find reservoirs of hope and optimism.” And the group of Angelenos that has assembled to demand an end to anti-Black policing and policy has never been more diverse, driven or organized than it is at this moment. Los Angeles needs a city budget that reflects the priorities of our people, not its influential police union — and, this year, we might just get one.

On Monday, in a special City Council session, organizers from Black Lives Matter-LA, BUILD POWER, and L.A. Voice made a concise and powerful argument for a “People’s Budget,” which would divest from policing and invest in community services. On Tuesday, council members Herb Wesson, Nury Martinez, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Curren Price and Bob Blumenfeld introduced a motion to “replace LAPD officers with unarmed, non-law enforcement agencies who will be responsible for responding to non-violent calls for service.” On Wednesday, Price introduced a motion that would make it illegal to call 911 to make a false report based on racial bias. Other related motions will be forthcoming.

This isn’t a moment to declare victory, but it is a moment to celebrate.

How did BLM-LA achieve this momentum, after years of being sidelined, silenced and overlooked by city representatives?

George Floyd’s murder is no opportunity it is a grievous tragedy, for his family, for his community and for our country. There is opportunity in the widespread outrage Floyd’s death has ignited, however. Across the United States, we have seen renewed calls for an end to anti-Black racism and for the rights of Black Americans to live freely in a country that has long cited political and social freedoms as the source of its exceptionalism, while denying those freedoms to the many marginalized communities that built and sustain it.

The COVID-19 pandemic is no opportunity it is a nightmare, which has killed more than 115,000 Americans and disproportionately impacted Black Americans. At the time of this writing, Los Angeles County had the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases of any county in the United States. Black Angelenos are dying from COVID-19 at more than twice the rate of white Angelenos.

Yet there is opportunity in the spotlight COVID-19 has shone on our society’s brokenness. The pandemic has laid bare the incompetence of many governmental leaders at the national, state and local level. It has underscored the degree to which Black Angelenos receive inadequate healthcare support and, as a result, suffer compromised health outcomes. It has provided Angelenos, many of whom are either out of work or working from home, time to engage with and organize around their local political processes.

Los Angeles’ council and city commissions have long erected barriers to widespread public participation, not least of which is the fact that many of their meetings are held during the workday in venues with limited space. Prior to COVID-19, those wishing to offer public comment could either submit it in writing or show up in person. Now, as city officials are meeting remotely, Angelenos can call in via Zoom or phone to offer public comment. These Zoom meetings, which cap at 500 participants, have often filled before they even begin, leading organizers to find other ways — from live-tweeting to livestreaming or alternate video hosting — to share what is happening.

Los Angeles has long been viewed as a municipally disengaged city — its citizenship largely progressive, but siloed, spread out and disconnected from local political processes. But even before George Floyd was killed by police, even before COVID-19 rendered our city unrecognizable, new forms of civic participation had been brewing.

Most crucially, BLM-LA has been tirelessly organizing since 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. In the past three years, organizers have founded other grass-roots support networks like Ktown for All, Ground Game L.A., People’s City Council L.A. and many others. The swell of volunteer support and organizing around Nithya Raman‘s City Council campaign has been remarkable.

Longtime organizers say the current level of civic participation and engagement is unprecedented. Akili, a BLM-LA organizer who goes by a single name, has been involved in justice work for nearly 50 years. “I’ve organized with Cesar Chavez and the farmworkers I organized during the anti-apartheid movement I’ve done political, labor and community organizing for a long time,” he told me. “I know that the people who start out with you in June are not the people who are reachable in October. But for me, this [moment] has a different ring to it.”

BLM-LA has been doing the work that made this moment possible. It organized an 18-day encampment of LAPD and a 54-day encampment of L.A. City Hall. It advocated for the firing of former LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. (Beck took early retirement.) BLM-LA was part of the coalitions that led on a ballot measure to increase civilian oversight of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and a landmark police transparency bill. It has supported Black Angeleno families who were killed by police and organized cross-country freedom rides. BLM-LA co-founder Melina Abdullah has been leading weekly protests against L.A. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey’s leadership for nearly three years.

On April 16, a BLM-LA-led coalition of more than 50 Black L.A. community groups released a set of immediate and long-term demands identifying COVID-19 as “a Black issue that demands a response specific to the needs of the Black community.”

That coalition did not receive meaningful support from the City Council.

When Mayor Eric Garcetti released a proposed city budget on April 20 that would increase spending on the LAPD, that BLM-LA-led coalition expanded its outreach, connecting with more than a dozen community organizations, from La Defensa to the Labor Community Strategy Center. Together, they created the People’s Budget L.A., a compelling and clear proposal for a city budget that would divest from policing and invest in community support. By the time Floyd was killed by police on May 25, the People’s Budget L.A. site — replete with data, tool kits and shareable infographics — was live and its BLM-led coalition was solid. Angelenos, many of whom had never engaged in local politics, started looking for ways to connect — and found the People’s Budget.

At the hundreds of police brutality protests in Los Angeles over the last few weeks, organizers have highlighted the People’s Budget and circulated information on the proposal. The pressure for real action from the mayor and City Council members is building. “The country has been here before. It was here when Emmett Till died. It was here then,” Akili said toward the end of Monday’s special session. “And so now we are here at this moment. You have said your positions and they line up. The question now is what will you do?”

BLM-LA organizers have repeatedly modeled what it would look like for Angelenos to live the progressive values we purport to hold. It’s time for our mayor and council members to do the same.

‘Suge’ Knight says in court he can’t see or ‘comprehend’ what’s happening

Rap mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was transported to a jail infirmary Monday after saying in court that he couldn’t “really comprehend” what was happening.

Earlier in the day, Knight, who is being held on murder and attempted-murder charges in a hit-and-run case, for the first time spoke in court, announcing that attorney David Kenner was no longer defending him. He then went on to describe his medical ailments.

Kenner was hired after Knight fired James E. Blatt, who represented him immediately after he was arrested.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit and eyeglasses, Knight asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandlin if he could speak, then said he couldn’t see and had lost weight.

“Since I have been here,” he said, “I’ve lost about 30 pounds.”

As he stood in front of Brandlin, he shifted back and forth.

“I can’t really see,” Knight said. “I can’t really comprehend what’s going on.”

During the hearing, Knight spoke over Brandlin as the judge spoke, prompting a sharp response. He continued to interrupt Brandlin and mumbled during the proceeding. At one point during the hearing, Knight asked for a trash can and leaned over it.

Shortly after the hearing, where Brandlin ruled that all of Knight’s future court hearings would happen in downtown L.A., Knight was transported to the infirmary. Another hearing was scheduled after the first, but Knight did not attend that proceeding.

Last month, Knight was taken to a hospital twice -- once each after two hearings related to his case. In one of the visits, he said he was suffering from stomach problems.

Knight is charged with running over two men with his car at Tam’s Burgers in Compton on Jan. 29. Terry Carter, 55, died, and Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, was injured in the incident.

He also faces charges in a case in which prosecutors say he and comedian Katt Williams stole a camera from an independent celebrity photographer on Sept. 5, 2014.

Brandlin ordered future hearings in both cases to be held in downtown Los Angeles. Moving the case involving the camera, which had been heard at the airport courthouse, would ease stress on staff and on Knight’s transportation, he said.

For breaking news in California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA

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Marisa Gerber is a narrative writer at the Los Angeles Times. She joined the paper in 2012 and has written about criminal justice, immigration and gentrification. She grew up in Nogales, Ariz.

Veronica Rocha worked on the Metro desk and at L.A. Now covering breaking news in California. She joined the Los Angeles Times in 2014 and left in 2017.

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Your Ultimate Guide To December: 20 Cool Events Happening In Los Angeles

La Luz de Jesus presents two shows this month: the Boombox Creators and a Holiday Pop Up Show. The exhibitions open on Dec. 4 and run through Jan. 3, 2016. Boombox Creators is an homage to the ubiquitous music box of the ‘70s and ‘80s, and features design blueprints, inspired art and functional boomboxes for sale. The Holiday Pop Up Show is a group show that includes 20 of the gallery's favorite artists who were asked to create multiple pieces priced at $400 or less. The art is available to take home right after purchase (as opposed to waiting for the show to end).

The inaugural LA Gadget Expo is at The Reef in DTLA on Dec. 5 and 6 from 10 am to 6 pm. The Expo is for gadget enthusiasts and gadget makers and features more than 50 interactive exhibits in the areas of fitness, mobile, transportation, design, wearables and more. The family friendly event also features a number of speakers, food trucks, demos and a gadget raffle for attendees. Tickets: $10-$15.

The Japanese band OOiOO plays the Getty Center on Dec. 5. (Image: Thrill Jockey)
Dec. 5

OOIOO (Music + Art)
OOIOO, the Japanese band led by “the compellingly radical Yoshimi,” plays a rare gig at the Getty Center on Dec. 5. Frequently trampling the lines between pop and experimental music, the performance is being held in conjunction with the exhibition The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography, which features work by “women photographers who rose to prominence in Japan in the 1990s and who have defied preconceptions.” OOIOO’s performance begins at 7:30 pm at the Getty Center’s Harold M. Williams Auditorium. Tickets are $20 advance ticket required.

Actual Size gallery presents Locker Number 5, a tribute exhibition/installation in honor of the late artist Chris Burden. Jason Keller and James Melinat have re-created an exact replica of the same locker used by Chris Burden for one of his earliest performance works in April 1971. For his thesis project at UC Irvine, he locked himself in Locker Number 5 for five consecutive days. The installation will be on view at the Chinatown gallery from Dec. 7-11 with a closing reception on Dec. 11 from 6 to 8 pm.

SPIN's Year in Music party moves from NYC to L.A., celebrating the great music and artists of 2015. Held at The Regent on Dec. 10 from 8 pm to midnight, the concert features Best Coast, Tink, Alex G and guest DJs Yacht. RSVP for free.

As part of ALT 98.7’s Altimate December 2 Remember concert series, the radio station presents Death Cab for Cutie at The Orpheum Theatre on Dec. 10. Doors at 7:15 pm, show at 8:15. The show is all ages. Tickets: $65-$72.50.

YOUBLOOM LA (Music Fest + Conference)
YouBloom LA is a music festival and conference taking over venues in Northeast LA and Pasadena from Dec. 10-12. More than 50 bands from 10 countries will play Griffens of Kinsale, La Cuevita, The Old Towne Pub and Airliner. Conference segments include PR & marketing, music rights, Film/TV placement and more. Conference price: $25, $15 for students 21 and younger. The gigs are free to $10.

Marina del Rey’s annual Boat Parade takes place on Dec. 12 starting off at 5:55 pm with a fireworks show, followed by the decked-out boats parading around in the Marina from 6-8 pm. Food trucks will be parked at Burton Chace Park. And the parade will go on rain or shine.

Animation Breakdown is at Cinefamily this month. (Image: Courtesy of Cinefamily)
Dec. 10-14

Animation Breakdown 2015 is at Cinefamily from Dec. 10-14 for programs that include short and feature-length animated films, both old and new from all over the world. Highlights include Rick & Morty Live! on and Belladonna of Sadness on Dec. 11 and Loren Bouchard Show & Tell on Dec.12. Tickets: $12-$18, free for Cinefamily members.

On Dec. 11 from 4-8 pm, The Triforium Project has its official kick off with a picnic on the Civic Center Mall. The project, led by Tom Carroll, host of webseries Tom Explores Los Angeles and partners including YACHT, hopes to restore and retrofit Joseph Young’s kinetic sculpture. The public is invited to join in the celebration to wish the sculpture a happy 40th birthday (complete with free cake), onsite food trucks, music from dublab, as well as tours of the Triforium's normally off-limits control room.

The Renegade Craft Fair at Grand Park features the talents and crafts of more than 300 makers on Dec. 12 and 13 from 10 am to 5 pm. The free shopping event also features music, food trucks and free craft workshops. It makes a great stop to do holiday shopping while supporting local artists.

The Echo Park Craft Fair is at Mack Sennett Studios in Silver Lake on Dec. 12-13 (10 am to 6 pm each day) featuring designers, artisans, food purveyors and craftspeople. New vendors include: Shiva Rose, Kalon Studios, Hannah Keefe, Milena Silvano and specialty caterers—Gorumando and Soo-N. Tickets: $10.

The Room Hollywood hosts its 25th annual Sinatra Party celebrating what would have been Frank Sinatra’s 100th birthday this month. This elegant affair which begins on Dec. 13 at 9:30 pm, features Sinatra songs on the turntable with dancing and classic cocktails. Admission is free, but RSVP for guaranteed entrance until 10:30 pm. This is a formal affair, so dress accordingly.

Film Independent at LACMA and The New York Times Film Club present An Evening with Mindy Kaling at LACMA on Dec. 15 at 7:30 pm. The actor/producer/writer/director will discuss The Mindy Project (now on Hulu) and her other work. She’ll bring clips from various influences and may screen ones from upcoming episodes, too. Tickets: $15-$25.

The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 35th Annual Messiah Sing-Along is on Dec. 16 at 8 pm at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Artistic Director Grant Gershon conducts 2,200 audience members who become the choir. Sopranos, altos, tenors and basses of all levels—and newbies with no singing experience are welcome to join in the fun. The event features a professional chamber orchestra and a quartet of professional soloists, including soprano Beth Peregrine, mezzo soprano Laura Smith Roethe, tenor Bryan Lane and bass Scott Graff. Tickets: $29-$79 with group rates available. Children under six years are not admitted.

Film Independent presents Live Read: True Romance at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA on Dec. 16 at 8 pm. Writer-director Jason Reitman keeps the cast a surprise, so you never know who’s participating until the week of the event. Follow Reitman on Twitter to see who’s going to be reading the Quentin Tarantino script for the crowd. Tickets: $50-$125

Deck the Hall, the LA Phil’s Annual Holiday Concert Series at Walt Disney Concert Hall, features a wide array of acts to appeal to different audiences, from the Holiday Singalong on Dec. 19 to A Swingin’ Christmas: The Count Basie Orchestra on Dec. 21, White Christmas Sing-along on Dec. 22 and the Soweto Gospel Choir on Dec. 23. Gladys Knight plays two shows on New Year’s Eve, too. Ticket prices vary.

If you’ve been living under a rock lately, here’s a friendly reminder that Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens everywhere on Dec. 18. We’ll see if the Force is with newcomers Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega).

MUSE (Music)
Muse plays the Staples Center on Dec. 18 and 19 in support of the band’s latest album Drones. The Drones World Tour features the band playing "in the round" from the middle of the arena for the first time for a 360 degree audio/visual sensory experience. Phantogram opens each night. 8 pm. Tickets: $49.50-$79.50.

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