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    Barricades erected by Six Nations people near Caledonia have been dismantled, marking an end to an occupation that lasted for nearly a month.

    An OPP spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that officers intercepted the development on Monday. A “verbal interaction” occurred between land defenders and OPP officers and they were subsequently instructed to leave, said Rod Leclair. Officials are on-site clearing leftover debris, he added.

    The issue is linked to a contentious move by the Six Nations Elected Band Council to place a parcel of land into a federal corporation, ostensibly defaulting on a promise entered into by Ontario and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in 2006 to stem the Caledonia Standoff, a protest that grew to a fever pitch after Indigenous people occupied a subdivision called the Douglas Creek Estates.

    The unelected, hereditary council want the Burtch lands, located near Brantford, to be independent from the Canadian government, citing expropriation concerns. It validates its position through a letter signed by former Ontario premier David Peterson which says the land will return to its original state and status under the Haldimand Proclamation, an official order of 1784 that gave land to the Haudenosaunee people for their military allegiance to the British during the American Revolutionary War.

    The blockade was initially located on Argyle St., a thoroughfare outside Caledonia. On Monday, the barricade was transplanted to Highway 6 and Sixth Line Rd., where it was later shut down, said Caledonia councillor Craig Grice.

    “As of right now, Argyle St. is clear, Sixth Line is clear,” he said. “We’re just waiting for the reopening of the bypass. It was a small group of protestors that didn’t have the support inside Six Nations and I think that was proved last night.”

    The OPP is investigating a fire that was set on Saturday on railroad tracks near the site of the botched occupation. No demonstrators were seen on Monday afternoon in the area, said Leclair, and no arrests have been made.

    Grice said he is relieved, that the hope is to move on.

    “We are forever tied to relations, friendships, and business inside Six Nations, the last 11 years have really come a long way to bring us forward from 2006,” he said. “I know a lot of residents were concerned that we’d be going back there again, and I’m certainly glad to see that hasn’t happened.”

    Members of Six Nations who were manning the barricade said the land transfer is unacceptable, in a press release issued over the weekend.

    “The Canadian government has broken its promise by transferring the land to the Elected Band Council system and their corporations,” it says. “While the actions spurred by the Burtch lands in particular are seemingly internal, this is about the bigger issues in the context of land transfer, sovereignty and self-determination.

    “If Ontario does not want to further contribute to internal division, they will halt all land transfers to the (Six Nations Elected Band Council) and return to the negotiation table.”


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    WASHINGTON—Putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk of deportation and triggering a furious political battle, U.S. President Donald Trump has decided to eliminate a Barack Obama program that protects young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Tuesday.

    Trump’s decision jeopardizes the futures of 800,000 people, many of whom are university students or professionals familiar with no other country and largely indistinguishable from their American-born peers.

    Read more:Undocumented ‘DREAMers’ face ruin under Republican presidency

    The decision is certain to set off an emotional and prolonged fight, with the sympathetic and activist-minded “DREAMers” stuck in the middle. They began protesting on Tuesday even before Sessions’s announcement, with hundreds gathering outside the White House and others participating in a fast at the Capitol.

    Sessions said Obama had offered an unconstitutional “executive amnesty” to people he described as “mostly adult illegal aliens.” Obama, he said, had showed “disrespect” for the wishes of Congress in implementing “an open-ended circumvention of immigration laws.”

    “We are people of compassion and we are people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws,” said Sessions, a staunch opponent of the program.

    Sessions, who implied with no evidence that the program puts Americans at risk of crime and terrorism, said there would be a “wind-down process” to allow Congress to pass legislation before the program disappears. But he provided few details and took no questions, leaving the DREAMers anxious and uncertain about their fate.

    Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters earlier that people currently enrolled in the program will be able to continue working until their two-year work permits expire. People whose permits expire over the next six months, but none of the others, will be allowed to apply for a two-year renewal.

    That means about a quarter of enrollees may be granted renewals. The other three-quarters will have their permits expire unless Congress acts.

    The officials said the DREAMers would not be treated as a priority for deportation — but that they would be treated like all others in the country illegally, which means they would face the risk of deportation at all times. Many DREAMers have expressed concern that the addresses and biographical information they gave to Obama’s government to enroll in the program would now be used by Trump’s government to locate and evict them.

    Trump stopped short of his campaign promise to immediately terminate the Obama program, known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). His move to phase out the program rather than dump it — which gives him a theoretical opening to change his mind later — may not fully satisfy anti-immigration activists.

    But Trump’s move is also a betrayal of his words to DACA enrollees as president. In April, he told the Associated Press that the DREAMers should “rest easy.” In February, he said he would “deal with DACA with heart,” calling DREAMers “some absolutely incredible kids.”

    The decision puts new pressure on the Republican-controlled Congress, which has struggled to pass any kind of major legislation, to take some sort of action on a particularly delicate issue. Though party leaders have denounced DACA as improper, some of its senior officials have expressed a desire to protect the DREAmers.

    “These are kids who know no other country, who were brought here by their parents and don’t know another home. And so I really do believe there that there needs to be a legislative solution,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told a Wisconsin radio station last week.

    In a tweet on Tuesday morning, Trump wrote: “Congress, get ready to do your job - DACA!”

    Obama created DACA in 2012 after Republicans thwarted his attempts to pass a comprehensive immigration reform law. The program allowed people who came to the U.S. illegally before their 16th birthday, were enrolled in high school or had graduated, and had no felony convictions to pay $495 to apply for protection from deportation and renewable two-year work permits.

    The DREAMers, named for the so-far-unsuccessful DREAM Act legislation that would grant them legal residency, described the program as life-changing.

    DACA allowed them to earn the professional jobs, elite educations and driver’s licenses unavailable to most of their parents, and it afforded them a feeling of freedom they say has improved their overall health. Trump’s move could force them back into the shadows, consigning them to under-the-table cash jobs and a constant fear of apprehension.

    Numerous big-business chief executives urged Trump to retain DACA.

    “To reverse course now and deport these individuals is contrary to fundamental American principles and the best interests of our country,” the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement.

    DREAMers are viewed more favourably than other unauthorized immigrants, since they are widely seen to be morally innocent. Polls suggest that even a majority of Republicans have believed that the DREAMers should be allowed to stay in the country.

    In a Morning Consult poll in April, 48 per cent of Republican voters said they should be granted citizenship, 24 per cent said they should be allowed to stay, and 22 per cent said they should be deported.

    That anti-immigration minority, however, is especially active in Republican politics, and many party legislators fear angering this part of their base.

    Trump, whose demonization of Hispanic illegal immigrants was a staple of his campaign, has made a concerted effort to retain his most loyal supporters during his tumultuous first seven months. His decision comes a week after his controversial August pardon of anti-immigrant former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.


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    Police are searching for an elderly man who went missing from Toronto’s Pearson airport Tuesday after flying in from Montreal.

    Abe Hussein, 81, was scheduled to arrive in Toronto at around 4:50 p.m. Surveillance footage proves that he made it to Terminal 1 of the airport, but when his family went to pick him up, they couldn’t find him, said Peel police.

    Surveillance footage shows Hussein getting on a GO bus bound for the Yorkdale area, with a final stop at Finch subway station. It’s not clear where he may have gotten off the bus.

    Investigators said Hussein isn’t familiar with the GTA. Though he doesn’t have any medical conditions, police and family members are concerned for his safety.

    Hussein is 6 feet tall and Caucasian, with a medium build, grey or white hair and glasses. His right eye is partially closed, said police.

    He was last seen wearing a dark-coloured plaid shirt with blue jeans and a black and gold University of Michigan cap.

    Investigators are asking anyone with information to get in touch at 905-453-2121, ext. 3100. Tips may also be left anonymously by calling Peel Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


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    The TTC is moving ahead with a $500,000 study of air quality in the subway system, after a highly-publicized Health Canada report released earlier this year found high concentrations of pollutants in the agency’s underground lines.

    A report that went before the agency’s board on Tuesday revealed details of the study, which was originally approved in May and will mark the first time the TTC has tested its subway air since 1995.

    Councillor Joe Mihevc, who sits on the board and put forward the original motion to proceed with the research, said the study was necessary even though he doesn’t believe underground pollution poses an immediate health threat.

    “I think that you want to improve the quality in air systems wherever they are, and of course the TTC, there are hundreds of thousands of people who use it every day, so you want to make sure that that subway is functioning well, from an air quality point of view,” he said.

    According to the board report, third-party consultants have been tapped to conduct the study over a one-year period. The researchers will measure pollution levels in the subway system air as well as monitor the exposure of the transit workers who spend the most time underground. Subway operators, train guards, track patrollers, janitors, transit enforcement officers, and fare collectors are among the positions that have been singled out for monitoring.

    Toronto Public Health will carry out a separate assessment to determine the health risks posed to members of the public.

    The consultant work is expected to cost $400,000, while the TPH assessment is estimated at $100,000. The TTC will foot the bill for both.

    The TTC board first approved the study weeks after the publication of a Health Canada report in April that determined concentrations of a fine particulate matter called PM2.5 were 10 times greater on the subway system than outdoors. Researchers linked the substance to the metallic “rail dust” that is generated when a train’s wheels rub against the tracks.

    That study didn’t draw any conclusions about the health impacts of PM2.5 but it received widespread attention, particularly after one ofthe researchers involved stated publicly that the levels of particulate matter in the TTC were comparable to an average day in smog-choked Beijing.

    The media coverage of those comments “caused harm to the TTC’s reputation and unnecessary alarm for some TTC employees,” according to the board report.

    TTC CEO Andy Byford told reporters Tuesday he believed the language used to describe the Health Canada study had distorted the issue. “I’ve been to Beijing. I know which air I would rather breathe,” he said.

    The CEO conceded the TTC should conduct air quality studies more frequently than every 22 years, but he said he was confident the new data would show that “not only is the air safe, but air quality has actually improved.”

    In recent years the TTC has introduced newer, cleaner subway trains and made a concerted effort to remove debris and dust from tunnels, according to Byford. It has also ordered a state-of-the-art vacuum train equipped with a HEPA filter.

    Under some conditions, high concentrations of particulates like PM2.5 have been associated with health problems, including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer, and even death. Children, older adults, and people with pre-existing health conditions are particularly susceptible.

    Health Canada has said indoor concentrations of PM2.5 should be kept as low as possible, but the agency hasn’t set exposure limits for people riding public transit. The Ministry of Labour also hasn’t published occupational exposure limits for workers. The TTC said it will measure the substance for “future reference to occupational standards when and if they are developed.”

    The study will also evaluate asbestos, crystalline respirable silica, diesel exhaust, and 30 different metals.

    Some critics have rejected the study even before its results are in. Three unions representing TTC workers have banded together to hire consultants to perform their own subway air quality study.

    Kevin Morton, secretary-treasurer of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, accused the TTC study of using pollution standards that were too lenient.

    “I don’t believe that (subway air is) safe for the worker who works there eight to 10 hours a day,” said Morton, whose union is the TTC’s largest. “I think it has long-term, detrimental effects on a worker’s health.”

    Four TTC employees refused to work following the publication of the Health Canada study. Morton said his union is advocating for workers to be allowed to wear protective masks.

    The unions have budgeted $50,000 for their study.


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    BANGALORE, INDIA—An Indian journalist was fatally shot outside her home in the southern city of Bangalore, the latest in a string of deadly attacks targeting journalists or outspoken critics of religious superstition and extreme Hindu politics.

    The assailants fled on a motorcycle after spraying bullets at Gauri Lankesh on Tuesday night as she was leaving her car outside her home in the Karnataka state capital.

    Police said they were searching for leads, but that it was too early to say who killed her. Top police officer R.K. Dutta said he had met Lankesh recently, but that she did not mention any threat to her life.

    Members of Indian journalism associations expressed outrage and said they would protest Wednesday afternoon in New Delhi.

    “The silencing of a journalist in this manner has dangerous portents for democracy,” the Indian Women’s Press Corps said in a statement.

    Lankesh, 55, was the editor of the independent Kannada-language magazine “Lankesh Patrike.” In November, she was found guilty of defaming lawmakers from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party in a 2008 story. She said the case was politically motivated and vowed to challenge her conviction in a higher court.

    India has seen a string of killings in recent years targeting independent journalists and critics of religious superstition, stoking worries about the rise of extremism and intolerance in the secular South Asian democracy.

    In 2015, scholar Malleshappa M. Kalburgi was shot dead at his Bangalore home, following death threats from right-wing Hindu groups after he criticized idol worship and superstitious beliefs by Hindus.

    Earlier that year, Indian writer and anti-superstition crusader Govind Pansare was fatally shot while taking a walk with his wife near their home in western Maharashtra state. And in another daytime attack in 2013, two assailants killed anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar while he was out for a walk in the Maharashtra city of Pune.

    Within hours of Lankesh’s killing Tuesday night, Indian politicians from all parties condemned the attack.

    Karnataka Chief Minister Minister Siddaramaiah, the state’s highest elected official, called the death “shocking” and said three police teams were investigating.


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    OTTAWA—Canada, the U.S. and Mexico put a positive spin Tuesday on what sources say was a tough five-day round of negotiations to rewrite North American free trade rules.

    Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo presented a united front on a stage as talks wrapped up in Mexico City.

    Each in turn praised the “hard work” negotiators did at the table. Lighthizer said their efforts consolidated into two dozen chapters that will form the basis for the next round of talks to be held in Ottawa Sept. 23-27.

    Read more:

    Everything you need to know about NAFTA

    ‘Tone is negative’ in NAFTA talks as early sticking points encountered

    Trump’s NAFTA hatred may do Canada a favour: Walkom

    A joint statement issued by the three after their appearance emphasized that “important progress was achieved in many disciplines” and said more is expected in the coming weeks as negotiators take a break to consult with their respective industry associations and political decision-makers.

    The communiqué said all three countries “reaffirmed their commitment to an accelerated and comprehensive negotiation, with the shared goal of concluding the process towards the end of this year.”

    However speaking to reporters in Mexico City, Freeland acknowledged there are disagreements even as she insisted “North American relations are fundamentally solid.”

    “Of course this doesn’t mean we’re going to agree on all points. But our deep friendship will permit us to resolve disagreements which arise at times” she said, as negotiators focus on the “difficult task of modernizing NAFTA.”

    She said all “wholeheartedly share the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.” She rhymed off data to say the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited the U.S. to the tune of an extra $127 billion in economic activity each year since it was signed.

    And in contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to ditch the talks and kick-start the legislative process to kill NAFTA, Trump’s chief trade envoy Lighthizer agreed there was “mutual agreement on many important issues.”

    But Lighthizer also stressed a new NAFTA that benefits U.S. workers and industry is a “very important priority” for Trump.

    “That’s why American delegation focused on expanding opportunities for American agriculture services and innovative industry, but …we also must address the needs of those harmed by the current NAFTA, especially our manufacturing workers.”

    “We must have a trade agreement that benefits all Americans and not just some at the expense of others,” Lighthizer said. “I am hopeful that we can arrive at an agreement that helps Americans workers, farmers and ranchers while also raising the living standards of workers in Mexico and Canada.”

    Guajardo struck a conciliatory note after last week, saying Mexico had to work on a “plan B” and anticipate a failure of the talks. He said Tuesday that Mexico was committed to a process that accommodates “each country’s interests.”

    “In the process, I recognize we have responsibility to translate our negotiations into a final result that will imply more jobs in North America, jobs that are well-paid jobs, and to strengthen basic principles in this continent,” he said.

    It was a diplomatic dance that belied many of the difficulties behind the scenes. Sticking points include the U.S. insistence on gaining greater access to Canada’s dairy and poultry sectors, its demand to end independent dispute resolution processes, and its demand that “Buy American” provisions — whether for auto parts or for government procurement projects — be protected.

    Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said in an interview that one of the difficulties is that although the U.S. insists it wants to increase American content in the automotive sector by drafting tougher “rules of origin” or stiffer tracing of the origin of auto parts, it still has not put any substantive numbers on the table. Right now, vehicles and auto parts are required to have 62.5-per-cent North American content to travel tariff-free across continental borders.

    Volpe suggested the failure of the U.S. trade representative (USTR) office to put a hard number on the table may in fact be a good thing. He said the USTR may be documenting for the Trump White House data that negotiators, senators and congressional leaders, especially those with auto plants in their districts, already know, having recently gone through trade negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership that also dealt with “rules of origin” debates.

    “The fact that we haven’t seen a number and we haven’t seen proposals confirms for me that the USTR is doing the hard work of inventorying where the American assets are, and they’re going to get to the same conclusion that we did: the American assets and interests are all over the map in North America. It’s going to be very difficult to cleave them off.”


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    It was October 2015. She was 16 years old. Attending a local hockey team’s “rookie party” was supposed to be a night out with her friends.

    “I thought I was safe,” the now 18-year-old victim of a Kingston assault wrote in an impact statement. But, she said, she was never allowed to read it in court.

    Last week, after nearly two years, the story of 22-year-old Chance Macdonald — a hockey player and Queen’s student charged with sexual assault, but later reduced to a common assault plea — was reported by media.

    But to his victim, who spoke to the Star and whose identity is protected under a publication ban, the case is something she lives with every day.

    The setting was a “rookie party” in October 2015, for a Gananoque junior hockey team, which took place in the Queen’s student district, the victim confirmed. She attended the party with friends.

    At the house later that night, in a dark room with multiple people present, she says Macdonald made unwanted physical advances towards her and she became trapped under the weight of his body. She can’t be sure exactly what happened in the dark, but she remembers that hands, some belonging to Macdonald, were shoved up her shirt and down her pants. Only when a friend entered the room and turned on the lights did the encounter stop.

    At the urging of a friend, she reported the incident to the police. A month later, Macdonald was charged with two counts of sexual assault and one count of forcible confinement. Those charges were later reduced to one count of common assault, which Macdonald pleaded guilty to in April.

    After the guilty plea, Justice Allan Letourneau postponed the business student’s sentencing for four months. In that time, Macdonald completed a prestigious internship at Deloitte.

    Letourneau’s oral decision on Aug. 25 began with reference to his own past as an athlete.

    “I played extremely high-end hockey and I know the mob mentality that can exist in that atmosphere,” Letourneau said. “I’m sure you disappointed not only a lot of people including your parents, but yourself. Not everyone has the talents that you have, and you have them.”

    Letourneau then pointed out how lucky Macdonald was to plead guilty to common assault, instead of a sexual offense.

    “That would have been extremely unfortunate given how accomplished you were at the time, and your potential,” he said. “If there was a trial and you were convicted of a sexual offence, I have no doubt that would have dramatically changed the course of your life.”

    Taking the stand to testify could have been traumatic for Macdonald’s alleged victim, Letourneau continued, saying that such an experience often resulted in anxiety and breakdowns.

    “I am not here to say that all of that may factor into the statistics that [crown attorney Gerard] Laarhuis talked about, 1000 incidents and how many are reported, and how many are pursued, and how many are actually found guilty,” he said.

    “You spared her all of that, that is significant.”

    The victim, though, said she didn’t really understand what was happening when the charges were reduced.

    “All I knew was I was 16 at the time and terrified to go to court,” she wrote in a Facebook message to the Star. The Crown and the defense came to the agreement together, she confirmed, but “it wasn’t really discussed with me, or if it was it wasn’t spoken to me in a language a 16-year-old girl would understand.”

    “I had no idea until I was in the courtroom in April that he wasn’t getting [sentenced for] sexual assault and only assault.”

    As for her victim statement, she alleged that Letourneau didn’t agree with her use of the phrase ‘hockey culture,” and therefore wouldn’t allow her to read her original draft in the courtroom.

    She wasn’t aware of the sentencing on Aug. 25 until the day before, she says, by which time she was out of town.

    She provided a copy of her final victim impact statement to the Star, which includes harrowing details about pressure from some of Macdonald’s fellow hockey players to drop the charges and leave the case alone.

    “At first that is exactly what I wanted to do, but it is hard to forget about something that is constantly in the back of your mind,” she wrote. Though the party was for “rookies,” she noted that Macdonald wasn’t one of them.

    “He was a role model and he was setting an example for others,” she wrote. “I worry that what has happened to me will happen to other young girls.”

    Since that night, she wrote that she’s missed countless days of work and classes due to anxiety and depression. All details of the victim’s statement have been published with her express consent.

    “To Mr. McDonald,” the last paragraph begins, “I hope this has taught you a lesson that will carry throughout your life.”

    Letourneau confirmed via a judicial secretary that he doesn’t discuss cases with members of the public and would not be commenting. Meanwhile, an online petition to remove Letourneau from the bench had reached 11,485 signatures by Tuesday morning.

    Macdonald’s lawyer, Connie Baran-Gerez, also didn’t return the Star’s multiple phone calls.

    Queen’s administration issued a statement expressing sympathy for the “emotions that people are expressing about this case,” but also noted that due to privacy, they wouldn’t be speaking about it publicly.

    In a statement, Kingston Police sexual assault unit Sgt. Barbara Hough wrote that “for students hesitant to report a sexual assault, Kingston Police want you to know that we have several sexual assault investigators that are dedicated to providing a safe, respectful and supportive environment.”

    Deloitte Canada issued a statement after the sentencing, saying that they were unaware of the situation before it was reported by media last week and that Macdonald was no longer employed with their company.

    Macdonald will serve his 88-day sentence on weekends.

    He will be on probation for two years, including conditions to attend and participate in assessment, counselling, and rehabilitative programs as directed by his probation officer.

    Meanwhile, the victim said, not a day goes by when she isn’t affected by what happened that night in early October.

    “I often have flashbacks and relive memories of what happened, wishing I could change my mind about going out that night with my friends,” she wrote. “Maybe if I did then none of this would have happened.”


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    A middle-aged man who lived an ordinary life for decades after raping and killing his frail 70-year-old neighbour deserved the adult life sentence handed him when he was finally brought to justice for the grisly crime he committed as a 15-year-old, Ontario’s highest court ruled Tuesday.

    In upholding the sentence, the Court of Appeal found the punishment given Christopher Ellacott reasonable and proportionate given the savage killing.

    “He sexually assaulted and murdered his elderly, vulnerable neighbour. He went on as though nothing had happened, avoiding justice for nearly 30 years,” the Appeal Court said. “There is no explanation for his crime; no sense of what motivated him to have committed so heinous an act.”

    Court records show Ellacott, a high school student, occasionally did household chores for Velma Thomson, of Petrolia in southwestern Ontario, who had suffered a stroke. In mid-October 1983, the 90-pound hairdresser was found at home, partly nude and lying in a pool of blood. An autopsy found several stab wounds to her heart and her jugular vein cut. She had likely been raped and sodomized, according to the records.

    The case went cold for years until a random check at a fingerprinting convention allowed police to link a thumbprint from the crime scene to Ellacott. Police then secretly obtained DNA samples from him. They arrested Ellacott in 2008 in Owen Sound, Ont., and charged the working father of two, who had no convictions, with Thomson’s first-degree murder and rape.

    A jury in Sarnia, Ont., convicted him in April 2012 and in March 2013, Superior Court of Justice John Desotti sentenced the then-45-year-old as an adult, as the Crown had requested. Ellacott was given life without parole eligibility for seven years, and a lifetime supervision order.

    Ellacott, who abandoned his conviction appeal, challenged the sentence. He argued he should have been punished as a youth, which means he would have received a maximum six years behind bars as opposed to the minimum seven he was given, and only a four-year period of supervision.

    Desotti made several errors, Ellacott argued, among them not properly considering his age at the time of the crime, and deeming his testimony an aggravating factor.

    The Appeal Court rejected the idea that he had been less morally culpable because he was 15 when he killed his victim. His blameworthiness was self-evident, the court said.

    “The appellant’s conduct was no mere mistake or lapse in judgment,” the Appeal Court said. “He committed an act of extreme violence against an elderly, vulnerable neighbour, who until then had no known reason to fear him.”

    The higher court did find fault with Desotti’s dim view of Ellacott’s testimony. At trial, the accused insisted the incriminating thumbprint came from a day before the crime when he helped Thomson carry a cardboard box inside the home. He also maintained the DNA wasn’t his.

    The testimony, Desotti said at various points, was a “lame and cobbled contrivance” and “nonsense,” and revealed something “quite sinister” about Ellacott.

    Those statements crossed the line, the Appeal Court found. Nevertheless, it declined to interfere with the sentence.

    “Although the sentencing judge erred in using the appellant’s testimony and denial of guilt as aggravating factors, the error is of no consequence,” the Appeal Court said. “The enormity of (Ellacott’s) crime renders a youth sentence manifestly inadequate to hold (him) accountable.”


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    A newspaper photographer from Ohio was shot Monday night by a sheriff’s deputy who apparently mistook his camera and tripod for a gun, and fired without a warning, the newspaper reported.

    Andy Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News, left the office at about 10 p.m. to take pictures of lightning when he came across a traffic stop and decided to take photos, according to the paper’s publisher, Dale Grimm.

    “He said he got out, parked under a light in plain view of the deputy, with a press pass around his neck,” Grimm told The Washington Post. “He was setting up his camera, and he heard pops.”

    Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jake Shaw did not give any warnings before he fired, striking Andy Grimm on the side, according to the paper.

    Dale Grimm, who is Andy Grimm’s father, said his son called him from an ambulance on the way to the hospital. He is expected to recover.

    The state attorney general’s Bureau of Criminal Division is investigating the shooting. A representative for the attorney general’s office was not immediately available for comment Tuesday morning. It also remains unclear if Shaw has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings, or if he will face disciplinary actions.

    The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has not returned a call seeking comment. Sheriff Deborah Burchett has not responded to an email.

    Andy Grimm, who knows Shaw, said he does not want the officer to be fired, the paper reported.

    “I know Jake,” he said. “I like Jake. I don't want him to lose his job over this.”

    Asked if he thinks the sheriff’s deputy or the department should be held accountable for the shooting, Dale Grimm said he’d rather not say anything.

    “We know the deputy. This is a small town of 5,000 people . . . We know the deputies. We work with them on a daily basis. We have an excellent relationship with them,” he said.

    Dale Grimm and his son run the family-owned newspaper, located in New Carlisle, a town just outside of Dayton, Ohio. The family contracts with reporters, editors and stringers.

    The newspaper echoed the same sentiments of sympathy toward the officer and posted a message on its Facebook page asking its readers and followers to refrain from making harsh comments about Shaw.

    “On behalf of our entire family, we thank you for all of the kind messages. One other thing. Please don’t mean mouth the deputy. Andy said he doesn’t want Jake to lose his job over this,” the paper wrote.

    Dale Grimm said he saw Burchett, the sheriff, shortly after his son was shot.

    “She held my hand. She said, ‘You know I love Andy,’” he said.

    He said the sheriff’s office has not said much to him about what prompted the shooting, but he’s assuming that the officer thought the camera was a weapon.

    “He probably didn’t know what it was,” he said. “I don’t want to second guess the deputy because they have to make split-second decisions. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong.”

    Andy Grimm is a known photographer in the community and has been working at the paper for years, his father said.

    “He really took to photography. He watched hundreds of tutorials on YouTube,” Dale Grimm said. “He’s a whiz with his camera, a whiz with Photoshop. He also lays out the newspaper.”

    Dale Grimm said his son had finished laying out the paper before he was shot. Otherwise, the print edition would not have been published.


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    WASHINGTON—A Tennessee teacher who coaches the school soccer teams in his spare time.

    A Washington nursing assistant who leads the patient transport team at her hospital.

    A criminal justice student who spent last week driving around Houston to help strangers clean their flooded houses.

    Read more: Trump ends Obama program that protects undocumented ‘DREAMers,’ putting 800,000 at risk for deportation

    They’re the kind of immigrants U.S. President Donald Trump has praised as “absolutely great kids.” They’re indistinguishable from their native-born peers. And they’re now at risk of losing their jobs and being deported to countries they remember only barely or not at all.

    In a decision that pleased parts of his voter base but produced tears and terror in thousands of immigrant households, Trump decided Tuesday to end the Barack Obama program that allows 800,000 young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children to obtain work permits and avoid deportation.

    “The first thing I thought about was my daughter. She’s only 4 months. How am I going to provide for her? What am I going to do now? And then if I have to be sent back to Mexico — what do I do there?” said the Houston justice student, Alejandra Rodriguez, a 24-year-old who was carried to the U.S. at age 1. “What’s going to happen? What are we going to do?”

    Trump’s move to target the so-called “DREAMers,” a group he had advised to “rest easy,” set off an emotional and treacherous political battle. The young immigrants, most of whom are now in their 20s, are inclined toward activism and widely seen as sympathetic.

    “No one is going to push us back into the shadows,” Greisa Martinez, advocacy director for the group United We Dream, told a protest at the White House.

    Trump stopped short of his campaign promise to immediately terminate the Obama program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). His move to phase it out rather than dump it all at once gives him a theoretical opening to reverse course later.

    But Trump officials argued Tuesday that Obama never had the constitutional authority to shield unauthorized immigrants without congressional approval.

    Trump asked Congress to “get ready to do your job” and figure out a legislative fix. Top Republicans said that they would try.

    This Congress, though, has had trouble passing anything of consequence, and it was clear that Republicans would struggle to find a solution on such a fraught issue in the six months before Trump stops renewing the DREAMers’ two-year work permits.

    When their permits lapse, officials said, the DREAMers will again be treated like other illegal immigrants. But in a crucial respect, they are even more vulnerable than people who have always lived in the shadows: to enrol in the DACA program, they had to tell the government about their backgrounds and addresses.

    “It’s scary. They have our information. They know where we live,” said Aimee Duenas, 23, the nursing assistant in Washington, who was brought from Mexico at age 5.

    Trump has made a concerted effort as president to retain the support of his overwhelmingly white and largely anti-immigration devotees. His decision on the DREAMers comes a week after he pardoned anti-immigrant former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, three weeks after he defended participants in a white supremacist rally, and a month after he endorsed legislation to slash legal immigration.

    Duenas said she shook when Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the DACA announcement on Tuesday, her stomach “just doing flips.” Without authorization to work, she could no longer pursue her nursing career. Instead, she said, she would become a permanent stay-at-home mother, abandoning a central part of her identity.

    “Everything that I have worked for would be lost. Everything I have dreamed,” she said. “It just seems that at every turn we are blocked. The way things have been lately, it seems like they don’t care about immigrants or people of colour. It’s all about making everyone else happy except for people of colour or immigrants.”

    DREAMers described DACA as life-changing, freeing them from the menial cash jobs and constant fear that characterize their parents’ lives. Sessions called DACA a “circumvention of immigration laws” benefiting people he described as “mostly adult illegal aliens.”

    “We are a people of compassion and we are a people of law. But there is nothing compassionate about the failure to enforce immigration laws,” Sessions said. “Enforcing the law saves lives, protects communities and taxpayers, and prevents human suffering. Failure to enforce the laws in the past has put our nation at risk of crime, violence and even terrorism.”

    Sessions offered no evidence that DACA enrollees, who are subjected to background checks and cannot have felony convictions, pose a security risk. And polls suggest that a large majority of Americans, even a majority of Republicans, see the DREAMers as morally innocent.

    The program allowed people who came to the U.S. illegally before their 16th birthday — they are known as DREAMers after failed legislation called the DREAM Act, which would have given them legal status — to pay $495 to apply for renewable two-year work permits. They had to be enrolled in high school or have graduated.

    Sessions said Tuesday there would be a “wind-down process” to allow Congress to pass legislation before the program disappears. But he provided few details and took no questions, leaving the DREAMers anxious and uncertain about their fate.

    Administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters earlier that people currently enrolled in the program will be able to continue working until their two-year permits expire. People whose permits expire over the next six months, but none of the others, will be allowed to apply for a two-year renewal.

    That means about a quarter of enrollees may be granted renewals. The other three-quarters will have their permits expire unless Congress acts.

    The officials said the DREAMers would not be treated as a priority for deportation — but that they would be treated like all others in the country illegally, which means they would face the risk of deportation at all times.

    “Ultimately, this is about basic decency,” Obama said in a statement Tuesday, denouncing Trump’s decision.

    “To target these young people is wrong — because they have done nothing wrong,” he said. “It is self-defeating — because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbour turns out to be a DREAMer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?”

    Ramon Ivan Ramirez, 24, the social studies teacher and coach in Tennessee, is a fanatic supporter of the University of Alabama football team. He was brought from Mexico at age 3. In his slight southern accent, he said he is an “American at heart” who knows little of his native country’s culture.

    “Jeff Sessions talked about assimilating into the American culture. On paper I don’t know how I could get more American,” he said. “I went to college, I was in a fraternity, I’m well rounded socially, I teach, I love college football. I don’t know what I could do to be more American. Except that little green card.”

    The end of his DACA status would mean the end of his teaching career. He said he did not even want to think about what else he might do.

    “I would essentially have a $120,000 college degree hanging on my wall but be unable to have a job,” he said.

    Miguel Mendez, a 27-year-old brought from Mexico around age 8, is an electrical engineer at a utility in Texas. He is angry, he said, that Republicans are “throwing us around like we’re some kind of ball.”

    He said he would fight, “loud,” to keep DACA alive. But if it dies, he said, he has made a resolution.

    He would rather scrape by working as an overqualified cleaner, like his mother and father, than leave.

    “My parents did it. I don’t see why I can’t do it,” he said.

    “But it’s going to be a waste of time, a waste of effort, a waste of studying. To get an education that I can’t exercise in this country which happens to be my home. I’m not going to go back to a country I’m not familiar with, because this is my home. America is my home.”


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    Ontario Superior Court Justice Cory Gilmore was already suspicious of two experienced York Regional Police officers when they refused to acknowledge that a stain marring a white Banana Republic long-sleeved shirt was blood — in spite of DNA evidence.

    It looked like a coffee stain, Det. David Noseworthy told Gilmore’s court. Det. Alec Tompras, an officer with 11 years on the job, testified that he did not know what blood stains looked like.

    But it was a bizarre interview filmed at the police station — in which the accused in a 2012 robbery can only be seen from behind on video, while the police interviewer is in full view — that ultimately prompted a rare and sternly worded ruling from Gilmore to stay charges against a man who admitted he’d participated in a Markham cellphone store holdup.

    The police misconduct in the case, she ruled, was too serious to proceed on the charges, as it violated the charter rights of the accused.

    Gilmore found there was “no other conclusion” than that Gil Kim, facing charges including robbery with a weapon or imitation weapon, was assaulted by Tompras and Noseworthy at a York police station after his arrest on Aug. 2, 2012. The officers then attempted to “cover it up,” she found.

    “I find that both detectives … used physical intimidation to attempt to extract a confession from him. When they were unsuccessful, they had to hide the evidence of their actions by washing the blood out of his shirt and placing him away from the video camera for his interview,” Gilmore wrote in her Aug. 24 ruling.

    The ruling prompted York’s police chief to order an independent investigation by Peel Regional Police.

    “Chief Eric Jolliffe was not previously aware of this incident; however, once learning of it, he immediately initiated a chief’s complaint under part 5 of the Police Services Act,” York police spokesperson Const. Andy Pattenden said in an email Tuesday. “Judge Gilmore’s decision has been forwarded to Peel Regional Police to aid them in their investigation.”

    Reached by email Tuesday, Noseworthy declined to comment, saying it was not an appropriate time. Tompras did not respond to a request for comment from the Star.

    Kim’s lawyer, David Bayliss, said one of the most shocking parts of the case was that it was fairly “run of the mill” — a crime he called a low-level robbery involving a man with no prior criminal record, where no one was physically harmed.

    The decision stems from a robbery of a Rogers Plus phone store on May 30, 2012, in which $7,000 in cash and phones worth $80,000 were stolen. Aside from Kim, three others were charged in connection with the case. Armin Zandi and Anthony Jouith have entered guilty pleas, and the charges against the third person, a store employee, were stayed.

    According to Gilmore’s ruling, Kim was “candid” in his admission that he’d participated in the robbery. He appears in surveillance video, his face disguised as he holds something in the shape of a handgun while store employees load a duffel bag with phones and cash from the company’s safe. Kim then left the store in a Pontiac Sunfire driven by one of his co-accused and owned by another.

    Just over two months later, York police arrested Kim in Toronto while he was driving his father’s car. He was taken into custody and brought to a York police station on Markham Rd., where he was booked, searched and placed in a cell.

    While Kim contended he was roughed up from the start — he claimed that during his arrest, one cop whispered in his ear, “Wait until we get to the station” — Kim stated that the real abuse began when he was taken into an interview room at the detachment.

    During testimony at his hearing for a stay of his charges, Kim claimed Noseworthy told him that his co-accused in the robbery had already given him up and that he should confess on camera. Noseworthy threatened Kim that if didn’t confess, he would be beaten, Kim said.

    When he maintained his right to silence, Kim testified that Noseworthy then put on a set of leather gloves and punched him on the side of the face with a closed fist. The officer went on to strike him in the head and torso, grab him by the throat, bang his head against the wall and kick him in the shin, Kim testified, adding that Tompras told him “this is what happens to people who rob businesses in broad daylight.”

    Kim then told the court that his nose began to bleed, prompting Noseworthy to tell him to take off his shoes, his white shirt and tank top. He said Noseworthy then struck him in the head with one of his shoes and left the room with the shirt.

    “I couldn’t believe this was happening,” Kim testified, according to Gilmore’s ruling. “I thought this stuff only happened in movies.”

    Soon after, the officer returned with a warm, damp shirt, the blood stains mostly gone, Kim said.

    Kim was then taken to a different interview room and questioned on video by Tompras. In the video, Kim maintains his right to silence but is barely visible — only the back of his head and part of the right side of his face can be seen. Tompras is in full view.

    Kim testified that he did not know where the camera was at the time, but recalled that Tompras directed him to sit in a chair that he later learned faced away from the camera.

    Kim testified that he was held overnight, and the following day, after being granted bail, he went to hospital at the insistence of his mother, father and sister. All three testified that they were concerned about his injuries, which included a swollen face, bruising and a bump on his head.

    On the stand, Noseworthy denied all allegations about assaulting Kim, or having any contact with him whatsoever other than when he delivered food to him that evening.

    Tompras also denied assaulting Kim. Both officers denied ordering Kim to remove some of his clothing or washing any blood out of the shirt.

    Gilmore criticized the testimony of both officers on the stand, saying they were “dismissive of any possibility of wrongdoing.” The judge took issue with many aspects of their conduct but put most emphasis on the interview video in which Kim is in the “wrong seat,” facing away from the camera — a fact that “simply cannot be explained away.”

    “The only inference that can be drawn is that this was done to ensure that the blood on Mr. Kim’s shirt or facial swelling could not be seen on camera,” Gilmore wrote.

    When asked about it on the stand, Noseworthy called it “a silly error” that should not have happened. Tompras said that “ideally” the accused should be in full view of the camera but that there was no clear policy on that, a statement he later admitted was inaccurate.

    As an experienced officer, Tompras had to have known that the purpose of a videotaped interview was to allow the accused to be seen on camera, Gilmore wrote.

    “For him to suggest that this was effectively a matter of officer discretion is bordering on ludicrous,” she wrote, adding that the “cavalier” manner with which the officers treated the “grave” video error was “disquieting to say the least.”

    The judge also questioned how the officers could maintain that stains on Kim’s shirt — which he’d preserved in a plastic bag, then sent for DNA testing — were not blood. Both officers were aware of the DNA test results stating it was blood.

    “(Tompras) went so far as to say that he did not know what blood stains looked like. This evidence from a police officer with 11 years experience is incongruous at best,” Gilmore wrote.

    Wendy Gillis can be reached at wgillis@thestar.ca .


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    Rumoured Toronto mayoral candidate Doug Ford does not have the endorsement of CUPE Local 416, the union said Tuesday after photos of him at a Labour Day parade infuriated some organized labour supporters.

    Photos on social media show Ford wearing a black Local 416 T-shirt with members of the union, which represents more than 5,000 City of Toronto outside workers, at the annual celebration of union rights in downtown Toronto on Monday.

    Ford was a city councillor during the 2010-2014 mayoral term of his late brother, Rob Ford. While professing support for union members and disdain for their leadership, the brothers celebrated a contract that exacted concessions from Local 416 members. They also convinced council to privatize collection of trash from 165,000 west-end homes previously serviced by the city workers.

    Doug Ford, who lost to John Tory in the 2014 mayoral election and is expected Friday to announce a rematch in 2018, famously said the duo were intent on “outsourcing everything that’s not nailed down.”

    Tory had vowed to expand private garbage collection east of Yonge St. but, facing a possible loss at city council, retreated last January and said more study of the issue was required.

    Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, minced no words on his Facebook page Monday that linked to photos of Ford at the parade in a post by website rankandfile.ca.

    “This vile anti-union Fu$%er thinks he can ‘trump’ the Toronto (municipal) election and get working class folks to vote for him – and he is DREAMING – We will NOT let that happen,” Hahn wrote. “CUPE 416 recently saved 500 + jobs from contracting out and this guy – he’s all about killing good jobs.....So hear me now – let’s make it clear – we will work our butts off to make SURE union folks do nothing to support this....this....candidate.”

    Comments from others echoed his anger, questioned who gave Ford the T-shirt and asked what kind of reception Local 416 members gave him.

    Eddie Mariconda, Local 416 president, declined a Star request for an interview Tuesday but released a statement saying politicians want union members’ votes so it’s no surprise they turned up at the “inclusive” event.

    “Anyone can show up at a parade and show support to working people,” he wrote.

    “I want to state as clearly as possible, that Local 416 has not endorsed any candidate at this time. We look forward to next year’s municipal elections, where our members will be working hard to elect candidates who support public services and working people in every ward across the City of Toronto. We are confident that when people cast their votes for Mayor, they will vote for a candidate worthy of working people’s support.”

    Doug Ford did not respond to the Star’s inquiries Tuesday.


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    The Toronto Real Estate Board says the number of residential properties sold in August was down 34.8 per cent from the same month last year, but the average price was up modestly.

    The average price for all home types was $732,292, still up three per cent from August 2016, but down from July’s average of $746,033.

    That makes August the fourth month in a row that the Toronto-area average home price has fallen since hitting a record $919,086 in April.

    In April, the Ontario government introduced more than a dozen measures — including a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers — aimed at improving home affordability.

    The board’s director of analysis, Jason Mercer, says year-over-year price growth is expected to stabilize at slightly above the rate of inflation but could begin to accelerate if the number of properties for sale remains at low levels.

    The real estate board says the number of new listings last month was the lowest for an August since 2010 and down 6.7 per cent from a year ago.

    Read more: Lull in Toronto-area housing market expected to linger

    Average Toronto home price drops $173,000 since April

    Toronto house prices not fuelled by foreign funds: TREB


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    Hurricane Irma roared into the Caribbean with record-setting force early Wednesday, shaking people in their homes on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda on a path toward Puerto Rico and possibly Florida by the weekend.

    Irma, which was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded north of the Caribbean and east of the Gulf of Mexico, passed almost directly over the island of Barbuda, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

    Authorities in the small islands of the eastern Caribbean were still evaluating the situation as the sun rose though there were widespread reports of flooding and downed trees. Antiguan police were waiting until the winds dropped before sending helicopters to check on damage reports of damage in Barbuda. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

    “We are glad so far for the good news that we have had so far,” Donald McPhail, executive director of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority, said early Wednesday as he heard from employees around the region after hunkering down for the night at home in Antigua.

    The island of Anguilla was experiencing “extremely heavy winds and rain,” according to the Disaster Management Department and there were reports of flooding, but details were not yet available.

    The centre of the storm was about 25 kilometres west of St. Martin and Anguilla about 8 a.m. Wednesday, the hurricane centre said. It was heading west-northwest at 26 km/h.

    As the eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda around 2 a.m., phone lines went down under heavy rain and howling winds that sent debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters.

    In Barbuda, the storm ripped the roof off the island’s police station, forcing officers to seek refuge in the fire station and at the community centre that served as an official shelter. The Category 5 storm also knocked out communication between islands. Midcie Francis of the National Office of Disaster Services confirmed there was damage to several homes, but said it was too early to assess the extent of damage.

    Read more:

    Trump declares emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands as Hurricane Irma approaches land

    Caribbean islands brace for impact of Hurricane Irma

    Cost of recovery after hurricane Harvey could top $120B, says Texas governor

    The storm had maximum sustained winds of 295 km/h, according to the Hurricane Center. It said winds would likely fluctuate slightly, but the storm would remain at Category 4 or 5 strength for the next day or two. The most dangerous winds, usually nearest to the eye, were forecast to pass near the northern Virgin Islands and near or just north of Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

    President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate six southern islands.

    Warm water is fuel for hurricanes and Irma was moving over water that was 1 C warmer than normal. The 26 C water that hurricanes need went about 250 feet (80 metres) deep, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private forecasting service Weather Underground.

    Four other storms have had winds as strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they were in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, which usually have warmer waters.

    The northern Leeward Islands were expected to see normal tide levels rise by as much as 11 feet (3.3 metres), while the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas could see surge of 20 feet (6 metres) and higher waves later in the week, forecasters said.

    Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government was evacuating six islands in the south because authorities would not be able to help anyone caught in the “potentially catastrophic” wind, flooding and storm surge. People there would be flown to Nassau in what he called the largest storm evacuation in the country’s history.

    “The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life or serious physical harm,” Minnis said.

    The U.S. National Weather Service said Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of Irma’s magnitude since Hurricane San Felipe in 1928, which killed a total of 2,748 people in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Florida.

    “The dangerousness of this event is like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “A lot of infrastructure won’t be able to withstand this kind of force.”

    The eye of the storm was expected to rip westward on a path taking it a little north of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.

    The northern parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti could see 25 centimetres of rain, with as much as 50 centimetres in the southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

    The storm seemed almost certain to hit the United States by early next week.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find any model that doesn’t have some impact on Florida.” said University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

    In Florida, people stocked up on drinking water and other supplies.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott activated 100 members of the Florida National Guard to be deployed across the state, and 7,000 National Guard members were to report for duty Friday when the storm could be approaching the area. On Monday, Scott declared a state of emergency in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

    Officials in the Florida Keys geared up to get tourists and residents out of Irma’s path, and the mayor of Miami-Dade County said people should be prepared to evacuate Miami Beach and most coastal areas.

    Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the voluntary evacuations could begin as soon as Wednesday evening. He activated the emergency operation centre and urged residents to have three days’ worth of food and water.

    The Hurricane Center in Miami said hurricane-force winds extended 85 kilometres from Irma’s centre and tropical storm-force winds extended 280 kilometres.

    Also Wednesday morning, a new tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico off Mexico’s coast. Tropical Storm Katia had maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h with some strengthening forecast over the next two days. But the hurricane centre said Katia was expected to stay offshore through Friday morning.

    And another tropical storm farther east in the Atlantic was expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday night. Tropical Storm Jose’s maximum sustained winds had increased to near 95 km/h. The storm was centred about 2,020 kilometres east of the Lesser Antilles and was moving west near 20 km/h.

    The most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history made its first landfall in the islands of the northeast Caribbean early Wednesday, roaring along a path pointing to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba before possibly heading for Florida over the weekend.

    The eye of Hurricane Irma passed over Barbuda around 1:47 a.m., the U.S. National Weather Service said. Residents said over local radio that phone lines went down. Heavy rain and howling winds raked the neighbouring island of Antigua, sending debris flying as people huddled in their homes or government shelters.

    Officials warned people to seek protection from Irma’s “onslaught” in a statement that closed with: “May God protect us all.”

    In Barbuda, the storm ripped the roof off the island’s police station forcing officers to seek refuge in the nearby fire station and at the community centre that served as an official shelter. The Category 5 storm also knocked out communication between islands. Midcie Francis of the National Office of Disaster Services confirmed there was damage to several homes, but said it was too early to assess the extent of damage.

    The storm had maximum sustained winds of 295 km/h, according to the Hurricane Center. It said winds would likely fluctuate slightly, but the storm would remain at Category 4 or 5 strength for the next day or two. The most dangerous winds, usually nearest to the eye, were forecast to pass near the northern Virgin Islands and near or just north of Puerto Rico on Wednesday.

    “I hear it’s a Cat 5 now and I’m terrified,” Antigua resident Carol Joseph said Tuesday as she finished her last trip to the supermarket before seeking shelter. “I had to come back for more batteries because I don’t know how long the current will be off.”

    On the island, people who live in low-lying areas were staying with friends and relatives on higher ground or sleeping in churches, schools and community facilities built to withstand hurricanes. None of the shelters had yet been tested by Category 5 winds, however.

    Many homes in Antigua and Barbuda are not built on concrete foundations or have poorly constructed wooden roofs.

    President Donald Trump declared emergencies in Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and authorities in the Bahamas said they would evacuate six southern islands.

    Warm water is fuel for hurricanes and Irma was moving over water that was 1 C warmer than normal. The 26 C water that hurricanes need went about 250 feet (80 metres) deep, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private forecasting service Weather Underground.

    Four other storms have had winds as strong in the overall Atlantic region, but they were in the Caribbean Sea or the Gulf of Mexico, which usually have warmer waters.

    The northern Leeward Islands were expected to see normal tide levels rise by as much as 3.3 metres, while the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern Bahamas could see surge of 6 metres and higher waves later in the week, forecasters said.

    Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said his government was evacuating six islands in the south because authorities would not be able to help anyone caught in the “potentially catastrophic” wind, flooding and storm surge. People there would be flown to Nassau in what he called the largest storm evacuation in the country’s history.

    “The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life or serious physical harm,” Minnis said.

    The U.S. National Weather Service said Puerto Rico had not seen a hurricane of Irma’s magnitude since Hurricane San Felipe in 1928, which killed a total of 2,748 people in Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and Florida.

    “The dangerousness of this event is like nothing we’ve ever seen,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello said. “A lot of infrastructure won’t be able to withstand this kind of force.”

    The director of the island’s power company has warned that storm damage could leave some areas without electricity for about a week to as long as six months.

    The eye of the storm was expected to rip westward on a path taking it a little north of Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba.

    The northern parts of the Dominican Republic and Haiti could see 25 centimetres of rain, with as much as 50 centimetres in the southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos.

    The storm seemed almost certain to hit the United States by early next week.

    “You’d be hard pressed to find any model that doesn’t have some impact on Florida.” said University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy.

    In Florida, people stocked up on drinking water and other supplies.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott activated 100 members of the Florida National Guard to be deployed across the state, and 7,000 National Guard members were to report for duty Friday when the storm could be approaching the area. On Monday, Scott declared a state of emergency in all of Florida’s 67 counties.

    Officials in the Florida Keys geared up to get tourists and residents out of Irma’s path, and the mayor of Miami-Dade County said people should be prepared to evacuate Miami Beach and most coastal areas.

    Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the voluntary evacuations could begin as soon as Wednesday evening. He activated the emergency operation centre and urged residents to have three days’ worth of food and water.

    The Hurricane Center in Miami said hurricane-force winds extended 85 kilometres from Irma’s centre and tropical storm-force winds extended 280 kilometres.

    Also Wednesday morning, a new tropical storm formed in the Gulf of Mexico off Mexico’s coast. Tropical Storm Katia had maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h with some strengthening forecast over the next two days. But the hurricane centre said Katia was expected to stay offshore through Friday morning.

    And another tropical storm farther east in the Atlantic was expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday night. Tropical Storm Jose’s maximum sustained winds had increased to near 95 km/h. The storm was centred about 2,020 kilometres east of the Lesser Antilles and was moving west near 20 km/h.


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    Premier Kathleen Wynne is set to announce a sweeping review of how students are assessed in Ontario, including possible changes to EQAO tests in math and literacy and what skills are measured on report cards.

    Sources told the Star Wynne will unveil plans Wednesday to create a panel of experts who will report back to the government this winter with recommendations. The announcement comes a day after the province’s 2 million students headed back to class after the summer break.

    The panel of experts will explore ways to more effectively assess whether students in kindergarten through Grade 12 are learning the skills they need for their futures, in both the workplace and as citizens, sources said.

    That means looking at the role, relevance and timing of standardized tests administered by the province as well as what parents read on their children’s report cards.

    The shakeup comes at a time of growing concern that the system is too focused on EQAO tests which critics say don’t broadly reflect the many skills students need to keep learning — such as creativity and critical thinking.

    The debate erupted again last week in the wake of dismal scores in province-wide math tests for elementary school students conducted by the Education Quality and Accountability Office, or EQAO.

    For the second straight year, only half of Grade 6 students met the provincial standard, despite the introduction last year of a $60-million math strategy aimed at boosting those results. Among Grade 3 students, 62 per cent met the standard.

    While some parents and educators blame a curriculum that doesn’t focus enough on the basics, others argue the test is too narrow and not a fair gauge of how and what children are learning and the skills they need.

    Every year Ontario students in Grades 3 and 6 are tested for reading, writing and math. They are tested again for math in Grade 9 and take a mandatory literacy test in Grade 10.

    Those in favour of standardized tests argue they are a valuable benchmark for how the province and individual schools are performing. But concern has been building about how the tests can drive education policy and narrow the focus of classrooms.

    Teachers may feel pressured to “teach to the test” to boost scores, while other important and less easily measured skills are overlooked.

    The new panel will also consider how to update and broaden the scope of report cards by assessing skills considered essential for the current environment. That might include, for example, a student's ability to distinguish fact from opinion, how they use and interpret social media and the Internet, and their ability to formulate and confidently ask questions, sources said.

    Groups like People for Education have long called for an overhaul of what the province considers critical skills for today’s students, along with how those skills are taught and assessed.

    “It is definitely time to move beyond the traditional three Rs,” says executive director Annie Kidder.

    The research and advocacy group has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Education for the past four years on Measuring What Matters, a project aimed at defining other key “competencies” children need to master such as imagination, perseverance, innovation and collaboration.

    “All of those things are skills you need for life, for jobs, to be an engaged citizen and that’s what the school system is supposed to be doing,” says Kidder.

    When asked to comment in general on provincial assessments, education expert Charles Pascal said curriculum, report cards and tests need to encourage creative problem-solving and nourish emotional intelligence.

    “But you don’t start with how to change grading, report cards or EQAO; you start with clarity about what learning objectives are key for our future,” says Pascal, a professor at University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and a former deputy minister of education who advised the previous Liberal government on its early years strategy.

    “When it comes to documenting this learning, the easily measured usually isn’t worth measuring,” he says.


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    Premier Kathleen Wynne will take the witness stand in the Sudbury byelection trial on Sept. 13 in a case being closely watched for political fallout with a provincial election next June.

    Her former deputy chief of staff, Patricia Sorbara, and Sudbury Liberal organizer Gerry Lougheed head to court Thursday for the beginning of the Elections Act trial against them.

    Crown prosecutors allege the pair offered a previous Liberal candidate jobs or posts to withdraw from the party’s nomination race to make way for Wynne’s preferred candidate, Glen Thibeault, now her energy minister.

    Wynne revealed the date Wednesday while appearing at a Toronto school.

    “The date has now been given to me,” she told reporters. “I will be appearing as a witness on that day.”

    The premier suggested her comments in court will be similar to what she has said before: that officials were trying to keep the previous Liberal candidate, quadriplegic mortgage broker Andrew Olivier, involved in the party.

    “I’ve been very clear about the situation. I’ve been clear in the Legislature, I’ve been clear in the public realm and I will continue to be clear and open about what happened,” Wynne said.

    The premier has waived her legal right, under parliamentary privilege, not to testify in the trial.

    If convicted of the charges, which do not fall under the Criminal Code, but under a lesser category called provincial offences, Sorbara and Lougheed, a wealthy local funeral home owner, face fines of up to $25,000 and maximum jail sentences of two years, less a day.

    Sorbara, who has stepped aside from her key role in the Liberal re-election effort, faces two counts of bribery and Lougheed one count. Both have repeatedly maintained they did nothing illegal.

    “We look forward to publicly clearing the air of any suggestion of wrongdoing,” says Toronto lawyer Brian Greenspan, representing Sorbara.


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    Toronto police are searching for a black sedan driven by four suspects wanted in a brazen fatal shooting inside Sheridan Mall last week.

    Jovane Clarke, 22, was shot and killed inside the North York mall on Sept. 1 as shoppers scrambled out of the way.

    Det. Sgt. Mike Carbone told reporters at a briefing Wednesday morning that the sedan followed Clarke as he drove to the mall, then waited outside for him to finish shopping.

    When Clarke left the mall, Carbone said, he was met by four people — at least two of whom opened fire and chased him towards the mall’s south entrance. One of them continued firing even after Clarke ran into the mall

    “These are all signs of what can be described as an overkill,” Carbone said.

    Clarke died of his wounds at the mall at around 6:30 p.m., police said at the time.

    Carbone said the motive behind Clarke’s death isn’t yet clear, but he does believe it was deliberate, calling it a “targeted attack.”

    No arrests have been made.

    The black sedan, seen in surveillance footage obtained by police, was apparently seen driving in the Tandridge Cres. area about an hour before the shooting happened.

    “I released this image here today in a hope that someone can recognize it and supply us with information on who was driving it, and who it’s registered to, so that we can move the investigation forward,” Carbone said.

    Police are also asking for footage from anyone with dash-cams who was driving along Albion Rd. between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 1.

    Clarke is Toronto’s 35th homicide victim of 2017.


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    As the new academic year gets underway, students, teachers and parents are gearing up to deal with one of the education system’s more controversial elements: split-level classes.

    Some parents worry that integrating students from several grades, typically to offset shrinking enrolment or mitigate a surge in a particular year, leaves younger pupils behind or fails to adequately challenge more advanced ones.

    But educators and experts say split classes can be beneficial — and the outcome often depends on the teacher.

    “When (my daughters) were first put in split classes, I wasn’t too happy about it,” says Christine Armstong, a mother from Innisfill, Ont.

    One of her twin girls, Jessica, was in Grade 1 when she was placed in a split class with children from senior kindergarten, prompting Armstrong to fear the class would repeat the play-based learning her daughter had already experienced, she said.

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    Armstrong said she worried Jessica wouldn’t progress at the same rate as Grade 1 students in single-grade classes, but now realizes she was wrong.

    “The teacher was so good,” Armstrong said. “She was very organized, and she was able to separate the two different grades and the different needs for each grade. It was amazing.”

    This year, her other twin daughter Vanessa is enrolled in a Grade 5/6 split class and Armstrong said she wonders whether the experience will be different for a student on the younger side of the class.

    “If (the teacher) is used to Grade 6 and she’s focused on the Grade 6s, will she be too hard on the Grade 5s?” Armstrong says. “I’m not concerned, but I’m curious.”

    Students can thrive in split classes if teachers are adequately prepared, said Clare Brett, a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

    “Like most things in schools, a lot depends on the teacher,” said Brett, adding split classes require considerably more work from a profession already under strain in Ontario.

    Brett’s own children were in a split Grade 1/2/3 class about 15 years ago, which allowed her to observe how lessons unfolded, she said.

    The work was usually divided up so the teacher would work with the Grade 3 students on math while Grade 2 students read independently and Grade 1 kids went to gym, she said. They would sometimes have class discussions all together, which she said fostered a sense of responsibility in the older students.

    “It’s not like the one-room schoolhouse, which is what I think people think of it as,” Brett said. “Done well, it’s learning experience for everybody.”

    Richard Messina, principal of Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School at OISE, said he understands why parents are wary of split classes and acknowledges they aren’t a good fit for every child.

    But he said many of the issues parents are concerned about — a gap in knowledge or in stimulation — exist in single-cohort classes as well. The difference typically isn’t that much more pronounced in split classes, he said.

    “In every classroom, there is a developmental range in knowledge, in skill development, social-emotional development,” he said. “In some areas of the curriculum, the change from one grade to the other is small.”

    It’s in classes where subject matter changes considerably from one year to the next, such as science and social studies, that “the creativity of the teacher needs to come in,” he said.

    In the end, there’s no catch-all solution for what makes an effective classroom, he said.

    “It’s not like working at The Gap, where every sweater is folded to look exactly the same,” he says. “We’re working with human beings.”


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    OTTAWA—The Bank of Canada is once again raising its benchmark interest rate as it sees the economy's powerful performance pointing to broader, more self-sustaining growth.

    The central bank hiked its rate Wednesday by one-quarter point to 1.0 per cent, its second 25-basis-point increase since July.

    The move, which will likely be a surprise for some, came less than a week after the latest Statistics Canada numbers showed the economy expanded by an impressive 4.5 per cent in the second quarter.

    That followed unexpectedly healthy growth in the first three months of 2017 and easily exceeded the Bank of Canada's projections.

    In a statement Wednesday, the bank said solid employment and wage growth led to strong consumer spending, while the key areas of business investment and exports also improved.

    “Recent economic data have been stronger than expected, supporting the bank's view that growth in Canada is becoming more broadly-based and self-sustaining,” the bank said.

    Looking ahead, the bank insisted future rate decisions will not be “predetermined” and will be guided by upcoming economic data releases and financial market developments.

    It pledged to pay particular attention paid to the economy's potential, job-market conditions and any potential risks for Canadians from the higher costs of borrowing.

    “Given elevated household indebtedness, close attention will be paid to the sensitivity of the economy to higher interest rates,” the statement said.

    Even with the recent economic improvements, the bank still underlined concerns around geopolitical risks and uncertainties related to international trade and fiscal policies.

    The bank predicted the pace of growth to moderate in the second half of the year.

    The rate increase means governor Stephen Poloz has now reversed the two cuts he introduced in 2015 to help the economy deal with the plunge in oil prices. The bank said Wednesday the increasingly robust economy shows it no longer needs as much stimulus.

    The rate hike Wednesday likely came as a bit of a surprise for some experts. Many had been expecting Poloz to wait until October before introducing the second increase.

    Following a quiet August for bank officials, some believed the bank would hold off because hadn't clearly telegraphed a September hike.

    Others predicted the bank would refrain from moving the rate out of concern such a move would drive up an already strengthening Canadian dollar and pose a risk to exporters.

    In its statement, the bank also said headline and core inflation have seen slight increases since July, largely as expected. It noted, however, that upward pressure on wages and prices remain more subdued than historical trends would suggest, which has also been seen in other advanced economies.


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    A Toronto woman who has pledged allegiance to Daesh and is facing several terror-related charges has been deemed mentally fit to stand trial.

    Rehab Dughmosh, arrested in June after allegedly brandishing a golf club and knife at a Canadian Tire, was ordered to undergo a mental fitness assessment last week by Judge Kimberley Crosbie.

    Dughmosh has, over the past week, been assessed by a forensic psychiatrist at the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences in Whitby, Crown Attorney Bradley Reitz said.

    The psychiatrists report was “unequivocal” in finding her fit for trial, Reitz added.

    Being “fit” requires only that the accused person has a basic understanding of the court process, what they are charged with, what it means to be under oath, who the judge, prosecutors and defence lawyers are and what they do.

    Dughmosh met those criteria at her early court appearances. But statements by a member of her family, contained in the Crown’s evidence, suggest there is reason to believe Dughmosh has some form of mental illness, said Ingrid Grant, a lawyer appointed to the case as amicus — someone who assists the court by making sure all relevant evidence and arguments are properly presented, particularly when the accused represents themselves.

    Dughmosh refused to appear in person or by video for three consecutive scheduled court appearances in July and August. She has been reluctant to leave her cell for exercise and refuses to shower, guards at Vanier detention centre in Milton have told the court.

    When brought by force before a camera for a live video court appearance on Aug. 21, Dughmosh answered every question put to her by the judge with the words, “You are all infidels. I do not worship what you worship.”

    Dughmosh has said in court that she does not believe in the Canadian legal system and said that “if you release me, I will commit these actions again and again and again.”

    She has told the court she does not want legal counsel, and plans to plead guilty to her charges, which include one count of leaving Canada for the purpose of participating in a terrorist group and multiple counts each of attempted murder, assault with a weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon and carrying a concealed weapon, all “at the direction of, or in association with, a terrorist group.”

    Dughmosh is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 20 for a pre-trial hearing.


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