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Newsstand: September 26, 2013

The fall colours are supposed to be really beautiful today, guys! Just not in Toronto. Or at least not yet. In the news: A member of the "Toronto 18" has apparently died in Syria, the TTC board votes narrowly in favour of the east-end subway extension, Mayor Rob Ford's family friend will apply to fill Doug Holyday's vacant seat, and Toronto's ombudsman is not happy.

newsstand jeremy kai spring 3

A member of the “Toronto 18,” the group that, in 2006, conspired with Al-Qaeda-inspired militants to plot attacks on Canadian institutions like the CBC and CSIS, has reportedly died while fighting in Syria. Ali Mohamed Dirie, who was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2009, was released in 2011 and managed to escape Canada in 2012, by using a different passport. He then flew to Syria, where he apparently joined an extremist group, and according to the CBC, was killed in the fighting there.

The TTC board voted in favour, albeit just barely, of the proposed east-end subway extension that will establish a route from Kennedy station to McCowan and then up to Sheppard. The decision—fraught with controversy and political tensions—goes to city council next month and is expected, if anything, to not be pretty.

At an information session held in Etobicoke last night for those interested in applying for former deputy mayor Doug Holyday’s vacant city council seat, Ross Vaughan—a businessman and old family friend of Mayor Rob Ford—said he has Ford’s blessing, but not necessarily his endorsement, to apply for the seat. Vaughan apparently was a former realtor for Doug Ford Senior (father to Councillor Doug Ford)’s family, and was present at the mayor’s wedding. That family sure does have a lot of friends.

Toronto’s ombudsman, Fiona Crean, whose office has been investigating the potentially corrupt hiring and promotion practices of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, is mighty pissed to hear that the TCHC is hiring its own consultant to conduct a similar investigation of its own conduct. Everything just got real meta. Crean is complainaning that a parallel investigation could jeopardize the work her staff is doing, and undermine her office’s authority.

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