Newsstand: July 29, 2013
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Newsstand: July 29, 2013

Anybody else enjoying this reprieve from the oppressive summer heat? Things are expected to stay bearable throughout the week. In the news: lots of questions and an SIU investigation after a weekend shooting on a streetcar, Ontario jails are crowded, and a life-saving drug sits in storage.

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The Special Investigation Unit is investigating after a fatal shooting on a 505 Dundas streetcar on Friday night. Sammy Yatim, 18, died after he was shot by police on the streetcar; witnesses said Yatim brandished a small knife and ordered everyone off the streetcar near Trinity Bellwoods Park at around midnight, and police boarded the car—then empty but for Yatim, according to a TTC spokesperson—just a few minutes later. In an eyewitness video published to YouTube, Yatim is seen standing near the front of the streetcar as police yell “Drop your weapon” and “Don’t move.” As Yatim appeared to move, three shots were fired, with six more fired a few seconds later. The sound of a Taser was then heard. Yatim was pronounced dead at St. Michael’s Hospital, and the SIU—which investigates all deaths involving a police officer and civilians—has released no official details so far.

Almost half of Ontario’s jails are overcrowded, with cells meant for two people sometimes holding three or more prisoners, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections. The stats showed that on an average day in 2012, 14 of the 29 jails in the province had more prisoners than they were designed to hold, and the province-wide capacity rate last year hit 98.5 per cent. Ontario expects its daily inmate count to jump by nearly 1,500 within two years as a result of tougher crime laws passed by the Harper government, a spokesperson for the corrections ministry told the Toronto Star.

More than a year after the launch of a program aimed to prevent overdose deaths, about 18,000 vials of life-saving naloxone remain undistributed. Fewer than 500 vials of the drug, which is used to temporarily counteract the effects of an overdose, had been distributed when the program was suddenly suspended by the Ministry of Health this spring because of a regulatory issue. “The regulatory glitch was caught, but it has taken an enormous amount of time to fix it, get the naloxone out of the warehouse, onto a truck, and into the hands of people who are prepared to save lives,” Michael Parkinson, community engagement coordinator at the Waterloo Region Crime Prevention Council, told the Star. Toronto is one of a few Ontario cities with its own distribution program for naloxone; it purchases the drug itself, though a rep from public health told the Star that the city would gladly receive the drug from the province if and when a distribution model is worked out.

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