DAVE AGAR

March 10th Commentary

Posted By: Dave Agar · 3/10/2014 7:29:00 AM

DST

This is one of those weird Monday mornings.

March break, and the first day back at work after the switch to Daylight Saving Time.

It means motorists and pedestrians who are sleepier than usual. It means a lot of kids will be out on the streets.

We have the ingredients for more crashes and more pedestrians hit.

In fact there's a deadly crash Jessica told you about on traffic off the top, on the 401 westbound collectors at Bayview.

Generally speaking 50 to 60 percent of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians but here in Toronto, for some reason, the numbers are significantly higher.

So far this year, 75 percent of all traffic fatalities involve pedestrians on city streets which is why Toronto Police may be a little less tolerant this week as they launch their annual pedestrian safety campaign.

Police are asking drivers "to take extra care on the roads and in parking lots, especially in areas where children and seniors might be present."

I doubt we have any scientific studies yet to back this up but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the increase in pedestrian risk of death is the result of a combination of, not only, distracted driving, but distracted walking.

Our politicians are going to have to give some serious thought to penalties of some sort for people talking on the phone walking across the street or listening to music on their earphones so loud that they can't hear anything else including oncoming vehicles.

Fire follow

It was Friday morning when we were telling you about the deadly apartment fire on Dovercourt near Dupont in Toronto. How 1 person died and 3 others were in critical condition in hospital.

This morning only 1 is still living, 21-year old Ethan Leal.

Saturday morning, 21 year old Katie Charron was declared dead. The family decided to donate her organs to help five others live. Her father says Katie "would have loved that, to give someone else a second chance."

All of the victims of this fire lived together...best friends since high school days in Georgetown. Funeral services for Katie Charoon, Alysia Graham and Jordan Boyer are planned for later this week.

Malaysia

Nothing much new to report yet on the search for the Malaysian Airliner with 2-hundred-39 people on board that vanish on a flight to Beijing on the weekend.

No identifiable debris yet. Nothing new on the intent of the two passengers who boarded with stolen passports...but that alone leaves open the possibility of this being an act of terrorism.

What I found particularly alarming is the discovery that while Interpol, the International Police Agency has a database of all reported passports that were stolen or lost, very few countries bother to check that database, ever.

So there are all kinds of people boarding international flights with stolen and doctored passports.

What is particuarly frustrating is that countries can have access to the Interpol files, free of charge and just don't bother.

And here we are packing up to go somewhere, getting people rummaging through our carry-ons, making us take off our shoes, running us through scanners. If you can't get the easy stuff right just because you can't be bothered, what assurance do we have that you can get the rest of it?

Alzheimer's

The results need to be confirmed but if this holds up, there could be a significant step forward in the battle against Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia.

Scientist at Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington spent 5 years comparing the blood of 53 people over the age of 70 who developed mild cognitive impairment and compared their blood with 53 who showed no such impairment.

Between the two groups, the blood tests showed differences in the levels of 10 lipids or fats in the bloodstream.

Precisely why those lipids changed is not known yet but they suspect these are early markers for Alzheimer's and the markers showed up two to three years before the patient showed any symptoms of the disease.

If this turns out to be a successful test for Alzheimer's, it could transform the research into the disease and lead to new treatments drugs that could be used at a much earlier stage of the disease, before symptoms appear.

Strombo

It's all rumour at this point but because of the source, the story is getting wide-spread play.

TSN's Bob McKenzie has tweeted that there's a good chance TV talk show host George Stroumbolopolous will be named the main host of Hockey Night in Canada when Rogers takes over next season.

The suggestion is that the current host on CBC, Ron McLean would play a lesser role on the broadcast and while there is no specific mention of Don Cherry, McKenzie has heard that Coach's Corner will get a 2-year contract.

Paralympics

Canada won its first gold medal at the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia this morning.

Cross-country skier Brian McKeever finished first in the 20-k race for athletes who are visually impaired.

North Korea

The next time we complain about election results in Canada, keep in mind what happens in other countries.

North Korea, for example, people went to the polls yesterday to elect a new Supreme People's Assembly.

Among those up for election, the incumbent for Mount Paekdue. None other than supreme leader Kim Jong Un.

The state run Korean Central News Agency reports in that riding the voter turnout was 1-hundred-percent and that every vote cast was for Kim Jong Un.

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