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TOPSTORIES

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    OTTAWA—The founder of the online news site The Rebel admits its content and management need more oversight in the wake of a string of controversies.

    One reporter was fired, another founder quit and two other contributors resigned last week after the outlet came under intense criticism for its coverage of deadly riots in Virginia.

    Ezra Levant is now admitting things need to change, saying he’s been a flawed leader who has made mistakes.

    He says he’s going to bring in better oversight of both the business and editorial side of the operation and hire new journalists.

    He’s also pledging greater transparency for the outlet’s finances, after two other former contributors levied a string of allegations over where The Rebel’s largely crowdsourced budget is actually going.

    Levant detailed the proposed changes in a statement late Tuesday, following a memo last week where he sought to distance The Rebel from allegations it’s aligned with the so-called “alt-right.”

    Read more:

    Why did conservative politicians wait so long to renounce The Rebel? Steward

    Scheer says he’ll reject interviews with The Rebel until it changes editorial direction

    Co-founder of The Rebel, Brian Lilley, leaves the conservative media website


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    When David Salazar leaves the Canadian National Exhibition, his hands are incredibly moisturized and his whole body smells like butter.

    “Your arms, your body is glistening,” said Salazar.

    “Everything you eat, everything you handle, you can feel the butter on it.”

    Salazar is the lead artist at this year’s butter sculpture exhibit at the CNE. So far he’s made a butter version of a High Park capybara and the infamous Ikea monkey— and he’s collaborating on a buttery Justin Trudeau cuddling two baby pandas.

    Salazar crafts his high-calorie creations behind a glass screen in a refrigerated box, while fairgoers gawk and take photos.

    It’s slippery and cold inside the sculpting fridge — about 10 C — but it smells delicious. As a butter lover, Salazar says it can take willpower to resist sneaking a taste.

    Read more:

    How best to spend $50 at the CNE

    A taste of the East Coast hits Toronto at this year’s CNE

    CNE to showcase Indigenous art this year

    “Of course I’m tempted! I love butter!” he said, laughing. During the Ex, Salazar will spend about six hours a day handling globs of unsalted butter, but he’s not sick of it yet. “So far I still butter my toast in the morning.”

    By the end of the fair, there’ll be more than a dozen butter sculptures by 11 different artists in the box, said Salazar — including the rest of the capybara family and the doughnut-stealing raccoon who made headlines in 2015. The artists will use 2,700 pounds of butter in total, which all gets composted at the end, a CNE spokesperson said.

    Salazar wears a coat and hat inside the chilly fridge — but the butter still seeps through his sturdy work gloves. When he pulls them off, his hands are shining and remarkably soft.

    “It’s pretty funny working with butter. It’s a little surreal,” said Salazar, who says dealing with the cold is one of the hardest parts of butter art.

    Butter sculptures are a long-running tradition at the CNE, dating back to the 1950s. Memorable past sculptures include Rob Ford reading a Margaret Atwood novel, Yoda and Toronto’s favourite dead raccoon— all created by Olenka Kleban, who organized this year’s show.

    The theme this year is “Wild in the 6,” and features famous GTA animals. On Tuesday, Salazar started work on a giant hog — an homage to Hogtown. He first builds an internal frame out of wood and metal lath, before sculpting around it with dozens of kilograms of buttery goodness.

    The unsalted butter comes in 25-kilogram boxes (nutritional information included), and has to soften for a day or two outside the fridge before it’s ready for sculpting.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Sean Kosonic carved detailing into Justin Trudeau’s face using a small butter knife with “Spread Love” on it. He’s one of several artists working on Butter Trudeau over the course of the Ex, slowly adding details to perfect his creamy likeness.

    “Chiselled faces are always easier,” said Kosonic, as he smoothed the prime minister’s buttery lips. “When someone has a good nose, it’s a good place to start.”

    He and Salazar are both graduates of OCAD University and don’t usually work in such a high-cholesterol medium. Kosonic is a metalworker, while Salazar sculpts with clay and works on public sculptures. The CNE butter artists are often OCAD grads and come from a diverse range of backgrounds.

    Both Salazar and Kosonic like working with butter; it’s a fun, versatile material that’s a lot like clay, in a sense.

    “We produce a lot of butter, so it’s nice to see what else we can do with it,” said Salazar, who last did butter sculpting in 2007.

    As the artists work, people clamour outside the box, pointing and taking pictures. Many ask questions or share their memories of past exhibitions, and Salazar loves seeing kids react with glee.

    People often bang on the glass, however, which gives him a lot more empathy for zoo animals.

    “At times you feel like a monkey,” he said.

    As he worked on the hog, a man stopped by to chat, fondly remembering seeing the butter sculptures as a child.

    “I love them, they’re great,” said Steve Beattie. “I don’t know if it’s much to anybody else, but to me it’s part of the CNE. It’s our heritage.”

    But not everybody shares his sentiment.

    “That’s disgusting!” one man exclaimed as he walked by.

    Probably a margarine fan.


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    A suspended Hamilton police officer awaiting trial after a 2015 Toronto police raid saw him charged with allegedly helping a drug trafficking organization is now facing 16 new criminal charges.

    On Tuesday, Craig Ruthowsky, who worked on the Hamilton police department’s gangs and weapons enforcement unit, was charged with bribery, two counts of breach of trust, two counts of obstructing justice, public mischief, two counts of weapons trafficking, fraud under $5,000, trafficking marijuana, perjury, two counts of conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, robbery and two counts of trafficking cocaine.

    It was pre-arranged that Ruthowsky would turn himself in at a police station Tuesday morning and then appear in a Toronto court, where he was released on bail, said his lawyer, Greg Lafontaine.

    The 43-year-old is already committed to stand trial on charges of corruptly accepting moneys, attempting to obstruct justice, trafficking cocaine and criminal breach of trust. That trial is set to begin Feb. 20, 2018.

    Lafontaine described the newest charges, which will be tried separately, as “historical” from Ruthowsky’s time as a guns and gangs investigator in Hamilton before his suspension in 2012.

    “They’re effectively more of the same,” he said, noting more “full-time criminals” have come forward since Ruthowsky’s criminal case has been in the news.

    Ruthowsky was arrested in a June 2015 raid during Toronto police’s Project Pharaoh and accused of being part of a Hamilton criminal group connected to the Toronto street gang Monstarz. He was initially denied bail and spent five weeks in jail before being released.

    Hamilton police confirmed the latest charges in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon but declined to comment further as the case is before the courts.

    As part of his guns and gangs investigative work, Ruthowsky worked closely with informants in the criminal underworld. Lafontaine said dealing with people “at the bottom of the social barrel” was a hazard of the work Ruthowsky did and left him vulnerable to these types of accusations.

    Ruthowsky was “disappointed” to learn of the new charges, but he and his legal team feel “confident” they will prove his innocence, Lafontaine said, questioning the credibility of Crown witnesses.

    In an interview Tuesday, Mark Dobrowski claimed at least one of the new charges is related to allegations that Ruthowsky had an informant set him up with a gun in his former home.

    Dobrowski claims he served 51 months in prison after police found a gun in his then Hamilton home on April 30, 2010. He was sentenced to four years, three months and 20 days on Nov. 5, 2010.

    Dobrowski admits to being a former leader of the gang Original Blood Brothers and has a criminal record. “I was a bad person. I’m out of the lifestyle now,” he said.

    He claimed Hamilton police officially informed him Ruthowsky had been charged Tuesday morning. “I lost a lot of time in my life … nothing can bring it back,” he said.

    Ruthowsky remains suspended with pay.

    Hamilton police first suspended him in June 2012 amid an investigation into allegations that he improperly disclosed licence plate information from the Canadian Police Information Centre.

    He was charged with breach of trust and obstructing justice, but those criminal charges were stayed in October 2013 over concern that the case could identify an informant. The related disciplinary case was still pending when Toronto police burst through his door and arrested him in June 2015.

    Ruthowsky’s former partner, Robert Hansen, was suspended and charged at the same time in 2012.

    Hansen was convicted of perjury and obstructing justice after he encouraged an informant to plant a gun at a suspected drug trafficker’s home in 2012 and then lied to secure a search warrant.

    Hansen was sentenced in June 2016 to five years in prison and resigned that August.

    Darren Mork, the man targeted by Hansen, filed a $1.5-million lawsuit against him and Hamilton police. Mork’s lawyer, Nick Cake, said they are working toward setting a trial date.

    Anyone with information about the Ruthowsky case is asked to contact Det. Troy Ashbaugh at 905-546-4951.


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    Fines for rule-breaking realtors should be double what they are now so the potential penalties keep pace with the province’s rising housing market, says the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).

    Last year, realtors found guilty of violating the code of ethics faced an average fine of less than $6,000 from the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), the industry regulator.

    The existing penalties were set when the average resale Ontario home cost $211,000. That has now increased to $619,000. It is $759,000 in the Toronto area.

    “For those who willingly break the rules, these fines are ‘the cost of doing business,’” said OREA.

    In a discussion paper published Tuesday, OREA recommended fines be doubled for violating the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) Code of Ethics. That would put the maximum penalty for salespeople at $50,000, while brokers and brokerages would face fines of up to $100,000.

    The discussion paper is meant to elicit feedback from OREA’s 70,000 members to the Ontario Liberal government’s two-part review of the real estate act.

    New rules are expected in the fall for agents who represent both a buyer and seller in a single transaction. But a more comprehensive review will continue next year.

    “The act is 15 years old. A lot has changed since 2002,” said Matthew Thornton, OREA vice-president of public affairs and communications.

    He said the review is an opportunity to look at how the industry can “make sure it’s representing best practices that are in place in other provinces, that it is strengthening consumer protection and really just modernizing it.”

    In addition to the higher fines, OREA says RECO needs to be able to order realtors to return profits made through breaches of the act.

    “Fines may not cover the entire fee earned as a result of unethical activity. In other words, even under a system of higher fines registrants could still profit from unethical behaviour,” said the OREA paper.

    It also wants RECO to have the authority to revoke or suspend a realtor’s registration to practise, a finding that can be overturned by an appeals tribunal under the current system.

    In an emailed statement from RECO registrar Joseph Richer, the regulator also supports higher fines and the ability to make realtors repay profits achieved by unethical practices. It also agrees with the need to have the authority to revoke registrations.

    There were 70,284 registered realtors in Ontario in 2014 and 73,751 in 2015. But that number shot up to 78,780 last year, according to OREA. Of those, 48,117 were real estate salespeople.

    The number of inquiries (for information) was down last year to 25,497 from 26,346 in 2015.

    Earlier this month, OREA officials held an online town hall pledging to hold RECO to account for industry standards and practice.

    The Ontario association is rebranding itself since RECO awarded its core mission as an industry education provider to Humber College.

    OREA will issue three more white papers before the end of the year on education and realtor ethics.

    Continuing education is a particular concern, said Thornton. Agents have to take a $44 online course every two years to maintain their registration.

    “The sentiment in the industry about continuing education is that the process that RECO is offering is not where it should be,” he said.

    Most registered realtors pay a $390 annual fee to RECO and $110 annually to OREA.


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    Few people would have the nerve to straddle a steel beam hanging near the top of the CN Tower, or to shout “Hey, Queen!” in the presence of royalty.

    Nothing could stop Boris Spremo from getting his million-dollar photo.

    The retired Star photographer made it his business to document history, whether he was shooting a war, or capturing a Canadian prime minister during a lighter moment.

    Spremo has died at the age of 81. He had been diagnosed with cancer in February. He took a turn for the worse last week, according to his family.

    “He was the light of everyone’s life,” said his granddaughter Jessica Spremo. “He was constantly cracking jokes. He never took anything too seriously. (He was) always looking for an adventure.”

    Spremo was born in Yugoslavia and came to Canada in 1957 after a stop in Paris. Following four years at The Globe and Mail, he joined the Star in 1966, where he spent 34 years as a photojournalist. He retired in 2000.

    Photos: Boris Spremo, legendary Toronto Star photojournalist passes away

    Editorial: Boris Spremo personified photojournalism in Canada

    A member of the Order of Canada who was inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame, Spremo received 285 national and international photojournalism awards in a lifetime of photography.

    His work took him to conflict zones including Vietnam, Grenada, Northern Ireland, Israel, Gaza and Iraq. He documented famine and drought in Central Africa in 1983 and the plight of Kurdish refugees in 1991.

    “He never lost sight of where he came from,” Jessica said. “Having that perspective, he could relate to people . . . and have them, kind of, be comfortable, if only for a few minutes, in the situations that they were in.

    “He treated everyone the same.”

    Photos he took in Canada stood out. Known for his dogged pursuit to find the perfect shot, Spremo developed a rapport with politicians, including prime ministers Pierre Trudeau and John Diefenbaker.

    In 1976, he captured Diefenbaker in silhouette working on his post-retirement memoirs while at a summer cottage in Barbados. The photo of Canada’s prime minister, resting in a lounge chair as the sun peeked out from the clouds following a rainfall, secured Spremo one of his many National Newspaper Awards.

    Spremo was lauded for his photo of Trudeau the day after the latter won the 1980 federal election. It was one of the most recognizable photos of the former prime minister.

    Camped outside Trudeau’s office until his staff finally let Spremo in, the photographer urged him, “Do something for me! Give me a picture!”

    Trudeau decided to fire off a paperclip from an elastic band.

    “That to me is the quintessential Boris picture, right there, because it sums up his personality, his style,” said Star photographer Richard Lautens.

    “Who else is going to get a sitting prime minister to sit there behind the desk on Parliament Hill firing elastics?

    “He was willing to talk anybody into anything.”

    Having known Spremo for 40 years, Lautens considered him a mentor. He was a “mythic figure, this larger-than-life character” with a personality “you could barely fit in a room,” he said.

    “He had this personality, this drive. He would get in anywhere. He would never take ‘no’ for an answer,” Lautens said. “He would step on his own mom for a picture, especially an exclusive. I always figured he’d be around as long as Mt. Rushmore.

    “His face should be up there somewhere.”

    Said former Star photographer and senior editor Fred Ross: “He worked his ass off” to get the right shot.

    It was important to Spremo to get his photo on the Star’s front page the following day.

    Ross recalled how the photographer would keep track of all his front-page pictures and how he’d grow restless, even to the point of nudging Ross for better assignments, when he went a while without one.

    “He never took any pictures. He made pictures. Big difference,” Ross said. “First class is probably not a definitive enough term for him. He lived and loved to make pictures.

    “That was his whole being.”

    Lautens said Spremo “would just kind of own the paper whenever he was working.

    “He would see me or anybody else in this place as much competition as anybody else,” he said. “Then he’d give you that big smile and everyone would go, ‘Well, that’s Boris.’ ”

    Torstar chair and former Star publisher John Honderich referred to Spremo as a “giant” – although “I’m not sure that even ‘giant’ does justice to his career,” Honderich said.

    “Boris definitely knew what he wanted in life and the chain of command was not something he felt was particularly relevant. He would just come and knock on my door all the time and say this is what he wanted to do. He was full of stories, full of life, vivacious.

    “This man lived every inch of his life and every inch of his career.”

    Spremo’s photographic style differed from many of the techniques used by his competitors, according to Lautens.

    To him, it was about capturing a moment from the perfect spot at the perfect time.

    “Most of the stuff you see of his has got a humorous little twist to it, but extremely personal,” he said. “The style he shot in is very much kind of the way your eye might see things, whereas most photographers would always try and do something visually different, use certain lenses or certain lighting. He was willing to put himself in the line of fire. He was willing to risk pretty much everything to get himself in that position to make that image.

    “It was that kind of intimate approach that, kind of, sold the deal.”

    Spremo was not afraid to take readers to the highest of heights. On one occasion, he shot a CN Tower ironworker at 440 metres above ground.

    “He was very famous for climbing up on skyscrapers and doing crazy stunts to get the best angle,” said Ken Faught, a former Star photographer and photo editor. “He was just a bulldog. It was his way or the highway.”

    His sense of humour also had an edge.

    Tasked with covering a Papal visit in 1984, Spremo was on Pope John Paul II’s train, which ran from Sherbrooke to Trois-Rivières, Que.

    As the pope sat in the fourth car of the train by a window, with a light on him so that people at the stations could see him as the train passed by, media set up camp in the first car.

    But they grew bored during the long trip, prompting Spremo, partially as a result of some egging on from fellow media, to fold up one of the blow-up cushions into a shape similar to the pope’s mitre, throw on a table cloth and hold a monopod as a staff. The impression was complete with a papal wave.

    “People started taking photos of him instead of the actual pope,” said Jessica Spremo. “When the pope actually went by, all these people were walking away.”

    The stunt landed him in hot water and some media picked up the story.

    In another instance, legend has it that Spremo, in attempt to get the attention of a wayward-looking Queen Elizabeth II on a visit to Canada, shouted, “Hey Queen! Look over here!”

    “All the protocol guys were, like, ‘You can’t talk to the Queen like that,’ ” Lautens laughed.

    When Spremo retired from the Star, it was obvious to everyone that he wasn’t ready to stop shooting.

    “It’s inspiring, not just for journalists everywhere, but for anybody in any occupation, to see a guy who has that fire in his belly his entire life,” said Lautens. “Even to this day, I’m still in awe of the guy.

    “For the longest time, he was photojournalism in Canada.”

    Spremo remained active in retirement, playing tennis five times a week and spending time at his Lake Simcoe cottage, where he loved to be on a boat.

    He also got tremendous joy out of his 1959 Cadillac, “my baby,” as he liked to call it, according to his granddaughter.

    In retirement, he kept shooting photos.

    “He never went anywhere without a camera, whether to the store or on a trip,” Jessica said. “He always said, ‘You never know where you’re going to get that million-dollar photo.’ ”

    Spremo is survived by his wife Ika, their four daughters and seven grandchildren.


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    The province and Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. are trying to block a ruling that orders former premier Dalton McGuinty, his finance minister and other senior officials to answer questions under oath about the 2012 cancellation of a lucrative slot machine revenue-sharing program.

    The case centres around a $65-million civil claim by a group of horse breeders who argue they’ve been unfairly cut out of revenues from slot machines at racetracks. A 1998 slot agreement allowed for money from the machines to be shared among the province, horse breeders and racetracks annually.

    But the province announced on March 12, 2012, it was ending the plan with a year’s notice, opting to reallocate slot revenues for health care and other government initiatives.

    The breeders allege that before an important February 2012 cabinet meeting on the revenue-sharing plan, some powerful people met secretly and resolved to get the slots deal axed.

    The breeders say they launched their claim after the province and OLG paid $80 million in compensation to track owners, but refused to discuss compensating breeders. The breeders say that before the cancellation they’d been encouraged by the province to keep breeding horses.

    The matter is being heard in the Superior Court of Justice in Guelph by Justice Michael Emery.

    The suit against the province includes claims of breach of contract, negligence and unjust enrichment. The province and OLG are trying to have the suit tossed out, claiming in statements of defence that they’ve done nothing improper.

    Earlier this month, over objections from the province and OLG, Emery ordered that McGuinty, former finance minister Dwight Duncan and 11 others including their chiefs of staff, economist Don Drummond and Rod Seiling, the former chair of the Ontario Racing Commission, give evidence under oath relating to the cancellation of the revenue-sharing.

    But this week the province and OLG filed a motion seeking leave to appeal Emery’s decision, and in the meantime, a stay of the summons that calls on McGuinty and the others to give evidence.

    In their motion, set to be heard at Divisional Court in Toronto, the province and OLG argue in part that Emery didn’t apply the proper legal test when it came to their bid to quash the breeders’ requests for McGuinty and the others to come forward.

    Emery had suggested that the onus was on the province and OLG to prove the summonses should be quashed, which effectively reversed the onus in established case law, lawyers for the province and OLG argue in their latest motion.

    Jonathan Lisus, a lawyer for the breeders, said Tuesday that Emery applied the law correctly and gave a “balanced sensible decision” that the witnesses being asked to come forward were connected to the decision to cancel the revenue sharing, and therefore have relevant evidence to give to the court.

    In an email, Tony Bitonti, an OLG spokesperson said “as the matter continues to be before the courts, it would not be appropriate to comment.”

    Ministry of the Attorney General spokesperson Emilie Smith issued a similar statement.


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    PHOENIX—U.S.President Donald Trump is blaming the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to a Charlottesville, Va., protest organized by white supremacists that led to the killing of a counterprotester.

    Trump opened his political rally in Phoenix with a call for unity, saying, “What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America and tonight, this entire arena stands united in forceful condemnation of the thugs that perpetrated hatred and violence.”

    But he quickly trained his ire on the media, shouting that he “openly called for healing unity and love” in the immediate aftermath of Charlottesville and claiming the media had misrepresented him. He read from his three responses to the violence — getting more animated with each one.

    Democrats and fellow Republicans had denounced Trump for placing blame for the Charlottesville violence on “both sides.”

    Trump spoke after Vice-President Mike Pence and others called repeatedly for unity.

    Housing Secretary Ben Carson and Dr. Alveda King, the niece of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr., were among the openers. Franklin Graham, son of the evangelist Billy Graham, led the rally-goers in prayer, saying, “We’re divided racially, and we’re adrift morally.”

    Read more:

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    Donald Trump again echoes white supremacists over removal of ‘our beautiful’ Confederate statues

    Outside the Phoenix convention centre, shouting matches and minor scuffles erupted between Trump supporters and protesters gathered near the site of his latest campaign rally. Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton had asked Trump to delay his political event to allow for more time of national healing after Charlottesville.

    Trump teased a pardon for former sheriff Joe Arpaio, asking the crowd what they thought of him. Loud cheers erupted. The former Maricopa County sheriff is awaiting sentencing after his conviction in federal court for disobeying court orders to stop his immigration patrols.

    “So was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” Trump asked. “I’ll make a prediction: I think he’s going to be just fine.”

    Earlier, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump wouldn’t discuss or take action on a pardon “at any point today,” even though the president had told Fox News he was considering it.

    Trump said at the rally that the only reason he wouldn’t make a move from the stage was to avoid controversy for the moment.In the comfort of his most fervent fans, Trump often resurrects his freewheeling 2016 campaign style, pinging insults at perceived enemies such as the media and meandering from topic to topic without a clear theme.

    Neither of Arizona’s two Republican senators appeared with Trump.

    Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, a conservative, has been a frequent target of Trump’s wrath.

    The president tweeted last week: “Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!” Flake has been on tour promoting his book that says the Republican Party’s embrace of Trump has left conservatism withering.

    Ward planned to attend Trump’s rally, sparking talk that the president could take the politically extraordinary step of endorsing her from the stage over an incumbent Republican senator.

    In a modest but telling swipe at Ward and, by extension, at Trump, the Senate Leadership Fund, a political committee closely aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, is spending $10,000 on digital ads that say of her, “Not conservative, just crazy ideas.”

    Arizona’s other senator, John McCain, is undergoing treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer. Trump has been critical of McCain for voting against a Republican health care bill.

    Tuesday’s events put Trump in more comfortable political territory than in recent days.

    He began his Arizona visit with a brief trip to the southern edge of the country.

    While touring a Marine Corps base in Yuma that is a hub of operations for the U.S. Border Patrol, Trump inspected a drone and other border equipment on display in a hangar.

    Trump shook his head as he was shown a series of everyday objects, such as a fire extinguisher, that had been refashioned to secretly transport drugs across the border. Afterward, he spent about 20 minutes greeting service members in the gruelling, 106-degree heat, signing caps with his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan and posing for selfies on the tarmac just steps from Air Force One.

    Upending a campaign vow to end the country’s longest war, Trump on Monday announced in a national address a plan to maintain to a U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. Senior U.S. officials said Trump’s strategy may involve sending up to 3,900 more troops, with some deployments beginning almost immediately.

    Some of Trump’s core voters had already been unhappy about the recent ouster of conservative Steve Bannon as White House chief strategist.

    Bannon had made it his mission to remind Trump of what his most fervent supporters want from his presidency. Some conservative strategists have openly worried that without Bannon around, Trump will be too influenced by establishment Republicans on issues such as Afghanistan policy.


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    Thousands of people with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities are being prescribed anti-psychotic medication by Ontario doctors despite a lack of evidence that the drugs actually help them, a new study has found.

    Researchers with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences have called for “guidelines and training around antipsychotic prescribing and monitoring” for doctors, pharmacists and care home staff after finding that nearly 40 per cent of people with developmental disabilities were prescribed antipsychotic drugs at some point over a six-year period.

    One-third of the patients prescribed antipsychotics had no documented diagnosis of mental illness, according to the study which tracked over 51,000 people with developmental disabilities who are eligible for provincial drug benefits.

    “We don’t know, with the data, why this one person was prescribed or this (other) person was prescribed so we’re trying to almost guess at why,” psychologist and lead author of the study Yona Lunsky said.

    “It could be behaviour, aggression, self-injury, agitation.”

    For people with developmental disabilities who live in group homes, the rate of antipsychotic prescriptions was even higher.

    About 56 per cent of developmentally disabled group home residents were prescribed antipsychotics. Of those, around 43 per cent had no documented mental health issues.

    There is “inconclusive” evidence that antipsychotics are effective in treating the behaviour of developmentally disabled patients who do not have a mental illness, Lunsky said.

    While some studies show antipsychotics can be effective in individual cases, over a short period of time, there is no reliable evidence on long-term use of antipsychotics by people with developmental disabilities, Lunsky said. And it is unlikely that all antipsychotic users found in the study need to be taking them, she added.

    “There’s no way every single one of those people is on that drug for the right reasons and being very carefully monitored.”

    It’s overly simplistic, though, to assume doctors are just prescribing antipsychotics as a “quick fix” for challenging behaviour, Lunsky said.

    One of the major factors behind the number of prescriptions could be the fact that medications are often the most affordable and easily accessible method of treatment for families and caregivers struggling to manage the aggression, agitation, self-injury or other challenging behaviours of a person with developmental disabilities.

    The majority of adults in the province with intellectual and developmental disabilities are covered by the Ontario Disability Support Program, which offers benefits for prescription medications, Lunsky said.

    While a person with developmental disabilities may benefit from seeing a psychologist, psychiatrist, behaviour therapist or other specialized professional, they will either have to spend months on waiting lists or pay out of pocket for faster access.

    Certain behaviours of people with developmental disabilities can also be misinterpreted by doctors or caregivers as signs of psychosis, Lunsky said.

    “You could think somebody who is talking to themselves all the time is hearing voices (but) it may be just the way that person rehearses or thinks things out, or something that calms them down when they’re anxious,” Lunsky said.

    Prescription rates in group homes could be higher because people tend to have a more complex set of issues or be under more stress, Lunsky added.

    Even for people with developmental disabilities and mental health issues that are commonly treated with antipsychotics, careful monitoring is vital.

    “It’s really important to recognize that there is a place for antipsychotic mediation, (to) help patients in crisis to come back to base line,” said Roger Oxenham, whose daughter has developmental disabilities and has been diagnosed with personality, anxiety, bipolar and obsessive compulsive disorders.

    “But . . . it really takes a significant amount of consultation to understand what these drugs are about, not just the positive impact of the drug but what the negatives are.”

    It can be “hit and miss” trying to find a medication that works for a patient with a dual diagnosis of developmental disabilities and mental health issues, and doctors should speak with family members and caregivers to get a better sense of what drugs might be most effective for a patient, Oxenham said.

    Side effects are a serious concern for anyone who takes powerful antipsychotics, which can, for instance, cause problems with movement and dramatic weight gain and raise the risk of diabetes and hypertension.

    But people with developmental disabilities may be more sensitive to side effects while at the same time, less capable of articulating to doctors how they are experiencing them.

    Ultimately, more information is required on the reasons why antipsychotics are being prescribed to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, Lunsky said. And more knowledge on the needs of people with developmental disabilities is required across the board.

    “Everybody needs to be educated about this, whether it’s the person who is taking the medication, staff who work in group homes, families and all the people who look after a person with intellectual disabilities,” Lunsky said.

    “How can we educate our pharmacists who play a role in this, and for sure our physicians?”


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    A 33-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault after allegedly pretending to be an Uber driver in order to trick a woman into entering his car.

    Durham Regional Police attended a call on Sunday night regarding the assault of a 25-year-old woman. She alleged that after she left a downtown Toronto nightclub in the area of Cherry St. and Polson St., she was approached by a man who claimed to be an Uber driver and wanted to know if she needed a ride.

    When she got into the car, described as a red, four-door Toyota Camry, the man proceeded to sexually assault her on the drive home, she told police.

    Police arrested Muhammad Fahad, of Toronto, the next day and charged him with sexual assault and theft. The investigation is still ongoing, and police are asking anyone with information to contact them.


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    A man has been arrested following a series of small fires early Wednesday morning in the downtown core that also damaged the front doors of a church.

    Toronto Fire Services said they responded to a fire around 5 a.m. at the front doors of the Church of the Holy Trinity near the Toronto Eaton Centre.

    Toronto police Const. Caroline de Kloet said there were five other fires that occurred between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. She said there were four garbage fires and one fire set to a discarded mattress.

    The series of fires started near Yonge and Dundas Streets including George and Gerrard Streets, then at Dalhousie and Gould Streets near Ryerson University, but they have all since been extinguished.

    Police from 51 Division said a man has been arrested but the investigation is still ongoing.

    De Kloet said it is too soon to confirm if the fires were connected.

    There were no injuries reported and police are not looking for any other suspects.


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    WASHINGTON—Donald Trump has threatened to blow up NAFTA less than one week into the renegotiation of the trade agreement, providing an early indication that the upcoming talks might occur under a cloud of menace.

    The president’s threat itself is no surprise. A common topic of hallway chatter at last week’s first round of talks was when he might deploy that withdrawal threat, which many view as his principal source of negotiating leverage.

    The only surprise is how quickly it came.

    “Personally, I don’t think we can make a deal,” Trump told a campaign-style rally in Arizona late Tuesday night. “Because we have been so badly taken advantage of. They have made such great deals — both of the countries, but in particular Mexico — that I don’t think we can make a deal.

    “So I think we’ll end up probably terminating NAFTA at some point.”

    He repeated it: “I told you from the first day, we will renegotiate NAFTA or we will terminate NAFTA. I personally don’t think you can make a deal without termination but we’ll see what happens. You’re in good hands, I can tell you.”

    He’s made the threat numerous times, but this is the first time he’s done it since Canada, the U.S. and Mexico began talks last week.

    Read more:Trump to rip up NAFTA? Not so fast: Olive

    Trump’s NAFTA list is long but does not signal massive changes, Canada’s U.S. ambassador says

    What to expect at the NAFTA talks

    Mexico’s foreign minister shrugged it off as a leverage play: “No surprise: we’re in a negotiation,” Luis Videgaray tweeted in response. “Mexico will remain at the table with calmness, firmness, and in the national interest.”

    Insiders say they expect him to keep making these threats. It’s his main source of power to force the other countries to reach an agreement. One well-connected Washington lobbyist at last week’s talks said he was convinced the threat was coming: “Almost 100 per cent.”

    The former deputy trade czar under Barack Obama said it’s an obvious move and he thinks the president made it too early. In an interview several weeks ago, Robert Holleyman said it was a serious tactical error when Trump made the threat in April.

    He said Canada and Mexico gained valuable insight that will render Trump’s threats less powerful at the negotiating table: in April, the U.S. Congress pushed back against him, the business community fumed, and his own cabinet members pleaded against it.

    “It was, at a minimum, terrible timing,” said Holleyman, Obama’s deputy United States Trade Representative.

    “You do that at the 11th hour in the negotiation — not at the throat-clearing stage . . . I suspect President Trump will be unable to play that card again. And if he does play it, it won’t be as strong as it would’ve been . . . The Canadians and Mexicans will say, ‘You . . . will face a huge backlash in your own Congress.””

    That episode in April underscored the complexity of ending NAFTA.

    Without the support of Congress, a president might withdraw the U.S. from the international agreement, but he could not singlehandedly wave away the law on the U.S. books that implemented NAFTA.

    An international economic law professor and former State Department lawyer said he believes it would ultimately end up in court. And he said U.S. courts would ultimately conclude that the president can’t rip up NAFTA without congressional support.

    That’s because the president can’t just erase the 1994 NAFTA Implementation Act passed by Congress. Only Congress can pass laws. In addition, the U.S. Constitution makes clear that Congress has power over international commerce.

    “If the president were to rip up NAFTA, and then sort of jack tariffs way up, I think somebody would be able to come in and say . . . ‘You’re actually violating U.S. domestic law,’” said Tim Meyer, a Vanderbilt professor, former government lawyer, and onetime clerk for Neil Gorsuch, whom Trump appointed to the Supreme Court.

    “I think courts are going to be sympathetic to the idea that the president can’t ignore the legislation that implements these trade agreements. Congress has not repealed that legislation, and they’ve given no indication they intend to.”

    That being said, several observers suggest a presidential attempt to withdraw could set up a legal and political tug of war with Congress over the setting of new tariff schedules — and that would foster economic uncertainty.


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    With just two weeks before the school year begins, students at a private Islamic high school in Toronto are “devastated” and scrambling to find other options after they were informed over the weekend it was abruptly shutting down.

    Management of the Islamic Foundation School, on Nugget Dr., said the sudden closure of the high school is related to “financial issues.” But the union representing teachers believes the move is a form of “reprisal” against employees who recently unionized — something the school denies.

    News of the closure came as a shock to parents and the 150 affected students, many of whom have attended since they were in elementary school, and others who were hoping to graduate from one of the GTA’s oldest Islamic high schools, which opened its doors two decades ago. The foundation’s elementary school will remain open.

    “This is so unfair,” said Anas Thakor, who is entering Grade 12. “It was supposed to be such an important year for us,” said Thakor, who inquired at the local Catholic school on Monday after hearing the news, but was told there might not be space to register so late in the summer.

    “Chances are I will have to go somewhere far from home, and my friends,” he said.

    Rumours about the closure had been swirling for weeks, but the news was confirmed at a heated parents’ meeting Sunday evening.

    “We’re still absorbing the shock. We’re sad. We’re very disappointed,” said Jawad Jafry, who has had two children graduate from the high school. His daughter Nafeesah, a lifer, was to start Grade 12 this year.

    On Monday, school officials sent parents an email saying “administrative and financial issues” led to the closure.

    “The foundation regrets to inform you that unfortunately we will be closing down … due to low enrolment as well as other issues related to the foundation’s administration and finances,” said the letter, signed by principal Viquar Ahmed. “We have been trying to establish a way to keep the school operable in the face of some challenging administrative and financial issues that have arisen, however, despite our best efforts it has become clear that we are unable to do so.”

    But students and parents also heard the closure was linked to recent union negotiations.

    “The teachers have opted to bargain collectively with the school which is their legal right,” said Jafry. “I think the mosque administration is afraid that employees outside of their schools will want better working conditions and better wages as well. The rationale seems to be that mothballing the high school will send a clear message.”

    In May, teachers at the school voted overwhelmingly to unionize, and became one of the first Islamic schools in the country to do so.

    At the time, UFCW Local 175 President Shawn Haggerty said 35 full-time teachers sought union representation to address a range of issues including: “a lack of respect in the workplace, time limits on vacations, poor job security, and an inadequate compensation package.”

    Another Islamic school in the GTA followed suit, but teachers at others are believed to be watching closely to see how the negotiations play out.

    In a release sent out Monday, UFCW accused the school of being “anti-union.”

    “It’s upsetting and petty for this employer to put the children in this community at risk rather than treat their employees with dignity and respect,” said Haggerty. “It’s clear this employer is anti-union and will do whatever it takes to prevent their employees from exercising their legal rights,” he said, adding the union was not given any notice about the closure.

    “UFCW Local 175 will pursue every legal action possible to prevent the closure of the school, the expulsion of these children, and the termination of these employees,” he said. Ten high school teachers are expected to lose their jobs. The elementary school employs 25 teachers.

    But Islamic Foundation School president Mohammed Anwar said this is not a case of union-busting.

    “If we are union busting, we would have closed everything,” he said. “But we are continuing the JK-Grade 8 classes, and we will continue to negotiate with the teachers in those grades,” he said. “We have simply decided to keep the sustainable part of the school open for now. The high school is not sustainable,” he said, adding low enrolment was a concern.

    Anwar said management has met with the union three times in two months, and was increasingly concerned about the additional costs they would incur in order to meet union demands, and the negotiation process itself.

    “We are all volunteers, not experienced union negotiators or anything … but now we will have to hire professionals to accommodate the proper running of a school in a unionized environment,” he said, estimating it will cost $600,000.

    He said the decision to close the school was made last week after talks with the union did not produce “concrete financial numbers” as to how much costs would go up for the school year. He said one idea floated, to increase school fees, currently around $450 per month per student, was not feasible.

    “The community can’t pay it,” he said. “Our family gross income is between $60,000-80,000, the majority of them. We know the parents who send their kids here … working two jobs, living in basement apartments, and making a sacrifice so their kids get an Islamic atmosphere and a good education.”

    Muneeza Sheikh, a partner at Levitt LLP Employment & Labour Law, and legal counsel for Islamic Foundation says: “There is nothing that precludes any employer who is faced with unionization from taking a step back and evaluating if the business can financially survive — and Islamic Foundation is a business — a cost associated with unionizing an entire workforce.”

    But Jafry says the financial argument doesn’t add up.

    “I don’t know of any parent who was informed about financial problems. That sort of news travels real fast,” said Jafry, adding parents were involved in recent fundraising efforts to expand the school and help purchase a 12-acre property in Ajax for another primary school.

    “Now, at the end of August, they suddenly don’t have money and they’re shutting down the high school,” said Jafry. “I think a lot of parents and students feel that our trust has been betrayed. It’s like being slapped in the face for all the years we’ve supported the school with our hard-earned money.”

    His daughter Nafeesah says instead of graduating and celebrating alongside her lifelong friends, she will “now have to spend my last year adjusting to the hallways of a new school.”

    In a letter to the community, members of the student council said they are still hoping for an amicable resolution.

    “Students who believed they were returning to IFS are now scrambling to find a new option, at an hour when the status of enrolment and course selection elsewhere seems bleak,” they say in the letter. “We hope that this decision will be reversed, as it primarily affects our futures.”

    But Thakor, believes it may be too late.

    “All my friends are enrolling elsewhere,” he said. “I don’t think anyone can risk just waiting around”


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    CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—Workers in Charlottesville shrouded a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in black on Wednesday in a move intended to symbolize the city’s mourning for a woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally earlier this month.

    Live video from the scene showed a public works truck near the base of the statue and workers gathered around it with a large black drape. They used ropes and poles to cover the imposing statue of Lee on horseback as onlookers took photos and video. Some of the crowd cheered as the cover was put in place.

    The city council voted Tuesday to drape the Lee statue and another of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson at another nearby park. The council meeting was packed with irate residents who screamed and cursed at councillors over the city’s response to the rally.

    Read more: Trump blames media for Charlottesville response as tensions flare at Phoenix rally

    Charlottesville to mourn Heather Heyer, ease tensions by covering up Confederate statues

    The Aug. 12 “Unite the Right” event was believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade.

    White nationalists and counter-protesters clashed violently in the street that day, largely uninterrupted by authorities, until the event was declared an unlawful assembly and the crowd was forced to disperse. Later, a car rammed into a crowd of demonstrators, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

    James Alex Fields Jr. has been charged in her death.

    The death toll for the day climbed to three when a helicopter that had been monitoring the event and assisting with the governor’s motorcade crashed, killing two state troopers.


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    A Toronto police officer is facing an assault charge after a 23-year-old man suffered serious injuries during an arrest in North York almost two years ago.

    The police were called to an apartment complex at around midnight on Nov. 30, 2015 in the area of Maple Leaf Dr. and Jane St., the Special Investigation Unit said in a news release Wednesday.

    When they arrived, officers arrested a man sitting in a taxi cab outside the building on 300 Queens Dr. The SIU said the man was seriously injured during the arrest.

    The agency wasn’t notified about the incident until Oct. 31, 2016.

    The SIU would not comment further on the case.

    Toronto police Const. Joseph Dropuljic is expected to appear in court at 2201 Finch Ave. W on Sept. 7.

    The SIU is a civilian agency that looks into allegations of serious injury, death, or sexual assault when police are involved.


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    A Hamilton judge who wore a pro-Donald Trump hat to court the day after the U.S. election admitted at his disciplinary hearing Wednesday that he committed judicial misconduct.

    Ontario Court Justice Bernd Zabel, appointed in 1990, testified at the hearing that he bought the red “Make America Great Again” ball cap because it was “historical memorabilia.”

    He said he regrets his actions on Nov. 9 immensely.

    “I'm not a Trump supporter,” Zabel said Wednesday. “I find it very difficult to find the words to express my profound regret for what I did that day.”

    Zabel agreed under cross-examination by presenting counsel Linda Rothstein that people may think the hat could be tied to sexism, racism and bigotry, but said he does not ascribe to those views.

    Zabel told a four-member discipline panel, chaired by Court of Appeal Justice Robert Sharpe, that he bought five of the ball caps on Amazon in June 2016 when it looked like Trump was going to win the Republican nomination. He gave four to his friends and kept one for himself.

    He wore the hat for about one minute on Nov. 9 to court to “lighten the proceedings” after having had just a few hours of sleep. He then placed it on the dais in front of him and brought it back to his chambers at the morning break.

    Before going into court that day, he ran into his colleague Justice Marjoh Agro, who testified Wednesday that she told Zabel “Are you out of your mind?” when she saw the hat.

    “I remember the day all too well because frankly, I regret not ripping that hat off his head,” Agro said.

    Zabel was pulled off of cases on Dec. 21, and Agro testified that it “caused havoc,” as trials had to be rescheduled and one matter is at risk of being stayed due to delay.

    “He's not the only one that's paid a penalty,” she said, who added she would have no concerns with Zabel coming back to work.

    Zabel already apologized in court on Nov. 15 for wearing the hat, but critics said that was at odds with a statement he made at the end of the day in court on Nov. 9 — and that only emerged after the Nov. 15 apology — where he said he “pissed off the rest of the judges because they all voted for Hillary, so I was only the Trump supporter up there but that’s OK.”

    Zabel said Wednesday that his words were “ill-considered” and what he meant to say was that he was the only judge who had predicted Trump would win while the rest of his colleagues had thought Clinton would win. He never meant to say that he was a Trump supporter or that the other judges voted for Clinton.

    “Why would I ever say they voted for Hillary? They can't vote for Hillary. It was a ridiculous thing to say.”

    Police officers were stationed outside the hearing room Wednesday. In the afternoon, lawyers will make submissions on the punishment Zabel should receive.


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    These are the things millennials spend most of their money on, as reported in our millennial-obsessed media: four-dollar lattes, music festivals in exotic locales, avocado toast, Ubers, electronic gadgets and the most expensive thrill of all: best friends’ weddings. The latter expense is not only the most detrimental to a person’s savings account (as anyone who has been a bridesmaid recently will tell you), it’s also the subject of a new report about the spending habits of Gen Y, entitled “Pre Wedding Bashes can Put a Dent in Saving for a Home Down Payment.” The report, published by real estate database Zillow Porchlight, suggests that millennials spend an exorbitant amount of money on wedding related stuff, from gifts to transportation to the reception itself, to destination bachelor and bachelorette trips.

    According to Zillow, “people who attend just nine of these [destination] bashes will have spent up to $13,788, or 35 per cent of a down payment on a median-price home.” Besides the stag parties, says the report, “On average, bridesmaids and groomsmen spend an additional $1,154 for things like wedding day attire, a gift for the bride and groom, as well as travel and accommodations for the wedding day. Guests not in the bridal party still spend $888, on average, to attend each wedding.”

    Cue the baby boomer finger wagging: “Spend less on your weekend debauchery and you’d have a house by now! Be sensible! Save your money!” All valid points and some of them true, but I’ve begun to wonder lately if blame for the millennial-wedding-industrial-complex rests not on the shoulders of Gen Y spenders themselves, but rather, on the shoulders of their boomer parents.

    After all, who loves a big black-tie bash complete with distant relatives, a Motown cover band and roving platters of cocktail shrimp more than people 50 plus?

    Research may indicate that millennials shell out a ton of money for their friends’ nuptials and their own, but it also runs counter to the fact that we are eloping in great numbers (NYC elopement service, Eloping is Fun, told Glamour this month that its millennial-catered business has doubled every year) and we are pioneers in getting married on the cheap. Pop-up style weddings where a handful of couples share their wedding day and the price of the venue are increasingly popular with the Gen Y demographic. Lynzie Kent, Toronto wedding planner and owner of Love By Lynzie Events + Design, says the recent pop up wedding she and her staff organized at the Drake Hotel, where 9 couples were married on the same day for a discount price of $600 per couple, was so successful she has a waiting list for her next shared wedding event in January 2018.

    Which brings me back to the boomers: If millennials love eloping and saving money on their big day, why are some of us spending so much to get hitched and watch our friends get hitched? My theory: maybe because our parents want us to.

    This at least was a possibility I began to toy with after speaking with a soon to be married woman I will call Rachel. Rachel is a med school graduate in her late twenties and a Toronto resident who is getting married next year. She asked that I not use her real name in this column because she’d rather not identify herself while criticizing her parents and her in-laws in a national newspaper (which anyone who has parents and in-laws, will, I’m sure, understand.) Rachel is in major student debt but she and her fiancé want to contribute financially to their wedding, alongside their parents, in order to maintain a little bit of control over a day that is in theory supposed to be about the couple tying the knot. She and her fiancé initially planned to contribute roughly 10 grand to their big day; they wanted to get married on the family cottage and invite 75 close friends and family. But no such luck. Both sets of parents, citing familial obligation to distant relatives, insisted on a wedding at a banquet hall with a guest list of 150 — in addition to an engagement party with a separate guest list of 150, a sort of consolation prize party for friends and family not invited to the wedding itself. Seventy-five grew to 300 and the engaged couple’s original contribution of 10 grand grew to more than 20. The wedding has not “only grown in size,” says Rachel, “it’s diluted in meaning.”

    Boomers like to pick on millennials for spending their savings on the small stuff — avocado toast, weekend getaways and gadgets. But the small stuff is what many of us can comfortably afford or hope to afford, particularly those saddled with student debt in an economy where internships and contract positions aren’t stepping-stones to a stable career but scattered stones leading nowhere clear.

    Rachel says she can imagine some of her friends feeling the need to buy more expensive gifts and shell out more money now that the wedding has become a massive, luxurious affair.

    “I would go to a big wedding and think this is not what I want,” she says. “But here I am having my arm twisted into having one.”

    Emma Teitel is a national affairs columnist.


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    Striking ground crew workers at Canada’s busiest airport voted almost unanimously Wednesday evening to reject a new contract offer and continue their now four-week-long work stoppage.

    About 700 cabin cleaners, baggage handlers and other ground crew workers employed by Swissport at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport have been on strike since late July. Workers overwhelmingly rejected the company’s last offer in July, with 95 per cent supporting the decision that triggered the strike. This time, it was even louder, with 98 per cent of votes saying no.

    Members finished voting on the new offer around 10:30 p.m.

    Christopher Monette, a spokesman with the union representing the workers, said the offer they received from Swissport was “almost identical to the first offer,” calling it “insulting.”

    “The company is still attempting to impose a 3-year wage freeze on the majority of its workers, cut benefits, and gain the right to change schedules on short notice,” reads a statement on the union’s website.

    Monette sees the clear position of 98 per cent of the workers voting no as a “strong vote of confidence in the union and a rejection of the company’s attitude.”

    “They’re still refusing to address the issues that led to the strike in the first place,” Monette said.

    Their concerns have included pay and benefits cuts, scheduling issues and what their union calls a lack of respect from Swissport managers.

    “Our workers, when they show up to work everyday, they don’t feel respected by their employers and this was evident in the way Swissport’s basically submitted the same proposal and . . . expected different results,” Monette said.

    Swissport have been using temporary agency workers since the strike, and the union claimed on their website that these “strikebreakers” had caused “workplace injuries, accidents, damaged planes, delayed flights, and hundreds of cases of lost luggage” due to lack of sufficient training and inexperience.”

    Monette said these temporary workers were brought on “in an attempt to draw out a strike as long as possible to put financial pressure on their own employees” so that they could get them to agree to terms they’d rejected last July.

    Swissport services 30 airlines at the airport, including Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa. Air Canada and WestJet are not serviced by Swissport.

    The ground crew strike has not significantly affected passengers, although the airport has been warning travellers that the labour disruption could affect some flights.

    Earlier, Swissport had said that they were optimistic that workers would accept the deal.

    Monette said it’s time for Swissport to “get serious about negotiating.”

    “We want to hash out something that’s fair, that can allow us to go back to work with our head held high, but we’re not going to allow Swissport to continue disrespecting us in the way they’ve been for quite a long time now,” he said.

    “Our members are going to see this through to the end.”

    With wires from The Canadian Press


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    QUEBEC—A spokesperson for Quebec’s employment minister says the provincial government will hand out welfare cheques to several thousand asylum seekers next week.

    Simon Laboissonnière says an estimated 4,000 people will get money for the month of September.

    The minimum basic monthly payment will be $623, while there will be an additional sum depending on the recipient’s family status.

    The three-day operation will take place at Montreal’s Palais des congrès convention centre, beginning next Wednesday.

    Laboissonnière said it is easier to hand out the cheques in one place.

    Once they have received the cheques, the asylum seekers will be asked to leave their temporary shelters and seek permanent accommodation.

    Employment Minister François Blais is expected to hold a news conference in Quebec City on Thursday afternoon to discuss the measures.

    Nearly 10,000 people have been apprehended at the border since the start of the year as they’ve sought to enter Canada in order to claim refugee status — almost equivalent to the total number of claims filed for all of 2013.

    Of those who have arrived this year, nearly 7,000 have arrived just since July, the vast majority at an unofficial crossing point between Quebec and New York.

    Read more:

    Trudeau’s warning to would-be asylum seekers may fall on deaf ears: Hébert

    Canada is not a safe haven for asylum seekers, Trudeau warns

    Liberals are misleading asylum seekers who are crossing the border: NDP


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    COPENHAGEN—The headless torso of Swedish reporter Kim Wall, whose death after taking a trip on a homemade submarine remains a mystery, was found naked and police are now searching for her clothes, Danish police said Thursday.

    The 30-year-old Wall was last seen alive Aug. 10 aboard the submarine of Danish aerospace and submarine enthusiast Peter Madsen. The cause of the journalist’s death is not yet known, police said. Police have arrested Madsen on suspicion of manslaughter.

    Prosecutor Jakob Buch-Jepsen said Thursday that police expect to raise the preliminary charges against Madsen to murder and indecent handling of corpse when he appears at a hearing Sept. 5 on whether his pretrial detention should be extended.

    Read more:

    Body found near where a Swedish journalist is believed to have died on a submarine

    Man held on suspicion of murder in Denmark after submarine sinks, journalist reported missing

    Divers and members of the Danish Emergency Management Agency were combing the coast off Amager island in Copenhagen, where Wall is believed to have died, looking for an orange turtleneck blouse, a black-and-white skirt and white sneakers, Copenhagen police spokesman Steen Hansen.

    A cyclist discovered her torso Monday. Copenhagen police say the body’s head, arms and legs had “deliberately been cut off.” DNA tests have confirmed the torso was Wall’s and dried blood found inside the submarine, which somehow sank during the trip, also matched her DNA.

    According to her family, Wall was working on a story about Madsen, 46, who dreamed of launching a manned space mission.

    Madsen initially told police he had let Wall off the submarine on an island. He later told police he buried Wall at sea after an accident aboard his submarine, UC3 Nautilus.

    The Ekstra Bladet tabloid, quoting unnamed sources, said Madsen has asked to be transferred to solitary confinement, allegedly out of fear of being attacked inside the prison.

    On Wednesday, a candlelight vigil was held at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York, where Wall studied.

    Norway-based investor Georg Poul Artmann, who holds about 75 per cent of the shares in the Rocket Madsen Space Lab company that owns the 40-ton, nearly 18-metre-long submarine, told Denmark’s Berlingske newspaper he will “clean up” within the company following recent events. He did not elaborate.

    Artmann said his fascination with space had prompted him to invest $50,000 to support Madsen’s space activities. He also said Madsen was the company’s day-to-day leader and as “an investor I have not interfered in the daily operations.”

    A self-taught engineer, Madsen was one of a group of entrepreneurs who founded Copenhagen Suborbitals, a private consortium to develop and construct submarines and manned spacecraft. However, the group split up in 2014 and the Rocket Madsen Space Lab was created.


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    “Don’t try to change Donald Trump.” That’s the number one piece of advice the former chief of staff to former mayor Rob Ford can offer General John Kelly, the U.S. president’s new Chief of Staff.

    “He doesn’t fit the mold and that’s what his supporters love about him. Build a presidency around him that plays to his strengths,” wrote Towhey in an Aug. 23 BuzzFeed article.

    Towhey, author of Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable, made parallels between the Canadian mayor and American president, calling them both “unconventional,” “black horse” candidates who were “eccentric and unpredictable.”

    There are similarities, wrote Towhey, in the ways both are equally loved and hated, and how both function as a regular punch line for comedians, and a common enemy for democratic institutions.

    In the Buzzfeed article, Towhey outlines 13 “entirely unsolicited observations” to serve as a guide for Kelly. These include how Kelly should keep his focus on the administration’s objectives (“help your boss do the same”), break the siege (“In their minds, the world outside the gates hates them, misunderstands them, and is actively conspiring to destroy them”), protect his staff (“[Your boss] may not know how to lead and care for them.”) and to “give Trump answers, not options.”

    “Your boss is a disrupter, but you’ll have to work within the establishment to change the establishment,” wrote Towhey, adding that Kelly should plan his exit, keep his resume updated, and make sure to not break the law.

    Towhey was fired from his position as a top mayoral aide by Ford, a week after the former mayor’s crack cocaine scandal broke in May 2013. Towhey had advised Ford to get help for his alcoholism and drug addiction. Ford died in March 2016.

    Towhey could not be reached for comment.

    Read more:

    Mark Towhey’s Uncontrollable an unsatisfying fix for Ford junkies

    The main difference between Trump and Ford? Ford couldn’t start a war: Keenan


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