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  • The Broadside Blog's Caitlin Kelly re-introduces herself to her readers.

  • Bruce Dorminey shares one man's theory about how extraterrestrials could use exoplanet sightings to build up a galactic communications network.

  • Far Outliers shares some unusual Japanese words, starting with "amepotu" for American potato.

  • Language Hat takes
  • Did the spokeswoman of the NRA threaten to "fisk" the New York Times or threaten something else? Language Log reports.

  • Drew Rowsome notes that, compared to San Francisco, Toronto does not have much of a public kink scene.

  • Starts With A Bang's Ethan Siegel examines the quantum reasons behind the explosion produced by sodium metal and water.

  • Understanding Society takes rightful issue with The Guardian's shoddy coverage of Dearborn, Michigan, and that city's Muslims and/or Arabs.

  • Unicorn Booty notes that Canada is, at last, starting to take in queer refugees from Chechnya.

  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the embarrassing support for Jean-Luc Mélenchon for Venezuela. Was opposing the US all he wanted?

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait looks at the emergent evidence for exomoon Kepler-1625b-I.

  • Centauri Dreams looks at the future of technological civilizations: what if they do not always ascend, but stagnate?

  • D-Brief takes issue with the idea of the "digital native." Everyone needs to adopt new technology at some point.

  • Are Elon Musk and Space-X backing away from the Mars colony plans? The Dragon's Tales notes.

  • The Map Room Blog links to a map of massacres of Aborigines on the Australian frontiers.

  • Marginal Revolution wonders if widespread roboticization really will increase productivity much.

  • Roads and Kingdoms reports on the traditional rum of Newfoundland.

  • Drew Rowsome likes a new Toronto show, Permanence, in part for its take on male sexuality and sexual presence.

  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes that Russia leads the world in cat ownership.

  • Strange Company reports on coin-collecting 1920 cat Peter Pan Wass.

  • Understanding Society takes a look at the potential conflicts between "contingency" and "explanation."

  • The Volokh Conspiracy looks at how a Nassau County legislator wants to block a Roger Waters conconcert because of his support for an Israel boycott.

  • Window on Eurasia notes that Chinese outnumber Jews in the Far East's Jewish Autonomous Oblast. (Not many of both, mind.)

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  • The anthropology group blog Savage Minds now has a new name, Anthrodendum.

  • Anthropology.net reports on the first major study of ancient African human DNA. New history is revealed.

  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reports on how gravitational lensing led to the identification of a single star nine billion light-years away. (This is a record.)

  • Centauri Dreams reports the possible detection of a debris disk around pulsar Geminga, augury of future planets perhaps?

  • Dangerous Minds reports on Seoul's Haesindang Park, a park literally full of penises--phallic symbols, at least.

  • The Dragon's Gaze notes one analysis arguing for the plausibility of unmanned probes using imaginable technology reaching the ten nearest stars in a century.

  • Imageo shares photos from space of the southern California wildfires.

  • Language Hat shares some stirring poetry in Scots.

  • Lawyers, Guns and Money reports on the scale of child labour in North Carolina's farm sector.

  • Marginal Revolution thinks that American observers of Putin think, far too much, that he actually has a plan. The degree of chaos in Russia's affairs is apparently being underestimated.

  • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw notes the unsettling rural Americana of photographer Gregory Crewdson.

  • Window on Eurasia notes Zhirinovsky's plan for a sweeping Russian annexation of Ukraine, leaving only the northwest independent.

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait is skeptical that the Trump-era EPA will deal well with global warming.

  • Discover's The Crux considers the challenge of developing safer explosives for fireworkers.

  • The Dragon's Gaze links to a paper considering the (real) possibility of Earth-like worlds orbiting neutron stars.

  • Language Log notes an odd use of katakana in Australia.

  • The LRB Blog considers the possibly overrated import of George Osborne's move into the newspaper business.

  • Marginal Revolution notes one observer's suggestion that China could sustain high-speed growth much longer than Japan.

  • The NYR Daily shares Eleanor Davis' cartoon journal of her bike trip across America.

  • Peter Rukavina does not like the odd way Prince Edward Island made its library card into a museum pass.

  • Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel notes the odd galaxy MACS2129-1, young yet apparently no longer star-forming.

  • Strange Company explores the strange death of 17th century New England woman Rebecca Cornell.

  • Unicorn Booty looks at how early Playgirl tried to handle, quietly, its substantially gay readership.

  • Window on Eurasia looks at one Russian proclaiming Russia needs to stop an imminent takeover by Muslims.

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  • NOW Toronto shares photos of the Pride Toronto parade.

  • blogTO notes that, in a recent ranking, Toronto is one of the best cities in which to not be straight in the world.

  • Bloomberg notes the importance of gay pride parades, as self-assertion and resistance, in the age of Trump.

  • Kevin Ritchie's cover article for NOW Toronto looks at the successes and innovations of drag in the era of RuPaul's Drag Race.

  • VICE looks at the extent to which gay life has been transformed by the culture of the app.

  • If all it took for Germany to move towards same-sex marriage was to introduce Merkel to a nice couple ... well done. The Los Angeles Times reports.

  • Laurel Gregory of Global News looks at research into children who have been out throughout their school years. I can scarcely imagine.

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The Pet Shop Boys' 1996 song "Single-Bilingual" was not as big a hit as their iconic global singles of the 1980s. Perhaps it was because this song, like the rest of their album Bilingual, was a shift from their previous European-styled electronica, incorporating Latin rhythms. This is a shame, because this song and others are among the group's slyest.

The songs of the Pet Shop Boys, like those of all great songwriters, can say many things. See "Single-Bilingual". Listening to the peppy song, Neil Tennant singing in the voice of a self-styled cosmopolitan businessman who claims to be the master of his world, there is humour. As Wayne Studer points out, this man is not all he thinks he is. He's just a cog in the machine.

They call this a community
I like to think of it as home
Arriving at the airport
I am going it alone
Ordering a boarding pass
Travelling in business class
This is the name of the game
I'm single, bilingual
Single, bilingual

I find myself wondering, too, if this song fits on the soundtrack for Brexit. From a pretended cosmopolitanism down to an actual solitude?
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I am rather surprised that the phenomenon of the drag queen story hour, where children are ready stories by people in full drag, seems to be becoming mainstream. While I can see how it has become big, given the performativity of the best drag performances and the humour of these and the nature RuPaul's second ascent to mainstream celebrity, I am still surprised.

  • NOW Toronto's Kelly Boutsalis writes about the spread of the Drag Queen Story Hour from Church and Wellesley to Toronto at large, from Yorkville to Leslieville.
  • In MacLean's, Katy MacKinnon explores how the Drag Queen Story Hour has taken off in Winnipeg.

  • Erin McCormack writes for The Guardian about how this is becoming a worldwide thing, even.
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    • Apostrophen's 'Nathan Smith talks about "cis", "trans", and the non-obvious meaning of this classification.
    • The Big Picture shares photos of a recent sailing festival in Boston.

    • blogTO reports on the trendy charcoal-black ice cream of a store across from Trinity Bellwoods.
    • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of a "runaway fusion" drive.Crooked Timber wonders how a bad Brexit agreement could possibly be worse than no Brexit agreement for the United Kingdom.
    • D-Brief warns of the possibility of sustained life-threatening heat waves in the tropics with global warming.
    • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers how sociology majors are prepared, or not, for the workforce.

    • Language Hat links to a wonderful examination of the textual complexities of James Joyce's Ulysses.

    • The LRB Blog looks at how British big business is indebted to the Conservatives.

    • Marginal Revolution reports on China's emergent pop music machine.

    • Steve Munro reports on the latest on noise from the 514 Cherry streetcar.

    • The NYRB Daily has a fascinating exchange on consciousness and free will and where it all lies.
    • The Planetary Society Blog reports on a successful expedition to Argentina to examine Kuiper Belt object MU69 via occultation.

    • Peter Rukavina celebrates Charlottetown school crossing guard Dana Doyle.

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    • Anthropology.net reports on new evidence that Homo naledi may have used tools, buried their dead, and lived alongside Homo sapiens.
    • Centauri Dreams remembers an abortive solar sail mission to Halley's Comet.

    • Dangerous Minds shares photos of the "Apache" dancers of France.

    • Cody Delistraty writes about Swedish futurist Anders Sandberg and his efforts to plan for humanity's future.

    • At the Everyday Sociology Blog, Karen Sternheimer talks about her day as a sociologist.

    • Joe. My. God. notes the good news that normal young HIV patients can now expect near-normal life expectancies.

    • Language Hat looks at a recent surge of interest in Italian dialects.

    • Language Log looks at the phenomenon of East Asians taking English-language names.

    • The LRB Blog considers the dynamics of the United Kingdom's own UDI.

    • Marginal Revolution looks at the existential issues of a growing Kinshasa still disconnected from the wider world.

    • Steve Munro notes that Metrolinx will now buy vehicles from France's Alstom.

    • The New APPS Blog uses Foucault to look at the "thanatopolitics" of the Republicans.

    • The NYRB Daily looks at Trump's constitutional crisis.

    • Out There considers the issues surrounding the detection of an alien civilization less advanced than ours.

    • The Planetary Society Blog looks at the United States' planetary science exploration budget.

    • The Power and the Money's Noel Maurer looks at Argentina's underrated reputation as a destination for foreign investment.

    • Progressive Download shares some thinking about sexual orientation in the context of evolution.

    • Peter Rukavina looks at the success of wind energy generation on the Island.

    • Understanding Society takes a look at the dynamics of Rome.

    • Window on Eurasia shares a lunatic Russian scheme for a partition of eastern Europe between Russia and Germany.

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    • Centauri Dreams reports on asteroid P/2016 G1, a world that, after splitting, is now showing signs of a cometary tail.

    • The Everyday Sociology Blog considers outrage as a sociological phenomenon. What, exactly, does it do? What does it change?

    • Joe. My. God. reports on a new push for same-sex marriage in Germany, coming from the SPD.

    • Lawyers, Guns and Money examines the Alabama government's disinterest in commemorating the Selma march for freedom.

    • Marginal Revolution looks at Oxford University's attempt to recruit white British male students.

    • At the NYRB Daily, Masha Gessen warns against falling too readily into the trap of identifying conspiracies in dealing with Trump.

    • pollotenchegg maps the distribution of Muslims in Crimea according to the 1897 Russian census.

    • Savage Minds takes a brief look at ayahuasca, a ritual beverage of Andean indigenous peoples, and looks at how its legality in the United States remains complicated.

    • Elf Sternberg considers the problems of straight men with sex, and argues they might be especially trapped by a culture that makes it difficult for straight men to consider sex as anything but a birthright and an obligation.

    • The Volokh Conspiracy considers how the complexities of eminent domain might complicate the US-Mexican border wall.

    • Window on Eurasia reports on protests in Russia and argues Belarus is on the verge of something.

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    • blogTO notes that the redevelopment of Toronto's Port Lands is continuing.

    • Crooked Timber argues that climate denialism exposes the socially constructed nature of property rights.

    • D-Brief notes the reburial of Kennewick Man.

    • The Dragon's Gaze notes there is no sign of a second planet around Proxima Centauri.

    • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at life in Texas.

    • The LRB Blog analyzes Milo's stumble.

    • Marginal Revolution considers the levels of disorderliness different societies, like Sweden, can tolerate.

    • The NYRB Daily reports on the poisoning of a Russian dissident.

    • The Planetary Society Blog suggests Voyager 1 picked up Enceladus' plumes.

    • Peter Rukavina writes of his mapping of someone's passage on the Camino Francés.

    • Supernova Condensate looks at the United Arab Emirates' plan to build a city on Mars in a century.

    • Torontoist reported on a protest demanding action on the overdose crisis.
    • Towleroad describes the plight of Mr. Gay Syria in Istanbul and reports on the progress of same-sex marriage in Finland.

    • Understanding Society considers the complexity of managing large technological projects.

    • Window on Eurasia links to one Russian writer arguing Putin should copy Trump and links to anotehr suggesting the Russian Orthodox Church is overreaching.

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    • The Crux makes the case that, for too long, modern homo sapiens have underestimated the genius of the Neanderthals.

    • D-Brief looks at the efforts of some scientists to develop brewing standards for the Moon.

    • Language Hat examines different languages' writing standards--Turkish, Greek, Armenian--in the late Ottoman Empire.

    • Language Log deconstructs claims that Japanese has no language for curses.

    • Marginal Revolution's Tyler Cowen looks at the standards of truth by which Trump's supporters are judging him.

    • The NYRB Daily looks at the hollow Styrofoam aesthetics of the Trump Administration.

    • Savage Minds considers the idea of personhood.

    • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell considers key mechanics of populism.

    • Arnold Zwicky meditates, somewhat pornographically, on a porn star of the last decade and public sexuality.

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    The New Scientist's Clare Wilson reports on a massive drop in new HIV infections in London that is more easily explained by growing use of PrEP, the prophylactic use of new HIV drugs to prevent infections.

    Gay men who defied medical advice seem to have changed the course of the HIV epidemic in the UK – for the better.

    Four London sexual health clinics saw dramatic falls in new HIV infections among gay men of around 40 per cent last year, compared with 2015, new figures show.

    This decline may be mostly due to thousands of people buying medicines called pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which cut the chance of catching the virus, online.

    “We need to be very cautious at this stage, but I can’t see what else it can be,” says Will Nutland at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who has set up a website that gives people information on how to give themselves PrEP. “Something extraordinary has happened in the last 12 months because of a bunch of DIY activists working off our kitchen tables.”

    The medicine has been approved in the UK as a drug for preventing HIV infection in both men and women, but it isn’t yet available on the National Health Service.

    “People say, ‘Why don’t gay men just use condoms?’,” says Mags Portman of the Mortimer Market Centre in London, one of the clinics that has seen large declines in diagnoses. “They do, but not all the time. Straight people don’t use condoms all the time either.”
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    • Bad Astronomy shares a photo of the Earth and Moon taken by a Mars probe.

    • Lawyers, Guns and Money responds to a baffling claim by a New York City policeman that stranger rape is more of a concern than acquaintance rape.

    • Personal Reflections' Jim Belshaw, returned from Denmark, wonders
      about the extent to which social happiness is maximized by stability and security.

    • Progressive Download's John Farrell argues that scientists should approach the theory of evolution in a less mechanistic light.

    • Window on Eurasia reports on the transformation of United Russia into a parallel structure of government akin to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and engages with the possibility of a pro-Russian Ukrainian government-in-exile.

    • Alex Harrowell of Yorkshire Ranter looks at the problems of an independent central bank, finding that failings attributed to these are actually faults of government.

    • Arnold Zwicky looks at the highly evolved fashion sense of faggots, in the context of Italy's divides and celebrities.

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    Open Democracy hosts Yessika Gonzalez's article looking at the queering of the Argentine tango.

    With the internationalization of tango, its slum origins were forgotten and a strictly codified dance was exported with clearly defined roles between man and woman. In the traditional milongas—the venues where people in Argentina go to tango—women generally sit on one side of the dance floor to show their potential dance partners that they are available. The man invites the woman to dance with a head motion and the women either accepts or rejects the proposal. So begins a dance in which the man leads and the woman follows the marked steps, embellishing the dance with several adornments.

    In recent years, however, people have begun to champion the so-called Queer Tango - queer meaning “strange”, “different”, or even “eccentric”. But since the word was traditionally used pejoratively against people on particular gender and sexual grounds, it was eventually appropriated by the LGBTQ community. The Queer Tango therefore does not aim only to create spaces for the gay community to express itself through tango, but it allows all people, regardless of their sexuality, to explore themselves and go beyond social gender norms. As the Buenos Aires Queer Tango blog explains:

    “Queer Tango is a space for tango open to everyone. A space for meeting, socializing, learning, and practicing that seeks to explore different forms of communication between those who dance. The queer tango does not presuppose the sexual orientation of its dancers, nor their taste for occupying one role or another when dancing.”

    [El Tango Queer] es un espacio de tango abierto a todas las personas. Un lugar de encuentro, sociabilización, aprendizaje y práctica en el que se busca explorar distintas formas de comunicación entre quienes bailan. El tango queer no presupone la orientación sexual de los bailarines ni su gusto por ocupar un rol u otro a la hora de bailar.

    Although, at its inception, only men danced the tango, in the traditional milongas of today, same-sex partners have been victims of discrimination and have even been thrown out of the dance floor. In fact, the birth of many “queer” milongas came as a response to these attacks.
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    • blogTO notes that a Vancouver nerd bar is opening up shop in Toronto.

    • Dangerous Minds provides its readers with a take on an upcoming Tom of Finland biopic.

    • The Dragon's Tales notes that Enceladus seems altogether too hot and notes that dwarf planet Makemake seems to have a surprisingly uniform surface.

    • Far Outliers looks at Afghanistan and Poland at the end of the 1970s.

    • Joe. My. God. and Towleroad each respond to the untimely death of George Michael.
    • Language Log explores the evolution of the term "dongle".

    • Marginal Revolution wonders if Donald Trump is guided by his thinking in the 1980s about a Soviet-American condominium.

    • Torontoist looks at the Toronto's century house plaques come to be.

    • Window on Eurasia suggests Russian media outside of Russia are gaining in influence and talks about modern Russia as a new sort of "evil empire".

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    • blogTO notes that Toronto's housing market is now hotter than Vancouver's.

    • The Crux looks at progress in human reproductive technology, including in ectogenesis.

    • D-Brief looks at a new simulation of an asteroid impacting the ocean.

    • Dangerous Minds reports on a French cement truck made into a giant mirrored disco ball.

    • In Media Res' Russell Arben Fox writes about the benefits of reading the Old Testament.

    • Language Hat considers the experiences of one man trying to learn Avar.

    • Lawyers, Guns and Money suggests Obama's evaluation of his historical touchstone personalities is off.

    • The Map Room Blog looks at Soviet spy maps.

    • The Planetary Society Blog tries to figure out space policy under the Trump Administration.

    • Window on Eurasia notes Russia's loss of sporting events and argues that Circassian language and culture are threatened with extinction.

    • Arnold Zwicky talks about two unusual flowers.

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    • The Big Picture shares photos from ruined Aleppo.

    • Centauri Dreams looks at the new explanation for the ASASSN-15h, of a Sun-mass star torn apart by a fast-rotating black hole.

    • The Crux looks at the condition of hyperemesis gravidarum.

    • Dangerous Minds shares the dark and Satanic art of an Argentine artist.

    • Joe. My. God. reports on one man's displeasure that Malta has banned ex-gay "therapy".

    • Language Log looks at where British law confronts linguistics.

    • Lawyers, Guns and Money imagines an alternate history where Jill Stein leaves the presidential race and gives Hillary Clinton a needed victory.

    • Peter Rukavina recalls the simple yet effective early version of Hansard for the Island legislative assembly.

    • Mark Simpson notes the objectification of men on the new Baywatch.

    • Window on Eurasia fears the violence of an open Russian imperialism and looks at the confusion over how to recognize the 1917 revolution.

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    Steven Maynard's article in Daily Xtra offers some interesting arguments about the police crackdown in Marie Curtis Park and its wider import. Are there things we are forgetting, I wonder, traditions or entire populations?

    Marie Curtis Park has its own history. Even the police know this, with one officer noting that “we’ve really got our work cut out for us. This has been something that has been so ingrained in the area for decades.”

    When it comes to policing and public sex, it’s the same as it ever was. Or is it?

    I detect some subtle but significant shifts in the way police are framing their practices in “Project Marie.” In particular, I’m struck by how the police are at pains to point out this is not about “sexual orientation,” to use their phrase. As the spokesperson for Toronto police put it, “I don’t think this has anything to do with the sexual orientation of those involved.” Rather, she says it’s a “type of behaviour that is not welcome in our public spaces.” Another officer said, “I want to make it very clear that the purpose of this project is not to target any one specific orientation or anything like that.”

    In a certain way, the police are right. Men who cruise parks for sex, then and now, have a range of erotic identifications, not all of them gay. But I’m fairly certain the police aren’t offering a primer on the non-identitarian notion of MSM, or “men who have sex with men.” Rather, the police are anxious to reassure us this is not about sexual orientation in order to avoid accusations of homophobia and harassment.

    According to police, it’s about “lewd behaviour” and “sexual activity in public,” irrespective of the erotic preferences of those engaged in such activities. Activists have countered that this is a smokescreen designed to obscure “an old-school queer-catching crackdown.” This is undoubtedly true, but if our analysis stops here, I worry we may be missing something important.
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    Spacing's Marsha McLeod and Jen Roberton take a look at the campaign against public sex in Marie Curtis Park, placing it in a broader context of queer repression.

    The presence of public sex in parks is a long standing tradition in urban centres. For some, having public sex is a fetish. For others, they may frequent parks for sex because they do not have access to an indoor space for sex, notably true for some homeless people and queer people. Cruising, the practice of seeking anonymous sex in parks or other public spaces, has a specific significance for men who have sex with men (MSM) who may not identify as part of queer or gay communities, and may not have other means of meeting other MSM.

    Despite the fact that public sex occurs regularly in parks, few cities actively plan parks accommodating this reality. In response, some activists have taken guerrilla planning tactics to claim park space for sex. In 2011, activists posted signs in Copenhagen’s Ørstedsparken which read that sex is allowed in the park, but patrons must show respect to other park users by not having sex near the playground, in plain view, or loudly between 9am and 4pm. Patrons were also reminded to dispose of any waste they may produce, including used condoms and paper towels. The signs were removed by municipal officials.

    The guidelines on public sex in parks put forth by Copenhagen activists include the needs of patrons using parks for sex, while also considering the needs of people using the space for other recreational activities that may seem to conflict with cruising. The Ørstedsparken guidelines also mirror the regulations that govern public sex in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. Since 2008, public sex has been allowed in Vondelpark as long as patrons do not litter, do not engage in sexual activities near the playground, and limit public sex to evenings and nighttime. In an article in the Amsterdam Law Forum, Laura Morrison and Alba Izadó León Hernández write that the changes to the regulations in Vondelpark were done by the municipal government to protect all members of the local community, including gay men who were being targeted by ‘queer-bashers.’

    Recent police stings targeting men cruising in Toronto’s Marie Curtis Park reflect what happens when parks are not seen as spaces that community members utilize for a variety of activities, including public sex. The police operation, entitled ‘Project Marie’, involved plain-clothed male officers frequenting specific cruising spots to wait for men to solicit them for sexual activities. The operation led to ticketing 72 people一95 percent of whom are men一with a total of 89 charges. Most people were ticketed for non-criminal offenses, including trying to solicit sex from an undercover officer and for being in a parking lot after hours (under the assumption that they were there to engage in public sex). The Toronto Police Service stated that the 22 Division undertook the operation so that parents and children who frequent Marie Curtis Park could “take back” the space.


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