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    MONTREAL—Police believe they have found the body of an elderly man whose car was used as a getaway vehicle in a murder-kidnapping case that stretched across a vast area of western Quebec and eastern Ontario.

    Yvon Lacasse, 71, was the owner of a 2006 Honda CRV that was allegedly used by a man, who is charged with the killing of his spouse last Thursday evening in St-Eustache, Que., and the kidnapping of his six-year-old son.

    A spokesperson with the Sûreté du Québec, Stephane Tremblay, said that a search team discovered a dead body in the village of Arundel, Que., Wednesday.

    “Everything leads us to believe that it is the body of Mr. Lacasse, but we have to wait for a formal identification to be made by the coroner,” Tremblay said.

    The body was found about 50 kilometres north of Lachute, Que., where police have said they believe that the alleged kidnapper abandoned the pick-up truck he had been using and took Lacasse’s Honda CR-V.

    Early Friday morning, police have said that the man checked in briefly to a hotel in Rouyn-Noranda, about 600 kilometres northwest of Lachute. He appears to have doubled back on his tracks and was spotted early Friday morning in the town of Maniwaki.

    At around 2:15 p.m. the man was spotted at a bank machine in Napanee, Ont. He was captured a few hours later by Ontario Provincial Police in the town of Griffith, Ont.

    The suspect made a brief court appearance Saturday, but was taken to hospital in Ottawa after reportedly harming himself in his jail cell. On Wednesday, a scheduled bail hearing was postponed because he was still in hospital.


    Police find body in Quebec murder-kidnapping casePolice find body in Quebec murder-kidnapping case

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    SEOUL, KOREA, REPUBLIC OF—North Korea’s foreign minister has described U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to destroy his country as “the sound of a dog barking.”

    The comments are the North’s first response to Trump’s debut speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, during which he vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if provoked. Trump also called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “Rocket man.”

    The North’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters in New York late Wednesday that “It would be a dog’s dream if he intended to scare us with the sound of a dog barking.”

    South Korean TV footage also showed Ri saying he feels “sorry for his aides” when he was asked about Trump’s “Rocket man” comments. Ri was to give a speech at the UN General Assembly on Friday, according to Yonhap news agency.

    Trump has unleashed many strong statements on North Korea including his August warning the North will be met with “fire and fury.” The North has responded by a slew of weapons tests and warlike and often-mocking rhetoric against Trump. A top North Korean general called Trump’s “fire and fury” threats “a load of nonsense” let out by “a guy bereft of reason.”

    The rhetorical battle came as outside experts say North Korea is getting closer to achieve its long-stated goal of building nuclear-armed missiles capable hitting anywhere in the U.S. mainland.

    Earlier this month, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date and it was subsequently slapped with fresh, tough UN sanctions. North Korea later fired a ballistic missile over Japan and the U.S. military flew powerful bombers and stealth fighter jets over the Korean Peninsula and near Japan in a show of force against the North.

    Read more:

    In his most aggressive warning to date, Donald Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea

    ‘Rocket Man’ shot a rare and risky misfire for Trump: Menon

    Trump sets his hair on fire at the UN: Mallick


    Trump’s threat like the ‘sound of dog barking,’ says North Korea’s foreign ministerTrump’s threat like the ‘sound of dog barking,’ says North Korea’s foreign minister

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    MEXICO CITY—A delicate effort to reach a young girl buried in the ruins of her school stretched into a new day on Thursday, a vigil broadcast across the nation as rescue workers struggled in rain and darkness to pick away unstable debris and reach her.

    The sight of her wiggling fingers early Wednesday became a symbol for the hope that drove thousands of professionals and volunteers to work frantically at dozens of wrecked buildings across the capital and nearby states looking for survivors of the magnitude 7.1 quake that killed at least 245 people in central Mexico and injured over 2,000.

    Mexico’s navy announced early Thursday it had recovered the body of a school worker from the Enrique Rebsamen school, but still had not been able to rescue the trapped child.

    Read more: Anguish, agony and elation fill the air as Mexican rescuers dig frantically into quake rubble

    Mexico’s deadliest earthquake in decades leaves at least 230 dead

    Rescuers removed dirt bucketful by bucketful and passed a scanner over the rubble every hour or so to search for heat signatures that could indicate trapped survivors. Shortly before dawn the pile shuddered ominously, prompting those working atop it to evacuate.

    “We are just metres away from getting to the children, but we can’t access it until it is shored up,” said Vladimir Navarro, a university employee who was exhausted after working all night. “With the shaking there has been, it is very unstable and taking any decision is dangerous.”

    Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said the number of confirmed dead in the capital had risen from 100 to 115. An earlier federal government statement had put the overall toll at 230, including 100 deaths in Mexico City.

    Mancera also said two women and a man had been pulled alive from a collapsed office building in the city’s centre Wednesday night, almost 36 hours after the quake.

    President Enrique Pena Nieto declared three days of mourning while soldiers, police, firefighters and everyday citizens kept digging through rubble, at times with their hands gaining an inch at a time, at times with cranes and backhoes to lift heavy slabs of concrete.

    “There are still people groaning. There are three more floors to remove rubble from. And you still hear people in there,” said Evodio Dario Marcelino, a volunteer who was working with dozens of others at a collapsed apartment building.

    A man was pulled alive from a partly collapsed apartment building in northern Mexico City more than 24 hours after the Tuesday quake and taken away in a stretcher, apparently conscious

    In all, 52 people had been rescued alive since the quake, the city’s Social Development Department said, adding in a tweet: “We won’t stop.” It was a race against time, Pena Nieto warned in a tweet of his own saying that “every minute counts to save lives.”

    But the country’s attention focused on the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school on the city’s south side, where 21 children and five adults have now been confirmed dead.

    Hopes rose Wednesday when workers told local media they had detected signs that one girl was alive and she speaking to them through a hole dug in the rubble. Thermal imaging suggested several more people might be in the airspace around her.

    A volunteer rescue worker, Hector Mendez, said cameras lowered into the rubble suggested there might be four people still inside, but he added that it wasn’t clear if anyone beside the girl was alive.

    Dr. Alfredo Vega, who was working with the rescue team, said that a girl who he identified only as “Frida Sofia” had been located alive under the pancaked floor slabs.

    Vega said “she is alive, and she is telling us that there are five more children alive” in the same space.

    But the navy said the identity of the girl is unclear because no relatives of the child have come forward with information.

    The debris removed from the school changed as crews worked their way deeper, from huge chunks of brick and concrete to pieces of wood that looked like remnants of desks and panelling to a load that contained a half dozen sparkly hula-hoops.

    Rescuers carried in lengths of wide steel pipe big enough for someone to crawl through, apparently trying to create a tunnel into the collapsed slabs of the three-story school building. But a heavy rain fell during the night, and the tottering pile of rubble had to be shored up with hundreds of wooden beams.

    People have rallied to help their neighbours in a huge volunteer effort that includes people from all walks of life in Mexico City, where social classes seldom mix. Doctors, dentists and lawyers stood alongside construction workers and street sweepers, handing buckets of debris or chunks of concrete hand-to-hand down the line.

    At a collapsed factory building closer to the city’s centre, giant cranes lifted huge slabs of concrete from the towering pile of rubble, like peeling layers from an onion. Workers with hand tools would quickly move in to look for signs of survivors and begin attacking the next layer.

    Government rescue worker Alejandro Herrera said three bodies had been found Wednesday afternoon at the factory.

    “There are sounds (beneath the rubble), but we don’t know if they are coming from inside or if it is the sound of the rubble,” Herrera said.

    Not only humans were pulled out.

    Mexico City police said rescue workers clearing wreckage from a collapsed medical laboratory in the Roma neighbourhood found and removed 40 lab rabbits and 13 lab rats used by the firm that had occupied the building, now a pile of beams and rubble.

    In addition to those killed in Mexico City, the federal civil defence agency said 69 died in Morelos state just south of the capital and 43 in Puebla state to the southeast, where the quake was centred. The rest of the deaths were in Mexico State, which borders Mexico City on three sides, Guerrero and Oaxaca states.


    ‘Every minute counts to save lives’: Rescue workers in Mexico digging to try to reach survivors‘Every minute counts to save lives’: Rescue workers in Mexico digging to try to reach survivors

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    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO—Rescuers fanned out to reach stunned victims Thursday after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, knocking out electricity to the entire island and triggering landslides and floods.

    The extent of the damage is unknown given that dozens of municipalities remained isolated and without communication after Maria hit the island Wednesday morning as a Category 4 storm with 249 km/h winds, the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years.

    Uprooted trees and widespread flooding blocked many highways and streets across the island, creating a maze that forced drivers to go against traffic and past police cars that used loudspeakers to warn people they must respect a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew imposed by the governor to ensure everyone’s safety.

    “This is going to be a historic event for Puerto Rico,” said Abner Gomez, the island’s emergency management director.

    U.S. President Donald Trump approved a federal disaster declaration for Puerto Rico.

    Previously a Category 5 with 281 km/h winds, Maria hit Puerto Rico as the third-strongest storm to make landfall in the U.S., based on its central pressure. It was even stronger than Hurricane Irma when that storm roared into the Florida Keys earlier this month.

    In the capital of San Juan, towering eucalyptus trees fell nearly every other block over a main road dotted with popular bars, restaurants, and coffee shops, some of which were damaged. Outside a nearby apartment building, 40-year-old tourism company operator Adrian Pacheco recounted how he spent eight hours in a stairwell huddled with 100 other residents when the hurricane ripped the storm shutters off his building and decimated three balconies.

    “I think people didn’t expect the storm to reach the point that it did,” he said. “Since Irma never really happened, they thought Maria would be the same.”

    Read more:

    Mother desperate for news of daughter after Hurricane Maria strikes Caribbean islands

    Caribbean medical schools were welcoming to U.S. and Canadian students. Then came the hurricanes

    Hurricane Irma side-swiped Puerto Rico on Sept. 6, leaving more than 1 million people without power but causing no deaths or widespread damage like it did on nearby islands. Maria, however, blew out windows at some hospitals and police stations, turned some streets into roaring rivers and destroyed hundreds of homes across Puerto Rico, including 80 per cent of houses in a small fishing community near the San Juan Bay, which unleashed a storm surge of more than 4 feet.

    “Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this,” Felix Delgado, mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told The Associated Press.

    The sound of chain saws began to fill the silence that spread across San Juan late Wednesday afternoon as firefighters began to remove trees and used small bulldozers to lift toppled concrete light posts. Some neighbours pitched in to help clear the smaller branches, including Shawn Zimmerman, a 27-year-old student from Lewistown, Pennsylvania who moved to Puerto Rico nearly two years ago.

    “The storm didn’t bother me,” he said. “It’s the devastation. I get goosebumps. It’s going to take us a long time.”

    Maria has caused at least 10 deaths across the Caribbean, including seven in the hard-hit island of Dominica and two in the French Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe. Puerto Rico’s governor told CNN one man died after being hit by flying debris. No further details were available, and officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

    Dominica Tourism Minister Robert Tonge described his badly damaged country three days after Hurricane Maria made landfall in the eastern Caribbean island. An update from him said the capital of Roseau still had severe flooding and there was heavy damage throughout the city. The hospital and a community centre both lost roofs.

    One of two airports serving the country was inoperable while the other was expected to be operational in the coming days. An estimated 95 per cent of the roofs were blown off in some towns, including Mahaut and Portsmouth.

    Maria weakened to a Category 2 storm later in the day but restrengthened to Category 3 status early Thursday with winds of 185 km/h. According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, the storm was centred about 175 kilometres east-northeast of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, and moving northwest at 15 km/h. The eye of the storm is expected to approach the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeastern Bahamas late Thursday and early Friday.

    The hurricane was still dumping rain overnight Wednesday in Puerto Rico, where crumbled red roof tiles lay scattered across many roads, and curious residents sidestepped and ducked under dozens of black power lines still swaying in heavy winds. But they posed no danger: Maria caused an island-wide power outage, with officials unable to say when electricity would return.

    Puerto Rico’s electric grid was crumbling amid lack of maintenance and a dwindling staff even before the hurricanes knocked out power. Many now believe it will take weeks, if not months, to restore power.

    Edwin Rosario, a 79-year-old retired government worker, said an economic crisis that has sparked an exodus of nearly half a million Puerto Ricans to the U.S. mainland will only make the island’s recovery harder.

    “Only us old people are left,” he said as he scraped a street gutter in front of his house free of debris. “A lot of young people have already gone . . . If we don’t unite, we’re not going to bounce back.”


    Hurricane Maria heads for Dominican Republic after destruction in Puerto RicoHurricane Maria heads for Dominican Republic after destruction in Puerto Rico

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    “Maybe the gods are listening,” says the second-floor resident of an apartment tower near Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave. as a breeze blows in from her sliding glass door.

    It is little respite in her 274-unit building at 44 Jackes Ave. during an unseasonably warm September after management shut off the air conditioning earlier this month.

    “They don’t even tell you where to go to talk to somebody because they don’t want to talk to us,” said the woman, who is retired and not in good health. She, like other residents, declined to give her name. “It’s not very nice here at all . . . . This is the way it’s always been.”

    Councillors say tenants across the city are currently living in “intolerable” conditions, with some residents reporting temperatures in their units as high as 30 C.

    At a press conference Wednesday, tenant issues committee chair Councillor Josh Matlow and board of health chair Councillor Joe Mihevc urged landlords of buildings with air conditioning to keep it on through the heat wave.

    “There are a significant number of people who are baking in their homes right now,” said Matlow (Ward 22 St. Paul’s). He called on landlords to “use common sense.”

    Landlords genuinely wanting to be compliant with a city bylaw governing rented units are misunderstanding the rules, the councillors said.

    The bylaw dictates a minimum temperature of 21 C between Sept. 15 and June 1st. But the bylaw does not say air conditioning must be turned off, or that the heating system must be turned on starting Sept. 15, Matlow said.

    “There’s nothing in there that says flip the switch,” he said. “So, if Mother Nature isn’t taking care of it, yes, flip the switch, get the boiler going, get the heat on. But in this case, everyone in Toronto knows that Mother Nature is working overtime. So, she’s taking care of the heat. I want landlords to take care of their tenants.”

    Mihevc said his Ward 21 (St. Paul’s) office has been “inundated” with calls from those in hot buildings. In some older towers, the councillors said, centralized heating and cooling systems act as ventilation as well. And rules restricting how much apartment windows can open have exacerbated the problem.

    “One of the residents in one of these three buildings actually had to be hospitalized because of the lack of ventilation,” Mihevc said.

    The councillors said landlords worried about the time it takes to switch over from air conditioning to heating if temperatures drop quickly won’t be prosecuted by the city’s bylaw enforcement for using their best judgment and doing their due diligence to comply with the rules.

    Management at 44 Jackes Ave. did not immediately return requests for comment.

    In the long-term, Matlow said Mayor John Tory is supportive of a review of the bylaw to allow for greater clarity and nuance to better protect tenants’ health. Matlow said he hopes changes will come this spring.


    People are ‘baking in their homes right now’: Councillors urge landlords to keep the A/C onPeople are ‘baking in their homes right now’: Councillors urge landlords to keep the A/C on

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    If a social debate is based on fuzzy ideas accumulated from something read somewhere, sometime, an academically published view is the antithesis of it, based on rigorous research, citations and knowledge. Before being published, it is peer-reviewed, or tested for accuracy and integrity by someone with subject matter expertise.

    This process is at the heart of a controversy roiling the academic community after the Third World Quarterly, a reputable British journal on global politics, published a piece earlier this month titled “The case for colonialism” by Bruce Gilley, a Princeton University Ph.D and Portland State University professor.

    (Although “third world” is now considered a derogatory term, the 40-year-old journal’s name derived from the non-aligned movement of countries who did not want to support either side of the Cold War.)

    In his article, Gilley says colonialism has been unjustly vilified, that it was legitimate and its “civilizing mission” was in fact beneficial. He also writes that it is time to re-colonize parts of the world and create “new Western colonies from scratch” because developing countries are failing at self-governance and anti-colonial ideology was harmful to native populations.

    The reaction was explosive, targeted at both the article and the journal’s decision to publish it. A petition calling for the article’s retraction gathered more than 10,000 signatures. On Tuesday, roughly half of the journal’s 34 editorial board members resigned in protest.

    Two researchers writing for a London School of Economics blog called the piece“a travesty, the academic equivalent of a Trump tweet, clickbait with footnotes.”

    That it appeared in a respected journal devoted to anti-colonial politics, made it “the equivalent of a journal devoted to Holocaust studies publishing that the Holocaust didn’t happen,” according to Ilan Kapoor, a York University professor at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, who was one of the board members who quit.

    The primary problem, though, revolved around whether the piece published under the label “Viewpoint” passed the scholarship test for publication.

    “As with all articles in the journal, this Viewpoint did undergo double-blind peer review and was subsequently published,” said Shahid Qadir, editor-in-chief of the quarterly in a statement.

    In a double-blind review, the author’s and reviewer’s identities are withheld from each other.

    The editorial board members say they asked for but didn’t get copies of the review. They also say the article was not passed, but rejected by three reviewers. (Qadir did not respond to my requests for comment on this.)

    “The piece in question was rejected by two peers who were editors of a special issue on ‘Whatever happened to the idea of imperialism?’ and then it was further rejected by another peer,” said Lisa Ann Richey, a scholar from Denmark currently at Duke University in the U.S.

    “There was a remedy available last week — to retract the piece and apologize for the gross error — and this remedy was not implemented by the editor. After this disappointing outcome, the only option available for anyone sitting on the Board who wanted to stand for academic integrity was to resign.”

    Kapoor said, “This discrepancy between what the editor has told us and what we have found is highly problematic.”.

    Meanwhile, the piece is being torn apart by academics on factual grounds.

    “Gilley says he is simply asking for an unbiased assessment of the facts, that he just wants us to take off our ideological blinders and examine colonialism from an empirical perspective,” writes Nathan Robinson in a scathing piece in Current Affairs.

    “But this is not what he has done. Instead … (he has concealed) evidence of gross crimes against humanity.”

    For instance, he omits any mention of the first 300 years of Western colonization because it’s “impossible to spin it,” as beneficial to native populations, says Robinson. Or he quotes a Congolese man saying, “Maybe the Belgians should come back” and entirely bypasses Belgian King Leopold’s reign of terror in the Congo that scandalized the world.

    In the think tank Cato Institute’s blog, Sahar Khan gives five examples of how the piece is “empirically and historically inaccurate.”

    For instance, “Gilley attributes the abolition of slave-trading to colonialism, which in addition to being ridiculous, is factually incorrect … Systematic decolonization and subsequent wars of independence eventually ended the slave trade.”

    The unexplained publication of a piece that does not meet academic standards of quality should sound alarm bells for those of us outside the ivory towers, too.

    The desire to appear even-handed under pressure from faux free-speech defenders has created a damaging false equivalency model in mainstream media, where the compulsion to get “the other side” means unfounded ideas are given the same weight as sound reasoning.

    Despite the imperfections of academia, academically credited facts established with rigour, empirical evidence and scholarship remain a credible tool to fight climate change deniers, racism deniers, anti-vaxxers or any one floating in the universe of “alternative facts.”

    Not condemning this attempt to Breitbart-ize academia will effectively wipe out the role of accountability in fact-gathering and remove any barriers to revisiting lasting atrocities of our past.

    Shree Paradkar writes about discrimination and identity. You can follow her @shreeparadkar


    How an article defending colonialism was ever published is a mystery roiling academia: ParadkarHow an article defending colonialism was ever published is a mystery roiling academia: Paradkar

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    The TTC is suing Manulife Financial for as much of $5 million in connection with a benefits plan administered by the company and allegedly defrauded by TTC employees.

    The transit service announced Thursday it was proceeding with a claim in Ontario Superior Court of Justice originally filed last year.

    “The TTC alleges that Manulife Financial did not have appropriate fraud management controls in place nor were there systems in place to detect and analyze unusual trends or patterns that might indicate fraud or abuse,” a news release states.

    “The TTC maintains that Manulife breached its duties of care, which contributed to the losses suffered by the TTC and, thus, the public.”

    Manulife officials have not yet responded to the Star’s request for comment. The TTC has asked them to officially respond to the lawsuit within three weeks.

    Amid concerns about the TTC claims — and those of other city employees who got large quantities of erectile dysfunction drug Viagra and the powerful painkiller Fentanyl — Manulife was replaced as the city’s plan administrator at the end of 2016 by Green Shield Canada, which won a five-year contract.

    The TTC was tipped in 2014 that employees were making claims to a company called Healthy Fit for orthotics, braces, and other medical devices through the Manulife-administered city benefits plan.

    No devices or services were provided, or costs were inflated. Healthy Fit and the employees, and their eligible family members, split benefits payouts totaling millions of dollars.

    Last week, Healthy Fit proprietor Adam Smith of Mississauga pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud over $5,000. He was sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary.

    The TTC says that, to date, 170 TTC employees have been fired or resigned, or retired early to avoid dismissal, while 10 former employees face criminal charges.

    TTC investigators continue to interview employees. When evidence suggests improper benefits billing, repayment is demanded and they face discipline that can include dismissal.

    The transit service says its annual benefit costs for 2016 were down almost $5 million from the previous year.

    Toronto’s auditor general has been digging into fraudulent claims for city employees, including prescribed drugs, massage therapy, orthotic supports and braces, and more.

    Beverly Romeo-Beehler earlier this year called on the city to toughen fraud-protection mechanisms and said that, since Manulife is no longer administering the benefits plans, and is not obliged to co-operate with her probes, she had abandoned plans for an audit focused on dental claims.


    TTC launches lawsuit against Manulife FinancialTTC launches lawsuit against Manulife Financial

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    A 29-year-old woman with Down syndrome has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario after two Toronto police officers were recorded mocking her during a traffic stop.

    Francie Munoz argues the behaviour displayed by Const. Sasa Sljivo and Const. Matthew Saris on Nov. 5, 2016 amounts to discrimination on the grounds of disability.

    She says in the complaint that she has suffered emotional trauma as a result of the incident, and that it has undermined her trust in law enforcement.

    Sljivo and Saris are facing a disciplinary hearing on charges under the Police Services Act, with the next hearing scheduled for Oct. 18.

    Police documents show Sljivo is charged with misconduct related to the use of profane, abusive or insulting language, while Saris is charged with misconduct related to the failure to report Sljivo’s comments.

    The officers have not said how they will plead, though they have issued a written apology for the incident, calling it a “lapse in judgment.”

    Munoz’s family has consistently asked for a public apology — a request repeated in the human rights complaint.

    In the document, Munoz says the officers offered through their union to apologize privately but have balked at doing so publicly. Their behaviour while appearing before the disciplinary hearing only compounded the issue, she alleges.

    “At no point did the officers greet or look at the applicant, let alone make any effort to say words of apology or regret. Being ignored by the officers when they had the opportunity to say or do something deepened the applicant’s feeling of injury,” the complaint says.

    Read more:

    Supporters of woman with Down syndrome pack hearing for police officers caught mocking her

    Toronto officers caught mocking woman with Down syndrome face Police Service Act charges

    Police bullying of woman with Down syndrome should not be tolerated: Editorial

    The officers’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Munoz asks for an order to make Toronto’s police chief publicly apologize and express his commitment to ensure that all officers in the force undergo human rights training on working with people with disabilities.

    She also asks that the force be ordered to implement a more rigorous screening process for new officers “to identify pre-existing biases or prejudices, especially in regards to those with disabilities.”

    The complaint says the comments were made inside a police cruiser after the officers pulled over Munoz’s mother, Pamela Munoz, on allegations that she had run a red light. Francie Munoz was a passenger in the back seat.

    While preparing to fight the $325 ticket months later, Munoz’s mother requested the evidence against her and obtained an audio recording of the officers’ conversation.

    Sljivo can be heard describing Munoz as “disfigured” and a “half-person,” while Saris is heard laughing and agreeing, the complaint says.

    Munoz “was inconsolable for days after learning about the officers’ remarks and became anxious and withdrawn in the presence of first responders and other uniformed personnel,” it says.

    “As time passes, it has also become clear that Francie’s self-esteem, confidence and sense of self-worth have all been undermined by the derogatory comments directed at her by persons in a position of power and authority in society, whom she previously looked up to and viewed with respect.”

    Munoz is also seeking $25,000 in damages for harm to dignity and sense of self-worth, as well as $5,000 to cover her legal expenses.

    A hearing over her mother’s ticket has been pushed back to December, the complaint says.


    Woman with Down syndrome files human rights complaint after cops mock her during traffic stopWoman with Down syndrome files human rights complaint after cops mock her during traffic stop

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    She’s not insane. She’s intractable.

    A psychiatric assessment has found her perfectly mentally fit to stand trial.

    Our laws are not her laws. Her law is sharia law.

    She worships at the altar of Islamic State.

    And what this woman is alleged to have done — attack customers and staff at a Canadian Tire outlet last June 3, with a golf club and a large knife and a bow— she vows to attempt again.

    Speaking through an Arabic interpreter in Scarborough court on Wednesday morning — though occasionally in the proceeding she also spoke English, quite competently — Rehab Dughmosh made this declaration: “Tell her I will always be a supporter of the Islamic State until the last day of my life. If you allow me to go out and leave I will do exactly what I tried to do last time and failed.”

    Getting the 32-year-old woman to engage with the court has been like moving a mountain of stubbornness and defiance.

    Read more:

    Toronto woman charged with assault at Scarborough mall

    Mental health assessment ordered for Toronto woman facing terror charges

    Toronto woman accused of terror-related assault again refuses to appear in court

    On two previous occasions, the Syrian-Canadian — and by the way, she wants her Canadian citizenship revoked — has refused to participate in what is now common video-link hearings from her current place of residence, the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton, Ont. Third time ’round, Justice Kimberley Crosbie reluctantly authorized security personnel to bring Dughmosh into the video room at the jail, by whatever means necessary. Thus a “retraction team” somehow got her in front of the camera, face bare. That was in early September.

    Wednesday, the woman walked into the dock, in person, flanked by four court officers. She was clad in a tunic green tracksuit and hijab pulled across her face, revealing only the eyes.

    First words out of her mouth, via interpreter: “I want to stay seated.”

    It is routine for defendants, whilst in the box, to stand when they are being addressed, certainly when they are being formally indicted.

    Last time I witnessed anyone refusing to stand in court, even for a judge’s entrance, was at a Toronto proceeding involving a member of Canada’s notorious Khadr clan. In that instance, mother and sister of the defendant — not Omar, one of his brothers — remained insolently stapled to their seat, presumably to demonstrate their contempt for Canadian courts.

    There is no law but one law and fie on your Canadian institutions.

    Well, inside this Canadian institution, Dughmosh was facing 21 charges, including four counts of attempted murder, with 14 of them related to terror and laid by the RCMP following the original Toronto police investigation of the Canadian Tire incident at Cedarbrae Mall, which resulted in a clutch of plain old criminal charges — assault, assault with a weapon, threatening death etc.

    On Monday, the registrar read out the 14 terrorism-related charges — apparently the original criminal offences have been folded in — in the formal indictment procedure, charges laid under Section 83.18 (1) of the Criminal Code. To wit: Every one who knowingly participates in or contributes to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.”

    But before we got that far, Crosbie, overweening in her patience and decorum, wanted to make absolutely certain that the defendant understood what was happening in the aftermath of the psychiatric assessment report received by the court several weeks ago. “As a result of that report, I have no reason to believe that you are not fit to stand trial. We need to determine what the next step is. You told me (at an earlier proceeding) you wished to plead guilty.”

    Dughmosh: “No. I am not guilty.”

    Alrighty then.

    Crosbie explained the three options available to the defendant: To have a trial, in Ontario Court, under another judge; to opt for trial before a judge at the Superior Court of Justice; or to go for Door No. 3 — Superior Court, with a judge and jury.

    Dughmosh: Nope, none of the above. “Not even one.”

    Continuing: “All you non-believers. I do not believe what you believe. Tell her I am still a supporter of the Islamic State and I am not guilty and I don’t want to go to bail court.”

    More patience from Crosbie. “This is not bail court.’’

    Dughmosh: “OK. So I decide and I determine and I don’t have to be here.”

    Crosbie: “If you do not make a choice, I will deem that you would wish to be tried before a judge and jury.”

    Dughmosh: “I don’t want anyone. Stop the court!”

    Dughmosh has repeatedly rejected representation by a lawyer and expressed no wish for a preliminary hearing in the matter. Federal Crown Bradley Reitz told Crosbie he wanted to go straight to trial. And that’s what is going to happen.

    It is too easy, too glib, to posit that individuals who believe as Dughmosh apparently does — in militant jihad, in the apostasy of secular laws — are screwy in the head rather than genuinely Islamist inspired. But Dughmosh, according to her psychiatric assessment, isn’t a loon, at least in so far as she understands her predicament and the legal process. She was committed enough, police alleged when they laid the first charges, to have gone overseas with the objective of joining Islamic State, or ISIS or Daesh, or whatever we’re calling it these days in hypercorrect company, in Syria but was intercepted in Turkey and sent back to Canada.

    She does have issues, though.

    “They have sent me to the hospital to assess if I have a mental problem,” Dughmosh complained to Crosbie. “And if I did have mental problems then I would not continue with the court. And from the beginning in jail they would offer me the medication and they still bring me to court. Can you explain?”

    Crosbie laid down the law, gently. “Whether or not there is any mental issue, when people are told to attend court, they must attend court. That happens two ways: One is on your own volition. Or what happened the last time you appeared on video, by officers bringing you up by force.”

    Dughmosh was apparently still stewing about her treatment in that episode. “I do not forgive them for taking off my head dress . . . they should have taken me in a more humane way.”

    Rather rich coming from someone alleged to have attacked strangers with a knife, a bow and a golf club whilst shouting: “Allahu akbar!” (God is great.)

    She will next be in court, in downtown Toronto, on October 11.

    “Going forward, it’s obviously preferable if you go to court on your own free will,” said Crosbie. “You do not have a choice about that. You must attend court and are required to do so.”

    Dughmosh, from beneath her veil of sagacity: “Then that doesn’t mean it’s real freedom.”

    Rosie DiManno usually appears Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.


    Case of woman accused in Canadian Tire attack like moving a mountain of defiance: DiMannoCase of woman accused in Canadian Tire attack like moving a mountain of defiance: DiManno

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    Two GTA municipalities have a child-care problem on their hands, but not the one that normally comes to mind in the world of daycare woes.

    The region’s of York and Peel say they have no one on their wait lists for child-care subsidies, and a recent boost in millions of dollars in provincial and federal funding means they actually have more money than there seems to be an immediate need for.

    York Region received $14 millon in additional funds in 2017 to spend on its child-care program. Peel says it received a $21 million cash injection in additional federal-provincial funding to put towards making child care more accessible this year.

    Now they just need to find families who need the help.

    That’s why both municipalities are planning to launch campaigns to try to get the word out — specifically aimed at those middle-income earners who may not even know that they qualify for help with daycare costs.

    “I think there are a number of people who automatically disqualify themselves because they don’t know what the income levels might be. They think it’s for people who are very poor or very low-income, and that’s not the case,” said Cordelia Abankwa, the General Manager of Social Services for York Region.

    “There are people who are working on very moderate salaries, who would be able to benefit and who need it,” Abankwa said.

    “People think that if they own their home they might not be eligible, but that’s not always the case,” she said.

    For years, much of the child-care discussion has focused on Toronto, where notoriously high child-care fees, and lower-incomes households have kept the city’s wait list hovering around 15,000 children. Durham Region says they have 2,586 children on their wait list, although a number of kids can’t receive subsidies, as their parents are not working or in school — a necessary criteria for a family to receive support. But both York and Peel say their immediate wait lists were reduced, due to a combination of provincial funding and strategies to target the wait list — including getting out of directly delivering child care.

    In 2016, 14,726 children in Peel received subsidies. In Toronto, the number is 28,975, according to the city’s website. In York Region today, currently 8,300 children receive child-care subsidies.

    Abankwa believes the low demand is not about a lack of need but is simply a lack of awareness.

    “I think the surplus comes down to a lack of knowledge,” she said. “This region has seen a lot of growth and a lot of change. And people don’t necessarily know automatically about our fee subsidy…and for a long time, we did have a wait list,” she said. “People often hear about wait lists in other areas, and I think people tend to assume that in every single area it’s the same. These ideas die hard,” she said.

    Currently, in Peel, only 21 per cent of children use licensed child care, according to Suzanne Finn, the director of Early Years & Child Care Services for Peel. “Some people might have grandparents or a spouse at home…we know licensed child care is not for everybody, but we want to make sure that anyone who wants it, can afford it,” she said.

    Both municipalities say their campaign includes advertising, putting up posters in child-care centres, and engaging directly with child-care providers.

    The province sets out who is eligible for a subsidy using a sliding income scale which is loosely calculated by looking at both household income and the cost of care. For example, a family whose income is around $70,000, could be offered a subsidy to reduce child-care costs to $42 a day per child. Infant care in York Region averages around $1,400 a month, which amounts to $63 a day.

    The province announced a major child-care expansion plan in September 2016 to create licensed child care for 100,000 more children under age 4 over the next five years. Then this spring, municipalities received additional federal money under the Canada-Ontario Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) agreement, a multi-year initiative aimed at helping families access child care and invest in “local priorities.”

    The province also gave municipalities a hard deadline of spending or allocating most of the money by the end of this year — or risk losing it.

    In one York Region report to be discussed by local politicians on Thursday, staff say while money is good to have, it’s been difficult to deal with the influx so quickly.

    “The capacity of the many municipalities, including York Region, to absorb this amount of funding in a limited amount of time will be challenging for several reasons,” says the report. “It takes time to create new child spaces particularly if it involves a capital retrofit or capital expansion, as each space needs to undergo licensing inspection. It also takes time to reach new families who may be eligible for fee assistance through a media campaign and then place them into suitable and accessible child care,” the report says, suggesting the region request the province extend the deadline for expenditure from December 31, 2017 to December 31, 2018 to more effectively use the new funding.

    Heather Irwin, a spokeswoman with the Ministry of Education says “the ministry has been and continues to work very closing with all service system managers including Peel and York to support the planning and implementation of ELCC investments. The province is also monitoring expenditures and how funding is allocated as part of our expansion plan and ELCC to determine how to best target funding in the future,” she said in an email.

    But the timelines are still in place, said Irwin.

    Abankwa says she hopes the campaign encourages residents to reach out to their municipalities — even if they aren’t sure they can get help.

    “We are also hoping that people will take a chance to reach out to us,” she said. “This is an opportunity, where we have the ability to help our residents…and we want families to take advantage of it.”


    York and Peel regions have millions in daycare subsidies available but no one's on the waiting listYork and Peel regions have millions in daycare subsidies available but no one's on the waiting list

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    In the surveillance video, the black male of medium build, approximately 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-11, is seen walking down the stairs of the Toronto restaurant. He wears a hoodie pulled over a baseball cap and tied around his mouth, track pants, and sneakers. Mere blocks away, Toronto International Film Festival events were underway.

    The video — a compilation of five different videos, released on Wednesday by Toronto Police — doesn’t show that he was carrying a handgun. It also doesn’t make clear the colours of the shooter’s outfit, which Detective Shannon Dawson, with the homicide squad, confirmed were dark-coloured.

    It also doesn’t show that at 8:52 p.m. on Sept. 16, the hooded man would kill Simon Giannini — a 54-year-old real estate broker and father of two young boys — in what police are calling a targeted attack.

    Read more:

    Restaurant shooting victim was laughing moments before he was killed, owner says

    Witness at Toronto restaurant feared gunshots were terror attack

    “It was a very brief encounter,” said Dawson, who thanked the public and the business community in the area of Simcoe Street for their co-operation in the investigation.

    “It is still very early in our investigation, and we are keeping all options open and we aren’t close to either that (the shooter) was someone (Giannini) knew or hired,” she said. “We are looking at everything.”

    Dawson said there was no indication Giannini was involved in anything suspicious to cause the shooting, and he has no relationship with the restaurant.

    The only thing clearly distinguishable about the shooter was the letter “B” on the front left side of his chest, and a circular emblem with writing above it on the right.

    You see both details as he walks into the restaurant at 8:51 p.m. with his hands in his pockets. He stops on the stairs to fidget with something before going ahead toward the manager’s desk. A woman in a dress walks by him in the opposite direction, turning her head to glance at him as she walks into the dining area behind a curtain.

    The manager tries to engage him, but he walks right by, heading to the bar area in the back. In a previous statement, restaurant owner Michael Dabic said the manager asked the man if he could help him, as his attire didn’t match the usual dress code of their guests. The shooter told the manager he was there “looking for a friend.”

    Seconds later, the shooter walks back toward the manager’s direction, his left hand held close to his side. He heads straight to the dining room, where Giannini and his friend, and approximately 140 other guests were having dinner at the time.

    Giannini’s table was close to the restaurant’s exit, from where the shooter had entered.

    Dabic told the Star previously that he suspects a guest must have directed the gunman to Giannini’s table. “You just can’t find an individual that quickly,” he said. “Simon’s back was to the hit guy . . . so you have to know where he is.”

    At 8:52 p.m. the hooded man is seen rapidly running back up the stairs and out of the restaurant. Police say he fled southbound of Simcoe Street toward Pearl Street, where he got into the passenger side of a light-coloured Chevrolet Equinox SUV, and headed westward.

    In the video, one person can clearly be seen chasing him.

    Back at the restaurant, some guests were crouching under their table, crying, wondering if it was a terrorist attack. As a restaurant worker helped usher guests out, one member of the staff tried to perform CPR until the ambulance came.

    Later, Giannini would be taken to a hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

    Two years earlier, a shooting took place within Michael’s on Simcoe, but Dawson said police have no reason to believe the two shootings are related.

    Giannini’s friends and family previously told the Star he was an immigrant to Canada from Lebanon and a devoted father. He grew up in Toronto’s east end and was separated from his first wife.

    With files from Tony Wong, Mary Ormsby, Victoria Gibson and Emma McIntosh


    A hurried entrance, a hidden gun and a suspect covering everything: police reveal chilling footage before fatal shootingA hurried entrance, a hidden gun and a suspect covering everything: police reveal chilling footage before fatal shooting

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    NEW YORK—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau intends to use his speech to the United Nations General Assembly to tell a painful story about Canada’s past, the struggles of its Indigenous peoples, and the long road ahead in addressing them.

    Sources say the prime minister will allude Thursday to the legacy of injustices like residential schools, with its longstanding consequences, and his government’s intentions to address them, through steps that include splitting up the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada more than 20 years after it was recommended in a public commission.

    “Tell the story of Canada’s past,” said one official, describing the speech.

    “(It will describe) hundreds of years of injustices to Canada’s Indigenous peoples.”

    But he said the speech will have a forward-looking point that talks about the future, rather than just re-examine difficult events of the past.

    He said the main point of the prime minister’s speech is that Canada won’t hide from the most intractable problems, and will apply that logic to foreign affairs as well as it campaigns for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021.

    “With an acknowledgment that there’s no overnight solution,” said the official.

    “But we will live up to our responsibilities and always be open to looking for solutions... not shying away from big complex problems.”

    The other major aspect of the speech will be climate change, the source said.

    The stark message will be strikingly different from the government boasts about Canada being back on the international stage, and about its policies in its first months in office. But it’s designed to support Canada’s campaign to play a bigger role on that stage, at the Security Council.

    Trudeau met with seven different governments on Wednesday and spoke to three other public events in what insiders described as an effort to lay early groundwork for the Security Council campaign when it’s formally launched.

    Read more:

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    French President Macron defends global co-operation at UN

    In his most aggressive warning to date, Donald Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea


    Trudeau to use UN speech to address struggles of Canada's Indigenous peoplesTrudeau to use UN speech to address struggles of Canada's Indigenous peoples

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    DHAKA—A truck filled with aid for Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh veered off a road and fell into a ditch Thursday morning, killing at least nine aid workers, hours after another aid shipment in the refugees’ violence-wracked home state in Burma was attacked by a Buddhist mob.

    Both shipments were from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Aid groups face different challenges on either side of the border: An influx of more than 420,000 refugees in less than a month in Bangladesh, and in Burma, government resistance and angry allegations from majority Buddhists that international organizations are favouring the long-persecuted Rohingya minority.

    A Bangladeshi medical administrator, Aung Swi Prue, said six people died instantly in the truck crash near the border in southeastern Bandarban district. Three people died after reaching a hospital, and 10 others were injured and are receiving treatment.

    ICRC spokeswoman Misada Saif said all of those killed were Bangladeshi workers hired to distribute food packages to 500 Rohingya families.

    Saif said the truck belongs to the ICRC and Bangladesh Red Crescent Society and was operated by a supplier who has been working for the two agencies for last couple of weeks. She said agency officials are “very shocked and sad.”

    “Our thoughts are with the families of the dead. They were there to help the people who desperately need help,” she said.

    The Rohingya exodus began Aug. 25, after Rohingya insurgent attacks on police set off a military crackdown.

    Read more:

    International indifference fuelled slow-burning Rohingya genocide: Kanji

    Rohingya Muslims being wiped off Burma’s map

    Nobel laureate Suu Kyi dodges ethnic cleansing charges in speech parroting the generals who locked her up

    Hundreds of people have been killed and thousands of homes have been burned in what many Rohingya have described as a systematic effort by Burma’s military to drive them out. The government has blamed the Rohingya, even saying they set fire to their own homes, but the UN and others accuse it of ethnic cleansing.

    Most refugees have ended up in camps in the Bangladeshi district of Cox’s Bazar, which already had hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who had fled prior rounds of violence. Bandarban is a neighbouring district where thousands of Rohingya also have fled.

    The violence in Burma occurred just across the border in Rakhine state, where police said a Buddhist mob threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at officers Wednesday night as they tried to block Red Cross supplies from being loaded onto a boat. The vessel was headed to an area where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have chased from their homes. No injuries were reported and police detained eight of the attackers.

    Dozens of people arrived at a jetty in the Rakhine state capital, Sittwe, as a boat was being loaded bottled water, blankets, mosquito nets, food and other supplies. As the crowd swelled to 300, they started throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at the officers, who responded by firing into the air, said police officer Phyo Wai Kyaw.

    The government of the predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million said police and several monks showed up to try to defuse tensions. The shipment ultimately was loaded and sent to northern Rakhine state.

    Though Burma’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, told diplomats this week humanitarian assistance was being sent to those who remain in northern Rakhine, the government has blocked all UN assistance to the area, granting access to only the Red Cross.

    Buddhists in Rakhine have accused international aid agencies of favouring Rohingya, a group who Burma and many of its people contend migrated illegally from Bangladesh.

    “We are explaining to the community members who approached the boats about the activities of the Red Cross,” said Maria Cecilia Goin, a communications officer at the ICRC in Rangoon.

    “It’s important for them to understand that we are working in neutral and impartial way,” she said, adding that the work is being done “with full transparency with the (Burmese) authorities.”

    Suu Kyi’s speech this week in Naypyitaw, the capital, defended her government’s conduct in Rahkine state and avoided criticism of the military. The country’s top general went a step further, travelling to northern Rakhine on Thursday to praise security forces for their “gallant” efforts to defend Burma

    At a meeting with military officials and their families in Buthiduang township, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Min Aung Hlaing said that more than a century ago when the area was a British colony, Rohingya — whom he referred to as “Bengalis” — were allowed to settle without restrictions.

    “Later, the Bengali population exploded and the aliens tried to seize the land of local ethnics,” Min Aung Hlaing said, according to his office’s Facebook page. He described repeated army efforts since Burma’s independence in 1948 to “to crush the mujahedeen insurgents,” including in 2012 and last fall.

    “Race cannot be swallowed by the ground, but only by another race,” he said. “All must be loyal to the state in serving their duties, so that such cases will never happen again.”


    Buddhist mob attacks Red Cross shipment destined for Rohingya Muslims as 9 aid workers die in crashBuddhist mob attacks Red Cross shipment destined for Rohingya Muslims as 9 aid workers die in crash

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    High-profile personal injury lawyer Jeremy Diamond is facing a reprimand from the Law Society of Upper Canada and has been ordered to pay $25,000 in costs to the legal regulator for failing to co-operate fully with its investigation into his financial books.

    In a decision rendered Thursday, Law Society Tribunal adjudicator Raj Anand noted that it took five formal requests by law society investigators over several months for Diamond to hand over documents concerning his referral fee operation dating back to October 2013.

    “The law society has demonstrated a failure to co-operate by the respondent, who thereby breached his obligations as a licensee,” Anand wrote.

    Read more:

    Jeremy Diamond was slow to hand over documents to law society, tribunal told

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    Jordan Whelan, a spokesperson for Diamond and Diamond Lawyers and president of public relations agency Grey Smoke Media, told the Star Thursday night that “after consulting with counsel, we will be appealing the decision.”

    Diamond has been under investigation by the law society since October 2016 for allegations including “failing to adequately inform clients” about referral fees and “engaging in improper/misleading advertising,” according to documents filed as part of his disciplinary hearing in July. A spokesperson for the law society told the Star the lawyer remains under investigation despite Thursday’s ruling.

    Lawyers in Ontario are self-regulated and must produce financial records to the law society when asked.

    In his ruling, Anand recounted much of the law society’s correspondence with Diamond and his lawyers over a period of more than five months, including a letter from Diamond’s lawyer last November that stated that Diamond did not have a trust account, and that referral fees, including “upfront fees,” were deposited into his professional corporation’s general account, and that the firm “does not have trust receipt journals, general receipt journals, fees book, or client trust ledgers per se.”

    Law society bylaws state that lawyers must maintain records showing all money received, including the date the money came in, how it came in and who it came from.

    “In my view, as a matter of common sense, it was difficult to believe that Mr. Diamond’s professional corporation did not keep records of each referral fee that it received,” Anand wrote.

    In December, a Star investigation revealed that Diamond’s firm had for many years been attracting thousands of would-be clients and then referring them out to other lawyers for sometimes hefty fees. Former clients the Star spoke to said they were often unaware they had been referred out, or that a fee had been paid. Diamond & Diamond has told the Star it has a growing roster of in-house lawyers to handle cases.

    Anand credited Diamond with expressing his willingness to co-operate with investigators and the fact that he did not challenge the law society’s authority to request the information it was seeking.

    However, it wasn’t until July 2017 when two forensic auditors with the law society met with Diamond and his bookkeeper that investigators concluded the firm did maintain records that contained information required for general receipts and disbursements journals.

    “In my view . . . Mr. Diamond knew or should have known of the contents of the bylaw and his obligation to comply with it. He knew from the outset that the law society was investigating the referral process and the source, calculation and amount of referral fees he was collecting,” Anand wrote.

    “The sequence of requests and responses represented a ‘cat and mouse game’ that has no place in the relationship between licensees and regulator.”


    Lawyer Jeremy Diamond ordered to pay $25,000 in costs to Ontario law societyLawyer Jeremy Diamond ordered to pay $25,000 in costs to Ontario law society

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    Toronto police are searching for a man who they say pretended to be an officer, then caused a collision while directing traffic and dancing.

    The incident happened last Saturday at Bloor St. W. and Christie St. Police said the man, who wore a police uniform, was dancing as he attempted to direct traffic when two cars crashed.

    Police said Thursday they were called to the crash at 6:15 p.m. It doesn’t appear anyone was hurt, but investigators said the incident was caused by the fake officer’s attempt at directing traffic.

    Police said the man is about six feet tall with a thin build. He wore a police hat, a vest with ‘police’ written on the front and back, a gun belt, a dark-coloured, short-sleeved police uniform shirt, dark shorts, white socks and black dress shoes.

    Investigators are asking anyone who witnessed the incident to call 14 Division at 416-808-1400, or get in touch anonymously through Crime Stoppers.


    Fake cop causes accident while directing traffic and dancing, Toronto police sayFake cop causes accident while directing traffic and dancing, Toronto police say

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    A pint-sized hockey jersey has been hanging in Jen McPetrie’s Stoney Creek kitchen for several days. It’s one piece among $500 worth of gear she’s hoping to dress her 6-year-old son, Brayden, in over the course of the long-anticipated hockey season.

    But the sight of the jersey has filled her with dread since Tuesday, when she learned she will probably have to break it to Brayden he can’t play on the select team he made after trying out.

    “It’s not because he’s not good enough. It’s not because of bad behaviour. It’s just because Hockey Canada didn’t let us know in advance” about mandated changes to hockey programming for kids age 4 to 6, McPetrie said Thursday.

    She’s one of many parents across the GTA pushing back over abrupt changes that they say could force advanced child players into programs below their skill level, disrupting plans for everyone involved.

    The Ontario Hockey Federation voted in March to implement Hockey Canada’s Initiation Program — the governing body’s official curriculum for young hockey players being introduced to the game — for all players 4 to 6 this season.

    The program includes rules about how practices and games should be conducted for this group, with the most significant requirement that they play on half the rinkrather than full-ice play.

    “This is an opportunity where kids can expand their abilities not just in hockey,” Phil McKee, the OHF executive director, said.

    Parents don’t contest the benefits of the Initiation Program, which promises to give new players more opportunities at the puck. But they think rigid implementation of the program will inadvertently hurt young kids who already play beyond their age level.

    The Initiation Program is a “phenomenal” idea for kids just starting out, McPetrie said, but “once they’ve mastered that skill you have to keep challenging them.”

    McPetrie had enrolled Brayden in the full-ice program with Stoney Creek Minor Hockey when he was 5.

    Local hockey programs say they weren’t told in advance they’d have to alter their programs immediately, which is why they let 6-year-old kids like Brayden try out for select teams that play full-ice.

    Confusion and scrambling ensued when the OHF wrote a letter in July to associations, stating they would have to comply, or risk being barred from tournament participation for all their age levels.

    For Bill Beaton, president of the Port Credit Hockey Association, that was the be-all-end-all.

    “We were led to believe . . . this year would be a transition year,” Beaton said. “We will convert this year; it’s going to be difficult.”

    Local programs now have to purchase and find storage for ice dividers so they can comply with the half-ice rules, and explain the program change to hundreds of parents.

    “We’re volunteers. I think it’s a very hard line to take with volunteers,” Beaton said.

    McKee admitted there was some confusion in the way the federation communicated the decision to its member leagues, but said it didn’t change the fact that the rules are now in place and enforceable.

    Parents from across the GTA are lobbying the OHF to loosen the rules.

    McKee said the federation will discus grandfathering this season’s players under the old rules at its meeting on Saturday, but no vote on the matter is scheduled.

    “We’re taking into account comments from parents and individuals,” he said. “One way or another, we’ll provide clarification Monday as to what’s been discussed.”


    Parents fuming over hardline on hockey rule changeParents fuming over hardline on hockey rule change

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    LONDON—Uber’s license to operate in London won’t be renewed because its practices endanger public safety and security, the local regulator said Friday, in a blow to a company already facing big questions over its corporate culture.

    Transport for London says the company, whose app is used by 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers in London, isn’t “fit and proper” to hold a license to operate a private-hire vehicle service.

    “TfL considers that Uber’s approach and conduct demonstrate a lack of corporate responsibility in relation to a number of issues which have potential public safety and security implications,” the regulator said in a statement.

    Uber was first licensed to operate in the city in 2012 and will see its current license expire on Sept. 30. The company said it plans to appeal the regulator’s decision, and can continue to operate until the appeals process is exhausted.

    For its part, Uber accused the city of caving in to special interests “who want to restrict consumer choice.”

    “Uber operates in more than 600 cities around the world, including more than 40 towns and cities here in the U.K.,” the company said. “This ban would show the world that, far from being open, London is closed to innovative companies who bring choice to consumers.”

    Uber, founded in 2010 in San Francisco, has often faced opposition as it expanded. Taxi drivers complain that Uber drivers don’t have to comply with the same licensing standards, giving the ride-hailing service an unfair advantage and placing the public at risk.

    The company, which provides a smartphone application that connects passengers with drivers who work as independent contractors, argues it isn’t a traditional transportation company.

    In its decision, Transport for London singled out Uber’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences and how it conducts background checks on drivers. TfL also took issue with Uber’s explanation of software that could be used to block regulators from gaining full access to the app and “prevent officials from undertaking regulatory or law enforcement duties.”

    London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he supported the decision, saying any operator of taxi services in the city “needs to play by the rules.”

    “Providing an innovative service must not be at the expense of customer safety and security,” he said. “I fully support TfL’s decision — it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners’ safety and security.”

    Police in London accused Uber last month of not reporting a sexual assault by a driver on a passenger, allowing the driver to strike again. Metropolitan Police Inspector Neil Billany suggested in a letter that the company was putting concerns for its reputation over public safety.

    At the time, Uber said it was surprised by the letter and that it had a good working relationship with the police.

    But the company has been dogged by questions on its workplace culture. In July, former CEO Travis Kalanick resigned following criticism of his management style. Some 20 people, including some managers, were fired in June amid allegations of sexual harassment and bullying.

    Its aggressive corporate culture has resulted in litigation around the world. John Colley, a strategy professor at Warwick Business School, said poor values ultimately bring companies down. Uber is now effectively banned from France, Spain and Belgium, and it is facing litigation and investigations around the world, he said.

    “There is a very long list of businesses who have suffered for failing to uphold the level of values necessary,” Colley said. “Until Uber gets this message then it will suffer lost trade as a result of its deteriorating reputation.”


    Uber to lose licence to operate in LondonUber to lose licence to operate in London

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    BEIJING—China rebuked U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday after he threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea if necessary, a warning that may have undermined the chances of peace but also gave Beijing an easy opportunity to seize the moral high ground.

    Beijing has consistently blamed not just Pyongyang but also Washington for what it sees as its hostile policies toward the regime. It argues that U.S. hostility has helped to pushed North Korea’s rulers into a corner and talk of total destruction only reinforces that narrative.

    “Trump threatens DPRK with ‘total destruction’, while China calls for peaceful settlement,” the online English-language edition of the People’s Daily newspaper headlined an op-ed, referring to the county’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    “Trump’s political chest-thumping is unhelpful, and it will only push the DPRK to pursue even riskier policies, because the survival of the regime is at stake,” it wrote.

    China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was more restrained, but nevertheless conveyed a similar message.

    In imposing economic sanctions on Pyongyang, the United Nations Security Council has agreed that the North Korea issue should be solved through “political and diplomatic means,” he said.

    “The Peninsula situation is still in a complex and sensitive state,” he said. “We hope that relevant parties could maintain restraint while completing United Nations Security Council resolutions, and take more correct actions which are helpful in easing the situation.”

    More than 80 per cent of North Korea’s foreign trade is with China, while both Beijing and Moscow have been blamed for helping North Korea develop its missile program. Although Trump thanked both countries for agreeing to sanctions at the UN, he also appeared to rebuke one or both of them.

    Read more:

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    In his most aggressive warning to date, Donald Trump threatens to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea

    “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime, but would arm, supply, and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict,” he said.

    But China is uncomfortable with the idea that it should shoulder the lion’s share of the blame for North Korea’s nuclear and missile program, and for Pyongyang’s refusal to back down, experts explain.

    “They don’t like the idea that the international community sees this as a China problem,” said Paul Haenle, director of the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing. “To a certain extent, this kind of talk at the UN plays right into their hands.”

    Yanmei Xie, a China policy analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics in Beijing, made a similar point.

    “Trump’s bellicose rhetoric does add urgency to how China views this issue,” she said. “But it also reinforces China’s view that both sides are to blame for the tension.”

    China has become extremely frustrated with Pyongyang, but does not believe that sanctions will ever force it to abandon its nuclear program, which the regime sees as central to its survival.

    It has resisted pressure to cut off North Korea’s oil imports, which it believes would only serve to alienate the regime from Beijing, and leave China facing an nuclear-armed enemy state on its border.

    “They believe that there is nothing we can do at this point to prevent Kim Jong Un from reaching his goal (of developing an intercontinental nuclear missile capability,)” said Haenle. “And they don’t want to cross the threshold where they become North Korea’s enemy.”

    So while Trump has convinced China to turn the screw on North Korea, he will struggle to convince it to act more forcefully.

    François Godemont, director of the Asia/China Program at the European Council on Foreign Relations said Trump may suffer a “credibility” problem in Chinese eyes by also threatening the governments of Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, rather than showing a resolute focus on a single issue.

    But do Trump’s words presage armed conflict?

    The nationalist Global Times newspaper took a pessimistic view, arguing in an editorial that Trump’s speech head “reduced hope of peace” on the Korean Peninsula.

    “Facts prove Pyongyang won’t yield to pressure. Pushing North Korea to its limit may eventually trigger a bloody war,’ it warned. “If a nuclear war broke out, that would be a crime against Chinese and South Koreans by Pyongyang and Washington.”

    However, several other experts said they were not worried.

    “China and Russia have a common stance on this — they want to prevent war even if there is only a one per cent chance of it,” said Wang Sheng, a North Korea expert at Jilin University in Changshun. As a result of their joint resolve, he said, “the United States could not easily start a war.”

    Military expert Song Xiaojun agreed.

    “What he said is a tactic, it doesn’t mean he will really start a war,” he said. “The U.S. army is concerned about other things, such as China’s rise and Iran. Since the atomic bomb was developed, the United States has never started a war with a nuclear-armed country.”

    Last month, the Global Times newspaper warned North Korea that China would not come to the country’s help if it launches missiles threatening U.S. soil, although it would intervene if Washington strikes first.

    That statement was meant to deter Pyongyang from crossing any red lines, experts say.

    In the event of war, it is unlikely Chinese troops would fight alongside or on behalf of North Korea soldiers to defend the regime, as they did in the 1950-53 Korean War, but they could enter the country to secure nuclear weapons sites, and prevent U.S. troops from crossing into the North and installing a U.S.-friendly puppet government, some experts say.

    In Pyongyang, the government will also have taken very clear note of Trump’s angry disavowal of the nuclear deal with Iran, where that country agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program under international supervision in return for a lifting of sanctions.

    Trump called that deal “an embarrassment to the United States” and threatened to pull out of it. Saying “oppressive regimes cannot endure forever,” he also called for the Iranian people to change their own government.

    North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un has already seen Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and Iraq’s Saddam Hussein agree to surrender their efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction only to end up ousted from power and killed. Trump’s talk will only reinforce that lesson.

    “How can Kim not conclude from this that Americans will not rest until his regime is topple and that giving up nuclear weapons is suicidal?,” asked Xie at Dragonomics.


    China to Donald Trump: Your North Korea speech was really unhelpfulChina to Donald Trump: Your North Korea speech was really unhelpful

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    Gifts are easy. They’re given, after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful. And if you do, it will probably be to the detriment of your choices.

    Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos

    The beauty contest launched by Jeff Bezos is a corporate experiment unmatched in modern times. The challenge of choice he has set for himself — or the gift he will bestow — is to select a site for a second Amazon headquarters, a new HQ, or HQ2 as Bezos calls it. Cities across the continent are going mad, garishly sashaying about with their attributes on display, Toronto among them.

    Amazon has set a response deadline of Oct. 19 for cities to make their prettiest pitch. Or silliest. Gary, Indiana, placed an advertisement in the New York Times this week in the form of a letter from “Gary” to Mr. Jeff Bezos. “How are you?” the letter begins. “My name is Gary and I am a legacy city in the Northwest corner of Indiana. I was born in 1906 and my parents were Elbert Gary and U.S. Steel.”

    Yet there’s something very right about the letter/ad from a city fallen on hard times, and it is this thought: “We can strike a mutually beneficial deal that changes the course of my future as well as the families who live here.”

    As big cities rich in STEM grads and mass transit and housing availability itemize how they meet the requirements for an Amazon campus that will grow to 50,000 full-time employees, one wonders what differentiating characteristics could tip the balance.

    Gary’s letter more modestly reminds Bezos that in making his choice he’s in a position to pull off a transformation of place, an experiment as sociological as it is corporate.

    In an analysis piece posted to the Medium website, Lyman Stone crunches a whole lot of data leading to the conclusion that “every city is bad for Amazon and nobody can fulfill their [request for proposal].” Stone mapped metro areas with Amazon’s wish list as his guide. Seeking those cities with a large STEM pipeline generates a list that includes Minneapolis, Raleigh and Chicago. Metros with potentially sufficient housing supply to host Amazon draws the spotlight to Rochester, Charlotte, St. Louis.

    I’m not being comprehensive here, but you get the idea.

    “On the housing supply front, there are cities that have produced excess housing units, and then there are cities that are priced competitively, and there is no overlap between them,” Stone writes.

    For a company driven by data points and metrics, it’s unlikely that any of this comes as news to Amazon. So what’s all this about, then? Stone suggests that what Bezos really seeks is a city that can have its growth path altered in a significant way, decisively, by Amazon.

    Let’s put the spotlight more brightly on Bezos for a moment. All the energetic rah-rah city boosterism talk tends to overlook Bezos’s own corporate history, which is far from unblemished. An investigation in 2011 into Amazon’s Breinigsville, Penn., warehouse reported on conditions so overheated that paramedics were kept at the ready to treat dehydrated workers.

    “Those who couldn't quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals,” the Morning Call reported. “And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time.”

    An emergency room doctor notified federal health and safety regulators of the unsafe working environment at the warehouse. One employee compared the conditions to "working in a convection oven while blow-drying your hair."

    After the story ran, the company made a substantial investment in warehouse cooling.

    Other stories have documented the impact of Bezos’s leadership principles. Two years ago the New York Times reported on what the Times called a bruising and punishing workplace where fractiousness is encouraged.

    The Times cited cases where workers with legitimate health issues — surgery, breast cancer, the birth of a stillborn child — were put on performance improvement plans. “Even as the company tests delivery by drone and ways to restock toilet paper at the push of a bathroom button, it is conducting a little-known experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers, redrawing the boundaries of what is acceptable.”

    Last December, reporter Mary O’Connor went undercover for the Sunday Times, taking a job as a “picker” at Amazon’s warehouse in Scotland. She paid ₤10 a day for the bus that took her to the job, a bus that was arranged by the recruitment agency, earned ₤7 and change an hour, was not paid for her lunch break and was targeted for the four errors she made across 40 hours of “hunting and fetching.” Only one error per 40 hours is allowed before the worker’s performance becomes a disciplinary matter.

    The Times pronounced Amazonia “a soulless world of back-breaking toil, petty rules, low pay and Orwellian surveillance.”

    Nor did it help Amazon’s image that some workers at the distribution centre took to pitching tents nearby to avoid the transportation costs.

    Bezos is one of the richest men in the world. And the company he runs reported net income of $2.4 billion (U.S.) on revenues of $136 billion last year. But he’s not known for his philanthropy. Two months ago he pondered, via Twitter, what he should do with his dough.

    So maybe he’s decided he wants to be seen as a good guy, not just a parsimonious, obsessively focused entrepreneur with operations that sound as though they have been sprung from Modern Times.

    If that’s the case, Toronto is not his best bet.

    If that is the case, Bezos would be smart to consider a city poised for, and deserving of, transformation. Say, Detroit. Dan Gilbert, founder of Quicken Loans, is the guy behind that city’s bid.

    In a statement released to the media, Gilbert said his team is working with the city of Windsor on a transnational submission. “Amazon will be able to draw employees from two countries rich in technology talent with diverse backgrounds while cementing it as the first major company in the world whose headquarters would literally share an international border.”

    The hurdles are huge. To note just one, Amazon’s site requirements deem access to mass transit, never a priority in the birthplace of the car, a “core preference.” (Raise your hand if you’ve ever ridden the People Mover.)

    And while Detroit has gained considerable positive press for enjoying a renaissance, that so-called resurgence is still in its unproved infancy.

    All the more reason for Bezos to place a bet. This is his chance to remake a city. His potential contributions in education, skills training and internet connectivity are immeasurable. The potential, as corny as it may sound in his circles, to do good. That Ontario could play a part in this is a bonus, and a cause that the Wynne government should champion.

    jenwells@thestar.ca


    Why Toronto may not be the best place for Amazon’s new HQ: WellsWhy Toronto may not be the best place for Amazon’s new HQ: Wells

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    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in an extraordinary and direct rebuke, called U.S. President Donald Trump “deranged” and said he will “pay dearly” for his threats, a possible indication of more powerful weapons tests on the horizon.

    Hours later, North Korea’s foreign minister reportedly said his country may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean to fulfil Kim’s vow to take the “highest-level” action against the United States.

    Kim, in his statement, said Trump is “unfit to hold the prerogative of supreme command of a country.” He also described the U.S. president as “a rogue and a gangster fond of playing with fire.”

    Read more: Donald Trump a ‘mentally deranged U.S. dotard,’ says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

    China to Donald Trump: Your North Korea speech was really unhelpful

    A potent fuel flows to North Korea to power its weapons, but it may be too late to halt it

    The dispatch was unusual in that it was written in the first person, albeit filtered through the North’s state media, which are part of propaganda efforts meant to glorify Kim. South Korea’s government said it was the first such direct address to the world by any North Korean leader.

    Some analysts saw a clear sign that North Korea would ramp up its already brisk pace of weapons testing, which has included missiles meant to target U.S. forces throughout Asia and the U.S. mainland.

    “I will make the man holding the prerogative of the supreme command in the U.S. pay dearly for his speech calling for totally destroying the DPRK,” said the statement carried by North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Friday morning.

    DPRK is the abbreviation of the country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

    North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho told reporters on the sidelines of a United Nations gathering that his country’s response “could be the most powerful detonation of an H-bomb in the Pacific,” according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

    Ri reportedly added that “We have no idea about what actions could be taken as it will be ordered by leader Kim Jong Un.”

    Such a test would be considered a major provocation by Washington and its allies.

    Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera noted such a test could mean a nuclear-armed missile flying over Japan. He said North Korea might conduct an H-bomb test with a medium-range or intercontinental ballistic missile, given its recent advances in missile and nuclear weapons development.

    “We cannot deny the possibility it may fly over our country,” he said.

    Vipin Narang, a nuclear strategy expert at MIT, said that such a test could pose a danger to shipping and aircraft, even if the North declared a keep-out zone.

    “And if the test doesn’t go according to plan, you could have population at risk, too,” he said. “We are talking about putting a live nuclear warhead on a missile that has been tested only a handful of times. It is truly terrifying if something goes wrong.”

    The statement by Kim Jong Un responded to Trump’s combative speech at the UN General Assembly on Tuesday where he mocked Kim as a “Rocket Man” on a “suicide mission,” and said that if “forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea.”

    Kim characterized Trump’s speech to the world body as “unprecedented rude nonsense.”

    He said Trump’s remarks “have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that it is the one I have to follow to the last.”

    Kim said he is “thinking hard” about his response and that he would “tame the mentally deranged U. S. dotard with fire.”

    Kim Dong-yub, a former South Korean military official who is now an analyst at Seoul’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said Kim Jong Un’s statement indicated that North Korea will respond to Trump with its most aggressive missile test yet. That might include firing a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan to a range of around 7,000 kilometres to display a capability to reach Hawaii or Alaska.

    The statement will further escalate the war of words between the adversaries as the North moves closer to perfecting a nuclear-tipped missile that could strike America.

    In recent months, the North has launched a pair of still-developmental ICBMs it said were capable of striking the continental United States and a pair of intermediate-range missiles that soared over Japanese territory. Earlier this month, North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date drawing stiffer UN sanctions.

    South Korea called Kim Jong Un’s rebuke a “reckless provocation” that would deepen his country’s international isolation and lead to its demise.

    South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told reporters Friday that North Korea must immediately stop such provocations and return to talks on nuclear disarmament.


    Kim Jong Un threatens hydrogen bomb test after Trump calls for ‘total destruction’ of North KoreaKim Jong Un threatens hydrogen bomb test after Trump calls for ‘total destruction’ of North Korea

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