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TOPSTORIES

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    As Scotland moves to implement a deposit return system that would include plastic bottles, Environmental Defence is renewing its call for Ontario to play catch up and do the same.

    “This is a proven best practice, it’s been applied in every province except for Manitoba and Ontario, it’s applied across the world, and we know it can get 80 per cent (recycling rate),” said Keith Brooks, the organization’s programs director.

    “Ontarians use roughly three billion single use plastic bottles every year, but only half of those bottles end up getting recycled. The other 1.5 billion end up either in landfills or in the environment as litter,” he said, noting Ontario has the worst recycling rate in the country.

    “Obviously it’s a huge problem.”

    While alcohol beverage containers have been collected through Ontario’s deposit return system since 2007, non-alcohol beverage containers are not included in the program.

    They can be recycled through Blue Box programs, but Brooks said only half actually are.

    A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said the province will build on the Blue Box program as it implements a new producer responsibility framework outlined in legislation passed last summer, which will require producers to take full responsibility for their products and packaging.

    Though Brooks said the extended producer responsibility model is “good in principle,” he’s concerned the province is moving too slowly on implementation.

    Meanwhile the deposit return system is seeing high rates of recovery.

    Ontario’s program charges and returns a bottle deposit of 10 or 20 cents depending on the size of the container. It’s run through The Beer Store alongside the company’s own deposit return system, which has been operating since 1927.

    In 2016 The Beer Store reported collecting 88 per cent of all containers under its own program and 79 per cent of all containers under Ontario’s program.

    Similar success rates are seen in other provinces with broader systems.

    In British Columbia, where a deposit return system accepts non-alcohol containers like pop cans and plastic water bottles, more than 75 per cent of plastic water bottles sold are returned. A similar program in Alberta reports an overall return rate of 86 per cent.

    The Canadian Beverage Association, however, says a deposit return system is the wrong approach.

    In a statement Jim Goetz, the association’s president, noted its members are a “proud partner” in the Blue Box program, which he said has been successful because of its “convenience” for residents.

    “To build on the success of the Blue Box program, a far better and more convenient option would be investing in more out-of-home and multi-residential recycling infrastructure, like the beverage industry has done in Manitoba through the Canadian Beverage Container Recycling Association,” Goetz said.

    But Brooks raised concern that the industries’ hesitation is about expense not the success of deposit return systems.

    “That’s not really an acceptable argument from our perspective,” he said.

    “We can’t continue to litter in this way, not in this day and age, not with plastic that we know now is accumulating in the environment in a really bad way — like, a plastic bottle that you buy today is still going to be around a thousand years from now. It does not break down.”


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    BOSTON—A pharmacist accused of making the drugs that caused a deadly nationwide meningitis outbreak showed a “shocking disregard” for human life by failing to ensure the medicines were safe, a prosecutor told jurors as his trial opened Tuesday.

    Glenn Chin, the supervisory pharmacist at the now-closed New England Compounding Center, ran the clean rooms where the drugs were made. He is charged with second-degree murder and other crimes under federal racketeering law for his role in the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 76 people and sickened hundreds of others.

    Chin instructed his staff to use expired ingredients, falsify documents and neglect cleaning in order to get the products out the door as quickly as possible, Assistant U.S. Attorney George Varghese said during his opening statement. Chin also failed to properly sterilize the drugs, shipped products before they were tested and ignored findings of mould and bacteria in the clean rooms, Varghese said.

    At the same time, the products were being touted as the highest quality compounded drugs on the market, Varghese said.

    “It’s a story of greed and cutting corners,” Varghese told the group of 11 women and four men serving as jurors. “But mostly it’s a story about fraud.”

    Chin, who was wearing a dark suit and glasses, took notes and sometimes shook his head while Varghese spoke during the opening of the trial, which is expected to last several weeks.

    Chin’s attorney, who was expected to give his opening statement later Tuesday, said he intends to place the blame on Barry Cadden, the co-founder of the pharmacy. Chin’s attorney, Stephen Weymouth, told The Associated Press that Chin was essentially a “puppet” for Cadden, who was calling all the shots.

    Cadden was sentenced in June to nine years in prison after being acquitted of second-degree murder charges but convicted on conspiracy and fraud charges.

    Chin is charged in the deaths of 25 people in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

    Varghese slowly read the names of those victims to the jurors while their pictures flashed across a television screen. While Chin did not intend to kill them, he should have known that his actions could be deadly, the prosecutor said.

    “He knew he had a job to do, which was to make these drugs sterile, and he just didn’t care enough to do it,” Varghese said.


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    Jayesh Prajapati was run over by an SUV and dragged for 78 metres while trying to stop the driver from stealing over $112 in gas, a jury heard Tuesday as Crown attorneys made their opening statements in the trial of the man accused of killing the gas station attendant.

    Max Tutiven is charged with second-degree murder in connection with Prajapati’s 2012 death outside a Shell station in North York.

    “The Crown’s theory is that either Mr. Tutiven saw Mr. Prajapati in the path of his travel and intentionally drove at, and struck, Mr. Prajapati with his vehicle and, rather than stopping, chose to keep driving,” Crown prosecutor Jenny Rodopoulos told the jury.

    “Or, even if Mr. Tutiven did not intentionally drive at Mr. Prajapati, after striking Mr. Prajapati with his vehicle, Mr. Tutiven chose not to stop and continued driving knowing that he was dragging Mr. Prajapati underneath his vehicle.”

    Tutiven stole gas six times in the same SUV in the year prior to Prajapati’s death, Rodopoulos said.

    None of the Crown’s allegations against Tutiven have been proven in court. Tutiven has pleaded not guilty.

    Though several eyewitnesses at the gas station and in apartments across the street saw or heard the SUV drag Prajapati, none could identify the driver, Rodopoulos said.

    In security video presented to the court by Toronto Det. Robert North, the Crown's first witness, a stocky man with short dark hair and a beard can be seen pulling up to the gas station in a silver SUV and filling the vehicle and two jerry cans before driving away without paying.

    North and the Crown allege Tutiven is the man in the video.

    It will be up to the jury to determine “beyond a reasonable doubt” whether Tutiven was the driver of the SUV that killed Prajapati, and whether his actions behind the wheel constituted second-degree murder, Rodopoulos said.

    For a murder to be “second-degree,” the perpetrator must have intended to kill the victim, but not have planned to kill them.

    Prajapati was working behind the counter of a Shell gas station near Eglinton Ave. W. and Allen Rd. on the evening of Sept. 15, 2012, when he saw a driver pulling away without paying for gas, the lawyer said.

    Prajapati, a 44-year-old husband and father, ran in front of the SUV, trying to stop the driver from getting away, the Crown added.

    The vehicle hit Prajapati, ran him over and dragged him down Roselawn Ave., before his body was dislodged.

    Prajapati can be seen running from the gas station kiosk as an SUV pulls away, in security videos presented by North.

    He is later seen being run over by the SUV, though no footage exists of the moment the SUV made contact with him, the Crown said.

    Tutiven was arrested in Montreal in 2015 after Toronto police posted a $25,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

    At the time of his arrest, Tutiven also faced two outstanding warrants for gas theft in Toronto and one in Montreal.


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    MONTREAL—There was a more than 80 per cent increase in the number of migrants crossing the United States border into Canada from July to the month of August, new government figures show.

    The statistics, which show the number of people intercepted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police while crossing into Canada at holes in the border rather than at official ports of entry, were released Tuesday.

    They showed that the number of border crossers jumped from 3,134 in the month of July to 5,712 in August, an increase of about 82 per cent.

    The vast majority of the asylum seekers have elected to cross at the New York-Quebec portion of the border. There, 5,530 people crossed into Canada in August, compared to 102 in British Columbia and 80 in Manitoba. No other RCMP interceptions occurred in other Canadian provinces.

    So far this year, 13,211 people have crossed into Canada illegally from the U.S.—the vast majority doing so in an attempt to get around the Safe Third Country Agreement, which forces refugee claimants to file their asylum request in the first country in which they land.

    If an asylum seeker seeks entry to Canada at an official border crossing they will be returned to the U.S. But by sneaking across the border and being arrested by the RCMP once they are on Canadian soil, they are permitted to make their refugee claim here.


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    ROSEAU, DOMINICA—Dominica’s leader sent out an emotional call for help as Category 5 Hurricane Maria smashed into the Caribbean island, causing “mind-boggling” devastation, but an ominous silence followed as the island lost all communications on Tuesday and the hurricane took aim at Puerto Rico.

    The governor of the U.S. territory warned that Maria could hit “with a force and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations.”

    Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit sent a series of dramatic posts on his Facebook page as the storm blew over the tiny country late Monday — but then stopped suddenly as phone and internet connections with the country were cut.

    “The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote before communications went down.

    A few minutes later, he messaged he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofing tearing off houses on the small rugged island. He said that even his own roof had blown away.

    In the last message before falling silent, he appealed for international aid: “We will need help, my friends, we will need help of all kinds.”

    The island’s broadcast service was also down on Tuesday and Akamai Technologies, a company that tracks the status of the internet around the world, said most of Dominica’s internet service appeared to have been lost by midday.

    The Ross University School of Medicine in Dominica reported a widespread loss of communication on the island, and relatives of students posted messages on its Facebook page saying they had been unable to talk to their loved ones since late Monday evening as the storm approached.

    Read more:

    Hurricane Irma ‘extinguished’ a 300-year-old civilization in Barbuda

    Putting hurricanes and climate change into the same frame

    In Irma’s aftermath, Black residents of St. Martin complain France is evacuating white tourists first

    Officials on the neighbouring French island of Guadeloupe reported at least one death: a person hit by a falling tree. They said two other people were reported missing after their boat sank off La Desirade island, just east of Guadeloupe.

    About 40 per cent of the island — 80,000 homes — were without power and flooding was reported in several communities.

    Next in the storm’s path was St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was largely spared the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Irma on the chain’s St. Thomas and St. John islands just two weeks ago.

    Authorities in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, which looked likely to take a direct hit, warned that people in wooden or flimsy homes should find safe shelter before the storm’s expected arrival on Wednesday.

    “You have to evacuate. Otherwise, you’re going to die,” said Hector Pesquera, the island’s public safety commissioner. “I don’t know how to make this any clearer.”

    Gov. Ricardo Rossello warned that the storm could knock out power for days across the island.

    “This is going to impact all of Puerto Rico with a force and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations,” he said. “We’re going to lose a lot of infrastructure in Puerto Rico. We’re going to have to rebuild.”

    In the capital of San Juan, streets and beaches that were normally bustling with people were empty Tuesday afternoon, with only the occasional sound of a hammer pounding nails into plywood sheets interrupting the silence. Shelves were bare after Puerto Ricans filled shopping carts with the limited amount of water, batteries, baby formula, milk and other items they could find.

    Iris Tosado, a 64-year-old widowed housewife, scanned the nearly empty shelves before heading back home. She and her disabled son planned to spend the storm with relatives because their home is made of wood, and she prayed that it would not be destroyed.

    “God, it’s the only thing I have,’” she said. “This is not looking good.”

    Maria had maximum sustained winds of 260 km/h late Monday when it slammed into Dominica.

    The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Maria weakened briefly before recovering sustained winds of 260 km/h. Its eye was located about 175 kilometres southeast of St. Croix Monday afternoon and was moving west-northwest over the Caribbean at 17 km/h.

    Forecasters warned Maria would remain a Category 4 or 5 storm until it moves over the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

    The storm’s hurricane-force winds extended out about 45 kilometres and tropical storm-force winds out as far as 205 kilometres.

    Forecasters said the storm surge could raise water levels by 1.8 to 2.7 metres near the storm’s centre. The storm was predicted to bring 25 to 38 centimetres of rain across the islands, with more in isolated areas.

    To the north, hurricane Jose stirred up dangerous surf and rip currents along the U.S. East Coast, though forecasters said the storm was unlikely to make landfall. Big waves caused by Jose swept five people off a coastal jetty in Rhode Island and they were hospitalized after being rescued.

    A tropical storm warning was posted for coastal areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and tropical storm watches were up for parts of New York’s Long Island and Connecticut.

    Jose’s centre was about 415 kilometres east-northeast of Cape Hattaras, North Carolina, on Tuesday afternoon and moving north at 11 km/h. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h.


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    “Let Beverley stay!”

    The chant rang out over a symphony of car horns Tuesday morning in the intersection of Yonge and Bloor Sts. as Black Lives Matter Toronto held court to protest the impending deportation of a Jamaican woman who recently gave birth to her new son.

    At 8:07 a.m., organizers strode into the intersection holding signs and megaphones, and joined hands to keep traffic at bay. In the middle of their circle, where the roads converged, a small table was set up, containing protest representatives, Beverley Braham, her husband and her son.

    Braham, who is married to a Canadian and now has a Canadian child, balanced her newborn son on her lap as she spoke to press.

    “All I ask is to stay with my family,” she said.

    Braham was first threatened with deportation in March, when she was 31-weeks pregnant. She was given an extension of three months so that she could have her child, but now Canada Border Services Agency has told her that she must be back in Jamaica by Sept. 21.

    “For Black Lives Matter, we are in support of black families, and we believe that black immigrant lives matter,” said Syrus Marcus Ware, a member of Black Lives Matter Toronto. “We’re here today to demand that Beverley Braham be allowed to stay in Canada. She is going through her 12-month sponsorship and it’s not yet up; it’s unjust that they’re deporting her at this point.”

    Despite the continuing blare of honks threatening to drown her out, Braham detailed how she was locked in a detention centre for three days, starting on Sept. 6.

    “They refused to let me see my child. They took away my baby from me and they tell me I have to leave,” she said. “In detention, they didn’t have any food to give me for my child . . . (and) they refused to give me my baby stuff because (the detention officer) told me that I am under arrest. I’ve never ever breached any of the conditions that was given to me; I’ve always complied. The only thing I did wrong was I overstayed my time.”

    She said that, after she went to the courts on Sept. 8, she was released by the judge as she hadn’t breached her conditions. Mina Ramos, a member with End Immigration Detention Network, called the situation “ridiculous.”

    “A sponsorship application is supposed to take a max of 12 months. Her application has already been for 11 months. She needs to be able to stay until that process is heard,” Ramos said. “People cannot be held in immigration detention. They should not have to choose between their families and being deported to a country where they have not been for years. We demand that she stay, that her sponsorship application be heard, and that she not be held in detention during this process.”

    The protest went on for just under 20 minutes. By 8:23, the table was packed up, and traffic was let through at 8:25. A representative with Black Lives Matter Toronto said that police had been notified the night before that the protest would be happening. There was no visible police presence during the 20 minutes that Black Lives Matter Toronto held the intersection, but officers were seen speaking to organizers shortly after they let the traffic move back through.

    “This process of breaking up black families has been happening since slave labour camps, when they sold members of our family up and down the river,” said Ware. “This is no different. They’re separating a mother from her family, from her child. This is completely unacceptable.”

    “She is not the only one who has been separated from her family because of immigration detention. Two hundred and forty-one kids have been held in immigration detention from 2011 to 2015,” Ramos added. “This happens all the time.”

    Black Lives Matter Toronto is hoping that a public outcry will help stop Braham from being deported. Braham said she is also suffering from medical issues and has a blood clot in her lungs. Faced with the choice of taking her son with her to Jamaica and separating him from his father, or going alone and having to leave her entire family behind, Braham is lost.

    “Canada is about family,” she said. “So why do you want to separate us?”


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    OTTAWA—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is encouraging Canadian companies that work with Boeing to speak out against the U.S. aerospace giant’s trade dispute with Montreal-based rival Bombardier.

    The comments come after some of Canada’s largest aerospace firms wrote to Trudeau earlier this month urging his government not to walk away from its plan to buy 18 of Boeing’s Super Hornet fighter jets.

    The signatories said the country’s aerospace industry stands to greatly benefit from the purchase, an “interim” plan aimed at meeting the military’s immediate needs, and asked him to personally ensure the plan moves ahead.

    But instead of addressing the government, Trudeau said Tuesday, those companies should be directing any concerns they have about the trade battle — and its potential impacts on their business — at the source of the problem.

    “They should communicate that message to Boeing,” Trudeau said during a wide-ranging news conference in which he also addressed the deficit and proposed tax changes before flying to the UN in New York.

    “I encourage people who work with Boeing across the country to tell that company to what extent their actions against Canada’s aerospace industry is not in their interest, certainly not in the interests of Canadians.”

    The Liberal government has threatened for months to scrap its interim Super Hornet purchase — a temporary shore-up for Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet — at an estimated cost of $6 billion, unless Boeing backs off Bombardier.

    But Boeing has shown no signs of backing down.

    Read more:

    Trudeau threatens to not buy Boeing fighter jets to protest firm’s trade complaint

    British come to Bombardier’s defence in dispute with Boeing

    Boeing walked away from talks with Trudeau government: ambassador

    The company has accused Bombardier of selling its CSeries passenger jets to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines at an unfairly low price with help from government subsidies, and says the case has implications for its long-term health.

    The U.S. International Trade Commission will release the preliminary results of its investigation next week, and a finding against Bombardier could result in fines or tariffs.

    It could also threaten Bombardier’s deal with Delta, which involves up to 125 of the Canadian company’s CS100 passenger jets.

    The prime minister has gone out of his way to step up pressure on Boeing in recent weeks in the wake of unsuccessful secret talks between the Chicago-based company and the federal government.

    That includes calling the governor of Missouri, where the Super Hornets are built, and enlisting the help of British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose country is home to a large Bombardier plant.

    Trudeau has also hinted that Boeing could be blocked from taking part in an upcoming competition to replace Canada’s CF-18 fleet in its entirety, which will involve buying 88 new aircraft at an estimated cost of up to $19 billion.

    Such a course of action is unlikely, given the potential legal implications for the government if it tries to ban a specific company from vying for the contract.

    Many defence experts believe the real reason the Liberals wanted to buy interim Super Hornets in the first place was to sidestep the legal quandary associated with their promise not to purchase the oft-maligned F-35 stealth fighter.

    The prime minister said Tuesday that he was still hopeful the government, Bombardier and Boeing would be able to resolve the dispute through talks, even after the trade commission’s ruling on Sept. 25.

    “Regardless of the results of the preliminary ruling,” he said, “discussions will continue and we will continue to defend aerospace jobs in this country and the economic growth that comes with it.”


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    Jonah and Emily live on a leafy street dotted with stout detached brick homes in midtown Toronto. They live with their sons, aged 18 and 21. Both sons attend university full time.

    Jonah works out of his home, having incorporated a consulting business a decade ago that markets his expertise in time management to Canadian corporations. Emily does not work.

    The business — Be the Best You Can Be!! — earned $220,000 in 2016 before tax. BBB!! paid Jonah $100,000 in salary and “sprinkled” the remaining after-tax profits to Emily and the couples’ sons as dividends. (Emily and the boys paid $1 each for their shares in BBB!!)

    The contribution made by the two sons to the enterprise consists of mocking Jonah at the dinner table for his inappropriate acronymic social media terminology. The offspring have no meaningful involvement in the company, though Jonah sees them as “media advisers.” Jonah consults his sons when his computer misbehaves. The sons have been deployed from time to time to distribute BBB!! flyers, which Jonah refers to as “administrative assistance.”

    After all this shimmying, I mean sprinkling, the total tax paid on the $220,000 was about $44,000.

    Susan lives next door to Jonah, Emily and the two man-boys. Susan pulls down $220,000 a year as vice-president of human resources for a mid-sized company. On this, Susan pays income tax of $79,000.

    Susan is aware of the presence of BBB!! next door (Jonah keeps leaving fridge magnets in her mailbox, hoping for a corporate referral). She’s not aware that Jonah’s diligent income sprinkling translates into a tax burden that is $35,000 lighter than her own.

    The above example, slightly embroidered by me, is taken from the government’s July call for comment on its proposed tax changes. Is this not a case, as the government insists, of a high income earner gaining an unfair tax advantage?

    Yes it is.

    And it is an example of the ways in which the greatest tax benefits can accrue to the wealthiest.

    It’s well worth noting that the dividends earned by offspring skew toward family members in the 18 to 21 age bracket — in other words, when the children are young and likely penniless. (Men account for more than 70 per cent of high income earners who have adopted an income sprinkling strategy.)

    Even past attempts to stanch the flow of income to minors haven’t been altogether successful. Some high income taxpayers cottoned on to a circumvention strategy by sprinkling tax-deductible interest payments to minors.

    The message from the Liberal government is clear: income sprinkling allows fellows like Jonah to “opt out” of the progressivity of the income tax system. To quote from the July paper: “This is fundamentally unfair, and erodes the tax base and the integrity of the tax system.”

    I have not described the sum of the government’s initiatives. Holding a passive investment portfolio inside a private corporation and converting a corporation’s income into lower-taxed capital gains are the other two.

    Critics have attempted to blow off the targetting of income sprinkling as financially of little consequence — the government forecasts that it will draw additional revenue of $250 million annually once new measures are implemented. And fear that the negative impact will land where it should not — the family-run business that relies on the steady contribution of offspring.

    The Liberals were clear in their election run-up and more so in their first budget in the spring of 2016 that they were moving in on high-net-worth individuals who use private corporations to reduce or defer tax. And surely it’s reasonable to expect that a family member’s contribution to a private corporation must be of measurable value.

    The deadline for comment on these changes, set for Oct. 2, fast approaches.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t approach quickly enough. With all the howling and screaming in the House one would think that the Liberals are off message, or have pulled a fast one.

    Canadian-Controlled Private Corporations (CCPC) have been a mounting issue for years. The Department of Finance notes that the number of CCPCs grew by 600,000 to 1.8 million between 2001 and 2014. It’s long past time for the government of the day to address when they are appropriately used, and when they are not.

    jenwells@thestar.ca


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    When it comes to resale condos, some of the city’s key downtown intersections appear to be cornering the market with prices up to 23 per cent higher than the citywide average, according to a Tuesday report from TheRedPin.

    The real estate company looked at 25 key intersections in the core. It found two-bedroom condos at Bay and King Sts., and Bay and Bloor Sts. fetched some of the highest prices in Toronto between January and Aug. 31 — averaging above $1.5 million.

    Two-bedroom apartments in the tony Yorkville neighbourhood at Bloor St. and Avenue Rd. sold for $1.3 million on average. But one-bedroom condos near that corner were more expensive than the Bay St. intersections — costing $753,735, compared to $494,591 at Bay and King, and $626,989 near the corner of Bay and Bloor.

    Read more:

    Sales of $4 million-plus Toronto homes poised to rebound

    Toronto home prices sink further in August

    Drop in GTA home prices prompts new warning: seller beware

    The average one-bedroom unit in Toronto sold for about $545,000 during the same period and a two-bedroom condo cost about $925,000 on average.

    “At the busy traffic intersections things can be 20 per cent or more valuable,” said Enzo Ceniti, TheRedPin director of sales training.

    “If you're an investor and looking for areas to buy then you probably want to target areas like that. If you're someone who wants to be close to a particular intersection because you grew up around there or you work near there and you want to be within walking distance, you might need to pay a little bit more,” he said.

    Fifty-six per cent of condos at the 25 intersections were one-bedroom units and 30 per cent were two-bedrooms. The remainder would be studios and some larger apartments.

    “At these intersections you can see the resale value will be very, very good. Conversely the rent in those areas can be just as high,” Ceniti said.

    A similar study by TheRedPin last year showed that condos along the Bay St. corridor sold for more than Yonge St.-area apartments.

    This year’s report averaged prices within a 250-metre radius of each corner — about a three-minute walk. It is an overview, says TheRedPin. Given the confined areas of the study a couple of high or low sales can dramatically alter the average at a particular corner.

    TheRedPin reports that the least expensive one-bedroom condos were at the corner of Queen and Yonge Sts., with an average price of $371,444. There were no two-bedroom sales at that intersection.

    The lowest sale prices for two-bedroom units were at Yonge and Dundas Sts. where the average was $658,234.

    Pre-construction condos where consumers have to visualize what a floor-plan will look like before the building actually exists, offer good value but the reward is more immediate in the resale market, Ceniti said.

    “When you're purchasing resale you can step into that unit and look around. I can see amenities, I can see exactly where my parking spot is. If you're more visually inclined, resale is the way to go — instant gratification really,” he said.

    Condo prices appreciated 24.8 per cent year over year in the first eight months of 2017, compared to single-family homes that went up 19.8 per cent in the same period.

    Condos outside the downtown tend to cost less. A one bedroom at Yonge St. and Finch Ave. averaged $424,698 during the study period. Two-bedrooms cost $583,014 on average.

    Apartments at Ellesmere and McCowan Aves. sold for $356,227 on average for a one-bedroom and $500,800 for two.

    The distinction between the house and the condo market has been shrinking as apartments are increasingly the entry-level home for Toronto-area consumers, he said.

    For years there was a sense that ground-level housing would appreciate more year over year, Ceniti said.

    “Now, as the study shows, condo prices have really increased,” he said. “Part of that is just that condos are just much more accessible so a lot of people would prefer to buy them for a low overall cost. As a result it does actually get a little bit competitive. When it gets competitive, prices go up.”


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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary threat in a nationalistic and aggressive first address to the United Nations, warning that the U.S. might “totally destroy” North Korea if Kim Jong Un, whom Trump belittlingly called “Rocket Man,” strikes against the U.S. or its allies.

    “No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

    Trump’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, issued a similar threat the day prior. But Trump’s words were unusually bellicose for a formal presidential address to the world body.

    The threat represents the latest menacing moment in a roller-coaster of Trump rhetoric toward North Korea. Trump has both threatened nuclear annihilation, promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Kim so much as continued to threaten to the U.S., and spoken more softly, suggesting that negotiations might be possible and that military action was not imminent.

    The disparaging nickname he used for Kim, “Rocket Man,” debuted on his Twitter feed two days prior.

    Trump’s address was remarkable not only for the North Korea threat. Emphasizing “sovereignty,” he called on the UN to respect the right of nations to govern themselves as they choose — but he also denounced the governments of North Korea, Iran and Venezuela, and he called on the UN to solve world problems.

    “Major portions of the world are in conflict. And some, in fact, are going to hell,” Trump said. “But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.”

    Other leaders sat stone-faced, offering only occasional and polite applause.

    “It was the wrong speech at the wrong time to the wrong audience,” Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallstrom told the BBC.

    Like Trump’s inaugural address, much of this one seemed to be aimed at Trump’s own political base at the expense of alarming others.

    Striking some of the themes he favours at campaign rallies, Trump criticized “uncontrolled migration,” multilateral trade agreements and “radical Islamic terrorism,” a phrase he has avoided, at the urging of some of his top security officials, in most of his recent speeches.

    Trump indirectly criticized Russia on sovereignty grounds, saying, “We must reject threats to sovereignty, from Ukraine to the South China Sea.” But he did not name Russia directly.

    He was far more explicit on the subject of Venezuela and Iran.

    Venezuela, he said, has failed because of its embrace of socialism.

    “We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule,” he said.

    Read more:

    Trump, in UN debut, urges world body to focus ‘more on people and less on bureaucracy’

    Trudeau to receive global citizenship award, address UN General Assembly in New York

    As Trump mocks Kim Jong Un as ‘Rocket Man,’ U.S. advisers warn North Korea to end weapons program or face attack

    Trump again declined to say whether he would withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran. But he again described the deal as “an embarrassment,” suggesting it might “provide cover” for Iran to eventually produce a nuclear weapon, and he added: “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

    “It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran’s government end its pursuit of death and destruction,” Trump said. “It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran’s government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people, and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbours.”

    Some observers saw a conflict between Trump’s repeated emphasis of “sovereignty” and his threats, later in the speech, to intervene in other states.

    “If you think 2nd half of this speech’s condemnation of abusive govts contradicts 1st half’s stress on sovereignty, you’re paying attention,” Matt Duss, a foreign policy adviser to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, wrote on Twitter.

    The address, said to be written by young Trump aide Stephen Miller, a nationalist hard-liner, featured some lofty language the president usually shuns.

    “It is entirely up to us,” Trump said, “whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.”

    Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama warned last year, in a CBS interview, that the U.S. could “obviously destroy North Korea with our arsenals.” But he immediately added caveats: “But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, Republic of Korea.”


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    MEXICO CITY—A magnitude 7.1 earthquake jolted central Mexico on Tuesday, collapsing some buildings, cracking the facades of others and scattering rubble on streets on the anniversary of a devastating 1985 quake.

    The quake caused buildings to sway sickeningly in Mexico City and sent panicked office workers streaming into the streets, but the full extent of the damage was not yet clear. Mexican media broadcast images of several collapsed buildings in heavily populated parts of the city.

    Images and video posted to social media Tuesday afternoon show rubble and severe damage throughout the capital.

    There are no immediate reports on casualties.

    The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centred near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 123 kilometres southeast of Mexico City.

    Thousands of people fled office buildings and hugged to calm each other along Mexico City's central Reforma Avenue as alarms blared, and traffic stopped around the Angel of Independence monument.

    In the Roma neighbourhood, which was struck hard by the 1985 quake, piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets. Two men calmed a woman seated on a stool in the street, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee.

    At a nearby market, a worker in a hardhat walked around the outside warning people not to smoke as a smell of gas filled the air.

    Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, said she was in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings. She was anxiously trying to locate her children, whom she had left in the care of her disabled mother.

    Pictures fell from office building walls, objects were shaken off of flat surfaces and computer monitors toppled over. Some people dove for cover under desks. Local media broadcast video of whitecap waves churning the city's normally placid canals of Xochimilco as boats bobbed up and down.

    Earlier in the day workplaces across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake, a magnitude 8.1 shake, which killed thousands of people and devastated large parts of Mexico City.

    Much of Mexico City is built on former lakebed, and the soil is known to amplify the effects of earthquakes even hundreds of miles away.

    Puebla Gov. Tony Gali says buildings have been damaged in his state in central Mexico by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

    Gali said on his official Twitter account that "we will continue reviewing" damages and urged people to follow emergency procedures.

    "What we have reports of is material damage ... we have no reports of deaths so far," tweeted Puebla Interior secretary Diodoro Carrasco.

    He said the towers of some churches have fallen in the city of Cholula, which is famous for its many churches.


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    PASADENA, TEXAS—The U.S. government received reports of three spills at one of Houston’s dirtiest Superfund toxic waste sites in the days after the drenching rains from hurricane Harvey finally stopped. Aerial photos reviewed by The Associated Press show dark-coloured water surrounding the site as the floods receded, flowing through Vince Bayou and into the city’s ship channel.

    The reported spills, which have not been publicly detailed, occurred at U.S. Oil Recovery, a former petroleum industry waste processing plant contaminated with a dangerous brew of cancer-causing chemicals. On Aug. 29, the day Harvey’s remnants cleared out, a county pollution control team sent photos to the Environmental Protection Agency of three large concrete tanks flooded with water. That led PRP Group, the company overseeing the ongoing cleanup, to call a federal emergency hotline to report a spill affecting nearby Vince Bayou.

    Over the next several days, the company reported two more spills of potentially contaminated storm water from U.S. Oil Recovery, according to reports and call logs obtained by the AP from the U.S. Coast Guard, which operates the National Response Center hotline. The EPA requires that spills of oil or hazardous substances in quantities that may be harmful to public health or the environment be immediately reported to the 24-hour hotline when public waterways are threatened.

    Read more:

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    Harvey’s floodwaters mix a foul brew of sewage and chemicals, puts drinking water at risk

    Houston residents, heading home, find scent of ‘mildew and death’

    The EPA has not publicly acknowledged the three spills that PRP Group reported to the Coast Guard. The agency said an on-scene co-ordinator was at the site last Wednesday and found no evidence that material had washed off the site. The EPA says it is still assessing the scene.

    The AP reported in the days after Harvey that at least seven Superfund sites in and around Houston were underwater during the record-shattering storm. Journalists surveyed the sites by boat, vehicle and on foot. U.S. Oil Recovery was not one of the sites visited by AP. EPA said at the time that its personnel had been unable to reach the sites, though they surveyed the locations using aerial photos.

    Following AP’s report, EPA has been highlighting the federal agency’s response to the flooding at Superfund sites. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reiterated that safeguarding the intensely polluted sites is among his top priorities, during a visit Friday to the San Jacinto River Waste Pits, one of the sites AP reported about two weeks ago.

    Pruitt then boarded a Coast Guard aircraft for an aerial tour of other nearby Superfund sites flooded by Harvey, including U.S. Oil Recovery.

    Photos taken Aug. 31 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show dark-coloured water surrounding the site two days after the first spill was reported to the government hotline. While the photos do not prove contaminated materials leaked from U.S. Oil Recovery, they do show that as the murky floodwaters receded, they flowed through Vince Bayou and emptied into the ship channel leading to the San Jacinto River. The hotline caller identified Vince Bayou as the waterway affected by a spill of unknown material in unknown amounts.

    Thomas Voltaggio, a retired EPA official who oversaw Superfund cleanups and emergency responses for more than two decades, reviewed the aerial photos, hotline reports and other documents obtained by AP.

    “It is intuitively obvious that the rains and floods of the magnitude that occurred during Hurricane Harvey would have resulted in some level of contamination having been released to the environment,” said Voltaggio, who is now a private consultant. “Any contamination in those tanks would likely have entered Vince Bayou and potentially the Houston Ship Channel.”

    He said the amount of contaminants spread from the site during the storm will likely never be known, making the environmental impact difficult to measure. The Houston Ship Channel was already a polluted waterway, with Texas state health officials warning that women of child-bearing age and children should not eat fish or crabs caught there because of contamination from dioxins and PCBs.

    PRP Group, the corporation formed to oversee the cleanup at U.S. Oil Recovery, said it reported the spills as legally required but said subsequent testing of storm water remaining in the affected tanks showed it met federal drinking water standards. The company declined to provide AP copies of those lab reports or a list of specific chemicals for which it tested, saying the EPA was expected to release that information soon.

    U.S. Oil Recovery was shut down in 2010 after regulators determined operations there posed an environmental threat to Vince Bayou, which flows through the property in Pasadena. Pollution at the former hazardous waste treatment plant is so bad that Texas prosecutors charged the company’s owner, Klaus Genssler, with five criminal felonies. The German native fled the United States and is considered a fugitive. Genssler did not respond to efforts to contact him last week through his social media accounts or an email account linked to his website address.

    More than 100 companies that sent hazardous materials and oily waste to U.S. Oil Recovery for processing are now paying for the multimillion-dollar cleanup there through a court-monitored settlement, including Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations Inc., U.S. Steel Corp. and Dow Chemical Co.

    Past sampling of materials at the site revealed high concentrations of hazardous chemicals linked to cancer, such as benzene, ethylbenzene and trichloroethylene. The site also potentially contains toxic heavy metals, including mercury and arsenic.

    A 2012 EPA study of the more than 500 Superfund sites across the United States located in flood zones specifically noted the risk that floodwaters might carry away and spread toxic materials over a wider area.

    Over the past six years, remediation efforts at U.S. Oil Recovery have focused on the northern half of the site, including demolishing contaminated structures, removing an estimated 500 tons of sludge and hauling away more than 1,000 abandoned containers of waste.

    PRP Group said the southern portion of the site, including the three waste tanks that flooded during Harvey, has not yet been fully cleaned. Over the years workers have removed more than 1.5 million gallons of liquid waste — enough to fill nearly three Olympic-sized swimming pools.

    AP began asking the EPA whether contaminated material might have again leaked from U.S. Oil Recovery last week, after reviewing the aerial photos taken Aug. 31. The EPA said it visited the site on Sept. 4, nearly a week after site operators reported an initial spill, and again the following week. The EPA said that its staff saw no evidence that toxins had washed away from the scene during either visit.

    “Yesterday, an EPA On-scene co-ordinator conducted an inspection of Vince Bayou to follow up on a rumour that material was off-site and did not find any evidence of a black oily discharge or material from the U.S. Oil Recovery site,” an EPA media release said on Thursday.

    PRP Group said the spills occurred at the toxic waste site on Aug. 29, Sept. 6 and Sept. 7. One of the EPA’s media releases on Sept. 9, more than 11 days after the first call was made to the hotline, made reference to overflowing water at the scene, but did not describe it as a spill.

    The company said it reported the first spill after Harvey’s floodwaters swamped the three tanks, filling them. The resulting pressure that built up in the tanks dislodged plugs blocking a series of interconnecting pipes, causing the second and third spills reported to the hotline the following week.

    The company does not know how much material leaked from the tanks, soaking into the soil or flowing into nearby Vince Bayou. As part of its post-storm cleanup workers have vacuumed 63 truckloads holding about 315,000 gallons from the tanks.

    The Superfund site is located just a few hundred yards from the Pollution Control Services offices for Harris County, which includes Houston. Its director, Bob Allen, says his team took pictures of the flooding on Aug. 29, when the area that includes the three big tanks was still underwater. The AP requested those photos as public records, but they have not yet been released.

    Allen said his staff did not note any black water or oily sheen on the surface at the time, and did not collect water samples for testing. He said the EPA later sampled the area to determine whether there was contamination.

    “We knew that the water probably got into the plant, probably washed out some of the stuff that was in the clarifier,” Allen said, referring to one of the old concrete tanks once used to store toxic waste. “Once they get done with the assessment of that site and the other Superfund Harris County sites, then they’ll probably let us know, let the public know, what’s been going on.”


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    WINNIPEG—New Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew acknowledges that he will continue to face questions about 14-year-old domestic violence charges that recently became public and have dominated news headlines since his election on Saturday.

    Kinew raised the issue, unprompted, while speaking to a rally Tuesday outside the legislature held by labour and poverty activists demanding a higher provincial minimum wage.

    “I also want to say to everybody here that I know there’s a lot of discussion about me on social media, in the media and around people’s conversation tables,” Kinew told the crowd of about 100 people.

    “And I want to say that I’m committed to answering questions and addressing concerns that any of you have, and will continue to show up for those conversations.”

    Read more: Wab Kinew elected NDP leader in Manitoba

    Woman at centre of Wab Kinew domestic assault allegations says she was thrown

    The domestic violence charges came to light via anonymous emails sent to Winnipeg media outlets last month. Kinew was charged with two counts of assaulting his former partner, Tara Hart, in 2003. The charges were stayed in 2004 and court transcripts made available to date do not outline reasons for the decision.

    Kinew, 35, has repeatedly denied the accusations and has pointed out that the case was dropped.

    Last week, Hart went public. She told The Canadian Press she stands by her assertions that Kinew threw her across the living room of the apartment they shared, causing rug burns that were so severe she could not bend her legs.

    Labour leaders, politicians and others who endorsed Kinew stood by him and he beat rival Steve Ashton for the leadership Saturday by almost a 3-1 margin.

    Kinew and the NDP have since been criticized on social media and in newspapers.

    “One of the things that I’ve begun to understand over the past few days is, it’s not going to be up to me as to when people are done having those questions answered, so I’ll continue to show up and continue to speak about it,” Kinew told reporters.

    Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, endorsed Kinew and spoke in favour of his nomination at the leadership convention. He said Tuesday that many people in the labour movement are discussing the accusations, but he continues to support Kinew.

    “Lots of people are talking, and I think a lot of people are talking about who is he today and what kind of difference can he make. And people believe the best.”

    Kinew was brought into the NDP fold by former premier Greg Selinger as a star candidate in the 2016 provincial election and won a legislature seat.

    The Indigenous activist, broadcaster and author wrote a memoir a year earlier in which he described decade-old run-ins with the law that included convictions for impaired driving and assaulting a taxi driver. He recently received pardons for both convictions.

    Kinew has talked at length about his troubled past, which also includes misogynistic and homophobic rap lyrics and social media posts, and has expressed a drive to change and be a force for good.


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    Two people have been pronounced dead at the scene of a multi-vehicle collision in the York Region after they were found without vital signs.

    York Regional Police responded to the crash in the area of Ravenshoe Rd. and Woodbine Ave. in the town of Georgina shortly after 2 p.m. and found six vehicles in various stages of wreckage.

    Emergency medical services confirmed that there are at least seven patients, including the two people who were killed and one person who was transported to a trauma centre.

    York EMS said that they had to send five ambulances, three support units, and one multi-patient unit, which is a bus-like vehicle to support emergency medical procedures on several patients at once.

    An ORNGE air ambulance was requested as well, but all of its helicopters were unavailable.

    A collision reconstruction unit is on scene to attempt to piece together the cause of the collision, and officials expect the area to be closed for a while due to the extent of the crash.


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    Charlie Angus is laboring under a burden.

    At 54, the man who would be New Democratic Party leader is no longer the enfant terrible of left-wing politics in Canada.

    Nor is this 13-year veteran of the Commons an outsider looking in.

    Rather, he is a passionate yet experienced politician who knows that nothing is simple, that deals can and must be made and that compromises are sometimes necessary.

    If his party were to choose him as leader in the next few weeks, he would probably make a good one.

    Yet the NDP is at the point now where good may not be enough. Like the Liberals after the disastrous leaderships of Stéphane Dion and Michael Ignatieff, it seeks a Messiah — a miracle worker.

    It wants someone who can undo the humiliation New Democrats suffered at the hands of Justin Trudeau in the last federal election.

    While few New Democrats are willing to admit it, many want their own Trudeau.

    From this comes the fascination with Jagmeet Singh. Like Trudeau when he ran for his party’s leadership, the Brampton MPP doesn’t yet have many accomplishments under his belt. At 38, he is still young.

    But like Trudeau, he has turned his stylish youthfulness into a formidable asset.

    Singh is not just a pretty face. He promotes an extensive policy agenda ranging from tax reform (he would reintroduce an inheritance tax on the well-to-do) to pension reform (he would replace universal old-age security with a new means-tested program).

    But the main pitch he makes to NDP members has nothing to do with policy. It is that he can win — that his charm, style and Sikh origins will allow the NDP to draw in voters, particularly from the suburbs, who have never before supported a left-leaning party.

    For New Democrats anxious to regain the status they held under Jack Layton, it is an intoxicating idea.

    For Charlie Angus, it must be galling.

    The former rock musician is running a classic outsider’s campaign — against unnamed villains at the centre of the party who, he says, played it too cautiously during the 2015 election and on behalf of those who, as he put it in a meeting with the Star editorial board this week, are “left out of the game.”

    He comes by this honestly. Angus was championing Indigenous issues in the Commons long before it became fashionable to do so.

    In this race, he hasn’t focused on policy (although he has developed some). Even now, he is still cagey about specifics, noting that while he has “distinct views” on tax reform he doesn’t want to reveal them yet.

    He is not afraid to use the old-fashioned language of the left, noting that class is the fundamental issue in Canada and economics the great divide.

    And while modern New Democrats prefer the anodyne and poll-tested term “working families,” Angus — who hails from the old, hard-rock mining town of Cobalt — talks explicitly of the “working class.”

    He notes that the gig economy has created a whole new working class dependent on insecure work, one that ranges from fast-food servers to university lecturers on perpetual six-month contracts.

    While Trudeau promises to act on behalf of “the middle class and those attempting to join it,” Angus aims his appeal at those who, from no fault of their own, have been booted out of the middle class.

    It is a populist pitch. And it is no surprise that Angus’s political heroes include left populists like U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

    But like Sanders, Angus is also a practical politician. He opposes existing plans to build oil pipelines to service the Alberta tarsands. But he does not oppose all pipelines, noting that even in a low-carbon world, oil would be necessary.

    He opposes a Quebec bill that would prevent those wearing face coverings from giving or receiving government services. But he wouldn’t risk a political backlash in Quebec by trying to do anything about it.

    It’s up to aggrieved Quebecers, he said, not the federal NDP to mount a court challenge to any such law.

    In normal times, Angus might be exactly the kind of leader the NDP wanted — principled but not impossibly so, leftish without being ultraleft, experienced yet at the same time a new face.

    But these are not normal times. New Democrats have come tantalizingly close to tasting power. Many want as leader whoever can most quickly deliver that high again.

    Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


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    That wasn’t a U.S. president at the UN General Assembly threatening to rain nuclear destruction on the planet, it was a failed preacher with long yellow hair from Nutbucket, Fla., threatening to rain nuclear destruction on the planet, same difference.

    Either way, the odds of tens of millions of people dying by the time this enraged addled man leaves office are ballooning. Take it to the limit, Donald Trump! He won’t be able to resist that white mushroom cloud, that final glorious statement.

    And what better place to announce it than the UN, where, as he sees it, funny-coloured foreigners soak up American money. Trump gave not a speech, but a sermon. It was so bad it was unholy.

    One hesitates to deride Trump on a cheesy social scale — is that not what made Americans elect him? — but here’s what he had to say about the UN in better times, specifically on Twitter on Oct. 3, 2012. “ “The cheap 12” sq. marble tiles behind speaker at UN always bothered me. I will replace with beautiful large marble slabs if they ask me.”

    And here he stands now, President Kitchen Backsplash.

    It is difficult to sum up the speech, despite having taken notes while watching on three screens, because the whammos, the bone chips and viscera, came at us faster than they could be wiped away.

    He threatened to totally destroy North Korea, I got that bit, but at one point, I stopped and asked my companion, “Sorry, who is going to hell? Did I hear that?”

    Apparently I did, and the answer is some portions of the world.

    Trump’s cowboy world view is Black Hats vs. White Hats. “If the righteous many don’t confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” he said. This was pretty formless but then the list of people and things that he finds objectionable grew long as a serpent’s tail.

    It included North Korea and a certain leader he didn’t name, certain countries who don’t pay their UN membership fees — oh, they know who they are — “loser terrorists,” economic migrants, certain countries on the UN Human Rights Council, Cuba, President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, Bashar Assad of Syria, Iran and everyone who sails in and with her, international trade tribunals, bureaucracy, and many more. Saudi Arabia’s great, though.

    This is only a shopping list, of course. Huge accretions of grievance lie beneath the mention of trade tribunals, nuclear treaties, and red tape.

    And then there was the weird reference to sweet little Japanese girls being kidnapped to work as translators. Apparently someone had told Trump that personalization really grabs an audience. But it’s an American thing. It strikes a false note.

    Just as we have never seen Trump laugh, we have never seen him express genuine affection for another human. He shakes his wife’s hand; it’s nice of her to take it.

    Trump’s fake personal angle gives Americans the impression they’re going to war over that religion student Otto Warmbier.

    There are many matters no one had the courage to explain to Trump, who is not an idiot, he is a box of idiots. For instance, that 2013 Iran treaty was both multilateral and a genuine triumph if the sole aim was to prevent Iran having nuclear weapons.

    And then there are minor things. Rocket Man was not a ridiculous Slim Pickens riding an H-bomb to vaporization in Dr. Strangelove, he was a depressed astronaut who missed his wife and kids.

    Did no one tell Trump that threats and inaccurate ridicule are the wrong way to approach a madman? On the same day in Danzig in 1939, Hitler told Britain, “One does not send ultimatums to the Germany of today — may London take note!”

    This is why you never threaten to spit in your kid’s milk, because you’re going to have to deliver. So now what, Donald? The U.S. will no longer promote democracy, the world is black and white (mostly black) and you’ve basically promised a nuclear war. For the next three years you and the world will not be on speaking terms.

    And this is why you will need the UN, as a note passer. UN, tell Canada we can grow our own softwood. Also hardwood. Yeah, tell them that.

    I see “parade” circled in my notes. Yes, Trump is planning a huge military parade in front of the White House for next July 4.

    What a Kremlinesque year lies ahead.

    hmallick@thestar.ca


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    The City of Toronto is considering pouring $1.64 million into a drain.

    But not just any drain.

    The city’s historic central drain from 1831 is one of many archaeological discoveries made during the St. Lawrence north market’s renovation near Front and Jarvis Streets.

    The proposal for a glass “viewing portal” looking onto the drain under the new north market redevelopment would be visible “through a glass covered interpretation area,” the report to committee says.

    The drain feature would cost $1.96 million and the existing redevelopment budget could fund it but construction would require an additional $1.64 million.

    The government management committee will consider the proposal on Sept. 25, followed by city council on Oct. 2.

    The current north market redevelopment budget is $91.5 million and includes 250 underground parking spaces, a five-storey atrium, a market hall and mezzanine, court services and courtrooms.

    Four markets have sat on the current north market site. Drainage systems, walls, storage cellars and support columns have been uncovered from the 1820, 1831, 1851 and 1904 periods.

    Heritage Preservation Services hoped to create a comprehensive glass floor over the 1831 drain, but the original $5.3 million plan fell through.

    The glass floor plan was not feasible because of the technical requirements for a floor that would bear traffic, while remaining see-through and not slippery.

    Suzanne Kavanagh, president of the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, called the project a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to showcase Toronto’s heritage.

    “We’ve got some naysayers walking around saying, you want to celebrate a pipe?” she said. “But there is a story to go with it.”

    Kavanagh said the total cost of the redevelopment puts the viewing portal’s $1.96 million cost into perspective, especially since preservation requirements increase costs.

    Larry Wayne Richards, who spent nine years on the board of the Ontario Heritage Trust and is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, called the notion of preserving Toronto’s early history “a wonderful idea.”

    Richards called the archeological discoveries amazing — but said he wishes it was more comprehensively integrated into planning.

    “My concern is that it’s going to become a kind of after-the-fact footnote, costing a couple million dollars, and it’s not even the original structure,” he said.

    Still, some consider the project money down the drain.

    Richard J. Anobile, who sits on the board of directors for the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood Association, would rather see the funds redirected to policing in the area.

    “We’re crying out for lack of funds and here we are, wanting to spend $1.64 million dollars on exposing a storm drain,” Anobile said.

    “I appreciate what one wants to do historically, but sometimes the present, I think, has to take a little bit more of a dominance over the past, especially for the people living in the area.”


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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump issued an extraordinary threat during a nationalistic and aggressive first address to the United Nations, warning that the U.S. might “totally destroy” North Korea if dictator Kim Jong Un, whom he belittlingly called “Rocket Man,” strikes against the U.S. or its allies.

    The threat was the most important moment of a speech that veered between an emphasis on respect for the “sovereignty” of individual countries and a demand that “rogue” countries North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba change their behaviour or face consequences from the international community.

    “If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph,” Trump said.

    Trump merely hinted that he might withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, and he did not specify what action he might take against Venezuela. On “depraved” North Korea, however, he offered his most explicit and most bellicose words about any international matter to date — threatening not merely to demolish the regime but the entire country.

    “No nation on earth has an interest in seeing this band of criminals arm itself with nuclear weapons and missiles. The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said. “Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime. The United States is ready, willing and able, but hopefully this will not be necessary.”

    The threat represented the latest escalation in a roller-coaster of Trump rhetoric toward the Kim regime. Trump has both threatened nuclear annihilation — promising “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if Kim so much as continued to threaten to the U.S. — and spoken more softly, suggesting that negotiations might be possible and that military action was not imminent.

    The new threat came during a period of heightened tension over Kim’s weapons programs. North Korea fired a missile over Japan on Friday. On Monday, the U.S. flew bombers and stealth jets over the Korean peninsula.

    Trump’s UN ambassador, Nikki Haley, issued a similar threat of destruction the day before his speech. But Trump’s words were remarkable for a formal presidential address to the world body. So was his use of a disparaging nickname for Kim. “Rocket Man” had debuted on his Twitter feed two days prior.

    Ned Price, a former special assistant to Barack Obama and National Security Council spokesperson, said it was “especially frightening” that Trump’s speech, which involved “asinine name-calling” and “fundamentally dangerous policy positions,” was a scripted and vetted official address.

    “It’s one thing to have a president who’s bombastic and prone to publicly go off the rails on issues as delicate and important as foreign policy. But it’s quite another to have an administration that is comfortable with that unhinged rhetoric,” Price told the Star.

    North Korea’s ambassador walked out of the room before Trump began speaking.

    Like Trump’s inaugural address, much of this one seemed to be aimed at Trump’s own political base more than a broader global audience.

    Striking some of the themes he favours at campaign rallies, Trump criticized “uncontrolled migration,” multilateral trade agreements and “radical Islamic terrorism,” a phrase he has avoided, at the urging of some of his top security officials, in most of his recent speeches.

    And he referred 21 times to “sovereignty,” or a variation of that word, saying countries have a right to govern themselves without international meddling. The concept is favoured by the nationalist and anti-war segments of his base, among many others — including authoritarian regimes who want the UN to stop criticizing them.

    But Trump made clear that sovereignty was not an all-encompassing doctrine for him. He also demanded “fundamental reforms” from the “corrupt and destabilizing regime in Cuba,” a return to democracy in “destroyed” Venezuela, and a retreat from oppression and terror by the “corrupt dictatorship” of Iran.

    Trump has a long history of deriding the UN for everything from its alleged incompetence to the “cheap” wall behind the General Assembly podium. He was gentler this time, saying he hoped the UN could become “much more accountable and effective.” And unlike some Republicans, he expressed optimism that the UN could play a helpful role in world affairs.

    “Major portions of the world are in conflict. And some, in fact, are going to hell,” Trump said. “But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.”

    The speech was applauded by current and former Republican leaders, including former Trump critic Mitt Romney, and by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said on Twitter, “In over 30 years in my experience with the UN, I never heard a bolder or more courageous speech.”

    Other leaders sat stone-faced, offering only occasional and muted applause.

    “It was the wrong speech at the wrong time to the wrong audience,” Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallstrom told the BBC.

    And some policy experts were aghast at Trump’s language on North Korea, warning that he was increasing the risk of war and making it more difficult to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear ambitions.

    “What an idiot,” Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, wrote on Twitter.

    Trump indirectly criticized Russia and China on sovereignty grounds, saying, “We must reject threats to sovereignty from Ukraine to the South China Sea.” But he did not single them out for criticism, and he thanked them for joining in a vote to impose new sanctions on North Korea.

    He was far more direct in slamming Venezuela and Iran. Venezuela, he said, has failed not because it has poorly implemented socialism but because of socialism itself.

    “We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule,” he said.

    Trump described the Iran deal as “an embarrassment,” suggesting it might “provide cover” for Iran to eventually produce a nuclear weapon, and he added: “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it, believe me.”

    Read more:

    Trump, in UN debut, urges world body to focus ‘more on people and less on bureaucracy’

    Trudeau to receive global citizenship award, address UN General Assembly in New York

    As Trump mocks Kim Jong Un as ‘Rocket Man,’ U.S. advisers warn North Korea to end weapons program or face attack


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    Peter Munk said his donation to a Toronto heart hospital is a “debt to repay” to Canada for taking in his family after the Second World War.

    On Tuesday, $100 million was contributed to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, said to be the largest contribution to a Canadian hospital in history.

    In a long, impassioned speech, Munk, founder and former chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation, extolled Canadian graciousness he experienced when he emigrated here in the late 1940s.

    “When you thank me for what I’ve done for Toronto, and you thank me for what I can do for this community, it doesn’t begin to express my immense gratitude for what this country has done for me and my family,” said Munk, who was born in Hungary. “You opened the door. You gave us everything,” he added, referring to Canada as “paradise.”

    Munk said he wants Toronto to be a beacon of innovative health care.

    “It’s critical to make the hospital a point of excellence for Canada and we have a chance to do so,” he said.

    The historic gift will be invested in efforts to optimize the quality of care and improve health outcomes for those struggling with cardiovascular diseases, both domestically and abroad.

    Read more:

    Peter Munk continues philanthropic legacy

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    Holding the platform together is artificial intelligence, technology that could pre-emptively save lives.

    “We could monitor a patient’s heart beat every second of the day,” said Dr. Barry Rubin, medical director of the cardiac centre. “That system, using an AI-based protocol, could do things that no human could do, which is identify problems that may be on the horizon.”

    Someone at risk of a lethal heart attack, for example, would be treated “before that catastrophic event ever happened.

    “When people around the world think of artificial intelligence and cardiovascular health care delivery, they will, and should, think of Toronto,” Rubin said.

    AI is better equipped to manage, trace and detect problems, he said. And further, information like clinical notes, blood tests and X-rays, will be consolidated into one location, he added.

    Ontario Health and Long-Term Care Minister Eric Hoskins called Munk’s gift “unprecedented.”

    “Simply put, it is going to change lives,” he said. “This is going to allow the Munk Centre to leap forward beyond its peers around the world.”

    The research and talent at the hospital wouldn’t have been possible without Munk’s commitment over the past 20 years, he added.

    Since 1993, the Munk family has provided over $175 million to the cardiac centre and the University Health Network, a multidisciplinary research organization that has four Toronto hospitals under its umbrella. The cardiac centre, which is based out of Toronto General and Western Hospitals, opened in 1997.

    About 163,000 patients circulate through the hospital every year, Rubin said.

    “Mr. Munk was the world’s leading gold miner and he expects we will be world’s leading heart centre, and that’s the mission I will deliver,” he said. “Anybody can cut a cheque, but they (the Munk family) do philanthropy with a deep purpose. You can hear it in the way he speaks about Canada.”


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    Metrolinx has pushed back the opening date for the oft-delayed Finch West LRT again, and says this time its troubled vehicle order from Bombardier is to blame.

    According to Metrolinx, the provincial agency in charge of co-ordinating transit in the GTHA, the $1.2-billion,11-kilometre light rail line now won’t open until 2022 at the earliest, instead of 2021.

    Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins wrote in an email that the one-year delay was caused by “uncertainty with the Bombardier vehicle supply,” which forced the agency to pause the procurement process for Finch last year.

    She said Metrolinx restarted the procurement in May when it announced that it had signed a sole-source deal with Alstom, a Bombardier competitor, to supply a fleet of 17 vehicles for Finch.

    The Alstom deal “provides certainty that we will have the vehicles required to operate the service,” Aikins said.

    She said the new opening date of 2022 is only an estimate. “We will have a firm construction schedule once the contract for Finch West LRT is awarded in the spring of 2018.”

    A spokesperson for Bombardier denied that the company was at fault for the delay. “Any pretention to that effect does not stand the test of facts,” wrote Marc-André Lefebvre in an email.

    He asserted that Bombardier was “ready, able, and willing” to deliver the vehicles on time for Finch’s opening.

    The 18-stop Finch LRT would connect the TTC’s future Finch West subway station to Humber College’s North Campus in Etobicoke. It has repeatedly been postponed since mayor David Miller unveiled it in 2007 as part of his Transit City plan.

    When the provincial government announced in 2009 that it would fund the project, it predicted that construction could be completed by 2013.

    Subsequent setbacks, including mayor Rob Ford’s attempt to cancel Transit City upon taking office in 2010, caused the opening date to be pushed to 2019, and then 2021.

    Councillor Anthony Perruzza, who represents one of the wards through which the LRT would pass, said he was “saddened” by the latest delay.

    Perruzza (Ward 8, York West) said the LRT is badly needed because the Finch bus line “is very much at capacity.” The line carries 44,000 riders a day and is the TTC’s second-busiest bus route.

    He said the buses frequently bunch up and “are always crowded. You’re just shoulder to shoulder.”

    Last fall, Metrolinx issued a notice of intent to terminate its $770-million order with Bombardier, which the agency placed in 2010 for 182 vehicles to run on the Finch, the Eglinton Crosstown, and other Toronto-area light rail lines. The agency said that the company still hadn’t delivered the first pilot vehicles, which were supposed to arrive in the spring of 2015, and had defaulted.

    Bombardier countered that it would still be able to deliver the fleet before the lines opened, and took Metrolinx to court to block the agency from cancelling the deal. In April a judge sided with the company, and the fate of the purchase is now tied up in a dispute resolution process.

    In a separate development, a different legal battle between Metrolinx and Bombardier was quietly resolved last week.

    In August, Bombardier filed an application for a judicial review of Metrolinx’s decision to lock the company out of a bid to operate the agency’s passenger service.

    Bombardier currently holds contracts to operate GO Transit and the Union Pearson Express, both of which are overseen by Metrolinx. But the agency plans to issue another contract in 2023, by which time it hopes to have dramatically increased GO Transit service under its regional express rail expansion plan.

    Metrolinx initially said Bombardier couldn’t bid on the new deal because it would involve reviewing its existing passenger operations, which the agency claimed would pose a conflict of interest.

    However, Metrolinx said this week that after consulting with the industry it decided to package the procurement for rail operations with the bid for the design and construction of express rail infrastructure.

    That should allow Bombardier to take part in the procurement as part of consortium bidding to design, build, and operate the express network. Bombardier’s litigation was adjourned on Sept. 13.

    Lefebvre, the Bombardier spokesperson, said that the company “acknowledges and welcomes” Metrolinx’s intention to amend the procurement.


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