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Morning Brew: Blue Bin Overflow, Hit-and-run and Purse Snatch, Body Scanners coming to Pearson Airport, Stray Voltage on Sidewalks, Case Ootes to quit City Council, Proroguing Political Games

Photo: "Cheers, to light bulb people" by ip.sebastian, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

Making a lot of trips to the recycling blue bin, especially at this time of year? Many Toronto residents are finding that they have more packaging to recycle than they have room for in their City-issued blue bin, and the City wants everyone to know that they can put out excess recyclables in clear plastic bags and/or upgrade to a bigger bin at no cost if this continues to be a problem. Don't slow the shopping though... it's good for the economy.

A wacky crime went down in the Bathurst & Lawrence area last night. A woman driving a stolen minivan first struck a pedestrian, then got out of the vehicle, approached the injured victim, and audaciously snatched her purse before getting back into the minivan. Shortly after, the suspect then had to flee on foot after striking a hydro pole and crippling the vehicle. Seems like a crime motivated by, and carried out in, serious desperation.

In an announcement yesterday, the federal government revealed that body scanning security equipment is coming to a number of Canadian airports, including Pearson. The high-tech imaging system allows security staff to see though clothing and visualize the passenger's body with 3D realism, which has some people crying out about invasion of privacy and rights. I wonder to what extent these concerns are a result of self-consciousness about body image, and what extent privacy is even a real issue here. It's not like security scans of John Baird's naked bits or Joan River's plastic thighs are going to end up on the front page of TMZ, right?

Despite a massive, expensive effort by Toronto Hydro to solve all of the "stray electricity" problems on city sidewalks (some $3-million is now spent annually to patrol and fix aging handwells that leak voltage), it would appear that not all have been curbed. A dog and a responding veterinarian were both zapped on the Danforth on Monday and have recovered.

In municipal politics, city councillor Giorgio Mammoliti has officially signed on as a candidate for mayor (and the Star has selected a few choice quotes from him, that involve Godzilla and monkeys). Also, veteran councillor Case Ootes won't be running for city council in October, instead opting to retire from the position (which may open the door for Jane Pitfield's return to city politics).

And at the federal level, and in a move likely aimed at ruffling feathers and getting media attention (look, it worked!), the Liberal party is planning to return to work on January 25th despite Harper having prorogued parliament until March 3rd. In related news, Harper appeared on The National last night and told Canadians that the alleged torture of Afghan detainees under Canadian watch isn't an issue that's on our radar. Too bad most Canadians were too glued to the (amazing) hockey game to even know about the interview or hear Harper sweep yet another damaging but soon-to-be-forgotten scandal under the rug.


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