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    WASHINGTON—FBI agents raided the Alexandria, Va., home of U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman late last month, using a search warrant to seize documents and other materials, according to people familiar with the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    Federal agents appeared at Paul Manafort’s home without advance warning in the pre-dawn hours of July 26, the day after he met voluntarily with the staff for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    The search warrant was wide-ranging and FBI agents working with special counsel Robert Mueller departed the home with various records. Jason Maloni, a spokesman for Manafort, confirmed that agents executed a warrant at one of the political consultant’s homes and that Manafort cooperated with the search.

    Read more:

    Investigation into U.S.-Russian ties gets more serious

    Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, turns over notes on Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian lawyer

    Ex-Trump campaign chair discloses $17 million in payments from pro-Russian party, registers as foreign agent

    Manafort has been voluntarily producing documents to congressional committees investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The search warrant indicates investigators may have argued to a federal judge they had reason to believe Manafort could not be trusted to turn over all records in response to a grand jury subpoena.

    It could also have been intended to send a message to Trump’s former campaign chairman that he should not expect gentle treatment or legal courtesies from Mueller’s team.

    The documents included materials Manafort had already provided to Congress, said people familiar with the search.

    “If the FBI wanted the documents, they could just ask (Manafort) and he would have turned them over,” said one adviser close to the White House.

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

    Josh Stueve, spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment, as did Reginald Brown, an attorney for Manafort.

    “Mr. Manafort has consistently cooperated with law enforcement and other serious inquiries and did so on this occasion as well,” said Maloni, the spokesman for Manafort.

    Mueller has increased legal pressure on Manafort, consolidating under his authority a series of unrelated investigations into various aspects of Manafort’s professional and personal life.

    Manafort’s allies fear that Mueller hopes to build a case against Manafort unrelated to the 2016 campaign, in hopes that the former campaign operative would provide information against others in Trump’s inner circle in exchange for lessening his own legal exposure.

    The significance of the records seized from Manafort’s apartment is unclear.

    Manafort has provided documents to both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate and House intelligence committees. The documents are said to include notes Manafort took while attending a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.

    Emails show Trump Jr. took the meeting and invited Manafort after he was promised the lawyer would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to assist his father’s campaign.

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    Three Toronto Police officers have been found not guilty of sexually assaulting a parking enforcement officer while she was unable to move and too intoxicated to consent.

    Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy said the complainant’s evidence was flawed due to inconsistencies, unreliable memories and contradictory evidence and as a result, she could not make a finding of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    However, she said, she did not necessarily believe the evidence of Leslie Nyznik, the only one of the three officers who testified.

    Nyznik’s evidence seemed “stilted or somewhat scripted” and much of his account of the sexual acts was implausible, she said. Nyznik testified that the sexual acts that took place were consensual and that most were initiated by the complainant, describing her almost as an “aggressor,” Molloy said. His description would have required the complainant to be “some kind of contortionist,” she said.

    “Some of this simply did not ring true,” she said, adding that he was “less than forthright” when he refused to acknowledge the possibility of career repercussions for a woman employed by the police who accused police officers of sexual assault.

    “To summarize, I do not find Mr. Nyznik’s version of the events to be compelling,” she said. “However, neither am I in a position to say I reject his evidence as untruthful. I simply do not know whether or not he is telling the truth about the critical issue – the consent of the complainant to the acts he described.”

    Nyznik, Sameer Kara and Joshua Cabero had pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting the complainant, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, in a downtown hotel room on Jan. 17, 2015.

    The defence was seeking to have the charges tossed because the investigating officer failed to obtain crucial video from the hotel and the cab. Molloy did not make a ruling on this issue due to the finding of not guilty.

    Molloy said she “looked in vain” for evidence that would corroborate the complainant’s evidence which was too flawed to rely on by itself.

    “Based on the complainant’s evidence, I cannot be sure about what happened in that hotel room,” Molloy said in her 45-page ruling. “It is simply not safe to convict.”

    Following the verdict, Nyznik’s lawyer Harry Black said his client remains suspended. He said his client is pleased to be “vindicated” and is looking forward to having his life back. He would not comment on Molloy’s finding that she did not necessarily believe Nyznik’s testimony.

    The complainant testified she was orally penetrated and vaginally penetrated by the men who were aware she was going in and out of consciousness. At one point, she said she heard Kara say, “Stop Josh, she’s out.”

    “I was powerless. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t stop what was happening,” she told the court. She said she never consented to sex with any of the three men.

    She’d had at least seven drinks that night which began with a “rookie buy night” for 51 Division officers, she testified, but believes she may have been drugged at some point.

    Kara had already returned to the room after getting extremely drunk earlier that night.

    The complainant testified she went to the hotel to wake up Kara and see if he wanted to go to a bar and continue partying. However, she said, during the cab ride to the hotel she started to get a headache and her vision blurred. She said it felt like being in a “Star Trek warp.” As she was lying on the bed next to Kara, Nyznik penetrated her mouth with his penis, she said. She said another man – likely Cabero – began vaginally penetrating her. Someone asked if he should “f--- me up the a--,” she said. After Kara said she was “out” they stopped, but later Kara vaginally penetrated her, she said. She said she told them to stop but they did not. Nyznik said the complainant began performing oral sex on him and said she had sex with Kara and Cabero.

    Molloy found it “inconceivable” that the complainant, Nyznik and Cabero wanted to take Kara out drinking again, given that Kara had been so drunk earlier that evening that he could barely stand up. She questioned why they didn’t just call him and ask him to meet at a bar, rather than all go to the hotel. She also found that video footage and the testimony of another officer, Elias Tissawak, corroborated Nyznik’s version of events in this instance.

    The video of the complainant walking into the hotel and waiting for the elevator is also inconsistent with her evidence that she was confused, had trouble with her vision and was in pain. “In short she appeared to be perfectly normal,” Molloy said.

    Some of the complainant’s memories were also shown to be wrong, Molloy found, for example, she said they walked from one bar to another but video evidence shows they took a cab.

    Molloy said that could be an honest mistake or that she lied about the cab ride to avoid evidence of sexual banter during the cab ride.

    “Either is problematic,” Molloy said. “If she has reconstructed a false memory about walking to the Brass Rail, how do I know she has not done the same thing with respect to her conduct at the hotel afterwards? If she has lied about the cab ride to the Brass Rail, how do I trust she has told the truth about what happened in the hotel room?”

    Molloy also found that the symptoms the complainant described were not corroborated by the testimony of a toxicologist on how the drugs and alcohol would have affected her.

    With files from Rosie DiManno

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    When Liberal MPP Glen Murray rides off into the sunset on Sept. 1, residents of Toronto Centre will go without a representative at Queen’s Park for more than nine months.

    That’s because Premier Kathleen Wynne has opted not to call a byelection since there will be a provincial election on June 7, 2018.

    By law, Wynne is allowed to do that, but NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it is unfair to those living in the downtown riding and “extremely inappropriate.”

    “It’s quite shocking that the people of Toronto Centre will be without an MPP for … nine months. I think that’s quite shocking and I’m surprised,” Horwath said Thursday at Queen’s Park.

    “The premier is prepared to allow that riding to be without representation here in the Legislature for two more sessions. The end of this year and then the spring of next year,” she said.

    Murray announced his resignation from cabinet on July 31 to take a new post as executive director the Pembina Institute, an Alberta-based environmental think tank. His tenure as an MPP ends Sept. 1.

    Wynne defended her decision, noting “there’s a significant cost associated with running a byelection” — as much as $500,000.

    “There will continue to be a community office in place. There will continue to be service to the residents and the constituents of Toronto Centre … but I think it is only responsible that we not — so close to an election — incur the cost of a byelection,” she said two weeks ago.

    “We’re moving into that period well within a year of a general election and historically, there has been a practice when you get that close it’s not necessarily responsible to call a byelection. So, we won’t be doing that.”

    Under provincial law, a byelection must be called within six months of a vacancy unless an election is imminent.

    But the premier’s decision to forego a byelection was surprising since Toronto Centre is considered a safe Liberal seat provincially and federally, where Finance Minister Bill Morneau is the MP.

    One senior Toronto Liberal, speaking on background in order to discuss internal party machinations, expressed astonishment that Wynne would cede the political advantage in a key riding.

    “It is not smart to leave territory open,” said the Grit, warning the NDP, the traditional runner-up in Toronto Centre, could exploit the vacuum there.

    “Toronto Centre can be an energy and money source — not a cost (for the Liberals),” the insider said.

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    REGINA—One of Canada’s most high-profile premiers who rose to national prominence for his down-to-earth style, sharp wit and, more recently, his willingness to lock horns with Ottawa is retiring from politics after a decade in office.

    Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall said he made the decision at the end of June after talking it over with his wife Tami.

    “It’s a hard thing to even just start to talk about,” Wall said Thursday. “We decided now was the time for me to end my career in politics.

    “I think renewal will be good for the province. I think renewal and a different perspective will be good for the government. I think renewal will be good for my party as well. Whatever I do after this — and I currently have no leads or prospects — this job will be the honour of my working life.”

    Wall said he will stay on until his successor is chosen.

    “And until then, there’s still a lot of work to do,” Wall said. “This was such a difficult decision to make ... but it is time.”

    Wall and his Saskatchewan Party have won three consecutive provincial elections, the last in 2016 where they took 51 of 61 seats. The party, which formed 20 years ago out of an alliance of disaffected Tories and Liberals, took more than 50 per cent of the popular vote in each of the contests.

    Wall, who is 51, routinely places high in opinion polls ranking the country’s most popular premiers and his knack for the zinger sound bite has made him a national political figure.

    But he’s faced headwinds in recent months, especially after his government tabled an austerity budget this spring.

    With a bottom line battered by low resource prices, the budget cut library and education funding, as well as grants to municipalities, although cash for libraries was later restored.

    It raised the provincial sales tax and added it to things that were previously exempt, such as children’s clothing and restaurant meals. The government also shut down the provincial bus company to help tackle a $1.3-billion deficit.

    In May, a Mainstreet Research poll suggested Wall’s party had dropped steeply in voter support and had fallen nine points behind the leaderless Opposition New Democrats.

    With trouble at home, Wall has been training his political guns afar, railing against opposition to pipeline projects that would see central Canada’s crude oil pumped to the coasts and markets overseas.

    He’s also waged war with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the federal government’s plan to force provinces to put a price on carbon, pledging to fight the move in court if necessary.

    Wall said he is leaving the province in better shape than it was in when he first took office.

    When deliberating his retirement, Wall said he told a senior adviser there were still things he would like to accomplish. The adviser told him no matter when he chooses to retire, there will be items left on the to-do list and that “better not be the reason why you’re deciding to stay or to go.”

    “I really believe that Saskatchewan will benefit from a different style and a different voice and so will our party,” Wall said.

    Wall graduated from the University of Saskatchewan with a degree in public administration and has spent much of his time since in politics.

    He was a backroom guy at first. In the 1980s, he worked in Ottawa in the office of Swift Current Tory MP Geoff Wilson. He returned to Saskatchewan and worked as a ministerial assistant in Grant Devine’s Progressive Conservative government.

    He was first elected in 1999 under the banner of the newly formed Saskatchewan Party and made a successful bid for the party’s top job after it lost a 2003 election many felt it should have won.

    In 2007, Wall led the Saskatchewan Party to victory in the provincial election.

    A tape from his time in the Tory backrooms came back to haunt him soon after he was elected. The provincial NDP unearthed a video cassette of Wall yucking it up with fellow Tory staffers, criticizing NDP leader Roy Romanow in a thick Eastern European accent. Romanow is of Ukrainian heritage.

    Wall apologized and the controversy didn’t stick.

    Four years later, he cruised to his second mandate as the Saskatchewan Party took more than 60 per cent of the popular vote along with 49 of 58 seats in the legislature — the largest popular vote garnered by a party since 1912.

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    NIAGARA FALLS, ONT.—Animal cruelty charges that had been laid against Marineland were dropped Thursday after prosecutors said there was no reasonable chance of conviction on most of the 11 counts faced by the Ontario tourist attraction.

    During a brief hearing in a Niagara Falls, Ont., courtroom, the Crown said it could have proceeded on three of the charges — which related to failing to comply with standards of care for a peacock, guinea hens and a red deer — but did not believe it was in the public interest to do so, citing potential court costs and a weak case.

    Crown attorney Stephen Galbraith said prosecutors had instead come up with an alternative solution that included ongoing monitoring of the amusement park and zoo.

    “The Crown’s case is more circumstantial than direct evidence,” Galbraith told the court. “The photographs and video provided preserves observations, but there was no independent examination of the animals. The veterinarian’s report was not able to determine the cause of issues related to the animals.”

    The justice of the peace hearing the case accepted the Crown’s submission and withdrew the charges.

    The 11 charges against Marineland were the result of an investigation by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that was launched last November after the animal welfare agency received a complaint.

    Marineland was initially charged with five counts of animal cruelty late last year in connection with the treatment of peacocks, guinea hens and black bears. In January, the OSPCA laid six more animal cruelty charges against Marineland relating to elk, red deer and fallow deer.

    In a statement issued after Thursday’s court hearing, Marineland said it had suffered “reputational damage” as a result of the charges that were withdrawn.

    “The Crown conducted its own independent review of the OSPCA charges and has effectively agreed with Marineland by determining all the charges ought to be withdrawn,” the company said.

    Read more:

    Marineland charged with six new counts of animal cruelty

    Marineland says OSPCA investigation is the result of former employee, activist pressure

    Marineland charged for five counts of animal cruelty in ongoing investigation

    The OSPCA said it was surprised the charges were withdrawn.

    “We are extremely disappointed in this outcome and feel that this matter is of public interest as all animals rely on humans for appropriate care for their general welfare and the public demands this,” said OSPCA chief inspector Connie Mallory.

    “If anyone has any concerns for the welfare of the animals at Marineland, we encourage the public to contact 310-SPCA to report the new information.”

    The 35-page complaint that prompted the OSPCA investigation in November was filed by a California-based animal rights group called Last Chance for Animals. It contained allegations of animal abuse along with photographs and videos from a former Marineland employee.

    The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the group’s complaint, as well as copies of the photos and videos from the former employee with metadata indicating they were taken on Marineland property last summer.

    Marineland said at the time that the complaint was part of a smear campaign by a former employee who had been fired for poor performance and inappropriate behaviour. It also argued the images and videos may be doctored.

    The former employee, who requested anonymity for fear of being sued, told The Canadian Press he quit on good terms and is not an animal activist and doesn’t want the park to close.

    Last Chance for Animals, meanwhile, has said its goal is not to shut down Marineland, though it does believe “wild animals should be left in the wild.”

    On Thursday, Marineland reiterated its previous position that the OSPCA laid the charges to appease animal rights groups that have criticized it for not doing enough to protect animals.

    “The OSPCA literally prepared the first of these charges on site, after spending a single afternoon executing a search warrant and viewing more than 4,000 animals across more than three hundred acres at our park,” Marineland said. “The OSPCA did not remove or isolate any of the 4,000 animals, despite laying multiple charges.”

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    Construction to replace a watermain and TTC streetcar tracks on Dundas St. East, between Church and Yonge Sts., will be completed two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule, Mayor John Tory announced Thursday.

    Torontonians should see this as evidence “of a new culture that we’re trying to bring to how we do these jobs at city hall,” Tory told a news conference at Dundas and Victoria Streets on Thursday morning.

    Construction on Dundas started in April and was scheduled to last until Halloween. The downtown artery will now re-open Aug. 19, Tory said.

    “Everybody pushed, I pushed, our staff pushed, and I think the real Herculean effort here was made by the contractor…and by the TTC.”

    Hours were extended and the contractor assigned extra crews and equipment yet “the cost of the contract remained the same,” Tory said. “The contractor would rather do it faster by adding additional crews and equipment so they can move onto their next assignment.” The project budget was $3.7 million.

    The work involved replacing a 100-year-old watermain from Church to Yonge, replacing streetcar tracks and realigning curbs so they’re compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

    Work hours have been extended for 32 construction projects across the city, including overnight work at nine locations and around the clock work at seven other locations, city staff said in a release.

    Last week, Wellington St. reopened after watermain work was completed two months ahead of schedule.

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    Google gave its employee James Damore the axe this week. Figuratively speaking, should it have, instead, killed him softly with its love?

    Damore, whom we will be hearing more about in the coming days as the newest face of white supremacy, is reportedly considering suing the tech giant for wrongful dismissal.

    An internal memo he wrote to staff, made infamous on social media as the “Google Manifesto,” said you can’t blame discrimination or hiring practices for the dismal number of women in the tech industry and leadership positions.

    It’s biology, stupid.

    Read more:

    Google memo shows workplace free speech protections are limited

    Ex-Google engineer James Damore says ‘secretive’ diversity session prompted memo

    Google fires author of divisive memo on gender differences

    Women’s “neuroticism” makes them less suited to be software developers.

    He said, “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.” Then he proceeded to rationalize the exclusion of women and to stereotype them.

    The internet well-nigh exploded, its embers descending onto predictable corners. At one end were those outraged that a supposedly logical-minded engineer could cherry-pick scientific studies to make sweeping, absolute denouncements about half of humanity. On the other, were those outraged that a man speaking up for the status quo was vilified and had his free speech rights violated.

    Much of the debate has focused on whether the brains of men and women are biologically different. One study says they are, another says they are not not. Certainly, no credible studies have made the connection between those differences and the career choices women make.

    While it’s comforting to seek the status quo and explain away discrimination as a biological necessity — not being equally considered for those “bro” jobs is in our interest, silly— why do countries such as India and those in Latin America produce proportionally more female programmers than North America?

    To lean on science first and then to switch to the claim that women don’t want leadership because “these positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life,” is just ridiculous, and ignores societal expectations that women carry the physical and mental load of running the house. It’s not just about who does the dishes.

    Damore says, “Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail.”

    Aww, those poor rich corporate bosses. Given a chance, they’d much rather do a 9 to 5, rush home and take charge of the household, pick up their kids, help with homework, run their baths, cook dinners, prep for school the next day, arrange play dates, arrange the social calendar, relationships, groceries . . . just bliss. Instead they are valiantly living up to societal pressures to be powerful.

    “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

    — Unknown

    Damore’s views have clearly reverberated far beyond the boundaries of the tech industry to the wider world of sexists who couch their support of male dominance by heaping scorn on political correctness, by claiming victimhood while calling those actually victimized snowflakes, and finally, by relying on their “natural” leadership.

    They see opposition to their views as hypocrisy. They think social justice advocates welcome diversity of thought only when they agree with it.

    But an opinion is not “diverse” just because it differs from the norm.

    True diversity of thought based on different experiences enriches places of learning, places of work and societies when those speaking are not discounted simply for who they are. A differing view is not legitimate when all it seeks is to further oppress the marginalized.

    One immediate reaction that was widely cited within Google and outside was a persuasive opinion piece by a former employee, Yonatar Zunger, who said characteristics such as empathy, described as “female” in the manifesto, make you better engineers. “Engineering is not the art of building devices; it’s the art of fixing problems,” he wrote. “The large bulk of your job is about co-ordinating and co-operating with other groups.”

    He also made a case for why he would fire Damore. “I could not in good conscience assign anyone to work with you. You have just created a textbook hostile workplace environment.”

    Google fired Damore on Tuesday.

    There was another option. Google could have made Damore work in an all-women’s team with only female bosses, letting him stick out like a sore thumb, torn from his clique, unable to use “female” skills of collaboration because — biology just made him that way. Would he still want to “de-moralize diversity” if it meant there could be no men on his team? Would he still want to “de-emphasize empathy” if it led to his isolation?

    Google’s firing supposedly sent a message that sexist views would not be tolerated.

    In reality, it was not the views, but the expression of such views that were not being tolerated. The tech giant applied a Band-Aid to a far deeper cut. Firing people like Damore pushes underground the sexism that manifests daily in subtle ways around who is considered favourably, who is assigned challenging tasks, whose errors are excused more readily than others.

    The outcome of such thinking shows up in Google’s employee demographics (similar to other tech companies): predominantly male (nearly seven in 10) and predominantly white (56 per cent), with Asian males making inroads.

    It shows up in the company’s secrecy over its salary information while being investigated by the U.S. government over allegations of gender wage gap.

    In being tardy about changing its institutional sexism, all the Google firing did was confirm delusions of victimhood among the powerful and deliver supremacists a new martyr.

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

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    It was the morning commute from hell on the TTC.

    In a string of incidents and issues Thursday — causing delays which prompted an apology from Mayor John Tory — the transit service responded to everything from signal issues to medical emergencies to a trespasser on the tracks.

    Thousands of passengers at the height of rush hour had to deal with at least 40 additional minutes to their travel times. And, if anything, commuters were united by their bitterness.

    “The TTC is an “Award Winning Transit Service” . . . this is why participation trophies are bad,” one passenger tweeted.

    “Getting screwed over by the TTC one last time before my farewell to this city,” another added.

    There was also some sweetness. Commuter Nikki Clydesdale said passengers were trading seats between stations, offering their spot to anyone having a rough time standing for so long.

    “The (emergency) workers were doing a great job of helping people out,” Clydesdale said. “I saw them laughing with and comforting a girl who was having an anxiety attack.”

    The chaotic sequence began around 6 a.m. when the TTC tweeted about a five-minute delay southbound between St. George and St. Patrick stations because of signal issues.

    The delay steadily grew worse.

    Between Sheppard West and St. Patrick stations, more signal problems meant a 40-minute delay by 8 a.m. Commuters took to social media to declare that the delays were actually much longer.

    “When a 20-minute subway ride turns into a 1.5 hour subway ride. Thanks #TTC,” one passenger tweeted.

    Fourteen emergency alarms were set off across the TTC over the course of the morning, including passengers fainting and having seizures inside the subway cars. This led to a “domino effect” and caused more delays, TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said.

    Problems on the morning commute included:

    • Trains turning back at Islington station due to signal issues at Kipling on Line 2 at around 8:30 a.m. but the issue was later resolved.

    • Inside Queen’s Park station around 9 a.m, a pair of medical incidents drew emergency services to the same platform. As the train crawled into the station, commuters reached out to find water for a sick girl, crouching down to offer her help.

    • A suspicious package was reported near the Bloor subway station around 11 a.m. Bloor St. shut down at Yonge while the situation was investigated. No evacuations were necessary.

    • At around 11:50 a.m, the TTC had also suspended service both ways at Rosedale station, with a power-off situation because of a trespasser at the track level. Power was rebooted quickly after the issue was resolved.

    It wasn’t until nearly 1:30 p.m., when the original signal issue at St. Patrick was resolved.

    Ross said the TTC sincerely apologized to passengers for the delays. The situation’s origins had been traced back to Wednesday night maintenance crews, he explained, who inadvertently caused the signals at St. Patrick station to default to red and cause longer-than-normal travel times.

    A piece of equipment from the 1950s was mistakenly removed from an equipment room. To resolve the issue, track crews had to manually allow trains to bypass over trip arms that normally prevent trains from running red lights. Because of the issue southbound at St. Patrick, not enough trains were able to leave Wilson Yard to meet the morning rush.

    “This was a unique, one-off situation that has not happened before and should not happen again,” he wrote in an explainer posted on Twitter.

    Tory’s own apology came later in the day, once the situation had resolved. The mayor posted five tweets on the delays, beginning with an apology on behalf of the city and the TTC. “It was due to work being done overnight installing the automatic train control system,” Tory wrote of the Line 1 disruption.

    “We’re trying our hardest to avoid disruptions at all times as we work to install this new signal system . . . once we have automatic train control, this won’t happen — that’s why we’re installing it and replacing a decades-old system.

    “We will continue to try to do better and we know today’s TTC service didn’t meet the standard that people expect and deserve.”

    The issues come just before a planned disruption of the transit service on Saturday and Sunday, where Line 1 will be closed between Sheppard West and St. George for signal upgrades for the second time in a month.

    Installation of the new signal system is expected to be completed by 2019.

    With files from Alanna Rizza

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    OTTAWA—A recent court decision should come as a warning to the federal government to stop playing fast and loose with airline passenger safety rules, says the head of a union that represents thousands of flight attendants in Canada.

    In the wake of the ruling last week by the Federal Court of Appeal., the Canadian Union of Public Employees is urging the Liberal government to make changes to federal aviation rules about the ratio of crew to passengers on planes.

    The court disagreed with Transport Canada’s conclusion that there was no impact on passenger or crew safety when it allowed Sunwing Airlines to increase the ratio of passengers to flight attendants on its aircraft.

    Under federal rules at the time, flights originating in Canada were required to have one attendant for every 40 passengers, unless the transport minister granted an exemption.

    In 2013, Sunwing asked to raise the ratio to 1-50 on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft — each of which can seat 189 passengers, according to seating charts on the company’s website. That ratio is now the threshold for all carriers in Canada.

    Sunwing also sought permission to change procedures for flight attendants during an emergency evacuation.

    However, the airline failed three separate tests of the new system, in which crews were required to perform a partial evacuation in just 15 seconds. A Transport Canada inspector was on hand for those tests.

    The inspector suggested the crew could save time by foregoing “blocking” orders, which calls for a passenger to block the aisle to allow a crew member to open an emergency exit. The advice worked; the crew passed the test.

    However, before the government could sign off on the change, Sunwing was told to provide a risk assessment showing that dropping the blocking order from its procedures wouldn’t compromise safety.

    The resulting risk assessment said that it would be unlikely that passengers would block emergency exits during an evacuation.

    CUPE took the government to court over the decision to increase the ratio on Sunwing flights. The union represents more than 11,500 flight attendants at nine airlines.

    The ruling, dated Aug. 4, said the risk assessment was “cursory and provides no indication of how this conclusion was reached.” The judge also felt that testimony at trial showed that “no reliable testing was conducted to verify the accuracy of the conclusions.”

    The inspector didn’t review the assessment before giving his seal of approval, the judge added.

    The Supreme Court’s test for government decisions requires that they be transparent, intelligible and justifiable; this decision met none of those benchmarks, the judge continued, saying there was no way to determine how the inspector reached such conclusions.

    “Not only did the inspector fail to review Sunwing’s risk assessment, there is in addition no evidentiary basis to substantiate the assumption that passengers would not likely block a Sunwing flight attendant who needs to open an emergency exit to evacuate the aircraft,” the ruling said.

    “It is impossible to see how the inspector could have been satisfied that the proposed amendment ... did not compromise safety.”

    The government was also ordered to cover the union’s legal costs of $3,000.

    “This is a major wake-up call for Transport Canada. The safety of passengers and crew must come first, before any other consideration,” CUPE national president Mark Hancock said in a statement.

    A Transport Canada spokesperson said officials are reviewing the ruling.

    A June report from the House of Commons transport committee recommended the government review the 1-50 ratio with an eye to safety and security.

    The union wants the Liberal government to require all airlines to use the lower ratio of passengers to crew to promote safety.

    Transport Minister Marc Garneau’s office has yet to respond to a request for comment.

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    How will Canadians be living in 2018? They will be “together apart” within their homes, surrounded with blues and greens, natural materials and glitzy metallic embellishments.

    The predictions come from Ikea Canada, which is releasing its 2018 furniture and design catalogue August 14. Widely considered a predictor of lifestyle shifts, the catalogue will reach seven million homes across Canada by August 25.

    This year’s theme is “Make room for life” and it’s centred around the living room — one of the hardest working spaces in the home, said Kathy Davey, the interior design head of Ikea Canada.

    “The influences there are urbanization and technology, those are really two big trends we’re seeing,” she said.

    Movement to city centres has people living in smaller spaces, Davey said, which means the spaces have to be more fluid, since they’re used for a variety of activities.

    Technology has influenced a trend Davey called “together apart,” where people can be together in the same room but using different devices, such as a tablet and a phone, putting them essentially a world away from each other.

    Key to that is showing people they don’t have to have their sofa along a wall, or anchor it to a TV set, Davey said.

    “Just enabling people to really have this custom space that we’re not seeing today, that we really want people to be bold and brave and have a new take on their living room, especially because it’s a much more multi-functional space,” she said.

    Ikea carried out market research in Canada, customer surveys and home visits to figure out how people behave in their homes and what activities take place in them. The company also noticed people have been bringing nature into their homes — from herb gardens to flowers.

    “Greenery is becoming important in the home and people want to see more natural materials,” Davey said.

    “People are feeling they need more and more to reflect their own personal style. They’re getting so many different influences out there, but in their home they really want to put a stamp on their own space — it’s the one environment they can control,” she said.


    This brass-coloured 20-piece flatware set does the double duty of being both chic and dishwasher safe.



    Champagne coupes bring a touch of The Great Gatsby to a get-together, unlike their fluted counterparts.

    $2.99 each


    The metallic base is on trend right now and, Davey said, “they really bring, I would say, the accent to the home.”



    This table lamp looks like a fishbowl over a light bulb and is one of the many “shiny glass objects” featured in the new catalogue. “You could say it’s the jewelry to the wardrobe,” Davey said of accessories.



    This decorative hourglass is one of the elegant accessories in the catalogue. “These things add a level of detail and quality, I think, to be warm and inviting and inspiring,” Davey said.



    This sofa has storage on all sides and can be placed in the middle of a room, not up against a wall. “Sofa, of course, is the soul of the living room,” Davey said. “It’s about comfort and quality but it doesn’t have to be lining the walls anymore and your sofa doesn’t need to be in front of a TV.”



    These colourful office chairs come in blue, grey and green and let your living room stay trendy and bright, even if it’s doing double duty as a study. “We really want people to be bold and brave and have a new take on their living room, especially because it’s a much more multi-functional space,” Davey said.



    These shiny bowls, plates and side plates made of tempered glass add a bit of glitz to dinner.


    This brass-coloured frame can hold anything from mail to keys to help keep a small space organized and stylish.


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    Watching your favourite shows on Netflix Canada just got a little more expensive.

    The popular video streaming service is hiking prices for new members effective immediately. It will do the same for existing users after notifying them by email in the coming weeks.

    Netflix’s standard plan will now cost a dollar more — or $10.99 a month — to watch content on two screens at a time.

    The basic plan, which does not offer high definition video and only permits one streaming screen at a time, also goes up a dollar to $8.99 a month.

    Premium plan subscribers will pay $2 more for up to four simultaneous streams and ultra high-definition 4K content. It will now cost $13.99 monthly.

    It’s the first price increase in nearly two years that affects subscribers in Canada.

    Netflix says it made the decision in an effort to bolster its content and services. The price change only impacts Canadian subscribers.

    “From time to time, Netflix plans and pricing are adjusted as we add more exclusive TV shows and movies, introduce new product features and improve the overall Netflix experience, to help members find something great to watch even faster,” it said in a statement.

    Read more:

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    Netflix has invested heavily in producing its own original content in recent years, including House of Cards, Ozark and a slate of feature films bought at international film festivals.

    The company also faces a growing number of other competitors who are seeking the Canadian rights for buzzworthy TV series and movies, and potentially driving up the acquisition costs.

    CraveTV, which is owned by Bell Media, holds the rights to Showtime TV shows and some content from U.S. streaming site Hulu, while Amazon Prime Video acquired streaming licences for Mr. Robot and Starz cable series American Gods.

    Netflix purchases the Canadian rights to U.S. network shows as well, including ABC’s Scandal and the CW’s Riverdale.

    But earlier this week CBS Corp. announced plans to dive into the Canadian marketplace with its CBS All Access streaming service early next year. At once it’ll be vying to attract its own subscribers, while also competing for streaming rights and valuable library content.

    Netflix generally raises its prices by country based on the local market. In June, the company bumped up the monthly bill for Australian users by a few dollars, saying it was responding to a local tax increase.

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    BRIDGEWATER, N.J.—President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Thursday, demanding that Kim Jong Un’s government “get their act together” or face extraordinary trouble. He said his previous “fire and fury” warning to Pyongyang might have been too mild.

    “Maybe that statement wasn’t tough enough,” Trump said in the latest round of an escalating exchange of threats between the two nuclear-armed nations.

    Speaking to reporters in New Jersey, Trump said North Korea has been “getting away with a tragedy that can’t be allowed.” Still, he declined to say whether the U.S. is considering a pre-emptive military strike, arguing that his administration never discusses such deliberations publicly.

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

    Trump spoke after North Korea intensified its own rhetoric by announcing a detailed plan to launch a salvo of ballistic missiles toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, a major military hub and home to U.S. bombers. That announcement had been a response to Trump’s threat that the North would face “fire and fury like the world has never seen” if it threatened the U.S. again.

    On Thursday, Trump said it is time somebody stood up to the pariah nation.

    “North Korea better get their act together or they are going to be in trouble like few nations have ever been in trouble,” Trump said, flanked by Vice-President Mike Pence. “It may very well be tougher than I said.”

    Trump spoke after meeting with national security advisers at the golf resort where he’s vacationing. He said the U.S. “of course” would always consider negotiations with North Korea, but added that talks with the North have failed for the last 25 years. He said that China, the North’s biggest trading partner, needs to do more to apply pressure — and predicted that it will.

    The threatened attack near Guam, if carried out, would be the North’s most provocative missile launch to date. The North said it is finalizing a plan to fire four of its Hwasong-12 missiles over Japan and into waters around the tiny island, which hosts 7,000 U.S. military personnel on two main bases and has a population of 160,000.

    Read more:

    Did Donald Trump accidentally threaten nuclear war out of a penchant for hyperbole?: Analysis

    Trump’s warning to North Korea suggests he may be ready to strike first, but is that self-defence?

    Why North Korea is threatening Guam with its ballistic missiles

    Trump says North Korea will be met with ‘fire and the fury like the world has never seen’ if it doesn’t stop threatening the U.S.

    Japan and South Korea vowed a strong reaction if the North were to go through with the plan. Trump added his voice on Thursday, insisting that if North Korea took any steps to even think about an attack, it would have reason to be nervous.

    “Things will happen to them like they never thought possible, OK?” Trump said. Of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump added: “He’s been pushing the world around for a long time.”

    North Korea said the plan, which involves the missiles hitting waters 30 to 40 kilometres from the island, could be sent to leader Kim for approval within a week or so. It would be up to Kim whether the move is actually carried out. But the extreme specificity of the plan suggested it was designed to show North Korea is actually plotting a launch.

    The report said the Hwasong-12 rockets would fly over Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi prefectures in Japan and travel “1,065 seconds before hitting the waters 30 to 40 kilometres away from Guam.” It said the Korean People’s Army Strategic Force will finalize the plan by mid-August, present it to Kim Jong Un and “wait for his order.”

    “We keep closely watching the speech and behaviour of the U.S.,” it said.

    It is unclear whether — or exactly why — North Korea would risk firing missiles so close to U.S. territory. Such a launch would almost compel the United States to attempt an intercept and possibly generate further escalation.

    North Korea, no stranger to bluffing, frequently uses extremely bellicose rhetoric with warnings of military action to keep its adversaries on their heels. It generally couches its threats with language stating it will not attack the United States unless it has been attacked first or has determined an attack is imminent.

    But the statement raised worries amid threats from both sides.

    South Korea’s military responded by saying North Korea will face a “stern and strong” response from Washington and Seoul. Taking it a step further, Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera told parliament a missile attack on the U.S. territory would be a Japanese national emergency because it would threaten Japan’s existence as a nation.

    Guam lies about 3,400 kilometres from the Korean Peninsula, and it’s extremely unlikely Kim’s government would risk annihilation with a pre-emptive attack on U.S. citizens. It’s also unclear how reliable North Korea’s missiles would be against such a distant target, but no one was writing off the danger completely.

    Washington has been testing its missile defences in response to the North’s stepped-up development and the current escalation of tensions could lead to pressure for the U.S. military to try to shoot down the North’s missiles in midflight if they are heading toward Guam.

    That would likely open up a set of very major problems, including the possibility of both a very high-profile failure or a miscalculation of Washington’s intentions and a more deadly pre-emptive strike by the North — which has missiles able to hit Tokyo and conventional weapons that could devastate South Korea’s capital of Seoul.

    The Hwasong-12, which was revealed for the first time at a military parade in April, is an intermediate-range ballistic missile that is believed to have a radius of more than 3,700 kilometres. It can be fired from mobile launchers, making it hard to detect and destroy on the ground.

    By launching a salvo of four, the North would be attempting to make it harder for the U.S. to intercept all of the incoming missiles. Its stated flight path over Japan is also very aggressive — it has recently tried to avoid flying over neighbouring countries by shooting its missiles up at a very high angle to land in the ocean.

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    The OPP is asking for the public’s help in identifying a group of motorcycle riders that were driving dangerously on major highways over the long weekend.

    OPP said they received numerous complaints about a group of motorcycles traveling as a group on Highways 409, 401, 403, the QEW, Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner on Sunday between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

    “Not only were they driving dangerously and aggressively, at sometimes they came on a dead stop on the highway causing congestion, chaos, frustration for other motorists and really putting everyone at risk on the highways,” said OPP Sgt Kerry Schmidt.

    He said they could have easily caused accidents.

    “There is no place for groups like this to hijack our highways that are used for commerce, for transportation, for a shared community of drivers that are trying to get around the GTA especially on a long weekend. This will not be tolerated,” said Schmidt.

    OPP is asking anyone with information, photos, videos, or dash cam footage of the riders to contact them or call Crime Stoppers.

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    Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim walks across the tarmac of a U.S. military base in Fussa, Japan, Thursday, the day after he was freed from a North Korean prison. The 62-year-old Lim is with members of the Canadian government delegation sent to Pyongyang this week to negotiate his release, according to Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi.

    While on a humanitarian mission to a northern region of North Korea in January of 2015, Lim was picked up and detained by North Korean authorities. Lim was convicted in late 2015 of purportedly scheming to overthrow the authoritarian regime of Kim Jong Un. He was given a life sentence in a hard labour camp.

    Read more:

    Freeing of Hyeon Soo Lim is a bright spot in Korean crisis: Editorial

    Trudeau confirms release of Mississauga pastor imprisoned in North Korea

    Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim released over health reasons, says North Korea

    Lim is the pastor of the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, which has a congregation of about 3,000.

    Lim is expected to be reunited with friends and family in Canada shortly.

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    Mayor John Tory says it will be up to Chief Mark Saunders to determine if three Toronto police officers should face any internal discipline after being acquitted of sexual assaulting a colleague.

    “I’m not going to pre-judge what the police chief does,” Tory said Thursday. “Understand my role as the mayor and or as a member of the police services board is to oversee what the chief does, the chief is in charge of the police service, he will reach whatever decision he chooses to reach.”

    On Thursday, a judge acquitted three 51 Division constables, Leslie Nyznik, Sameer Kara and Joshua Cabero, accused of sexually assaulting a parking enforcement officer in a downtown Toronto hotel room on Jan. 17, 2015. The complainant’s identity is protected under a publication ban.

    “It is simply not safe to convict,” Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy wrote in her 45-page ruling.

    Molloy, however, said she did not “necessarily believe” Nyznik, the only one of the three officers who testified and “freely” acknowledged “many things that were not to his credit.”

    For example, “the amount of drinking that was going on; the extent of the free food and drinks and privileged treatment provided by the bars they attended; his familiarity with the Brass Rail and its staff,” the name of the Yonge St. strip bar the officers attended before going to the hotel.

    Nor was Molloy impressed with the ease with which Nyznik (and the others) “lied to the stripper at the Brass Rail about being a pornographic movie crew,” the judge wrote in her ruling. She also upbraided him for showing “shocking insensitivity and cruelty …of finishing with the complainant and then asking the two men if they should still call the “hooker” to come over.”

    Tory said Thursday that what he “expects from all of our public servants, and I include in that first and foremost police officers, people who work for the transit system, a high standard of behavior whether you’re on or off duty, you are a public servant,” Tory said.

    Read more:

    The slogan 'believe the victim' is popular but has no place in a criminal trial, says judge, ruling 3 cops not guilty: DiManno

    'It is simply not safe to convict,' judge rules after Toronto officers accused of sex assault found not guilty

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    “I can’t say ‘I am not the mayor’ when I leave work at the end of a long day. I’m the mayor all the time. Police officers, while they may be off duty, are police officers all the time. I just hope people take from this that message most importantly.”

    He repeated police officers “have to exercise good judgment,” and respect they position they hold.

    “And even though you may not be on duty, you are a person representing the transit commission or the police service or city council. I think people have to think more carefully than they sometimes do,” he continued.

    “Everybody, when it comes to the relationship between men and women and showing proper respect for one another and proper care – both in terms of the sort of the kinds of events they go to, how they behave, how much they have to drink, and how they treat each other most importantly.”

    Tory said the situation is difficult because Molloy rendered not guilty verdicts, “on the other hand there are some real concerns that exist out there of people saying ‘well what if those officers, for example, were to be involved in a future case of this kind.’”

    Tory added people “have to behave in a manner that would stand the test of public scrutiny that is inevitably applied either during or in many cases after events happen.”

    The officers have been suspended with pay since the criminal charges were laid. The Toronto Police Service has not commented on the officers’ status.

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    BARRIE, ONT.—An Ontario police force is looking for those responsible for allegedly burning a baby raccoon.

    Barrie, Ont., police say a severely injured raccoon was found in a park on Sunday afternoon and it is believed a flammable liquid was used as an ignition source.

    The raccoon was brought to Procyon Wildlife Centre in Beeton, Ont., after a woman found the animal.

    The centre says the raccoon is being treated by a veterinarian for burns to its face, arms, belly and one side of its body.

    Procyon says a veterinarian has given the raccoon ointment for the burns, antibiotics and pain medication.

    Vancouver based animal-rights organization Fur-Bearers has offered a $1,000 reward for information about who may be responsible for what police have called a senseless and inhumane act of animal cruelty.

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    As a Toronto police officer stood over him with a pointed gun, a Black teen who just minutes before was en route to an after-school mentorship program lay face down on the ground “very scared and shocked,” a police tribunal heard Thursday.

    Nearly six years after the young man, his brother, and two friends were arrested at gunpoint outside their Lawrence Heights housing complex in an incident known as the “Neptune Four’ case, the now 21-year-old man detailed his account of the November, 2011 night at the ongoing police misconduct hearing stemming from the case.

    The teen is the central complainant. That evening, he’d spoken up for himself and the others when two officers suddenly approached, saying the boys fit the description of suspects in a robbery. Fresh off a seminar where he’d learned his rights during police interactions, the teen asked the officers if he was under arrest and if he was free to go.

    The questions, he testified, quickly led to thrown punches by one officer, who then drew his weapon.

    “After this point in time I gave up speaking,” the young man said in testimony that painted a picture of one aggressor cop, Const. Adam Lourenco, and his bystander partner, Const. Scharnil Pais.

    Read more:

    Teen allegedly punched by cop in ‘Neptune Four’ case finally gets to tell his tale: DiManno

    Both officers stand accused under Ontario’s Police Services Act of unlawfully arresting the four boys — all 16 or under — immediately after they left their homes inside a Toronto Community Housing Corp. complex on Neptune Dr. and walked toward an after-school program called Pathways to Education.

    Lourenco faces two additional charges of disorderly conduct for allegedly using unreasonable force — one for punching one of the boys and for pointing his gun at three of them.

    The officers have pleaded not guilty to all charges. None of the allegations have been proven at the tribunal.

    Following the incident the four boys faced charges, including assaulting police. All were later withdrawn. Because the teens faced criminal charges under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the Star is not identifying them.

    According to the teen’s witness testimony, he and the others saw an unmarked black vehicle pull up nearby, then two officers got out and approached the group, yelling.

    The officer he later learned was Lourenco had especially aggressive body language, young man said, and his tone was “hostile.” The cops told them there had been a robbery and that they fit the suspect description.

    The witness said he told the officers they had just come from his mom’s house and offered his cellphone to call her to confirm. But he was instead asked for ID, which was wasn’t carrying — “I was 15,” he said.

    He then asked Lourenco: “Am I under arrest?” Then later, “Am I free to go?” The officer did not respond, the witness said.

    At this point, the witness says he began to step away, then alleges Lourenco grabbed him, pushed him away from the group and started searching him, all the while insulting him — “he was calling me a bitch, that I wanted to be a thug, a smart ass,” he said.

    Then, in a move that was picked up on grainy TCHC surveillance footage, Lourenco punched him. The young man alleges the officer punched him multiple times, including once to the head, dropping him to the ground.

    When the young man’s brother and friends moved in to stop the attack — asking the officer: “what are you doing?” — Lourenco pulled his gun, the witness testified. Pais, meanwhile, turned his back and stopped looking, the witness said. “I could see that he was not interested in helping us,” he said.

    Officers called for backup. The witness, then on the ground, alleges Lourenco stood over him and cut his thumb on his belt, drawing blood.

    “And he said: ‘You just assaulted a police officer,’” the young man testified.

    The witness alleges he was kneed in the back and handcuffed; when Lourenco asked if the cuffs were on tightly, the young man said they were, prompting the officer to tighten them, the complainant testified.

    When backup arrived, the young man testified, Lourenco roughed him up as he was placed in the back of the car, the officer still calling him names and saying: “that’s why you don’t play these games.”

    He was taken to the police station and only then told he was facing charges, including assaulting a police officer, threatening death and assault with intent to resist arrest. When he was asked in the station if he understood the charges, he said yes, even though he didn’t.

    Asked by Toronto police Insp. Dominic Sinopoli why he wrongly claimed to understand the charges, the young man responded: “You have to say yes.”

    The young man said he was held over night and strip-searched, the officers all the while making “uncomfortable comments,” the witness said.

    The young man’s testimony continues Friday.

    Wendy Gillis can be reached at

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    Transport Canada is being urged to make it mandatory for flight attendants to take training to spot potential signs of human trafficking, similar to what U.S. airlines must do.

    Activists say an incident earlier this year points to the need for widespread training.

    Shelia Fedrick was working on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco when she noticed a dishevelled girl aged 14 or 15 sitting beside a well-dressed older man on the flight, NBC reported.

    Fedrick tried to make conversation with the pair, but the man answered for the girl and became defensive. When the girl went to the bathroom, she wrote “I need help” on a piece of paper for Fedrick to see. The flight staff called law enforcement, who met them at the gate when the flight arrived. It turned out she was a human trafficking victim.

    People who are being trafficked, or are at risk of being trafficked, may not speak English, may not know where they are going or who is picking them up, might show signs of physical abuse, look fearful or nervous, or have someone who is in possession of their documents and insists on speaking for them, activists say.

    When Timea Nagy, a Hungarian-Canadian, got on a plane by herself to fly to Toronto from Budapest in 1998, she didn’t know who would be picking her up at the airport. But Nagy, 20 at the time, had been promised a well-paying job so she came to Canada anyway. Upon arrival at Pearson, she was immediately taken to a motel where she was forced into the sex trade for nearly three months until she escaped.

    Her ordeal was investigated by Toronto police, and she has since become a speaker and activist.

    Nagy believes that by asking a few questions and watching out for key behaviours, flight attendants could determine when an individual is being trafficked and intervene.

    “Education of the flight attendants can prevent a girl from turning into me,” Nagy said this week in an interview.

    Marie-Anyk Côté of Transport Canada said training to spot signs of human trafficking is at the discretion of the airlines.

    Out of four major Canadian airlines that the Star contacted, only Air Canada said their employees are given trafficking awareness training when they are hired. WestJet said their staff is trained to report suspicious activity to corporate security. Air Transat and SunWing weren’t available for comment.

    “I believe Canadian flight attendants should have more training on how to recognize and address human trafficking,” said Marie-Hélène Major, president of the Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

    Nancy Rivard, the president and founder of Airline Ambassadors International, an American organization that trains airline personnel to identify and address instances of human trafficking, said their training has helped in the U.S.

    The group’s training takes about and hour and a half and is split into three parts, Rivard said. In the training, the flight attendants get an education on the issue, the effects of trafficking on victims and the indicators that flight staff should look out for.

    The U.S. is more advanced in anti-trafficking measures than Canada, with initiatives that are supported by Congress, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Homeland Security and non-governmental organizations, Rivard said.

    Rivard’s group worked with several members of Congress and succeeded in getting regulations into the FAA last year to make the training mandatory for flight attendants. They are working to expand the guidelines to cover all flight personnel.

    The group started the training in 2011 and they have since trained about 5,000 personnel. Rivard said the Department of Homeland Security doesn’t share data with them on whether the training has increased the number of incidents that are reported, but she believes there are “more and more reports every day,” based on a survey that AAI recently sent out to flight attendants working in the States.

    Rivard said she’s interested in bringing the training to Canada.

    “We’re really hoping to inspire Canada to take a more proactive approach when it comes to training in the transportation industry,” Rivard said. “This is a solution that won’t cost a lot of money, there’s infrastructure in place to train all airline staff, adding the subject of human trafficking awareness won’t cost anything basically.”

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    BEDMINSTER, N.J.—U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday again delivered a bold warning to North Korea, tweeting that the U.S. military is “locked and loaded” if the isolated rogue nation acts “unwisely,” escalating an exchange of threats between the nuclear-armed nations.

    American and South Korean officials said they would move forward with large-scale military exercises later this month that North Korea claims are a rehearsal for war. Pyongyang has laid out plans to strike near the U.S. territory of Guam.

    Trump tweeted Friday: “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!”

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

    He later retweeted a posting from U.S. Pacific Command that showed B-1B Lancer bomber planes on Guam that “stand ready to fulfil USFK’s #FightTonight mission if called upon to do so.” “Fight tonight” has long been the motto of U.S. forces in South Korea to show they are always ready for combat on the Korean Peninsula.

    Trump’s provocative public declarations, a break from the careful language of his predecessors, have only grown louder as the week as gone on. They included the president musing that his initial warning of delivering “fire and fury” to North Korea — which appeared to evoke a nuclear explosion — was too timid. The days of war rhetoric have alarmed international leaders.

    Read more:

    As Trump ramps up tough talk on North Korea, U.S., South Korea plan to go ahead with war games

    Trump’s warning to North Korea suggests he may be ready to strike first, but is that self-defence?

    Guam caught in Donald Trump’s war of words with North Korea

    “I don’t see a military solution and I don’t think it’s called for,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She declined to say whether Germany would stand with the U.S. in case of a military conflict with North Korea and called on the UN Security Council to continue to address the issue.

    “I think escalating the rhetoric is the wrong answer,” Merkel added.

    Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, estimated the risk of a military conflict between the U.S. and North Korea as “very high,” and said Moscow was deeply concerned.

    “When you get close to the point of a fight, the one who is stronger and wiser should be the first to step back from the brink,” Lavrov said Friday.

    Trump’s bluster, however, stands in stark contrast to an ongoing back channel for negotiations between the United States and North Korea, which came to light Friday. It had been known the two sides had discussions to secure the June release of an American university student. But it wasn’t known until now that the contacts have continued, or that they have broached matters other than U.S. detainees.

    People familiar with the contacts say the interactions have done nothing thus far to quell tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile advances, which are now fuelling fears of military confrontation. But they say the behind-the-scenes discussions could still be a foundation for more serious negotiation.

    Despite tensions and talk of war, life on the streets of the North Korean capital remains calm. There are no air raid drills or cars in camouflage netting as was the case during previous crises.

    North Koreans have lived for decades with the state media message that war is imminent, the U.S. is to blame and their country is ready to defend itself. State-run media ensure that the population gets the North Korean side of the story, but don’t convey any sense of international concern about the situation.

    Two days after North Korea laid out its plans to strike near Guam with unsettling specificity, there was no observable march toward combat. U.S. officials said there was no major movement of U.S. military assets to the region, nor were there signs Pyongyang was actively preparing for war.

    As it is, the U.S. has a robust military presence in the region, including six B-1 bombers in Guam and Air Force fighter jet units in South Korea, plus other assets across the Pacific Ocean and in the skies above. U.S. military options range from nothing to a full-on conventional assault by air, sea and ground forces. Any order by the president could be executed quickly.

    The U.S.-South Korea exercises are an annual event, but they come as Pyongyang says it is readying a plan to fire off four Hwasong-12 missiles toward the tiny island, which is U.S. territory and a major military hub. The plan would be sent to Kim for approval just before or as the U.S.-South Korea drills begin.

    Called Ulchi-Freedom Guardian, the exercises are expected to run Aug. 21-31 and involve tens of thousands of American and South Korean troops on the ground and in the sea and air. Washington and Seoul say the exercises are defensive in nature and crucial to maintaining a deterrent against North Korean aggression.

    The exercises were scheduled well before tensions began to rise over Trump’s increasingly fiery rhetoric and North Korea’s announcement of the missile plan, which if carried out would be its most provocative launch yet. Along with a bigger set of manoeuvers held every spring, the exercises are routinely met by strong condemnation and threats of countermeasures from North Korea.

    The heightened military activity on the peninsula this time is a concern because it could increase the possibility of a mishap or an overreaction of some sort by either side that could spin into a more serious escalation. North Korea has been increasingly sensitive to the exercises lately because they reportedly include training for “decapitation strikes” to kill Kim Jong Un and his top lieutenants.

    The possibility of escalation is made even more acute by the lack of any means of official communication across the Demilitarized Zone, though there has been no easing of the barrage of inflammatory comments in the U.S. and the North since new sanctions against North Korea were announced last week.

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    Jamoneisha Merritt, 11, went to sleep Sunday night, near another young girl she believed to be her friend. Now the young girl doesn’t know what she looks like anymore.

    Her shoulders and neck are scarred and bulbous. In one photo from a hospital bed, Jamoneisha’s eyes are shut, her face pink from a layer of skin vapourized by scalding water.

    She’s still beautiful to her mother.

    Jamoneisha was allegedly attacked by another girl at the sleepover in the Bronx, N.Y., with a cup of boiling water, her mother Ebony Merritt said to local media stations.

    Merritt told NY1 that her daughter, who she affectionately calls “Monie,” is wounded not just physically but emotionally after the 12-year old poured the water over Jamoneisha as she slept. Now she is recovering in serious but stable condition, according to police.

    Merritt told local media Jamoneisha is not ready to see the full extent of her potentially lifelong injuries, so she has limited her daughter’s ability to look at herself.

    A New York Police Department statement released to The Washington Post said the 12-year old girl was arrested Monday night and charged with second-degree assault.

    “She don’t understand why they did that to her. She thought they was her friends,” Merritt told the station. “I was told that they didn’t like her. And they just been bullying her.” Merritt also took to Facebook to tell other parents to discourage children about following social media challenges.

    It was not immediately clear if the alleged attacker told police she was inspired by internet videos.

    Yolanda Richardson told the local NBC affiliate that her cousin Jamoneisha and the other girl argued the night before the attack.

    “[The other girl] told her if she goes to sleep they were going to do something to her,” Yolanda said.

    Merritt believes her daughter is the victim of a social media-fuelled prank called the hot water challenge, a potentially dangerous dare in which teenagers and kids boil water and throw it on an unsuspecting victim.

    Ki’ari Pope, an 8-year old girl from Florida, died in late July, months after she drank boiling water from a straw after she and a cousin watched a video of a similar act on YouTube, the Associated Press reported. Her mother, Marquisia Bonner, said Ki’ari had problems breathing after a tracheotomy removed scar tissue from her windpipe.

    The pair of incidents are wrinkles of an old digital phenomenon — kids egged on by social media missions created on the dark corners of the web, provoking them to do something incredibly dangerous to themselves or others.

    Suicides, assaults and accidents have been traced back to internet fads like the blue whale challenge, which purportedly asks participants to complete a list of mundane and dangerous activities ranging from watching a horror film and self-mutilation.

    One Texas teenager allegedly killed himself last month as part of the challenge, his parents say.

    Other apparent criminal acts do not have a clear connection between online challenges and real world violence. The so-called knockout game, which called for kids to attack unsuspecting people from behind in an effort to knock them unconscious, sent parents, teachers and cable news into a frenzy.

    It was also found to mostly be a hoax, a scary sounding and Facebook-ready phenomenon grafted onto random assaults, a report found.

    But Jamoneisha’s life-altering burns are very real. And her mother has reason to believe digital taunting transformed into real violence, she told NY1.

    “They’ve been on Snapchat. It’s been going on several times. The girl admitted it. ‘I don’t like her. I wanted to do it,’” she said.

    Jamoneisha’s family, who could not be reached by The Post, has been at her bedside through the recovery process, in an update with NY1.

    “She seemed to still have the same energy like nothing ain’t change her. She’s still smiling, joking. laughing, yeah she’s doing good though,” Starshanae Nixon, Jamoneisha’s cousin, told the network.

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