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    In a rare move, Ontario’s top court has ordered a third trial in the same first-degree murder case, lambasting the Crown’s key evidence: an expert witness whose testimony about gang members with teardrop tattoos contained “inaccuracies” and even “falsehoods.”

    At the second trial for Warren Nigel Abbey related to the 2004 murder of Simeon Peter in Scarborough, sociologist Mark Totten testified that a teardrop tattoo meant one of the three things: the individual had lost a loved one or fellow gang member, had spent time in prison or had killed a rival gang member.

    The Crown alleged that Abbey was an associate of the Malvern Crew gang who shot and killed Peter, mistakenly believing he was a member of the rival Galloway Boys, and that Abbey had a teardrop tattooed under his right eye about four months later.

    Abbey was acquitted at his first trial— in which Totten was not permitted to give evidence — but the Crown appealed and at the second trial, where Totten did testify, the jury convicted Abbey.

    In a decision released Friday, the Ontario Court of Appeal largely sided with Abbey’s lawyers and found Totten’s evidence “unreliable,” that he “misrepresented” the sample size of gang members in some of his studies, and that statistics he provided on the stand about gang members with teardrop tattoos are nowhere to be found in his studies.

    The court also stated there is a “legitimate concern that Totten’s interview summaries are fabrications” in two of his studies, which contain the same quotes from three participants. Totten had denied in a different court case that he used the same gang members in more than one study.

    “I have concluded that the fresh evidence shows Totten’s opinion evidence on the meaning of a teardrop tattoo to be too unreliable to be heard by a jury. If the trial judge had known about the fresh evidence he would have ruled Totten’s evidence inadmissible,” Court of Appeal Justice John Laskin wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel.

    “And the absence of Totten’s evidence would reasonably be expected to have affected the jury’s verdict. I would admit the fresh evidence, allow Abbey’s appeal, overturn his conviction and order a new trial.”

    Abbey has been in prison since his conviction at his second trial in 2011.

    He will be applying for release pending a retrial, his lawyers told the Star on Friday.

    “We are gratified that the court found, as we had argued, that this Crown witness’s evidence was unreliable and dangerous,” said David E. Harris and Ravin Pillay in an emailed statement.

    “This is another example of how expert evidence can mislead a jury and contribute to an unsafe conviction.”

    Totten did not return the Star’s requests for comment Friday.

    Neither side opted to seek permission from the Court of Appeal to call Totten to respond to the issues with his research and evidence.

    “As Totten has not been directly confronted with some of these deficiencies and inaccuracies in his testimony and research I think it would be unfair to make the positive finding that Abbey urges us to make: Totten fabricated or concocted part of his research, or gave deliberately misleading testimony,” Laskin wrote.

    “But when assessing the reliability of Totten’s opinion, I see nothing unfair in taking into account that the many serious problems in both Totten’s evidence and research, which were identified by the fresh evidence, remain entirely unexplained.”

    It will be up to the Crown to decide if it actually wants to re-prosecute Abbey a third time. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General declined to comment because the matter is “within the appeal period.” (The Crown has 30 days to decide if it wants to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.)

    The Court of Appeal had harsh words for the position of the Crown in the appeal, given the fact that the “fresh evidence” — the issues with Totten’s research — was brought to the forefront under cross-examination by Crown attorney Mary Misener (now a judge) in a separate case, R v. Gager, where that time it was the defence trying to have Totten admitted as an expert.

    The cross-examination took place during a hearing known as a voir dire, to determine if Totten should be qualified as an expert witness for the trial.

    “Totten was the Crown’s witness, a key witness for the Crown (at the Abbey trial). Yet in Gager the Crown sought to impeach Totten’s credibility and the reliability of his evidence on several matters that were relevant to his opinion in this trial,” Laskin wrote.

    “And then on this appeal the Crown made no attempt to contest the deficiencies, inaccuracies, and even falsehoods in Totten’s trial testimony, as demonstrated by the fresh evidence.

    “The Crown is not an ordinary litigant. Its role is not to obtain a conviction, but to try to ensure a fair process and a just result. The Crown has impeached Totten, its own key witness, albeit in another proceeding, and yet by its silence in this proceeding must be taken not to have challenged the many serious problems in Totten’s trial testimony shown by the fresh evidence.”

    The judge in the Gager case ultimately qualified Totten as a witness, despite expressing some reservations with his evidence, but neither side ended up calling him to the stand at trial.

    “I made mistakes, there’s no question about that,” Totten told the Star at the time. “I’ve got no problem stating that. It’s the job of a lawyer to attack you as an expert witness. Some experts can handle it, others can’t. Obviously, I didn’t handle it very well.”

    In Friday’s appeal decision, Laskin pointed out that the defence in the Abbey case could have raised the issues with Totten’s research at Abbey’s previous trial, but that it would be a “miscarriage of justice” not to admit the fresh evidence now because it is so compelling.

    The appeal court went as far as saying that if the Crown had not been permitted to lead with Totten’s evidence on teardrop tattoos at the second trial, “it could reasonably be expected the verdict would have been different.”

    Among the reasons for that conclusion, Laskin noted that the rest of the Crown’s case “was not overly strong,” which included poor eyewitness testimony and “problematic” evidence from three Malvern Crew members whose testimony implicated Abbey.

    Their testimony “was severely compromised” by inconsistencies and “their unsavoury pasts,” Laskin wrote. He said two of them had been granted immunity by the Crown on a number of serious offences in exchange for their testimony, while the third member, who testified at the first Abbey trial, refused to testify at the second. His testimony from the first trial was read into the record at the second trial.

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    WASHINGTON—The cable guy was fussing around in her living room. Her goddaughter was polishing a resume in her dining room. Her 8-year-old was antsy. Christy Judd, a West Virginia high school teacher, had to run out of town.

    Her “war” was calling.

    She got Ethan into the back seat of the car. She packed his ventilator and his suction machine and his stroller. And she began the two-hour drive east from Inwood, population 3,000, to Capitol Hill, where she would have an hour to try to convince her Republican senator that her son’s life was worth protecting.

    Judd, 40, urged students in her government classes to be informed and involved, but she had never taken political action herself. Then came Trumpcare, the Republican health-care proposal that would have slashed funding for the Medicaid program Ethan needs if he is going to thrive with a neuromuscular disease.

    Fighting for her kid suddenly meant fighting the United States Congress.

    “In this fight,” she said, “we don’t have a choice. This is the fight of our lives. We are soldiers at war for our kids.”

    A mom she knew from a Facebook forum had started an advocacy group, Little Lobbyists, to elevate the profile of kids with complex medical issues like Ethan’s. On a Tuesday in late June, her 50-pound boy made his debut as a Washington activist.

    Judd was furious that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito wouldn’t meet with them herself. But her young aide seemed at least mildly moved. A month later, in late July, Capito was one of seven Republican senators to vote against their party’s proposals to repeal Obamacare without a replacement.

    The next night, three Republican senators voted against the party’s last-ditch replacement proposal, and that was that.

    In the end, it was an astonishing failure: the party that controls the presidency, the House and the Senate was unable to deliver on its signature campaign promise. And it was an astonishing success: regular people were a big reason why.

    Facing odds that seemed insurmountable, thousands of average Americans threw themselves into action to protect Obamacare. Taking cues from the conservative Tea Party movement and from seasoned liberal organizers, the activist “resistance” helped to make repeal seem riskier than doing nothing at all.

    They helped to save the insurance coverage of an estimated 16 million to 32 million people, likely preventing thousands of early deaths. They helped to deal a severe blow to President Donald Trump’s young administration. And they created a people-power playbook on how to stop Trump from doing anything significant through legislation.

    * * *

    This, Ben Wikler thought. This scene from 1989, preserved in grainy news footage on YouTube, was what they had to manufacture in 2017 to save Obamacare.

    It did not seem likely.

    By the time the Republicans’ “repeal and replace” push collapsed last month, the idea was so unpopular that defeat seemed almost inevitable. But in the weeks following Trump’s victory in November, when Wikler, Washington director for the progressive group, began to talk to activist allies about how to challenge the unexpected president on Obamacare, there was a “pervasive sense of doom — that maybe this fight wasn’t even worth joining.”

    “Because it was so clear that Republicans would be able to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” Wikler, 36, said. “We honestly thought they were going to pull this off in January as they planned to do.”

    Wikler began looking for cases where activists made the impossible happen. He read about the citizen fury that led to the 1989 repeal of a law that taxed seniors to try to prevent medical bankruptcies. One congressman was caught on video being chased out of his car by a fist-shaking horde of old folks.

    Wikler sent the clip around. What activists needed to do, he said, was make repeal “so politically toxic that Republicans are literally running away from it.”

    Their best early chance was the February recess when legislators would be holding town halls. MoveOn made a website,, to urge supporters to swamp the meetings. Seeking viral moments like the ones that hurt Democratic lawmakers during the 2010 summer recess, the leaders of Indivisible, a network of more than 5,000 local groups founded to oppose Trump, told supporters to film everything.

    “If it doesn’t get recorded,” said co-founder Angel Padilla, “it doesn’t happen.”

    The footage was dreadful for Republicans. Across the country, they struggled to quiet angry crowds. More importantly, they had no good answers for constituents who confronted them with stories about how Obamacare had helped them with their own problems. The clips rocketed around Facebook, changing the public focus from insurance prices to human suffering.

    The longer the process took, activist organizers thought, the more time they would have to get the public riled up, and the more political capital Republicans would have to waste. Pushing for delay, Indivisible briefly turned its sights on one of its key Democratic allies, Senate leader Chuck Schumer, announcing sit-ins to pester him into using a procedural tactic to slow the process. Schumer relented.

    As activists fought Republicans, they were also fighting silence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s plan to pass the bill in stealth was being aided by the unceasing parade of sensational revelations about Trump and Russia. The liberal drumbeat helped create “new” news journalists could write about.

    “We knew that if health-care didn’t get back to the front pages of the major news outlets, we were going to lose this fight,” Padilla, 34, said.

    When Republican legislators weren’t at home to be pummeled, activists flooded them with phone calls using scripts provided by national groups and tailored to each particular state. (“This bill would cause 17,200 Alaskans to lose their Medicaid coverage … how could Sen. Murkowski support that?”) At one point, MoveOn supporters alone were making more than 30 calls every hour to the offices of key undecided senators.

    Many of the activists did more than call. Every single Tuesday for seven months, even during snowstorms, the members of RESIST Central Maine, a new anti-Trump group mostly composed of women 55 and older, stood outside the Lewiston office of Republican Sen. Susan Collins, holding messages like “Healthcare not wealthcare.”

    Minutes after Christy and Ethan Judd arrived in Washington, RESIST founder Pat Fogg, a 78-year-old retired psychotherapist, took her spot on the Lewiston sidewalk for their cheekily named “Lunch With Susan.” Collins was never there, but the activists signed in at the office to make sure she knew they were.

    And Maine’s Planned Parenthood leaders made sure Collins heard from its patients.

    The Republican plan would have stripped funding from the popular provider of abortion and reproductive health services for a year. Its response was to confront senators like Collins, a consistent supporter, with the faces of people it has helped.

    Collins became the most steadfast Republican voice against Trumpcare. Under attack from the White House and its allies, she was visibly buoyed by the Mainers cheering her for standing strong.

    Activists couldn’t claim all the credit for the triumph. Also factors: Trump’s ineptitude, old Republican divisions, conservative activists’ indifference. But there was no question, on any side of the debate, that the citizen pressure was essential.

    “Your voice matters. Your story matters,” said Nicole Clegg, vice-president of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “People’s real-life experiences, and talking about them publicly, were incredibly powerful and persuasive.”

    * * *

    There’s a joke Mike Oxford tells about his disability-rights activist group. ADAPT is so ignored, Oxford says, that it would not get media attention if it started a fire on the same street as the White House.

    On June 22, to his shock, ADAPT became a media phenomenon.

    Led by Oxford, a veteran Kansas rabble-rouser who uses a scooter for his spinal condition, more than 60 people with disabilities staged a “die-in” at McConnell’s Capitol office. Many of them got out of wheelchairs to lie flat on their backs. Then, as news cameras rolled, they were physically dragged away by police officers and arrested.

    Their intent was to create a disturbing enough scene to make people pay attention. This time, the attention was national. The wave of coverage was a “crucial turning-point moment,” Wikler said, that cemented the public perception that Trumpcare would hurt the disabled.

    “The right thing at the right time at the right moment,” Oxford said. “We had no reason to believe that was going to happen.”

    Five days later, McConnell delayed the vote until after the July 4 congressional recess.

    Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran was one of the only Republicans to hold a recess town hall. Two weeks after he was detained, Oxford, 58, drove fourhours across Kansas to attend.

    Oxford sat in a strategic location by a door. As Moran tried to leave, Oxford grabbed his arm. Moran stopped, then bent down to listen.

    Oxford has known Moran for years. He told him why Trumpcare’s Medicaid cuts would hurt Kansans with disabilities who rely on home and community-based services.

    Ten days later, Moran came out publicly in opposition to the replacement plan, sending the effort on the path to ultimate disaster.

    * * *

    Wikler was five hours into yet another Capitol rally when he got the news by text. They had won. Somehow, they had won.

    Senate Republicans cycled through various versions of their plan, each less ambitious than the last, until their last attempt was defeated 51-49. The senator who provided the decisive late-night vote had not been treated by activists as a primary target: Arizona’s John McCain, who complained more about the rushed legislative process than the contents of the bill.

    Activists’ success was not total. Collins was a No on every plan, as was Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Capito, though, ended up voting Yes on two of the three final versions, as did Moran.

    But the activists did enough, just enough. And they believe they have figured out a rough formula for outfoxing Trump. It involves relentless pressure, direct action, human stories, strategic coordination, a focus on community activism that might make the local news, and a firmer grasp of policy than this president has.

    They are now trying to replicate their Trumpcare success. On Thursday, groups including Indivisible and MoveOn revealed a new “Not One Penny” campaign against Trump’s push for tax reform that would benefit the rich.

    This war will be harder. Republican legislators, and donors, are more united in favour of tax cuts. Tax rates do not lend themselves as easily as health insurance to emotional made-for-TV moments.

    But the activist base is fired up at a moment when it should have been deflated. As Trump takes a 17-day vacation and Washington takes a much-needed breath, people involved in the Trumpcare fight are still pestering their representatives to keep the proposal dead.

    Wednesday was Christy Judd’s 14th anniversary, and she wanted a pedicure before dinner. Instead, she drove past her house and on to Capito’s closest office, asking the senator one more time to meet with Ethan.

    One in a series on grassroots activism against the president.

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    A 21-year-old Toronto man is dead after he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into the side of a building at a shopping plaza in Vaughan, York Regional Police say.

    At 3:10 a.m., police responded to a call about the crash in a parking lot at Weston Rd. and Colossus Dr., south of Hwy. 7.

    They found the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

    His motorcycle appeared to have struck the side of a Marshalls department store, next to a furniture store.

    Police anticipate the parking lot will be closed for up to five hours.

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    Scenario 1. You are at a party and someone brings up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, featured on the cover of Rolling Stone. You think Trudeau is a shallow glam boy who uses photo-ops to distract from real issues. They think photo-ops are an effective gateway to discuss those issues. You argue back and forth. Neither of you changes your mind.

    You agree to disagree. The party goes on.

    Scenario 2. You are at a party and someone brings up racism or sexism and says those who say they are affected just have an affinity for victimhood.

    How do you respond? Do you fight back? You can agree to disagree on opinions, as Scenario 1 shows. Can you agree to disagree on facts? Can you agree to disagree when one set of lived experience (of not facing racism or sexism) is privileged over, and seen as more valid than, another set of lived experiences (of being systemically discriminated against)?

    Read more:Finding a way forward in our moment of truths: Age of Unreason

    Can you agree to anything less than complete consensus when what’s at stake is your right to exist equitably in your skin and gender of choice?

    Fighting back creates awkwardness, something we are socially conditioned to avoid. So people hesitate to debate topics such racism or sexism because they’re afraid they’ll say the wrong thing, be shouted down no matter what they say, or be revictimized.

    Agreeing to disagree no longer comes after a debate goes around in circles.

    It comes before it’s even begun.

    What is supposed to be a mature end to a fruitless debate has turned into a passive-aggressive, fragility-catering, non-confrontational social censorship of facts, ideas and policies.

    Everybody wants a less threatening space in which to have those conversations. There is also lack of clarity on where to draw the line between “staying in your lane” and speaking up against injustice.

    “This keeps people apart because we do not have those challenging complex conversations around things like colonialism, racism, Islamophobia and also white supremacy,” says Katy Sian, a sociology lecturer at the University of York in the U.K. and the author of books including Conversations in Post-Colonial Thought and Racism, and Governance and Public Policy: Beyond Human Rights.

    The erasure of others’ experience allows for denial to support the rise of neo-liberal delusions such as “post-racialism” and “post-feminism,” as if those struggles are a thing of the past.

    “Without those conversations we do get to a stage where we can say that happened so long ago, we’re over it,” Sian says.

    How do you bridge that knowledge and experience gap?

    There is racial bias training. There are virtual reality interventions where your mind can be tricked into body swapping with another gender or race, which have been shown to reduce biases.

    Meditation, once shrugged off as a resource of scientific study into emotions and cognitive processing, might also have some answers.

    “There have been some intriguing outcomes of meditation practices in shifting biases,” says neuroscientist Wendy Hasenkamp, science director at the Charlottesville, Va.-based Mind & Life Institute.

    “It used to be believed that by the time you are in your 20s, brain development was complete, and there wasn’t much possibility of changing personalities and beliefs. But foundational studies in the area of neuroscience have shown that our brains are highly plastic, and much more malleable over the lifespan than we realized.”

    The way we view others, for example, is based on associations in our minds that are continually updated.

    “Our ideas about the identities of others (and ourselves) are concepts we form in our minds. These concepts are a kind of mental pattern of associations, constructed out of our experience with others over time. The associations come not only from our personal experience, but also from what is fed to us by our culture, by media.”

    Embedded in these associations are evaluations such as good, bad, scary, non-threatening. Our concepts then inform our decisions and behaviour towards others. These beliefs become habit.

    “Meditation brings in the possibility of changing our habitual mental patterns,” Hasenkamp says. “It helps us first see those patterns for what they are, and then work consciously to shift them.”

    Scientists have been studying meditation to see if it brings about a reduction in biases.

    The studies mentioned here used Harvard’s seminal Implicit Association Test (IAT), which was designed to detect mental associations that create bias without someone having to consciously be aware of them.

    The IAT evaluates your implicit biases by measuring the speed with which you sort faces and words into categories. By doing so, it “measures the strength of associations between concepts (e.g., black people, gay people) and evaluations (e.g., good, bad) or stereotypes (e.g., athletic, clumsy),” according to its creators. The test has withstood periodic academic scrutiny into its validity since its introduction in 1998 and is now widely used in social psychology research.

    One six-week study asked 101 volunteers to take the IAT for biases against Black people and homeless people. They were then randomly assigned to three groups. One group practised loving kindness meditation (generating caring feelings towards people you know and then growing the circle to include others). The second group discussed loving kindness meditation, but did not practise it directly. The third were just put on a waitlist — not assigned to any task.

    At the end of six weeks, all participants took the IAT again. The group that practised meditation had a reduction in implicit biases against both stigmatized groups. The other two groups recorded no change.

    Similar studies have been conducted with volunteers practising loving kindness meditation for seven minutes in one study, and 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation in another study.

    This research is still in its early days, but the studies suggest that targeted meditation may reduce bias towards members of “outgroups” (i.e., people not like you). A lowering of psychological stress due to meditation might also be a factor in bias reduction.

    The six-week study also confirmed what my inbox suggests: evidence does not change minds. Discussing or learning about or thinking about ideas of compassion and equality did not change bias.

    So your party arguments are unlikely to effect change. Does that mean you shouldn’t engage in those discussions?

    The sociologist Sian would insist that you do.

    “It’s about trying to destabilize and critique those things that we think are fixed in society. Without conversations we wouldn’t have made so many changes.

    “Without civil rights activists in the U.S. speaking out, we wouldn’t have those conversations or those changes happen.”

    Being silenced does not advance any thought.

    Not debating the structural dimension of racism and sexism allows the privileged to be oblivious to the turbulence of social discontent flowing underneath the veneer of equality, and be surprised or shocked that a Donald Trump could possibly win the U.S. presidency, riding on such a wellspring of support.

    “I do think what is required at the very minimum is a critical understanding of one’s history and politics,” Sian says. “That, and just having the courage to have these conversations and the strength to start that alternative dialogue.”

    “That conversation might not change someone’s mind,” Sian says. “But without the conversation they would never have heard the alternative view. You’re still passing on knowledge they might not have found otherwise.”

    Read more in the Age of Unreason series:

    Does truth matter in Ontario politics in the Trump era?: Age of Unreason

    Buy now, rationalize later. This is how emotional advertising works: Age of Unreason

    The science of why we won’t stop believing: Age of Unreason

    How minds were changed on pot, same-sex marriage, assisted death and GMOs: Age of Unreason

    I try to generate debate on social media but spend most of my time tackling trolls: Age of Unreason

    Shree Paradkar tackles issues of race and gender. You can follow her @shreeparadkar

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    So this is what it is like to play cosmic pinball. The worlds move, and sometimes they line up. Then you find yourself staring up the tube of blackness that is the moon’s shadow, a sudden hole in the sky during a total solar eclipse.

    Such moments have left their marks on human consciousness since before history was recorded.

    On Aug. 21, the moon will block the sun in the U.S., though viewing it in Canada will be less dramatic. But few eclipses have had more impact on modern history than the one that occurred on May 29, 1919, more than six minutes of darkness sweeping across South America and across the Atlantic to Africa.

    It was during that eclipse that British astronomer Arthur Eddington ascertained that the light rays from distant stars had been wrenched off their paths by the gravitational field of the sun.

    That affirmed the prediction of Einstein’s theory of general relativity, ascribing gravity to a warp in the geometry of space-time, that gravity could bend light beams. “Lights All Askew in the Heavens,” read a headline in the New York Times.

    Eddington’s report made Einstein one of the first celebrities of the new 20th century and ushered in a new dynamic universe, a world in which space and time could jiggle, grow, warp, shrink, rip, collapse into black holes and even disappear. The ramifications of his theory are still unfolding; it was only two years ago that a rippling of space-time — gravitational waves produced by colliding black holes — was discovered.

    But the first step was not easy. How it happened illustrates that even the most fundamental advances in science can be hostage to luck and sometimes divine inspiration.

    The bending of light by gravity was the most stunning and obvious prediction of Einstein’s theory. Astronomers had been trying to detect the effect at solar eclipses since before he had even finished formulating the theory. Nature and politics did not always co-operate.

    One of the earliest to try was Erwin Finlay-Freundlich, an astronomer at the Berlin Observatory who was to become a big Einstein booster. Freundlich led an expedition to the Crimea in 1914 to observe an eclipse, but the First World War began and he was arrested as a spy before the eclipse occurred. A team from the Lick Observatory in California did make it to the Crimean eclipse — but it rained.

    “I must confess that I never before seriously faced the situation of having everything spoiled by clouds,” said William W. Campbell, the team’s frustrated leader. “One wishes that he could come home by the backdoor and not see anybody.”

    Worse, Lick’s special eclipse camera was impounded by the Russians and not returned in time for the next eclipse, in Venezuela in 1916.

    The next big chance to prove Einstein correct came in 1918, when the moon’s shadow tracked right up the Columbia River between Washington state and Oregon. Lick sent another team of observers, but their camera was still not back from the Crimea and their improvised optics fell short, leaving the stars looking like fuzzy dumbbells as darkness fell.

    So the universe was still up for grabs in March 1919, when Eddington and his colleagues set sail for Africa to observe the next eclipse. Astronomically, the prospects were as good as they could get. During the eclipse, the sun would pass before a big cluster of stars known as the Hyades, so there ought to be plenty of bright lights to see yanked askew.

    Eddington was the right man for the job. A math prodigy and professor at Cambridge, he had been an early convert to Einstein’s new theory, and an enthusiastic expositor to his colleagues and countrymen.

    A story went that he was once complimented on being one of only three people in the world who understood the theory. Admonished for false modesty when he did not respond, Eddington replied that, on the contrary, he was trying to think of who the third person was.

    General relativity was so obviously true, he said later, that if it had been up to him he would not have bothered trying to prove it.

    But it was not up to him, due to a quirk of history. Eddington was also a Quaker and so had refused to be drafted into the army. His boss, Frank Dyson, the Astronomer Royal of Britain, saved Eddington from jail by promising that he would undertake an important scientific task, namely the expedition to test the Einstein theory.

    Eddington also hoped to help reunite European science, which had been badly splintered by the war, Germans having been essentially disinvited from conferences. Now, an Englishman was setting off to prove the theory of a German, Einstein.

    According to Einstein’s final version of the theory, completed in 1915, as their light rays curved around the sun during an eclipse, stars just grazing the sun should appear deflected from their normal positions by an angle of about 1.75 seconds of arc, about a thousandth of the width of a full moon.

    According to old-fashioned Newtonian gravity, starlight would be deflected by only half that amount, 0.86 seconds, as it passed the sun during an eclipse.

    A second of arc is about the size of a star as it appears to the eye under the best and calmest of conditions from a mountaintop observatory. But atmospheric turbulence and optical exigencies often smudge the stars into bigger blurs.

    So Eddington’s job, as he saw it, was to ascertain whether a bunch of blurs had been nudged off their centres by as much as Einstein had predicted, or half that amount — or none at all. It was Newton versus Einstein.

    No pressure there.

    Dyson was asked by Edwin Cottingham, one of the astronomers on the expedition: what if Eddington measured twice the Einstein deflection? “Then Eddington will go mad and you will come home alone,” Dyson answered.

    To improve the chances of success, two teams were sent: Eddington and Cottingham to the island of Principe, off the coast of Africa, and Charles Davidson and Andrew Crommelin to Sobral, a city in Brazil. The fail-safe strategy almost didn’t work.

    In Sobral, the weather was unusually cloudy, but a clearing in the clouds opened up only one minute before totality, the moment the moon fully eclipsed the sun. On Principe, it rained for an hour and a half on the morning of the eclipse, and Eddington took pictures through fleeting clouds, hoping that some stars would show up.

    A few blurry stars were visible on a couple of his photographic plates and a preliminary examination convinced Eddington that the positions of the stars had moved during the eclipse. He turned to his colleague and said, “Cottingham, you won’t have to go home alone.”

    In the end, there were three sets of plates from which the deflection of starlight could be measured. How Eddington and his colleagues played them off against one another sealed the fate of Einstein’s theory.

    The best-looking data had come from an Irish telescope in Sobral. The images indicated a deflection of 1.98 seconds of arc — more than Einstein had predicted.

    Another Sobral telescope, known as an astrograph, also produced lots of star images, but they were blurred and out of focus, perhaps because heat from the sun had affected the telescope mirror. The images gave a value of 0.86 for the deflection, about in line with Newton’s formula, but with large uncertainties.

    Finally, there was the Principe telescope, which recorded only a handful of stars, from which Eddington heroically derived a reading of 1.61 seconds of arc.

    Which result should Eddington use? If he averaged all three, he would wind up in the unhappy middle ground between Newton and Einstein.

    If he just depended on the best telescope, as astronomers and historians John Earman and Clark Glymour pointed out in an influential essay in 1980, the figure of 1.98 would have cast doubt on Einstein’s theory of general relativity.

    In the end, Eddington wound up throwing out the Sobral astrograph data on the grounds that it was unreliable. Both of the remaining plates “point to the full deflection 1”.75 of Einstein’s generalized relativity theory,” Dyson and his colleagues wrote in their official report.

    “Dear Mother, joyous news today,” Einstein wrote when he got wind of the result.

    Astronomers and historians have argued ever since about whether Eddington’s belief that he already knew the answer led him to fudge the eclipse analysis by leaving out the warped astrograph.

    In 2007, however, Daniel Kennefick, an astrophysicist and historian at the University of Arkansas, concluded after a long study of the records of the eclipse expedition that it was Dyson, the astronomer royal, who had decided to exclude the results from the astrograph. Dyson was well known to be skeptical of Einstein’s new theory.

    Eddington and Dyson were right. The experiment was repeated during an eclipse in 1922 and at many other eclipses over the years, always with the same Einsteinian result. With improvements in technology, today even small universities can do the requisite observations.

    In November 1919, news of Einstein’s triumph was announced to the world with all due pomp and circumstance at a joint meeting of Royal Society and the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

    Presiding over the meeting, physicist J.J. Thomson called general relativity one of the highest achievements of mankind, describing it “as a whole continent of new scientific facts.” Black holes and the Big Bang were still in the future.

    Indeed, what emerged from the moon’s shadow that cloud-speckled day in May was an entirely new universe.

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    CARACAS, VENEZUELA—Ruling party chief Diosdado Cabello said Venezuelan troops quashed a “terrorist” attack at a military base Sunday, shortly after a small group of men dressed in fatigues released a video declaring themselves in rebellion.

    Cabello reported on Twitter that troops quickly contained the early morning assault at the Paramacay base in the central city of Valencia. Military officials said seven people were detained.

    The announcement came after the group of men, some armed with assault rifles, announced they were disavowing the government of embattled President Nicolas Maduro and said any unit refusing to go along with their call for rebellion would be declared a military target.

    “This is not a coup d’etat,” a man who identified himself as Capt. Juan Caguaripano said in the video. “This is a civic and military action to re-establish the constitutional order.”

    Read more:

    Venezuela’s constitutional assembly removes defiant chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega

    Venezuelan president completes ‘power grab’ as loyalist assembly sworn in

    How Nicolas Maduro went from bus driver to reviled Venezuelan president

    Cabello, a former military man and vice-president under the late President Hugo Chavez, called the attackers “mercenary terrorists.” Socialist party loyalists also regularly use the term “terrorist” to describe opposition leaders and protesters.

    The South American nation has for months been in the throes of a political crisis with protests that have left more than 120 dead, nearly 2,000 wounded and over 500 detained. The political standoff heightened this week with the installation of an all-powerful constitutional assembly that opposition members fear Maduro will use to tighten his grip on power, install a one-party state and remove foes from office.

    Caguaripano, the leader of the alleged plot, has a history of rebellion.

    In 2014, while a captain in the national guard and amid a previous wave of anti-government unrest, he released a 12-minute video denouncing Maduro. He later reportedly sought exile after a military tribunal ordered his arrest, appearing in an interview on CNN en Espanol to draw attention to dissatisfaction within the ranks over Venezuela’s demise.

    He returned to Venezuela to lead Sunday’s uprising, said Giomar Flores, a mutinous naval officer who said he is a spokesman for the group from Bogota, Colombia.

    Videos circulating on social media showed a police convoy speeding down a road amid the sound of apparent gunfire.

    The Paramacay base, surrounded by a residential neighbourhood in Valencia, is one of Venezuela’s largest and houses some of the country’s most important armaments including Russian-made tanks.

    Cabello is the first vice-president of the ruling socialist party and a member of the constitutional assembly. He has been a vocal proponent of using the legislative super-body to strip lawmakers in the opposition-controlled National Assembly of the immunity from prosecution that comes with office.

    While in the military he took part in a failed 1992 coup led by Chavez, and he has held various high-ranking positions in the government. U.S. officials have accused him of involvement in drug trafficking, a charge he denies.

    On Twitter Sunday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said the fact that Cabello had announced the news of the attack “shows who’s in charge of security forces” in Venezuela.

    Maduro is widely considered to still have the backing of the military, though it is difficult to know whether any discord may be brewing among the rank and file.

    The rebellion took place a day after the constitutional assembly voted unanimously to remove the nation’s chief prosecutor, a longtime government loyalist who has become one of Maduro’s most outspoken critics. Delegates shouted “traitor” and “justice” as they proceeded with her removal.

    Luisa Ortega refused to recognize the decision to oust her and vowed to continue fighting “with my last breath” against what she considers unconstitutional overreach by the government.

    The assembly later swore in as her replacement Ombudsman Tarek William Saab, who was recently sanctioned by the Trump administration for failing to protect protesters from abuses in his role as the nation’s top human rights official.

    Also Saturday prominent opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez was returned home to serve his sentence under house arrest, days after being hauled back to prison in the middle of the night in a move that drew international condemnation.

    The activist’s wife Lilian Tintori said in a message on Twitter that she and her husband remained committed to achieving “peace and freedom for Venezuela.”

    Lopez was released from prison July 8 and placed under house arrest after serving three years of a 13-year sentence on charges of inciting violence at opposition rallies. Many human rights groups considered him a political prisoner.

    But he was taken back into custody last Tuesday along with former Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma in what many believed was a renewed crackdown on the opposition following the election of delegates to the constitutional assembly.

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    A Sydney suburb has banned the construction of a synagogue because it could be a terrorist target, a decision that has infuriated religious leaders.

    The temple was to be built in Bondi, a short walk from Australia’s famous Bondi Beach. But locals worried that the space would pose a security risk to nearby residents, motorists and pedestrians. As evidence of that threat, the council pointed to the synagogue’s own design, which included setback buildings and blast walls. They also said the design would have an “unacceptable impact” on the street and neighbourhood.

    “A number of residents agreed with the contentions ... and provided additional evidence against the development of the site,” the council said in a statement.

    Friends of Refugees From Eastern Europe, a Jewish group, immediately appealed that decision to the Land and Environment Court. The protective design, the group said, was not a commentary on the risk the temple faced, but rather a best practice used at lots of synagogues. It also offered to do a redesign.

    But the court sided with the council. In its decision, the court explained that western countries are under threat from Daesh, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and that the potential of an attack in Australia is considered “probable” by government officials. The court also noted that the designs would serve only to protect those inside the building, not those outside.

    The announcement comes just days after Australian authorities foiled a major terror plot to blow up an airplane using a homemade explosive device and to release poison gas. But it may reflect something uglier too.

    Although there are about 120,000 Jews in Australia, including 50,000 in the Sydney area, an undercurrent of anti-Semitism runs through the country. Attacks on Jews and Jewish property jumped 10 per cent in 2016; Jewish community groups logged a total of 210 incidents. That included physical assaults and harassment, along with vandalism and graffiti. In one instance, a 22-year-old was punched in the neck and called an expletive as he walked home from synagogue. In another, onlookers threw eggs at Jews as they walked home from Friday night services.

    Holocaust-denial pamphlets were distributed at several universities, along with neo-Nazi brochures calling for the killing of all Jews. Two vehicles were firebombed, the glass door of a synagogue was broken, and graffiti artists covered the walls of a synagogue with messages like “f---ing Jew” and “die Jeue.”

    As the Executive Council of Australian Jewry explained:

    “Although Australia remains a stable, vibrant and tolerant democracy, where Jews face no official discrimination and are free to observe their faith and traditions, anti-Semitism persists. There are segments of Australian society which are not only hostile towards Jews, but actively and publicly express that hatred with words and threatened or actual violent acts. As a result, and by necessity, physical security remains a prime concern for the Jewish community.”

    Jewish leaders have protested the synagogue decision vociferously, arguing that it stifles their freedom of speech and rewards terrorism.

    “The decision is unprecedented,” Rabbi Yehoram Ulman told “Its implications are enormous. It basically implies that no Jewish organization should be allowed to exist in residential areas. It stands to stifle Jewish existence and activity in Sydney and indeed, by creating a precedent, the whole of Australia, and by extension rewarding terrorism.”

    “They have effectively placed in jeopardy the future of Jewish life in Australia,” he said.

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    Toronto police are seeking the public's assistance with identifying a suspect in a road rage incident where a man hit a vehicle’s passenger-side mirror with a baseball bat.

    Const. Allyson Douglas-Cook said police obtained a video of the incident that occurred on August 4 at Strachan Ave. and Lake Shore Blvd. W.

    The two vehicles involved came to a red light at the intersection, when there was a verbal altercation. One man then exited his vehicle and struck the other car’s passenger mirror with a baseball bat. He then got back into this car, which is a white Acura, and drove northbound on Strachan Ave.

    Police are asking anyone with information or who has video footage to contact them.

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    Before Patti Elizabeth’s aunt passed away, she was paying $5,200 a month for five years to live in a single room with a shared kitchenette in her old-age home in Whitby, Ont.

    Elizabeth, 58, fears she’ll never be able to afford to pay that much for a retirement home.

    She says her generation, the baby boomers, are lucky because some of them have pensions. But she worries their kids won’t. Her kids won’t be able to afford to pay for her to be in a home, either.

    “They don’t have the jobs; they don’t have that kind of money. I couldn’t possibly pay that, $5,000 is just an incredible amount of money,” she said. “Who has that?”

    That’s why she finally decided to welcome another of her elderly aunts into her home. She’ll soon move in.

    “I think that we need to be able to do that for everyone,” she said. “It just makes me crazy.”

    As housing prices across Greater Toronto rise and supply falls, the same is true for retirement residences, forcing seniors to deplete their savings, move in with family or move out of the city towards relative affordability.

    These homes — the all-inclusive kind you pay for, not the long-term care buildings you wait for if you’re extremely ill — can afford to name their price in a hot market.

    This year, vacancy rates in Ontario old-age homes reached their lowest point since 2001, dipping to 10.4 per cent, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s latest seniors’ housing report.

    While the total supply of seniors’ housing grew by 2.4 per cent to more than 57,000 spaces in 2017, Ontario’s 75-plus demographic grew by 2.9 per cent. That growth is expected to more than double to six per cent by 2022.

    “Demand is increasing at a faster rate and that’s why we saw the vacancy rates drop in 2017,” said CMHC’s principal market analyst, Jean-Sebastien Michel.


    You’ll need a million dollars to retire: here’s how you do it

    In Toronto, where prices are highest, the report warns that seniors have “very low or even no new supply in the pipeline.”

    And new units are now seldom offered at lower price points. In 2014, 9.3 per cent of all units in the GTA were for rent at a price point below $2,500. Today, only 5.7 per cent of all spaces are available in that price range.

    Michel says new retirement residences are increasingly building two-bedroom units so that they can charge more, making it harder to find smaller spaces.

    “(It’s) going to be a challenge for suppliers to get enough supply into the market,” he added. “In the next five years you will see a large increase in the number of 75-plus people seeking spaces.”

    In the GTA, the majority of all rental spaces for seniors now cost more than $4,000 (54.1 per cent). The average monthly rent for a standard seniors’ living space in the GTA has risen to $4,159 in 2017, up from $3,825 in 2014.

    In Toronto, Etobicoke and Scarborough, a one-bedroom unit runs an average monthly rent of $4,746.

    Deb Hallet, who lives in Oshawa, says her 91-year-old father Syd was repeatedly sent home from the hospital while battling Alzheimer’s after he’d broken his hip when he couldn’t afford a retirement home in Scarborough — where her sisters lived — on two pensions.

    “The cost was ridiculous,” Hallet said, adding that the options for home care were no less expensive.

    As a result, regions such as Niagara, Windsor and Kingston have become destinations for Toronto’s elderly, according to Michel.

    “Toronto actually has a fairly low capture rate in terms of the proportion of the 75-plus population that’s in a seniors’ home,” he said, as the elderly either go outside the city for retirement homes or stay longer with family to avoid the costs.

    These decisions are usually made as a last resort, when seniors can no longer hang onto their independence or lose mobility, Michel says.

    “People like to age in place. They like their home, they like their family being able to come visit them,” he added.

    There are some options for seniors, though they’ve become increasingly limited.

    Pat Irwin started ElderCareCanada to help advise the children of seniors on the various paths forward after her father felt abandoned with no choice in his residence in the late 1990s.

    “I literally put my hand on his grave and said nobody else is going through this where you just don’t know what your options are,” she said.

    Long-term care in nursing homes is subsidized by the province, but Irwin says they’re getting worse and waiting lists are growing while accepting only the severely ill.

    But long-term homes can be the only options for in-limbo low-income seniors who don’t want to move to the “boonies,” according to Irwin.

    Seniors can no longer say no to acceptance into a residence either, which prohibits them from cluttering up lists.

    With nowhere to turn, many are forced to downsize from homes to apartments in order to hire round-the-clock care to the tune of what can be $600 a day, according to Irwin — who says less expensive bare bones residences are “few and far between.”

    Maxime Camerlain, Chartwell’s vice president of real estate integration, says retirement residences must do more than build more units to bring prices down if they want to accommodate a baby boomer generation he thinks will redefine old age in other types of homes if they don’t.

    “We’ve long realized that if we didn’t talk to them, they would turn around and build it themselves,” he said.

    He says residences in Quebec have already successfully done that by offering more choice and low baseline prices with the opportunity to buy into other features, rather than the all-inclusive resort style they’ve tended to use in Ontario.

    While good food and central locations are still major factors, Camerlain says affordability and choice are becoming more important to seniors.

    He promises that Chartwell’s new ‘Sumach’ retirement residence, which is set to be completed in the Regent Park area by 2018, will offer some apartments in the low $2,000s.

    And as life expectancy rises, baby boomers must now prepare to live to 100 instead of 85.

    “You always say you’re going to save your money for a rainy day and I say ‘well it’s raining and is your nest egg enough?’ ” Irwin said.

    “What you’ve got is the polarization that’s everywhere else in our society. You’ve got people with money who can basically do what they like, then you have the other side basically living on Canada pension and not much more.”

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    Donald Trump likes to portray himself as the victim. The purveyors of “fake news,” he says, undermine him because they cannot accept that he won the U.S. presidency.

    His paranoia isn’t entirely misplaced.

    Trump doesn’t always get a square deal. Actions that would be little-noticed in other presidents can be blown out of proportion if Trump is involved.

    Those that fit the dominant narrative — that he is a racist and a boor who won office only because of help from the Russians — are emphasized.

    Those that don’t fit are downplayed.

    Last week, the president made news twice on the immigration front. First he was chastised for throwing his support behind a bill that would cut legal immigration into the U.S. in half over 10 years and give priority to well-educated English speakers.

    His critics accused Trump of bias. A Washington Post analysis noted that Trump’s German-speaking grandfather might have been barred from entry to the U.S. had these criteria been in place when he first arrived in 1885.

    In fact, the immigration bill Trump supports is modelled on Canadian legislation that is generally regarded to be free of racial bias. It would assign points to would-be immigrants for certain skills, including the ability to speak English. Those who pass the point threshold would be eligible to enter.

    The aim is to give priority to immigrants who can adapt quickly and who possess skills the country needs.

    In Canada’s case, the move toward the points system in the 1960s was seen as removing a bias that favoured white European immigrants. But when Trump supports the idea, it is treated as loony nativism. Is that fair?

    Later in the week, Trump made news again. His tough line on immigration has been blamed for the surge of Haitian refugee claimants entering Quebec from the U.S.

    Here, too, the reality is more complicated.

    Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010, both Canada and the U.S. gave temporary refuge to displaced citizens of that country. In the U.S., close to 60,000 Haitians took advantage of this so-called temporary protected status. In Canada, the numbers were much smaller.

    In both countries, the program was to be only temporary. Canada ended its version in August 2016, leaving 3,200 Haitians facing possible deportation. The U.S. was to have ended its version this May, but the Trump administration extended the deadline to next January. Some Haitians affected by this decision are crossing into Canada to try their luck here.

    Does the president’s decision to end a temporary humanitarian program make him a monster? Perhaps. But if so, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is equally monstrous. Yet that is not the rap he faces.

    Finally, another Trump story. This one, from the Washington Post, featured what were said to be transcripts of Trump’s phone calls earlier this year to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

    The Post refers to Trump’s comments as “jaw-dropping.” In fact, most are not. A full reading of his conversation with Pena Nieto shows the American president acting firmly but politely.

    The leaders admit candidly that Trump’s insistence that Mexico pay for a wall along the U.S. southern border has put both presidents in a political bind. Pena Nieto cannot agree to pay if he is to have any credibility with Mexican voters. Yet if Trump is to remain credible with his, Mexico must pay.

    The solution they reach is classic: They agree not to talk about the wall. They also agree that other issues, including trade between the two countries, are far more important.

    Is this nuts?

    Trump’s conversation with Turnbull is more fraught. Turnbull raises the issue of the 1,250 migrants from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan detained by Australia that former president Barack Obama promised to resettle in the U.S.

    Trump replies that he is still against the deal, which he says will make him look like a “dope.” But, he grudgingly says, he will honour it anyway. The two argue. At one point, Trump notes that his conversation with Turnbull is the “most unpleasant” telephone call he has had all day.

    Still, it ends politely. Turnbull thanks Trump. Trump thanks the Australian leader. The two hang up.

    Certainly, it is not the friendliest of interactions. Yet it doesn’t hold a candle to the 1965 confrontation between then president Lyndon Johnson and Canadian prime minister Lester Pearson.

    That’s when Johnson, angered by Pearson’s public criticism of America’s Vietnam War, grabbed the Canadian leader by his lapels and shouted: “Don’t you come into my living room and piss on my rug.”

    Trump, for all his many faults, didn’t go that far.

    Thomas Walkom appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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    If half a dozen deaths in Toronto last week were likely attributable to fatal opioid-related overdoses, how many do you think would have died if those drugs were legal?

    Fewer? I don’t see the logic in that.

    Easier access to drugs and no criminal liability wouldn’t discourage use, surely. And we’re not talking here about a mild mind-bending substance such as pot, which is to become decriminalized in Canada next year. Still stupid – dumb-downing of the populace … but it is the consensus will of the nation – because we seem to be just fine with the stupefying effect of “recreational” marijuana and hash despite all the evidence of young lives going off the rails when teenagers toked to the gills lose interest in school and sports and healthy activities.

    Read more:

    Should Toronto decriminalize all drugs? They city’s medical health officer ready to consider it

    There is a domino effect to falling in thrall with drugs. If you haven’t experienced that reality in your own family, then you’re lucky, that’s all. Or maybe the people you love aren’t part of that sub-sect physiologically and psychologically susceptible to addiction. Most users – 90 per cent, according to the literature – will never be addicted, but 10 per cent strikes me as a really high casualty demographic, no pun intended, and the legalization argument gives those lost souls short shrift.

    But it has made gazillions for the rehab industry.

    Anyway, the subject isn’t dope. It’s exceedingly harmful psychoactive substances such as fentanyl and heroin and methamphetamines, the “hillbilly” version of H, which has seized America in its meth lab grip with heroin deaths tripling nationally since 2010.

    Harm reduction is a fine philosophy. I wish it were that easy. All that money spent on law enforcement and court procedures redirected to “safe” consumption and drug education and health services. Empty out the jails in one fell swoop, turn the addled addicts loose on their own compulsions. Turn also a blind eye to the damage done on users and by users – upon their families, their neighbourhoods, their communities.

    Go ahead and have the discussion, as Toronto’s medical officer of health urged at media briefing, the city reeling from some 80 overdose cases in hospital emergency in the last week of July. For most residents, that spate of drug wreckage had zero impact. Not so for front-line medical staff, including nurses who are often subjected to violence from the drug-crazed, and cops working at ground zero of the crisis, and neighbourhoods such as mine swamped by drug crime.

    At a bar patio a hundred yards from where I live, a gunman shot five people last week, leaving one dead and four wounded. Probably gangbanger related. And what business do you think street gangs are involved in?

    None of that goes away with safe consumption sites – of which there should be many more beyond the three supervised injection sites approved by city council. As long as every community bears its fair share and not just mine, which is already overrun with missions and shelters that turn out their bleary-eyed occupants – so many clearly mentally ill – every morning, leaving them to fare as best they can on the streets. Because everybody has to be somewhere and on occasion that somewhere is in a drug-induced stupor beneath my back steps.

    We’ve lost the “war on drugs” and now some want to make a tawdry peace with it, advocating for total decriminalization because public policy and law enforcement have proven disastrously ineffective.

    Let’s talk about it, at least, perhaps rethink it, encouraged Dr. Eileen De Villa and board of health chair Councillor Joe Mihevc. “It’s clear that our current approach to drugs in this city and this country doesn’t seem to be having the desired impact,” De Villa observed.

    Well, city officials can discuss it all they want, but drug legislation is a federal matter and decriminalizing all those toxic substances would be a bridge too far even for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. That approach may have had positive results in Portugal, often cited as a shining example of wise, evidence-based drug policy, where use is addressed as a medical issue under 2001 reforms. And it’s true, if you cherry-pick statistical data. But that same data shows a 40-per-cent increase in homicides related to drugs, even as overdose deaths have plunged. (Also, contrary to myth, drugs are still not legal in Portugal; those caught with drugs are hauled before a “commission for the dissuasion of drug addiction,” can be fined, placed in a compulsory treatment program and have their passport confiscated. But they won’t have a criminal record.)

    As a municipal example, Oslo—Europe’s death overdose capital—monitors trafficking in the city’s go-to drug district around the docks and central train station, but police have essentially adopted a no-arrest policy for the area. And it’s become a dangerous, crime-infested neighbourhood seeping its miseries outward. Ugly, sordid, a pustule of addiction, junkies like zombies.

    This is the crucial flaw—and fallacy—in the drug decriminalization movement: Users still die, first-timers and junkies. The criminal underbelly of trafficking hasn’t been remotely marginalized. Neighbourhoods deluged by drugs are shot to hell.

    In southern Ontario, the OxyContin frenzy isn’t being driven by prescriptions; the narcotic is a dealer’s nirvana.

    I’ve no enthusiasm for tossing users behind bars. Criminal records are a terrible burden. Users are more to be pitied than punished—and yes, helped in all ways possible. But there has to be some disincentive. Because it’s not just about self-harm and how to save their lives. It’s about the community’s pulse too, the body politic of the city and country in which we live, from the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver to the fringes of Moss Park in Toronto.

    Mostly, I think, it’s about discouraging young people from going down that road before they become hollow-eyed wretches, panhandling—or selling their bodies—because they need, need, need.

    Removing even the frayed leash of illegality is so irrationally and illogically the wrong message for society to send.

    I’ll catch you when you fall, but I won’t lure you to the edge. That’s junk-health.

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    LONDON—A British broadcaster aired a salacious TV documentary today about Diana, the late Princess of Wales, on Sunday despite pleas from her family, friends and former courtiers to scuttle a program that includes clips of Diana discussing her sex life and unhappy marriage with Prince Charles.

    The British broadcaster Channel 4 defended the use of the private musings of Diana as an important historical document and said the recordings offered unique insights into her life as the anniversary of her death approaches later this month.

    Historic as the tapes may or may not be, the Daily Mail tabloid went with the headline: “Charles and Diana ‘didn’t have sex for seven years’: How Prince transformed from being ‘all over his wife like a bad rash’ before their love life ‘fizzled out entirely’ after Harry was born.”

    Critics called the airing of the clips intrusive.

    Dickie Arbiter, author of “On Duty with the Queen,” a book about his years as press secretary at Buckingham Palace, said airing the recordings was “exploitive.”

    “We don’t need to know all these things. He was all over me like a rash? Keep private things private,” Arbiter told The Washington Post.

    Regardless, Arbiter predicted that the show would prove irresistible for many who want to watch Diana face the camera and offer some of her most intimate observations.

    One of Diana’s former body guards, who appeared on the program, said the princess would support the airing of the 25-year-old tapes.

    “She would love it,” Ken Wharfe told the Associated Press.

    “For the first time, she would say, ‘People are actually listening to and hearing what I am saying’,” said Wharfe, who served as Diana’s protection officer between 1986 and 1993.

    The documentary, Diana: In Her Own Words, is timed to the 20th anniversary of her death in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

    The video clips were taped in 1992 and 1993 during sessions at Kensington Palace with a voice coach named Peter Settelen, who was working with the princess as she prepared to play a more public role, soon after she and Charles separated.

    While excerpts of the recordings were previously broadcast in the United States as part of an NBC documentary in 2004, Britain’s Channel 4 served up never-before-seen footage.

    Read more:

    Princess Diana would have ‘loved’ candid documentary, ex-bodyguard says

    Princes William and Harry reveal anguish over last phone call with Princess Diana

    According to the Guardian newspaper, Diana’s brother Earl Spencer pleaded with Channel 4 to shelve the program, reportedly fearing the broadcast could hurt Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.

    “This doesn’t belong in the public domain,” Rosa Monckton, a longtime confidante of Diana, told the Guardian.

    Monckton told the newspaper she believed that Diana treated the taped sessions with her voice coach as informal therapy sessions.

    The princes and the palace have declined to comment.

    According to press accounts in Britain and promotional materials by Channel 4, the program included a few new morsels about the private life of Diana.

    On the tapes, the princess recalls that Charles was an ardent suitor. “He was all over me and I thought, you know, ‘ehh.’ Whereupon he leapt upon me and started kissing me and everything, and I thought, ‘What! This is not what people do.’”

    She said, “He wasn’t consistent with his courting abilities.”

    Diana revealed the couple spent time together on only 13 occasions before they were wed. She also confessed that she believed her bulimia was brought on by a bad match and the stress of isolation.

    A statement from Channel 4 read: “We carefully considered all the material used in the documentary and, though the recordings were made in private, the subjects covered are a matter of public record and provide a unique insight into the preparations Diana undertook to gain a public voice and tell her own personal story. . . . This unique portrait of Diana gives her a voice and places it front and centre at a time when the nation will be reflecting on her life and death.”

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    CHICAGO—After a cross-country manhunt, a Northwestern University professor and University of Oxford employee are in custody for the brutal stabbing death of a 26-year-old hair stylist in Chicago. The case has involved peculiar twists, including a cash donation by one of the two suspects in the victim’s name at a Wisconsin library and a videotaped confession sent to friends. The two men surrendered peacefully in California after eight days as fugitives.

    Northwestern microbiologist Wyndham Lathem and Oxford financial officer, Andrew Warren, were wanted on first-degree murder charges for the death of Trenton James Cornell-Duranleau. Lathem is due in court on Monday.

    Here’s a closer look at the case:


    The body of 26-year-old Cornell-Duranleau was found stabbed to death inside an apartment belonging to Lathem in an upscale neighbourhood near downtown Chicago. The July 27 attack was so violent the blade of the knife believed to have been used in the stabbing was broken, police said.

    Authorities said the building’s front desk received an anonymous call that a crime had been committed in the 10th-floor apartment. When police opened the door, they found Cornell-Duranleau’s body. He had already been dead for at least 12 hours.

    Police said the victim and Lathem had a personal relationship, but they have not elaborated or released a motive.


    The authorities’ primary target in the investigation has been Lathem, who’s been on Northwestern’s faculty since 2007. The 42-year-old is an associate professor of microbiology and immunology, though university officials say he primarily worked in a research lab. Published in top scientific journals, Lathem was a sought-after speaker on pneumonic and bubonic plagues.

    Over the years, he taught medical students or graduate students, though he was not teaching at the time of the crime, said officials with Northwestern, which has campuses in Chicago and suburban Evanston.

    Investigators said Lathem sent a video to friends and relatives apologizing for his involvement in the crime, which he called the “biggest mistake of my life.” The video raised concern among investigators that Lathem might kill himself.

    Lathem was under intensive observation over the weekend in jail, according to authorities.


    Less is known about Warren, who’s British. Warren and Lathem were seen in surveillance video leaving Lathem’s high-rise apartment building the day of the stabbing, but it’s unclear what Warren’s relationship was to the other two men.

    He is in charge of pensions and payroll at the University of Oxford’s Somerville College. Chicago police have said he’s 56 years old although California authorities booked him into jail at 49 years old.

    Warren arrived in the U.S. three days before Cornell-Duranleau’s death and after being reported missing in Great Britain, Chicago police confirmed.


    Cornell-Duranleau, a Michigan native who received a cosmetology licence, moved to Chicago last year. He lived in a neighbourhood just southwest of downtown.

    Family members issued a statement asking for time to grieve before commenting further, saying they’re “deeply saddened” by the loss.

    “It is our hope that the person or persons responsible for the death are brought to justice,” the statement read.

    A funeral will be held Saturday in Lennon, Michigan.


    The day the crime was committed, police say Lathem and Warren drove about 130 kilometres northwest of Chicago to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where one made a $1,000 cash donation to the local library in Cornell-Duranleau’s name. Lake Geneva authorities said the man making the donation didn’t give his name.

    The two eluded police for eight days before their separate surrenders Friday evening in the Bay Area.

    Lathem turned himself in at the Oakland federal building about the same time that Warren turned himself in to police in San Francisco, authorities said. A U.S. Marshals spokesman said surrender negotiations through an attorney began late Friday afternoon.


    Warren is being held at the county jail in San Francisco. It was unclear if he had an attorney.

    Lathem was being held without bail in Alameda County and faced a Monday court appearance.

    One of Lathem’s attorneys, Barry Sheppard, in Chicago, said he helped facilitate the “peaceful and orderly” surrender and expects his client to waive extradition. He said his client is a distinguished scientist with a “fantastic record” of service.

    “I hope that the public doesn’t engage in a rush to judgment against Mr. Lathem,” Sheppard said. “The details of the investigation, as they emerge, will hopefully clarify my client’s role in whatever did in fact occur.”

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    Once camped under mythical bridges, trolls have crawled into every corner of your social life.

    A troll antagonizes people online by deliberately posting inflammatory, irrelevant or offensive comments or other disruptive content, according to Webster’s most recent definition. They aren’t a new phenomenon, but they’re rapidly increasing in numbers and in posts. According to a analysis CBC Marketplace analysis from January 2017, there appears to be a 600-per-cent jump in the past year in “how often Canadians use language online that’s racist, Islamophobic, sexist or otherwise intolerant.”

    As the Star’s social media acrobat, my daily tasks involve extensive scans of trending topics and breaking news on Twitter, and entering dark sub-Reddit holes where troll activity abounds. But when I’m monitoring commenters on the Star’s Facebook page there’s nothing more intriguing and discouraging than seeing how online discourse turns into mutual torment.

    Read more:Finding a way forward in our moment of truths: Age of Unreason

    Our Facebook posts, which are used to notify subscribers and Star readers on the latest news — and hopefully ignite constructive discussion — seem to always transform into a battleground for outspoken commenters to unleash their worst. They aren’t there to find a common understanding, or to share insight, but are intentionally there to cut someone down.

    What’s a day like going through these comments? “You’re fat, go crawl back into a hole!” “Nice photo, your girlfriend is ugly anyways.” “Ew, you like Nickelback, no wonder you’re such a redneck,” are just a few comments I’ve marked as spam. But as hurtful and seemingly off-topic as these comments are, they are the most watched, liked, engaged comment threads.

    In our recent story on Anthony Scaramucci’s removal as White House communications director, our Facebook post reached more than 100,000 people — 10 per cent of whom engaged (commented, liked, shared). Our top comment that amassed 16 replies read, “Like him or not if he doesn’t like what you are doing or saying you are gone. Unlike our PM who doesn’t have the nerve to drop the ‘architect’ and fake citizen Monsef.” The final argument in the chain ended like this: “Lol, you only have 60 friends.”

    Another top comment read, “When is Trump going to get removed . . . he is a clown,” and ended up with this response: “I know this is hard for a Trump supporter to grasp (what with all of you being such dimwitted buffoons and all), but we don’t have a president.”

    On a news page, which should be a platform for elevating conversation and debate, why does it always come back to a primal level?

    “Some people start out well, but then they go off the rails because they get very emotional, they lose track,” says Guy P. Harrison, an award-winning author, psychologist and social media researcher.

    “Once we get angry or fearful … the fear centre takes over, and literally clouds the prefrontal cortex where all our higher reasoning goes,” he continues. “You actually become more animalistic, not so reasoned and thoughtful.”

    He notes trolls cover the political spectrum. “It may seem that conservatives make the best trolls given the success of Donald Trump in the recent U.S. election, but liberals troll, too. Jerks come in all flavours and even the best of us are capable of sometimes veering into troll territory.”

    From my observation, the posts that become most heated involve politics, race, crime, or anything to do with Trump.

    Sometimes those who initiate these hateful online attacks are good people (off the Internet), but because of the online platform, treat these posts like they’re playing a virtual reality game, Harrison continues.

    “They think they’re playing Sims or Second Life or something. Like a game where they can go around tormenting people and abusing people as if they aren’t real people,” he says.

    In a book coming out in November, Think Before You Like: Social Media’s Effect on the Brain and the Tools You Need to Navigate Your NewsfeedThink Before You Like: Social Media’s Effect on the Brain and the Tools You Need to Navigate Your Newsfeed, he also explores the idea of false-consensus effect, a type of cognitive bias where people overestimate the legitimacy or belief of their own opinions, another reason why trolling online is so prevalent.

    “Users online often don’t think they’re being weird or inappropriate, because they think they have a million people behind them,” he says.

    This also feeds into filter bubbles, seen in online groups, friend lists, and societies users surround themselves with, a factor that boosted Donald Trump’s election win, Harrison says.

    “Filter bubbles work so well with Trump supporters. Those fake news stories on Hillary Clinton, like how she sold weapons to ISIS, had million of likes and shares within these little universes.”

    Trump is no stranger to trolling. In a recent New York Times article “Trump Seems Much Better at Branding Opponents Than Marketing Policies,” an interactive map of his tweets shows how his troll-like tactics against political opponents have influenced millions around the world.

    For Hillary Clinton, the words “crooked, terrible!” resonated with millions. Ted Cruz, “lyin, liar, LIARS!” Elizabeth Warren, “goofy.” These words, the Times article states, helped him brand his policies and “propel his candidacy.”

    As humans, we like to think of ourselves as reasonable and logical, but we’re emotional creatures, Harrison says, and we unleash our subconscious activity online. “When you’re trolled, it’s not a time to play chess, it’s a time to fight or run.”

    So how do we deal with the trolls and get back to the discourse?

    Recently, I felt my own potential troll emerge against a Facebook commenter who turned what I thought was a lovely pun into an insult. On a Star post about a man who allegedly bought 18 grills from Home Depot for a lower price and resold them, I decided to add some wordplay. The result?

    “You didn’t just … ‘a grilling in court?’ I hate you,” the comment read.

    Responding with another jab was my first instinct, or even a passive-aggressive comment, but I took Harrison’s advice to take a step back and close the page.

    “If you’re angry, really fired up and all, calm down before you post that comment because you might regret it later,” he shares. “Don’t feed the trolls.”

    Read more in the Age of Unreason series:

    To agree to disagree on racism, sexism has become a cowardly cop-out: Age of Unreason

    Does truth matter in Ontario politics in the Trump era?: Age of Unreason

    Buy now, rationalize later. This is how emotional advertising works: Age of Unreason

    The science of why we won’t stop believing: Age of Unreason

    How minds were changed on pot, same-sex marriage, assisted death and GMOs: Age of Unreason

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    In The Haida Gwaii Lesson: A Strategic Playbook for Indigenous Sovereignty, journalist Mark Dowie examines the Haida Gwaii’s decades-long battle for sovereignty. It’s the story of a how a small, remote Indigenous band on the northern B.C. coast organized, lobbied and blockaded over 50 years to gain control from governments and logging companies over their islands and their resources.

    “Blockades don’t work by themselves,” a former president of the Haida Nation remarked. “There needs to be a legal strategy. But a legal strategy won’t work by itself either. We had the courts, our alliances and blockades all working together while we developed and negotiated a land-use plan. Timing was always at the forefront of our minds, and our timing was good.”

    If it’s the state that is granting permission to extractive corporations to mine or harvest resources from your land, then the state must be your target as well as the corporation. But where and when to challenge the state becomes the central strategic question. The where is likely in the state’s own courts, but that only works if their courts have enough power, enough authority, that political leaders and corporate executives will abide by the courts’ rulings. That is the case in Canada, but by no means everywhere in the world. The when is the all-important question that requires as much deliberation, skill and talent as preparing your case for court.

    One aspect of their strategy that the Haida emphasize is carefully assessing the politics of the government you are dealing with, because where the majority of a legislature or a cabinet stands on economic and social issues will inform your strategy. Throughout the Haida’s long struggle with the province, British Columbia’s politics have swung wildly from right to left and back again. As the premier and legislature shifted suddenly from pro-business to pro-union, and from pro- to anti-environment, the Haida had to shift their strategy, sometimes waiting for the election of a more sympathetic majority, or even longer for courts with more respect for aboriginal rights and sovereignty.

    For almost a decade, the Haida wanted TFL 39, the tree farm licence awarded to Western Forest Products, quashed. This was no small item as the licence covered one-quarter of the land base of Haida Gwaii, and logging in the area had exceeded sustainable rates for years. But the B.C. court told them they would have to prove title before they could summarily quash it themselves. So in March 2002, the Haida Nation filed a case with the Supreme Court of Canada asserting aboriginal rights and title to the land, inland waters, seabed and sea of Haida Gwaii.

    They also demanded compensation for “profits, taxes, stumpage, and royalty fees paid to the province,” and the withdrawal of “all forestry, mineral and other permits and licenses” on the islands. The court was also asked to decide whether or not the province was required to consult with the Haida Nation before granting new TFLs or other extraction permits to off-island interests.

    In court, aligned against the Haida with Weyerhaeuser and big timber were the governments of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, alongside the Business Council of British Columbia, the Cattlemen’s Association and several mining companies. In a jointly signed brief, these “friends of the court” argued that economies would fail and livelihoods would be ruined if they were required to consult with the Haida before proceeding with their work on Haida Gwaii.

    One of the wisest things the Haida have done is to send one of their own through law school, and, once accredited, to send her back to Ottawa to press the Supreme Court for title. “The cedar tree is our sister,” a tall and striking Terri-Lynn Williams told the seven justices before her, “providing for and sustaining our culture.” Co-counsel Louise Mandell would later comment on the tremendous advantage of having a Haida lawyer, rather than herself, argue this landmark case:

    “I don’t think the court ever had the facts rendered the way she presented them … from a Haida perspective. I couldn’t do that. I’m not aboriginal. Terri was able to refer to her client, the Haida, her own people, in a personal sense, as in “I” and “we” and “our,” and render the facts from her perspective rather than the way the court is used to. It was a first-time beautiful moment for advocacy, to see an aboriginal attorney speaking about their own rights, their own territory, and their own people, attempting as counsel to persuade the court to see it from their perspective.”

    As the Haida awaited a decision from Ottawa, the province of British Columbia stepped forward and offered to release 20 per cent of Haida Gwaii to the Haida, in the form of protected areas. In return, the Haida were to relinquish title to the rest of the archipelago. The president of the CHN [Council of the Haida Nation] dismissed the offer as “mischief … They are not offering us 20 per cent of their land,” he said. “They are asking us to give them 80 per cent of our land … Our people come from every part of these islands. There is no place we can give up.” The Haida ignored the provincial offer and initiated a “Community Planning Forum” with industry leaders, the province and island communities.

    Discussions went on for 18 months, two to three days per meeting. The purpose of the meetings was to address power imbalances on the islands and decide how power should work there in the future. Twenty-nine people participated, representing 15 different interests and sectors. Nine of the delegates were Haida. In over 40 full days of public meetings, topics ranged from protected areas, to old-growth retention, ecosystem integrity, spiritual and cultural values, economic well-being, cedar, tourism and community.

    Also running concurrent to the Supreme Court’s deliberations was an event in Vancouver billed as the Turning Point Conference. Thirteen Pacific coastal First Nations, including the Haida, met and signed a declaration which read in part, “The connection of land and sea with the people has given rise to our ancient northwest cultures. The life force [of this region] is under threat like never before, and all people must be held accountable.” The Turning Point Declaration eventually led to the protection of the Great Bear Rainforest (GBR), the lush, temperate forest that borders the entire coast of British Columbia. It also gave rise to a new coalition called Coastal First Nations (CFN), which remains a powerful negotiating forum for the Haida and their neighbours on the Pacific coast. CFN regards itself as the ultimate guardians of the GBR.

    In June 2003, the federal and provincial governments filed separate counterstatements to the 2002 Haida title case. Both argued that the Haida’s case was “baseless” and should be dismissed. Both said that the Council of the Haida Nation had no valid claim to the islands. The provincial government even denied the existence of a Haida Nation, and despite convincing archeological evidence to the contrary, said that prior to 1846 the islands were never occupied or possessed communally and exclusively by a single unified aboriginal group.

    The province did admit that people who all spoke the Haida language lived on the islands at the time of European contact, but they “lived in small autonomous family groups which were widely dispersed and not politically unified or organized.” As if it were some mere coincidence of nature that they spoke the same language. The federal government did recognize the Haida Nation’s existence, but denied it had claim to the islands.

    Title, both governments argued, could only be claimed by an individual village “or resource-gathering site held by an autonomous kin group … rather than the Haida Nation as a whole.” And title, they said, could “never [be] extended to the whole of the Claim Area.” Allowing title to individual native settlements — “small spots” — while denying it to hunting grounds, fisheries, and intervillage space, has been a common practice of imperial governments throughout the world. The Haida contested the idea, on Haida Gwaii and everywhere else, and they are committed to the principle that the land and water between settlements is as vital to island and forest peoples’ livelihoods as their homes and villages, and thereby deserve to be included under aboriginal title.

    Both governments, in Ottawa and Victoria, also argued that “because the original inhabitants of [so many of ] these villages abandoned them long ago, their descendants lost any claim to these lands.” Virtually none of the vacant villages on Haida Gwaii were “abandoned”; their entire populations were wiped out suddenly by smallpox. There are mass graves of rapidly buried victims to prove that at most of the village sites, which were never resettled for fear that the virus was still there.

    Both federal and provincial governments claimed a legal right to control all resources on the islands, and argued that the Haida people have suffered no hardships as a consequence of their extraction, or of related government actions. “Further, the Plaintiffs have, instead of bringing suit in a timely fashion, slept on their alleged rights” — i.e., they were late.

    The province argued that any financial claims “must be against the federal government, because all aboriginal peoples are wards of the Crown, and any responsibility of the Crown to provide for the welfare and protection of native peoples is, as a matter of constitutional law, fundamentally an obligation of the Crown.” (The provincial government of British Columbia has no problem describing itself as “the Crown” when it has need to flex its power.) The federal government disagreed, saying that the province was liable because it received all financial benefits (stumpage) from the extraction of resources on the islands.

    For two long years, the Haida assumed that both governments were deaf to their oral traditions and blind to their archeological ruins, thanks to the country’s and province’s disregard of overwhelming evidence that the Haida people had hunted, fished and cultivated the land, water and resources of Haida Gwaii for thousands of years. Canada and its westernmost province were, in effect, refusing to recognize the very existence of a unique and productive civilization, and to acknowledge the resilience, knowledge, capabilities and expertise that qualified the Haida to manage their own land and govern their own nation.

    Then, on Nov. 18, 2004, when the Haida truly believed that Ottawa had abandoned them, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a surprising judgment in Haida Nation v. British Columbia, ruling unanimously (7-0) that the province must consult with the Haida before issuing tree farm licences (or, for that matter, any extractive licences). “Put simply, Canada’s aboriginal peoples were here when Europeans came, and were never conquered,” wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. “Honourable negotiation implies a duty to consult with Aboriginal claimants and conclude an honourable agreement reflecting the claimants’ inherent rights … Where the government has knowledge of an asserted Aboriginal right or title, it must consult the Aboriginal peoples on how the exploitation of the land should proceed.”

    And McLachlin admonished the province for presenting “an impoverished vision of the honour of the Crown. The Crown, acting honourably, cannot cavalierly run roughshod over Aboriginal interests where claims affecting these interests are being seriously pursued in the process of treaty negotiation and proof … When the distant goal of proof is finally reached, the Aboriginal peoples may find their land and resources changed and denuded. This is not reconciliation. Nor is it honourable.”

    Terri-Lynn Williams couldn’t have worded that opinion better herself. One First Nation chief commended her work and described the outcome as “a tremendous victory felt throughout the indigenous world.”

    The Haida Gwaii Lesson will be in stores Aug. 15, and is available through


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    Far-right German activist and Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel has died at the age of 78, according to media reports.

    CBC says Zundel died Sunday at home in Germany's Black Forest region after he was found unconscious by his sister Sigrid.

    The cause of death was a heart attack, according to his wife, Ingrid. She said that Zundel died at the home in the Black Forest in Germany where he was born.

    Born in Germany in 1939, Zundel immigrated to Canada in 1958 and for decades promoted Nazi propaganda through pamphlets and a website devoted to denying the Holocaust.

    While he was living in Toronto and Montreal, Canadian officials twice rejected Zundel's attempts to obtain Canadian citizenship, and he moved to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He was deported to Canada from the U.S. in 2003 for alleged immigration violations.

    The literature he published was twice ruled as hateful and in 2005, Zundel was declared a national security threat by a Federal Court judge, clearing the way for his deportation to Germany that year.

    In February 2007, Zundel was convicted in Germany for 14 counts of inciting hatred for years of anti-Semitic activities, including contributing to a website devoted to denying the Holocaust.

    Upon his conviction in Germany in 2007, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress called Zundel “one of the most renowned hate-mongers.”

    “That will be his final epitaph,” Bernie Farber said.

    He spent an additional number of years behind bars on the German warrant after having been deported from the United States for alleged immigration violations.

    He was released in 2010.

    Zundel's supporters were known to argue that he was exercising his right to free speech.

    Supporters outside the prison in Mannheim called Zundel “a brave man” and “a victim of justice,” while some maintained there still was no evidence that anyone was gassed to death at Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.

    In March, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's administrative appeals office, denied an application of E.C.Z., whose initials and supporting details led the Washington Post to conclude it was Zundel.

    Zundel had applied for an immigrant visa to move to the United States with his wife of 16 years, a U.S. citizen. But he was classified as inadmissible because he has been convicted of foreign crimes for which the sentence was five years or more.

    His controversial works continued to be felt even after his deportation. In March, Indigo Books & Music pulled two books from its online inventory that praise Hitler and question the Holocaust.

    One of the books, The Hitler We Loved and Why, was co-written by Zundel under the pseudonym Christof Friedrich.

    With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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    A dinner outing turned into a scene from an action movie on Friday night when Toronto man Andreas Katsouris was swarmed in a Nairobi street by men who detained him, took his cell phones and demanded he take them to a colleague.

    “I was on my way to dinner on Friday night when five or six tough looking guys wearing street clothes surrounded me, and then pretty soon there were a dozen of them,” Katsouris said.

    “I saw one of their cell phones and there was a photo of me on it. They said they had been looking for me.”

    The men, who identified themselves as police, asked Katsouris to bring them to his American co-worker, John Aristotle Phillips.

    He was given only a few minutes to call his wife before his two phones and laptop were taken from him, he told the Star over the phone, from Delft, Netherlands where he has since been reunited with his wife and daughter.

    When the officers arrived at Katsouris’ apartment, they asked him and Phillips to pack their bags. He said when they both protested the officers became aggressive and began pushing and shoving them.

    Phillips was then handcuffed.

    “One guy also grabbed the glasses off my face. I’m pretty much blind without my glasses, and then I was like ‘OK we don’t have to do things this way,’ and then he put them back on.”

    The officers also denied Katsouris and Phillips the chance to contact lawyers or access to consular assistance, he said. Representatives for the Kenyan government did not immediately respond to Canadian Press requests for comment.

    Katsouris, who had been working on the opposition campaign for Kenya’s presidential election when he was apprehended, packed his belongings and got into the officers’ vehicle. He said Phillips later told him he was put into the back of another car with a man holding a “large machine gun.” Phillips’s handcuffs were later removed.

    The officers would not answer Katsouris’ questions about where they were going or why they were being held.

    “I’m sitting in the car with four or five guys, and two of them are sitting on either side of me and it is pitch black outside. In terms of kidnapping and if I was going to be killed, it definitely crossed my mind,” he said.

    After about a half an hour of driving, Katsouris said the tension eased. Five hours later he was at the airport, where he and Phillips were brought into a room and told they were being deported because of a violation of their visas.

    Katsouris said officers produced no documentation to justify his detention.

    He was put on a connecting flight to Toronto, which first stopped at Frankfurt Airport, where he then took a train to Delft.

    “It was 23 hours of boredom and about an hour of fear,” he said.

    Katsouris said he and Phillips both had tourist visas, which are not sufficient for their employment in Kenya, but he believes the deportation was political. Katsouris is senior vice-president of global services at Aristotle Inc., a political consulting firm that provides various services to campaigns, including strategy and data analysis. Phillips is the company’s CEO.

    Katsouris said he saw multiple reports from Kenyan media that a polling station from his opposition campaign was vandalized while he was detained.

    “I saw a smashed up office. And there were multiple eye-witnesses that said computers were broken and some of them stolen.”

    James Orengo, a senior member of the opposition National Super Alliance, told The Associated Press that the detention of Katsouris and Phillips happened around the same time that armed and masked police raided an opposition vote-counting centre, intimidating workers and seizing equipment.

    Kenyan police denied allegations that officers broke into political party offices on Friday, saying no report of a burglary has been made to any police station.

    The lead-up to Tuesday’s election has been contentious.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, is up against longtime opposition leader Odinga, the son of the country’s first vice-president.

    Katsouris and Phillips have been in Nairobi since June assisting opposition candidate Odinga. They also became involved in the election because they believed it had the potential for irregularities.

    Odinga has run unsuccessfully in three previous elections.

    Katsouris said before he was deported his two phones, one Canadian and the other he got in Kenya, along with his company laptop, were taken by the officers. He said he saw them reading his messages and emails that were between other campaign employees.

    The phones were given back to him, but the Kenyan phone was returned without a SIM card.

    Kenyan officials also kept his company laptop, which contains emails and documents from the opposition campaign.

    “It’s completely inappropriate for a supposed democratic election,” said Katsouris.

    For now he will be spending time with his wife, Jennifer Mary Bell, and his 14-year-old daughter, who wasn’t aware of the situation until her father surprised her in Delft.

    “I made the decision not to tell her even though she’s old enough to understand. But I didn’t want to tell her anything that I didn’t know for sure,” Bell said.

    Bell said when she got the call from her husband she remained calm and tried to think rationally. “This kind of thing is always a possibility with his kind of work.”

    She then contacted her MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith and global affairs officials who assisted with the deportation process.

    The family will be returning to their home in Toronto on Saturday.

    With files from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press

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    In a few weeks, thousands of Ontario university and college students will start their first full academic year since the province made it mandatory for post-secondary schools to have protocols in place for dealing with allegations of sexual assault.

    That legislation was prompted by complex and sometimes fierce debate over the right to decide who knows about a sex assault allegation, the schools’ legal and ethical responsibilities to keep their communities safe and the fairness and adequacy of on-campus investigations.

    Even now, with the new policies in place, that debate continues as sexual assault survivors say the guidelines for reporting, investigating and disciplining sexual assaults have fallen short, while critics insist campus officials are unqualified to take on the roles of police and the courts.

    “It’s a good start, but it doesn’t go far enough to guarantee anything that would really change the situation for survivors,” said Tamsyn Riddle, a University of Toronto student who reported her alleged sexual assault to school officials in 2015 and thinks Ontario’s legislation is too vague.

    “U of T now has a new policy, but . . . it doesn’t change anything in terms of guaranteeing that survivors will be taken seriously or that their cases will be dealt with quickly or that perpetrators will be punished.”

    Colleges and universities are required to have policies and offer training to staff, but the province does not specify what those policies are or what training should include.

    Read more:

    Canadian post-secondary schools failing sex assault victims

    No decision on second trial in York University sex assault allegations

    Student alleges University of Toronto mishandled sex assault complaint

    A Star survey of a dozen large universities across Ontario found that the policies are generally similar in their language about reporting sexual assaults. Students who say they have been sexually assaulted are typically referred to a designated staff member or office, where they can choose to make a formal report.

    Then, if the student wishes and/or the school officials deem it necessary, an investigation begins.

    At universities surveyed by the Star, those investigations are typically performed by school administrators, external mediators, lawyers, human resource professionals or a combination of those. Decisions about discipline are most often handled by high-ranking university staff or student conduct committees.

    Punishments for alleged student assailants can typically range from an apology to mandated training, to restrictions on where they can go on campus, to a full expulsion.

    What’s lacking from the new policies is external oversight to ensure complaints are investigated, said Mandi Gray, who told York University officials in 2015 that she had been sexually assaulted by a fellow student.

    “I have little faith that the legislation will provide a better response to those seeking to report sexual assault on campus,” she said.

    If a student wants police to get involved in their case, most policies say campus officials will help them through that process. But if the reporting student asks that police not be called, the university will honour that request, barring special situations like an “imminent” safety risk, most of the policies say.

    “If a victim does not want to pursue the case, then that’s their right. I think protecting confidentiality is a well-regarded principle,” said Deb Matthews, Ontario’s minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.

    Critics, however, say that regardless of what a complainant asks for, institutions like colleges and universities have a legal and ethical responsibility to report allegations of sexual assault to the police, to prevent future incidents, to bring perpetrators to justice or to ensure that both victims’ and accused persons’ rights are respected.

    “If someone suspects there has been a breach of the Criminal Code, the police should be involved,” said Glenn French, president of the Canadian Initiative on Workplace Violence, when asked how employers handle internal sexual assault reports.

    “A simple consultation with the police might be helpful (to say), ‘Here are the circumstances. Should I be reporting this in a more robust way?’ rather than saying, ‘No, I’m not going to report,’ and waiting for another assault.”

    The Toronto Police Service is supportive of whatever choice is made — whether or not they contact police, said a spokesperson, Meaghan Gray.

    “However, even if a survivor does not want to proceed with a case, we see great value in sharing information with us. (It) could help us identify trends, public safety threats, links to cases from surrounding areas,” Gray said. “Most importantly, we could use our relationships with community agencies to ensure the survivor gets the support she needs.”

    But Joseph Neuberger, a Toronto lawyer who has represented three students accused of sexual assault in separate cases at Ontario universities, says schools should always report sexual assault allegations to police. If police ask to interview the complainant, the student can decide at that point whether or not to speak to officers, Neuberger said.

    Students accused of sexual assault may not necessarily be afforded the same legal rights during a university investigation as they would during a legal investigation or in court, Neuberger said, though the academic punishments like expulsion can be as serious as being charged with a crime.

    “In order to protect their own integrity and liability, I think it’s incumbent upon (universities) to contact the appropriate authority,” Neuberger said.

    University sexual assault policies seen by the Star all included the caveat that a complainant’s case may be brought to police if someone involved in the case — or the safety of a member of the “university community” — is at risk, or if legal investigation is “required by law” because the victim is a minor.

    “That’s very rare,” said Ryan Flannagan, the University of Windsor’s associate vice-president of student experience. Under Windsor’s policy, he would be called upon to take part in investigations into alleged sexual assaults on campus.

    “It would be fairly extraordinary circumstances where we would not follow the direction of a survivor (and call the police),” Flannagan said.

    But saying it’s up to university staff to decide what constitutes a serious risk raises questions about how that decision is made, French said.

    “What protocols or what means are you using to decide when you do and when you don’t report?” French asked. “If you’re not trained to do a robust or comprehensive threat assessment of that individual or that circumstance, then you’re just guessing.”

    Advocates argue sexual assault survivors might not want police or the courts involved in their case for many reasons: They may worry police will not believe them. They may worry about being confronted by myths about how a survivor “should” react. They may have seen other cases where sexual assault victims have been subjected to tough cross-examination, their characters scrutinized and called into question.

    The criminal justice system is failing on the issue of sexual assault, said Lenore Lukasik-Foss, director of the Sexual Assault Centre (Hamilton and Area). And students who have survived a sexual assault are not always looking for the kind of justice that police and the courts can provide.

    “We have survivors who are looking for alternatives (to police) and some kind of accountability. But we (also) know survivors on campus are looking for ways to be safe and to attend classes and be able to resume their lives,” Lukasik-Foss said.

    Universities are uniquely positioned to meet some of the specific requests or needs of sexual assault survivors, several sexual assault experts and university officials said.

    “Often student survivors say, ‘All that I need is to never see this (assailant) again . . . I want to be able to be in my dorm and not be bothered by the individual and be reminded of what happened,’ ” said Gabrielle Ross-Marquette, a spokesperson for an organization called METRAC that works to end violence against women.

    “That’s not necessarily something that the courts can do, or it’s a long and arduous process (in the courts) for something that a university could accommodate through different measures.”

    Asked if she believes university staff could adequately conduct investigations into criminal allegations, Matthews said she was confident schools could put the best possible policies in place.

    “They’ve got really good capacity to put really good people in those roles that make those decisions. I think campuses really do have the ability to do this as well as can humanly be done,” Matthews said.

    Even those universities that have had some form of sexual assault policy for years have come under fire from survivors who say their own reports of sexual assault were mishandled in some way by their schools.

    At least three human rights complaints have been filed against Ontario universities in the past two years, all relating to the way in which cases were handled by officials.

    “I have yet to meet someone who feels that their case was handled appropriately (by a university),” said Mandi Gray, who recently settled a human rights complaint against York University that alleged, among other things, that the school discriminated against her when she reported being sexually assaulted by a fellow student in 2015.

    “Even when the perpetrator is found to have committed a sexual assault — rarely does it result in punishment.”

    Mustafa Ururyar, the man accused of sexually assaulting Gray, was convicted of the crime in 2016. His conviction was overturned on appeal last month. There has been no decision on whether he will face a retrial. Ururyar has said in court that he is innocent.

    The University of Toronto took steps to ensure Riddle would not cross paths with her alleged assailant around campus, but the man was allowed by the university to enroll in the same large classes as her and he broke several of the restrictions put in place, Riddle alleges in her ongoing human rights complaint against the school.

    Riddle, one of two University of Toronto students who have accused the man of sexually assaulting them on campus, told the Star she was concerned that her alleged assailant might assault someone else in future.

    The first university official Riddle spoke with about her assault advised her not to go to police “because he had seen students who had done that and it didn’t work out well for them,” Riddle told the Star.

    Riddle chose not to go to police and says that, given the difficulties many survivors have with the criminal justice process, she is glad she did not.

    The University of Toronto said it could not comment on any aspect of Riddle’s human rights complaint and refused to tell the Star whether it had reported the incidents to police.

    The man identified by Riddle did not respond to multiple requests for comment by the Star sent to him over the course of several weeks.

    Sexual assault policies are expected to be revisited every three years and amended over time, Matthews said.

    “I’m not going to pretend that it’s going to be perfect the first go ’round. This is an evolving issue and I’m sure that each institution in the next iteration will have changes they want to make based on the experience of the first three years.”

    0 0

    HALIFAX—NHL superstar Sidney Crosby said it’s “just a number,” as he turned 30 on Monday and brandished the Stanley Cup in a parade that wound through Halifax in his native Nova Scotia.

    Crosby rode on the back of a white pickup truck as marshal of the city’s annual Natal Day parade, waving to thousands of fans who lined the streets for a glimpse of “Sid the Kid” and the revered cup.

    Crosby told reporters he’d enjoy the celebrations before setting his sights on training camp with the Pittsburgh Penguins later this month. The team will be making a bid for its third straight championship.

    “I have a pretty good understanding of how hard two is, so I don’t imagine what three must be like. I’d love to find out,” Crosby said.

    “It’s gonna be tough but we’re going to training camp with that in mind so it’ll be a big challenge but, you know, why not?”

    The three-time Stanley Cup champ and future Hall of Famer said NHL hockey just keeps getting faster, “And I like that.”

    He smiled when asked if, at 30, he has any grey hairs yet.

    Read more:

    Sidney Crosby at 30: The can’t-miss kid who didn’t

    Crosby tuned out concussion debate during NHL playoffs

    Crosby fans celebrate Cup win with pilgrimage to famous dryer

    “Lots,” he said to laughter from the room. “Greys and whites.”

    Crosby, who is entering his 13th season in the league, said he fully realizes what the milestone age signifies for an athlete.

    “It’s amazing how fast time goes by,” he said. “It makes you realize that it doesn’t get any easier and that’s why things like this (parade) — you have to enjoy it.”

    And while he doesn’t plan to change his approach to playing the game yet, Crosby said there are certain realities that have to be considered.

    “You have to understand that rest becomes a little more important. I’ve always kind of just adjusted and tried to evaluate things and I’ll do the same.”

    Dressed in a ball cap, shorts and a white Penguins 2017 Stanley Cup T-shirt, a relaxed Crosby said having a few days with the cup never gets old.

    Crosby took the cup to Halifax hospitals for children and veterans on Sunday, and said he celebrated with it that night with family and friends at his home in Enfield, N.S., outside of Halifax. Crosby declined to give details, saying with a grin reporters could probably “put two and two together.”

    “The best part about it is to see everyone’s reaction (to the cup) regardless of whether they are a hockey fan or not,” he said.

    As Crosby made his way to a truck waiting to take him to the parade, he was surrounded by a group of young children from a local hockey camp. He bent down and showed them the cup.

    “Thank you Sidney Crosby” they chimed with delight. Another child yelled out “We love you Sidney Crosby.”

    People lining the parade route sang Happy Birthday as Crosby passed, behind a marching band at the front of the parade.

    It began in Halifax’s historic north end, and then across a harbour bridge to Dartmouth. Crosby rode on the back of a white pick up truck, waving to the crowd with one hand and steadying the large silver cup with the other.

    The crowd cheered when the marching band played a rendition of Hockey Night in Canada.

    Parade-goer Colin Roberts, 12, plays peewee hockey and said Crosby is a role model.

    “He’s so good but he stays low key. He signs autographs.”

    Roberts’ nine-year-old brother, Eric, said Crosby is also kind.

    “He’s such a good player but he also takes the time to visit old folks’ homes.”

    Sana Rehan said she became a Crosby fan after watching him play in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

    “He’s so good, on and off the ice. He’s so humble and such a strong work ethic.”

    Rehan said her family has bonded over hockey and watching Crosby ever since, and Monday was the first time they saw the hockey star — and the Stanley Cup — in person.

    “He’s the best player in the world and we all became fans after that (Olympic) game.”

    Her 12-year-old brother Ahmad, who will play bantam hockey next year, said Crosby made him want to play hockey.

    “He’s got such skill. It makes you want to cheer for him.”

    Monday afternoon, Crosby was to take the cup to Rimouski, Que., where he played as a teenager in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

    He said although he has visited Rimouski since turning pro, it’s the first time with the cup.

    “That’s a place where I have a lot of great memories and I’m sure people will be pretty happy to see it.”

    0 0

    BRIDGEWATER, N.J.—U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence has pushed back against a news report suggesting he is laying groundwork for a possible presidential bid in 2020 if President Donald Trump does not run.

    In a statement released by the White House, Pence said Sunday’s story in the New York Times“is disgraceful and offensive to me, my family, and our entire team.” He added that “the allegations in this article are categorically false.”

    The formal rebuttal of a news report by the vice-president was an unusual move. In it, Pence also said his team will “focus all our efforts to advance the president’s agenda and see him re-elected in 2020.”

    Read more: Read the New York Times story that prompted Mike Pence’s response

    The report details efforts of several Republicans looking ahead to 2020, calling it a “shadow campaign.” It notes Pence’s political schedule and active fundraising, though it also says unnamed advisers have signalled that he’d only run if Trump doesn’t.

    Trump, meanwhile, insisted his support is stronger than ever. In a flurry of early morning tweets Monday, Trump says “the Trump base far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite some phoney Fake News polling).” He specifically criticized the “failing @nytimes.”

    The New York Times article noted Pence has set up a fundraising committee. Called the Great America Committee, it can accept checks of up to $5,000 U.S. from individual donors. Pence raised about $1 million at a Washington fundraiser last month, attended by dozens of lawmakers and featuring remarks from White House adviser Ivanka Trump.

    Trump has not suggested he won’t seek a second term. But his first six months in office have been turbulent, marked by staff infighting, legislative struggles and a series of investigations.

    White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway also dismissed the report and said Pence is readying to run in 2020 “for re-election as vice-president.”

    “Vice-President Pence is a very loyal, very dutiful, but also incredibly effective vice-president, and active vice-president, with this president,” said Conway on ABC’s This Week. “He is a peer to the president in the West Wing.”

    New York Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said in an emailed statement: “We are confident in the accuracy of our reporting and will let the story speak for itself.”

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