Lower Bay Station

Morning Brew: Corporations interested in funding Panda exhibit, Ford's campaign budget in the red, magician raises 18,000 lbs of food, fail rate "norms" introduced at DriveTest centres, George Makhniashvili found

Well, that didn't take long. Shortly after Rob Ford made it clear that public tax dollars shouldn't be used to fund Giorgio Mammoliti's Panda crusade, two "large corporations" expressed interest in funding the project that would involve a male and female Panda coming to the Toronto Zoo. Mammoliti wouldn't name the corporations or really any specifics, but said that the very fact that he received inquiries "gives you a sense that they're interested."

Sticking with Rob Ford for a second, the normally sympathetic Toronto Sun reports that the mayor-elect's campaign budget wasn't so fiscally conservative. Having raised $950,000, the Ford Team spent to the $1.3-million limit, which means that he'll have to cover the shortfall himself or do more fundraising post-election. The article also notes that candidates Pantalone, Rossi and Thomson suffered slight shortfalls as well. But, let's be honest, it only makes sense for someone like Ford to spend to the limit and worry about where it all comes from later. Is it really going to be a major problem for him to come up with it? I doubt it. And, he did win, after all.

The local magician who locked himself in a glass box to raise food donations that would make him "disappear" received about 18,000 lbs of food in the five days he spent "trapped." Asked what was the best part about finally getting out, Scott Hammel responded, "That first shower was pretty awesome."

Due to inconsistent fail rates at Ontario DriveTest centres, the company that oversees testing will introduce pass/fail rate "norms" across the province. Although the rates still vary quite markedly -- compare a 52 per cent fail rate at Downsview to a 26 per cent rate in Orilla -- a variety of factors are apparently taken into account when determining the "norms." The question is, does the regulation of these rates accomplish anything different than what was happening before, especially when the company is quick to point out that these are not meant to act as quotas?

And George Makhniashvili, who was reported missing last night, has been located early this morning. Police report that the teen walked into 53 Division at around 5:15 at which time he was taken home to his parents, but have not elaborated on the nature of his brief disappearance.

Photo by Jamaalism in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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