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Morning Brew: Early boozing during FIFA World Cup?, Pentagon bars reporters from Omar Khadr case, Wynne warns Miller, Gumball 3000 racer's car impounded, downtown patios to close for weeks leading up to G20

Deputy Mayor and mayoral candidate Joe Pantalone may earn a few extra votes in the fall election if he gets his wish and persuades the province to bend liquor laws during the FIFA World Cup in June. By law, bars are allowed to start serving booze at 11 a.m., but with the time difference (South Africa is six hours ahead), games will be starting at 7:30 a.m., 10 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Toronto time. It would be good for bar business and for eager patrons' cheer to be able to have a morning brewskie when the midday games kick off.

The Toronto Star got an unexpected email from the Pentagon yesterday, informing the newspaper that national security reporter Michelle Shephard is not allowed to return and report on the Omar Khadr case because she identified and interviewed a witness in a story two years ago. Reporters from The Globe and Mail, Canwest News Services and the Miami Herald apparently also got notice that they're barred.

Provincial Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne stopped short of pulling a Nancy, but she did suggest that if Mayor David Miller doesn't tone down on his rallying quest to get all of the Transit City project funding (and on a timeline that was originally promised), he was risking undermining the entire project. The threatening-to-make-things-worse-if-you-don't-shut-the-f***-up approach seems to be acceptable these days.

The trans-Atlantic-spanning Gumball 3000 exotic car rally made a brief stop in Toronto yesterday (we'll have photos for your ogling later this morning), but one of the participating car owners got into some hot water with the OPP. A California driver was stopped for excessive speed on our roads twice, the second time for doing 170km/hr in a 100km/r zone -- resulting in his Dodge Charger being impounded under our controversial street racing laws. That'll teach 'em that this ain't no Autobahn, eh?

Restaurants and bars that lie within the yet-to-be-officially-clarified "higher-level inner security zone" are just now learning that they will be forced to close down their summer patios for a full two weeks before the G20 meetings. The restriction could end up costing some proprietors tens of thousands of dollars, and seems excessive (much like the fighter jets and military choppers that will be buzzing overhead).

Photo: "Sunset bokeh" by Sweetsop, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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