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- 09/23/17--12:18: _U.S. flies bomber, ...
- 09/23/17--12:21: _Melania Trump, Prin...
- 09/23/17--16:04: _Hundreds gather for...
- 09/23/17--18:06: _Montrealers rally i...
- 09/23/17--19:28: _‘You’re not just he...
- 09/24/17--08:34: _U.S. health care de...
- 09/23/17--07:36: _New 6.1-magnitude e...
- 09/24/17--09:22: _Man in critical con...
- 09/24/17--07:06: _Police clear Etobic...
- 09/24/17--03:00: _With ‘John injustic...
- 09/24/17--11:46: _At least one dead, ...
- 09/24/17--09:36: _Angela Merkel bloc ...
- 09/24/17--10:44: _Trump expected to a...
- 09/24/17--04:00: _Meet the researcher...
- 09/24/17--11:31: _Blue Jays fans chee...
- 09/24/17--11:58: _Photos: Day one of ...
- 09/24/17--06:14: _NFL owners say they...
- 09/24/17--14:31: _A mountain bike too...
- 09/24/17--14:37: _Marijuana debate le...
- 09/24/17--14:47: _From refugee to uni...
- 09/23/17--12:18: U.S. flies bomber, fighter mission off North Korean coast
- 09/23/17--12:21: Melania Trump, Prince Harry meet in Toronto before Invictus Games
- 09/23/17--18:06: Montrealers rally in solidarity with Catalan independence movement
- 09/23/17--07:36: New 6.1-magnitude earthquake shakes already jittery Mexico
- 09/24/17--03:00: With ‘John injustice’ a global problem, we need potty parity: Teitel
- 09/24/17--11:46: At least one dead, gunman in custody after Tennessee church shooting
- 09/24/17--09:36: Angela Merkel bloc wins fourth term in Germany
- 09/24/17--04:00: Meet the researcher uncovering the mysteries of ancient hurricanes
- 09/24/17--11:31: Blue Jays fans cheer Bautista in home finale
- 09/24/17--11:58: Photos: Day one of Invictus Games
- 09/24/17--14:37: Marijuana debate leaves First Nations weighing pros and cons
WASHINGTON—Pyongyang’s top envoy told the UN General Assembly on Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland was “inevitable.”
The reason wasn’t that U.S. B-1 bombers, escorted by fighter jets, were flying over international waters near North Korea at the time, but that the U.S. president had mocked the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un with the belittling name “little Rocket Man.”
In a show of U.S. military might to North Korea, Washington sent bombers and fighter escorts beyond the Demilitarized Zone on Saturday, to the farthest point north by any such U.S. aircraft this century. The Pentagon said the mission showed how seriously President Donald Trump takes North Korea’s “reckless behaviour.”
“This mission is a demonstration of U.S. resolve and a clear message that the president has many military options to defeat any threat,” a Defence Department spokesman, Dana White, said in a statement.
“North Korea’s weapons program is a grave threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the entire international community. We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the U.S. homeland and our allies,” White said.
At the United Nations, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said his country’s nuclear force is “to all intents and purposes, a war deterrent for putting an end to nuclear threat of the U.S. and for preventing its military invasion, and our ultimate goal is to establish the balance of power with the U.S.”
He also said Trump’s depiction of Kim as “Rocket Man” makes “our rocket’s visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable all the more.”
Ri called the U.S. president “a mentally deranged person full of megalomania and complacency” with his finger on the “nuclear button.” And he said Trump’s “reckless and violent words” had provoked “the supreme dignity” of North Korea.
Ri said that during his eight months in power, Trump had turned the White House “into a noisy marketing place” and now he has tried to turn the United Nations “into a gangsters’ nest where money is respected and bloodshed is the order of the day.”
Kim has said Trump would “pay dearly” for threatening to “totally destroy” North Korea if the U.S. was forced to defend itself or its allies against a North Korean attack. Ri told reporters this past week that the North’s response to Trump “could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific.”
North Korea has said it intends to build a missile capable of striking all parts of the United States with a nuclear bomb. Trump has said he won’t allow it, although the U.S. so far has not used military force to impede the North’s progress.
B-1 bombers are no longer part of the U.S. nuclear force, but they are capable of dropping large numbers of conventional bombs.
U.S. Pacific Command would not be more specific about how many years it had been since U.S. bombers and fighters had flown that far north of the DMZ, but a spokesperson, navy Cmdr. Dave Benham, noted that this century “encompasses the period North Korea has been testing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.”
Trump on Friday had renewed his rhetorical offensive against Kim.
“Kim Jong Un of North Korea, who is obviously a madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people, will be tested like never before!” the president tweeted.
On Thursday, Trump announced more economic sanctions against the impoverished and isolated country, targeting foreign companies that deal with the North.
“North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile development is a grave threat to peace and security in our world and it is unacceptable that others financially support this criminal, rogue regime,” Trump said as he joined Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a meeting in New York.
Hours later, Kim responded by saying Trump was “deranged.”
In a speech last week at the United Nations, Trump had issued the warning of potential obliteration and mocked the North’s young autocrat as a “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission.”
Trump’s executive order expanded the Treasury Department’s ability to target anyone conducting significant trade in goods, services or technology with North Korea, and to ban them from interacting with the U.S. financial system.
Trump also said China was imposing major banking sanctions, too, but there was no immediate confirmation from the North’s most important trading partner.
If enforced, the Chinese action Trump described could severely impede the isolated North’s ability to raise money for its missile and nuclear development. China, responsible for about 90 per cent of North Korea’s trade, serves as the country’s conduit to the international banking system.
U.S. flies bomber, fighter mission off North Korean coast
U.S. first lady Melania Trump met Saturday with Britain’s Prince Harry as she led a delegation to Toronto for the opening of an Olympic-style competition for wounded service members and veterans that he founded several years ago.
Trump was heard telling the prince that she had just arrived on a flight from Washington, her first solo trip outside of the United States as first lady. It was also her first time meeting the prince, the White House said.
The first lady also planned to meet Saturday with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, address the nearly 100 U.S. athletes participating in the weeklong Invictus Games and attend the opening ceremony before returning to the White House.
U.S. President Donald Trump was spending the weekend at his golf club in central New Jersey.
“Nice to meet you,” Harry said as he was introduced to Trump and they shook hands. They stood together and smiled for the British and American news media before sitting in adjoining club chairs placed in front of their countries’ respective flags.
Read more: A rookie’s guide to the Invictus Games
Harry remarked on how busy the first lady has been.
“Yes, very busy,” she said, before offering a compliment in return. “You’re doing a fantastic job,” she said.
Trump’s decision to lead the U.S. delegation, whose members include Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, professional golfer Nancy Lopez and entertainer Wayne Newton, reflects the first lady’s “utmost respect” for the hard work, courage and sacrifice of the U.S. military, said Stephanie Grisham, a spokesperson for Trump.
“She feels strongly that they — and their families — should be honoured every day,” Grisham said.
Grisham said Trump also has “great admiration for the role the games have played in empowering those who have been injured while serving.”
At a recent event marking the 70th anniversary of the U.S. air force, the first lady thanked the many military members who assisted thousands of people in Texas, Louisiana, Florida and the Caribbean whose lives were upended by recent hurricanes.
A native of Slovenia who became a U.S. citizen in 2006, Trump also thanked service members’ families.
“You endure time apart, are expected to move when new orders come in, and face the uncertainty that can come in times of need,” she said at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, before introducing her husband. “This kind of lifestyle requires its own kind of courage and your sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.”
Melania Trump has been slowly warming up to her new role, waiting to move to the White House until her 11-year-old son finished the school year in New York and holding few public events of her own. She accompanied the president on his three overseas trips so far this year.
Prince Harry, a military veteran who served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, established the Invictus Games in 2014 for sick and wounded service members and veterans from around the globe. More than 550 people from 17 countries are expected to participate in 12 sports during the coming week, ranging from cycling to wheelchair tennis to sitting volleyball.
London was the setting for the inaugural event in 2015, followed by Orlando, Fla., last year.
Melania Trump’s participation continues White House involvement with the Games, which Harry launched during former president Barack Obama’s tenure.
Jill Biden, wife of then-vice-president Joe Biden, led the U.S. delegation to London as part of a military initiative undertaken with then-first lady Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama helped open last year’s competition in Orlando.
Melania Trump, Prince Harry meet in Toronto before Invictus Games
Hundreds gathered at a funeral home in Scarborough on Saturday to remember Anthony (Fif) Soares, the 33-year-old man gunned down in a midnight ambush this month.
Surveillance video captured in the building entrance at Kennedy Rd. and Glamorgan Ave. on Sept. 14 show the last moments of Soares’ life, in which two hooded men showered him with bullets while he waited to be buzzed into the building.
On Saturday, mourners wept and hugged each other as they entered Ogden Funeral Home to remember a father, partner, son and brother.
Among them was Toronto rapper and Soares’ close friend Drake — born Aubrey Graham — who was one of six pallbearers. The star, who referred to Soares in an Instagram post the day he died as “our brother,” remained dry-eyed and stoic as he carried the casket into the chapel.
Before the service began, about 20 family members, one holding Soares’ crying infant daughter, gathered around his casket in prayer. Afterward, Soares’ mother, Olive, led the group in a hymn, her voice wavering as she sang “To God be the glory,” with her hands stretched toward the gatherers. Many wept, while others joined her in the hymn.
Photo collages marked the entrance to the chapel, with most pictures showing Soares looking stony-faced and serious. The exceptions were photos of Soares with his daughter, which showed him with softened eyes and a slight, childlike smile.
The images square with stories told by family members and Soares’ partner, Danielle, his daughter’s mother, explaining how his strong outward demeanour contrasted with his “loving” nature toward those he was closest to.
Soares’ sister spoke to his character, saying he was someone who cared deeply about being a role model to his four sisters and two brothers.
“He didn’t always make the right decisions, but he always owned up to the consequences,” she said of her brother, who had been convicted of gun possession three times.
Danielle, wearing sunglasses, recounted how Soares was there to support her for each appointment she went to throughout her pregnancy.
“I loved him so much, he gave me life,” she said, crying throughout her statements.
Other speakers drew attention to Soares’ track and field abilities, his love of drawing, and how he took care of his mother by performing tasks such as checking her blood pressure.
The violent circumstances of Soares’ death did not go unmentioned. Rev. Bryan Swash acknowledged the anger that many in the room felt at the manner in which their loved one died.
Swash encouraged the crowd to allow themselves to feel grief so they could be inspired by Soares’ virtues and tell his story.
That’s something Soares’ most well-known friend promised to do the day he died. “It was a honour to have shared years together and I will always keep your memory alive,” a portion of Drake’s Instagram post about Soares reads.
After Soares’ death, Toronto police and Mayor John Tory called on Drake to be more vocal in denouncing gun violence, and calling on citizens to help in the investigation.
Hundreds gather for funeral of Drake friend who was gunned down in Scarborough this month
MONTREAL—More than 150 people gathered in front of Montreal’s Spanish consulate Saturday to express their solidarity with the Catalan independence movement.
Organizers also denounced what they describe as the Canadian government’s timid response to the intensifying Spanish crackdown ahead of a planned referendum on Oct. 1.
The Spanish government has increased its suppression of the independence vote with the arrests of a dozen regional officials Wednesday and the seizure of 10 million ballot papers.
Regional government officials, including Catalonia’s president, so far have vowed to ignore a constitutional court order to suspend the referendum on Catalan independence from Spain.
The rally in Montreal was organized by a Quebec sovereigntist group and was attended by several separatist politicians, including the leaders of the Bloc Québécois and the Parti Québécois.
Others in the crowd said they weren’t Quebec separatists, but were present because they believe the Catalan government has the right to consult its population.
Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée said he couldn’t explain why the Quebec and Canadian governments have refused to denounce the Spanish government’s actions.
“When democratic rights are suppressed, whether it’s in South Africa, Ukraine, Russia, China, we’re there,” he said at the rally.
“We don’t understand why (Quebec Premier) Philippe Couillard and (Prime Minister) Justin Trudeau are there for South Africa, for China, for Ukraine, but they aren’t there for the Catalans.”
Couillard said this week that he’s “very preoccupied” by the situation, but did not go further in condemning Madrid.
Trudeau, when questioned, has stressed the importance of the right to self-determination and the rule of law, but has said he doesn’t want to intervene in what he described as an internal debate.
Two Catalan-Quebecers who attended the rally said they hope the Canadian government will change its position and speak up.
“We need other government to say something because internally, we can’t do anything,” Ferran Llacer said.
He and his girlfriend, Laia Blanco, plan to travel to Spain next week to try to vote in the referendum.
“We want to know how many of us want to be a different country,” Blanco said. “Just count us.”
Montrealers rally in solidarity with Catalan independence movement
The 500 wounded veterans who will be competing in Invictus Games events for the next week will doubtless inspire many: fellow veterans, current servicemen and women, spectators, and people both disabled and able-bodied.
But that’s only the half of it.
“You’re not just here to inspire, you’re here to win,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in welcoming the athletes during the opening ceremony at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night.
“You will show the world that illness and injury can actually be a source of tremendous strength.”
Trudeau added, “We know that no one leaves a battlefield unchanged, and that not all scars can be seen. Asking for help when you have physical and mental injuries, that’s hard for everyone. But it’s especially tough for people like you who have dedicated your lives to helping others.”
Team Canada was met with enthusiastic applause at the opening ceremony. Led by flag-bearer Phil Badanai, the team of 90 athletes capped off the introduction of the 17 countries competing at the Games. Sunday kicks off a week of adaptive sport for military members who became ill or injured during service.
About 550 competitors from countries as far-flung as Afghanistan, Italy, Ukraine and New Zealand are taking part in 12 sports in the annual event, which was created by Prince Harry and aims to help the war wounded, many grievously, with their recovery.
Read more: A rookie’s guide to the Invictus Games
Harry said “the direction of (his) life changed forever” after serving in the military, between 2005 and 2015, and he knew he had to use his “great platform to advocate for servicepeople.”
“Some of you have cheated death, and come back even stronger than before ... You are all winners,” he said. “You are Invictus, let’s get started.”
Mike Myers, a Canadian comedian and ambassador for the Games, spoke about his military family as both parents served in the Second World War.
“Those who serve our country deserve our utmost respect, and so do the families,” Myers said. “My dad would talk about the unbreakable bond he had with those who served, they were brothers.”
The ceremony was replete with speeches and entertainment, starting with Luca “Lazy Legs” Patuelli, a Montreal break dancing performer with arthrogryposis, a neuromuscular disease that affects the use of his legs.
“Today, we are honouring servicepeople around the world,” Patuelli said, addressing the crowd before his performance. “There are no limits to what we can accomplish in our lives.”
The Tenors performed the national anthem, dedicating it to servicemen and women. Among other performers were Sarah McLachlan, Alessia Cara, of Brampton, and Quebec folk group La Bottine Souriante.
Prince Harry sat next to U.S. first lady Melania Trump during the ceremony, sitting a row above Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and near Premier Kathleen Wynne.
The prince’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle, was also in the crowd, but away from the prince and with her friend Markus Anderson.
Trudeau and Harry met at a downtown Toronto hotel earlier in the day where they exchanged laughs and pleasantries and Harry told Trudeau the Games had created “a real buzz around Toronto.”
Trudeau, in turn, thanked Harry for founding the Games and creating opportunities for veterans.
Harry then met Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife, Sharon, before attending the star-studded opening ceremony at the Air Canada Centre.
“Welcome to our humble country,” Johnston told the prince.
“It’s fantastic to be back,” Harry answered. “Always, a pleasure to be in Canada, my home away from home.”
Celebrity-watchers might try to read something into that and try to catch a glimpse of Harry and Markle, a Toronto-based American actress with whom he has never been seen with in public.
There will be plenty of non-sporting activities during the week, including a career summit for veterans.
Earlier in the day, a crowd of a few hundred strong whooped when Harry entered the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and clamoured for his attention when he emerged more than hour later.
The prince did not disappoint, crossing the road after his tour to talk to children, meet a pup and shake hands with the crowd as they waited in unseasonably warm, sunny weather.
“Oh my goodness, I’m so happy, he shook my hand,” said a dazzled Robinowe Bukirwa, who wondered if she was dreaming even as the prince faded into the distance.
“I don’t think I’m going to wash my hand today. I’m so very excited.”
The prince’s tour of the centre included two roundtables — one with nine senior staff members focused on research, the other on dealing with youth coping with mental illness.
Describing the complex issue as one requiring a “massive team effort,” Harry, who served in the military from 2005 to 2015, listened attentively to staff discuss their work, and anecdotes from patients who sought treatment for mental health and addiction struggles at the facility in downtown Toronto.
The prince stressed the importance of mental health research and treatment — a topic he has championed. There is no “silver bullet” when it comes to dealing with the problem, he said.
“You need options,” he said.
One person in attendance told Harry she still cherished a visit decades before from his mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The prince also met privately with teenage in-patients of the mental health facility.
The 2017 Invictus Games will feature 550 competitors from 17 countries participating in 12 sports. An estimated 1,500 volunteers are also on board.
Events include athletes of all genders, and those who are able-bodied and disabled will compete side-by-side in sports like sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby, powerlifting and swimming.
The inaugural Invictus Games, aimed at helping the war wounded with their recovery, were held in London in 2014. The Toronto Games run until Sept. 30.
Tickets to individual events are $25 while admission is free to a few events like wheelchair tennis, cycling, golf and archery. Those watching at home can tune in to TSN to see the competition.
With files from The Canadian Press
‘You’re not just here to inspire, you’re here to win’: Trudeau to athletes at Invictus Games opening ceremony‘You’re not just here to inspire, you’re here to win’: Trudeau to athletes at Invictus Games opening ceremony‘You’re not just here to inspire, you’re here to win’: Trudeau to athletes at Invictus Games opening ceremony
Until Donald Trump briefly applied himself to the subject, “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.” President Van Winkle said this in February 2017. The wonder of discovery is a delight to behold no matter how late in life it awakens.
In fact, everyone with a chronic disease in the United States knows health care is complicated. Rich or poor, young or old, their illnesses open their eyes to the fact that the so-called health-care industry, which amounts to roughly one-sixth of the U.S. economy, is not an industry at all. It is a chaotic crossroads of many different industries and professions, often in fierce competition, each adapted to its own culture and pursuing its own business model.
This is what makes health-care reform so difficult, and so failure-prone. Insuring patients is a very different business from treating patients; both are distinct from the business of discovering new medicines and inventing new devices. The pharmacy business is different from the fitness business; suing for malpractice is unlike diagnostic testing; hospice care is a long way from digitizing medical records.
And so on.
The late Neal Patterson often told the story of trudging from one doctor’s office to the next in one hospital after another with his cancer-stricken wife, with her heavy medical files in two shopping bags. His point: the utter lack of communication and coordination in the health-care sector. It was an especially powerful story because Patterson was the billionaire founder of one of the world’s leading health-care IT firms, Cerner Corp. If that was his experience, imagine what it’s like for Joe Average.
I watched something similar recently. After the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment to slow multiple sclerosis, a loved one asked her neurologist to prescribe the medicine. That seemingly straightforward process set off a several-months-long marathon of countless phone calls, hours on hold and heaps of paperwork. She had to pin down her insurance company on its rules for approval and relay those to her prescribing doctor. She had to negotiate a discount from the pharmaceutical company and relay the new price to the insurance company. She had to convey their eventual agreement to the pharmacy benefit manager at precisely the right time to have the medicine arrive at the hospital for infusion at a pre-scheduled appointment.
A patient needs the endurance of Shackleton, the determination of Tubman and the organizational skills of Eisenhower planning D-Day.
As Republicans in Congress watch their latest effort to repeal and replace Obamacare labouring toward the rocks, it’s important to see the entire sector. The Cassidy- Graham bill, even if it somehow reached port after Sen. John McCain abandoned ship, would touch only one piece of the sprawling mess: insurance.
Cassidy-Graham would repeal the Obamacare requirement to buy health insurance, and it would eliminate the Medicaid expansion and middle-class subsidies intended to make insurance affordable. As a replacement, the bill calls for block grants to help states pay for their own reform attempts.
This strikes me as an awful lot of costly disruption in service of a largely symbolic repeal. Cassidy-Graham could have been titled the Lobbyist and Consultant Full Employment Act, because it would keep a lot of people busy in state capitals and insurance company headquarters for years to come. Most Republicans like it because it’s a fig leaf to wear at town-hall meetings.
Given their legislative shortcomings, it’s no mystery why they’d want one.
The Bernie Sanders “Medicare for All” proposal shares this blindered focus on the talisman of insurance. It reminds me of Moscow’s GUM department store in the days of the Soviet Union. Everyone had equal access to the mostly empty shelves of shoddy merchandise.
Health-care consumers need more than fig leaves and empty shelves. Ferocious debates about insurance, while important, don’t touch the larger problems in the health-care sector. Patterson had no shortage of money as he schlepped those shopping bags; my loved one is covered by good private insurance. While it is better to have insurance rather than not, it is only the ticket to the health-care show. Having a ticket in no way changes the fact that the show itself is Kafka Meets the Three Stooges.
I’m no great fan of Obamacare, but the law does identify targets for reform that could produce profound results. Rather than chase the chimera of repeal, Congress should dig deep into the results of the Affordable Care Act. Adjust, revise, reboot or double down as each target demands.
Universal access to quality primary care. Bundled payments. Accountable Care Organizations and Medicare Advantage. Tougher measurement of outcomes. And that elusive grail of efficiency experts, the electronic health record.
And for Republicans seeking to deliver on a long-stated promise, throw in long-overdue tort reform.
Unless the sector delivers a better product, consumers won’t be happy regardless of who pays. That much, at least, is not complicated.
U.S. health care debate isn’t touching on the sector’s most pressing problems
MEXICO CITY —A new earthquake sent residents streaming into the streets of Mexico City early Saturday, creating a fresh wave of alarm in a country still reeling from two powerful earthquakes over the last three weeks.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the new temblor, which hit just before 8 a.m. local time with a magnitude of 6.1, was centred about 525 kilometres southeast of Mexico City in the state of Oaxaca, the region that took the brunt of the magnitude 8.1 quake on Sept. 7.
Saturday’s quake came as rescue crews continued to search for survivors in the ruins of flattened buildings in Mexico City from Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake.
Carlos Valdes, director of the National Center for Disaster Prevention, said rescue efforts were briefly paused because of the new earthquake alert. “But immediately seeing that there was no major earthquake and no affected structures, the work continued immediately,” he said. “The search and rescue of living people — that is what is important.”
Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told Mexican television that rescue attempts will continue, with crews concentrating on eight collapsed buildings around the capital in search of an estimated 30 people who could still be alive amid the rubble. Tens of thousands of workers are involved in the effort, including more than 10,500 army and navy personnel, plus 50,000 city employees, Mancera said.
Workers are also inspecting 3,500 buildings reported around the city for structural damage.
Although Saturday morning’s quake did not cause major new structural damage in Mexico City, it claimed at least two lives in the capital. Mancera said two women, ages 52 and 83, apparently died of heart attacks after having nervous breakdowns during the earthquake.
Authorities in the state of Oaxaca said Saturday’s earthquake resulted in two deaths there as well —a woman who was killed when a wall tumbled on top of her, and a man who was attacked by a swarm of bees apparently disturbed by the seismic movement. Both deaths occurred in the town of Asuncion Ixtaltepec, said Heliodoro Diaz Escarraga, head of civil protection in the state, speaking to a local radio station.
Mancera said the latest deaths brought this week’s total number of fatalities in the country to 307, including 169 from the capital. Twenty-seven of those killed were children. Eleven people hospitalized remain in serious condition.
Authorities in Oaxaca said the strong Saturday quake caused new damage to homes and other structures already weakened by the Sept. 7 temblor.
That earlier quake, centred off the shore of southern Mexico, killed nearly 100, mostly in Oaxaca and neighbouring Chiapas state.
Saturday’s temblor was likely an aftershock of the Sept. 7 quake, officials said.
“We’re calling it an aftershock of the 8.1,” U.S. Geological Survey geophysicist John Bellini said. “An 8.1 is expected to have several aftershocks in the 6 range … the 6 is not surprising.”
Authorities had registered more than 4,000 aftershocks from the Sept. 7 quake, but Saturday’s appeared to be the strongest. By Saturday evening, authorities had recorded 10 more aftershocks.
Quake alarms sounded throughout Mexico City on Saturday, and spooked residents dashed from homes and hotels. Electrical cables shook, and some buildings swayed.
But most of the damage appeared to be centred closer to the quake, in the state of Oaxaca.
Homes tottering from the Sept. 7 earthquake showed new cracks and in some cases collapsed in the city of Juchitan, the principal municipality on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Thousands of people who had to evacuate their homes there on Sept. 7 have been living under plastic tarps.
Outside Juchitan, in the hard-hit town of Asuncion Ixtaltepec, where 80 per cent of residences were rendered uninhabitable on Sept. 7, some homes fell or showed new fissures.
A bridge that had been damaged by the earlier quake was split in half and teetering on the verge of collapse following Saturday’s aftershock.
Damage also was reported at a nearby military airbase that has been a central point for deliveries of food and other aid to Oaxaca. A hospital was evacuated in the port city of Salina Cruz in Oaxaca state.
Many in the capital remained on edge after Tuesday’s devastating quake.
“People are paranoid, nervous. They don’t know if they can stay at home in any moment or have to run out,” said Mayela Ruiz, 31, one of a number of volunteers handing out food, clothing and other basics in the trendy Condesa district in Mexico City, which suffered extensive damage in Tuesday’s quake. “One’s feelings go from panic to nervousness in a moment.”
Saturday’s quake was felt lightly in the Condesa neighbourhood, parts of which have a near-abandoned feel since thousands have evacuated from shaky homes. Some cafes and restaurants reopened Saturday, only to have panicked diners rush out the doors during the aftershock.
Guadalupe Guarrdarama found herself reliving Tuesday’s nightmare. She went out in the street crying, wondering whether a building near her home that has been on the verge of collapse would finally fall.
Guarrdarama works in a restaurant in the Medellin market in the Roma neighbourhood, selling hearty fare. After the initial quake Tuesday, she had found herself struggling to breathe as others tried to calm her. She has felt a heavy weight on her chest since and has begun to wonder whether she needs to speak to a psychologist.
“I feel anxious. I don’t feel safe,” she said.
“I feel anguished, afraid,” said Angelica Salas, who was at home in Roma when the aftershock occurred. “I thought the house would fall last time, so you think the same thing.”
Bellini, the USGS scientist, said Saturday’s aftershock occurred at the northern edge of a field of aftershocks that have occurred since the Sept. 7 quake.
“This one is shallower, in the upper part of the crust, but in the northern edge of the aftershock field after the 8,” Bellini said.
The Sept. 7 earthquake was so large that the area of rock underneath the earth that moved was about 6,200 square kilometres, or roughly half the size of Los Angeles County. There have been more than 100 aftershocks greater than magnitude 4.5.
New 6.1-magnitude earthquake shakes already jittery Mexico
A man in his 50s has been rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries after he was stabbed multiple times near Scarborough Town Centre on Sunday morning.
Toronto Police Const. David Hopkinson said officers were called to Progress Ave. and Brimley Rd. at around 7:15 a.m.
The man was taken to hospital in critical condition but he was later stabilized.
Police from 41 Division said a woman in her 20s is in custody. The circumstances behind the stabbing aren’t currently clear.
With files from Alanna Rizza
Man in critical condition after stabbing near Scarborough Town Centre
Roads are reopening in Etobicoke after a chemical leak lead to an evacuation and sent two people to hospital.
Toronto Fire Capt. David Eckerman said the chemical was ammonia, and originated from the compressor room of a building belonging to a frozen foods company near Kipling and Evans Aves.
Businesses and three residences in a 500-foot radius were evacuated before a technician made the necessary fix around 11:30 a.m.
“The emergency was neutralized at 11:58 a.m.,” said Eckerman.
The TTC’s Queensway garage also evacuated. A 54-year-old man in front of the TTC building was having difficulty breathing and Toronto paramedics confirmed he was taken to hospital. A second person was taken to hospital as a precaution, Toronto police said.
High exposure to ammonia, a caustic chemical often used in refrigeration systems, can cause burning of the eyes, nose and throat. In a much-diluted form it is a common household cleaner.
It is unclear how the leak started. Eckerman said Toronto Public Health and the Ministry of Labour have been notified about the incident.
Police clear Etobicoke neighbourhood after ammonia leak sends two to hospital
There is a feminist revolution brewing in Amsterdam right now that has nothing to do with gender parity in the workforce but something arguably far more important: public toilet parity in the city square.
That is, a woman’s right to relive herself as quickly and as comfortably as any member of the male gender when she is outside her own home. (After all, you can’t exactly beat a man for a promotion at work if you’re forever waiting in line for the can.)
It turns out that going to the bathroom in the Netherlands’ capital isn’t always an easy thing to do for women, because while the city is home to 35 public urinals for men, it boasts only three public toilets designated for women. According to a story in the Guardian this week, Amsterdam’s loo-dearth led to the recent punishment of 23-year-old Geerte Piening, who was out one night with her friends when she had to pee. Unable to locate a nearby women’s bathroom, Piening did what thousands of men do every day: she relieved herself on a side street.
Her friends acted as lookouts for her, but to no avail: Piening was caught popping a squat in public and fined by police. The judge in her case is reported to have criticized Piening for failing to use a men’s urinal if she wasn’t within reach of one of the city’s few women’s restrooms. “It would not be pleasant but it can be done,” the judge told her.
Needless to say, the toilet-deprived women of Amsterdam were not pleased with this verdict and have since launched a series of social media protests (that some have vowed to bring to the streets) demanding that the city build more public restrooms for women.
But Amsterdam women aren’t the only women in the world who have reason to complain about John injustice. We all do.
While ladies’ lavatories are particularly scarce in Amsterdam, this kind of scarcity is by no means unique to that city. Women’s restrooms are in short supply all over the world; a reality known to pretty much every woman who has ever been to a professional sports game or a concert.
This isn’t a theory I came up with after waiting in line to pee for 25 minutes at the Air Canada Centre. It’s a documented fact. According to a paper published in 2007 by planning researchers Kathryn H. Anthony and Meghan Dufresne, called Potty Parity in Perspective: Gender and Family Issues in Planning and Designing Public Restrooms,“The lack of potty parity can be readily seen at places of assembly such as sports and entertainment arenas, musical amphitheaters, theaters, stadiums, airports, bus terminals, convention halls, amusement facilities, fairgrounds, zoos, institutions of higher education, and specialty events at public parks.”
While men appear to walk into public restrooms and exit them practically in a single breath, women’s bathrooms are notoriously crowded and the waits to enter them interminably long.
And no woman is immune to this experience, no matter how high and mighty she appears to be. Take former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was late to the podium after a commercial break during one of the 2016 debates because the women’s bathroom was located farther from the stage than the men’s one, and was occupied at the precise moment she needed it.
The reason for the women’s bathroom shortage is usually patriarchal hangover: most of the people who designed the public spaces we frequent today were men, who did not consider or even possess basic facts about how women function.
For example, it takes women longer to go to the bathroom. According to the paper by Anthony and Dufresne, a graduate student named Sandra K. Rawls at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University stood outside public restrooms in the 1980s and “timed those who entered and exited, and surveyed users about their restroom habits. Her research painstakingly documented the obvious: women take about twice as much time as men to use restroom facilities. Whereas men took a mere 83.6 seconds, women took almost three minutes.”
We take almost three minutes not because we love gossiping in the ladies’ room as the stereotype goes, but for other less fun reasons. Some of us are menstruating, which may involve frantically searching through a purse for a tampon; others are accompanied by crying kids.
But overall, perhaps the greatest contributing factor to our taking longer to pee is the simple fact that we generally like to sit down, which involves removing clothing. And if there are no hooks or shelves present in the bathroom stall, we balance our belongings (purse, shopping bags, toddlers, etc.) on our laps while we do our business, which can be a difficult task with often disappointing results.
It would be nice, then, not only in Amsterdam but everywhere, if urban planners allocated more restrooms for women, not less. This isn’t merely a feminist argument. Last I checked, women go places with men and men have to wait for women when they’re walking far away or waiting in line to use the facilities. The women’s washroom shortage is an equal-opportunity discriminator: it inconveniences people of both genders.
But city planners shouldn’t just double or even triple the number of female public restrooms in any given neighbourhood; they should supply every facility with adequate hooks, recessed shelves and reliable and affordable tampon and sanitary napkin machines to dramatically cut down on wait times.
In the absence of these changes, we — womankind that is — should take our bloated bladders to the streets and do in unison as Geerte Piening did. We should pop a squat for equality.
Emma Teitel is a national affairs columnist.
With ‘John injustice’ a global problem, we need potty parity: Teitel
NASHVILLE—A masked gunman entered a church in Tennessee on Sunday and opened fire, killing at least one person and injuring seven others before apparently shooting himself, an official said.
Don Aaron, spokesperson for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said the gunman arrived at the parking lot in a blue vehicle as services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in the neighbourhood of Antioch.
Aaron said the suspect — wearing a half mask — fatally shot a woman who was walking to her vehicle, then entered the rear of the church and shot six people.
Aaron says an usher at the church confronted the gunman and then was pistol-whipped. During an altercation, the gunman shot himself.
Aaron said it was unclear whether the self-inflicted wound was intentional.
The gunman and five others were treated for gunshot wounds at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Aaron said. One gunshot victim and the man who was pistol-whipped were taken to Skyline Medical Center for treatment.
Aaron said the condition of the 26-year-old suspect from Rutherford County wasn’t believed to be life-threatening. He was under police guard. His name was not immediately released.
Aaron said he was “not aware” of any relationship between the alleged gunman and any of the worshippers inside the church. Congregants who witnessed the shootings were being interviewed by investigators.
No motive for the shooting was immediately determined. Aaron said as many as 50 people were in the church at the time of the shooting, and that all victims were adults.
The small, yellow brick church describes itself on its website as a “friendly, Bible based group of folks who love the Lord and are interested in spreading His Word to those who are lost.”
Photos on the church’s Facebook page show a diverse congregation with people of various ages and ethnicities.
BERLIN—Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc won a lacklustre victory in Germany’s national election Sunday while the anti-migrant, nationalist Alternative for Germany party managed a triumphant entry into parliament.
Merkel’s main centre-left rivals, the Social Democrats, slid to their worst result since the Second World War, projections showed. The party, led by Merkel’s challenger Martin Schulz, vowed immediately to leave her coalition government and go into opposition.
The outcome puts Merkel on course for a fourth term as chancellor — but means that she likely faces the tricky task of forming a new coalition government with two new partners. Merkel acknowledged that it would take time, but said that “we live in stormy times” and other parties should show responsibility.
“I have the intention of achieving a stable government in Germany, and that has been a hallmark” of the country, she said.
Projections for ARD and ZDF public television, based on exit polls and partial counting, showed Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and their Bavaria-only allies, the Christian Social Union, winning around 33 per cent of the vote — down from 41.5 per cent four years ago. It was one of their weakest postwar showings.
Schulz’s Social Democrats were trailing far behind, with just under 21 per cent support. That would be the outright worst postwar for the party, which has served since 2013 as the junior partner in a “grand coalition” of Germany’s biggest parties under Merkel.
Merkel was greeted at her party’s headquarters by supporters applauding and chanting “Angie!”
“Of course, we would have preferred a better result, that is completely clear,” she said. “But we mustn’t forget that we have had an extremely challenging parliamentary term behind us.”
“We have a mandate to form a new government, and no government can be formed against us,” Merkel added.
“We want to win back AfD voters by solving problems, by taking account of their concerns and fears, and above all with good policies,” Merkel added.
Smaller parties were the chief beneficiaries of the erosion in support for Germany’s traditionally dominant parties — above all the right-wing Alternative for Germany, or AfD, whose support was just over 13 per cent.
AfD capitalized on discontent with established politicians but particularly targeted those angry over the influx of more than 1 million mostly Muslim migrants into Germany in the past two years under Merkel.
AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland vowed that “we will take our country back” and promised to “chase” Merkel.
“This is a big day in our party’s history. We have entered the Bundestag and we will change this country,” Gauland said.
Big cheers went up at AfD’s election party after exit polls showed them finishing in third place. Some supporters chanted “AfD! AfD!” and others started singing the German national anthem.
Outside, hundreds of anti-AfD protesters shouted “all Berlin hates the AfD,” “Nazi pigs,” and other slogans, while several protesters threw bottles as police kept them away from the building.
Another big winner Sunday was the pro-business Free Democratic Party, which was set to return to parliament with some 10.5 per cent of the vote. The party was Merkel’s coalition partner in her second term from 2009-13 but lost all its seats at the last election.
“In a country that is big on schadenfreude, our comeback is an encouraging message — after failure, a new beginning is possible,” party leader Christian Lindner told supporters.
The traditionally left-leaning Greens were seen winning around 9 per cent of the vote and the Left Party also 9 per cent, meaning both stay in parliament.
The new parliament will have six caucuses, compared with four previously, and the Social Democrats said they intend to lead the opposition.
“We have suffered a crushing election defeat,” Schulz said. “It is completely clear that the role the voters have given us is as the opposition.”
Referring to the AfD’s third-place finish, he said “there cannot be a far-right party leading the opposition in Germany.”
If the Social Democrats stick to their pledge, Merkel will effectively have only one option to form her new government: teaming up with the Free Democrats and the Greens in an alliance that has never yet been tried in a national German government.
That combination — known as a “Jamaica” coalition because the parties’ colours match those of that Caribbean nation’s flag — will have to overcome the traditional distrust between both the Free Democrats and the Greens and between parts of Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens.
The Left Party is incompatible with the conservatives and all have voted not to work with AfD.
The ‘Jamaica’ alliance “could work ... the (conservative) Union, Greens and Free Democrats do have similar voters,” said Karl-Rudolf Korte, a political scientist at Duisburg-Essen University.
“To keep the chancellery, Ms. Merkel will make any concession,” Schulz said in a bitter appearance alongside other party leaders on German public television. He accused Merkel of conducting a “scandalous” campaign that systematically avoided contentious issues and “created a vacuum” that AfD filled.
Mainstream parties’ leaders vowed a robust response to AfD’s entry into parliament. Greens co-leader Katrin Goering-Eckardt told supporters: “there will again be Nazis sitting in parliament.”
“We will not let one single attack on German democracy stand,” she said, to applause.
Merkel has over the years pulled her party toward the centre, but may now face new pressure for a more robust conservative image.
An often-awkward conservative ally, Bavarian Governor Horst Seehofer, who has long called for a fixed annual cap on the number of migrants that Germany accepts, said the result Sunday shows that the conservatives have “an open flank to the right.”
“It is particularly important that we close this flank with ... clear political positions,” he said.
Angela Merkel bloc wins fourth term in Germany
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is expected to announce new restrictions on travel to the United States as his ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries expires Sunday, 90 days after it went into effect.
The Department of Homeland Security has recommended the president sign off on new, more targeted restrictions on foreign nationals from countries it says refuse to share information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.
Officials haven’t said which — or how many — countries will be affected by the new restrictions, which could take effect as soon as Sunday.
“The acting secretary has recommended actions that are tough and that are tailored, including restrictions and enhanced screening for certain countries,” said Miles Taylor, counsellor to acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke.
The current ban bars citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen who lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” from entering the U.S.
Unlike Trump’s first travel ban, which sparked chaos at airports across the country and a flurry of legal challenges, officials said they have been working for months on the new rules, in collaboration with various agencies and in conversation with foreign governments.
The recommendations are based on a new baseline developed by DHS that includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information and share information about travellers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The U.S. then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.
The citizens of countries that refused could now face travel restrictions and more stringent screening measures that would last indefinitely, until their governments complied.
Trump last week called for a “tougher” travel ban after a bomb partially exploded on a London subway.
“The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!” he tweeted.
Critics have accused Trump of overstepping his authority and violating the U.S. Constitution’s protections against religious bias. Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” during his campaign.
Trump expected to announce new restrictions as 90-day travel ban expires
It was 1996. Florida was still recovering from hurricane Andrew, then the costliest storm ever to batter the United States. A consortium of reinsurers — the insurance companies for the insurance companies — had a question for Jeffrey Donnelly, a coastal geologist.
How often have intense hurricanes occurred throughout history?
That may sound like a simple question, but it isn’t. The first century of records from the Atlantic is a hodgepodge of ship logs and newspaper stories. Consistent cataloguing of tropical cyclones — hurricanes and typhoons — only began with the advent of satellites, around 1970.
But Donnelly had different resources at his disposal: sediment cores, the metres-long plugs of compressed organic material extracted from coastal marshes, or what scientists call the “paleo record.”
Trapped inside those sediment cores was evidence of the chaos wrought by major storms.
The historical record — those logs and newspaper articles — “is far too small,” said Donnelly, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. “What the paleo record allows us to do is extend that back centuries and even millennia.”
The reinsurers have since moved on. But 20 years later, Donnelly is still trying to reconstruct the ancient history of hurricanes, collecting sediment cores from Newfoundland to Brazil. This research — known as paleotempestology — is useful to scientists who want to understand why some years and decades are thrashed by frequent, destructive storms while others are quiet.
Surprising insights about today’s hurricane patterns have already emerged. But one of the most critical questions is how those patterns might change, especially as the climate warms.
“The biggest challenge is using what we know of just the past 100 years to say very much because it’s a very limited sampling of not only hurricanes but climate itself,” Donnelly said.
The gold-standard database of Atlantic hurricanes is maintained by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The database starts with information from 1851 and comes with a warning: “It is far from being complete and accurate for the entire century and a half.”
“It’s really a poor record,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before 1943 —
“the first year we flew an aircraft into a hurricane” — the record consists of the hurricanes that lucky ships survived and reported, that happened to make landfall in populated areas, or, very rarely, that passed over a research station without destroying all the instruments.
After the Second World War, aircraft began undertaking routine reconnaissance of storms in the Atlantic. For more than a decade, however, those aircraft couldn’t measure wind speed.
“You would be, I think, shocked at what was being done,” Emanuel said.
Aside from the danger of flying directly into hurricanes, “the pilot would look at the sea surface and say, ‘Oh, I think it’s 100-mile-an-hour winds.’ I mean it was very, very rough — just looking at the waves. And they were trying to impress their girlfriends back home and God knows whatever other biases were creeping in.”
Consistent global cataloguing of cyclones began in roughly 1970, when the development of satellite technology made it possible to account for the hurricanes that formed and died in the middle of the ocean. Instruments to estimate a storm’s intensity were developed in the 1980s and are still selectively deployed — usually in storms that threaten the U.S. coastline. “Everywhere else, it’s by guess and by golly,” Emanuel said.
So when the consortium of reinsurers wanted to know how often storms as destructive as hurricane Andrew occur, it didn’t have much data to work with. At the time, Donnelly was using sediment cores to study rising sea levels — and in those cores, he said, “we were coming across sand layers.”
These sand layers, they believed, were episodes when huge storm surges lifted material from the beach and the sea floor and deposited it into the marshes, where they were buried by more organic sediments until another storm occurred. Donnelly told the reinsurers he could try to analyze the sediment cores for the occurrence of major storms. But coasts are dynamic systems and he wasn’t sure that these environments were stable enough to record ancient history.
After some “hit and miss” at different sites, Donnelly identified a salt marsh in Rhode Island, extracted cores, and began mapping and dating the sand layers.
The top bands of sand corresponded with known hurricanes from the 20th century. But the cores extended the storm record back 700 years. Subsequent research has shown that only significantly large storms, typically a Category 2 hurricane or higher, would be energetic enough to leave an impact.
The reinsurers got their numbers and went on their way. Donnelly and his team continue to extract cores from across the North Atlantic basin and beyond, hoping to reconstruct more ancient hurricane history.
Other than salt marshes, they have extracted cores from coastal sink holes and “blue holes,” or marine caverns. Most are about 2,000 years old, but one from Vieques, a small island off Puerto Rico that was devastated by hurricane Maria last week, represented 5,500 years of history.
The historical hurricane record shows a lull between the 1960s and the ’80s. Researchers are still arguing about whether it represents a reoccurring cycle or an anomaly. To tell the difference, “you need a lot of data,” said Gabriel Vecchi, a professor at Princeton University who studies climate science and extreme weather events.
“So we either have to commit ourselves to not knowing the answer until we make hundreds of years of observations in the future, or we can go back in time. Those are really the only two options.”
But one of the most surprising findings that has emerged from the field is that we are living in centennial, rather than decadal, hurricane lull. The first millennium, to 1000 AD, was an incredibly active period for hurricanes. The next millennium saw major regional variability, with the Caribbean and the eastern North American seaboard firing up in different centuries.
All of this evidence helps tease apart natural cycles from variability caused by climate change. “Being able to go back hundreds of years allows us to better quantify these natural cycles, and it gives us a working range of how much things can vary without human contributions. Then if things fall out of that range in the modern era, we have more confidence that it’s not all natural,” said Jim Kossin, an atmospheric research scientist at NOAA.
Another way that this deep history can help us understand hurricane patterns in the era of human-caused climate change is by testing models that predict hurricane variability. By seeing how well they can predict hurricanes we now know occurred in the past, we can be more confident about their performance in the future. It can also help us understand what climate and ocean conditions are drivers for hurricane activity.
“We’re invested in actually making that one of our top priorities: to look at the last few 2,000 years, understand why the hurricanes have changed the way the paleo record suggests they have changed, and then interpret what that means for the coming century,” Vecchi said.
“As we’re getting more and more records, I think we’ll be able to ask tougher and tougher questions.”
Kate Allen was a 2017 Ocean Science Journalism Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. WHOI paid for airfare, room and board for the one-week residency, which is designed to introduce science journalists to the fields of oceanography and ocean engineering.
Meet the researcher uncovering the mysteries of ancient hurricanes
Jose Bautista acknowledged the Toronto crowd as he took the field before the rest of his teammates Sunday in what is likely his final home game in a Blue Jays uniform.
Bautista waved and clapped his hands as the crowd gave him a loud standing ovation before the game against the New York Yankees.
The 36-year-old slugger signed a one-year deal with Toronto prior to the 2017 season that includes a mutual option for 2018. The $17-million U.S. option is unlikely to be picked up after a rough season that saw a large dip in Bautista's production at the plate.
Bautista, a six-time all-star and two-time silver slugger, was met with another loud ovation as he walked up to the plate for his first at-bat to Usher's “OMG” — the song he used during his 54-homer season in 2010.
He hit a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch before a Kendrys Morales fly ball ended the inning.
Bautista has spent 10 years in Toronto and has 287 regular-season home runs and 762 runs batted in over that span. His most iconic homer came during the 2015 AL Division Series against the Texas Rangers, a three-run tiebreaking shot followed by a dramatic bat flip in Game 5 that helped Toronto advance to the ALCS.
Marcus Stroman, who started Sunday's game, wore a black Bautista jersey while he warmed up in the bullpen.
Blue Jays fans cheer Bautista in home finale
Day one activities included athletics at York's Lions Stadium and a visit from Prince Harry, Patron of Invictus Games Foundation.
Photos: Day one of Invictus GamesPhotos: Day one of Invictus GamesPhotos: Day one of Invictus GamesPhotos: Day one of Invictus GamesPhotos: Day one of Invictus GamesPhotos: Day one of Invictus Games
SOMERSET, N.J. — As U.S. President Donald Trump called for NFL owners to suspend or fire players who protested the national anthem, players and coaches answered defiantly Sunday morning, with most members of the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars either standing with their arms locked in solidarity or taking a knee on the field.
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh joined his players, locking arms, and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-American billionaire and businessman, joined his players before the game’s kickoff in London’s Wembley Stadium — calling it “a privilege” to do so. Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis also took a knee during the anthem.
The show of defiance comes hours after Trump on Sunday morning renewed his demand that NFL owners fire or suspend players who kneel during the national anthem in protest, again urging that fans should boycott the sport to force change.
The owners of the Ravens, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and other teams on Sunday joined a chorus of NFL executives criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's suggestion they fire players who kneel for the national anthem.
The statements, including those from Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, contrasted a morning tweet from Trump and further escalated the political drama of the league's game day, which was expected to be one of the most-watched for non-sporting reasons in years.
Bisciotti said he “100 per cent” supports his players' decision to kneel during the national anthem.
Kraft, who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, issued a sharply worded statement Sunday morning that condemned Trump’s comments and supported the right of players to peacefully protest “in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft said. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities.
“Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community, and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam wrote that they didn't want to let “misguided, uninformed and divisive comments from the president or anyone else deter us from our efforts to unify,” and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told CBS his team wouldn't be on the field when the anthem plays before the Steelers game in Chicago. He doesn't want his players to be divided between those who kneel and those who stand, he said.
“We're not going to be divided by anything said by anyone,” Tomlin said. “We're not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”
Haslam's brother, Bill, is the Republican governor of Tennessee.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the kneeling movement last year when he played for the San Francisco 49ers, refusing to stand during The Star-Spangled Banner to protest the treatment of Black people by police. Kaepernick became a free agent and has not been signed by a new team for this season.
Without identifying Kaepernick, Trump aimed a Friday talk at a Huntsville, Ala., rally at those players who have knelt for the anthem.
“Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired,’ ” he said to loud applause.
Again in a Sunday morning tweet, Trump urged his supporters to take action: “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin followed up Sunday on ABC's This Week defending Trump, saying the NFL has many rules governing what players can and cannot do.
“I think what the president is saying is that the owners should have a rule that players should have to stand in respect for the national anthem,” Mnuchin said. “They can do free speech on their own time.”
But as the president continued his campaign against protesting NFL players, his comments reverberated across other sports, including baseball and basketball.
After Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry, who had indicated that he would not go to the White House if invited by Trump, the president pre-emptively disinvited the team in a tweet on Saturday morning.
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” Trump said.
Other players including Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and former Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant sharply criticized Trump. And Saturday, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel during the national anthem.
The Oakland Raiders offensive linemen, the only entirely African-American offensive line unit in the league, intend to kneel or sit during the anthem preceding the nationally televised Sunday Night Football game against the Washington Redskins on NBC.
Trump's remarks provoked team owners and the NFL to stridently defend the sport and its players. Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has taken heat for Kaepernick's struggle to find a team, quickly condemned Trump's comments.
“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month,” Goodell said.
“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
At least seven team owners donated $1 million each to Trump's inaugural committee. But Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, Tennessee Titans' controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, Detroit Lions owner Martha Firestone Ford and San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York were among the league power brokers who issued condemning statements through their clubs.
“The callous and offensive comments made by the president are contradictory to what this great country stands for,” York said.
“Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice. We will continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of positive change in our country and around the world.”
Added Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy: “We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”
This weekend's games were sure to bring more protests, with Tampa Bay receiver DeSean Jackson promising to make “a statement.”
“I know our players who kneeled for the anthem, and these are smart young men of character who want to make our world a better place for everyone,” Ross said.
“They wanted to start a conversation and are making a difference in our community, including working with law enforcement to bring people together. We all can benefit from learning, listening and respecting each other.”
With files from The Associated Press.
NFL owners say they support players responding to Trump’s ‘misguided, uninformed and divisive comments’
Natacha Dupuis’s return to sports started with a mountain bike.
The former master corporal served in several Canadian Forces regiments, including the Royal Canadian Dragoons, for more than 16 years. She did a tour in Bosnia and two in Afghanistan — the last of which saw her witness the deaths of two comrades.
Her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder came after her return home. And her symptoms didn’t just include psychological difficulties — she was in physical pain, too. Dupuis said she’d always been athletic, but found herself gaining weight.
So Soldier On, a Canadian Forces program to help rehabilitate injured veterans, gave her a mountain bike — a gift that Dupuis said started her road to recovery.
“Mountain biking was part of my journey,” said the Gatineau, Que., resident. “That’s how I got back into sports.”
Three years after she left the military, Dupuis is one of Team Canada’s co-captains at the Invictus Games, which got underway in Toronto this weekend.
The Games are an international sports competition for military veterans with physical or mental injuries. Prince Harry, himself a former captain in the British army, started the Games after visiting a similar event for U.S. military personnel in 2013. He decided to launch a much larger international version open to several nations as a way to showcase the wounded soldiers’ “unconquered spirit.”
Hence ‘Invictus’ — the Latin word for ‘Unconquered.’
More than 400 athletes from 13 nations attended the first Invictus Games, held in London, in the fall of 2014. Two years later, the second Games saw 500 athletes from 17 different host nations compete in Orlando, Fla.
At least 550 athletes from 17 countries are competing in 12 sports in the Games this year, making it the largest in the history of the sporting event. Ninety of those athletes are Canadian.
Dupuis was part of Team Canada in Orlando last year. She ran — and won gold — in both the 100-metre and 200-metre dash, and picked up a bronze in powerlifting. But her hard work at the Orlando Games didn’t just mean an array of medals for her wall. Dupuis said she lost about 30 pounds over the course of training.
“Last year’s Games was the extra push that I needed to regain control over my illness and my injury,” she said.
This week, she’ll be back for track and field as well as, for the first time in her Invictus career, rowing.
“I think it’s very exciting and I can’t wait to actually perform in front of Canadians,” Dupuis said.
For many of the participating athletes, the Invictus Games goes beyond medals. They say it’s also about the camaraderie that comes with serving in the military.
Dupuis is no exception.
“Having a medal is nice,” she said. “But . . . the Invictus Games is much more than that.”
A mountain bike took this Team Canada co-captain on the road to the Invictus Games
MONTREAL—Is it a cash crop to lift struggling First Nations out of poverty, or a vice posing a particular risk for a vulnerable population?
As Canada forges ahead with the legalization of marijuana, slated for July 2018, Indigenous people are split about what to do on their territory.
A number of First Nations have signed investment deals with marijuana producers, lured by the promise of profits and other benefits. Others have slammed on the brakes until they can draw up their own rules for growing and selling what is, for a few more months, an illegal drug.
“What the communities are obviously going to be looking at is how far we go with this. Do we accept it fully? Do we accept it in part? Or do we just say ‘Absolutely not’?” said Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Isadore Day, who represents Ontario.
The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, south of Montreal, issued a moratorium earlier this month on the production, distribution and sale of cannabis on its territory until such time as it can adopt its own regulations.
Summer consultations revealed there is support for establishing marijuana-related businesses in the community and an appreciation of the therapeutic uses of the drug. But there are also significant health and public safety concerns, said Kahnawake Council Chief Gina Deer.
“We’re a vulnerable population and due to that there’s concern about legalization and the abuse of (marijuana), because we’ve also seen the abuse of alcohol,” she said. “Yes, it’s a good tool for certain things and it is used in the medical industry, but it can’t become a crutch and that’s the fear being a vulnerable population.”
Deer said the marijuana moratorium in Kahnawake became an urgent matter for the community only after a recent trip west along Highway 401 to visit the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, near Belleville, Ont., where cannabis capitalism has run amok.
There are currently 16 marijuana dispensaries—some run out of storefront operations, others run out of peoples’ homes.
None are registered businesses with the band council and all are technically illegal, the Tyendinaga council said in a statement this summer. But there is little impetus or urgency by police or prosecutors to shut the unlicensed pot shops down and lay charges.
“The council did meet with the federal Crown attorney, who advised us that the judges in the Belleville court do not want to hear these cases, that it’s not a good use of court resources and time, and the police believe that it’s a grey area, so there’s really no law enforcement,” Tyendinaga Chief Don Maracle said in an interview.
Everyone is looking for direction. First Nations representatives from both Quebec and Ontario are meeting with their respective provincial government officials this week to discuss the matter, though many Indigenous communities don’t know themselves what direction to take.
“There are some communities who are saying that Canada can do what it wants but in terms of our community we’re the sole entity who will decide,” said AFN Regional Chief Ghislain Picard, who represents Quebec and Labrador.
“At the same time some chiefs are saying that it’s going to happen so let’s be ready for it and if there are economic spinoffs from it, it’s for the benefit of the community.”
Chief Day said the AFN wants to ensure that provincial taxes collected on marijuana sales and federal excise taxes paid by marijuana producers come back to Indigenous communities.
“If there is an uptake of, say, $300-million in excise tax from a facility that goes to the federal government, why wouldn’t that excise tax be placed in First Nations to ensure our health systems can become much more able to deal with the health issues and impacts of addiction?” he asked.
The Wahgoshig First Nation, with a registered population of about 230 people, is far ahead of the others. Located about 100 kilometres north of Kirkland Lake, Ont., near the border with Quebec, it was the first Indigenous community in the country to sign an investment and benefits deal with a medicinal marijuana producer.
In return for a $3-million investment in Delshen Therapeutics in November 2015, which operates its cannabis facility out of a former Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources tree nursery on Wahgoshig territory, the company was offering a seat on its board, employment guarantees and funding for a drug and alcohol treatment centre, said Mylon Ollila, Wahgoshig’s executive director.
At first there was debate about the ethics of investing in cannabis. But it was not so difficult to rationalize involvement in marijuana cultivation in a community that is otherwise reliant on non-renewable industries like mining.
“First Nations have been harvesting traditional medicines and plant medicines for generations. This is something that already was much more aligned with First Nations’ values,” Ollila said, adding that marijuana’s medicinal attributes could also help deal with the community’s prescription painkiller problems.
“We kind of see it as replacing something that has been harmful to our community.”
Since that deal was signed, 48 other First Nations communities have also invested in Delshen Therapeutics. That has been the work of Jacob Taylor and Jonathan Araujo, the Indigenous advisers for the cannabis company and founders of the Pontiac Group, which work on First Nations economic development.
Araujo said there have been a range of reactions to the idea of partnering with a medicinal marijuana company.
“Some people who morally object to it still see the economic impact and the inevitability of its arrival,” he said. “Other people object on moral grounds and still have no interest in it.”
“On the flip side,” said Taylor, “this is a plant and it is in line with our Indigenous values. We’ve consulted elders and traditional healers and they’ve advised us that this is a plant that they used for medicine.”
Marijuana debate leaves First Nations weighing pros and cons
Perched on the back of an outward-bound truck in his small African village, then 12-year-old James Madhier wailed as his uncle tried to pull him down, begging the boy not to leave.
Madhier cried tears of frustration at his family members, who could not see a world beyond their farm in what was once the south of Sudan following generations of civil war, who did not understand “the magic of reading.”
“I was looking for a way to actually go to any place where there is school,” he said.
For Madhier and 1,700 other young refugees in the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC) Student Refugee Program, that place was Canada.
Since its 1978 beginnings, the program has recruited student refugees from 39 countries of origin, promising an opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education at one of 80 partner campuses in Canada and eventually even sponsor their families.
Looking back, the 28-year-old Madhier credits his childhood naiveté for helping him get to where he is today, a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto. But though he’d lived under the ever-present threat of bombings, famine, or being swept up by militiamen, this naiveté also exposed him to unforeseen danger.
The truck Madhier fought his family to travel away on was headed to a camp for demobilizing and rehabilitating child soldiers.
Madhier understood it to be a place of potential, where he may be able to get an education.
However, he then spent about 11 months with thousands of boys affected by war, working to reintegrate into society. Violence was inevitable.
“Some kids ended up being killed in the process. A lot of us contracted diseases, and it became really, really chaotic,” Madhier said. “Most of us where traumatized, and many of us actually joined, officially, the militia groups after that.”
Madhier returned home, and his journey to education eventually led him to Kakuma Refugee Camp in northwestern Kenya.
That’s where he volunteered for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and heard about WUSC.
To qualify, students must be registered refugees and are required to have completed secondary school. Thousands of applicants are processed each year at refugee camps in Kenya, Malawi, Lebanon, and Jordan, the four countries where WUSC currently administers the program.
The non-profit organization selects candidates through a combination of high school grades, a TOEFL English-language test scores, and a panel interview.
This year, 129 students were chosen.
It’s a significant number considering less than one per cent of the world’s refugees have access to higher education, said Jean-Nicolas Beuze, UNHCR Representative in Canada.
“You can see that 130 students being given this chance in Canada is absolutely critical, and it’s something we really hope can be expanded,” Beuze said.
Michelle Manks, the program’s senior manager, said WUSC hopes to accept 300 students per year in the next five years — but WUSC relies on participation from post-secondary institutions to keep its program alive.
For most universities, this money comes out of student fees, and can be as little as 25 cents per student on campus. Students receiving the program’s support are eligible to apply for OSAP to continue funding their education after 12 months.
Back at the refugee camps, program winners are posted on a list for all to see, a tense wait of about two months for Madhier and 92 others in the final round at Kakuma.
“I was nervous, but life has taught me over the years to avoid any heartbreaks, to avoid any hopelessness. You’ve got to create options, even where there are none,” he said. “Even if the option that you will create for yourself is how you will accept the loss.”
After being accepted into the program in 2012, students like Madhier receive a year of language training and classes on Canadian culture. He will graduate from the peace, conflict and justice studies program at U of T’s Munk School of Global Affairs in 2018.
Madhier is also the founder of Rainmaker Enterprise, a non-profit development organization that will bring solar-powered irrigation infrastructure to 20 acres of land in the now-independent South Sudan in January.
He says it’s the first time in history for that area to do any farming during a dry period, and the project has the potential to help rural food security during times of erratic rainfall.
WUSC now trying to expand into more colleges and CEGEP program.
Joseline Nicholas obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics at McMaster and Wilfrid Laurier universities, and now works as an economist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Her family fled the Rwandan genocide, taking asylum in Malawi’s Dzaleka Refugee Camp in 2000.
“Let me tell you, there are a lot of smart kids in the camp,” the 25-year-old said. “They have what it takes to succeed. They just don’t have the opportunity.”
From refugee to university degree: How a Canadian program is giving refugee students a way out