Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley’s Divorce Finalized

It’s official. Avril Lavigne has divorced Deryck Whibley, Sum 41 lead singer, after three years of marriage.

The divorce was filed in L.A. County Superior Court, and widely reported as confirmed on Wednesday, November 16. According to gossip site TMZ, the filing states that neither party will get spousal support, and there was no pre-nuptial agreement.

It also appears the former couple has split their properties, with Avril getting back her collection of guitars, drums and other instruments, lyrics, songs, as well as her lifestyle belongings including her Volvo, a house in Beverly Hills, apparel, plaques, certificates, awards, mementos, artwork, jewelry and others.

Her ex-husband, Deryck, will take away his guitars, song catalogs, wardrobe, plaques, certificates, awards, artwork, mementos, and jewelry.

The former rock star couple got married in July of 2006, but went their separate ways late in 2009.

It was Avril who filed for divorce in October of 2009 citing September 4 as the date when their marriage was formally over.

As the former couple entered into negotiations to complete their divorce, Avril was seen dating Brody Jenner, reality star of “The Hills,” while Deryk Whibley was reported to be going out with fashion model, Hannah Beth Merjos.

Avril Lavigne photo: Wikipedia | Derek Whibley photo: Wikipedia

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Canadian Researchers Join Mission to Capture Antimatter

Several scientists that include experts from Canada are claiming that they have done the impossible: capture antimatter.

In basic terms, antimatter is electronically the exact opposite of matter. And while it does not exist in nature now, it was thought to be in abundance when the universe was created. University of Calgary assistant physics professor and Vancouver-based TRIUMF research scientist Makoto Fujiwara confirm that antimatter must have existed in the very beginning of the universe, although it no longer in exists now.

The team announced their findings in the Scientific Journal Nature, after five years of studying at the CERN European Organization for Nuclear Research Center near Geneva, Switzerland. It’s the biggest particle-physics lab in the world and the only one equipped to study antimatter.

Makoto Fujiwara reports they were able to create antimatter by using extremely high-speed collisions of hydrogen, which has a simple atomic structure that makes it ideal for studying antimatter. For a fraction of a second, his team was able to catch around 40 antimatter atoms, which University of Calgary Head of Physics and Astronomy Rob Thompson conceded is an incredibly small amount.

Thompson stated that their findings are purely for scientific benefits at this point in time – as they test the fundamental theories surrounding antimatter – and there are no direct applications yet for their research.

Fujiwara added that further advances in the study of antimatter should be able to help science better understand the origins of the universe. Both scientists are doubtful about the chances of antimatter being used to fuel space travel, as depicted in science fiction. It is also deemed impractical for antimatter to be a source of energy, since it cancels itself out upon contact with matter.

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Image: “A Galactic Cloud of Antimatter” / Source:  Wikipedia

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Amputee Filing G20 Human Rights Complaint

John Pruyn – a 57 year old Thorold, Ontario amputee – is filing a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission after an incident during the G20 protests when police tore off his prosthetic leg.

He says it appears he was violated simply for not being able to stand up fast enough for the charging police. He will direct his complaint to why the police failed to accommodate him properly as a disabled individual when he was detained during G20.

The 27-hour detention began with him being handcuffed and dragged on the floor all the way to a paddy wagon as he wasn’t able to walk. Pruyn says the police knew he was disabled because they were the ones who tore off the limb. He has spoken to the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario Chapter of Amnesty International, and both he and his spouse Susan had attended court hearings by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the National Union of Public and General Employees.

Pruyn has already consulted with an attorney and will be charging officers from the Toronto Police. He’s also hoping for a public inquiry on other G20 detainments and added that he was never even charged by police that day.

The incident started when police approached him and his daughter, Sarah, who were sitting peacefully at Queen’s Park. As he was being aided by Sarah and two other men, police pushed him on his head and arms and accused him of resisting arrest. They then rolled him over, ordering him to walk immediately after tearing his prosthetic leg off. Compounding this treatment, he was told to hop with his hands cuffed behind his back and, when unable to do so fast enough, police then dragged him with his elbows being scraped on the ground.

Pruyn was held in a detention cell, where police refused to return his prosthetic leg because they believed it might use it as a weapon. At the same time, his wife and daughter were detained at another facility in Toronto.

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Photo by Kate Raynes-Goldie

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Study to Prevent Asian Carp from Entering Great Lakes

Government and Environmentalists on both sides of the border are tackling one of the many challenges facing the biological integrity of the shared Great Lakes.

Because of the numerous twisting rivers, canals and backwater channels leading into the lakes, it is exponentially difficult to stop the entry of certain species of fish, mollusks and algae which been classified as dangerous and invasive to the native species and ecosystem.

A court resolution is pending to decide whether Chicago area shipping locks will be permanently closed to halt the migration of Asian carp. However, there is heated debate as to whether this would be effective and critical of how such a move would interfere with existing shipping routes. Officials are also aware that Asian carp and other species may simply take alternative routes into the Great Lakes, leading them to call for better solutions.

The key stakeholders in the debate include the government, scientists and environmentalists, and the challenge lies in formulating a mutually agreed upon plan to solve this issue.

The Army Corps of Engineers is currently conducting a study around the Great Lakes to identify any and all alternative pathways that exist. They’re also attempting to gather data on all the invasive species that are currently threatening to disrupt the world’s largest collection of freshwater lakes.

The multi-year study will cost the U.S. government around $25 million, but officials estimate it will increase before being completed in 2015. The study was initiated due to the Water Resources Development Act by Congress in 2007.

Army Corps’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division Commander, Maj. Gen. John Peabody, says the study itself is massive and complex, centering on dozens of species that naturally migrate.

The Asian carp species was inadvertently introduced to the United States in the 1970′s from China, and since then has dramatically disrupted fish biospheres in the Mississippi, through Illinois and approaching Lake Michigan – one of the five Great Lakes shared by both Canada and the United States.

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Photo of an Asian Carp by Kate Gardiner

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Tim Hortons Closes 36 Outlets in the U.S.

Canada’s largest fast food chain, Tim Hortons, has closed 36 of their weakest outlets in the United States. However executives are hoping that business will become even stronger despite this move.

Tim Hortons Chief Executive Don Schroeder told business analysts during a conference call that his company is confident that there will be plenty of opportunities for them in the States, citing the positive business momentum that they enjoyed during the previous year.

Schroeder says that while the 36 closest outlets in New England were growing, their progress was too slow for the company to maintain them.

The third quarter of this year saw the company earn $81.7 million, which compares favorably with last year’s $66.9 earnings.  In total, the company grew sales by 9.7 percent over 2009 with numbers in Canada up by 4.3 percent.

The chain, which owns 3,082 outlets in Canada and 621 sites in the States, is looking forward to improving their marketing strategies in the United States.

Expansion there began in the 1990s, where it faced tough competition from its primary rival, the well entrenched ‘Dunkin Donuts’.

Schroeder says they will invest up to 70 percent of U.S. capital into its existing markets as well as towards advertising.

The 36 outlets that were closed included all shops in Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut. They’ll be closing another 18 kiosks in the fourth quarter which will cost them about $30 million in lease and location closing.
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Photo by Ljsinoz

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Texting While Driving Now Top Canadian Driver Safety Concern

A Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) survey in Canada found that texting while driving is now the top traffic safety concern of Canadians, surpassing even impaired driving.

For more than ten years, Canadians considered impaired driving as the number problem, but now it seems they found something worse to worry about – people who text on cell phones while they drive.

CAA Vice President of Public Affairs surprised at the sudden change in mood, considering how prevelant cell phones are now in society. They also found that Canadians under 30 are the most frequent perpetrators of texting while driving, making them the top violators in almost seven Canadian provinces where new laws ban the practice.

Walker states, however, that laws alone will not help solve the problem. There has to be proper implementation and enforcement, with the public doing its part in spreading awareness and education.

“Society has to disapprove of it for things to change,” says Walker.

The CAA survey encompassed more than 6,000 Candians. 85 percent of participants felt that texting while driving is indeed very dangerous, with 88 percent of the sample indicating that texting while driving is their main concern, and 83 percent ranking impaired driving as their second choice.

The survey additionally confirmed that Canadians are aware of legislation against texting while driving.

Walker warns that it only takes a mere second of distraction for things to go wrong, even at speeds of only 50 kilometers per hour, half that of highway speed.

The CAA will be supporting the National Day of Remembrance for Road Crash Victims to be held on November 17 as part of their effort to make the public aware of the dangers of all forms of distracted driving.

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Photo source: Wikipedia

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York University: Bilingualism Combats Onset of Alzheimer’s

Several Canadian researchers have discovered that bilingualism presents potential delaying effects to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, possibly for a period of up to five years.

The team, which includes York University professor Ellen Bialystok, has had a study published in the Neurology Journal that indicates prolonged bilingualism can actually minimize the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and several other forms of dementia.

The study, led by the Rotman Research Institue, looked at clinical data from 200 patients suffering from Alzheimer’s. These patients come from the Sam and Ida Ross Memory Clinic at the Baycrest Research Center for Aging and the Brain in Toronto.

Professor Bialystok, a Rotman Research Institute associate scientist and the study’s co-author, admitted that it is clear that bilingualism does not actually prevent dementia in Alzheimer’s patients.  It does, however, develop cognitive reserves that enable patients to resist showing symptoms of the disease for years, which helps them cope during that time with their day to day activities.

Despite the patients’ brains showing signs of deterioration, bilingualism helped them develop skills that allowed them to compensate and suppress memory loss and confusion.

Fellow team members, senior scientist Fergus Craik and University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine neurology professor Dr. Morris Freedman, say that bilingual patients were diagnosed up to 4.3 years later than the non-bilingual subjects, with symptoms showing 5 years later.

In this study, patients were grouped according to their cognitive and occupational levels. Their gender and immigration status showed little bearing on the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The research reflects findings from another one of their trials conducted in 2007 that was led by Bialystok and published in the Neuropsychologia Journal. That study found that bilingualism delayed the manifestation of dementia symptoms in patients by up to four years.

Based on their findings, Bialystok recommends bilingualism be seen as crucial component to good health and given equal priority with exercise, proper diet and lifestyle.

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Photo source: Wikipedia

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Canadian Arctic Vulnerable to Oil Spill

A U.S. environmental group, led by Pew Charitable Trust’s U.S. Arctic program director Marilyn Heiman, is calling for a halt of oil and gas leasing, exploration and development activities in the Arctic Ocean – citing that an accidental oil spill would be almost impossible to clean up.

Their study found that current oil spill response plans fall short of giving realistic descriptions of the actual harshness of the climate and remoteness of the Arctic, as well as indicating unrealistic expectations for a successful cleanup.

Contemporary planning suggests that up to 90 percent of oil can be recovered, despite the recent BP oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico – a much less restrictive and isolated environment – where only 20 percent of oil was cleaned.

Heiman says a spill in the Arctic would have to deal with with glaciers, subzero conditions, and winter storms, making it virtually impossible for cleanup operations to take place. The scarcity of roads and the remoteness of ports and U.S. Coast Guard ships and airfields would make those efforts even more problematic.

Supporting Heiman’s opinion, Oceans North Canada team member Trevor Taylor agreed that things could have been much worse if the BP oil spill occurred in the Arctic, citing BP’s much criticized response to the incident. Taylor says it would be extremely hard to deploy cleanup teams in the harsh Arctic conditions where containment booms would be shredded to pieces by the ice-filled waters.

Heiman recommends further studies be conducted on Arctic oil spills, such as detailed and realistic planning for worst-case scenarios, laying out predictions of where oil would disperse given the presence of strong Arctic currents, and developing additional up to date Arctic oil spill data.

The organization hopes that the U.S. and Canada governments take legislative steps to protect and conserve the coastal waters of the Arctic. To that end, the Canadian National Energy Board began reviewing offshore drilling laws after the BP incident.

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Photo by Wili_Hybrid

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Jim Carrey Dines with ‘Cable Guy’ Cohorts Stiller and Apatow

Canadian-born Jim Carrey’s 1996 comedic romp, ‘The Cable Guy’, is on track for a new Blu-Ray re-release with Carrey, Ben Stiller and producer Judd Apatow posting online that they’ve just completed audio commentary for the project.

Apatow tweeted that it was exciting and “a great time”, while Stiller posted on his Twitter account that the same things made him laugh 15 years later.  Jim Carrey not only commented about providing the commentary, but also tweeted a photo of the three having dinner afterwards (pictured).

The movie did not fare as well as Carrey’s earlier hits at the box office, primarily because audiences were expecting a light hearted comedy – along the lines of “Dumb & Dumber, “The Mask”, and “Ace Ventura”- instead of this film’s dark tone.

Although considered a disaster by some, due to its relatively low earnings, Apatow says the movie actually made a lot of money.

“It cost 42 (million dollars) and it made 60 here (in North America) and 40 (million dollars) overseas,” he said. “But the expectation was that it was gonna make a bazillion dollars and so it was treated like this gigantic disaster.”

However since its initial release, Cable Guy has become a cult classic, and many consider it the begining of the Frat Pack clique in Hollywood, a nickname given to a group of Hollywood comedy actors who have appeared together in many of the highest grossing comedy movies since the late 1990s.

Apatow expressed another reason for having fond memories of his work on cable Guy – it is where he met and fell for his wife, actress Leslie Mann, while he was reading Carrey’s role during auditions.

Other actors who had their early movie roles in Cable Guy included Jack Black, Owen Wilson, Andy Dick, and Janeane Garofalo.
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Photo courtesy Jim Carrey’s Yfrog photo stream

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Justin Bieber Meets Up with 1960s Canadian Idol

It was revealed that last month, current singing sensation Justin Bieber had a brief meeting with 1960s Canadian singing idol Paul Anka, and some are speculating that a collaboration may be in the works.

The meeting happened at Bieber’s private room at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a few hours before he performed a concert there in late October.

The Ottawa born Anka – who became famous as a teen idol in the late 1950s and 1960s with hit songs like “Diana’”, “Lonely Boy”, and “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” – is also known as a prolific song writer.

Older generations are familiar with the theme song he wrote for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, as well as the Tom Jones hit “She’s a Lady” and the English lyrics he penned for Frank Sinatra’s signature song, “My Way”.

More recently, it was revealed that Anka collaborated with Michael Jackson on the latter’s recent hit “This is It”.  It was also reported that another unreleased song the two co-wrote in the same 1983 session, “Love Never Felt So Good”, will be released in the near future.

Justin Bieber, one of the newest and hottest Canadian singers -  known to meet up with other compatriots like Avril Lavigne, Drake, and Sum 41′s Deryck Whibley – reportedly spoke with Anka for 90 minutes, but no details about their conversation have been revealed

When interviewed at the Staples Center that same night by a paparazzo videographer from the gossip website X-17.com, the 69 year old Anka said he and his family were there because his five-year-old son Ethan is a fan and that Bieber is “Canadian like me. Canadians like to cheer each other on.”

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Photo sources: Paul Anka at Wikipedia and Justin Bieber at Wikipedia

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