Weekend Newsstand: March 24, 2012
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Weekend Newsstand: March 24, 2012

Thrice the brinded cat hath mewed. Thrice, and once the hedge-pig whined. Harpier cried, 'tis time—for Saturday! That sassy witch loves the weekend as much as we do, you guys. Today: inside workers at the table, kidneys from Siberia, money from Balsillie, and keeping the bedbug bucks flowing.

Negotiators for the City and its inside workers were still talking last night as the midnight deadline set by the City rolled past, and as of this morning, they’re still not on strike. The union tabled a proposal Thursday that would keep job security provisions for 70 per cent of its membership—anyone who’s been in the job longer than 10 years—but the Ford administration had been calling for that number to be raised to 17 years. So on they talked. Reading the first line of the Star story, you may be led to think that the City negotiators huddled with 23,000 workers all night, but we’re pretty sure it was just their bargaining teams that got to experience that special huddley feeling.

If you were looking for an under-the-table kidney, the going rate appears to be a tidy $105,000. At least, that’s what a Toronto man says he paid for one in Kosovo after being told he’d have to wait for up to 12 years in Canada. Raul Fain’s story came to light as he testified by video link in the trial of seven men charged with running an international organ-trafficking ring centred around a clinic in Kosovo, a country where organ removal and transplants are illegal. He said he met up with an Israeli in Istanbul to arrange the surgery, and then had it performed in Pristina. The kidney had originally belonged to a 45-year-old woman from Siberia who may or may not have been paid for it.

York University professors and the school’s leadership seem to have come to an agreement over how to take $30 million from RIM millionaire Jim Balsillie while maintaining their academic standards. The teachers say the original arrangement with the Balsillie-funded Centre for International Governance Innovation gave the organization “unprecedented” control over the school’s academic matters. They’ve agreed to come up with a plan to keep things arms-length, while graciously accepting the huge chunk of cash and an equal sum that would come from the province. It’s now up to the university’s senate to approve or reject the plan.

And finally: Don’t let the bedbugs bite us, Queen’s Park! The City is begging the province to continue funding the fight against the nasty night crawlers, but with the cash-strapped Liberals holding their chopping axe at the ready, things are not looking good. Unless you’re a bedbug, that is. The funding—$1.2 million—was only meant to be a one-time initiative but the City says the issue is not going away. We agree, and applaud any move that makes us less paranoid about putting our coats on peoples’ beds at parties. For now, we will continue to awkwardly insist on using the closet.