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- 09/18/17--16:36: _Privacy czar’s conc...
- 09/19/17--03:00: _Google bankrolls Ca...
- 09/18/17--16:28: _Bitter legal battle...
- 09/19/17--07:56: _Black Lives Matter ...
- 09/19/17--02:00: _The top 5 Toronto i...
- 09/19/17--03:45: _‘We shall survive b...
- 09/19/17--06:29: _At UN, Donald Trump...
- 09/19/17--15:21: _Police tribunal put...
- 09/19/17--15:43: _Peter Munk donates ...
- 09/20/17--05:38: _OPP will lay charge...
- 09/20/17--04:21: _Highway 401 crash c...
- 09/20/17--09:07: _‘Find a better way,...
- 09/20/17--09:08: _Therapy dog shot an...
- 09/20/17--07:05: _Ontario colleges an...
- 09/20/17--08:29: _Drivers caught talk...
- 09/20/17--08:59: _‘Radical reverend’ ...
- 09/20/17--09:10: _Hillary Clinton moc...
- 09/20/17--03:12: _Hurricane Maria hit...
- 09/20/17--09:13: _Hundreds of volunte...
- 09/20/17--07:17: _Volkswagen’s Ajax o...
- 09/18/17--16:36: Privacy czar’s concern at cellphone searches by U.S. border agents
- 09/19/17--03:00: Google bankrolls Canadian school program targeting fake news
- 09/19/17--02:00: The top 5 Toronto intersections for condo re-sales
- 09/19/17--06:29: At UN, Donald Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea
- 09/19/17--15:43: Peter Munk donates $100 million to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre
- 09/20/17--04:21: Highway 401 crash causing delays eastbound in Mississauga
- 09/20/17--09:08: Therapy dog shot and killed in B.C. after being mistaken for wolf
- 09/20/17--07:05: Ontario colleges and union still bargaining days after vote
- Full-time college academic staff including permanent professors, instructors, counsellors and librarians. Their maximum salary is $107,000, but the average is closer to $90,000 a year.
- Partial-load instructors who teach anywhere from seven to a maximum of 12 hours a week, and earn an average of $104 an hour for teaching. They are not paid for prep time, marking or for meeting with students outside of class. They are considered contract and reapply for their jobs every four months.
- Part-time faculty, who are on contract and teach less than six hours each week. They earn about $60 an hour, and are not paid for time spent preparing and marking. This group encompasses those who teach continuing education courses. They also must reapply for their jobs.
- Sessional faculty, who are also considered contract faculty, with a 12-month maximum contract within a two-year time frame. They earn about $60 an hour, and can carry a full-time teaching load. They may also teach continuing education courses. They too reapply for their jobs.
- 09/20/17--08:29: Drivers caught talking on a cellphone may face harsher penalties
- 09/20/17--09:10: Hillary Clinton mocks ‘manspreading’ Putin on Colbert’s ‘Late Show’
- 09/20/17--03:12: Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico after devastating Dominica
OTTAWA—Canadians should be “very concerned” about their cellphones, computers and other electronic devices being searched by U.S. border agents, the federal privacy czar says.
Privacy commissioner Daniel Therrien told a House of Commons committee Monday that U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers can look at mobile devices and even demand passwords under American law.
Therrien cited statistics indicating U.S. border searches of mobile phones had increased between 2015 and 2016.
“These devices contain a lot of sensitive information,” Therrien said. “We should be very concerned.”
New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen asked if that means no Canadian should cross the border with a phone, laptop or tablet unless they have “great comfort” with a U.S. border official inspecting the contents.
“Yes, as a matter of law,” Therrien said, though he acknowledged officers would not have time to inspect everyone’s devices, given the huge numbers of people that cross the border daily.
Therrien agreed with Cullen’s suggestion that nothing in law could prevent U.S. border officials from peeking at a senior Canadian official’s “playbook” on a trade negotiation.
Cullen said one of his constituents was denied entry to the U.S. on health-related grounds because information on the person’s phone indicated a prescription for heart medication.
“And I thought, well, this is a strange invasion of one’s privacy.”
Therrien said Canadians should assess the “risk tolerance” they have to their information being examined by U.S. officers.
“My point is, think about what you’re exposing your information to, and limit the amount of information that you bring to the U.S., because it may be required by customs officers.”
Canadian law also allows border officers to inspect cellphones, since they are treated as goods, Therrien told the Commons committee on access to information, privacy and ethics.
But he noted Canada’s border agency has a policy of limiting searches to cases where an officer has grounds to do so — for instance, because a phone might contain information about contraband items.
Therrien said his office had received a “small number of complaints” about Canadian border officers searching cellphones.
Last spring, Therrien expressed concern about U.S. plans to demand cellphone and social media passwords from foreign visitors.
In a letter to the House of Commons public safety committee, he warned that recent pronouncements from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump could mean intrusive searches — even at preclearance facilities in Canada.
In February, John Kelly, then U.S. Homeland Security Secretary, suggested at a hearing that American officials could ask people entering the U.S. about the internet sites they visit as well as passwords to help assess their online activities.
Kelly’s proposal prompted an American coalition of human rights and civil liberties organizations and experts in security, technology and the law to express “deep concern.”
Google Canada is taking aim at the looming threat of fake news ahead of election season by bankrolling a new project to boost media literacy among youth — a move at least one expert says is a good first step, but not a cure-all.
Through its philanthropic arm, Google.org, the tech giant is providing the Canadian Journalism Foundation (CJF) and CIVIX, a charitable organization focused on youth civic engagement, with a $500,000 grant to develop and deliver NewsWise — a program that will teach students how to suss out and filter so-called fake news and misinformation online.
Fake news came to the fore in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Take Pizzagate for instance, a bogus conspiracy story that surfaced during the election and prompted a North Carolina man to fire an assault rifle in a Washington, D.C. pizzeria.
Canada has not been immune to fake news. Earlier this year, false reports circulated about the deadly Quebec mosque shooting.
More recently, a GTA imam was reportedly surprised to find photos of him accompanying an article claiming victims of Hurricane Harvey had stormed a Texas mosque that refused to help Christians.
Ottawa is currently working on ways to tackle the spread of misinformation online.
In the meantime, with the Ontario election slated for June 7, 2018 and the 2019 federal election not far behind, there is heightened potential for misinformation to eke out online, according to Aaron Brindle, Google Canada’s head of public affairs.
“We see implications for what (fake news) means for a functioning democracy . . . We want to make sure that we’re getting out ahead of it,” Brindle said.
The program will gradually be rolled out across the country to as many as 1.5 million kids aged 9 to 19 and baked into CIVIX’s Student Vote initiative, which already runs mock elections at 98 per cent of Canadian school boards.
NewsWise will be in place in Ontario classrooms in time for the spring election and fully operational countrywide ahead of the federal vote in 2019.
CJF and CIVIX will develop the curriculum in tandem.
Taylor Gunn, president at CIVIX, said the aim is to breed savvy citizens.
“I don’t think you can have informed citizens that are approaching the ballot box with knowledge and information if those citizens aren’t equipped with those skills to determine what is true or false news — especially at election times, where I think fake news would either be most in existence, or people could be most sensitive to it,” Gunn said.
Asked to grade Canadian kids on their current understanding of what makes a credible source of information, Gunn said he has heard differing accounts from teachers. While some educators believe students have a strong grasp of media, others feel they understand how to consume information, but not to determine what makes it accurate.
As one teacher put it to Gunn: “They don’t have any levels of news literacy.”
Though many of the young folks getting schooled won’t be eligible to cast ballots in the next election, CJF executive director Natalie Turvey said there is an “urgent need” to educate future generations on fake news and misinformation, lest our democratic process be undermined.
“Canada is vulnerable to fake news. The abundance of information on numerous platforms, the downsizing of Canadian newsrooms, and a dearth of local news creates a perfect storm for the proliferation of misinformation,” Turvey said.
“We need to give (students) the know-how and the skills and knowledge to find and filter information. That’s how we can build a more informed citizenry, folks that are more equipped to make decisions and be more engaged in the democratic process.”
Though boosting news literacy in the classroom is a good first step, it isn’t “necessarily sufficient,” said Edward Greenspon, president and CEO of the Canadian Public Policy Forum.
“It may be the first line of defence, but it’s not the ultimate line of defence,” Greenspon said.
He stressed the need for self-regulation by online platforms as key to combating fake news.
Google has attempted to do just that by introducing fact-check tags to its search results earlier this year — but Brindle said only a “very limited” number of third-party Canadian publishers, which do the actual fact-checking, have signed on. Bing, the Microsoft search engine, has followed suit and added its own fact-check label this week.
Jacob Schroeder of FactsCan — an independent non-profit site dedicated to debunking political stories — confirmed he is “really excited” about Google's feature but as yet does not have much experience with it, because his firm just signed up.
Only one Canadian news outlet has published a story using the fact check tag thus far, Brindle said. South of the border, Politifact, CBS and the Washington Post use the tag.
That said, Brindle noted implementation is “being explored by most Canadian news organizations.”
Facebook — recently under fire for being a choice platform of alleged Russian interference of the 2016 U.S. presidential election — is also set to announce an election integrity initiative “in the near future,” with an eye to protecting the next federal vote from cyber threats, said a spokeswoman for the social media heavyweight.
The initiative is in part a response to a first-of-its kind June report from the Communications Security Establishment — the country’s electronic spy agency — which concluded multiple hacktivist groups “will very likely deploy cyber capabilities in an attempt to influence the democratic process during the 2019 federal election.”
It followed an Ipsos survey in May that suggested the majority of Canadians could not determine what constituted fake news.
Imagine being a gazillionaire heiress and apparently not allowed to buy a private jet without permission from the penny-counters.
Oops, there goes $87 million out of the family company holdings as reimbursement, naughty lady.
Imagine being the richest woman in Canada — purportedly (but do correct me if I’m wrong) — and having your feet held to the fire for repayment of $132 million shelled out, without proper authorization, on personal expenses and investments.
Oops, there goes another chunk of cash “diluted” from the fortune chest, a.k.a. Westerkirk Capital Inc., by means of shrinking the lady’s equity stash from 21.8 per cent to 19.8 per cent to 17.9864 per cent.
Allegations. Allegations. Allegations.
What is the hunk o’ have world coming to?
Well, what it came down to on Monday, after a week of lawyer huddles, was the slam-bang-thank-you-ma’am settling of duelling lawsuits between Sherry Brydson — granddaughter of Roy Thomson, Canadian newspaper baron and niece of Kenneth Thomson, founder of the Thomson Corporation, with a personal fortune estimated at $6.6 billion — and James Lawson, axed CEO of Westerkirk but still high profile boss of the Canadian Football League and Woodbine Entertainment Group, Canada’s premier horse racing enterprise.
“It’s over,” said Howard Levitt, lawyer for Brydson, as he came back into the courtroom ’round noon to collect his robes.
This comment was directed at but one of the many reporters who’d been whiling away the hours since last Monday, anticipating a juicy trial over money and maligning and alleged malfeasance — with a bit of porn thrown in on the side.
And by over we mean that no details will be disclosed about the settlement reached betwixt Brydson and Lawson, including that aforementioned stuff about the jet, etc., which comes from Lawson’s opening salvo, factum-style.
So we’re back where we started: Boxes of legal wrangle filed over the past four years, stuffed with facts and fomentation — a litany of allegations that will never be proved or disproved in a courtroom.
(This is the part where we in the media note: None of the allegations have been tested in court. It’s all factum hearsay.)
Aside: Around the Star newsroom, we, in the death throes of the newspaper business, regularly snipe about the Globe and Mail’s financial security. The national broadsheet is owned by the Thomson family through Woodbridge Company Ltd. Vanishing revenues? “All they have to do is sell another Group of Seven painting.”
Brydson, according to court documents from the Lawson side of the legal ledger, “conducts herself as if she is the head or matriarch of the Brydson family and the owner of Westerkirk. However, at all material times, she was, in fact, only a minority non-voting equity participant in Westerkirk.” (See above, 17.9864 per cent.)
Lawson was hired as Westerkirk CEO in November, 2004. He was fired by Brydson — allegedly without authority from the company’s management oversight committee, or its directors — in November, 2012.
No fair, harrumphed Lawson who claims in the documents that, under his stewardship, Westerkirk, for arguably the first time, “established itself as a credible and astute investor” — $500 million in investments between 2005 and 2012.
The pre-existing problem, Lawson’s original filing argued, was that “Ms. Brydson persistently acted as if she owned Westerkirk and was entitled to treat it as her personal corporation.”
And an obstructionist, the factum continues, like that time she last-minute scotched the acquisition of a brick manufacturer — which would have been the company’s largest acquisition to date.
That’s all water under the bridge and would likely not have surfaced but for Lawson bringing a suit claiming wrongful dismissal, seeking $24 million in damages, which included $3,895,177 in base salary from 2013 to 2016 and more than $2 million in bonuses.
He was sacked, Lawson maintains, for trying to run Westerkirk professionally.
Nah, Brydson countered, through her lawyers. He was jettisoned for exploiting his position to benefit himself and his relatives, while “publicly disparaging Brydson, her husband and family members,” running the company like a personal fiefdom, “as if it was his, not hers.”
They’ve had loads of time to load up on each other.
Brydson, who describes herself as a former journalist — she resides in Victoria, B.C. — asserts that she’d been on the prowl for a “scrupulously honest” CEO to manage the assets of Westerkirk.
This, she insists, in not what she got.
Nope, Lawson was never a senior lawyer at the Torys law firm (established by the grandfather of Mayor John Tory) as described, merely a “relative newcomer” on who she and her companied relied “to their detriment.”
Lawson, she contents, repeatedly refused or failed to fulfil his most fundamental obligations and duties to herself, to Westerkirk, by “his repeated pattern of withholding information, acting dishonestly and promoting his own interests instead of those of Westerkirk . . . ”
Self-dealing, she termed it, such as allegedly buying land in Oakville for a company where his wife was one of the directors and then wholly failing to “mentor” one of her children who would be “placed at a desk . . . and learn the business.”
There was a posh condo at the Ritz Carlton, as well, owned by Lawson’s daughter, Brydson claims, which he talked her into buying as an investment for 40 per cent in excess of its actual value.
He further allegedly manoeuvred to put friends into various Westerkirk concerns for which they had no business knowledge.
What else? Impossible to distil pounds of paper into a newspaper column. But there was that bit about Lawson arranging to have himself appointed to a senior position with the Ontario Jockey Club and Woodbine; doing extensive work for them on Westerkirk time, using Westerkirk staff and resources, whilst — during one period in 2012 — simultaneously earning $22,035 a month from Woodbine, which he “hid” from Westerkirk and Brydson.
And, oh yes, about that porn . . .
Reminding, once more, that none of these allegations have been proven in court.
Brydson complains that Lawson, despite enacting anti-pornography policies at Westerkirk and its related companies, “indulged himself,” at the office, “in gross, hard-core racist and misogynistic pornography, openly degrading to women and certain ethnic groups, including graphic depictions of BDSM and of sex between humans and animals.” So vile, the documents continue, that they would likely be deemed obscene under the Criminal Code, and that he distributed some porn to others, including subordinates.
This Lawson adamantly denies in his counter-counter filing.
As CEO, Brydson maintains, Lawson was “a dreadful role-model of workplace conduct” who poisoned the workplace and recklessly damaged the company’s reputation, to say nothing of her own.
All the time ridiculing her and the family, to others, Brydson claimed, as “clueless,” allegedly telling one associate that “Brydson is a lost cause and we have to forget about her and move on to the kids.”
Sometimes the Family Compact of Upper Ontario feels hardly a heartbeat away.
But of course none of this will now be explored in open court. They’ve zipped up and swept their messes back into the closet.
Some minimum wage cleaner will be along shortly to take out the garbage.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
“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 September 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 September 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 September 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 is also suffering from medical issues, Ramos said, 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?”
When it comes to re-sale 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 city-wide 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.
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 re-sale value will be very, very good. Conversely the rent in those areas can be just as high," said Ceniti.
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 0.25-km. 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 re-sale market, said Ceniti.
"When you're purchasing re-sale 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, re-sale 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, said Ceniti.
"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."
ROSEAU, DOMINICA—Hurricane Maria smashed into Dominica with 257 km/h winds, ripping the roof off even the prime minister’s residence and causing what he called “mind-boggling” devastation Tuesday as it plunged into a Caribbean region already ravaged by Hurricane Irma.
The storm was on a track to wallop Puerto Rico on Wednesday “with a force and violence that we haven’t seen for several generations,” the territory’s governor said.
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said on his Facebook page that “initial reports are of widespread devastation” and said he feared there would be deaths due to rain-fed landslides.
“So far the winds have swept away the roofs of almost every person I have spoken to or otherwise made contact with,” Skerrit wrote. “The roof to my own official residence was among the first to go.”
And he appealed for international aid:
“We will need help, my friend, we will need help of all kinds.”
Maria’s eye roared over the island late Monday night. The storm briefly dipped to Category 4 strength early Tuesday before regaining Category 5 status.
Fierce winds and rain lashed mountainous Dominica for hours. A police official on the island, Inspector Pellam Jno Baptiste, said late Monday night that there were no immediate reports of casualties but it was too dangerous for officers to check conditions.
“Where we are, we can’t move,” he said in a brief phone interview while hunkered down against the region’s second Category 5 hurricane this month.
“The winds are merciless! We shall survive by the grace of God,” Skerrit wrote at the start of a series of increasingly harrowing posts on Facebook.
A few minutes later, he messaged he could hear the sound of galvanized steel roofs tearing off houses on the small rugged island.
He then wrote that he thought his home had been damaged, and added: “Rough! Rough! Rough!”
On the nearby island of Martinique, officials said about 25,000 households were without electricity and two small towns without water after Maria roared past.
The head of French civil security, Jacques Witkowski, told reporters that it was too soon to say whether the French department of Guadeloupe had fared as well.
Prefect Eric Maire, the highest French official of Guadeloupe, said in a video on Twitter that some roads and homes were flooded and heavy rain expected to continue. He told the population to “remain inside.”
Authorities in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, which faced the possibility of a direct hit, warned that people in wooden or flimsy homes should find safe shelter before the storm’s expected arrival there 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.”
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 240 kilometres southeast of St. Croix Monday morning 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.
Hurricane warnings were posted for the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis and Montserrat. A tropical storm warning was issued for Martinique, Antigua and Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Anguilla.
Forecasters said 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.
Close to its path is the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where territorial Gov. Kenneth Mapp said Tuesday would be “a very, very long night.”
St. Thomas and St. John are still stunned from a direct hit by Hurricane Irma, which did extensive damage and caused four deaths on the two islands.
Barry University said it chartered a private plane to carry students and staff from its St. Croix facility to Florida in preparation for Maria. It said 72 people connected to the Barry’s Physician Assistant Program and a few pets were on Monday’s evacuation flight.
In neighbouring Puerto Rico, nearly 70,000 people were still without power following their earlier brush with Irma and nearly 200 remained in shelters as Maria approached.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Puerto Rico had 500 shelters capable of taking in up to 133,000 people in a worst-case scenario. He also said the Federal Emergency Management Agency was ready to bring drinking water and help restore power immediately after the storm, which could hit as a Category 5 hurricane.
“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.”
Rossello warned that an island-wide power outage could last a “long time” given the power company’s deteriorated and weak infrastructure.
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 560 kilometres south-southwest of Nantucket, Massachusetts, early Tuesday and moving north at 15 km/h. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h.
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.
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.”
Immediately before Toronto police Const. Gregory Browne took a 15-year-old into a North York police station for booking on a November 2011 night, the teen — who had just been arrested for assaulting another police officer — asked if he could tell Browne something.
“I don’t know what happened . . . I learned from a lawyer program how to talk to police,” Browne recalled the young boy said, in testimony Tuesday at the Toronto police tribunal.
The ongoing misconduct hearing of two Toronto police officers in the so-called Neptune Four case resumed with an account from Browne, the officer who transported one of the teens to the police station after the four boys were stopped then arrested.
Const. Adam Lourenco and his partner Const. Scharnil Pais are accused under Ontario’s Police Services Act of unlawfully arresting the main complainant in the case, his twin brother, and two of their friends — boys all 16 or under at the time.
Lourenco also faces two other charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly using unreasonable force, one for punching the main complainant and another for pointing his gun at three of the teens.
The officers pleaded not guilty, and none of the allegations against them have been proven at the tribunal.
Because the teens faced criminal charges under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Star is not identifying them.
The hearing stems from a 2011 incident when four boys were on their way to an after-school learning program in a Lawrence Heights public housing complex on Neptune Dr. The group was stopped by Lourenco and Pais, both with the now-disbanded Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) unit.
According to police records, the officers were at the Neptune Dr. buildings to enforce the Trespass to Property Act on behalf of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation.
When they were approached by police, one of the boys attempted to exercise his constitutional right to walk away.
Last month, the tribunal heard from that boy — now the main complainant — who alleged he was punched and had a gun pointed at him after he attempted to stand up for his rights to walk away.
The young man then testified that Lourenco handcuffed him and violently placed him into the car of another unit called for backup. Once inside the car, he tried to explain what happened to a Black officer who had not witnessed the original interaction.
“He was Black and I was trying to appeal to him,’” the witness said of the officer, identified Tuesday as Browne.
The witness went on to say that the officer was respectful but told him to “forget about the rights stuff,” in reference to defending his constitutional right to walk away from police under certain circumstances.
“He said . . . basically don’t use it. It’s not going to work in real life,” the witness said last month.
But Browne testified Tuesday that while he did give the teen some advice, it was only after the teen told Browne he understood that he didn’t have to speak to police under any circumstances.
Browne told the tribunal he’d gotten the impression that the teen had told Lourenco and Pais to “f--- off immediately on contact.” The officer then gave the teen advice, saying “I don’t think that’s a good idea anywhere in life.”
While Browne had made some notes about the conversation — which took place outside of North York’s 32 division, according to Browne — he hadn’t written down that the teen or anyone else in the group had told the officers to “f--- off.”
When asked why he hadn’t made a note of that, Browne said that he was inexperienced at the time — he’d only been with TAVIS for a month — and had felt “some stupid reason” that he could not write curse words in his notes.
Browne also maintained that he would not forget someone stating that they’d told an officer to “f--- off,” so he didn’t need to make a note of it.
The four teens were charged with assaulting police, and the young man who did not want to answer police questions was charged with threatening death and assault with intent to resist arrest. All of the charges were later withdrawn.
The charges against Lourenco and Pais came after an investigation by Ontario’s Office of the Independent Police Review Director, spurred by the four teens complaining to the watchdog. One of the four teens has since withdrawn his complaint and is not participating in the hearing.
With Star files
Police tribunal puts spotlight on Black teen’s interaction with officer in cruiser
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.
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.”
Other notable donations to Toronto and GTA hospitals:
$130 million: Rogers family to the Hospital for Sick Children, University Health Network and the University of Toronto, to establish the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, 2014
$100 million: Peter Munk to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, 2017
$50 million: Myron and Berna Garron to Toronto East General Hospital (main campus now renamed Michael Garron Hospital), 2015
$50 million: Slaight Family Foundation to the University Health Network, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Mount Sinai Hospital, 2013
$50 million: Joseph and Wolf Lebovic to Mount Sinai Hospital, 2006
$40 million: Peter Gilgan to the Hospital for Sick Children, 2014
$37.5 million: Linda Campbell, Gaye Farncombe and Susan Grange to Princess Margaret Hospital, 2008
$37 million: Peter Munk to Toronto General Hospital, 2006
$35 million: Larry and Judy Tanenbaum to Mount Sinai Hospital, 2013
$30 million: Peter Gilgan to St Michael’s Hospital, 2014
$30 million: Myron and Berna Garron to the Hospital for Sick Children, 2010
$30 million: Arthur and Sonia Labatt to the Hospital for Sick Children, 2007
$25 million: Li Ka-shing to St Michael’s Hospital, 2011
$25 million: Larry Tanenbaum to Mount Sinai Hospital, 2006
$25 million: Li Ka-shing (Canada) Foundation to St. Michael’s Hospital, 2005
$25 million: Audrey Campbell and daughters (Thomson family) to Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital, 2004
$20 million: CI Financial to Orthopaedic & Arthritic Institute at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre, 2005
$15 million:Muzzo and de Gasperis families to the Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital, 2017
Source: Star Library
Peter Munk donates $100 million to the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre
Ontario provincial police are set to announce charges against several people in connection with motorcycle stunt driving that disrupted traffic on all Toronto-area highways on a Sunday afternoon in August.
The Criminal Code and Highway Traffic Act charges will be announced this afternoon at a news conference in Vaughan, north of Toronto.
The OPP says some of the vehicles seized as evidence will also be displayed.
On Aug. 6, police received numerous complaints about dozens of riders driving aggressively and coming to a full stop on highways to perform various stunts and wheelies.
Police said a large group of riders was seen on all major highways in the Toronto area.
The OPP appealed to anyone with dash cam videos or photographs of the motorcyclists to turn them over to help officers identify them.
Provincial police had laid charges in March following similar incidents on Toronto-area highways in 2016.
A man died on July 23, 2016 when he collided with a transport truck as a group of motorcyclists travelling together on Highway 401 slowed traffic while performing stunts.
A group of motorcyclists also slowed traffic and performed stunts on Highway 427 on Sept. 22, 2016.
Police seized four motorcycles and arrested five people after that incident.
OPP will lay charges against motorcycle stunt drivers who disrupted highway traffic on Sunday
A portion of the eastbound highway 401 in Mississauga is blocked following a two-vehicle collision Wednesday morning.
The incident happened around 5 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401 east of Mississauga Rd. Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said a transport truck rear ended another transport truck causing the truck containing dyes and liquid products to roll over on its side.
The driver of the truck has been taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The closure, which reduced the traffic to two left lanes, has caused heavy delays in the area. A third lane reopened just before 7:30 a.m. Schmidt said the cleanup could three more hours, affecting morning rush hour.
The northbound Mississauga Rd. ramp to the eastbound Highway 401 is also closed due to the collision.
Highway 401 crash causing delays eastbound in Mississauga
A proposed drain feature at the St. Lawrence Market north redevelopment is now being reconsidered after the city said they cannot justify the expense.
The proposal for a glass “viewing portal” looking onto an 1831 central drain was headed to the government management committee next week.
But Mayor John Tory said in a statement Wednesday morning that he “cannot justify spending an additional $1.96 million for a ‘drain feature’ in the St. Lawrence Market redevelopment.”
Tory said he spoke to Paul Ainslie, chair of the city’s government management committee Wednesday morning.
“He agreed with me that the Committee should send this back to City staff to find a better way.”
Tory noted that the heritage of Toronto is important.
“As Mayor, I believe it is my duty to ensure we do what we can to protect our city’s heritage within the limited resources we have.”
A portion of the near-$2 million cost could be funded within the current redevelopment budget of $91.5 million, but $1.64 million in additional funding would be required.
The current redevelopment plan includes 250 underground parking spaces, a five-storey atrium, a market hall and mezzanine, court services and courtrooms.
‘Find a better way,’ Tory says of $1.64M drain feature at St. Lawrence Market
WHISTLER, B.C.—A woman says her four-year-old therapy dog has been shot and killed by a hunter who mistook the animal for a wolf near Whistler, B.C.
Valé Calderoni said she and another handler were finishing a hike with 10 dogs on Monday when she heard a loud bang and instinctively crouched down.
“It was really, really loud, right next to me,” she said.
When she got back up, Calderoni saw her beloved dog Kaoru had been hit by a bullet about three metres away and was bleeding profusely.
The dog stumbled, then fell and as she ran towards the animal, Calderoni heard her hiking partner yell, “Put your gun down! Put your gun down!”
A hunter shot the dog at close range, thinking it was a wolf, Calderoni said. Kaoru was a Tamaskan dog, a breed that looks similar to wolves.
There was no time to get the dog help, she added. Kaoru was suffering and died shortly after.
Calderoni said she was in shock and crying, but demanded to see the man’s hunting licence. Still, she can’t understand what happened.
“I have no idea how he didn’t see it. I have no idea why he killed my dog,” Calderoni said.
“I hike in that area with kids. I’m so lucky that I didn’t get shot . . . I don’t understand how this came to be.”
Calderoni owns a dog rehabilitation centre in Squamish, B.C., and said Kaoru was a therapy dog that provided emotional support to many people, including children with autism.
Now she wants the animal’s death to lead to change and said she’ll push to have the area made a no-hunting zone.
“We just can’t allow this,” she said. “This is the most horrible thing. Nobody should suffer this, no animal should go through this.”
RCMP and the BC Conservation Officers Service did not immediately respond to requests about whether they’re investigating the incident.
Therapy dog shot and killed in B.C. after being mistaken for wolf
Ontario colleges and the union representing their faculty remain at the bargaining table, days after a vote that saw more than two-thirds of teachers support strike action if no deal can be reached.
Several days of negotiations are set for this week and next, and on Wednesday members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union are at Queen’s Park to lobby MPPs.
Some 68 per cent of OPSEU members who voted — roughly 60 per cent of full-time and “partial-load” instructors — were in favour of the job action if the colleges “refuses to budge on key issues,” the union said.
JP Hornick, head of the union’s bargaining team, said the vote result sent “a really strong message” to the colleges.
No strike date has been set.
The current contract expires at the end of the month, and the union is seeking a role for academic staff on a senate-like governing body — similar to what universities have, giving faculty a bigger say in how colleges are run — as well as more full-time positions.
Sonia Del Missier, who heads the colleges’ bargaining team, said the union’s proposals are “not the basis for settlement,” and would cost an additional $400 million each year.
“We do have a good offer on the table,” she said in a phone interview. “We remain committed to achieving a negotiated settlement, one that is fair to faculty but, at the same time, affordable and responsible.”
The schools, represented by the College Employer Council, have offered a 7.5 per cent raise over the next four years, putting the highest-paid professors at about $115,000.
But Del Missier said any decision about creating a senate is outside of bargaining parameters. As well, the union’s current position on staffing ratios would bring 2,840 new full-time positions, but at a cost of 7,120 contract jobs.
The OPSEU union local represents 12,000 professors, as well as “partial load” instructors who teach up to 12 hours a week, among others.
Of its 12,000 members, 7,500 are full-time, and 4,500 partial-load.
OPSEU does not represent part-time or sessional faculty, though a union drive is under way. When they are included, about 81 per cent of instructors are contract.
In 2011, colleges faced a strike by support workers, and in 2006 a lengthy job action by instructors.
College staff represented by OPSEU include:
OPSEU is also hoping to soon represent:
The colleges say their offer contains no concessions, and are also offering a lump-sum payment and improvements to benefits.
While the union has warned that the college system is nearing its breaking point, the College Employer Council says 83 per cent of grads have landed jobs six months after earning their diploma, and colleges have high approval ratings from employers and students themselves.
The colleges also say their offer is comparable to that reached by OPSEU support staff.
Del Missier said that since 2010, colleges have created 1,000 new academic positions – about half of them full-time.
Ontario colleges and union still bargaining days after vote
The provincial government is proposing harsher penalties for distracted and careless drivers, in a move that it says will provide greater protection for pedestrians and cyclists.
The proposed changes, announced at a downtown Toronto news conference on Wednesday morning, include the creation of a new provincial offence for careless driving causing death or bodily harm, tougher punishment for distracted driving, and increased penalties for drivers who fail to yield for pedestrians.
Convictions under the new careless driving charge would result in a licence suspension of up to five years, imprisonment of up to two years, and a fine of between $2,000 and $50,000.
“This is about penalties that fit the action and behaviour of the accused,” said Tourism Minister Eleanor McMahon, whose husband Greg Stobbart was killed in 2006 by a careless driver.
“It is my great hope that this will save lives, that it will deter poor driving choices, that it will send the clear signal that possibly paying a moment of inattention has lasting consequences.”
The proposed legislation, which the Liberal government plans to introduce this fall, lays out escalating fines for distracted driving, which commonly involves the use of a cellphone behind the wheel.
Fully licenced drivers would receive a three-day licence suspension, a fine of between $500 and $1,000, and three demerit points. Upon a third distracted driving conviction, the licence suspension would rise to 30 days, and fines would increase to up to $3,000. The driver would also be docked six demerit points.
The proposed legislation would also increase penalties for drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians to a fine of between $300 and $1,000 and four demerit points on the first offence. The penalty would escalate to a minimum $500 fine for drivers convicted of multiple pedestrian offences within a five-year time frame.
Kasia Briegmann-Samson, co-founder of Friends and Families for Safe Streets, said she was “very encouraged by these changes.”
Briegmann-Samson’s husband Tom Samson was killed in a hit-and-run in 2012 while riding his bike at Davenport Rd. and Lansdowne.
She said it was “fantastic” that law enforcement might be given “new tools” to address dangerous drivers. But she added that it will be crucial to see how the proposed law changes are put into practice.
“We will see when the tools are actually enacted how they are used,” she said.
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said it could take until 2019 for the proposed changes to go into effect.
Drivers caught talking on a cellphone may face harsher penalties
MPP Cheri DiNovo is leaving politics — and going to church.
The well-known NDP politician, who has represented Parkdale-High Park for 11 years, said that, as of Jan. 1, she will be minister at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre for Faith, Arts and Justice in downtown Toronto.
“I’m in fact returning to my true love: theology, advocacy and ministry,” said DiNovo, a United Church minister, who wore her white clerical collar for the announcement at Queen’s Park.
DiNovo is well-known as a champion of higher minimum wages, LGBTQ and minority rights, and met with success in pushing the government on legislation and introducing her own private members’ bills.
Before moving into politics, she said she was “privileged to perform the first legalized same-sex marriage,” and later became the only LGBTQ critic in the history of the Ontario legislature.
“. . . Trinity-St. Paul’s is, and will be, a centre for all non-binary, queer, lesbian, bisexual, trans and gay people,” she said.
DiNovo said the centre will focus on “queer theology and spirituality for all those fleeing oppression based on race, class, immigration status and poverty as well.
“It is a place, one of the few, where women’s leadership is extolled and encouraged.”
While DiNovo may be leaving Queen’s Park, she said she is not going far and pledged to be there for her political colleagues and their spiritual needs.
The legislature “will be a part of my parish and I intend to continue fighting for those who are marginalized, but also provide pastoral care for those who are in need in the political sphere, both here and in Ottawa,” she said.
“Political work is non-stop, exhausting and demanding. I intend to be here and there for anyone who needs someone who can listen and someone who can pray.”
DiNovo will continue her “Radical Reverend” radio show on CIUT.
In 2016, DiNovo decided not to pursue the leadership of the federal NDP because she needed time to recover after suffering two mini-strokes.
Late last year, the province passed the All Families are Equal Act, updating parentage laws and giving same-sex parents legal recognition, legislation that was inspired by a private member’s bill put forth by DiNovo.
With files from Rob Ferguson
‘Radical reverend’ NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo is leaving politics for the church
NEW YORK—When Hillary Clinton took the guest’s seat on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she was in a mood to put Russian President Vladimir Putin on the psychiatrist’s couch.
Clinton said Tuesday night that Putin interfered in the presidential election in part because of her work as U.S. secretary of state, which brought the two into conflict on various occasions. That, she said, evolved into a grudge on his part.
She said the fact she’s a woman “does seem to get him agitated.” And she mocked Putin for “manspreading” at one meeting. That’s an aggressive posture where a man sits with legs splayed.
And she says Putin is “tied up with his anger and disappointment” with the Soviet Union’s collapse.
Meantime Clinton called U.S. President Donald Trump’s UN speech “very dark, dangerous.”
Read more: American politics: Reading the election
Hillary Clinton mocks ‘manspreading’ Putin on Colbert’s ‘Late Show’
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—One of the strongest hurricanes ever to hit Puerto Rico pummeled the island Wednesday, tearing off roofs and doors, toppling cell towers and unleashing heavy flooding in an onslaught that could deepen the U.S. territory’s financial crisis.
Maria, which left at least nine people dead in its wake across the Caribbean, blew ashore in the morning in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 250 km/h.
It was expected to punish the island with life-threatening winds for 12 to 24 hours.
As people took cover inside stairwells, bathrooms and closets, Maria slowly crossed the island, knocking down communication towers, snapping trees and unloading at least 50 centimetres of rain. Widespread flooding was reported across the island, with dozens of cars half-submerged in some neighbourhoods and many streets turned into rivers.
People calling local radio stations reported that doors were being torn off their hinges and a water tank flew away.
The storm threatened to ravage the island’s already crumbling power grid and worsen its economic woes.
Puerto Rico is struggling to restructure a portion of its $73 billion (U.S.) public debt, and the government has warned it is running out of money as it deals with furloughs and other austerity measures imposed by a federal board overseeing the island’s finances.
Gov. Ricardo Rossello urged people to have faith: “We are stronger than any hurricane. Together, we will rebuild.”
He later asked U.S. President Donald Trump to declare the island a disaster zone, a step that would open the way to federal aid.
El Nuevo Dia newspaper reported that 80 per cent of homes in a small fishing community near San Juan were damaged, and that an emergency medical station in the coastal town of Arecibo lost its roof, while communication was severed with several emergency management posts. A hospital and a police station reported broken windows, and a tree fell on an ambulance.
About 90 per cent of customers were without power. Those who sought shelter at a coliseum in San Juan were moved to the building’s second and third floors, radio station WKAQ-AM reported.
Many feared that extended power outages would further sink businesses already struggling amid a recession that has lasted more than a decade.
“This is going to be a disaster,” said Jean Robert Auguste, who owns two French restaurants and sought shelter at a San Juan hotel. “We haven’t made any money this month.”
The heavy winds and rain and the noise of things crashing outside woke many across Puerto Rico before dawn. At one recently built hotel in San Juan, water dripped through the ceiling of a sixth-floor room and seeped through the window.
“I didn’t sleep at all,” said Merike Mai, a 35-year-old flight attendant from Estonia who was vacationing in Puerto Rico and tried to leave ahead of the storm.
As of late morning, the storm was centred about 40 kilometres west of San Juan with Category 4 winds of 220 km/h. It was moving to the northwest at 19 km/h.
Previously a Category 5 with 281 km/h winds, Maria hit Puerto Rico as the third strongest storm to make landfall in the United States based on a key measurement that meteorologists use: air pressure. The lower the central pressure, the stronger a storm is. Maria’s pressure was 917 millibars, lower than Irma’s 929 millibars when it roared into the Florida Keys earlier this month.
Maria struck less than two weeks after Puerto Rico got sideswiped by hurricane Irma, which caused no deaths or widespread damage on the island but left more than 1 million people without electricity. More than 70,000 people were still without power as Maria approached.
Hurricanes tend to veer north or south of the island. The last Category 4 hurricane to blow ashore in Puerto Rico was in 1932, and the strongest ever to hit the island was San Felipe in 1928 with winds of 250 km/h.
As Maria approached, Trump offered his support via Twitter: “Puerto Rico being hit hard by new monster Hurricane. Be careful, our hearts are with you—will be there to help!”
More than 4,400 people were in shelters by late Tuesday, the governor said.
The storm’s centre passed near or over St. Croix overnight Tuesday, prompting U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp to warn people to remain alert. St. Croix was largely spared the widespread damage caused by Irma on the chain’s St. Thomas and St. John islands.
“For folks in their homes, I really recommend that you not be in any kind of sleepwear,” Mapp said. “Make sure you have your shoes on. Make sure you have a jacket around.” He added: “I don’t really recommend you be sleeping from 11 o’clock to 4.”
Maria killed two people in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, and two people aboard a boat were reported missing off La Desirade island, officials said.
The storm also slammed the island of Dominica late Monday. Hartley Henry, an adviser to the prime minister, reported at least seven deaths and a “tremendous loss of housing and public buildings.” He said the country was “in a daze,” with no electricity and little to no communications.
“The situation is really grave,” Consul General Barbara Dailey said in New York.
Hurricane Maria hits Puerto Rico after devastating Dominica
MEXICO CITY—They arrived alone, in pairs or in groups. Some brought supplies others might need: water, blankets, medicine, tools. Others came with nothing more than able hands and a sense of purpose.
And as midnight neared on Tuesday — hours after a powerful, deadly earthquake struck central Mexico — Parque España, the verdant refuge of dog-walkers and young lovers in the Condesa neighbourhood of the capital, had become the venue for something else: a frenetic, impromptu relief centre, where hundreds of volunteers, under the leadership of nobody in particular, had created an emergency distribution point for food and supplies.
“It’s very characteristic of the Mexican people: We stand together,” said Christian Pineiro, 21, a medical student, who was helping a team of doctors hand out medication. Behind him, in the darkness, supplies were being frantically passed along bucket lines of volunteers that snaked from one side of the park to the other.
“Independent of the fact that there are gangs and crime,” Pineiro continued, “the people unify against adversity.”
The earthquake killed more than 200 people in several states, flattened scores of buildings in Mexico City alone and damaged thousands of others. Among the dead were more than 20 schoolchildren. The quake, which came two weeks after another devastating temblor off the country’s southern coast, was centred about 150 kilometres from the capital and was followed by at least 11 aftershocks. Millions of people were left without electricity, and President Enrique Pena Nieto said emergency workers were being sent to affected areas.
Throughout much of Mexico City on Tuesday, nightfall brought an eerie quietude, as businesses closed early and people sought the succour of their families at home. But in the hardest hit neighbourhoods, the landscape was different: blocks cast in darkness from power failures were punctuated by nodes of intense activity.
On another block in Condesa, a traffic circle had been converted into a small, noisy redistribution point. Trucks, cars, motorcycles arrived, a couple every minute, to drop off supplies, which were sorted, repackaged and sent back out into the city.
Many of the volunteers were from the surrounding blocks, while others had travelled from farther away. It was a scrum of hustle and loud voices; the energy belied the hour but underscored the urgency.
“We’re neighbours,” said Magdalena Camarillo, 27, an internet technology programmer, who was helping to receive and load packages.
It was as though the collective memory of the devastating 1985 earthquake seemed to animate the city: Back then, the authorities failed to act quickly and citizens took the lead in what is now considered the birth of civil society in Mexico.
“This is what I did 30 years ago, because it’s a way I know I can help,” said Marta García as she handed coffee and snacks to police officers, paramedics, volunteers and passersby near a collapsed residential building in the Del Valle neighbourhood.
The federal and local governments reacted much faster this time around, but as midnight neared, there was still a considerable sense of improvisation.
People milling near several affected sites in Del Valle were unsure where to leave the donated water, food, blankets and first aid kits. Officials, overwhelmed by the number of Mexicans trying to help, redirected them to other zones.
“Right now there really aren’t any instructions from the top down or anything,” said Monica Valerio, a teacher and the member of a cycling group that co-ordinated a rubble-clearing crew on social media. “There are more pairs of hands that we know what to do with, which is amazing, but we also need to find order among the mess to help more efficiently.”
On a grassy avenue in Condesa, hundreds more gathered in an effort to help clear the rubble of a collapsed eight-storey apartment building. Under the glare of portable floodlights, in air thick with dust, the volunteers had formed long lines to pass buckets full of crumbled concrete, twisted metal and splintered wood to waiting dump trucks.
Sirens whooped in the distance then faded. From time to time, a scrum of rescue workers in jumpsuits and hard hats would stride out of the darkness, moving briskly, then circumnavigate a cat’s-cradle of police tape and disappear around a corner.
In an Art Deco house on Laredo Street in Condesa that normally serves as an office building, an informal command centre had been set up for the families of those trapped under the rubble of a building across the street.
Doctors and psychologists waited on call as relatives made their way inside to ask for information. Outside volunteers gathered medicine and water.
Mony de Swaan, a resident who was co-ordinating the centre by the light of cellphones, said that as many as seven people remained trapped. With the help of the building’s doorman who had escaped, he had made a list of residents in the seven-story building.
A young woman approached the table. “My mother’s name is Mari,” she told Mr. de Swaan. “On the second floor.”
He answered her gently. “She is still inside,” he said. “On the second floor, Mari, Lorna and Consuelo are still inside.”
The missing woman, Maria Ignacia Cruz, had travelled every day from her home in a poor suburb to look after an elderly lady, said Cruz’s husband, Alberto Arrellano Nicolas, sitting almost mute with worry. His adult daughter and son sat on a sofa, talking quietly with a psychologist as they tried to hold back their tears.
On a darkened street in the Roma Norte neighbourhood, away from the commotion of relief efforts, a group of neighbours gathered on the street, sitting on chairs and blankets. The authorities had barred them from returning home because their apartment building adjoined a damaged one, putting both structures at risk.
Others in the city, however, were simply too unnerved to return home, out of fear of aftershocks or hidden damage, choosing instead to seek shelter with relatives and friends elsewhere.
The earthquake terrified Silvia Bustamante, 65, too, but she was unwilling to abandon the apartment she has called home for 40 years. So she came up with a compromise: She pitched a tent in the lobby, a few feet from the sidewalk.
“We’re traumatized,” Bustamante said as she stood outside her building, watching the traffic of relief workers. “I dread the thought of being upstairs and not being able to get down in time.”
Her block lay in darkness. The lights of skyscrapers on the city’s main Reforma Avenue less than a mile away seemed a very distant reminder of normalcy.
Hundreds of volunteers frantically work to rescue, comfort Mexico’s quake victims
Volkswagen Canada’s offices in Ajax have been raided as a pollution charge was laid against the company in the international emissions scandal that broke two years ago.
The action by Ontario Ministry of Environment investigators took place Tuesday, four days after Volkswagen was charged with causing or permitting the operation of vehicles that did not comply with provincial emissions standards.
“The execution of the search warrant is part of the ministry’s continuing investigation into this matter,” Environment Minister Chris Ballard said in a statement Wednesday.
He declined to release further details, saying “the case is before the courts.”
Volkswagen Canada officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Ballard did not explain the time lag in the charges given that Volkswagen pleaded guilty in the United States last March to defrauding the U.S. government in a scheme to cheat diesel emission rules.
The company agreed to pay $4.3 billion (U.S.) in penalties, on top of billions more to buy back cars.
In April, Ontario Superior Court ruled members of a $2.1 billion class-action lawsuit against Volkswagen could begin submitting claims for reimbursement.
About 105,000 Canadians who bought or leased some Volkswagen or Audi vehicles with two-litre diesel engines will get between $5,100 and $8,000.
They also have the option of returning their vehicle at a buyback price set as September 2015 levels before the so-called “defeat device” was made public — or they can keep their cars and get an emissions system modification approved by government regulators.
Worldwide, 11 million cars were equipped with software that detected when cars were being tested and turned off environmental controls during normal driving. In the U.S., this resulted in pollution of 40 times the legal limit for nitrogen oxide.
Volkswagen’s Ajax offices raided after environmental charge laid in emissions scandal