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    A complicated patchwork of regulations governs the land at 14 Scarborough Pickering Townline, and untangling it falls on a review taking place after next week’s meeting of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

    The last tenant of the home, which sits on expropriated land that’s transferred ownership several times, was Joyce Anna Scott. After her death in May, the conservation authority offered a continued lease agreement to her family — but if they don’t want to become rental tenants, they have to leave the house by Sept. 1.

    Now, Joyce’s daughters are picking up their mother’s crusade to re-purchase the house, and they’ll make a presentation to the conservation authority next week.

    In response, the conservation authority will launch an investigation, Associate Director Rick Sikorski said. But decisions aren’t theirs alone.

    “From TRCA’s perspective, the property in question is TRCA owned,” Sikorski said. But the conservation authority is bound by other contracts.

    When the land was transferred to them in 2004 as part of a “land holding agreement,” the province retained an option to purchase and a first right of refusal, or exclusive rights to enter business agreements before a third-party.

    “Even though we own it, we are not free to do whatever we want with it,” Sikorski said.

    In 2012, the land’s ownership became even more complex. The property was included within the boundaries of the proposed Rouge National Urban Park. According to a memorandum of agreement on the project, land included within the park’s boundaries would be transferred to the federal government.

    To allow the family to re-purchase the land, the conservation authority has to consult each of the stakeholders in that tangled process. “That’s sort of the big picture background in terms of that property,” Sikorski said.

    The house in question sits on the town line between Pickering and Scarborough. It was first expropriated by the provincial government in the 70s in support of a simultaneous federal expropriation for the proposed Pickering airport, transferred to the Ontario Land Corporation and later to the conservation authority.

    Laura Alderson and Melissa Preston grew up on the four-hectare property, which their parents rented out post-expropriation. Since the 80s, the couple had made inquiries into re-purchasing their home to no avail.

    Mary Delaney, the chair of the Land Over Landings advocacy group, said that while dealing with federally expropriated lands can be messy, dealing with lands that have been transferred between political bodies is even worse.

    “They’re dealing with lawyers at every level of government,” she said. While Land Over Landings now primarily communicates with Transport Canada, the Scotts’ home has jostled between provincial, municipal, and federal jurisdictions — each with their own spokespeople.

    Delaney also noted that she spoke with Joyce’s daughters several weeks ago. While she couldn’t help, Delaney said she offered her sympathy over the bureaucratic tangle at-hand — their confusion, to her, is familiar.

    The meeting between the sisters and conservation authority executive committee is slated for Aug. 11 and a staff recommendation will be presented back to the committee at a later date.

    “There is no designated timeline for staff review and submission of recommendations,” Sikorski added later in an email.

    Sikorski was unable to comment on why renting out the home was more compatible with the government’s plan than independent ownership.


    Conservation authority to launch investigation into a family’s bid to re-purchase expropriated landConservation authority to launch investigation into a family’s bid to re-purchase expropriated land

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    VANCOUVER—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he “regrets” comments he made about Sen. Patrick Brazeau in Rolling Stone, but an Indigenous advocate wants him to express his remorse in a letter to the popular U.S. magazine.

    Trudeau told Rolling Stone in a story titled “Justin Trudeau: The North Star,” that his choice of Brazeau as an opponent in a March 2012 charity boxing match “wasn’t random.” Brazeau is from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation in Quebec.

    “I wanted someone who would be a good foil, and we stumbled upon the scrappy tough-guy senator from an Indigenous community. He fit the bill and it was a very nice counterpoint,” Trudeau told the magazine.

    “I saw it as the right kind of narrative, the right story to tell,” he said about the cancer-fundraiser fight he won in Ottawa when he was a member of Parliament.

    Read more:

    Tories go all Mean Girls over Trudeau’s Rolling Stone cover: Mallick

    Let’s enjoy this moment of American envy of Canada: Editorial

    Justin Trudeau lands on the cover of Rolling Stone

    On Tuesday, Trudeau said in a CBC radio interview in Vancouver that he regretted his choice of language in describing the Independent senator.

    “The way I have personally engaged with Indigenous leadership and Indigenous communities over the past years and certainly as we’re doing it as a government, recognizes that there are a lot of patterns to change,” said Trudeau, who has made reconciliation with First Nations a top priority.

    “I try and make sure that we’re staying focused on recognizing that true reconciliation involves changing approaches and changing mindset. The way I framed it and characterized that doesn’t contribute to the positive spirit of reconciliation that I like to think and I know my government stands for.”

    Brazeau declined to comment.

    Cindy Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, said she’s glad Trudeau apologized for his comments, saying the image of “the savage and the civilized” has dominated Canadian government for too long.

    However, it’s important for the prime minister to set the record straight in a letter to Rolling Stone “so the same people who read that article actually get to learn from the humility of him saying what he did was wrong and why it was wrong,” she said.

    “The idea that you would go searching for an Indigenous person to engage in an exercise with the aim, really, of making yourself look good, as that seems to imply, is disturbing.”

    In February, Trudeau was criticized by NDP MP Roméo Saganash, a former Cree leader, about remarks the prime minister made in response to a question on funding to First Nations communities.

    Trudeau told a town hall in Saskatoon that he’d spoken with a number of First Nations chiefs who said young people need youth centres with TVs and sofas so they can hang out.

    “When a chief says that to me I pretty much know they haven’t actually talked to their young people,” Trudeau said at the town hall.

    “Most of the young people I’ve talked are asking for a place to store their canoes and paddles so they can connect back out on the land and a place with internet access so they can do their homework in a meaningful way because their homes are often too crowded and they need a place to work and study.”

    Saganash called Trudeau’s comments ignorant and insulting. He wrote a satirical letter saying a national canoe and paddle program must have been a “secret” recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


    Indigenous advocate wants Trudeau to express remorse in letter to Rolling StoneIndigenous advocate wants Trudeau to express remorse in letter to Rolling Stone

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    Worried friends, families and co-workers of two missing men in Toronto’s LGBTQ community received few answers from police at a Tuesday night meeting at the 519 Community Centre, raising concerns over the pair’s whereabouts.

    Officers from a Toronto police team tasked with finding Andrew Kinsman, 49, and Selim Esen, 44, met an overflowing crowd of more than 200 people in the Church and Wellesley neighbourhood.

    Toronto police say they have yet to find any criminality in the pair’s disappearances, or connection to three other missing persons cases from 2010-2012.

    Among those at 519 Church St. were Kinsman’s two sisters, Patricia and Karen.

    Patricia praised her brother’s friends and co-workers for going “above and beyond” in their ongoing efforts with police.

    “Keep searching,” she urged the audience.

    “All the hours spent and all the miles that have been walked, the police are searching,” echoed Karen, crying. “Andrew’s not alone. There are many more people who are missing.”

    Parallel investigations are now being carried out so that officers can share information.

    “We do not have a lot of information for you. I understand how frustrating that must be,” said Peter Code, the Toronto police inspector tasked with leading the investigation, who credited the community for sending an abundance of information.

    “The police want to know everything. All information is important because we just don’t know what the next piece will lead us to.”

    Harold Barnett, a member of the gay community who lives near The 519, attended the town hall after he became worried when someone slipped a note under his door asking him to meet.

    “Is it a pattern?” Barnett, 74, wondered, pointing to the pair’s similar appearances.

    Both men used internet dating apps and hung out in the Church and Wellesley area, according to police.

    Esen, described as 5-10 and 150 pounds with brown eyes, a beard and brown hair, was last seen near Bloor and Yonge Sts.

    Kinsman, described as 6-4 and 220 pounds with brown hair and a beard, was last seen near Wellesley and Parliament at 71 Winchester St., where he’s the building’s superintendent.

    Code says the investigation never stopped, but that it is now being ramped up with exclusive staffing.

    “We thank you for your involvement,” he told the crowd. “Assume whatever you know, we do not know.”

    Town hall organizer Greg Downer says the LGBTQ community now needs to work together to build its own task force, one that can plan to better help spread the word about any disappearances.


    Police tell worried crowd at Church-Wellesley meeting they're ramping up investigation into missing menPolice tell worried crowd at Church-Wellesley meeting they're ramping up investigation into missing menPolice tell worried crowd at Church-Wellesley meeting they're ramping up investigation into missing menPolice tell worried crowd at Church-Wellesley meeting they're ramping up investigation into missing menPolice tell worried crowd at Church-Wellesley meeting they're ramping up investigation into missing menPolice tell worried crowd at Church-Wellesley meeting they're ramping up investigation into missing men

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    In what is being described as an unprecedented move, the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada changed an order this week from one of her colleagues that would have excluded all LGBTQ groups from participating in two upcoming appeals that deal with discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    Justice Richard Wagner had decided Friday that the groups would not be permitted to intervene in the cases involving Trinity Western University.

    The private Christian university in British Columbia is facing challenges in having its proposed law school accredited in some provinces due to what critics say is a homophobic “community covenant” that bans students from having sex outside of heterosexual marriage.

    Wagner’s order Friday faced backlash throughout the weekend on social media, with lawyers and LGBTQ activists expressing outrage over the exclusion of LGBTQ groups.

    Some groups representing religious interests were granted leave to intervene, including the Christian Legal Fellowship and the National Coalition of Catholic School Trustees, although other religious groups were excluded.

    As is customary, Wagner did not provide reasons for his decision.

    Then on Monday, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin surprised the parties by issuing a new order that “varied” Wagner’s order, declaring that the appeals would be heard over two days, Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and granting leave to intervene to all 26 groups, including those representing LGBTQ voices.

    She also provided no reasons.

    LGBTQ groups in Ontario were taken aback by the initial refusal, given that some were permitted to intervene in the case in Ontario at the Divisional Court and Court of Appeal levels.

    “We’re quite delighted that we can continue this case forward to its conclusion,” said lawyer Paul Jonathan Saguil, who represents Start Proud (formerly Out on Bay Street), which supports young LGBTQ professionals including lawyers, and OUTlaws, a coalition of LGBTQ student groups at Canadian law schools.

    “Our focus at this point is on next steps,” said lawyer Marcus McCann, who represents LGBTOUT, a queer student association at the University of Toronto. “Our clients are looking forward to putting their perspective before the court in a way that’s useful and provides assistance to the court.”

    It is the chief justice’s responsibility to manage the court’s calendar, including adding a second day for an appeal hearing that would make time to hear from more interveners, said lawyer Owen Rees, former executive legal officer at the Supreme Court.

    “This is not an overruling,” he told the Star. “It was a varying of an order, and I fully expect that in this context, this would have been a collegial decision and one where the judge who made one order and the chief justice would have been on the same page.”

    Lorne Sossin, dean of Osgoode Hall Law School, also pointed out it’s possible that more interveners were added simply because an extra day was set aside for the hearing.

    “It may also be that the impression left by Justice Wagner’s initial decision, which granted intervention to some groups bringing additional perspectives on religious freedom, but not groups whose focus was more aligned with LGBTQ and equality rights, could have deprived the court from having the fullest possible array of perspectives for a case that has and will generate significant scrutiny,” he wrote in an email.

    “Whatever the rationale or rationales, it is always preferable, in my view, to have some reasons provided where an initial decision is modified.”

    The Law Society of Upper Canada, which regulates the legal profession in Ontario, voted 28-21 in 2014 to deny accreditation to Trinity Western because of the community covenant, meaning potential graduates would not be able to practise law in this province.

    Law societies in Nova Scotia and British Columbia made similar decisions, but they were later overturned by the courts in those provinces. Meanwhile, the Ontario decision has been upheld by the province’s Court of Appeal. The Appeal Court endorsed the criticism around the covenant last year.

    “My conclusion is a simple one,” wrote Justice James MacPherson for a unanimous three-judge panel in a 50-page judgment. “The part of TWU’s community covenant in issue in this appeal is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community, and it hurts.”

    Trinity Western appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, while the Law Society of British Columbia appealed from its loss in the B.C. courts.

    Interveners are not parties to a case, but have an interest in the matter and can bring a certain perspective to help the court in its decision. They are not permitted to raise new issues and have only five minutes each to present their case before the justices.

    McLachlin’s decision Monday to change Wagner’s order regarding interveners left lawyers wondering if this had ever been done before. It would seem not.

    “It was a very unusual reversal,” said Ottawa criminal defence lawyer Michael Spratt. “The chief justice’s act certainly left many court watchers and experts scratching their heads … But decisions on leave to intervene or appeal should be more transparent. This may be an opportune time to reconsider some of these procedures.”


    LGBTQ groups can now take part in Christian university case after Supreme Court reversalLGBTQ groups can now take part in Christian university case after Supreme Court reversal

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    New Democratic Party federal leadership aspirant Jagmeet Singh is on a roll. He’s raising more money than his three rivals. He’s getting more attention.

    The 38-year-old Brampton politician, currently an Ontario MPP, is trying to present himself as a fresh new face. So far, his efforts appear to be working.

    This week’s financial release from Elections Canada is particularly good news for Singh. During the April-June period, his campaign raised a stunning $353,944. That’s more than the combined total of fellow contenders Charlie Angus ($123,574), Niki Ashton ($70,124) and Guy Caron ($46,970).

    While fundraising prowess doesn’t guarantee success within the NDP, it can be telling. In the party’s 2012 leadership race, the eventual winner — Thomas Mulcair — was also the top fundraiser.

    Singh’s campaign says that roughly 75 per cent of his donors have never given before to the NDP. While that claim cannot be confirmed, it jibes with the limited amount of polling done in this race.

    A July survey by Mainstream Research estimated that federal MPs Angus and Ashton were the top choices of long-time party members. Among this group, however, Singh scored a distant third.

    But if Singh is able to attract enough new members into his camp before the vote this fall, any misgivings held by the party’s old guard may not matter.

    Most of Singh’s policy prescriptions fall within the boundaries of the NDP’s current orthodoxy.

    He would raise corporate taxes. Like Justin Trudeau’s Liberals (but unlike the NDP under Mulcair) he would raise income taxes on the rich. He would institute pro-union and pro-worker labour reforms in areas under federal jurisdiction.

    He is in favour of more infrastructure but critical of the Liberals new infrastructure bank.

    Like many federal New Democrats, he walks a delicate line on pipelines, praising both Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley (who wants a heavy-oil pipeline from the tarsands to the Pacific) and British Columbia Premier John Horgan (who does not).

    In the end, however, Singh comes out against both the proposed Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipeline expansions. Given their unpopularity among New Democrats in B.C. and Quebec, this is not a politically foolish position to take.

    Indeed, Singh already appears to have significant support in B.C., where he is backed by three New Democrat MPs and eight sitting MLAs.

    In at least two respects, however, he has broken with current party policy. First, as he said last month, he is amenable to the idea of an elected Senate.

    I doubt that most Canadians care about this one way or the other. But many New Democrats do. The party has long held that the Senate should be abolished, not reformed.

    Second, he favours eliminating Old Age Security for seniors and replacing it with a new means-tested program aimed only at the elderly poor. Given the popularity of OAS and the propensity of older people to vote, the NDP might find this a troublesome promise to take into the next election.

    Some, including fellow NDP MPP Cheri DiNovo, accuse Singh of pandering to the religious right during Ontario’s bitter debate over sex education. “Jagmeet lost me long ago,” she said in an email, referring to Singh’s support of those critical of teaching sex ed in schools.

    Right now, the main contenders in this contest appear to be Singh and Angus. Angus, the MP for Timmins-James Bay and a former rocker with the alt band Grievous Angels, has his roots in the Catholic left.

    For a while, all of that — as well as his relentless advocacy for Indigenous peoples — gave Angus some cachet in the party. Now, the main rap against him is that he is too mainstream, too old-fashioned, too much like Mulcair.

    In fact, it is Singh who has much of the party establishment on his side. But like Trudeau, the former criminal defence lawyer has nonetheless managed to present himself as someone new.

    With his well-tailored suits and colour-coordinated turbans, he typifies millennial hip in the way that former NDP leader Jack Layton, in his bicycle helmet, typified an earlier generation.

    Those who have seen Singh in action say that, like Layton, he is a formidable retail politician.

    And he can raise money. In politics, that helps too.

    Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


    It’s ka-ching for Jagmeet Singh as donors flock to stylish MPP: WalkomIt’s ka-ching for Jagmeet Singh as donors flock to stylish MPP: Walkom

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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump hates leaks. He hired Anthony Scaramucci 10 days ago to very publicly root them out, and he has even attacked his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, for not investigating them aggressively enough.

    But oftentimes with Trump, a leak isn’t just a leak; it’s an effort to save him from himself.

    Such is the case with the latest big scoop out of Washington Monday night that Trump personally dictated the highly misleading initial statement about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016. Anonymous White House advisers told the Washington Post they had settled on a plan to be transparent about the meeting, only to have the president come in at the 11th hour and decide to try and withhold the whole truth. The result, at Trump’s personal direction, was a statement that claimed the meeting was about adoption, when in fact the stated purpose of it was opposition research — supposedly from the Russian government — about Hillary Clinton.

    Check out this detailed blow-by-blow from The Post about how the Trump team responded to the New York Times learning about the meeting:

    “(White House director of strategic communications Hope) Hicks also spoke by phone with Trump Jr. Again, say people familiar with the conversations, (Jared) Kushner’s team concluded that the best strategy would be to err on the side of transparency, because they believed the complete story would eventually emerge.

    “The discussions among the president’s advisers consumed much of the day, and they continued as they prepared to board Air Force One that evening for the flight home.

    “But before everyone boarded the plane, Trump had overruled the consensus, according to people with knowledge of the events.

    “It remains unclear exactly how much the president knew at the time of the flight about Trump Jr.’s meeting.

    “The president directed that Trump Jr.’s statement to the Times describe the meeting as unimportant. He wanted the statement to say that the meeting had been initiated by the Russian lawyer and primarily was about her pet issue — the adoption of Russian children.”

    And now look at these comments from anonymous advisers:

    “‘This was ... unnecessary,’ said one of the president’s advisers, who like most other people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive internal deliberations. ‘Now someone can claim he’s the one who attempted to mislead. Somebody can argue the president is saying he doesn’t want you to say the whole truth.’”

    And here:

    “Trump, advisers say, is increasingly acting as his own lawyer, strategist and publicist, often disregarding the recommendations of the professionals he has hired.

    “‘He refuses to sit still,’ the presidential adviser said. ‘He doesn’t think he’s in any legal jeopardy, so he really views this as a political problem he is going to solve by himself.’”

    And this:

    “Because Trump believes he is innocent, some advisers explained, he therefore does not think he is at any legal risk for a coverup. In his mind, they said, there is nothing to conceal.”

    The White House’s first six months, of course, have been littered with internal leaks. Many of them are owed to the warring factions within the West Wing and dissension in the broader administration. But every so often you see this kind of leak: the send-a-message-to-the-boss leak — the spreading of unhelpful information about the president because advisers see no other way to make it stop.

    And even in that line of reporting, this is a pretty remarkable cry for help. In this story, they’re admitting that he is personally responsible for deliberately misleading the American people about a major topic of the Russia investigation. They’re saying that he did something that could very well be construed as a coverup and could damage his legal defence. The reason? Because they apparently can’t prevail upon him in person and they think he simply doesn’t get what kind of jeopardy he is putting himself in.

    Part of it may simply be exasperation, as well. When you, as a White House staffer, continue to have to put up with the boss’s unpredictable whims and furthering of unhelpful story lines (i.e. Russia was on my mind when I fired FBI Director James Comey), it’s liable to lead to this kind of leaking.

    Trump will surely view this as an effort by the deep state and-or the media to undermine him. He’d be better off understanding it for what it is: a desperate effort to help him help himself. After all, in this case, the advisers were right. The truth all came out in rather short order, and Trump only made it worse.


    Why the latest Trump bombshell is a cry for help from the president’s own staff: AnalysisWhy the latest Trump bombshell is a cry for help from the president’s own staff: AnalysisWhy the latest Trump bombshell is a cry for help from the president’s own staff: AnalysisWhy the latest Trump bombshell is a cry for help from the president’s own staff: Analysis

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    CHICAGO—Puff-puff-puff. Gasp-gasp-gasp.

    By the time Kendrys Morales had chugged around the bases, all the way from first on an RBI double by Steve Pearce, Mr. DH was clearly gassed.

    He staggered across the plate and, for several moments, just stood there. Catching his breath. While teammates in the dugout prepared towels for the purpose of fanning. Did anybody mention an oxygen tank?

    It was by no means the most significant episode of Tuesday night’s 8-4 win over the White Sox, though that eighth run did expand a scoring bulge that never seems quite fat enough for the Jays in this woeful season. What is a four-run lead to the Jays after all, when they’d gagged on a 6-0 lead 24 hours earlier?

    Just a reminder, however, of why we love baseball: because of the homespun vignettes and the silly humor — this is a game where the players have faces— and the spectacle of the big, beefy Morales, with lots of home-run oomph in those biceps, pushing himself 270 feet on a close, sticky night.

    A tableau more entertaining, from one reporter’s perspective, than the ruckus that enfolded shortly afterward, in the bottom of the seventh, all that hot-and-bothered hubbub originating with Toronto starter Marcus Stroman and Chicago shortstop Tim Anderson, a side-eye glare from the latter and some who-me disingenuousness from the former after Stroman had struck out Anderson.

    Who knows what had got up Anderson’s nose but, predictably, the always volcanic Stroman stuck out his chest and came striding towards the mound, even as catcher Russell Martin put up his hands in a go-back pleading gesture. Meanwhile, Anderson was reversing trajectory, pivoting from the dugout area and heading toward Stroman. So of course the benches had to empty and the relief cadres had to come surging in from the bullpens.

    There was lots of jawing but the dust settled down quickly enough. Nobody even got ejected.

    “Seemed like he wanted to talk the entire way back to the dugout after striking out,” a clearly seething-about-something Stroman said afterward. “I got the ball back from (Josh) Donaldson after throwing the ball around. He still continued to talk. So I asked him what he was saying. And he continued to talk more and I walked to the dugout.

    “I don’t understand why he would be running his mouth walking back to the dugout. It made zero sense to me.”

    Anderson blamed it on “the way (Stroman) carried himself.”

    “I felt disrespected,” the shortstop said. “I had to do what I had to do.”

    Disrespected how?

    “Just when I stepped out when he was going slowly, he said a few words. I kind of let it go and then after he struck me out, he mumbled something else. So . . . “

    No regrets, he insisted.

    “I don’t regret anything I did. I stood up like I was supposed to and it happened.”

    That step-out was intended to get Stroman riled, and it was successful. Anderson was pleased about it.

    “Yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s going to try to throw me off, so why not step out and try to throw him off? It was one of those things. I stepped out and he just complains and cries like he always does.”

    Stroman, who earned his 10th win of the season, may be the Toronto ace and he may not have been the instigator of this specific rumpety-bumpety ruckus, but it gets tiresome, leading with that chip on his shoulder.

    (Speaking of shoulder chips, just what was the message being imparted by Jose Bautista during that same skirmish when he gestured to fans and mimicked brushing something off his shoulder?)

    We’re veering off game message here. But it was a slapdash game that went on much longer than nine innings merits and at some point we lost the plot.

    Oh. Here it is: Donaldson & Donaldson & Donaldson.

    Not because Josh Donaldson was the first, second and third star all by his lonesome under the lights at Guaranteed Rate Field. Big-stats-wise, the American League MVP passim co-homered with Justin Smoak over the persistently irksome White Sox, an overhauled club of youth and brass that just keeps coming and will not stay dead.

    But on this particular evening — and it has become something of a rarity across the length and breadth of a season awash in disappointment —Donaldson looked like an MVP kind of guy, Big Daddy as he’s known to his teammates, that solid oak crossbeam from which a franchise can be hung.

    Too often in 2017, and doubtless a direct result of back-to-back shin injuries, Donaldson has seemed a pale shadow of his recently former self.

    On this night, though, Donaldson got the party started with his first-inning jack, orchestrated the sac fly that scored Darwin Barney in the second inning, drew a walk and scored a run in the fifth inning — bounding home on Smoak’s 31st home run — and scored Bautista with a double in the sixth.

    More than a decent night’s work.

    And still the Jays came worrisomely close to botching it up again, were it not for a terrific outfield assist from Kevin Pillar, who collected a bloop single ball that had arced just over Darwin Barney’s head and hurled a dead-on strike to the plate, coolly taken by Martin, with Kevan Smith out at home.


    The Donaldson of old powers Jays to win over White SoxThe Donaldson of old powers Jays to win over White Sox

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    The last time Pearse Vujcic’s dog ran circles around the balcony of his East York apartment, it was because of a small earthquake. So when the 57-year-old observed the same behaviour Monday evening, he knew something must be amiss.

    That’s when Vujcic heard signs of distress coming from the apartment of his longtime neighbour and friend, Zlatan Cico.

    “I heard yelling and screaming that I heard only in war, and I knew somebody was dead,” Vujcic said.

    Police found Cico, 58, and his 6-year-old son, Simon, without vital signs in the building near Gamble and Broadview Aves. shortly after 7 p.m., after an apparent murder-suicide.

    Upon hearing the screams, Vujcic left his apartment and saw a woman he recognized as Cico’s wife in distress, screaming, “My son is inside. What will I do without my son?”

    The door to Cico’s apartment was open, and Vujcic entered to find the man who had been his friend and neighbour for 11 years dead, with a note on his chest.

    He also saw Simon there. Vujcic knew instantly, looking at him, that it was too late to help. Toronto police said the boy had suffered physical trauma.

    Diana Maslova, who lives on the floor above, said she saw Cico’s wife later, after the bodies were found, and she “looked like a zombie.”

    “At that point she didn’t talk or cry or react,” Maslova said. “Somebody tried to hug her and she didn’t even move. She was just looking straight ahead.

    “She looked like she was in shock.”

    Vujcic said that Simon Cico lived full-time with his mother, and visited his father regularly.

    Neighbours didn’t know much about the mother, who doesn’t live in the building, apart from occasionally seeing her in the elevator.

    Vujcic described Simon as a “happy kid.” Just a couple of weeks ago, Cico had taken him to see a film at the Hot Docs Cinema on Bloor St. Vujcic joked that the young kid probably wouldn’t like the documentary, but Simon said he had a good time.

    “My point is, until the last moment, they had a good time together,” Vujcic said.

    Maslova also said the father and son were in good spirits whenever she saw them.

    “They were always talking, laughing and looking happy,” she said.

    Vujcic said that he regrets having missed signs of depression or distress in his close friend.

    “All my life I will blame myself that I didn’t notice that he was suicidal,” Vujcic said. “I miss him dearly.”

    Police said they are not looking for any suspects, but wish to speak to anyone who has background information that may give them some “clarity” about what happened.

    “Based on what we have, we know who the suspect is: he’s the male involved in it,” Toronto police Sgt. Allyson Douglas-Cook said. “However, there’s still questions that … remain unanswered at this point.”

    Police are interested in speaking to friends, family or anyone who was in the area at the time of the incident. They are asking anyone with information to call 416-808-7400.

    A post-mortem was being carried out Tuesday to determine the cause of death.

    With files from Alexandra Jones and Alanna Rizza


    Man, 58, and boy, 6, dead in apparent murder-suicide in East YorkMan, 58, and boy, 6, dead in apparent murder-suicide in East YorkMan, 58, and boy, 6, dead in apparent murder-suicide in East YorkMan, 58, and boy, 6, dead in apparent murder-suicide in East York

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    A man left in pain and naked in a Brantford police station holding cell for hours has filed a $2.5 million lawsuit against the Brantford Police Services Board, the chief of police and six police officers.

    Ontario Court Justice Kenneth Lenz stayed Philip Alafe’s criminal charges in April after ruling he was subjected to “cruel and unusual treatment” over the July 2015 night in the cell.

    Security videos of the cell were made court exhibits at the hearing and released to the Toronto Star.

    Read more: Charges stayed against Toronto man after ‘cruel and unusual’ treatment by officer

    Lenz criticized Staff Sgt. Cheney Venn, one of officers named in the lawsuit, for taking away Alafe’s mattress, blanket and, after a violent struggle, his police-issued jumpsuit.

    Lenz also found the police officers failed to provide Alafe with the medical attention he requested and his medication, despite Alafe informing the booking officer that he had mental health issues as well as sickle-cell anemia, a hereditary disease that causes him excruciating pain and is exacerbated by cold temperatures.

    A statement of claim filed with the Superior Court in Toronto alleges the defendants “maliciously, intentionally, unlawfully and/or without justification subjected the plaintiff to an escalating course of punishment, deprivation of basic needs, physical assault, infliction of mental anguish and other infliction of harm.”

    The allegations in the statement of claim have not been proven in court. No statement of defence has yet been filed.

    A spokesperson for the Brantford Police Service said no comment would be made due to the pending litigation.

    Police board chair Deb Cockerill said in a statement that the board will be undertaking a review of material related to the case and has asked the chief to report back on his findings as they relate to training, and prisoner care and handling. The statement said the board couldn't comment further because of the lawsuit.

    An internal police investigation sparked by the criminal court ruling remains ongoing.

    The allegations in the lawsuit include the use of excessive force in taking away Alafe’s jumpsuit and that he was made to spend the night “in extreme pain due to his sickle cell disease.”

    Alafe entered the cell with no suicidal thoughts, according to the statement of claim. But after more than 10 hours in the cell, three with no clothes, blanket or mattress, he attempted to tie his socks into a noose around his neck. Two minutes later, an officer took his socks away.

    The officers were negligent for not swiftly intervening despite a “plainly visible suicide attempt,” then they failed to offer him any assistance, leaving Alafe “alone in his cell, stark naked, and visibly in physical and mental distress,” the lawsuit alleges.

    Alafe claims that as a result of his treatment that night his sickle-cell anemia and depression are worse and he now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

    The lawsuit also claims Alafe was discriminated against based on his “race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, and/or disability.”

    Alafe, who lived in Etobicoke at the time of the incident, is from Nigeria and is seeking refugee status in Canada.

    The statement of claim alleges one officer, Const. Jason Barber, told Alafe he “didn’t speak African.”

    Barber, who is also named in the lawsuit, firmly denied saying this according to Lenz’s decision.

    The lawsuit also claims Brantford police Chief Geoff Nelson was negligent for failing to ensure his officers carried out their duties lawfully and in accordance with the policies set out by the Brantford Police Services Board.

    “Our client hopes this case will improve the way police deal with people in medical distress. He also hopes it will improve police accountability. These events did not happen in a dark alley. They happened in a brightly-lit police cell, in plain view and on camera,” said Alafe’s lawyer Kelley Bryan who represents him in his civil case.

    The lawsuit claims punitive damages of $500,000 are necessary to deter this kind of conduct by police officers in the future.


    GTA man sues Brantford police over ‘cruel and unusual’ treatment in holding cellGTA man sues Brantford police over ‘cruel and unusual’ treatment in holding cell

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    WASHINGTON—There wasn’t a dramatic public break or an exact moment it happened. But step by step, Senate Republicans are turning their backs on U.S. President Donald Trump.

    They defeated an Obamacare repeal bill despite Trump’s pleas. They’re ignoring his Twitter demands that they get back to work on it. They dissed the White House budget director, defended the attorney general against the president’s attacks and passed veto-proof sanctions on Russia over his administration’s objections.

    They’re reasserting their independence, which looked sorely diminished in the aftermath of Trump’s surprise election win.

    Read the latest on U.S. President Donald Trump

    “We work for the American people,” Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina said Tuesday. “We don’t work for the president.”

    Those are surprisingly tough words from a Republican whose state Trump won easily less than a year ago. But after six months of controversies and historically low approval ratings, it’s clear Trump isn’t commanding the fear or respect he once did.

    Some Republicans no doubt are giving voice to long-held reservations about a man whose election was essentially a hostile takeover of their party. But it is notable that the loudest criticism is coming from the Senate, where few Republicans are burdened with facing an electorate anytime soon. The situation is different in the House, where most Republicans represent conservative districts still loyal to Trump. For those lawmakers, the fear of facing a conservative primary challenger, possibly fuelled by angry Trump followers, is real.

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    Donald Trump fires Anthony Scaramucci over his vulgar remarks, unpredictability

    In the most remarkable example of public Trump-bashing, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona is taking aim at the president and his own party in a new book, writing that “Unnerving silence in the face of an erratic executive branch is an abdication” and marvelling at “the strange spectre of an American president’s seeming affection for strongmen and authoritarians.”

    The criticism from Flake is especially striking since he is one of just two GOP senators facing competitive re-election races in next year’s midterm elections, the other being Dean Heller of Nevada. The other 50 Senate Republicans are largely insulated from blowback from Trump’s still-loyal base, at least in the short term, since they won’t face voters for several years.

    That is likely contributing to their defiance, which is emerging now after an accumulation of frustrations, culminating in the failure of the health care bill Friday. In particular, senators were aghast over Trump’s recent attacks on their longtime colleague Jeff Sessions, the former Alabama senator who is now attorney general and facing Trump’s wrath over having recused himself from the investigation into possible collaboration between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina deemed Trump’s treatment of Sessions “unseemly” and “a sign of great weakness on the part of President Trump.” The comments were echoed by other Republican senators.

    Then, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, a former House member, suggested on a Sunday show that the Senate must pass health care before doing anything else. No. 2 Republican John Cornyn didn’t hesitate to go after him.

    “I don’t think he’s got much experience in the Senate as I recall, and he’s got a big job,” Cornyn said. “He ought to do that job and let us do our jobs.”

    The ill will flows both ways. At Tuesday’s White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointedly blamed lawmakers for the president’s failures to deliver. “I think what’s hurting the legislative agenda is Congress’ inability to get things passed,” she said.

    Trump has been ignoring past warnings from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to stay out of the Senate’s business, tweeting relentless commands in the wake of Friday’s failure on health care that the Senate should eliminate the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to move forward on much major legislation.

    “Mitch M, go to 51 Votes NOW and WIN. IT’S TIME!” the president said over Twitter.

    That ignored the fact that Republicans tried to pass the health care bill under rules that required only a simple majority.

    So Republicans, in turn, ignored Trump.

    “It’s pretty obvious that our problem on health care was not the Democrats,” McConnell said drily on Tuesday. “We didn’t have 50 Republicans.”

    Some Republicans say Trump and his administration only made it harder to pass health care by ineptly pressuring Sen. Lisa Murkowski with threats from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about consequences for her state, which rankled the Alaska senator. She proceeded to postpone votes in the Energy committee she chairs on a group of administration nominees, while saying it was for unrelated reasons, and voted “no” on the health bill.

    “I think most Republican senators have their own identity that’s separate from the president,” said Alex Conant, a GOP strategist and former adviser to Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. “If you look at the elections last fall almost every Republican senator who was up for re-election ran ahead of Trump and that’s not a fact that’s lost on Congress.”

    The House has been a friendlier place for Trump. Republicans there pushed through a health care bill in May.

    “For the most part our caucus is still in support of the president,” said Rep. James Comer of Kentucky. “That doesn’t mean we agree with everything he says and does, but we still support his agenda, his presidency, and we’re not going to fumble the ball.”

    In the Senate, though, lawmakers and the president appear to be going their separate ways, with some senators talking as though Trump is almost irrelevant.

    “Ever since we’ve been here we’ve really been following our lead, right?” said Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee. “Whether it was the Supreme Court justice or the Russia sanctions bill, attempting to do health care and obviously we did so unsuccessfully, and now we’re moving on to tax reform, but most of this has, almost every bit of this has been 100 per cent internal to Congress.”


    Little by little, Senate Republicans are abandoning the presidentLittle by little, Senate Republicans are abandoning the president

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    Robert Zunke was gentle and soft-spoken, offering a weathered hand and an open door, a Star reporter’s reward for a long search — he had been as elusive as a spectre, but was now as welcoming as an old friend.

    Zunke says he’s the artist responsible for crafting lofty structures made of discarded materials, wowing passersby for years, at the Leslie St. Spit.

    “I just wanted to get away from Toronto, do something different,” he said, when asked why he was building these structures. “I saw the materials, so I thought I would make something for the people.”

    He was the creator of an elaborate complex that had curvy walls, granite benches and walkways winding down to the lake.

    His masterpiece appeared on social media and prompted a search for the builder, but the structure had since been demolished — in its place, large tracks criss-crossed parched earth. Last week, a spokesperson for Ports Toronto told the Star it was razed because it posed a risk to visitors.

    “Those guys were jealous,” Zunke said about the workers who toppled his work over the edge of the shoreline. “Nothing was gonna knock it down.”

    Zunke, who is in his 50s and does maintenance work in downtown buildings, said he called the main structure “Eagle’s Point,” because the top resembled a bird with outstretched wings. There have been multiple versions of the top — including a flaming torch and an arrow — because he has rebuilt the structure 26 times, he said.

    “It was shaped like the eagle of the United States army crest,” he said. Surrounding the central column were other wavy structures of brick, made to look like a snail without its shell and a martini glass with a monkey’s head, he said.

    The Spit, home to Tommy Thompson Park, is a place that gives him solace.

    “It’s quiet out there, peaceful. I don’t like crowds,” said Zunke, who lives alone. “Doing something constructive is more important. Talk is cheap.”

    Reaching Zunke, who has been building a variety of structures for the past five years, was difficult. A Star reader sent a tip providing a rough idea of where he lived, and a search of the area revealed concrete blocks rubbed smooth and round by tidewater in front of a downtown apartment building. It seemed the materials had come from the Spit.

    As Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made played on a television in the background, Zunke offered a tour of his apartment, including the granite work table where he assembles miniature buildings and greenery for large model train tracks that he sells.

    Model trains were everywhere in the small space.

    “Trains are what started Toronto,” said Zunke, explaining that he’s had a fascination with locomotives since he was a child.

    “They’re antiques,” he said.

    Zunke uses few tools to construct his structures at the Spit, aside from a cart affixed to his bicycle to transport building materials and a hammer, he said. He uses the horizon as a level and, with the formidable muscles of his arms, packs sand in tight between joints. The formations are top-heavy so that weight is distributed through the structures down to the ground, which keeps them stable, he said. Heavy support blocks are used to build the towers up — literal stepping stones — in a process Zunke likened to that used in ancient Egypt.

    “You feel your way through it: tactile contact,” he said. “I feel quite strongly about that, actually.”

    Zunke looked visibly discouraged when asked if he would return to the Spit to rebuild.

    “I just don’t know yet. Maybe for the freak of it,” he said.

    Despite his low profile, he has admirers: Zunke played his voicemail messages aloud, and at least two were from people asking about his work. Someone was writing poetry on rocks and leaving it for him at Eagle’s Point, he said.

    Support like this could give him a second wind.

    “That makes me feel good, ’cause then I’ll build more.”


    We found the mystery man behind the artistic formations at the Leslie SpitWe found the mystery man behind the artistic formations at the Leslie Spit

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    The conceit of the broadcast anchor as the voice from the summit, the authoritative narrator of history’s most important milestones is long gone.

    It was gone before NBC anchor Brian Williams was demoted for telling tall tales about his exploits in Iraq — or, closer to home, before the CBC’s Evan Solomon or Global’s Leslie Roberts were, respectively, fired or forced to resign over conflict of interest allegations.

    Social media, the rise of alternative broadcast outlets, and comics such as Jon Stewart and the newly resurgent Saturday Night Live have supplanted the need for a single narrative told, traditionally, by a middle-aged white man.

    CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge, with his preternaturally calm voice, was the epitome of the omniscient presenter when he stepped down July 1 from the Canadian public broadcaster after three decades.

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    So it wasn’t a surprise that, in its highly anticipated announcement of a reboot, the CBC decided to cover their bets with more than one anchor for their flagship show The National. But four?

    They are mostly familiar faces: That includes senior correspondent Adrienne Arsenault, 50; current Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton, 41; CBC Vancouver anchor Andrew Chang, 33; and veteran CBC News Network host Ian Hanomansing, 55.

    Whether this will be groundbreaking broadcasting or a hot mess will be seen in early November when the new format launches. So far it seems like a logistical nightmare.

    For one thing, there will be not one but three anchor desks, as The National goes national. Chang will remain in Vancouver, Barton in Ottawa and Arsenault and Hanomansing will be based in Toronto.

    “We will be nimble and flexible and originate from anywhere in the country,” said Jennifer McGuire, editor in chief for CBC News in announcing the new anchors on Tuesday. McGuire promised a “multi-platform” experience on digital and social media “all day long” where the team will always be on the story and “through all time zones.”

    She then announced that the anchors would be taking questions on Facebook Live after the news conference. It sounds exhausting.

    The concept of multiple anchors is not new. Media entrepreneur Moses Znaimer was a pioneer in deconstructing the anchor desk in the 1980s by using diverse voices, glass walls and eventually taking away the desk altogether. And before the era of social media, he promoted interactivity using live audiences and the good old telephone.

    This is a step in that larger direction. And the reality is that the CBC needed to reinvigorate The National, especially in a universe captive to the digital 24-hour news cycle.

    The real national broadcast has been, arguably for some time, the CTV National News anchored by Lisa LaFlamme. It was the 11th most watched program in Canada for the week of July 10, with 976,000 viewers, followed by Global National with Dawna Friesen at 686,000 viewers and The National at 621,000 viewers.

    The most watched show in Canada that week was, sadly but not surprisingly, America’s Got Talent. But LaFlamme managed to edge out a repeat of the Big Bang Theory, so Canadians still care, at least when they’re not watching Big Brother.

    It underscores the point that news is a cultural commodity that we don’t cherish enough, even as we are swamped by American imports. Along with oil and maple syrup, and maybe smoked meat sandwiches, Canadians have always exported exceptional broadcast talent as well as cultivated our own — think the late Morley Safer at CBS or Peter Jennings at ABC.

    Mansbridge was the last solo male national broadcast anchor to go, and there is also some history to be made here: Chang and Hanomansing will be the first two permanent National anchors of Asian descent. That’s no small feat.

    Longtime National guest host Hanomansing — or, as his fans call him, “Handsomemanthing” — was the front-runner for the job. Chang is the greenest of the bunch, a local anchor for CBC Vancouver. They and Barton, known for her sharp-ended political interviews, and Arsenault, an Emmy Award-winning foreign correspondent, all seem like a good match on paper. But the real chemistry test comes in November.

    Beyond that, this move is also an admission by the CBC that the era of the all-powerful, all-knowing anchor is over — that viewers no longer need to gather before an electronic hearth to hear Mansbridge sonorously announce the intricacies of The Meech Lake Accord.

    And if the CBC is right, audiences don’t want their anchors sitting behind a desk anyway. The four anchors say they plan to continue reporting in the field.

    Conceptually, this is all good. But four captains piloting one ship? Not so much. If things go south, Peter Mansbridge, I’m sure, is on speed dial.


    CBC’s The National needed a shakeup — but this one?: AnalysisCBC’s The National needed a shakeup — but this one?: Analysis

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    A Toronto police officer and his brother charged in the beating of Black teen Dafonte Miller are accused of misleading investigators, according to newly obtained court documents.

    The charges against Michael Theriault, a 25-year-old constable with the Toronto police force, and his 21-year-old brother, Christian Theriault, include aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in relation to the incident, which took place Dec. 28 in Whitby.

    Both men were also charged with public mischief. According to information filed in court, the Special Investigations Unit alleges the Theriaults “did with intent to mislead, cause a peace offer to enter upon or continue an investigation and thereby commit public mischief.”

    Read more: Two police probes into beating of Dafonte Miller fall short: Editorial

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    The date of the alleged offence — Dec. 28 — suggests that the SIU, a police oversight body, is alleging Theriault and his brother misled Durham police officers, who responded to the scene in the early morning hours. The SIU was not informed of the incident until April. Neither the SIU nor Durham police would comment Tuesday.

    According to the section of the Criminal Code under which the Theriaults have been charged, someone has committed public mischief if they report an offence that hasn’t occurred, make a false statement accusing someone of an offence, or do anything meant to cause someone to be suspected of a crime or “divert suspicion from himself.”

    The brothers are currently out on bail and scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 10. Michael Theriault has been suspended with pay from the Toronto police.

    Miller’s lawyer, Julian Falconer, has provided an account of what allegedly happened in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, none of which has yet been tested in court.

    Miller and his friends, Falconer said, were walking down Erickson Dr., a quiet suburban street north of Dundas St. E., before 3 a.m., when they were confronted by the brothers, who were in the garage of their family home. According to property records, the home is owned by the Theriaults’ father, John Theriault — a longtime Toronto police detective currently assigned to the professional standards unit.

    Michael Theriault, Falconer alleged, identified himself as a police officer and asked what the group of friends were doing. The Theriaults chased Miller and his friends, eventually catching up to Miller and beating him with a metal pipe, the lawyer said.

    Miller called 911 as the attack continued, Falconer has said. The call history from his phone, captured in a photo provided to the Star and other outlets, shows a call to 911 at 2:52 a.m., which lasted just over a minute.

    According to Falconer, Michael Theriault grabbed the phone and told the operator he was a police officer and had made an arrest. Falconer told the Star he has personally listened to the 911 recording, which has not been released publicly.

    When Durham police arrived at the scene, Falconer said, Michael Theriault told them he and his brother had heard noises coming from a car in their driveway, and saw Miller and one of his friends running away from a Theriault family car.

    Michael Theriault told Durham police that change used for grocery money was missing from the car, Falconer said.

    Michael Theriault’s lawyer, Michael Lacy, declined to comment on his client’s charges.

    Durham police charged Miller on Dec. 28 with theft under $5,000, assault with a weapon described as a “pole,” and possession of a small amount of marijuana. Those charges were withdrawn by the Crown in May, before going to trial.

    Durham officers interviewed multiple people, collected evidence and took photographs during their investigation of the Dec. 28 incident, Durham Chief Paul Martin said in a news release Friday.

    Neither Toronto police nor Durham police notified the SIU, the body called in to investigate cases of death, serious injury or alleged sexual assault involving police. It was not until Falconer contacted the police watchdog in April that it began an investigation.

    Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders has repeatedly defended his service’s decision not to contact the SIU. Members of the Toronto police 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.

    Martin has announced an internal review, led by his deputy chief Uday Jaswal, to examine whether Durham officers acted correctly in arresting Miller and in not contacting the SIU.


    Toronto police officer and brother charged in beating of Black teen accused of misleading investigationToronto police officer and brother charged in beating of Black teen accused of misleading investigationToronto police officer and brother charged in beating of Black teen accused of misleading investigationToronto police officer and brother charged in beating of Black teen accused of misleading investigation

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    LONDON—Three British men who dubbed themselves the “Three Musketeers” were convicted Wednesday of plotting a bomb attack on troops or police inspired by Islamic extremism.

    Jurors at London’s Central Criminal Court found 29-year-old Naweed Ali, 25-year-old Khobaib Hussain and Mohibur Rahman, 33, guilty of preparing terrorist acts, after a trial that was partly held in secret for national security reasons.

    A fourth defendant, Tahir Aziz, was convicted of the same charge. Prosecutors say the 38-year-old was brought into the plot in its later stages.

    Ali, Hussain and Rahman met while serving prison terms for terrorism offences, prosecutors said. They later set up a group on a messaging app called the “Three Musketeers.”

    As they planned an attack, the men were under surveillance by Britain’s domestic intelligence service, MI5, which created a fake courier company in the central England city of Birmingham and hired Hussein and Ali.

    In August 2016, undercover officers searched Ali’s car, and discovered weapons including an imitation handgun, a partially constructed pipe bomb and a meat cleaver with the word “kaffir” — infidel in Arabic — scratched onto the blade.

    Prosecutors said the men intended to attack police or military targets.

    Defence lawyers criticized the decision to hear from two witnesses in secret as they discussed claims by the defendants that MI5 had tried to recruit them. Rajiv Menon, attorney for Ali and Rahman, said the decision had a “crippling effect on our ability to prepare for trial.”

    The months-long trial also came close to collapse when a juror sought to find out whether a police officer in the case was single — a breach of strict jury rules. The judge dismissed one juror, but allowed the trial to continue.

    The defendants, from central England, denied the charges and accused police of planting evidence. As they were led from the dock after conviction, one shouted: “I hope you’re happy with your lies! Lying scumbags.”

    The four men will be sentenced Thursday.


    4 U.K. men convicted of plotting terrorist attack inspired by Islamic extremism4 U.K. men convicted of plotting terrorist attack inspired by Islamic extremism

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    LOS ANGELES —An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday to test the weapon’s reliability to “defend against attacks on the United States and its allies,” the Air Force said.

    The Minuteman III missile was fired at 2:10 a.m. local time from the base northwest of Santa Barbara, Calif., according to the Air Force Global Strike Command. The missile, equipped with a single test re-entry vehicle, travelled 6,760 kilometres to a test range near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

    The strike command said the test was “not a response to recent North Korean actions.” Rather the launch “demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective” and can protect against strikes, the command said.

    The test comes after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday —the second in less than a month. The two-stage missile crashed off the coast of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. Independent defence analysts say such a missile may be capable of reaching California and other parts of the West Coast.

    On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. government would agree to a dialogue with North Korea if it relinquishes its nuclear program.

    “We are trying to convey to the North Koreans: ‘We are not your enemy, we are not your threat. But you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us, and we have to respond,’” he said.

    Wednesday’s launch was conducted by Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing team, the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and the 576th Flight Test Squadron, the Air Force said. The 90th Missile Wing is one of three bases overseeing the country’s intercontinental ballistic missile forces.

    The test is the fourth ICBM launched from the base this year.

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    “These test launches require the highest degree of technical competence and commitment at every level and provide critical data necessary to validate the reliability, accuracy and performance of the ICBM force,” Col. Dave Kelley, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, said in a statement.

    In February, a test missile was launched from the base. That missile was also equipped with a nonexplosive payload and travelled to the Marshall Islands.

    Another test was conducted by the Air Force Global Strike Command’s team on April 26. Air Force officials said that launch was an operational test to show the country’s nuclear deterrent capability.

    Days later, a third test missile launched from the base. The unarmed Minuteman III missile was launched just after midnight on May 3 from the base to test the weapon’s reliability and ensure an “effective nuclear deterrent,” according to the Air Force.

    On May 30, the Missile Defense Agency conducted a flight test exercise of a ground-based interceptor that was also launched from the airbase. The interceptor successfully targeted and destroyed an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile launched from the Marshall Islands.


    U.S. tests unarmed ICBM in California to show ability to ‘defend against attacks’U.S. tests unarmed ICBM in California to show ability to ‘defend against attacks’

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    Toronto police have identified the victim in a fatal shooting early Tuesday morning near Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave. W.

    Adrian Milligan, 23, from Toronto, was taken to hospital where he died after being shot at Claxton Blvd. and Raglan Ave. before 1 a.m.

    Prior to the shooting, Milligan was in an argument with two men, Toronto police said. After Milligan was shot, the two men were seen running north on Raglan with a handgun.

    Milligan headed to a nearby gas station with his injuries.

    One suspect is described by police as Black, around 5-foot-6, and wearing a blue hoodie and shorts. The other suspect is described as Black, around 5-foot-8, and wearing a gray sweater and shorts.


    Victim identified in Tuesday morning fatal shootingVictim identified in Tuesday morning fatal shooting

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    CARACAS, VENEZUELA—The number of Venezuelans who participated in the election for an all-powerful constituent assembly was inflated by at least 1 million votes in an official count, the head of a voting technology company asserted Wednesday, a finding certain to sow further discord over the controversial super-body that has generated months of nationwide protests.

    Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica said results recorded by his systems and those reported by Venezuela’s National Electoral Council indicate “without any doubt” that official turnout figure of more than 8 million participants was manipulated.

    The international software company has been providing electronic machines in Venezuela since 2004.

    Related:

    Venezuelan opposition leaders arrested, taken from their homes after widely denounced elections

    “Even in moments of deep political conflict and division we have been satisfied with the voting process and the count has been completely accurate,” Mugica told reporters in London. “It is, therefore, with the deepest regret that we have to report that the turnout figures on Sunday, 30 July, for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela were tampered with.”

    The assembly will be granted vast powers to rewrite the nation’s constitution and override every branch of the government. Opposition members boycotted the election, claiming the terms to select delegates were heavily rigged to favour the ruling party. President Nicolas Maduro has vowed to use the assembly to target his enemies and solidify Venezuela as a socialist state.

    An independent exit poll concluded turnout was less than half that reported by the election commission. Opposition leaders who stationed observers in every municipality also questioned the count.

    Julio Borges, the president of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, said lawmakers will ask the nation’s chief prosecutor to investigate commission members for potential crimes.

    “They want to give total power to an assembly who people with more than 10 years managing the electoral process in Venezuela say with all certainty, irreversibly, with hard data from their own servers, that the announced result was crooked,” Borges said.

    The assembly is expected to be sworn into office Thursday. Opposition leaders are calling on Venezuelans to gather in Caracas for a mass protest.

    On Monday, two prominent opposition leaders were dragged from their homes by heavily armed security agents and thrown in a military prison Tuesday, drawing condemnation from the United States and some Latin American countries. But many other nations and international organizations were silent or limited themselves to expressions of concern.

    Opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were accused by the government-allied Supreme Court of violating the terms of their house arrest by plotting to escape and releasing video statements criticizing Maduro.

    Both men’s supporters denied the charges and vowed to continue to try to push the ruling socialist party from power. However, they gave little indication of how they planned to do that, and the capital was unusually quiet after months of sometimes violent protests.

    Lopez’s supporters released a video that he taped last week saying he expected to be imprisoned again soon, and calling on Venezuelans to be firm in resisting Maduro.

    “If you are looking at this video now, it’s precisely because that occurred, because they came and they illegally imprisoned me again unjustly, a prisoner of consciousness, a prisoner for my ideas, a prisoner for wanting a better Venezuela,” the 46-year-old Lopez said.

    He also said that his wife, Lilian Tintori, is pregnant, touching her belly and saying he has “one more reason to fight for Venezuela.” He called the pregnancy “the best news I’ve received in the last 3 ½ years” — the time he spent behind bars before being released to house arrest last month. The couple had been allowed some conjugal visits.

    Maduro appeared undeterred in his plans to seat a special assembly this week with powers to rewrite the constitution and override any other branch of the Venezuelan government. He has threatened to use those powers to go after his opponents and the arrests Tuesday appeared to show he is willing to proceed with full force.

    Maduro appeared to have the full support of the country’s most important institutions.

    Maduro called the vote for the constitutional assembly in May after weeks of protests fed by anger at his government over food shortages, triple-digit inflation and high crime. Many people accuse the ruling party of corruption and mismanagement.

    The Trump administration on Monday added Maduro to a growing list of high-ranking Venezuelan officials targeted by financial sanctions. But the U.S. held off on sanctioning Venezuela’s oil industry, which could undermine Maduro’s government but also deepen the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.

    Maduro scoffed at the sanctions. He has said he would use the assembly’s powers to bar opposition candidates from running in gubernatorial elections in December unless they negotiate an end to protests that have resulted in at least 120 deaths and nearly 2,000 injuries over the past four months.

    U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that the Trump administration was “evaluating all of our policy options as to what can we do to create a change of conditions where either Maduro decides he doesn’t have a future, and wants to leave of his own accord, or we can return the government processes back to their constitution.”

    Later, the White House issued a statement condemning “the Maduro dictatorship” over the arrests and saying Lopez and Ledezma are political prisoners.

    “The United States holds Maduro — who publicly announced just hours earlier that he would move against his political opposition — personally responsible for the health and safety of Mr. Lopez, Mr. Ledezma, and any others seized,” the White House said.


    Venezuela election results allegedly manipulatedVenezuela election results allegedly manipulated

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    Toronto police are investigating the deaths of two women whose bodies were found Tuesday in an Etobicoke high rise.

    Police were called around 10 p.m. Tuesday by a relative of the two women, who were found unresponsive in an apartment on Eva Rd., said Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook.

    The women, who were in their late teens, were without vital signs when paramedics arrived. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

    No foul play is suspected and there was no obvious sign of trauma, Douglas-Cook said.

    Post mortems are being done today.


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  • 08/02/17--09:08: Missing elderly man found

  • An 83-year-old man who had been missing since last week was found alive Wednesday morning.

    Toronto police say Domingos Martins was located at around 10:21 a.m. in the area of Highway 400 and Highway 401, near Black Creek Dr.

    “They were able to search certain areas that they felt he could possibly be in. Fortunately, we found him in the area of highway 401 and highway 400 in an industrial area,” said Toronto police Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook.

    Paramedics say he was taken to hospital in serious condition but he was conscious and breathing.

    Martins was last seen on July 28 at around 4:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Ave. W. and Jane St. area.

    His family appealed to the public during his disappearance to help them find him.


    Missing elderly man foundMissing elderly man found

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    NEW YORK—The Boy Scouts are denying a claim by U.S. President Donald Trump that the head of the youth organization called the president to praise his politically aggressive speech to the Scouts’ national jamboree.

    Trump told The Wall Street Journal, “I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.” Politico published the transcript of the interview.

    On Wednesday, the Scouts responded, “We are unaware of any such call.” It specified that neither of the organization’s two top leaders — President Randall Stephenson and Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh — had placed such a call.

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

    Surbaugh apologized last week to members of the scouting community who were offended by the political rhetoric in Trump’s July 24 speech in West Virginia.

    Other U.S. presidents have delivered non-political speeches at past jamborees. To the dismay of many parents and former scouts, Trump promoted his political agenda and derided his rivals, inducing some of the scouts in attendance to boo at the mention of Barack Obama, his predecessor.

    “I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the jamboree,” Surbaugh said. “That was never our intent.”

    Surbaugh noted that every sitting president since 1937 has been invited to visit the jamboree.

    Stephenson, in a phone interview with The Associated Press two days after the speech, said Boy Scout leaders anticipated Trump would spark controversy with politically tinged remarks, yet felt obliged to invite him out of respect for his office.

    Hoping to minimize friction, the Boy Scouts issued guidelines to adult staff members for how the audience should react to the speech. Any type of political chanting was specifically discouraged.

    Stephenson, who was not in attendance at Trump’s speech, said the guidance wasn’t followed impeccably.

    Read more:

    Donald Trump’s speech to Boy Scouts was indeed ominous

    Chief scout executive apologizes for President Donald Trump’s ‘political rhetoric’ at National Scout Jamboree

    Boy Scouts gave ‘stringent guidelines’ on how audience should react to Trump speech

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    Trump says Boy Scouts head called to praise his speech, but group ‘unaware’ of ‘such call’Trump says Boy Scouts head called to praise his speech, but group ‘unaware’ of ‘such call’

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