New doorknobs banned
Vancouver has banned doorknobs in new construction, a city official said on Thursday. Wrist-twisting doorknobs will be replaced with levers to make it easier for seniors and those with disabilities, city spokeswoman Viviana Zanocco told reporters. The new rules are included in an amended building code, which takes effect on March 1 next year. It will not apply retroactively to older buildings. Toronto’s OCAD University design professor Howard Gerry told the daily Toronto Star: “It makes good sense, even for private houses. Think about an aging population or an individual carrying groceries or small children. Levers make access easier.” Others, such as antique doorknob sellers, however, were flying off the handle about the move. Antique Door Knob Collectors of America president Allen Joslyn told the Vancouver Sun: “To say that when I build my private home and nobody is disabled, that I have to put levers on, strikes me as overreach.”
Toronto mayor draws laughs
Disgraced Toronto Mayor Rob Ford drew laughs with self-deprecation late on Thursday in his first public speech since he was stripped of most powers over headline-grabbing misconduct. Ford, who was sanctioned at the beginning of the week following his admissions of smoking crack and binge drinking, was promoting his administration’s fiscal record to a largely business audience. “We’ve reduced Council and the mayor’s budget by US$6.4 million over four years,” he said, adding after a pause: “Even more in the last three days.” The reference to Council’s vote on Monday to slash the mayor’s annual US$2 million office budget by more than 60 percent provoked chuckles in the audience, according to a video of the event distributed on Friday.
Corpses found after tip-off
At least 33 mutilated corpses have been found buried in the west of the country where drug cartels are battling each other, officials said on Friday, the latest in a series of grisly finds amid a scourge of gang-related violence. The bodies, which showed signs of torture, were found in 19 ditches in La Barca on the border between the states of Michoacan and Jalisco, where a clutch of rival cartels operate. Experts began searching the area based on comments from 25 municipal police who were detained and accused of links to criminal organizations. Some of them had said corpses of people killed by rival gangs were dumped in the area. “It looks like a minefield ... The excavations have been carried out based on the declarations of the detained police,” an official at the attorney general’s office told reporters.
Hitler photographs sold
A French veteran made more than 10,000 euros (US$13,557) on Friday selling four photo albums he took from Adolf Hitler’s mountain retreat as “a souvenir” in the final days of World War II. The albums, which contain pictures and messages of admiration, were presented to Hitler by supporters in the 1930s and early 1940s. Paul Gerbi, 92, who took the four items from Hitler’s library at his mansion, the Berghof, in Berchtesgaden, fought as a sergeant in General Philippe Leclerc’s 2nd Armoured Division. He said he arrived at the mountain retreat on May 4, 1945, four days before the end of the war and four days after Hitler’s suicide in Berlin. “For us these are great memories because to arrive at Hitler’s place at the end of the war was great after all he had done,” Gerbi said.