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Hostile reaction to Amber Alert for missing girl is unreal

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As police hunted late last Thursday night and into the morning for an 11-year-old Mississauga girl gone missing and later found dead, many people expressed shock. They said the Amber Alert for missing children, first sent out on phones at 11:30 p.m. was scary, too loud, not useful, annoying, broke their phone, woke the kids, woke the dog, and would make them tired for work.

The child, Riya Rajkumar, was a happy girl with a huge grin. In the police-issued photo of her with her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, she is proudly wearing Minnie Mouse ears and a pink purse with the letter R. She was in Grade 5. She was four feet tall.

Peel Regional Police sent out an Amber Alert to cellphones on Thursday night as they searched for Riya Rajkumar, 11, who was believed to be in the company of Roopesh Rajkumar. Riya was later found dead.
Peel Regional Police sent out an Amber Alert to cellphones on Thursday night as they searched for Riya Rajkumar, 11, who was believed to be in the company of Roopesh Rajkumar. Riya was later found dead.  (INSTAGRAM)

Her mother had called the police, saying she had left the girl with her father for her birthday and was frantic about her safety after she didn’t return. The alert, normally sent out on mobile screens, TV, and radio, described her and the car she might be in, asking everyone to be on the lookout.

The alert named the father, found in Orillia and later charged with first-degree murder, and said the car was last seen eastbound on Highway 401. Peel Region police say a 911 tipoff led them to it and the Brampton house where Riya was found. They said they were distressed by the number of angry 911 complaints they received about the Amber Alert itself.

This is new to me, although perhaps not to police across Canada. 911 is reserved for emergencies. For complaints about noise, Torontonians are asked to call 311. The idea that people would clog 911 to harangue operators, possibly as the child herself was crying or even dying, seems unreal. Many tweets were foul, and not anonymous either.

Read more:

Man charged in daughter’s death in hospital with self-inflicted gunshot wound, say police

‘Riya is an angel’ — Mississauga community gathers to mourn slain 11-year-old Riya Rajkumar

Late-night Amber Alert about missing girl, found dead, prompts complaints to 911: Peel police

“How many houses were disrupted every two hours all night long for a BS Amber Alert?” is an unacceptable tweet, but it appears to have been deleted so it’s forgivable (as are almost all tweets). What’s less forgivable is that the question was prefaced by “I am very sorry that a little girl is dead but on the night the rest of the world has to work …”

One would have thought that the final alert announcing that Riya had been found dead would have silenced the complaints. It did not.

Canadians talk about the Ottawa bubble, but it’s real. Imagine people there complaining that the child was missing in Peel Region, “which is hours away” from Ottawa, to which no human being could possibly drive in the middle of the night.

This is a test — and the nation-wide Canadian emergency alert system will be tested again and again — and the challenge is understanding the thinking behind the complaints. Calling 911 is like signing your name.

Were they drunk? Tone-deaf? Racist? Caught in an era of rage?

It may turn out that the alert was not handled perfectly but it was sincere. Yes, the digital buzzing siren sound is alarming but it’s supposed to be. It will tell you about approaching terror like hurricanes, huge fires, floods or all three.

As weather grows more extreme, you may hear it again. The practical answer is to turn off your phone or lower the volume.

By the way, it was an excellent alert, its words fresh, concise and to the point. Such alerts are by definition a shared experience, something we Canadians don’t have often. They’re directed at everyone who might help by looking out the bedroom window in the dark, checking the licence plate of the car ahead, and studying the faces of strangers.

They’re a collective effort to find an individual. In 1985, little Nicole Morin, 8, left her family apartment to meet a friend for swimming. She was never seen again. Neither her killer nor her body were ever found.

If memory serves, police asked everyone in Toronto to check their surroundings, every car trunk, every inch of yards and garages, behind sealed doors, under objects and inside bins. Nicole was so small that she could have been hidden almost anywhere and no one would have noticed. That was 34 years ago and I still think of her.

Heather Mallick is a columnist based in Toronto covering current affairs. Follow her on Twitter: @HeatherMallick

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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