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Newsstand: December 11, 2012

Toronto's busy news week continues. In the news: It's a dangerous time of year for pedestrians; Mayor Ford heads out of town; a flat police budget could mean reduced service; three polar bear cubs born at the Toronto Zoo die mysteriously; and Darwin the Ikea Monkey has a new home.

Nine people were hit, in separate collisions, within a 45-minute period on Monday, highlighting the dangers pedestrians face at this time of year. “This is actually our worst period of time in the year—when we see the most pedestrians struck,” traffic services Constable Clint Stibbe told the Toronto Star. The danger comes from a combination of weather conditions as well as reduced visibility from the change in lighting conditions. Stay safe out there, guys.

City ombudsman Fiona Crean didn’t find the emails from a senior aide in Mayor Rob Ford’s office, listing preferred candidates for City appointments in her investigation of Toronto’s appointment process, she said, because she simply didn’t have access to them. “Any correspondence between political offices would neither have been sought nor obtained because it would not be the subject of my investigation,” Crean said Monday. The trio of councillors who received the email—Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West), Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre), and Jaye Robinson (Ward 25, Don Valley West)—told the Toronto Star that they didn’t see the emails, which the Star got via an access-to-information request, before voting on City appointments. Meanwhile, Mayor Ford has taken a perhaps well-timed vacation.

The city’s police board voted unanimously last night to flatline next year’s spending for Toronto Police, but Police Chief Bill Blair isn’t sure how that’s possible without layoffs or service cuts. Blair has been ordered to find another $6.7 million in unspecified savings and said the tight budget means there won’t be any police hires in 2013.

In sad news in the animal world, the three cubs of Toronto Zoo polar bear Aurora, born late last week, have died for unknown reasons. One cub died shortly after its birth, and the two remaining cubs died on Sunday despite around-the-clock monitoring by zoo staff. Aurora previously rejected and killed another two cubs from another litter in October 2011.

The Ikea monkey—named Darwin—continus to have an eventful week. On top of becoming an instant meme and receiving international attention, he’s got a new home: the Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary in Sunderland, Ontario.

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