yellow brick road

Morning Brew: Phone and Web Fraudsters, EMS Essential Service Plea, Texting and Driving

Photo: "The rabbit hole" by Maryam S., member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

A Toronto man was sentenced to just a two-year prison term for his involvement in a 10-year long telemarketing scam that brought in an estimated $158-million. At that level of punishment, it almost seems worth the risk, doesn't it? His sentencing comes after that of an accomplice, who was already given a conditional 2-year sentence; and four others are also still seeing their charges through in the courts.

In somewhat related news, fraudsters are also taking advantage of the internet, and police are warning would-be renters and iPhone buyers about fake listings on Toronto Craigslist and Toronto Kijiji that result in lost deposit cheques and face-to-face muggings.

Following the 36 day municipal workers' strike in Toronto, and a very controversial death, the Ontario Paramedics Association is appealing to the province to declare emergency medical services an essential service, meaning that during labour disputes all EMS staff still work. Cutting staffing down to 75% during a strike doesn't seem safe, and if they claim that services aren't negatively impacted when 25% of their staff are picketing, then it almost makes that 25% of the team seem redundant, doesn't it?

Toronto Life, not unlike many print media outlets, is facing fiscal challenges. With ad sales down significantly in the last two quarters, the monthly Toronto magazine has decided to temporarily cut intern pay for the fall. Seeing stipends disappear hurts, but cuts have to be made somewhere.

Do you text on your mobile phone while you drive? A lot of people do it, and there's been a study released that reveals just how dangerous this behaviour is. Apparently we're 23 times more likely to crash when our attention is focused on sending text messages (most of which can probably wait!) while driving.

And a Chinatown grocer, who is tied up in a messy legal situation that resulted after he allegedly tied up and held an alleged thief in a deliver van until police arrived, is saying that he wouldn't respond in the same way again. The video footage of the theft (an interesting watch) is more than suggestive, but another person's guilt doesn't give a victim special rights.

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