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LACKIE: Outdated open houses no longer necessary, not worth the risks

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Being able to produce a well-attended open house is clear and demonstrable.

It’s also a great way for agents to get themselves in front of prospective buyer clients. Nice to meet you, are you currently working with an agent?

Here’s why I loathe open houses:

You have no idea who is there and why.

Unlike a buyer-broker showing where the buyer has been pre-qualified, open house attendees could be anyone.

The nosy neighbour who is dying to see your renovation. Someone looking for valuables. Someone with an hour to kill before brunch.

On a sunny day, you’re likely to have a slew of people out for walks who happen upon your sign and decide to pop in.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

If the weather is terrible, people will stay home and come with their agent at their convenience.

It seems like an excellent way to gauge interest, but it’s often not.

You can have fifty groups through an open house and still have no offers. You can have a poorly attended open house and still have a bidding war.

I will take a list of agents who have shown my property and can provide clear and instructive feedback to relay to my client any day.

Conversely, there is no upside to assuming the liability that comes with bringing strangers through a private residence in the midst of a global pandemic. It’s just not responsible.

You think you might be interested in a house you saw online? Skip the open house and repeat after me: just because it’s permitted, doesn’t make it wise.

— Brynn Lackie is a second generation realtor and life-long resident of Toronto


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Serena Williams Withdraws From French Open With Achilles Injury : NPR

Serena Williams serves during her Women’s Singles first round match against Kristie Ahn on day two of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on Monday in Paris, France.

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Serena Williams serves during her Women’s Singles first round match against Kristie Ahn on day two of the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros on Monday in Paris, France.

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Serena Williams unexpectedly ended her latest bid to tie the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles early. She withdrew from the French Open on Wednesday because of an Achilles injury.

“I’m struggling to walk, so that’s kind of a tell-tale sign that I should try to recover,” the tennis player said during a press conference.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, injured her Achilles in a U.S. Open semifinal loss to Victoria Azarenka earlier this month. She was set to play Tsvetana Pironkova on Wednesday. But after a “very short” warm up, she and her coach decided it was best to not play.

On Monday, she beat Kristie Ahn in a 7-6 (2), 6-0 victory.

Williams has been bidding for her 24th major singles trophy for the last few years, which would tie with Margaret Court for most in history. Her next chance will be the Australian Open in January.

She thinks she’ll need to take four to six weeks to recover.

“I think Achilles’ is a real injury that you don’t want to play with because that is not good if it gets worse. I think it’s one of the worst. So I don’t want it to get to that point,” she said.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to play another tournament this year,” she added.

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US Open 2020: Naomi Osaka beats Victoria Azarenka to win third Grand Slam title

Osaka lies on the court to celebrate her win
Naomi Osaka lay down on Arthur Ashe Stadium moments after sealing victory

Naomi Osaka demonstrated her growing maturity to fight back against Victoria Azarenka in a compelling US Open final and claim her third Grand Slam title.

Japanese fourth seed Osaka, 22, won 1-6 6-3 6-3 for her second US Open title.

Osaka was overwhelmed in the first set and was in danger of trailing 3-0 in the second before recovering to win 10 of the next 11 games to take momentum.

Belarusian Azarenka, playing in her first major final since 2013, lost serve for 5-3 in the decider.

Osaka shrieked with joy as she took her second match point, then calmly laid out on the court and stared at the New York sky as she contemplated her latest achievement.

Osaka’s level raised considerably as 31-year-old Azarenka was unable to maintain the intensity she showed in a one-sided opening set.

The fightback ensured Osaka, who won the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open, maintained her record of winning every Grand Slam final she has played in.

“I don’t want to play you in any more finals, I didn’t really enjoy that, it was a really tough match for me,” Osaka jokingly told Azarenka.

“It was really inspiring for me because I used to watch you play here when I was younger. I learned a lot, so thank you.”

Another US Open title for Osaka – but a contrasting occasion

Osaka’s maiden victory at Flushing Meadows two years ago came in straight sets against Serena Williams in a hostile environment following the American’s infamous argument with umpire Carlos Ramos.

This second success could not have been more different.

Here she had to fight back from a set down against an inspired Azarenka – and navigate a tricky decider which could have swung either way – on a virtually empty Arthur Ashe Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For me, I just thought it would be embarrassing to lose this under an hour,” said Osaka, who will rise to third in the world after her win.

Osaka looked a little lost as Azarenka overwhelmed her in a fast start, hitting 13 unforced errors and struggling to cope with the Belarusian’s proactive play and controlled aggression.

Draping a towel over her head at changeovers was a sign of Osaka’s concerns. Her attempts to collect her thoughts and regain her composure did not initially work, however.

Another wayward forehand prompted a frustrated Osaka to throw her racquet to the floor in disgust.

Eventually, though, the mental resilience which she says she has developed over recent months came to the fore.

That resulted in a major momentum shift in her favour as Azarenka threatened to move 3-0 ahead in the second set.

A rasping forehand by Osaka proved pivotal, not only in the game, but ultimately in the whole match as she seized control to level.

The former world number one maintained that level in the decider to earn a 4-1 lead, but was unable to convert one of three break points to move 5-1 ahead.

That might have proved costly when Azarenka immediately put the set back on serve, only for Osaka to battle back again by winning what proved to be the final two games.

Osaka gets the world talking

Not only has Osaka impressed on court during the Cincinnati Masters-US Open bubble in the past month, she has also won many admirers for her activism in the fight against racism and police brutality in the United States.

A few days before the start of the US Open, Osaka pulled out of her Western and Southern Open semi-final in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by police in Wisconsin.

Before her US Open first-round match, she wore a face mask with the name of Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot dead by a policeman in March.

Osaka, who has Japanese and Haitian parents, and was brought up in the United States, said she had seven masks with seven different names.

Her target was to reveal all of them by reaching Saturday’s final and that provided her with extra motivation to win the title, according to her coach Wim Fissette.

“I felt the point was to make people start talking,” Osaka said after her victory.

“I’ve been inside the bubble and not sure what’s going on in the outside world. The more retweets it gets, the more people talk about it.”


BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

When Osaka won the title two years ago, boos rang around the Arthur Ashe Stadium as Serena Williams had been docked a game.

This time virtual silence greeted her triumph – but again she had to do it the hard way.

Azarenka played an almost flawless first set, and it was only when four games from defeat that Osaka found her range and some serious power.

The 22-year-old has taken some knocks over the past 18 months as she came to terms with life as one of the world’s highest profile athletes.

A first-round defeat at last year’s Wimbledon was perhaps the hardest to take – but look at her now.

Not only is she playing with supreme confidence once again, but is also able to use her influence to promote social justice in a very assured and unassuming way.

More to follow.

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10 Indigenous B.C. destinations open for summer 2020

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Due to social distancing protocols tours by canoes has been suspended but Takaya Tours is offering tours by kayaks.

Talaysay Tours – Talking Trees Tour

Talaysay Tours is operating out of Stanley Park, Squamish and the North Shore. Candace Campo, owner and operator says they are taking personal booking “and working with people in their own bubbles, so as not to mix groups.”

Talaysay Tours

The 1.5 hour Talking Trees Tours offers an Aboriginal cultural and eco-tourism experiences in Stanley Park.

First Nation guides share their ancient and contemporary stories, legends, and Aboriginal ways of living as they take you through old growth forests.

Explore beautiful locations in and near Vancouver with a local First Nations guide and cultural ambassador. Along the path, your guide will point out local plants that were harvested by Skwxu7mesh Uxwumixw – Coast Salish people. Talking Trees shares the stories of people, the land and the harmonious ways of living.

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Jeet Heer, Margaret Atwood, David Frum, Malcolm Gladwell and other defenders of open debate get their wish

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An open letter denouncing social restrictions on free speech and public debate, signed by more than 150 writers, academics, public intellectuals and other specialists, is sparking ample debate, although not all of it the sort its authors likely hoped for.

Published online by Harper’s magazine, “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” was signed by people as famous as author J.K. Rowling, Noam Chomsky, Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie, and as unexpected as jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and choreographer Bill T. Jones.

As befits a manifesto, the current wave of protest and social activism is described as “a moment.” The anti-racism movement is “powerful,” demands for police reform are “overdue” and calls for wider inclusion across society is part of a “needed reckoning,” the letter declares.

But there’s a “but.”

“But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity.”

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Les Ferdinand: English football’s only black technical director says he must be a success to open doors for others

QPR director of football Les Ferdinand says he agrees with Ian Wright’s claim that he must be a success in order for more black professionals to be given boardroom roles in English football.

Ferdinand, who has been in the job since February 2015, is currently the only black technical director in English professional football.

Discussing the lack of BAME representation on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs programme earlier this month, former Arsenal man Wright said: “Les, being one of the few, has to be successful. If he doesn’t make a success of it, you’re not going to be able to get the next one through the door.”

“They’re interesting comments,” Ferdinand told Standard Sport. “I’ve just been on a talent ID course with the FA – I was in a room full of directors of football who had gone from one club to another, and I’m being told that if I’m not a success here I’m not going to get another opportunity.

“It doesn’t make much sense in this day and age but that’s probably the reality that Ian and others are seeing. Probably myself, as well, because I’m thinking, ‘If I leave here, where do I go? Who’s going to give me another opportunity?’

Les Ferdinand Photo: Getty Images

“So he’s probably right, and I know he’s talking about if I make a success of it, there’ll be a pathway for others.”

In an interview with Standard Sport earlier this year, Ferdinand revealed he had been racially abused by QPR fans while working in his current post.

The 53-year-old welcomes the idea of a Premier League players’ taskforce, put forward by Raheem Sterling, to lead the fight on racism in football from the front line, but insists the authorities must be prepared to act upon its recommendations if it is to make a significant difference.

“If it’s a taskforce that people are listening to, because let’s get this right, this kind of thing has been spoken about for a long time,” he added. “From the day I became a professional footballer we’ve been talking about this and we’re still here in 2020 talking about it.

“It all depends what this taskforce brings to the table and who’s going to be listening to them. It’s okay starting up these groups but it’s the people who really influence decision making.

England and Manchester City star Raheem Sterling Photo: Getty Images

“If you’re in an establishment and you’ve never been racially abused, don’t understand racism, then you do not know what to do about it.

“I try to understand it from that perspective as well, and not just be ‘oh, these people don’t know what they’re doing’ – they don’t. Because they’ve never been racially abused so they don’t know how to hand out the right punishments when these situations occur.”

While football still has a long way to go in tackling its racism problem, Ferdinand has seen first-hand the positive role the sport has played in raising awareness over men’s health issues.

The former England striker is once against supporting Prostate Cancer UK’s ‘Football to Amsterdam’ initiative, having taken part in the annual charity bike ride himself back in 2017.

“Getting out of what I’d call West Ham territory was quite difficult” he recalled. “A few comments coming out of vans. But once you got out into the countryside it was, apart from the weather quite a pleasant ride.

“I can’t remember how many riders there were, all sharing the same common goal. Of course, there were some people out there who thought it was the Tour de France but for the most part we all had a real good laugh and a good time.

“People realise that in the past this macho game of football has stopped people from coming forward. Now that people are coming forward it’s saving lives if it’s caught early enough.”

Les Ferdinand is supporting the Football to Amsterdam 2020 bike ride in aid of Prostate Cancer UK. For more information go to

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Baby with heart condition dies from mould exposure at hospital after open heart surgery

A baby with a serious heart condition has died after she received an infection from mould in a Seattle hospital’s operating room, her mother says. 

Elizabeth Hutt was born with a heart condition that she battled for the entirety of her six-month-long life. The young child underwent three open heart surgeries, and after the third one is when it’s believed she contracted an Aspergillus mould infection in the hospital’s operating room. 

Her mother, Katha Hutt, revealed in a Facebook post her daughter died early Wednesday morning at Seattle Children’s Hospital. 

“Elizabeth Vera Hutt gained her wings on her 175th day of life at 4:40 am. Late last night, Beth told us she was ready,” Mrs. Hutt wrote. 

“I cannot begin to express the gratitude we have for the team that worked through the night to make sure Beth’s transition was as painless and smooth as possible. We will post when we’ve had the chance to make plans for celebrating our brave, courageous, beautiful warrior.”

The mould in the hospital’s operating rooms was first detected in November, around the same time as the child’s third surgery. 

Ms Hutt created a Facebook page titled Beth’s HLHS Journey to keep people updated on her daughter’s condition throughout her surgeries. She revealed in January her daughter was battling an infection that stumped her doctors. 

It was later determined the infection was contracted from the mould discovered in three of the 14 operating rooms at the hospital in November. The mould came from the hospital’s air-handling units in the operating rooms, and 14 patients have developed infections from the mould since 2001, the hospital revealed. Seven of those 14 children have since died from their infections. 

“I’m always going to wonder if there were different interventions that could’ve taken place, had the Aspergillus not been there,” Ms Hutt said.

Aspergillus is a common mould typically present in the air that people breathe. It normally does not cause one to get sick, but it can be harmful to people who lack strong immune systems or those who are surgical patients. 

Ms Hutt and her husband, Micah Hutt, told WBTV they knew about the hospital’s Aspergillus problems in 2018, but they still picked the location for their daughter due to the quality of doctors and medical staff at the facility. 

At the time, the parents thought the mould problem was solved. 

They joined a class action suit against Seattle Children’s Hospital in January, which alleges facility managers knew about the mould since 2005 and failed to fix the problem. 

The hospital currently has 11 of its 14 operating rooms shut down, as new HEPA filtration units are installed. The other three operating rooms received the new air units and are open for use. 

Seattle Children’s Hospital said in response to the baby’s death: “Losing a child is incredibly devastating for everyone whose lives were touched by that child. Our deepest condolences go out to families and loved ones who have experienced a loss.”

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#Brexit – UK open to looser ‘Australia-style’ trade deal with EU: source

“There are only two likely outcomes in negotiation – a free trade deal like Canada or a looser arrangement like Australia – and we are happy to pursue both,” the source said.

Johnson is due to give a major speech on trade on Monday, following Britain’s departure from the EU on Friday after nearly 50 years of membership.

Previously Johnson has said his main goal is to reach a Canada-style trade deal with the EU before an 11-month transition period expires at the end of the year, after which British firms would face tariffs to sell goods to the EU.

But Johnson has also said Britain will not commit to continue following EU rules after the transition period, and Saturday’s remarks suggest he is growing less willing to make the trade-offs that many businesses want to smooth a deal.

Canada does not follow EU rules, but some EU governments are reluctant to give Britain similar leeway to diverge on labour and environmental standards, given the much greater trade volumes involved.

In some areas, such as the minimum wage, maternity leave and the elimination of single-use plastics, British standards significantly exceed EU minimums.

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Australian Open 2020 results today LIVE: Kontaveit vs Halep, Rafael Nadal vs Thiem and Zverev vs Wawrinka

Welcome back to the Evening Standard’s live coverage of the 2020 Australian Open. 

Quarter-final action continues tonight with Stanislas Wawrinka and Alexander Zverev squaring off before Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem collide at the Rod Laver Arena. 

To kick off the the day’s action however, Simona Halep takes on Anett Kontaveit before Garbine Muguruza continues her bid for another grand slam against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

Who will make it to the final four? Follow the action LIVE on Standard Sport overnight!

Live Updates

Can’t see the Australian Open 2020 results today LIVE blog? Click here to access our desktop page.

Australian Open 2020 results (Monday January 27)

Men’s Singles 4th round: (1) Rafael Nadal (Spa) bt (23) Nick Kyrgios (Aus) 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4), (5) Dominic Thiem (Aut) bt (10) Gael Monfils (Fra) 6-2 6-4 6-4, (15) Stan Wawrinka (Swi) bt (4) Daniil Medvedev (Rus) 6-2 2-6 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2, (7) Alexander Zverev (Ger) bt (17) Andrey Rublev (Rus) 6-4 6-4 6-4

Women’s Singles 4th round: (28) Anett Kontaveit (Est) bt Iga Swiatek (Pol) 6-7 (4-7) 7-5 7-5, (4) Simona Halep (Rom) bt (16) Elise Mertens (Bel) 6-4 6-4, Garbine Muguruza (Spa) bt (9) Kiki Bertens (Ned) 6-3 6-3, (30) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Rus) bt (17) Angelique Kerber (Ger) 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-2

Men’s Doubles 3rd round: Henri Kontinen (Fin) & Jan-Lennard Struff (Ger) bt Simone Bolelli (Ita) & Benoit Paire (Fra) 7-5 6-3, (11) Rajeev Ram (USA) & Joe Salisbury (Gbr) bt (6) Marcel Granollers (Spa) & Horacio Zeballos (Arg) 6-4 7-6 (13-11), (4) Ivan Dodig (Cro) & Filip Polasek (Svk) bt (13) Bob Bryan (USA) & Mike Bryan (USA) 6-3 6-4, Santiago Gonzalez (Mex) & Kenneth Skupski (Gbr) bt (16) Austin Krajicek (USA) & Franko Skugor (Cro) 6-3 6-4

Men’s Doubles Quarter-final: Alexander Bublik (Kaz) & Mikhail Kukushkin (Kaz) bt James Duckworth (Aus) & Marc Polmans (Aus) 7-6 (8-6) 7-5

Women’s Doubles 3rd round: Jennifer Brady (USA) & Caroline Dolehide (USA) bt Lara Arruabarrena (Spa) & Ons Jabeur (Tun) 6-2 6-1, (4) Barbora Krejcikova (Cze) & Katerina Siniakova (Cze) bt (16) Sofia Kenin (USA) & Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) 7-5 3-6 7-5, (7) Hao-Ching Chan (Tpe) & Latisha Chan (Tpe) bt Misaki Doi (Jpn) & Monica Niculescu (Rom) 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, (3) Elise Mertens (Bel) & Aryna Sabalenka (Blr) bt (13) Veronika Kudermetova (Rus) & Alison Riske (USA) 5-7 6-3 6-2, Cori Gauff (USA) & Catherine McNally (USA) bt (10) Shuko Aoyama (Jpn) & Ena Shibahara (Jpn) 4-6 7-5 6-3, (2) Timea Babos (Hun) & Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) bt (15) Viktoria Kuzmova (Svk) & Aliaksandra Sasnovich (Blr) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3

Mixed Doubles 2nd round: Saisai Zheng (Chn) & Joran Vliegen (Bel) bt (8) Su-Wei Hsieh (Tpe) & Neal Skupski (Gbr) 3-6 6-3 11-9, Iga Swiatek (Pol) & Lukasz Kubot (Pol) bt (4) Hao-Ching Chan (Tpe) & Michael Venus (Nzl) 6-2 6-3, Astra Sharma (Aus) & John-Patrick Smith (Aus) bt (7) Samantha Stosur (Aus) & Jean-Julien Rojer (Ned) 6-3 4-6 10-4

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Malaysia open to Davos talks with India amid palm oil spat

Malaysia’s trade minister is open to meeting his Indian counterpart at the World Economic Forum gathering this week, his ministry said on Monday, after New Delhi said no such encounter was possible amid a spat over palm oil supplies, Trend reports citing Reuters.

It was the second time in the last four days Malaysia expressed the possibility of such a meeting in Davos, during a standoff between a major supplier and buyer of palm oil caused by Malaysia’s criticism of Indian policies.

Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) reiterated that India’s trade ministry first sent a request on Dec. 24 – before India placed curbs on imports of refined palm oil – for a bilateral meeting between the two ministers in Davos.

“In the spirit of economic partnership between our two nations, Malaysia has made every effort to accommodate the official request by India, but due to the busy schedule of both ministers, a mutually agreeable time has not been reached at the time of this statement,” MITI said.

“In the absence of a formal meeting, it is common for interested parties to meet informally and exchange views on the sidelines.”

It said MITI minister Darell Leiking “has expressed his openness to such discussion” with his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal, mainly regarding India’s participation in the trade bloc Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

An Indian trade ministry official, speaking on behalf of the ministry, told Reuters on Sunday that Goyal would not meet Leiking in Davos because of his tight schedule. No other meeting was scheduled between them, he said.

Hindu-majority India has been agitated by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad last month speaking out against a new citizenship law which critics say discriminate against Muslims. Mahathir had angered New Delhi last year too when he accused India of invading and occupying Kashmir, a Muslim-majority disputed region also claimed by Pakistan.

Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation, is the second biggest producer and exporter of palm oil and India’s restrictions on the refined variety of the commodity imposed on Jan. 8 have been seen as a retaliation for Mahathir’s words.

Mahathir, the world’s oldest premier at 94, told a small group of reporters including from Reuters on Monday that India’s new citizenship law was “grossly unfair”.

But he said his nation of 32 million people was too small to take retaliatory action against India following its palm curbs.

Since the restrictions, thousands of tonnes of refined palm oil have been delayed or got stuck at various Indian ports, multiple sources told Reuters.

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