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Newsstand: August 11, 2014

Yesterday, female giant panda and Toronto Zoo resident Er Shun celebrated her seventh birthday. Send cake (or bamboo?) to the Zoo. In the news today: don't park near a fire hydrant, a chalk memorial to trans people may be replaced by a more substantial one, and thousands protested the persecution of Christians in Iraq.

matt newsstand wateringlawn

The City of Toronto rakes in around $24 million each year in fines from people parking too close to fire hydrants. If you drive, take a look at City News’ list of the 10 most profitable hydrants and avoid them.

Last month, City staff washed away a chalk memorial to deceased members of Toronto’s trans community. Now, councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) has pledged to provide a more lasting tribute, and has said City staff wouldn’t have erased the memorial if they’d recognized it as one. The park in question sits at Church and Wellesley and was recently renamed for Barbara Hall, former mayor and current Ontario Human Rights chief commissioner. Hall herself recognized a name on the memorial, where people had written the names of trans people who have lost or taken their lives. “I believe that trans people are some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our community,” Hall said, though she added that the group is working toward empowerment and equality. “I think the memorial is a part of that empowerment.” Compared to the general public and even to lesbians and gay men, members of the trans community are significantly more likely to be victims of violence.

While hundreds gathered on Sunday for what is now an almost weekly protest to demonstrate their support for the people in Gaza, thousands marched on Queen’s Park to support Christians in Iraq. As ISIS, or Islamic State, has ramped up attacks in the beleaguered nation, religious groups other than Sunni Muslims are facing increased persecution. The federal government on Sunday committed $5 million to aid civilians in Iraq.

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