Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel

Embed this content in your HTML


Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog

Channel Description:


older | 1 | .... | 1036 | 1037 | (Page 1038) | 1039 | 1040 | .... | 1083 | newer

    0 0

    MONTREAL—A man who was arrested after police found his 6-year-old son, who had been the subject of an Amber Alert, remains in an Ontario hospital.

    The boy vanished from St-Eustache, Que., on Thursday and his father was apprehended in Ontario nearly 24 hours later. By then, the body of the boy’s mother had also been discovered in the family home.

    Ontario Provincial Police say the man suffered injuries that required medical assessment and he was sent to hospital Saturday.

    Read more:

    Amber alert case ends with Quebec man arrested in Ontario

    Father of Quebec boy who was subject of Amber Alert sustains injuries in custody

    The man appeared by video link earlier in the day from a police station in Renfrew, Ont., where he had been held since his arrest on Friday night.

    Quebec provincial police have not responded to requests for comment about what charges the man might face when he returns to his home province.

    As of Sunday afternoon, it was not yet clear when the man would be transferred to Quebec police.

    “This man will be back in Quebec when his health conditions are better,” said spokesperson Claude Denis.

    Meanwhile, volunteers and police officers continued their search Sunday for a 71-year-old man who has been missing from Lachute, Que., west of Montreal, since Friday.

    Yvon Lacasse previously used the car in which the 6-year-old boy was found safe.

    Denis says investigators now want to speak to a motorcyclist who could be a useful witness and are asking for help from the public.

    Police have images from a surveillance camera that show a motorcyclist in Lachute who may have seen Lacasse’s car Thursday at about 6 p.m. — the time police say the car was stolen.

    “In the pictures, we can see the motorcyclist and we can also see the car of Mr. Lacasse,” Denis said Sunday.

    Denis is also asking motorists, campers and others living in the area between Lachute and Rouyn-Noranda, Que., to check ditches, cabins and backyards as the search for missing man continues.

    Lacasse is bald with brown eyes, five feet five inches tall and weighs just under 100 pounds.

    Police are asking anyone who thinks they may have seen him to call 911.

    0 0

    GREENSBORO, N.C.—A fair worker who was trying to fix a broken Ferris wheel in North Carolina fell from the ride and suffered minor injuries.

    Cellphone video posted on WHAS11 showed the worker climbing up the Ferris wheel after one of the gondola cars began to tilt out of its normal position Friday night. The television station reported that at least one young boy was inside the stuck gondola car.

    When the worker dislodged the car, he lost his balance and fell, banging his body on the ride.

    The Central Carolina Fair in Greensboro said in a statement Saturday that the worker was taken to a hospital. He was later released.

    The ride was inspected by state officials and approved for future use.

    0 0

    A Toronto woman who organized a daytime wine festival for new mothers has found herself caught in a firestorm over the pervasiveness of alcohol at a time when heavy drinking is on the rise among women.

    The weekday event, dubbed “A Very Mommy Wine Festival,” was meant to give new moms a chance to get together and have fun without the judgment and “mommy-shaming” they consistently face, organizer Alana Kayfetz said.

    The 33-year-old, who has a 1-year-old son, argues the backlash is simply another facet of the pressure placed on mothers.

    “If this was a man’s beer fest where babies were welcome, it would be celebrated, it would be revered,” Kayfetz said. “We would say, ‘Oh that’s so cute, look at those dads guzzling beer and holding their babies.’ No one would question it.”

    Read more:

    Mixing booze, babies not harmless fun

    But critics, some of them experts on substance use, have expressed concerns that making alcohol a focus of social events normalizes drinking and increases the risk of binge-drinking, a behaviour that has grown among Canadian women while hitting a plateau among men.

    The number of teen girls and women who reported drinking in the last year has not changed since the mid-1990s. But the proportion of teen girls and women who reported heavy drinking has gone from 8.3 per cent in 2001 to 13.2 per cent in 2014, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.

    In comparison, the proportion of teen boys and men who reported heavy drinking in the last year has stayed around 23 per cent.

    When having a drink or two is par for the course at social events, it can be a slippery slope, said Catherine Paradis, a senior research and policy analyst with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.

    “The more you drink, the more likely you are to binge-drink,” she said. Binge-drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks on one occasion for men, or four for women.

    Part of the problem is that alcohol is “everywhere,” from races that see runners travel between breweries to university information sessions to cooking shows, Paradis said.

    “And now, you feel isolated and at risk for post-partum depression and anxiety? Join the boozy mom playdate,” she said.

    Ashley Wettlaufer, a researcher at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, said events that prominently feature alcohol typically have alcohol brands as sponsors, which is a form of stealth marketing much like product placement in movies and television.

    “This is another way in which women are being targeted — the brands are aligning themselves with, say, breast cancer charities, for example,” Wettlaufer said.

    “We now see events like beer yoga advertised on social media and of course groups and events like the mommy wine festival,” she said, noting that Canada’s current regulations on alcohol advertising don’t apply to the internet and social media.

    Though most research on alcohol ads has focused on youth, it suggests exposure is linked to increased drinking and positive impressions of brands, she said.

    “This is all concerning because of the health impact of alcohol, especially for women,” such as increased risk of several cancers, including breast cancer, Wettlaufer said.

    Kayfetz, the organizer, said drinking at the festival was optional, as it is for every other event she organizes through her company, MomsTO.

    And the marketing — which includes taglines such as “babes on the hips, wine on the lips” — is tongue-in-cheek, she said.

    “I never thought about what we’re doing in part of the dialogue of the larger marketing phenomenon, what’s happening with alcohol being marketed to women,” she said.

    “We tried ‘Mommies that like to drink tea, join us,’ but nobody came.”

    0 0

    SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC—The world’s oldest person has died in Jamaica. Violet Brown was 117 years and 189 days old.

    Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed his condolences in a Facebook post, calling her “an inspiring woman.”

    The woman known as “Aunt V” died Friday at a local hospital, where she had been treated for heart arrhythmia and dehydration.

    With her death, the Gerontology Research Group lists Nabi Tajima of Japan as the oldest surviving person. She was born on Aug. 4, 1900.

    Brown was born Violet Moss — or Mosse: Both spellings were sometimes used — on March 10, 1900, and spent much of her life cutting sugar cane near her home in the Duanvale district in western Jamaica.

    A biography posted on the website of a foundation named in her honour said she was baptized at age 13 at the Trittonvale Baptist Church and remained a member throughout her life, long serving as organist. She credited her longevity to hard work and her Christian faith.

    Her husband, Augustus Brown, died in 1997 and the eldest of her six children died in April at age 97.

    In an interview this year with The Associated Press, Brown said she was surprised but grateful to have lived so long.

    “This is what God has given me, so I have to take it,” she said.

    0 0

    HAMILTON—For federal New Democrats, this exercise is not about winning.

    Oh, there were lots of calls about winning in 2019 as leadership candidates delivered their final pitches here Sunday.

    First, they have to yet again find relevance. Loftier aspirations will have to wait.

    As online voting begins in the NDP leadership race Monday, it is useful to recall how far this party has tumbled in five years. When party members gathered in Toronto in March 2012, they believed they had convened to choose a leader who would take the last, final step for the late Jack Layton and form government for the first time in its history.

    The 2015 defeat stung the faithful. It led to lapsed party memberships. It sapped enthusiasm. It led to a stunning repudiation of leader Tom Mulcair, who was then allowed to hang around too long.

    And it has led to a party that lost its energy, its fire and, ultimately that relevancy.

    Read more:

    The four candidates who would lead the NDP

    Jack Layton led the NDP to a breakthrough, but can any of the four leadership candidates recreate the Orange Wave?

    Why Jagmeet Singh towers over his NDP rivals: Cohn

    Now, Jagmeet Singh, Charlie Angus, Guy Caron or Niki Ashton must put this party back on the map.

    Sunday in Hamilton the quartet made their final appeal in a room that only sporadically erupted in anything beyond a mid-afternoon torpor.

    There is no reliable polling to determine a winner in a race that could be decided as early as Oct. 1 or as late as Oct. 15, depending on the number of ballots needed.

    But by the metrics available, membership sales and money raised— and more importantly, buzz generated, viral videos and social media use that combines humour with panache — Singh does appear to be a front-runner.

    The Bramalea-Gore-Malton MPP has already delivered for the party. One can only imagine the lack of coverage and interest there would be for a party that desperately needs some attention had Singh not entered the race.

    As one senior caucus member told me, Singh offers the “biggest risk, biggest reward.”

    He offers the party a chance to compete in regions where it never has federally — such as the crucial 905 belt — and where it must return if it can plot power again, like the city of Toronto.

    Singh promises growth. Backers believe he will grow personally as he moves from provincial to federal politics. They also believe he will grow the party with fresh membership.

    Mention the NDP leadership race to those of us who do not live in the political world, and you get a lot of blank stares. Those same people, however, know Singh.

    His opponents believe if he cannot win on the first ballot, he cannot grow.

    Angus has worked assiduously to court second-choice support. Caron’s team believes he can finish third, stay on the ballot and grow his support because the Quebec MP has run a strong campaign. Ashton, the only one of the four making a second bid at leadership, has run the most unabashedly leftist campaign and has built perhaps the youngest core of supporters. She has also won union support and is a much more formidable campaigner than the Ashton of 2012.

    She could surprise. If she is the first to drop off the ballot, however, her backers are expected to split three ways.

    This party faces myriad challenges at this point, midterm of the Justin Trudeau government. It will be trying to find its way back in 2019 on Trudeau’s turf.

    It needs to find that relevancy in Quebec again and this is a tough road for any of the four, not just the turbaned Singh.

    The party sold 124,000 memberships during this race, but a mere 4,907 of them were sold in Quebec, about half the total sold during the 2012 race.

    It allowed itself to be outmanoeuvred by Trudeau on traditional left-of-centre issues and has largely been rudderless for 16 months.

    But it has enormous opportunity as well.

    Halfway through his term, Trudeau has given the NDP an opening to exploit on electoral reform, a campaign promise broken; Indigenous reconciliation, a campaign promise undelivered; and the environment, where the Trudeau policy on pipelines is coming up against NDP opposition in British Columbia.

    When there was excitement in the room Sunday, it was provided by Singh, who also was fortuitously given the final speaking spot, which he used to end the day parading offstage with chanting supporters and raucous drummers.

    This is a party with several steps ahead in its comeback. It has to get noticed.

    Jagmeet Singh always gets noticed.

    Tim Harper writes on national affairs. He can be reached at or Twitter: @nutgraf1

    0 0

    Doctors across Canada who support Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s proposed tax reforms say they want their voices to be heard above the din of criticism from colleagues and medical societies.

    To make their point, they have been putting signatures on a letter they plan to send to Morneau this week.

    “We were really fed up with the narrative that our colleagues were putting forth and that our medical associations were putting forth as the only opinion out there,” said Dr. Sarah Giles. “We’ll probably have friends never talk to us again. People are ridiculously emotional about this.”

    Among other things, Morneau wants to stop allowing some tax-saving mechanisms through incorporation that physicians say are essential given that they have no access to benefits other employees enjoy. Angry medical associations say doctors will leave Canada for the U.S., and female physicians will be disproportionately hurt.

    The president of the Canadian Medical Association said in a recent statement that a delegation had told Morneau that doctors rely on the measures now in place for working capital needed for expanding their practices and, among other things, to deal with “unanticipated costs, sick or parental leave, staff turnover, and other business requirements.”

    Signatories to the open letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press, see it much differently. They argue that scrapping the current system will promote tax fairness and give the government more money to spend on health care.

    “We need adequate tax revenues to fund social programs such as affordable housing, pharmacare, social assistance, legal aid, and the health-care system itself,” the letter states. “These programs directly impact the health of our patients, and we believe it is important for us to contribute to their sustainability through an adequate tax base.”

    Giles, who does stints working with remote Indigenous communities and abroad with Doctors without Borders, said diverting dollars from doctors toward improved care would benefit her money-strapped patients far more than it would harm physicians.

    Read more:

    Ottawa targets income ‘sprinkling’ loophole that lets wealthy Canadians reduce tax bill

    Tax changes will encourage doctors to leave

    Bill Morneau should show courage on tax reform: Editorial

    “There’s a lot of catastrophising,” she said of those upset at Morneau’s plans. “Why are they hanging their hats on this issue? It feels very self-serving.”

    Canadian Medical Association data suggest a large majority of physicians are incorporated. That means they can access various measures to reduce their taxes despite earning significantly more on average — upwards of $225,000 annually before taxes — than other Canadians.

    “These benefits are advantageous mostly to certain incorporated doctors,” the letter states. “It also seems unfair that these benefits are not available to Canadians with similar incomes who cannot incorporate.”

    The physicians do say in their letter the proposed changes should come with a transition plan for those affected and as part of a “comprehensive review” of tax policy.

    Rita McCracken, a family doctor in Vancouver who said she was bombarded with advice on incorporating to save taxes even when she was in medical school, expressed disappointment at what she considers reactionary physician organizations who should be pushing for improvements to the health-care system. Any suggestion the proposed measures are “anti-feminist” is misguided, she said.

    McCracken contacted colleagues with the aim of expressing a fact-based alternative view, leading to the letter to Morneau.

    “It just seemed to us there was some motivation from very high earners who wanted to continue to be able to pay less tax,” McCracken said. “(But) people who make more money should pay more taxes.”

    Lesley Barron, an incorporated general surgeon in Georgetown, Ont., said she supports the proposals even though her family’s bottom line will take a hit. Morneau’s approach will help make the tax system more fair, she said.

    “I don’t believe it makes sense for physicians to fund retirement, benefits, and maternity leave through these tax loopholes,” Barron said.

    Another letter signatory, Ritika Goel, a family doctor with an inner city practice in Toronto, said the din of criticism from many doctors makes it important an alternative perspective be heard. The current system isn’t the way to address issues Morneau critics are raising, she said. Goel, who is currently on leave to look after her baby, says maternity benefits are in fact available to doctors in Ontario.

    “Beyond that, I’m in an income position that has allowed me to have savings to take maternity leave,” she said.

    0 0

    Sue Earl, a 38-year Sears Canada employee, was shocked when she found out she would only initially receive 81 per cent of the value of her pension as part of the company's insolvency process.

    The 64-year-old from Cobourg, Ont., had assumed her defined-benefit pension was “money in the bank,” a guaranteed amount she'd receive in retirement regardless of the financial health of the failing retailer.

    But then, she also didn't think Sears would cancel the severance payments she'd been receiving since her store was closed last year — that's what happened after it filed for court protection from creditors in June.

    She said the other 19 per cent of her defined-benefit pension is “up in the air.”

    “Our letter said it would be paid out to us in the next five years, but that depends what they do with it, whether they wind it up or what's going to happen,” Earl said.

    “It's just one more slap, really. You lose your severance and then you find out you might not get all of your pension money.”

    Personal finance experts say the Sears case shows the risk of depending too much on a defined-benefit pension plan to provide income in retirement if the plan is not fully funded and the sponsor goes bust.

    James McCreath, an associate portfolio manager with BMO Nesbitt Burns in Calgary, says employer-sponsored pension plans are a good thing because they force people to save for retirement but when a company isn't healthy enough to fund them, it can result in a lot of stress for employees.

    “If I had a defined benefit plan, I'd certainly sharpen my pencil on reviewing it to see if there's an unfunded liability and how that perhaps would impact my retirement,” he said.

    Tony Salgado, director of CIBC Wealth Strategies in Toronto, says many don't even know what kind of pension plan they have, much less what their retirement income might be.

    “Incorporate some wiggle room,” he advises.

    “If you were to take a 10 per cent haircut on what you have through your retirement pension plan, what other sources of income will you have available?”

    Defined-benefit plans promise members a retirement income usually based on salary and years of service. But an aging population that is living longer has increased the cost of the plans at the same time that low interest rates have also increased funding requirements, leaving many plan sponsors with a shortfall.

    Sears has been paying $3.7 million a month to top up its underfunded defined-benefit plan, as required by Ontario provincial law, but has asked a court to allow it to suspend those payments while it restructures.

    Meanwhile, Ontario has proposed new rules that would see defined-benefit pension plans it regulates not require topping up as long as they are 85 per cent funded, down from the current 100 per cent.

    In Cobourg, Sue Earl says she is receiving employment insurance benefits and has started her Canada Pension Plan payments early to top up her RRSPs and pay down debt.

    She has received a pay out on the defined-contribution pension plan Sears started in 2008, but is still waiting for payout of the defined benefit plan it replaced — both have to be reinvested in locked-in accounts until retirement.

    Her husband, Ralph, has a small pension and, after a “hard look at our finances,” she thinks they'll be OK.

    “I mean, we're not driving Mercedes, we're going to drive our car into the ground. If we take a trip we're going to be budgeting for it. I mean, we're going to have to be careful with our money.”

    0 0

    We were birds on a wire, crows jostling for gawking space inside the practice rink of the Lillehammer Olympics.

    Here, for the first time since The Incident — as the infamous knee-whack against Nancy Kerrigan is defined in the new movie I, Tonya, presented as a fake doc biopic — were the two protagonists from one of the biggest scandals in sports history, together on the ice.

    Studiously ignoring one another, even as they skated by each other.

    Very much looking the parts they’d already assumed in sports lore: Kerrigan, after removing her warm-up top, in a delicate lacy ensemble; Tonya Harding, badass, in a splashy leotard.

    Reporters took note. Lots of notes.

    Even then, at those 1994 Olympics, before all the sordid details were revealed by an FBI investigation — and some of the facts are still unclear more than two decades later — there was enough of a known back story to fill in the tabloid tableau.

    Harding was white trash, as scuzzy as her untameable bangs, her garish home-sewn costumes, her foul mouth, her entire disreputable narrative: The Outcast.

    Kerrigan was all class and chic, evoking a luminous young Katharine Hepburn with the angled cheekbones and lithe silhouette, her elegant costumes designed by Vera Wang: The Ice Princess.

    How eagerly we succumbed to the handy tropes.

    Awaiting the cat fight that never unfolded.

    Only seven weeks had passed since a then-unknown assailant had taken a metal baton to Kerrigan’s knee, leaving her crumpled in the corridor of a Detroit rink, wailing: WHYWHYWHY?!?!?! And that bewildered lament, even in pre-social media days — but captured by a TV crew — became a satirized screech.

    “People made such a big deal and almost, like complaining, why would I say that?” Kerrigan told ABC earlier this year. “Well, after getting attacked you don’t know what you’re going to say. But I think it’s a reasonable question. Like, Why did this just happen? What happened? Like, why?”

    It happened, as the world now knows, because a clot of bumbling thugs — on the lowest rung of goonery — had hatched a scheme to eliminate rival Kerrigan from the U.S. figure skating championships and thus the upcoming Winter Games, all in aid of advancing Harding’s gold medal chances. (Kerrigan was given one of two team spots anyway on merit, with Harding, and recovered in time to compete.)

    All of this is told in faux documentary style in I, Tonya, a rollicking film that was the critical darling at the Toronto International Film Festival, with very much a Tonya-centric point of view.

    She was always the more compelling character in this Grand Guignol pas de deux on ice, the redneck renegade high school dropout, a skating savant from the wrong side of the tracks with the monster mom — stage mother from hell, LaVona, depicted with wicked chain-smoking bite by Allison Janney in the movie — and the violent ex-husband who initiated “The Whack Heard Around the World,” though he still insists the plot was supposed to involve nothing more than threatening letters to Kerrigan.

    A complete loser was Jeff Gillooly and his moron conspiracy theorist sidekick, Shawn Eckhardt, who hired the clubbing assailants. Yet Harding, a tough broad who often gave as good as she got, kept going back to him, despite blackened eyes and a gun pointed at her face. This was the reality, the norm, she’d known all her life. The people who loved you hurt you.

    She was never loved in the bitchy world of elite figure skating. She was vulgar and tawdry. Judges rarely rewarded her with the scores she deserved as a superb figure skater, one of only two women — at that time — to ever cleanly land a triple Axel jump in competition. I, Tonya makes a rightfully huge deal about this, though it was Japan’s Midori Ito who’d done it first, most notably at the 1989 World Championships and the ’92 Olympics.

    But no American had ever pulled it off on the international stage.

    Harding was a far more powerful skater than Kerrigan, more athletic, built like a fire plug. But Kerrigan embodied the qualities that then, and even now, are preferred in a figure skating universe that promotes ideals of femininity: gracefulness, charm, beauty, the whole phoney fairytale. Pretty girls in pretty boxes.

    I, Tonya, with its black humour, rips the chiffon and bugle beads off that charade too.

    Margot Robbie, as Harding, is a revelation, plumbing the depths of an unapologetic anti-heroine. Audiences might not like her, but they will come closer to understanding her pathology. The movie argues she was never part of the plot against Kerrigan, though Harding did ultimately plead guilty to conspiring to hinder prosecution — helping to cover it up.

    She was fined $100,000, stripped of her 1994 U.S. title and barred from ever competing again as a figure skater, anywhere. It was excessively cruel, that ban.

    In retrospect, I, Tonya is also an indictment of us, the media, during what was then the dawning of the 24/7 media cycle, the gobsmacking scandal cranked for all it was worth in the lead-up to a Games where CBS devoted 40 per cent of its 120-hour coverage to figure skating.

    Harding was the most famous athlete on the planet. We giddily chronicled every moment of her rise and fall and fall.

    I’ve gone back and read those stories, mine included, with a professional cringe. How we rendered the principal players as almost cartoon figures, good against evil, the virtue of Kerrigan versus the coarseness of Harding, paragon and outlaw, poodle and pit bull.

    Robbie, as Harding, calls us out — how she went from abusive upbringing to abusive spouse to abusive mythmakers.

    “Nancy gets hit one time and the whole world (expletive),” she says in the film. “For me, it’s an everyday occurrence.”

    But the melodramas just kept on coming.

    Those old enough to remember Lillehammer will recall the evening of the free skate, when Harding, after sucking on her asthma aspirator, rushed onto the ice with a torn skate lace. Barely into her program, she came to a tearful stop, skated to the judges’ panel and propped her leg on the board, begging for a do-over. Which she was given. Didn’t matter. A mess of nerves and stress, Harding popped her triple Axel and finished eighth.

    Kerrigan copped silver in a slim — 4 to 5 in first placement marks — verdict by the judges. Visibly glum on the podium, standing just below gold medallist Oksana Baiul from Ukraine.

    And the aftermath?

    Oskana sank into alcoholism, drunkenly crashing her car into a tree three years later.

    Kerrigan battled an eating disorder. Just this past season, she was an (eliminated) contestant on Dancing With the Stars.

    Harding became a sideshow celebrity pugilist.

    “Why not?” she shrugs in I, Tonya.

    She’d been a punching bag all her life.

    0 0

    The Handmaid’s Tale, the Toronto- and Hamilton-shot television series based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, cleaned up at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday night, winning major awards in the drama category.

    The show won Best Drama Series, Elisabeth Moss won Lead Actress in a Drama Series and Ann Dowd was honoured as Best Supporting Actor. The series also took awards for Best Drama Writing and Best Directing.

    The Hulu series stars Moss as one of the few fertile women left in a world ruled by a totalitarian regime that treats women as property.

    The win Sunday is a major coup for Hulu — the show is the streaming service’s first Emmy-nominated drama series.

    The cast and producers were joined onstage by Atwood, who received loud applause when she appeared on stage.

    For much of the rest of the show, the ghost of Donald Trump loomed large, despite the fact the U.S. president was not in the audience.

    Canadian Lorne Michaels, the creator of a newly resurgent Saturday Night Live, which has taken pointed swings at the presidency, won an early award for outstanding variety sketch series. As did Alec Baldwin for his demented imitation of Trump, and Kate McKinnon for her sly portrayal of Hilary Clinton.

    “I remember the first time we won this award,” Michaels told the audience. “It was after the first seaon in 1976. I remember thinking … that this was it. This is the highpoint. There would never be a season as crazy, as unpredictable, or as exhausting or exhilarating. Turns out I was wrong.”

    Baldwin, meanwhile, raised his Emmy high in the air and proclaimed: “At long last, Mr. President, here is your Emmy” in reference to the fact that Trump had long claimed the Emmys were rigged for not giving him an award for The Celebrity Apprentice, which he produces.

    McKinnon thanked Clinton as the music started to cut her off: “On a personal note I want to thank Hilary Clinton for her grace and grit.”

    Melissa McCarthy was honoured at last weekend’s creative arts Emmys as best guest actress for her SNL work, including portraying Sean Spicer. The former White House press secretary made a surprise Emmys appearance, wheeling in his own podium. “This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys. Period. Both in person and around the world,” he said, a reference to his claim, while Trump spokesperson, that the inauguration crowd on Jan. 20 was the largest in history.

    Another early Canadian winner was Quebec director Jean-Marc Vallée, (Wild, Dallas Buyers Club), who won the outstanding directing Emmy for a Limited Series for HBO’s Big Little Lies. The show also won outstanding supporting actor and actress for Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern. “I thank you girls for making me look good like this” said Vallée in reference to stars including Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz and Nicole Kidman.

    “This is quite an honor,” said Vallée, who also thanked writer David E. Kelley for the “brilliance” in his writing.

    Stephen Colbert’s song-and-dance opening and monologue celebrated TV and repeatedly tweaked Trump, including the president’s assertion that he should have won an Emmy for Celebrity Apprentice. His subsequent presidency was the fault of TV voters, Colbert said. He also called the president “the biggest TV star of the past year.”

    John Lithgow, who received the best supporting drama actor for his role as British leader Winston Churchill in The Crown, took a more diplomatic approach to political commentary.

    “Most of all I have to thank Winston Churchill. In these crazy times, his life, even as an old man, reminds us what courage and leadership in government really looks like,” Lithgow said.

    Ann Dowd of The Handmaid’s Tale was honoured as Best Supporting Actor in a drama. The series also took awards for Best Drama Writing and Directing.

    Lena Waithe became the first African-American woman to win an Emmy for comedy series writing, for Master of None, sharing the award with series co-creator Aziz Ansari, who is of Indian heritage.

    “The things that make us different, those are superpowers,” Waithe said. “Thank you for embracing a little Indian boy from South Carolina and a little queer black girl from the south side of Chicago,” she said, basking in a standing ovation from the theatre audience.

    TV academy president and CEO Hayma Washington paid tribute to TV’s increasing diversity. That’s reflected in the record number of African-American continuing series acting nominees, but Latinos were overlooked and Ansari was the only Asian-American contender.

    Donald Glover won the best comedy actor Emmy Award for Atlanta, which he created and which carries his distinctive voice, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus was honoured Sunday for a sixth time for her role as a self-absorbed politician in the comedy Veep, named best comedy for the third time.

    “I want to thank Trump for making black people No. 1 on the most oppressed list. He’s the reason I’m probably up here,” Glover said, acknowledging the entertainment industry’s and the Emmys’ tilt toward the political under Trump.

    Combined with Emmys that Louis-Dreyfus has won for Seinfeld and New Adventures of Old Christine, her latest trophy tied her with Cloris Leachman as the most-winning Emmy performer ever.

    Before the show started, This Is Us stars Sterling K. Brown and Ron Cephas Jones were among the Emmy Awards nominees playing it cool as they arrived.

    The actors paused for photographs and interviews on the red carpet, which for the first time was tented and air conditioned to provide relief from the usually warm September weather in Los Angeles.

    Brown won an Emmy last year for playing O.J. Simpson prosecutor Christopher Darden in the limited series The People v O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, and this time is up for best drama actor for the NBC drama.

    “It does feel different but for different reasons. I’m the first African-American in 16 years nominated. That kind of blows my mind,” he said.

    Andre Braugher, who was the last Black actor to get a nod in the category, for Gideon’s Crossing in 2001, also was the last one to claim top drama performance honours, for Homicide: Life on the Street in 1998.

    Another This Is Us star, Chris Sullivan, made a fashion statement with a top hat, cane and purple bow tie. He wasn’t alone in going for a bold look — Jeremy Maguire from Modern Family vamped in a purple cape — while Tessa Thompson and Issa Rae dazzled with sophisticated, brightly colored gowns.

    Jackie Hoffman, nominated for the FX series Feud: Bette and Joan said she was “less freak-out nervous” after all the pre-Emmy festivities were over and she was finally at the big show.

    Politics couldn’t help but make its way onto the Emmy Awards stage, especially since host Stephen Colbert noted that President Donald Trump was the biggest TV star of the past year.

    In fact, Colbert blamed the Emmys for Trump’s election as president. He suggested if Trump had won an Emmy for Celebrity Apprentice, he might not have run for president. He showed a clip of a presidential debate where Trump said he should have won an Emmy.

    But he noted that, unlike the presidency, an Emmy goes to the winner of the popular vote.

    Colbert, whose Late Show is a regular forum on the Trump administration, said last week that the president is fair game during the awards show.

    0 0

    Veteran forward Joffrey Lupul used his Instagram account to suggest he’s ready to play for the Maple Leafs and that he did not fail a physical.

    “I’m ready. Just awaiting the call,” Lupul wrote under a photograph of an unidentified snowboarder.

    In comments after his post, some followers encouraged him to come back, some professed to miss him and one urged him to tell “the real story” of his injury.

    Lupul responded to one of them about the physical the team said he failed on Thursday.

    “Haha failed physical. They cheat, everyone lets them,” Lupul wrote on — and later deleted from — his verified @jlupul account.

    The Maple Leafs declined comment, while neither the NHL Players’ Association nor the NHL could be immediately reached for reaction.

    The image had more than 1,000 likes within three hours, including one from teammate Nazem Kadri.

    Lupul’s injury, like one to defenceman Stephane Robidas, has always been clouded in mystery. Some believed the Leafs were using the long-term injured reserve as an end run around the salary cap, and to create roster spots for younger players.

    Robidas had talked about being the seventh defenceman on the last day of training camp in 2015-16. The next day, he was on the injured list and never skated for the team.

    The joke was that he was lost on Robidas Island. The same thing seemed to happen to Lupul, who was also deemed unfit to play before training camp ahead of the 2016-17 season.

    No one has ever disputed the career-ending concussion suffered by Nathan Horton, who was injured prior to becoming a Leaf. When the Leafs put Horton on long-term IR, they get to use the equivalent of his $5.3-million U.S. salary to sign other players.

    They did the same with Lupul ($5.25 million) and Robidas ($3 million), whose contract ended in July. Robidas is now in the organization’s player development ranks.

    Last year, defenceman Jared Cowen disputed his buyout, claiming he was injured and that the buyout broke the rules. He lost the case, then lashed out at the Leafs a few days ago. The quirk of Cowen’s buyout was that he was more valuable to the Leafs injured than healthy, since it created extra salary-cap space for the 2016-17 season.

    “I wish teams would have more of an interest in taking better care of their players instead of whatever their goal or mindset was there,” Cowen said in an interview with BSN “Basically, they got me, figured out that I was hurt, they didn’t want to deal with it and they got rid of me.”

    0 0

    It was the first time Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca had faced reporters since the controversy began.

    The press conference at a GO station in Burlington had nothing to do with the province’s plan to build a series of new stops.

    But the minister had not yet directly answered why two proposed locations — Kirby, in his own Vaughan riding, and Lawrence East, part of Mayor John Tory’s “SmartTrack” campaign promise — had been approved against expert advice. Nor had he explained why the board of Metrolinx, which is meant to be an arm’s-length agency of the province, reversed its early position to not support those stations under pressure from his ministry.

    Put on the spot Tuesday, Del Duca deflected: “Yeah, so you’re focused on the historical details. I’m focused on the go-forward.”

    Going forward, experts say, the way transit has been planned in the Toronto region promises more boondoggles amid a lack of evidence-based decision-making.

    “Politicians see building new rail transit as a shortcut to getting elected,” said Murtaza Haider, a Ryerson University professor who specializes in transportation planning and statistical models. “The public transit infrastructure investment is a taxpayer subsidy to politicians’ political ambitions because there’s no rationale for it most of the time. What gets built and what should have been built are completely two different things.”

    These recent projects, including the contentious Scarborough subway, have brought accusations of political interference, missing and misleading information and a lack of transparency.

    There couldn’t be more at stake: Potential misspending of billions of taxpayer dollars meaning the wrong projects get built at a time when the city — and region — is growing at an unprecedented pace. And once a project is built, it remains in place for decades.

    Recently approved projects have seen politicians interfering with transit plans, changing direction after a plan has been studied and approved.

    Emails obtained by the Star show Del Duca’s ministry sent Metrolinx officials draft press releases outlining his intention to announce the stations at Kirby and Lawrence East, even though studies had recommended against them and the board had decided not to support them.

    And emails from then-president and CEO Bruce McCuaig indicated Del Duca was “disappointed” with the analysis and McCuaig requested staff produce “alternative analysis.”

    Former mayor Rob Ford didn’t rely on facts when he insisted a subway was what was needed in Scarborough. It was Ford’s chief-of-staff, Mark Towhey; unlikely ally, Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker; and his hand-picked Speaker, Councillor Frances Nunziata, that together led to the reopening of the agreement with the province to build a fully funded light rail line (LRT) to replace the Scarborough RT,

    a move the city clerk has said broke council procedure.

    These and other plans have been bolstered by sometimes missing and other times misleading analysis. Consider these:

    • After the Metrolinx board approved the stations at Kirby and Lawrence East, it took almost nine months for the business cases for each station to be released. The new Kirby analysis excluded hired consultants’ earlier opinion that it showed “poor results.”

    • An inflated ridership figure was produced and attributed to the city’s planning department just days ahead of a crucial vote on the Scarborough subway. Emails obtained by the Star show chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat had herself questioned TTC CEO Andy Byford about the subway figure’s origins, unaware it apparently came from her own department.

    • When the subway debate resumed at council last year, the TTC produced a briefing note that cast doubt on whether the LRT plan was still viable. It suggested the price of the LRT was now almost on par with the subway, which Byford later clarified was simply a figure the TTC was “asked to provide.” It is unclear who asked for that number.

    There has also been much secrecy clouding transit planning in the region.

    The original discussion by the Metrolinx board during which it first decide not to support Kirby and Lawrence East stations was conducted behind closed doors.

    Following a Star investigation, Metrolinx has since said notice of closed-door meetings will be given, with minutes published afterward. Although a review to reassess the merits of building a station at Kirby and Lawrence East has been ordered, it will not scrutinize the process that led to Metrolinx approving them in the first place.

    The Scarborough subway briefing note has to this day never been made part of the public record at city hall.

    And today, the mystery of the pivotal ridership number has not been solved.

    Eric Miller, the director of the University of Toronto’s Transportation Research Institute, said a lack of evidence-based transit-planning is one of the driving factors behind the region’s failure to build transportation infrastructure fast enough to keep up with population growth.

    “Somebody whispers in somebody’s ear, somebody thinks it’s a good idea for whatever reason. It gets announced, and then maybe if you do the analysis you discover, well, there’s problems. Then there is opposition to it because it hasn’t been thought through,” he said.

    In addition to technical analysis of transit plans, there will always be quantitative decisions that will require political judgment, he said. But analysis of transit projects should be made public before decisions are made and if elected officials decide to deviate from the evidence they need to explain why.

    “They should be clear about why they’re making that decision. And just winning the next election isn’t a good enough reason for doing that,” Miller said.

    He argued that while watchdogs like auditor generals should be able to scrutinize transit decisions, they should be the last resort. Instead, he said he would prefer to “fix the system” by subjecting government analysis of transit plans to independent peer reviews, something he said is regularly done in the United States in his field of travel-demand modelling.

    “I think we’ve gotten into such a toxic situation… (The public doesn’t) believe the numbers even if the numbers are there, because they don’t trust the process.”

    University of Toronto Prof. Matti Siemiatycki, an expert in transportation policy and planning, said there is an important role for both politicians, who set objectives and priorities with a mandate from the citizens who elected them, and experts, who do the technical analysis on how best to meet those priorities.

    But the lines have often been blurred in Toronto, he said, pointing to Kirby as a recent example showing the process has been “infused with politics at every stage.”

    “This isn’t just an anomaly. We’re at the point where this is the pattern of how we do things here,” he said.

    Siemiatycki agreed part of the solution to the broken system is a strong peer-review component, which would protect against the cherry-picking of evidence and expert advice that seems preordained because it simply affirms what politicians wanted in the first place — what has been dubbed “policy-based evidence-making” instead of “evidence-based policy-making.”

    If you look at the historical details, several of Toronto’s transit-planning decisions have not aged well.

    Ridership predictions for the Sheppard subway former mayor Mel Lastman pushed have not panned out, forcing the city to subsidize the underutilized, five-stop line about $10 for every ride.

    And today, plans for a Sheppard East LRT — supported by evidence and with funding from other levels of government — have stalled amid lingering political promises of an underground extension, meaning no rapid transit has been built at all.

    The Union Pearson Express — an idea the province pursued even after the private sector abandoned it over fears of cost recovery — looks certain to fall short of the promised goal of breaking even on its operating costs within five years. Figures released this summer show the province is still subsidizing the line at about $11 per ride, totalling about $30.4 million between April 2016 and March 2017.

    The same mistakes keep getting repeated because too many elected officials are concerned with personal and political agendas, said Councillor Josh Matlow.

    “No one has been able to back up even the most basic details when I’ve asked some of the most obvious questions regarding spending over $3 billion on one subway station. That doesn’t make sense,” he said.

    “Would any reasonable, responsible person when they’re buying a product at a store just buy what they think they deserve and accept any price that they’re told? No. They would consider their budget and they would make a thoughtful comparison of products so that they can know beyond a doubt that they’ve made the right choice.”

    Former mayor David Miller, who sat on both the boards of Metrolinx and the TTC, said decisions about transit should ultimately be made by public officials.

    “But they need to rely on the advice of civil servants and other experts, and where they do not accept the advice, should be forced to explain the reasons in public as happens at city hall operating at its best,” he told the Star in an email. “This is clearly not the case with a provincial agency whose appointees are all at the pleasure of the minister and do not have the stature, elected legitimacy, or background knowledge to stand up for an evidence-based transit planning process.”

    Miller and other politicians were removed from the Metrolinx board in 2009 by then premier Dalton McGuinty in what the province claimed was a bid to speed up projects with a more independent board. Board members are now unelected officials recommended by the minister of transportation. That shakeup has come at a cost, Miller said.

    “W‎hen premier McGuinty removed elected officials from Metrolinx it removed the political strength and heft from the board that prevented underhanded backroom deals,” he said.

    The focus on politically motivated projects has also meant universally-agreed-upon priorities get sidetracked.

    Though transportation experts, academics and top bureaucrats agree a subway to relieve the congested Yonge line is a priority project, today there is no money committed to actually building it and no mayor or minister is championing the need to just get on with it.

    The current process for approving major transit projects has also left something to be desired, watchers say.

    In 2008, the province changed how transit projects are vetted, streamlining the mandatory environmental assessment to what’s called the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP), allowing for approvals within six months.

    The office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario reported then that the TPAP took away some “key requirements” of the environmental assessment, including potential “alternatives” to a project.

    “A requirement to consider ‘alternatives’ is still in the public interest, particularly when various transit options have differing impacts socially, economically and environmentally,” the report reads. “A careful weighing of alternatives, with public scrutiny, can lead to better overall outcomes and a wiser use of scarce public resources.”

    It’s unclear whether projects like Scarborough and Kirby and those pushing for their approval will undergo scrutiny from watchdogs appointed to keep an eye on public institutions.

    After receiving complaints about Kirby, Lawrence East and Scarborough, Ontario’s auditor general Bonnie Lysyk told the Star her office had already planned to audit the province’s regional transportation plan.

    As part of that review, expected to be published next fall, she said “it would be appropriate for us to look at Lawrence East and Kirby Station.”

    Toronto auditor general Beverley Romeo-Beehler, whose office is finishing an investigation into the Scarborough subway briefing note, said she has yet to determine if she will conduct a value-for-money analysis — something that has not specifically been the subject of any complaint.

    “Right now it’s undecided what we’re going to do,” she said.

    0 0

    Suzanne Davison, a 72-year-old who lives in federal co-op housing in Toronto with her 63-year-old brother, goes to her local food bank every week.

    On her last visit, she collected a tiny bag of potatoes, two cookies, a box of cereal, romaine lettuce, a little carton of milk, a bag of pretzels, a little jar of peanut butter, a Little Caesers pizza and cranberry juice.

    The box of cereal was expired. She couldn’t have the cranberry juice because it’s full of sugar and she has Type 2 diabetes. The rest will last two or three days.

    Davison is a low income senior, with a small pension and a brother on disability. Between the more than $1,000 she pays a month for rent, bus fares and phone bills — and the limited function in her right hand — the food bank is the only place she can go.

    “The whole problem is lack of income,” Davison said. “You can only do so much with the money you get, right?”

    Food banks visits in Toronto are back to levels seen during the height of the recession almost 10 years ago, according to the newest “Who’s Hungry” report by the Daily Bread Food Bank, with usage by seniors like Davison increasing by 27 per cent.

    Read more:

    Customers, food banks hit by No Frills closures

    More Canadians are using food banks, new report suggests

    According to the report, many seniors don’t seem to be receiving all the federal benefits they are entitled to. In particular, many are not receiving the Guaranteed Income Supplement — a program that is also excluding newcomer families.

    “I can’t work, and my pension is taxed, and I don’t have (Ontario Disability Support Program) or welfare,” Davison said. “(The food bank is) not all that great, but it’s better than starving to death.”

    Kate Halsey, a food bank coordinator for Yonge Street Mission in Regent Park, has worked at food banks for more than three years and has watched the rise in food bank usage first hand.

    “It is startling to me that senior population access of food banks is increasing,” Halsey said.

    On a daily basis, she said the Yonge Street Mission registers at least three new people for the food bank: varying from newcomers to Canada who have master’s and PhD degrees but not enough money for food; people who go back to school and are paying tuition; and people who are just trying to make ends meet at the end of the month.

    “It could be anyone, it could be your neighbour, it could be your grandmother, your best friend,” Halsey said. “It could also be the man on the corner. There’s not a population we serve more than others.”

    Alongside increased usage by seniors, the report found that the rise in food bank visits has largely been driven by a jump in Scarborough, where usage has risen by 30 per cent over the last year, compared to the four per cent rise in other parts of the city.

    Other notable findings in the report include:

    • Close to 20 per cent of those assisted by a food bank are employed or recently employed,

    • 62 per cent of users have a disability,

    • 35 per cent have post-secondary education.

    Similar statistics were found in another recent study by Food Banks Canada, which surveys more than 3,000 agencies across the country. It found that on average, food banks help more than 850,000 Canadians every month. It also noted that:

    <bullet>More than half of Canadians polled know someone who has visited a food bank,

    <bullet>More than one-third of people helped by food banks are children,

    <bullet>One out six people assisted by food banks are employed.

    “Food banks are really that last resort so they really have to have broad shoulders to be able to help the increasing number of people that walk through their doors,” said Marzena Gersho, communications director at Food Banks Canada

    The official definition for “hunger,” according to Gersho, is “when a household lacks physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”

    Starting Monday, food banks are leading Hunger Awareness Week in hopes to start a conversation around these statistics and changing landscapes. Gersho would like Canadians to support local food banks but also demand policy changes that closely examine the roots of poverty, hunger and welfare

    “We need to remind everyone that we really do have people who are struggling,” Gersho said.

    0 0

    LONDON—The two suspects detained over last week’s London subway bombing are an 18-year-old refugee from Iraq and a 21-year-old believed to be from Syria, both of whom were fostered by a British couple, according to a local official and media reports.

    The 18-year-old was detained Saturday at the southeast England port of Dover, a departure point for ferries to France. The 21-year-old was held later the same day in Hounslow in west London. Photos published by the Sun newspaper showed a man being detained outside a fast-food restaurant in Hounslow, which was searched by police.

    Both men are being held under the Terrorism Act and are being questioned at a London police station about Friday’s attack.

    Thirty people were injured when an improvised explosive device partly exploded aboard a crowded London Underground train at Parsons Green station during the morning rush hour. None of the injuries was life-threatening, and experts said it appears the main charge of the bomb didn’t detonate.

    Read more:

    London police arrest second man in connection with subway attack

    U.K. police make ‘significant’ arrest in London blast investigation, though threat level still ‘critical’

    Britain raises terror alert level to ‘critical’ after homemade bomb injures 29

    After the rush-hour bombing, British officials raised the country’s terror threat level to the highest level, “critical,” meaning an attack may be imminent. They lowered it Sunday to “severe,” and police said the investigation was making rapid progress.

    Police searched three addresses, including the house in suburban Sunbury, outside London, of Penelope and Ronald Jones. The couple has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II for fostering more than 200 children, including refugees from Middle Eastern conflicts.

    Ian Harvey, who heads local Spelthorne Borough Council, said he believed the 18-year-old was an Iraqi orphan who moved to the U.K. when he was 15 after his parents died and had lived in the Sunbury house. He said the 21-year-old was also a former foster child of the Joneses.

    Stephen Griffiths, who lives across the street, said police had visited the house several times, most recently two or three weeks ago.

    “The police were there multiple times over the span of about a month — a few times a week,” he said.

    “You always think foster kids are going to have a bit of trouble, but you don’t think terrorism,” he added.

    Footage obtained by broadcaster ITV shows a man near the Sunbury address Friday morning carrying a bag from Lidl supermarket. Images posted on social media following the attack appeared to show wires protruding from a flaming bucket contained in a Lidl bag on the floor of the train carriage.

    Commuters returned to Parsons Green station Monday for the first morning rush hour since the bombing. Police asked the travelling public to be vigilant and said there would be more armed police on the transit network for the time being.

    Most of the injured in Friday’s explosion aboard a District Line train suffered flash burns while some were injured in the panicked rush to leave.

    Daesh has claimed responsibility for the attack, but British officials say there is no proof yet that it was involved.

    Four other violent attacks in Britain this year have killed 36 people. Three were the work of attackers motivated by Islamic extremism, and one by anti-Muslim hatred.

    In the deadliest attack, a suicide bomber struck a packed concert hall in Manchester in northern England, killing 22 people. The other attacks, near Parliament, on London Bridge and near a mosque in Finsbury Park in north London, involved vehicles and, in two cases, knives.

    0 0

    NEW YORK—U.S. President Donald Trump is making his debut at the United Nations and taking his complaints about the world body straight to the source.

    In his first appearance as president, Trump on Monday was addressing a U.S.-sponsored event on reforming the 193-member organization he has sharply criticized.

    As a candidate for president, Trump labeled the UN as weak and incompetent, and not a friend of either the United States or Israel. But he has softened his tone since taking office, telling ambassadors from UN Security Council member countries at a White House meeting this year that the UN has “tremendous potential.”

    Read the latest news on U.S. President Donald Trump

    Trump more recently has praised a pair of unanimous council votes to tighten sanctions on North Korea over its continued nuclear weapon and ballistic missile tests.

    Trump’s big moment comes Tuesday, when he delivers his first address to a session of the UN General Assembly. The annual gathering of world leaders will open amid serious concerns about Trump’s priorities, including his policy of “America First,” his support for the UN and a series of global crises. It will be the first time world leaders will be in the same room and able to take the measure of Trump.

    The president and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will speak at Monday’s reform meeting. The U.S. has asked member nations to sign a declaration on UN reforms, and more than 100 have done so. Trump wants the UN to cut spending and make other operational changes.

    Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, said Trump’s criticisms were accurate at the time, but that it is now a “new day” at the UN. An organization that “talked a lot but didn’t have a lot of action” has given way to a “United Nations that’s action-oriented,” she said, noting the Security Council votes on North Korea this month.

    Read more:

    World leaders to discuss plight of Rohingyas at UN

    Defiant Kim Jong Un says he will complete North Korean nuclear program

    Jared Kushner begins push for Trump’s ‘ultimate deal’ between Israelis, Palestinians

    Guterres has proposed a massive package of changes, and Haley said the UN is “totally moving toward reform.”

    “We said that we needed to get value for our dollar and what we’re finding is the international community is right there with us in support of reform. So it is a new day at the UN,” she said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. She said Trump’s pleas had been heard and “what we’ll do is see him respond to that.”

    Trump also planned to hold separate talks Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron. U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the conversations would be wide-ranging, but that “Iran’s destabilizing behaviour” would be a major focus of Trump’s discussions with both leaders.

    Breakthroughs on a Middle East peace agreement are not expected. Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser on the issue, recently returned from a trip to the Middle East.

    Trump told Jewish leaders on a conference call last week that his team is working very hard to achieve a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians and that he hoped to see “significant progress” on a deal before the end of the year. Trump is scheduled to meet later this week with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Trump was also hosting a dinner for Latin American leaders. Venezuela, which has been gripped by economic and political turmoil, will be discussed, McMaster said.

    The United States is the largest contributor to the UN budget, reflecting its position as the world’s largest economy. It pays 25 per cent of the UN’s regular operating budget and over 28 per cent of the separate peacekeeping budget — a level of spending that Trump has complained is unfair.

    “We need the member states to come together to eliminate inefficiency and bloat, and to ensure that no one nation shoulders a disproportionate share of the burden militarily or financially,” Trump told the security council ambassadors as they dined at the White House in April. “This is only fair to our taxpayers.”

    The Trump administration is conducting a review of the UN’s 16 far-flung peacekeeping operations, which cost nearly $9.77 billion a year. Cutting their costs and making them more effective is a top priority for Haley.

    Guterres has said he is totally committed to reforming the UN and making it more responsive to the needs of the 21st century world. As for the peacekeeping budget, he said last week that his intention is to do everything possible to make the missions “the most effective” as well as “cost-effective.”

    0 0

    Ontario will have a zero tolerance policy toward young drivers who use marijuana.

    Premier Kathleen Wynne on Monday said commercial truckers, drivers 21 and under, and novice motorists will face stiff penalties if caught behind the wheel after using cannabis.

    For a first occurrence young drivers and G1, G2, M1, and M2 licence holders will face a three-day suspension and a $250 fine.

    A second occurrence will result in a week-long suspension and a $350 fine with all subsequent offences penalized with a 30-day suspension and a $450 fine.

    Similarly, commercial drivers will face three-day suspensions any time they are caught and fined up to $450.

    All other drivers found to be within the blood-alcohol concentrate range of up to .08 will face suspensions of between three and 30 days and fines of up to $450.

    Those with blood-alcohol concentrate levels above .08 face 90-day suspension and $550 fines.

    “There is no excuse for impaired driving — whether it is due to drugs or alcohol,” said Wynne.

    MADD Canada’s Andrew Murie said marijuana is by far the most-seen drug in fatal accidents.

    Murie said he was hopeful upcoming oral-fluid road tests will help reduce cannabis use by drivers.

    Read more: LCBO to run 150 marijuana stores

    Ontario prepping reefer awareness campaign on the dangers of marijuana as legalization date approaches

    Poll says Ontarians are high on government control of marijuana retailing

    0 0

    ST. LOUIS—A racially mixed crowd of demonstrators locked arms and marched quietly through downtown St. Louis Monday morning to protest the acquittal of a white former police officer in the killing of a Black suspect, following another night of unrest and more than 80 arrests.

    The latest action follows three days of peaceful protests and three nights of vandalism and unrest in the city that has been rocked since Friday, when a judge announced he found Jason Stockley not guilty in the 2011 death of Anthony Lamar Smith.

    Hundreds of riot police mobilized downtown late Sunday, arresting more than 80 people and seizing weapons amid reports of property damage and vandalism. The arrests came after demonstrators ignored orders to disperse, police said.

    “I’m proud to tell you the city of St. Louis is safe and the police owned tonight,” Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said at a news conference early Monday.

    Protesters marched through St. Louis' posh Central West End and the trendy Delmar Loop area of nearby University City on Friday and Saturday. Protesters also marched through two shopping malls in a wealthy area of St. Louis County.

    On Sunday, more than 1,000 people had gathered at police headquarters and then marched without trouble through downtown St. Louis. By nightfall, most had gone home.

    But the 100 or so people who remained grew increasingly agitated as they marched back toward downtown. Along the way, they knocked over planters, broke windows at a few shops and hotels, and scattered plastic chairs at an outdoor venue.

    According to police, the demonstrators then sprayed bottles with an unknown substance on officers. One officer suffered a leg injury and was taken to a hospital. His condition wasn’t known.

    Read more:

    St. Louis police arrest more than 80 amid violent protests over police shooting

    St. Louis cop’s acquittal in murder case triggers second day of protests

    Protests rekindled in St. Louis after acquittal of cop in killing of a Black man

    Soon afterward, buses brought in additional officers in riot gear, and police scoured downtown deep into the night, making arrests and seizing at least five weapons, according to O’Toole. Later, officers in riot gear gathered alongside a city boulevard chanting “whose street, our street” — a common refrain used by the protesters — after clearing the street of demonstrators and onlookers.

    “We’re in control. This is our city and we’re going to protect it,” O’Toole said.

    Mayor Lyda Krewson said at the same Monday news conference that “the days have been calm and the nights have been destructive” and that “destruction cannot be tolerated.”

    Early Monday, more than 150 protesters marched arm-in-arm, some carrying signs, to city hall. Police turned traffic away as the marchers blocked a busy St. Louis street during the rush hour crush. Once at city hall, they found their voices, chanting: “I know that we will win.” The protesters then marched four blocks to a city court building, where they chanted again, then dispersed. The next protest is scheduled for Monday evening in University City.

    Also Monday, high school students in at least two suburban districts protested the Stockley ruling. In Kirkwood, about 100 students walked out and held a brief rally, while 250 students in Webster Groves staged what school officials described as a peaceful demonstration.

    The recent St. Louis protests follow a pattern seen since the August 2014 killing of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson: The majority of demonstrators, though angry, are law-abiding. But as the night wears on, a subsection emerges, a different crowd more willing to confront police, sometimes to the point of clashes.

    Protest organizer Anthony Bell said he understands why some act out: While change can come through peaceful protests, such as those led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., years of oppression has caused some to turn violent.

    “I do not say the (violent) demonstrators are wrong, but I believe peaceful demonstrations are the best,” Bell said.

    Many protesters believe police provoked demonstrators by showing up in riot gear and armoured vehicles; police said they had no choice but to protect themselves once protesters started throwing things at them.

    Stockley shot Smith after high-speed chase as officers tried to arrest Smith and his partner in a suspected drug deal.

    Stockley, 36, testified he felt endangered because he saw Smith holding a silver revolver when Smith backed his car toward the officers and sped away.

    Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car after the shooting. The officer’s DNA was on the weapon but Smith’s wasn’t. Dashcam video from Stockley’s cruiser recorded him saying he was “going to kill this (expletive).” Less than a minute later, he shot Smith five times.

    Stockley’s lawyer dismissed the comment as “human emotions” during a dangerous pursuit. St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson, who said prosecutors didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Stockley murdered Smith, said the statement could be ambiguous.

    Stockley left the police department and moved to Houston three years ago.

    0 0

    OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he has once again reached out to Aung San Suu Kyi about the atrocities being committed against Rohingya Muslims in Burma.

    The powerful military in Burma is accused of burning down the homes of Rohingya Muslims, forcing more than 400,000 members of the persecuted minority to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh as refugees.

    Suu Kyi, the celebrated de facto leader of Burma, has come under harsh international criticism for failing to speak out against the violence.

    Trudeau spoke with her last week, but now says he has also written her to outline what she and the government of Burma must do to “protect innocent lives” and act according to the expectations of Canada and the world.

    The Liberal government has been coming under increasing pressure from advocates to strip Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship.

    At a weekend rally in Toronto, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said what is happening in Burma “looks a lot like ethnic cleansing.”

    Read more:

    India says it has evidence there are extremists among Rohingya Muslims

    What Canada must do about the human rights crisis in Burma

    Burma’s leader has one ‘last chance’ to stop Rohingya crisis, UN chief says

    0 0

    INGERSOLL, ONT.—A General Motors plant in Ingersoll, Ont., has been hit by a strike. The 2,500 members of Unifor Local 88 walked out Sunday at 10:59 p.m. when negotiators for the union and the automaker failed to come to terms on a new contract agreement.

    The union says the workers have gone on strike after the company failed to address a key job security issue at the CAMI assembly plant where it produces the Chevrolet Equinox.

    Read more:

    General Motors CEO won’t change production plans despite Trump tweet.

    Layoffs at General Motors show the need to retool NAFTA, union says.

    Unifor says it wants to become the lead site to build the Equinox after losing production of the GMC Terrain to a Mexican plant that resulted in 600 job layoffs in July.

    “Every member understands the importance of reaching a deal that secures production and what that means to our families and the community,” said Mike Van Boekel, Local 88 chair at the CAMI plant.

    “The membership showed incredibly strong support for their bargaining committee throughout these negotiations.”

    GM says it is disappointed the two sides couldn’t reach a deal, but is encouraging Unifor to return to the bargaining table.

    The company says both sides have made progress on several issues over the past several weeks.

    Workers at the CAMI plant operate under a different contract than GM workers in other parts of the country.

    Unifor negotiated a deal with GM last year that included large investments in its Canadian operations, including at its assembly plant in Oshawa, Ont.

    0 0

    MONTREAL—A 41-year-old man who was the subject of an Amber Alert involving his six-year-old son has been charged in the slaying of the child's mother.

    The single charge of second-degree murder was filed today at the courthouse in Saint-Jerome, Que., but the accused's court appearance has been put off.

    Police issued an Amber Alert on Thursday after the boy's mother was found dead inside a home in Saint-Eustache, Que.

    The child and his father were stopped by police in eastern Ontario nearly 24 hours later.

    Ontario provincial police say in a statement the suspect remains in hospital in Ottawa after suffering injuries that required medical treatment on Saturday.

    Meanwhile, Quebec provincial police are continuing their search for a missing 71-year-old man whose vehicle was used in connection with the child's disappearance.

    Read more:

    Amber alert case ends with Quebec man arrested in Ontario

    Father of Quebec boy who was subject of Amber Alert sustains injuries in custody

    Father of boy in Amber Alert still in Ontario hospital

    0 0

    Just because Donald Trump got away with lying about Hillary Clinton doesn’t mean that tactic will work in Ontario, warns Premier Kathleen Wynne.

    “Last week, Patrick Brown made a statement about me that was false and defamatory,” Wynne told reporters Monday at Queen’s Park.

    “In the days that followed, he, disappointingly, did not retract those comments,” said the premier, who has given Brown six weeks to apologize or she may launch a defamation suit against him.

    “We’re going to govern ourselves by the timeline set by the Libel and Slander Act, and I think we’ll let the lawyers go through that process in the interim,” she said.

    But Wynne, who publicly supported Clinton over Trump, made it clear that she did not wish to see a reprise of the tone of last year’s U.S. presidential election in the 2018 Ontario campaign.

    “Let’s just hope and pray that that’s not the level of political debate that we’re going to have here in Ontario or in Canada. I deplore any behaviour that isn’t based on truth . . . that’s defamatory and doesn’t deal in honest interaction,” the premier said.

    “And so, no matter who it is, whether it’s the president or whether it’s the leader of the opposition in Ontario, I don’t think that behaviour belongs in politics. There are lots of differing opinions without us descending into dishonesty and defamation,” she said.

    Brown’s office reiterated Monday that the leader would continue to ignore Wynne’s legal threats, which he has repeatedly dismissed as “baseless.”

    Last Tuesday, on the eve of her testimony as a Crown witness in the Sudbury byelection bribery case, the Tory chief said Ontario had “a sitting premier sitting in trial” and that Wynne “stands trial.”

    In fact, Patricia Sorbara, the premier’s former deputy chief of staff, and Liberal activist Gerry Lougheed are on trial for alleged Election Act violations related to the 2015 byelection. Both deny any wrongdoing.

    Wynne’s lawyer, Jack Siegel, last Wednesday served Brown with a letter stating that he “made a statement about the premier of Ontario that is false and defamatory.”

    “Contrary to your statement, Premier Wynne is not standing trial. Your statement is false and misleading and appears to have been made with the intention to harm the reputation of Ms. Wynne,” the lawyer wrote, giving the PC leader until 5 p.m. Thursday to apologize.

    That deadline came and went and on Friday, the premier’s office said they would give Brown until Oct. 24 before determining their next course of action.

    Senior Conservative officials insist the leader does not need to apologize, despite calls from newspaper editorialists and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, among others.

    But the gaffe has given the Liberals a golden opportunity to paint Brown as a Trumpian fabulist.

    Deputy Premier Deb Matthews was the first to pounce on his snafu and draw the American parallel.

    “There is a principle in Canada that you do not make defamatory, misleading comments about another political leader,” Matthews said last Thursday.

    “In Canada, we actually expect people to be honest. There is, south of the border, a change in that culture. I do not want to see that change coming to Canada.”

older | 1 | .... | 1036 | 1037 | (Page 1038) | 1039 | 1040 | .... | 1083 | newer