CEO OF CANADA’S LARGEST CRYPTO CURRENCY COMPANY HAS DIED, TAKING PASSWORDS WITH HIM

GERRY COTTEN, 30, was in India opening an orphanage, when he passed away taking the company’s passwords to his grave. Now Quadriga CX, based in HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, is in crisis mode. His wife is unable to find the passwords or keys that would unlock the wallets, worth about $250-million. “Cold wallets” are essentially offline storage systems that protect funds from hacking and theft. They’re locked solid without passwords.

The company has about $375,000 in cash while owing the equivalent of $250-million to about 92,000 users. Mr. Cotten died on December 9th with complications from Crohn’s disease.

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TORONTO-BASED ‘RAINBOW RAILROAD’ CONFIRMS CHECHNYA IS AGAIN ATTACKING ITS LGBTQI PEOPLE

What is the Rainbow Railroad? It’s a Canadian charitable organization, founded in 2006, based in TORONTO, that helps LGBTQI individuals escape persecution in their homelands.

In 71 countries, queer and trans people face criminal charges under colonial-era anti-gay laws that can result in life sentences. In eight countries, the death penalty can be applied. LGBTQI people are outed in the media, attacked by mob violence, sexually assaulted, or rounded up in state-sanctioned crackdowns by police.

From KIMAHLI POWELL, Executive Director – “Two people are dead and at least 40 have been detained in what appears to be a second wave of a state-sponsored crackdown on LGBTQI people in Chechnya.

“Since the reports first surfaced two weeks ago, we’ve been connecting with our partners on the ground, such as Russia’s LGBT Network . . . Those who’ve managed to escape (from Chechnya) are still experiencing serious trauma as a result of the humiliation, torture and abuse that they faced there,” Powell says.

Over 1,200 people have asked for help in 2018. To date, Rainbow Railroad has assisted more than 600 individuals’ escape to safe countries.  Several of them now live in TORONTO. For up-to-date information go to https://www.rainbowrailroad.com/

MUSIC DIRECTOR OF THE METROPOLITAN OPERA, CANADIAN, MONTREALER, & HE’S GAY – NY TIMES

“A GAY CONDUCTOR: THAT MEANS SOMETHING” is an attention-grabbing headline in Sunday’s New York Times’ Arts & Leisure section.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now the music director of the Metropolitan Opera.

 

<PHOTO by JEENAH MOON for the New York Times – Yannick Nézet-Séguin on the right, with his partner Pierre Tourville>

ZACHARY WOOLFE writes: “Despite gay pioneers like Michael Tilson Thomas (at the San Francisco Symphony) and Marin Alsop (in Baltimore), conducting remains an overwhelmingly straight (and male, and white) profession.

“Even NEW YORK, the city that gave rise to the modern gay rights movement . . . has been dominated by two conductors: Leonard Bernstein and James Levine, who both kept their sexual relationships with men hidden.”

<PHOTO by JEENAH MOON for the New York Times – Mr. Nézet-Séguin on the left, with his partner Pierre Tourville>

The writeup about Yannick Nézet-Séguin and his long-time partner, violist Pierre Tourville, is an uplifting milestone for both the Opera and the LGBTQ community.

You’ll find Zachary Woolfe’s in-depth story at https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/15/arts/music/yannick-nezet-seguin-met-opera-gay.html

 

ZAYELL JOHNSTON’S “CRAZY NOTION” – TO WALK 9,000 KILOMETRES (5,600 MILES) ACROSS CANADA

To walk coast-to-coast across CANADA, even in perfect weather, is a gargantuan task. ZAYELL JOHNSTON, 27, decided to do precisely that, beginning his project at Mile ‘O’ in VICTORIA, British Columbia, and ending up nine months later on the Atlantic coast in CAPE SPEAR, Newfoundland. Along the way – blistering heat, torrential rain, blizzards and hail; daily walking average – 50 kilometres.

“I don’t know how I got the crazy notion of walking across the country, but I didn’t want to drive across it,” Johnston said. “At the beginning of the journey, you could say I was running away to kind of reflect on where I was in life.”

Johnston set up a Go Fund Me campaign and raised only $620. At the end of the trip he used the fund to send cheques of roughly $50 each to the Canadian Mental Health Association in all ten provinces.

His next goal – paying off a student loan, becoming a forest firefighter and building up his abs. ZAYELL is a native of YORKTON, Saskatchewan.

<CBC News, @BonnieAllenCBC; photos by Zayell Johnston/Facebook>

A FORM OF IMMORTALITY? – A BLIND, WORM-LIKE AMPHIBIAN HAS BEEN NAMED AFTER DONALD TRUMP

DERMOPHIS DONALD TRUMPI is officially an underground amphibian, named after the US president and his persistent climate change denial. The name was chosen by the boss of EnvironBuild, a sustainable building materials company, who paid $25,000 at an auction for the right. <PHOTO – in the EnviroBuild image above, the amphibian is wearing Trump’s hair>

Naming rights were auctioned to raise money for the Rainforest Trust. The scientists who found the 10cm worm-like creature have agreed to use the name when published in scientific literature.

<PHOTO ABOVE – The 10cm-long Dermophis donaldtrumpi. by Abel Batista/Rainforest Trust UK>

The shiny animal is particularly susceptible to the impacts of global warming and is therefore in danger of becoming extinct because of its namesake’s climate policies, the Rainforest Trust told The Guardian.

IN MEMORIAM/2018 – SOME OF THOSE WE LOST THIS PAST YEAR WHO MADE A DIFFERENCE

ANN IRELAND, Canadian novelist
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, celebrity chef and television personality
ARETHA FRANKLIN, the Queen of Soul
BARBARA BUSH, US First Lady, wife of H. W. Bush
BERNARDO BERTOLUCCI, Italian film director/producer
BILLY GRAHAM, preacher, counselor and confidant to several US presidents
BURT REYNOLDS, actor
CHARLES AZNAVOUR, singer, very popular in Quebec
CHARLES NEVILLE, musician
CLINT WALKER, actor
DAN MALONEY, Toronto Maple Leafs coach & player
DOROTHY MALONE, actor
DOUGLAS RAIN, actor and Stratford Festival founding member
GALT MacDERMOT, Canadian-born composer
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, former US president
GEORGE JONESCU, ‘Big Band Sunday Night’ host on Zoomer Radio
GORDON CHONG, former Toronto councillor
JOHN GAVIN, actor
JOHN McCAIN, American hero and maverick
KATE SPADE, fashion designer
LINDSAY KEMP, choreographer
MARGO KIDDER, Canadian actor and activist
MIKE McDONALD, Canadian stand-up comic & actor
MILOS FORMAN, film director
MURRAY WESTGATE, Canadian television spokesman for ESSO in the 50;s & 60’s
NANCY RICHLER, Canadian novelist
NANCY WILSON, jazz singer
NANETTE FABRAY, singer, dancer, television personality
NEIL SIMON, playwright and screenwriter
NINALEE ALLEN CRAIG, Toronto resident, the woman in Ruth Orkin’s “American Girl in Italy”
PAUL TAYLOR, choreographer
PENNY MARSHALL, actress, television and feature film director
PHILIP ROTH, novelist
ROBERT INDIANA, pop artist
ROGER BANNISTER, British record-breaking runner
ROY CLARK, country music star
SMOKE DAWG, Toronto rapper
STAN LEE, creator of Spider-man
STEPHEN HAWKING, physicist and cosmologist
STEPHEN HILLENBURG, creator of Spongebob SquarePants
SUSAN ANSPACH, actor
TAB HUNTER, Hollywood movie star
TOM WOLFE, author and journalist
VERNE TROYER, short in stature, played Mini-Me and several others
VIC DAMONE, singer
WILL ALSOP, British architect who desined Toronto’s Sharp Centre at OCADU
WILL VINTON, inventor of Claymation stop-motion animation using putty or clay
WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA, South African politician & activist

. . . and so many more. Part of a list compiled by TORONTO’s NOW Weekly and CBS.

ZOOMER RADIO HAS LOST A TOP PERSONALITY WITH THE DEATH OF GEORGE JONESCU

Sunday nights won’t be the same now that Zoomer Radio’s GEORGE JONESCU has passed on. ‘Big Band Sunday Night’ on 50,000-watt AM740 & 96.7FM, reached well into the northeastern United States and large parts of Ontario. George was in the driver’s seat every Sunday night playing music from the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

For at least the last 5-7 years I seldom missed Sunday nights with George.  May the show continue.  It’s a winner.When it came to the big bands, Mr. Jonescu had an encyclopedic memory.  He minimized chatter, and focused on the music itself, much of which came from his personal collection. Despite blizzards and other inclement weather on the notorious 60-mile stretch between Barrie and Toronto, he always made it for show time.

GEORGE JONESCU’s 65 years in the radio business took him to Montreal, Sault Ste. Marie, Barrie, and TORONTO. He once said, “Being a broadcaster affords a platform which must always be used with responsibility and sensibility, if not, it is an indulgence.”  Farewell GEORGE.  We won’t forget you.