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Newsstand: November 20, 2012

Should be an interesting day for Jays fans. In the news: Rob Ford's libel trial wraps up; the health board doesn't like the casino talk; ground breaks on the Pan Am stadium; the fight for clean trains has its day in court; and Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has yet another trick up his sleeve.

Closing arguments were heard yesterday in Rob Ford’s libel trial, the latest entry on the mayor’s lengthy list of legal troubles. Judge John Macdonald agreed with assertions by Ford’s lawyer, Gavin Tighe, that Ford was within his rights as a mayoral candidate to comment on the controversial Tuggs Inc. deal with the city—Tighe argued “If Mr. Ford had said ‘I think this deal was brought from Mars, by aliens,’ if he can find someone else to agree with him, it’s not defamatory.” Macdonald’s main concern, he told the courtroom, is determining if the mayor went too far in attacking Tuggs and its owner George Foulidis.

Caesars Entertainment president Gary Loveman called for a “dynamic, 24-hour, seven-day-a-week” casino operation in downtown Toronto in a speech to the Economic Club of Canada yesterday, but the city’s board of health remains unconvinced. The board voted nearly unanimously on Monday to formalize their opposition to plans for a casino in the GTA, urging Toronto councillors to side with them. “When I think of casinos, the image that pops into my head is a black hole. They just sort of suck in all the light and the energy around them and not much escapes,” said board chair and city councillor John Filion (Ward 23, Willowdale).

Ground broke yesterday on the new $45-million stadium at York University for the Toronto PanAm Games. The city is hosting the event in 2015 and the stadium is set to open in July 2014, so we’d better get digging.

Toronto’s Clean Train Coalition spoke before an Ontario Divisional Court panel on Monday, arguing that Metrolinx was out of line in placing an order for diesel trains for the Pearson-to-Union rail link before completing a feasibility study. The CTC is fighting to have the order for diesel trains put on hold while a study on alternative electric trains in completed, which would mean that the rail link wouldn’t be completed in time for the aforementioned PanAm Games. The court reserved its decision.

Major League Baseball finally approved the 12-man trade that will bring former Marlins players Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifacio to the Toronto Blue Jays. Sorry, Miami. (We’re not sorry.) And to continue his commitment to keeping this baseball off-season interesting, Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos is expected to announce that John Gibbons will be returning as Jays manager during a 9 a.m. press conference.

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