Thursday, December 14, 2017
News Roundup

Crime rate drops to lowest level in 41 years

Canada's crime rate has fallen to its lowest level in 41 years, with a large drop in murders and violence.

The figures from the Canadian Center for Justice Statistics also show that Toronto had a 7 percent drop in police-reported crime last year — the lowest rate among municipalities for the sixth year.

There were almost 2 million criminal incidents investigated by the police last year, about 36,000 fewer than the previous year.

Of that number, 543 homicides were reported across Canada, 55 fewer than in 2011.

That brought the murder rate down to its lowest level since 1966, the report said.

Crime rates overall fell in most provinces except New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and the territories.

The highest police-report crime rates were in Kelowna and Regina, while Quebec City followed Toronto in the lowest category.

The statistics listed Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Thunder Bay as the most violent cities.

Coinciding with the drop in crime were initiatives taken by the federal government to get tough on criminals, including the passing last year of an omnibus crime bill with stiffer penalties.

Liberal leader calling for marijuana reform

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is now calling for the decriminalization of marijuana.

Saying that it is "not worse for you than cigarettes or alcohol," the son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said he wants the drug to be legalized, taxed and regulated.

"I realized that going the road of legalization is actually a responsible thing to look at and to do," he said.

The Conservative government questions his judgment, saying these drugs are "illegal because of the harmful effect they have on users and on society."

On its website, the Conservatives said the government "has no interest in seeing marijuana legalized or made more easily available to youth."

News in brief

• Gifts for royal baby Prince George include a $100,000 donation to a child-focused charity by Prime Minister Stephen Harper along with a Canadian handcrafted blanket. Governor-General David Johnston is giving a selection of Canadian children's books, while Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo has sent mukluks (winter boots) and moccasins. Mayor Shair Green of Prince George, British Columbia, has prepared a gift basket.

• A Canadian politician has been fined $7,000 by Canada's telecommunications regulator for robocalls made during the past election campaign. Along with Paul Dewar of the New Democratic Party, Strategic Communications Inc. was fined $10,000 in an unrelated case. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission said political candidates and telemarketers must refrain from making unsolicited automated calls.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar advanced to 97.34 cents U.S. on Friday, while the U.S. greenback returned $1.0272 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is 1 percent, while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,647 points and the TSX Venture index at 922 points.

Lotto 6-49: (July 24) 2, 5, 12, 22, 44 and 48; bonus 10. (July 20) 3, 20, 24, 26, 37 and 47; bonus 35. Lotto Max: (July 19) 3, 17, 19, 20, 34, 35 and 43; bonus 4.

Regional briefs

• The mayor of Lac-Megantic, Quebec, wants the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to immediately reimburse the town $4 million for the environmental cleanup after a deadly train derailment. Colette Roy-Laroche said the money will pay to remove millions of gallons of oil spilled after a runaway train crashed on July 7, killing 47 people and destroying many downtown buildings.

• Police in Winnipeg are searching for a mother whose two children were found dead in their home. They are looking for Lisa Gibson, 32, a pharmacist who is expecting her third child. The search is centered around the house near the Assiniboine River where Anna, 2, and Nicholas, 3 months, were found.

• Random acts of kindness have broken out at Tim Hortons coffee shops in three Canadian cities. In the past week, someone has "paid it forward" for 500 cups of coffee, worth $859, for the next customers in Edmonton, Calgary and Ottawa. Michelle Robichaud of Hortons didn't reveal their names but said it isn't a publicity stunt by the company.

Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Pinellas judge: U.S. Army major found incompetent to stand trial can leave Florida

LARGO — A Pinellas circuit judge ruled this week that Roman Izzo, a U.S. Army major charged with murder but found incompetent to stand trial after he was injured in a motorcycle crash, can move to Kansas with his family.Izzo was released on $1.5 mill...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Lawsuit attempts to end conversion therapy ban in Tampa

Lawsuit attempts to end conversion therapy ban in Tampa

TAMPA — A conservative advocacy group is asking a federal court to overturn Tampa’s ban on conversion therapy for minors.The City Council approved an ordinance in March that bars the controversial practice, which tries to change a person’s sexual ori...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Updated: 23 minutes ago

Deputies: Fleeing suspect shoots, injures dog as he runs through yards

DOVER — While fleeing from deputies, a man shot a dog inside a fenced yard Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said they were attempting to pull over a vehicle that might have been stolen near Milagro Court and Bl...
Updated: 27 minutes ago

Amtrak train strikes, kills 60-year-old woman in Lakeland

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of a 60-year-old woman who was hit by an Amtrak train on Thursday.The woman was struck at 12:30 p.m. in the railroad intersection of Highway 92 East and Fairway Avenue in Lakeland, deputies ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Palm Harbor woman, 23, killed while crossing Seminole Boulevard

SEMINOLE — A 23-year-old Palm Harbor woman was fatally injured when she was struck by a sport-utility vehicle while crossing Seminole Boulevard on Wednesday night, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.The incident took place at about 8:4...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

Dade City man turns himself in on warrants for Polk armed robbery

DADE CITY — A 25-year-old man wanted in connection with the attempted robbery of a taxi driver in Lakeland turned himself in late Wednesday night after being prompted by his mother, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Edner Dely, was wante...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

Editorial: Rubio should make good his threat to oppose tax cuts without changes

For once, it would be nice to see Sen. Marco Rubio stand up as the independent leader he aspires to become. For once, the Florida Republican should hold his position rather than bow to pragmatic politics. Rubio can stick with his threat Thursday to v...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Even though the United States Men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that hasn’t diminished local fans’ excitement about the upcoming international event.Ariel Martinez, owner of Best Buy Soccer and Lacrosse, has already receiv...
Updated: 1 hour ago