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Articles on this Page
- 07/28/17--08:43: _North Korea’s lates...
- 07/28/17--08:57: _Indigenous man live...
- 07/28/17--10:29: _Former B.C. premier...
- 07/28/17--10:36: _Charlie Gard, 11-mo...
- 07/28/17--12:00: _Toronto soldier cha...
- 07/28/17--12:30: _Wynne hints at reli...
- 07/28/17--11:56: _Durham police launc...
- 07/28/17--12:55: _Ontario prepping re...
- 07/28/17--13:19: _Controversial stair...
- 07/28/17--14:05: _Toronto man accused...
- 07/28/17--12:41: _‘Please don’t be to...
- 07/28/17--16:37: _If Toronto police a...
- 07/28/17--14:08: _Trump forces out em...
- 07/28/17--14:31: _‘I can see the cow!...
- 07/28/17--18:04: _Anthony Scaramucci’...
- 07/28/17--20:25: _‘There was a big ba...
- 07/29/17--09:32: _Protesters clash wi...
- 07/29/17--07:25: _Venezuela crisis en...
- 07/28/17--14:50: _Frustration builds ...
- 07/29/17--08:34: _Toronto man charged...
- 07/28/17--08:57: Indigenous man live-streams altercation with Canadian Tire employee
- 07/28/17--10:29: Former B.C. premier Christy Clark to resign as Liberal party leader
- 07/28/17--12:00: Toronto soldier charged with seven counts of voyeurism
- 07/28/17--11:56: Durham police launch an internal review of Dafonte Miller assault
- 07/28/17--13:19: Controversial staircase to open Saturday, city says
- 07/28/17--14:05: Toronto man accused of spying for China and Taiwan
- 07/28/17--18:04: Anthony Scaramucci’s wife reportedly files for divorce
- 07/29/17--07:25: Venezuela crisis enters new phase with Sunday vote
- 07/28/17--14:50: Frustration builds as ouster deadline looms for TCH tenants
- 07/29/17--08:34: Toronto man charged after fatal shooting in Vaughan
PYONGYANG—North Korea on Friday test-fired its second intercontinental ballistic missile, which flew longer and higher than the first according to its wary neighbours, leading analysts to conclude that a wide swath of North America, including Los Angeles, Toronto and all of Western Canada, is now within range of Pyongyang’s weapons.
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the missile, launched late Friday night, flew for about 45 minutes — about five minutes longer than the ICBM North Korea test-fired on July 4. The missile was launched on very high trajectory, which limited the distance it travelled, and landed west of Japan’s island of Hokkaido.
“We assess that this missile was an intercontinental ballistic missile, as had been expected,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in Washington.
Analysts had estimated that the North’s first ICBM could have reached Alaska, and said Friday that the latest missile appeared to extend that range significantly.
David Wright, a physicist and co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in Washington that if reports of the missile’s maximum altitude and flight time are correct, it would have a theoretical range of at least 10,400 kilometres. That means it could have reached Toronto, Montreal and all of Western Canada, as well as much of the U.S., including Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago, depending on variables such as the size and weight of the warhead that would be carried atop such a missile in an actual attack.
Bruce Klingner, a Korean and Japanese affairs specialist at the Heritage Foundation think-tank in Washington, said, “It now appears that a significant portion of the continental United States is within range” of North Korean missiles.
U.S. President Donald Trump issued a statement condemning the missile test as a threat to the world, and rejecting North Korea’s claim that nuclear weapons ensure its security. “In reality, they have the opposite effect,” he said.
Trump said the weapons and tests “further isolate North Korea, weaken its economy, and deprive its people.” He vowed to “take all necessary steps” to ensure the security of the U.S. and its allies.
The U.S. and South Korea responded Saturday by conducting joint live-fire exercises. The U.S. 8th Army said the training event utilizing the Army Tactical Missile System and South Korea’s Hyunmoo Missile II was conducted to demonstrate their “precision firing capability” and “exercise assets countering North Korea’s missile launch.”
Washington and its allies have watched with growing concern as Pyongyang has made significant progress toward its goal of having all of the U.S. within range of its missiles to counter what it labels as U.S. aggression. There are other hurdles, including building nuclear warheads to fit on those missiles and ensuring reliability. But many analysts have been surprised by how quickly leader Kim Jong Un has developed North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs despite several rounds of UN Security Council sanctions that have squeezed the impoverished country’s economy.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will not allow North Korea to obtain an ICBM that can deliver a nuclear warhead.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the launch a “serious and real threat” to the country’s security.
Suga, the Japanese spokesman, said Japan has lodged a strong protest with North Korea.
“North Korea’s repeated provocative acts absolutely cannot be accepted,” he said.
A spokesman for Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday that Dunford met at the Pentagon with the commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, Adm. Harry Harris, to discuss U.S. military options in light of North Korea’s missile test.
The spokesman, Navy Capt. Greg Hicks, said Dunford and Harris placed a phone call to Dunford’s South Korean counterpart, Gen. Lee Sun Jin. Dunford and Harris “expressed the ironclad commitment to the U.S.-Republic of Korea alliance,” Hicks said, referring to the U.S. defence treaty that obliges the U.S. to defend South Korea.
Prime Minister Abe said Japan would co-operate closely with the U.S., South Korea and other nations to step up pressure on North Korea to halt its missile programs.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile reached an estimated height of 3,700 kilometres before landing at sea about 1,000 kilometres away. It appeared to be more advanced than the ICBM North Korea previously launched, it said.
The “Hwasong 14” ICBM test-fired earlier this month was also launched at a very steep angle, a technique called lofting, and reached a height of more than 2,500 kilometres before splashing down in the ocean 930 kilometres away. Analysts said that missile could be capable of reaching most of Alaska or possibly Hawaii if fired in an attacking trajectory.
South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said the missile was launched from North Korea’s northern Jagang province near the border with China. President Moon Jae-in presided over an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, which called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and stronger sanctions on North Korea.
There was no immediate confirmation of the launch by North Korea. The day’s broadcast on state-run television had already ended when the news broke at around midnight Pyongyang time.
July 27 is a major national holiday in North Korea called Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War Day, marking the day when the armistice was signed ending the 1950-53 Korean War. That armistice is yet to be replaced with a peace treaty, leaving the Korean Peninsula technically in a state of war.
North Korea generally waits hours or sometimes a day or more before announcing launches, often with a raft of photos in the ruling party newspaper or on the television news. Kim Jong Un is usually shown at the site to observe and supervise major launches.
Late night launches are rare. North Korea usually conducts its missile and underground nuclear tests in the morning. It’s likely the North launched the missile at night and from the remote province of Jagang to demonstrate its operational versatility. To have a real deterrent, it’s important for North Korea to prove it can launch whenever and wherever it chooses, making it harder for foreign military observers trying to detect their activities ahead of time.
Police in Regina are investigating and Canadian Tire has apologized after an Indigenous man live-streamed an altercation between him and one of its store employees.
On Wednesday, Kamao Cappo posted a live video to Facebook that shows a Canadian Tire employee grabbing Cappo in an attempt to lead him out of the store and then pushing him up against a shelf.
Cappo told the Star he was at the store to buy a chainsaw, which he was about to purchase along with a can of oil, but wasn’t sure of the necessary fuel mix ratio for the machine.
After opening the chainsaw case to find out, he said he placed the oil inside, took it to customer service and went to look at other chainsaws.
He said a store employee then approached him and accused him of trying to steal.
In the video posted to Facebook, Cappo tells viewers the employee was refusing to sell him a saw, and was kicking him out of the store. The video shows Cappo asking the employee his name, and the employee grabbing for the camera.
“You can’t take a picture of me. It’s against the law to take a picture of me. You better delete the picture off the phone,” the employee says in the video. “I’m not giving you my name, you’re leaving the store. Get out. It’s private property, get out.”
After Cappo refused to leave, the employee pushed him up against a shelf.
Capp says he believes he was targeted because he is Indigenous.
“Indigenous people experience this a lot,” he said. “I knew that if I allowed him to do this, if I just comply and say I’m going, basically I’m saying ‘what you’re doing is right, this is fine’ and he will do this to somebody else again.”
Regina Police Staff Sgt. Shawn Fenwick said police have viewed the video in question and are investigating.
Fenwick said it’s unclear if Cappo’s race played a role.
“I don’t know the answer. I suppose it’s possible,” he said. “It is under investigation right now but I don’t have a lot of other information. It’s a priority for us right now.”
Police have not laid any charges.
In a statement, Canadian Tire said it regretted the incident.
“We sincerely apologize for the experience that occurred in our store and we are actively reviewing all of the facts surrounding this matter,” the statement read. “We are communicating with Mr. Cappo directly, and we hope to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.”
Cappo said he has not heard from Canadian Tire since the incident and that the company has not called him to offer an apology. He says he wants Canadian Tire to train its employees to be more racially sensitive in the future.
“I want to send a message to all store owners that this is not acceptable,” he said.
VANCOUVER—Former British Columbia premier Christy Clark will resign as leader of the provincial Liberal party and give up her seat in Kelowna.
Clark made her intentions known in a brief statement on Friday.
She said she informed her caucus colleagues about her decision to leave as leader effective Aug. 4.
Clark said in the statement that she is proud of everything she has accomplished, including working to make B.C. the leader in Canada’s economy and creating more than 200,000 jobs.
“I am certain that British Columbia’s best days lie ahead,” she said in the statement.
She also called the her government’s protection of the Great Bear Rainforest “British Columbia’s gift to the world.”
Clark, 51, led a come-from-behind victory in 2013, sweeping her party to a surprise win over the New Democrats.
But she couldn’t pull off a majority government in the election this May, winning just 43 of the 87 seats in the legislature for a minority government. The Liberals had been in power for 16 years.
The party lost a confidence vote in the legislature at the end of June.
Clark said that when she offered her resignation to Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon she tried to convince Guichon to call an election. Instead, the lieutenant-governor asked New Democrat Leader John Horgan to form government.
The New Democrats, with 41 seats, formed a minority government with the support of the Greens, who won three seats. Horgan and his cabinet were sworn in last week.
Former B.C. Liberal MLA Bill Bennett described Clark’s resignation as a loss for both the party and the province, strongly dismissing any suggestion that the party forced her out.
“I’m shocked, and I think it’s sad that B.C. doesn’t get to have the benefit of Christy Clark for another few more years,” he said, speaking by phone from Cranbrook.
“I’m not happy about the decision. I wish she had hung on, but I understand why she thinks it’s better for the party to have fresh leadership.”
Green party Leader Andrew Weaver issued a statement thanking Clark for her service, calling her a fierce advocate for the province both at home and abroad.
“A highlight of my time in the legislature was working directly with Christy Clark to implement sexualized violence policy legislation for B.C.’s post-secondary institutions,” he said in a statement.
“Her leadership and willingness to work across party lines on this vital issue has made universities and colleges across this province safer for our students, and for this I am grateful.”
Clark was first elected to the legislature in 1996 and became deputy premier and education minister after the Liberals’ landslide victory in 2001. She left government in 2005 to spend more time with her family.
She won the B.C. Liberal leadership in 2011 and became the first woman in the province to lead a party to victory two years later.
Clark faced the prospect of sitting on the Opposition benches, but she had baggage from her time as education minister when she was at loggerheads with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation.
The Liberal government stripped class-size limits from teachers’ contracts in 2002 when Clark was the education minister, leading to a lengthy legal battle that ended with a Supreme Court of Canada victory for teachers in November 2016.
The government agreed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to reduce class sizes and rehire laid-off specialist teachers including librarians, guidance counsellors, special-needs teachers and teaching assistants.
NDP Premier John Horgan’s first speech as premier last week had him highlighting education as a top priority for a party.
LONDON—Charlie Gard, the terminally ill British baby at the centre of a legal and ethical battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, died Friday. He was one week shy of his first birthday.
Charlie’s parents fought for the right to take him to the United States for an experimental medical treatment for his rare genetic disease, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which left him brain damaged and unable to breathe unaided. His case ended up in the courts when doctors opposed the plan, saying the untested therapy wouldn’t help Charlie and might cause him to suffer.
A family spokeswoman, Alison Smith-Squire, confirmed Charlie’s death on Friday, a day after a judge ordered that he be taken off a ventilator at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and moved to an undisclosed hospice for his final hours.
“Our beautiful little boy has gone, we’re so proud of him,” his mother, Connie Yates, said in a statement.
Charlie was seemingly healthy at birth but soon began to weaken. He was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital, Britain’s premier children’s hospital, when he was two months old and remained there until almost the end of his life.
His legal case became a flashpoint for debates on the rights of children and parents, on health-care funding, medical interventions, the responsibilities of hospitals and medical workers and the role of the state. It gained international attention last month when Pope Francis and President Trump expressed their support for Charlie and his family.
The intervention of two of the world’s most powerful men made the case a worldwide talking point. Images of Charlie hooked to a tube while dozing peacefully in a star-flecked navy blue onesie graced websites, newspapers and television news programs.
The pope reacted quickly to the news of Charlie’s death, tweeting late Friday “I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him.”
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence tweeted “Saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Gard. Karen & I offer our prayers & condolences to his loving parents during this difficult time.”
Charlie’s parents raised more than 1.3 million pounds ($1.7 million) to pay for the experimental treatment they believed could prolong his life. But British courts consistently accepted the hospital’s position, ruling that it was in Charlie’s best interests that he be allowed to die.
After months of legal battles, High Court judge Nicholas Francis ruled Thursday that Charlie should be transferred to a hospice and taken off life support after his parents and the hospital failed to agree on an end-of-life care plan.
Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child. In such cases, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their offspring. The principle applies even in cases where parents have an alternative point of view, such as when religious beliefs prohibit blood transfusions.
The case made it all the way to Britain’s Supreme Court as Charlie’s parents refused to accept earlier rulings.
Offers of help for Charlie came from Dr. Michio Hirano, a neurology expert at New York’s Columbia Medical Center, and from the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital. Both said an experimental treatment known as nucleoside therapy had a chance of helping Charlie.
Great Ormond Street Hospital disagreed. It said the proposed treatment had never been tried on someone with Charlie’s condition and no tests had even been done on mice to see whether it would work on a patient like Charlie.
The case caught the attention of Trump and the pope in late June after the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene. Their intervention triggered a surge of grassroots action, including a number of U.S. right-to-life activists who flew to London to support Charlie’s parents.
Great Ormond Street soon reported that its doctors and nurses were receiving serious threats over the case. London police were called in to investigate.
On Friday night, the hospital offered its condolences to Charlie’s family.
“Everyone at Great Ormond Street Hospital sends their heartfelt condolences to Charlie’s parents and loved ones at this very sad time,” the hospital said.
Medical ethicist Arthur Caplan said the Charlie Gard case shows how the medical profession is struggling to adjust to the age of social media, which puts the general public in the middle of decisions that in the past would have been private issues for doctors and the family.
“I do think that in an era of social media, it is possible to rally huge numbers of people to your cause,” said Caplan, of New York University’s Langone Medical Center. “The medical ethics have not caught up.”
The heated commentary over Charlie prompted Judge Francis to criticize the effects of social media and those “who know almost nothing about this case but who feel entitled to express opinions.”
In the end, the increased attention did little for Charlie.
His parents gave up their legal battle on Monday after scans showed that Charlie’s muscles had deteriorated so much that the damage was irreversible.
“Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you,” his parents wrote when they announced their decision. “We had the chance but we weren’t allowed to give you that chance.
“Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight, our beautiful little boy.”
A Toronto-based member of the Canadian military has been charged with seven counts of voyeurism.
Master Warrant Officer Mardie Reyes of the 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery was charged Friday by his commanding officer after allegedly recording video of Canadian armed forces members between May 2012 and June 2016.
He faces criminal charges and will be tried under Canada’s military justice system.
“Any form of inappropriate sexual behaviour is a threat to the morale and operational readiness of the CAF and is inconsistent with the values of the profession of arms,” Commanding Officer of 7th Toronto Regiment Ryan Smid said of the charges in a press release Friday.
“Eliminating harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour within our ranks remains a top priority.”
At the time that Reyes’s video camera was discovered in June 2016 he was a full-time reservist with the 4th Canadian Division Headquarters.
Reyes was arrested in October 2016 following a military police investigation, and his full-time contract was terminated in February 2017.
Capt. Cameron Hillier, a spokesperson for 7th Toronto Regiment, said that Reyes is currently a ‘Class A’ reservist who is only paid when he is ordered to report to Moss Park Armoury or Denison Armoury.
He has been barred from service since February 2017.
Hillier said that, while the charges against Reyes do not fall under Operation Honour, an ongoing military-wide initiative to eliminate sexual misconduct in the Canadian ranks, the division’s response to the incident stems from that operation.
Reyes has served in the military for 26 years. He deployed to Afghanistan twice, and once to the Philippines as part of the Canadian Disaster Assistance Response Team following super typhoon Haiyan.
Premier Kathleen Wynne is hinting at something appetizing for restaurateurs anxious about looming changes to Ontario’s labour laws.
With the government raising the $11.40-an-hour minimum wage to $14 on Jan. 1, and $15 in 2019, and improving employees’ rights on scheduling, Wynne has been trying to allay the fears of restaurant operators.
“We want to be fair to businesses and, as well, to employees,” the premier said Friday at St. Clair College in Windsor.
“Restaurant owners, in particular, have talked to me about other fees that they pay . . . other things that come off their off their payroll cheques; some of the fees that they pay to some of the . . . , you know, to the LCBO, for example,” said Wynne, referring to the province’s liquor monopoly.
“We don’t know exactly what those will be, but there are a number of suggestions that are coming forward. We’re looking at everything, because, as I say, I want us to find this balance.”
As part of the proposed wage changes, liquor servers, who make most of their money from tips, will see their minimum hourly wage jump from $9.90 now to $12.20 on Jan. 1, and $13.05, the year after that.
James Rilett, a vice-president of Restaurants Canada, which represents 30,000 businesses across the country, said the industry is watching Wynne’s moves closely.
Rilett, who is meeting with Small Business Minister Jeff Leal next week and will be talking soon with Finance Minister Charles Sousa, said there is much the government can do to offset the impact of the reforms on business.
“I think they’re realizing that the economics of this aren’t as straightforward as they one thought.”
Asked if he is sensing flexibility on the part of the Liberal government, he said: “I hope so. I still don’t know.”
“I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. I hope they intended to give us some assistance, and we’ll continue to work with them and see how it pans out,” he said.
Last week, Restaurants Canada released a survey of its members that found 95 per cent of restaurateurs believe the wage hike will hurt them. The poll found 98 per cent will raise menu prices; 97 per cent will reduce labour hours; 81 per cent will lay off staff; 74 per cent will embrace more automation, and 26 per cent would close one or more locations.
The restaurant industry is a major part of Ontario’s economy; it generates $32 billion a year and employs more than 470,000 people in the province.
Rilett noted some restaurateurs are already slowly raising prices to lessen the chance of sticker shock for consumers in next year.
Wynne said she appreciates the concerns of business, but stressed that people “can’t live on $11.40 an hour” and they deserve a raise.
“By increasing the minimum wage, we’re actually creating a situation where businesses, I suggest, will be able to retain their workers because the playing field will be more level,” the premier said, conceding she is trying to strike a delicate balance.
“We have to be careful that we don’t come up with unintended consequences.”
Durham Police Chief Paul Martin has ordered an internal review of his officers’ actions surrounding the 2016 beating of Black teen Dafonte Miller, in which an off-duty Toronto police constable was charged.
But a former head of Ontario’s police watchdog says a probe of Durham officers by Durham officers will not be a “true” investigation.
The internal review, led by Deputy Chief Uday Jaswal, will examine whether Durham police acted correctly in arresting Miller on the day of his assault, and in failing to report the incident to the Special Investigations Unit, which investigates deaths, serious injuries or alleged sexual assaults involving police, Martin said.
“There’s obviously some information out there about things we did or didn’t do, and I want to make sure that I’m satisfied in my mind that, based on the information we had that night, we did everything we should have done,” Martin told the Star.
The Durham chief could not say for certain whether the findings of the internal review would be made public.
Internal police reviews are not effective, and the public is unlikely to believe otherwise, “because the police are investigating themselves,” said former SIU Director Howard Morton, who now works as a defence lawyer.
“I don’t think this will be a true investigation and even if it is, the public’s perception will be that it is not,” Morton said.
“Public interest and perception about a cover-up in Durham requires them to be completely transparent with the entire results of their internal review,” he said.
All findings of the review should be made public, Morton said, except for information that might prejudice the trial of Toronto police Const. Michael Theriault and his brother Christian Theriault, the men charged in Miller’s beating.
The Star sent interview requests to Durham Police Services Board Chair Roger Anderson on Thursday and Friday, but he was not available for comment.
The Theriaults’ lawyers were in a Durham court Friday, attempting to have the conditions of the brothers’ bail changed. Michael and Christian Theriault face charges of aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and public mischief.
On Dec. 28, 2016, Miller was punched, kicked and hit repeatedly in the face with a metal pipe, said his lawyer, Julian Falconer. One of Miller’s eyes will have to be surgically removed, Falconer added. When Durham Police arrived on scene, it was Miller who was arrested, and charged with assault, weapons and drug offences. His charges were later dropped without a trial.
Durham officers interviewed multiple people, collected evidence and took photographs during their investigation of the Dec. 28 incident, Martin said in a news release Friday.
“As a result of our investigation, we charged ... Dafonte Miller, with several offences,” he added.
Neither Durham nor Toronto police disclosed Miller’s injuries or Michael Theriault’s involvement to the SIU. The watchdog was only informed when Falconer contacted them in April.
The Theriaults’ father, John Theriault, is a longtime detective in the Toronto police professional standards unit, Falconer said.
Under Ontario’s Police Services Act, which regulates law enforcement, a chief of police must “notify the SIU immediately of an incident involving one or more of his or her police officers that may reasonably be considered to fall within the investigative mandate of the SIU.”
The responsibility to contact the SIU should lie with whichever police force is first notified of an incident, Morton told the Star.
Martin told the Star he “appreciated” Morton’s opinion, but that the responsibility to inform the SIU lay with Toronto police.
“There’s nothing to say we can’t do things over and above the legislation, so we’re going to take a look at our procedures and policies on that,” Martin said. “But the legislation is not ambiguous that we notify the (other) service and it is the service or the chief that employs that officer that informs the SIU.”
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders has repeatedly defended his service’s decision not to contact the SIU. Members of his professional standards unit decided, based on the information they had at the time, that the Theriault case did not meet the threshold to report to the police watchdog, Saunders told reporters.
Saunders announced Thursday that Waterloo police had been called in to conduct a third-party investigation into the circumstances of Miller’s beating.
“At this stage of the game I don’t have any plans for (an external investigation),” Martin told the Star. “But that doesn’t mean I won’t change my mind at some point.”
Think of it as Reefer Awareness, not Reefer Madness, an over-the-top 1936 film preaching the evils of marijuana.
With less than a year until the federal government legalizes recreational marijuana, Ontario is starting work on a public education campaign to highlight health and other dangers of pot – particularly to young adults.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins wants the effort to hit the airwaves, newspapers and social media well before the new pot law kicks in next July 1 with 19 the likely age of majority in this province.
“There’s strong evidence that the brain continues to develop up until roughly the age of 25 and evidence that cannabis use can negatively impact that,” he says.
That means possible memory problems, struggling with math and reading, general learning difficulties and a higher likelihood of becoming addicted to marijuana the younger someone starts, depending on usage levels, research suggests.
“The key to all of this is very strong public education so that parents and kids understand what the risks are, like with alcohol,” adds Hoskins, a physician himself.
“It’s about informed decision-making.”
The Canadian Medical Association and other health-care groups have been ramping up warnings about the use of cannabis by people under 25 as policies are being developed in Ottawa and provincial capitals.
“Children and youth are especially at risk for marijuana-related harms, given their brain is undergoing rapid, extensive development,” the association wrote in its latest brief to the federal government.
“Our understanding of the health effects of marijuana continues to evolve. Marijuana use is linked to several adverse health outcomes, including addiction, cardiovascular and pulmonary effects (e.g., chronic bronchitis), mental illness, and other problems, including cognitive impairment and reduced educational attainment. There seems to be an increased risk of chronic psychosis disorders, including schizophrenia, in persons with a predisposition to such disorders. The use of high potency products, higher frequency of use and early initiation are predictors of worse health outcomes.”
Pot use in the 15 to 24 age group is double that of the general population, the CMA noted in an earlier submission to the House of Commons, warning “awareness of Canadians to the harms of marijuana is generally low.”
Hoskins promised “a substantial public education campaign” to point out the dangers of pot, and is taking a leaf from policy makers in Colorado, where marijuana is already legal.
“One of the things that they have pointed out is that they wish, in retrospect, they had moved on the public education significantly before it became legal. They didn’t and so I’m taking that principle to heart. We can’t wait until July 1,” he adds.
“It doesn’t necessarily need to be hard-hitting. It needs to be memorable but, again, it’s what is the best way to get information across?”
Colorado’s Department of Public Health & Environment’s campaign includes online tip sheets with advice for youth, parents, pregnant women and on health impacts in general.
In many cases, the warnings are blunt: “Brain development is not complete until age 25. For the best chance to reach their full potential, youth should not use marijuana.”
The tip sheet for parents says “do not allow smoking in your home or around children. Marijuana smoke is not healthy. It has many of the same cancer-causing chemicals as tobacco smoke.”
Pregnant women and new mothers are cautioned about pot use, given that marijuana can pass into the womb and make it harder for the child to pay attention and learn. The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, can also get into breast milk.
Colorado also debunks some myths in its campaign, such as arguments like “since it’s legal, it must be safe” and “since it’s natural, it must be safe.”
While Hoskins has heard the push from some quarters to make the age of majority for marijuana higher than 19 for health reasons, he says that risks leaving a larger black market the federal legislation is intended to quash.
“If it’s too high…that age group is going to continue to find it in the illicit market.”
What goes up must come down — until the city puts it up again.
A park staircase in Etobicoke that’s been embroiled in controversy for nearly two weeks is set to open Saturday afternoon.
The staircase at Tom Riley Park near the intersection of Bloor St. W. and Islington Ave. was built by city workers after they tore down a hand-made version constructed by a local resident.
“If you have steps, that’s all I care about, safe steps for the people to use,” said Adi Astl, the 73-year-old man who became a local celebrity after building the makeshift wooden steps for $550 when he said he was told by the city that it could cost between $65,000 to $150,000.
“Mine were better looking, however that’s not the point.”
Astl said he built the steps with the help of a homeless man on June 22. They were dismantled by the city on July 21.
The parks and recreation department said work on the steps started Monday, and welders were putting the finishing touches on the metal handrail Friday afternoon.
“Within five days we got the steps, which is unheard of, for the government to do something from A to B in a week,” Astl said.
“Everybody says that they were not safe, they were safe,” he said, and mentioned that a city official threatened to fine him $5,000 for building without a permit.
Nonetheless, he noted that if his stairs had been left untouched, they’d have to be replaced every two to three years.
The new stairs run between the park’s garden and the parking lot, where there was previously a steep grassy incline. That’s what motivated Astl to take action, who said it too was difficult to climb.
He never thought he’d become a local celebrity though, but since his feud with the city over the stairs made the news last week, Astl said he’s had an avalanche of media requests, including from international outlets like BBC. He also said his $550 cost for the stairs was reimbursed by local radio station Newstalk 1010.
A Toronto man has been accused of spying for both Taiwan and China by Ottawa, which is trying to strip him of his permanent residency in Canada.
Yang Wang, 39, came to Canada from China as an international student in 1998, first at Seneca College and later at York University, before he became a permanent resident here in 2006.
In 2014, the Canada Border Services Agency initiated the revocation of Wang’s permanent resident status claiming he was inadmissible for allegedly engaging in espionage activities for the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB), Taiwan’s spy agency, and China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).
According to border enforcement officials’ submissions to the immigration tribunal, Wang was offered money by a Taiwanese student “Mak” at York to provide information on the Chinese government. Over the course of time, he was alleged to have received $3,000 for his services.
When Wang visited China in 2006, Canadian authorities claimed, he was taken to a motel by Chinese agents and later kept in touch with the MSS agents up until 2010.
“This is totally wrong,” Wang, a small businessman in recycling and father of two, told the Star in an interview. “I have never been a spy. In my 19 years in Canada, I have always avoided to have anything to do with any community groups, associations or parties.”
In a decision to dismiss the federal government’s request to revoke Wang’s permanent resident status, tribunal adjudicator Harry Adamidis said committing an act of espionage did not automatically render Wang inadmissible.
“Espionage requires the gathering of information by spying, or by acting in a covert way. Information gathering that does not involve spying or covert means cannot constitute espionage,” Adamidis wrote in his decision.
“It must be shown that the act of espionage was against Canada or against Canadian interests.”
Although Canadian officials said Mak was “likely” an MIB recruiter, Adamidis pointed out it was based on their “belief” that Mak was Taiwanese and wanted to buy information about the Chinese government.
Authorities also argued that Wang was questioned by Chinese spy agents for almost 16 days and volunteered the names and biographical details of people he knew, including Mak. They said answering questions during interrogation constituted espionage — an argument the tribunal rejected.
“During the interrogation, (Wang) did not spy or covertly gather information. He was detained by state security officials and compelled to answer their questions,” wrote Adamidis. “Under these circumstances, it cannot be said that he engaged in espionage.”
According to the tribunal decision, Chinese spy agents met with Wang in 2008 and asked him to join Chinese associations in Canada, engage with the community here and report back to them. Though they did stay in touch by email and phone until 2010, Wang said he did not accommodate their repeated requests.
“If Mr. Wang had infiltrated Chinese groups in Canada, then it may be possible to make the inference suggested by the (Public Safety) Minister,” said Adamidis, who rejected the notion that Wang was member of China’s spy agency.
“In the absence of such information, it would be entirely speculative to find that Mr. Wang has indeed joined Chinese associations in Canada and is spying on people for the MSS.”
The federal government is appealing Adamidis’ decision to the immigration appeal tribunal.
WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump advised police officers Friday to stop protecting the heads of arrested suspects they are putting in their cars, drawing a rare rebuke from the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
“When you see these towns, and you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see ’em thrown in, rough. I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice,’ ” Trump told a group of federal, state and local officers in Brentwood, N.Y., address focused on the MS-13 gang.
“Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head — the way you put the hand over — like, don’t hit their head, and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head? I said, ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’ ”
His remarks were greeted with a brief moment of silence, then laughter and applause.
The local police force, however, issued an official rejection of Trump’s guidance, writing on Twitter: “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners.”
And the police chiefs’ association released a statement saying “law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect.”
“This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy,” the statement concluded.
Trump made “law and order” a centrepiece of his campaign, and he has long called for a merciless approach to crime that dispenses with “political correctness.”
But he had never before, as president, given his blessing to the casual injuring of criminal suspects.
Minutes after that remark, he declared, “Under the Trump administration, America is once more a nation of laws.”
Trump was immediately condemned by human rights groups and civil liberties advocates.
“Police cannot treat every community like an invading army, and encouraging violence by police is irresponsible and reprehensible,” said Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA.
“Causing intentional injury to a handcuffed suspect is not only against police procedure, but is a federal crime for which police officers have been sent to prison,” said Jonathan Blanks, managing editor of the National Police Misconduct Reporting Project at the libertarian Cato Institute.
Blanks said, “the president made a mockery of the rule of law.”
Trump also praised the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan, for appearing “rough.” Just as he wanted a rich man as his commerce secretary, he said, he wanted a rough man as the head of the agency responsible for deporting illegal immigrants.
Trump has regularly criticized Chicago’s leaders for the city’s homicide problem, claiming it could be solved if officers there were allowed to be “much tougher.” On Friday, he told a story about an unnamed officer who supposedly declared the problem could be eradicated in “a couple days.”
Trump has followed his words with actions; his administration, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has moved to reduce federal scrutiny of rights-abusing local police forces the Obama administration investigated and sought to reform.
Trump vowed to destroy MS-13, a multinational gang founded in Los Angeles, and to deport the members who are in the country illegally. He continued to describe MS-13 members as “animals,” discussing their murders in graphic terms: “They like to knife ’em and cut ’em and let ’em die slowly,” he said. He added: “Burned to death. Beaten to death. Just the worst kind of death. Stuffed in barrels.”
The speech was light on substance, and Trump repeatedly meandered into other subjects. Addressing Republicans’ failure early Friday morning to pass a Senate plan to replace Obamacare, he said, “They should’ve approved health-care last night, but you can’t have everything. Boy, oh boy.”
In another remarkable declaration, Trump said he now wants to “let Obamacare implode,” a move that would hurt the health-care of tens of millions of people.
Let’s talk about a few bad apples, and what they do. Or, about “a few bad apples” — in permanent quotation marks, almost audible in the manner it is spoken — the go-to cliché invoked whenever an episode of apparently unjustified police violence or misbehaviour becomes public.
I’ve heard it, and the phrase has sprung to mind, after news this month about an off-duty police officer who is accused of using a metal pipe to beat Dafonte Miller, a Black teenager from Whitby, so badly he will lose the use of one of his eyes.
Most cops are good people, many say. This is a just a case of “a few bad apples.”
My sense is that people repeating it mean to suggest that the alleged bad actions we’ve become aware of don’t indicate a wider problem, don’t show a system-wide problem, shouldn’t reflect on entire police departments. From the context of the arguments it is used in, that’s what it seems to mean. My colleague Shree Paradkar took on the “bad apples” contention this week, arguing against exactly that interpretation.
But what jumps out to me is that those using the cliché this way seem to be ignoring the rest of the old saying — perhaps they’ve used it so much and so often they forget what it is supposed to mean. And that’s particularly sad because police misconduct is one case in which the cliché seems particularly apt.
“One bad apple spoils the whole bunch.” Its metaphorical meaning comes from a literal truth: a rotten apple in a bushel full of apples will cause the rest to rot, because overripe apples emit a gas that will hasten the ripening and eventual rotting of all the others around them.
This is not a saying that warns against letting the behaviour of one or two members of a group affect your impression of the whole group. It is a saying advising you to remove bad members of a group before their toxicity contaminates everyone and everything around them.
Let’s look at what we have learned about the case of Dafonte Miller: one night in December, around 3 a.m., Miller and some friends were walking down the street near where he lives in Whitby. It is alleged that Michael Theriault, an off-duty Toronto police officer, and Christian Theriault, a civilian said by Miller’s lawyer Julian Falconer to be his brother, approached the boys as they passed the house where Theriault’s father (also a Toronto police officer) lives, according to Falconer. It’s alleged by Falconer that Theriault identified himself as a police officer and demanded to know what Miller and his friends were doing there. When the boys refused to answer, the Theriault brothers allegedly chased them down, caught Miller and beat him with a steel pipe, breaking bones in his face and wrist and injuring his eye in way that means it will have to be removed. None of these allegations have been tested in court.
According to Falconer, the teen called 911 and attempted to bang on the door of a neighbour to get help. When the Durham regional police arrived, they did not conduct much of an investigation — they took no witness statements, for example. Instead they charged Miller — the teen who had been beaten — with a series of crimes, including assault. Those charges were later dropped by the crown.
Another thing Durham police did not do is call the Special Investigations Unit, which is responsible for handling investigations in which a police officer has seriously harmed or killed someone. They did, apparently, advise the Toronto police department that one of its officers had been involved in the incident. Toronto police did not report it to the SIU either.
It was Miller’s lawyer, Falconer, who finally alerted the SIU to the alleged violent attack. In mid-July, the SIU laid charges against both Michael and Christian Theriault for aggravated assault, assault with a weapon, and public mischief.
Now, let us assume — and hope — that there are very few police officers who would do what Theriault is alleged to have done: chase down and savagely beat a teen for no apparent reason other than, perhaps, that he was walking through the wrong neighbourhood at night — though it appears it was his own neighbourhood too, or close to it.
Most cops I don’t believe would do something like that. Maybe just “a few bad apples.” But look what happened next: the on-duty Durham police called to the scene charged the alleged victim. Two different police departments failed to investigate and take action against the officer involved, and failed to alert the SIU who are supposed to independently investigate such allegations.
It is becoming harder to believe that this type of behaviour — covering up for misbehaviour or violence, looking the other way or refusing to co-operate in investigations of alleged police officer misconduct — is uncommon or accidental.
“It’s not fumbling ‘Keystone Cops’ here, it’s a consistent — and I’ve seen it in hundreds of cases — consistent thought process: Avoid the SIU at all cost,” former SIU director and Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin told the Star recently.
My colleague Wendy Gillis reported this spring on more than 150 letters from the SIU to Toronto’s police chief complaining of actions by police that “appear to have violated their legal duty to co-operate with the provincial watchdog, including allegations police failed to immediately notify the SIU of a serious civilian injury or interfered with a scene after the watchdog took over an investigation.”
The apparent code of silence in the protection of officers extends to the highest levels, where reports on problems and investigations are routinely kept secret from the public.
Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders has called in Waterloo police to investigate the circumstances around the assault on Dafonte. Mayor John Tory has promised to make the findings public. Durham’s police Chief Paul Martin told the Star’s Peter Goffin he has ordered an internal review of his force’s response to the beating. Martin could not say if the findings would be made public.
Some police or police supporters may think that anything that would make one officer look bad is bad for all police. So making sure it never becomes known, they might think, serves some greater cause.
But shielding bad behaviour allows it to continue, and to spread. It makes those with bad intentions certain they have licence to act on them. It makes others less inclined to suppress their own worst impulses. It makes everyone involved — not just those who may have initiated bad actions or made mistakes — part of a coverup that perpetrates injustice. It takes an isolated rotten act and allows it to infect the whole system. The police department is an organization set up to uphold the law — if they start undermining it for their own purposes, they have already failed.
And when such apparent coverups come to light, they rot out public confidence in the whole system, for good reason.
A few bad apples? Maybe to start. But the only way to ensure they remain “only a few” is if they are identified, removed, and discarded from the rest as soon as possible. Otherwise, the cliché tells us surely enough what’s bound to happen.
Edward Keenan writes on city issues email@example.com . Follow: @thekeenanwire
Edward Keenan writes on city issues firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow: @thekeenanwire
WASHINGTON— U.S. President Donald Trump has ousted long-embattled chief of staff Reince Priebus, replacing him on Friday with homeland security secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine Corps general.
Trump announced the decision on Twitter, calling Kelly a “great American and a great leader” and a “true star of my Administration.”
Priebus’s departure is another indication of the turmoil roiling a struggling administration plagued by infighting between its competing centres of influence. It leaves the White House even more firmly in the hands of people without conventional experience in politics.
Priebus, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is the second top Trump aide to depart in just a week. Press secretary Sean Spicer, who announced his resignation last Friday, had also been a senior official at the party committee.
Though the news broke on Friday afternoon, Priebus told U.S. news outlets that he “resigned privately” on Thursday, the lowest point of a tenure that was rocky from the start.
Trump’s press secretary pointedly refused to say whether the president still had confidence in Priebus. Then the New Yorker magazine released an interview in which Trump’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, insulted Priebus at length, calling him a “paranoid schizophrenic.”
Trump has a fondness for generals. Kelly, who quickly earned his trust by attempting to salvage the flawed execution of his January travel ban policy, will now seek to impose order on the disorganized operation of a leader accustomed to instinctual improvisation.
The military is an unusual but not unprecedented training ground for a chief of staff. During the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon appointed Army general Alexander Haig, who later served in the same role for Gerald Ford.
Kelly served 46 years in the military, including a stint as a top commander in the Iraq War. His new challenge is also formidable.
Trump’s White House has been less formal than any in modern history, with senior aides walking in and out of the Oval Office as they please. The administration just failed to pass its flagship legislative initiative, a push to replace Obamacare. It is struggling with the growing reach of a special counsel’s probe into Trump’s campaign.
It is notably short on legislative experience, though Kelly did spend time in the 1990s as a military liaison to Congress. And none of the president’s current aides have been able to rein in the impulsive behaviour that congressional Republicans say is impeding their agenda.
Kelly joked gently about Trump during an interview two weeks ago. When his phone rang, he said, “It might be the president, so I do want to miss the call.”
Priebus’s ouster was long in the making: he had been rumoured to be hanging by a thread since the first month of Trump’s presidency. Trump had appeared to authorize a public campaign by Scaramucci, a Wall St. financier hired just a week ago, to humiliate Priebus into quitting.
Priebus still flew on Air Force One with Trump and Scaramucci to Trump’s Friday speech on Long Island. Trump tweeted the news of his ouster shortly after they landed back at a military base in Maryland. Priebus’s car then separated from the presidential motorcade as journalists snapped photos.
“I would like to thank Reince Priebus for his service and dedication to his country. We accomplished a lot together and I am proud of him!” Trump said on Twitter.
“I will continue to serve as a strong supporter of the President’s agenda and policies. I can’t think of a better person than General John Kelly to succeed me and I wish him God’s blessings and great success,” Priebus said in a statement.
Priebus clashed at the beginning of Trump’s term with chief strategist Steve Bannon and more recently with Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s influential family members. The president himself had never seemed fond of Priebus, frequently scolding him and undermining him behind the scenes.
“I’m happy for Reince,” Republican strategist Katie Packer Beeson said on Twitter. “He is a decent man who got caught up in this mess and didn’t deserve the treatment he received.”
The New York Times and other outlets reported that Trump blamed Priebus for their initial failure to get their health bill passed and for the general dysfunction others believe has been caused by the president himself. At one point, according to Politico, Trump gave Priebus an implausible deadline of July 4 to clean up the administration.
The Times reported that Trump scornfully reminded Priebus that he had advised Trump to drop out of the election after the release of a tape in which Trump appeared to boast about groping women.
“If you’ve lost the confidence of the president, people smell it, feel it, know it within seconds — and you become an overblown scheduler,” Erskine Bowles, one of Bill Clinton’s chiefs of staff, told author Chris Whipple for The Gatekeepers, his book on the men who have held the job.
Chiefs of staff generally do not last long; the average tenure is less than two years. At just six months and a week, Priebus’s term was especially brief.
Only the widely respected James Baker’s second tenure in the job was shorter, at five months, and he was covering off the end of George H.W. Bush’s administration. Priebus is the only the second chief to leave in less than a year as the president’s tenure continued.
It’s “the toughest job in government,” Baker told NPR in April. Priebus, he said, was being undercut by Trump’s decision to give various aides “broad and rather undefined responsibilities that cut across both domestic and foreign policy.”
“It’s very difficult under those circumstances to have a co-ordinated, single, focused message, and that’s something that’s very important to the success of an administration,” Baker said.
Trump’s allies outside the White House, such as political operative Roger Stone and Newsmax chief executive Chris Ruddy, had been calling for Priebus’s ouster since February, when Stone said“it’s time for the little man to go.”
Priebus’s power had waned further in the subsequent months. His hand-picked deputy, former RNC official Katie Walsh, was pressured out of the White House in March, and another ally, communications director Mike Dubke, quit in May after just three months. One of Scaramucci’s first acts was forcing out yet another ally, assistant press secretary Michael Short.
“There it is! Mommy, I see it!” yells one young boy, screaming around the bend of Charity Crescent ahead of his trailing younger sisters Friday morning.
“I can see the cow!”
Across the park, Theresa Pacariem holds her daughter in her arms on the front steps of her house, watching groups of people on bicycles and in cars come and go from her once-quiet street near Woodbine Ave. and Elgin Mills Rd. E.
Less than two weeks after Charity was installed eight metres — or three storeys — above the centre of the crescent’s parkette, Markham’s giant stainless steel cow on stilts has become a tourist attraction.
As soon as you turn the corner at the end of the street that boasts her namesake, she’s there, staring down at you. You can’t mistake her, with her bronze-leafed wreath, towering over the trees.
The city has now put up a fence barricade to protect Charity from the crowds. A sign has also been installed, telling the famous cow’s story (she was a nine-time all-Canadian or all-American show cow, said to be the most productive milking cow in the world in the 1980s) and her pending September completion.
“There was probably 200 people here yesterday taking selfies and pictures. They walk their children here and they’re in their strollers,” she says. “My angle isn’t as bad as some people. The people right in front of it have it even worse.”
“This morning there was two big groups of women out here taking pictures,” chimes in her partner, Thomas Servellon, stepping out from the house to join her on the steps and watch.
“Every few minutes you’ll see cars going by and people getting out to take pictures.”
Around the bend, Lita Santiago plays with her granddaughter outside one of the 19 other homes that look directly at Charity.
“It’s crazy, it’s crazy. It’s a tourist attraction now! Everyone comes over here,” she says, shaking her head and laughing.
Tom Phillips told his partner Gayle they were going for lunch and an afternoon drive when he brought her to see the controversial monument.
“If there’s any reason I would be pissed off here, it’s because idiots like us who live in Aurora who came down to see it,” he says, laughing about their 25-minute trek.
After decades in the area, he’s familiar with the Roman family — who donated the $1.2-million cow statue to the site after developing the Cathedraltown neighbourhood and insisting it remain there despite local complaints.
Still, he doesn’t understand the cow.
“There was a dynasty here. Roman was famous for spending a lot of money on livestock,” he adds, while Gayle gets closer for a picture on her phone. “A million bucks eh, good lord. Just to think if you had a million bucks, you’d spend it on something wiser.”
Pacariem says she’d be fine with Charity in her front yard if she weren’t on stilts.
“I can see it from my window,” she says, shaking her head.
“People around here don’t like it. It’s sitting right on top of those houses. You look out you see a cow and it’s on stilts,” echoes Theresa Yu, who has lived in the neighbourhood for more than a decade.
But the stilts, that’s the part Phillips gets.
“You could imagine if it was down here people would be spray painting and climbing on it — she’s a realist if nothing else,” he says of Helen Roman-Barber, who is developing the neighbourhood in honour of her family’s deep history in the area.
“She can do whatever the hell she wants.”
Some Charity Crescent homeowners are concerned the “eyesore” will diminish the value of their homes.
Longtime Markham real estate agent John Procenko says that’s a matter of buyer preference.
“One person would say ‘Oh, I’ll never buy this house’ and another person could say ‘where do I sign? It doesn’t bother me.’ It’s 50/50 really,” says Porchenko, who has sold homes in the area for 31 years.
Still, eyesores often affect the value of a house, from cell phone and water towers to backing onto retail dumpsters, he says.
“It’s not something you can put a dollar value on, maybe someone else loves it,” he says. “The neighbours don’t like it that are currently there.”
New White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci’s wife has filed for divorce, according to the New York Post.
The paper, citing multiple sources, reported Friday that Deirdre Ball, 38, is giving the Mooch — with whom she has two children — the axe after three years of marriage. Apparently, Ball is not quite as sold on the Washington political lifestyle as Scaramucci, 53.
“She liked the nice Wall Street life and their home on Long Island, not the insane world of D.C.,” an unnamed source told the tabloid.
Another anonymous source claims clashing loyalties toward the commander in chief caused tension. Ball has been less than enthused about Scaramucci’s ascent in the ranks of Donald Trump’s White House. “Deidre is not a fan of Trump,” the source said.
Scaramucci was photographed sans ring at the White House Friday.
Witnesses say they saw “a big ball of fire” coming from an Air Canada flight that took off from Pearson Airport Friday night.
Air Canada said the flight bound for Ottawa turned back shortly after taking off because of engine issues.
Anwar Haq told the Star he was at his friend’s backyard barbecue in the Rexdale area in Etobicoke when he heard a “big bang” around 7:50 p.m.
“I looked up and saw an airplane and then there was a big ball of fire coming from the left engine.”
Haq said the fire went out and then he heard three more loud bangs.
“It was pretty loud, but the plane seemed to be flying OK.”
Air Canada spokesperson Angela Mah said flight AC476, which took off at around 7:30 p.m., landed safely back at Toronto Pearson International Airport with an emergency response team standing by.
According to Air Canada, no one was injured and the aircraft is being inspected to determine the cause of the issue.
“We’re getting our customers on their way as quickly as possible; the flight will resume with another aircraft shortly,” Mah told the Star in an email.
Sara Dalla Guarda also saw the plane flying over the Rexdale area around 7:50 p.m.
“I was on my driveway and then I heard loud popping noises.”
Dalla Guarda said when she looked up she saw flames coming from the left engine followed by black smoke. She then heard five to ten “loud pops.”
“There was fire coming from the engine and then it stopped, and then there was black smoke,” she said. “But the plane didn’t look like it was out of control.”
LONDON—The family of a young black man who died following a London police chase appealed for peace Saturday, a day after street protests over his death turned violent.
Relatives held a vigil outside an east London police station for 20-year-old Rashan Charles, who died in a hospital last week after he was pursued and apprehended by an officer in the capital’s Hackney area.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is investigating the case and said it will consider whether any misconduct or crimes were involved.
Clashes broke out on the streets of east London late Friday as riot police tried to disperse protesters, who hurled bottles and fireworks at officers, barricaded a road with garbage cans and mattresses, and later set the objects on fire. Some held “Black Lives Matter” placards.
Scotland Yard said the violence overnight was “separate” from a peaceful protest at a police station earlier Friday.
Police said the unrest resulted in damage to “vehicles, a cash machine and a number of windows.” An officer was injured and a 17-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing bodily harm.
“No justice, no peace, doesn’t mean violence. It means we will not watch this in silence,” Charles’ family spokesman Stafford Scott told reporters.
Unverified footage on social media appeared to show at least one police officer attempting to restrain Charles on the floor of a shop.
The Charles family was joined by the family of Edson Da Costa, another black man who recently died after being detained by police. Supporters say Costa was beaten by police, and his June 21 death is also being investigated by the police complaints commission.
CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Despite four months of deadly protests and the threat of U.S. sanctions, Venezuela on Saturday found itself 24 hours away from a consolidation of government power that appeared certain to drag the OPEC nation deeper into a crisis that has entire neighbourhoods battling police and paramilitaries while the poor root for scraps in piles of trash.
In the opposition strongholds of relatively wealthy eastern Caracas, skinny teenagers manned barricades of tree branches, garbage and barbed wire torn from nearby buildings. Clashes with police began late Friday afternoon and lasted into the night. The months of violence have left at least 113 dead and nearly 2,000 wounded.
The rest of the capital was calm. Across the city, residents said they wanted President Nicolas Maduro out of power but didn’t want to risk their lives or livelihoods taking on his socialist government and its backers.
“I have a young daughter, I can’t risk anything happening to me,” said Maria Llanes, a 55-year-old flower-store worker who lives in a south Caracas neighbourhood dominated by armed pro-government motorcycle gangs. “What do I do, protest in this neighbourhood, so that they kill me? This area’s run by a mafia loyal to the money the government pays them.”
Maduro called for a massive turnout Sunday for a vote to elect members of an assembly tasked with rewriting the 18-year-old constitution created under President Hugo Chavez. The opposition is boycotting because, it says, the vote called by Maduro was structured to ensure that his ruling socialist party dominates.
The opposition says the government is so afraid of low turnout that it’s threatening to fire state workers who don’t vote, and take away social benefits like subsidized food from recipients who stay away from the polls. By Wednesday, the resulting National Constituent Assembly will become one of the most powerful organs in the country, able to root out the last vestiges of democratic checks and balances in favour of what many fear will be a single-party authoritarian system.
First Lady Cilia Flores, a candidate for the assembly, said it would create a commission to ensure those responsible for the political upheaval “pay and learn their lesson.” Diosdado Cabello, first vice-president of Venezuela’s socialist party, says the assembly will strip legislators in the opposition-controlled National Assembly of their immunity from prosecution. He said the office of Venezuela’s chief prosecutor, who recently became one of Maduro’s most outspoken critics, would be “turned upside down.”
“On July 30, the constitutional assembly will happen,” Maduro said Friday at a subsidized housing ceremony. “I’ve been loyal to Chavez’s legacy. Now it’s your turn.”
Washington has imposed successive rounds of sanctions on members of Maduro’s administration and Vice-President Mike Pence on Friday promised “strong and swift economic actions” after Sunday’s vote. He didn’t say whether the U.S. would sanction Venezuelan oil imports, a measure with the potential to undermine Maduro but cause an even deeper humanitarian crisis here.
Opinion polls show that more than 70 per cent of the country is opposed to Sunday’s vote. But as many as half of all Venezuelans support neither the government nor the opposition — a phenomenon evident in the glum paralysis that has gripped much of the country as protesters and police wage nightly battles. While Venezuelans bitterly complain about shortages of food and medicine, few still respond to opposition calls for protests, a far cry from early demonstrations that saw hundreds of thousands pouring into the streets.
“Many strange things have taken place this week that makes you wonder what is going on with the opposition. I don’t know. The opposition is at home, the opposition is hiding,” Caracas resident Abed Mondabed said.
The opposition has organized a series of work stoppages and a July 16 protest vote it says drew more than 7.5 million symbolic votes against the constitutional assembly. It called late Friday for massive marches on the day of the assembly vote.
In the eastern neighbourhood of Bello Monte, the site of fierce battles with police in recent days, a 54-year-old shop owner named Ricardo watched masked adolescents block a road with dumpsters as a soot-smeared, emaciated man picked through their contents for bits of food.
Ricardo, who declined to provide his last name for fear of government retaliation, said he felt the Sunday vote meant the last chance for political resolution of Venezuela’s problems was gone, ushering in an even more violent phase.
“Negotiations have come to an end,” he said. “The fight will continue and all of a sudden it could be a lot tougher.”
Edna Rose knows she’ll have to leave behind the nectarine tree in her yard, the fruit just now starting to turn a soft red, when she is forced from her home.
But some things she can’t leave behind — most importantly a big enough space for her two great-grandchildren and a place she’ll feel safe.
The 76-year-old crossing guard, who has helped shepherd other peoples’ children across the road for the last seven years, is among 108 families who are being displaced this fall from the Firgrove community, a Toronto Community Housing complex in North York.
Rose has applied several times for a three-bedroom unit, which is what she has now, during a relocation process that has frustrated and confused tenants. She needs enough space for her great-grandchildren, a 9-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy who live with her part time.
But just recently, Rose was told she now only qualifies for a one-bedroom unit because she doesn’t have court documents to prove custody over the children she cares for.
“Even if I have to borrow money to go get a lawyer, I am going to fight housing. Believe me, I am going to fight them for my rights,” Rose told the Star.
Toronto Community Housing said that while three-bedroom units are still available for Firgrove residents, Rose is only eligible for a one-bedroom unless she provides custody documents for her great-grandchildren, according to requirements under city rules.
The relocation means 134 townhomes will be demolished in a city where the wait-list for subsidized homes has topped 181,000 people.
Most of the families have found new homes and housing staff are optimistic they can find solutions, a spokesperson told the Star.
Anyone remaining has been told they have to be out by Sept. 30 and many of the units near Rose’s home are vacant, the windows boarded up and the fenced-in lawns overgrown.
The closures confirmed earlier this year are the direct result of poor construction made worse by a lack of repairs due to inadequate funding. For years, the brick faces of the units have been crumbling to the ground and concrete slurry was scraped over the walls just to hold them together.
City council approved a 10-year, $2.6 billion repair plan for their in-need buildings in 2013.
Though the city has contributed more than a third, neither the provincial nor federal governments have committed to the remaining costs, despite repeated calls from city officials.
Thousands more units across the city are at risk of being shuttered.
Those leaving Firgrove can’t know if they’ll ever come back. There is no money to rebuild what will be demolished.
Malyan Salad, 57, was preparing to move to her new home on Aug. 4 because she was told she was approved for a two-bedroom apartment for her and her two grandchildren.
But earlier this week, right before she was to sign the lease, housing staff told her she did not qualify because she didn’t have custody. Now she must wait for a one-bedroom.
“They sleep on the floor, I guess,” said Salad, of her small grandchildren. “Two days I can’t sleep, because I am worrying.”
The community has tried to make their voices heard. Rose came to executive committee in April in her Sunday best, a creamy yellow shawl draped over her shoulders under a brimmed hat.
“I have much to miss if I should have to move,” she told Mayor John Tory and his executive. “I don’t understand why you all are playing politics with my living.”
This week, as moving trucks come and go, kids gather on the basketball court, on a playground and around a community pool deck on a muggy summer morning.
At her two-storey townhome, filled with framed photos of her family, Rose is overwhelmed with worry. She pulls out a red folder where she keeps every scrap of paperwork related to the relocation.
It includes a doctor’s note penned in late June and provided to TCH. It says she suffers from “severe anxiety and fear of heights,” and “is advised to live in a single house, not an apartment” building.
Rose moved to Canada in 1979, leaving behind a bad marriage and seeking a better life. She’s been in her Firgrove townhouse since 1986. She loves being a crossing guard, working out of the nearby 31 Division police station, and her church, which she has been attending for close to two decades.
Her claustrophobia traces back to her childhood in Jamaica. Her mother would discipline her by tying her overnight to a tree, or in a cave, she said. “I’m not ashamed of it, because God knows it is the gospel truth.”
But she’s also concerned about having room for her great-grandchildren.
Rose doesn’t have formal custody, but she said housing has always known they sometimes live with her.
“I took the baby in my arm and went over there,” she said, explaining how she reported their names and their relationship to her.
Firgrove tenants were invited to a draw this spring to learn what order they’d be picking their new homes — names on pieces of paper pulled from the kind of spinning drum used for bingo games. Rose was drawn near last, as number 98.
On her first application, it states her eligible bedroom size is three. But the desirable buildings went quickly and Rose, because of her anxiety and concerns about neighbourhood safety, has rejected several buildings, including a one bedroom she was to see on Friday.
The process, she said, is incredibly confusing.
She’ll now move on to the fifth round. “I didn’t know I was in a boxing ring,” said Rose.
She said she could make do with a two-bedroom. The children are small and she has a bunk-bed.
It was only in July, Rose said, that she was told she could only have a one-bedroom space.
TCH, in an email from spokesperson Bruce Malloch, said Rose was listed as eligible for a three-bedroom based on her tenancy records “which incorrectly included her two great-grandchildren as members of the household.”
Malloch said Rose was told in May she would need to provide custody records and at one point said she would consider a one-bedroom unit.
He said Salad self-disclosed she did not have legal custody of her grandchildren and the offer for a two-bedroom unit was conditional on the rules of occupancy being met.
A TCH tenant qualifies for additional bedrooms if they are the legal guardian of a child, with proof of custody, as set out in the city’s rent-geared-to-income administration manual.
Rose isn’t alone in her struggle to find a new home. There are still 34 households who have yet to select a unit, Malloch said, but they are dedicated to helping them find a suitable home by the deadline.
“However, if we are unable to place a household in a new unit before the end of October, we would need to begin eviction proceedings at the Landlord and Tenant Board,” he wrote in an email, calling eviction a “last resort.”
With just over two months until the moving deadline, Rose said she is having trouble sleeping and eating. She hangs her head, wiping tears out from under her wire-frame glasses.
“It’s taking my life out of me,” she said. “Aren’t you trying to kill me before God ready for me?”
A Toronto man has been charged with second-degree murder after a fatal shooting in Vaughan on Friday morning.
York Regional police responded to an call at around 7 a.m. on Tall Grass Trail, near Pine Valley Dr. and Highway 7.
Officers found a man with serious injuries. He was taken to hospital where it was discovered that he had a gunshot wound.
Roy Khan, 24, of Vaughan, succumbed to his injuries Friday afternoon, police said.
York Regional Police have arrested and charged Kevin Khemraj Deonath, 29, with second-degree murder.
He is being held in custody and will appear for a bail hearing at a Newmarket court on Monday or Tuesday.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the homicide unit or Crime Stoppers.