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    CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—Chaos and violence turned to tragedy Saturday as hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members — planning to stage what they described as their largest rally in decades to “take America back” — clashed with counterprotesters in the streets and a car plowed into crowds, leaving one person dead and 19 others injured.

    Hours later, two state police officers died when their helicopter crashed at the outskirts of town. Officials identified them as Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Virginia, who was the pilot, and H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian, Virginia, who was a passenger. State police said their Bell 407 helicopter was assisting with the unrest in Charlottesville. Bates died one day before his 41st birthday; Cullen was 48.

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who had declared a state of emergency in the morning, said at an evening news conference that he had a message for “all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today: Go home. You are not wanted in this great commonwealth.”

    Maurice Jones, Charlottesville’s African-American city manager, looked stricken as he spoke. “Hate came to our town today in a way that we had feared but we had never really let ourselves imagine would,” he said.

    State and local officials declined to take reporters’ questions and abruptly left after making statements.

    In an emergency meeting Saturday evening, the Charlottesville City Council voted unanimously to give police the power to enact a curfew or otherwise restrict assembly as necessary to protect public safety.

    Read more:

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    Trump slow to respond to Charlottesville violence

    Chanting ‘blood and soil’ and ‘white lives matter,’ white nationalists march in Charlottesville

    Video recorded at the scene of the car crash shows a 2010 gray Dodge Challenger accelerating into crowds on a pedestrian mall, sending bodies flying — and then reversing at high speed, hitting yet more people. Witnesses said the street was filled with people opposed to the white nationalists who had come to town bearing Confederate flags and anti- Semitic epithets.

    A 32-year-old woman was killed, according to police, who said they were investigating the crash as a criminal homicide.

    The driver of the Challenger, James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Ohio, was arrested and charged with one count of second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit-and-run attended failure to stop with injury, police said. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail Superintendent Martin Kumer said. Police made three other arrests in connection with violence earlier in the day, on charges of assault and battery, disorderly conduct and carrying a concealed weapon.

    Records show Fields last lived in Maumee, Ohio, about 24 kilometres southwest of Toledo.

    Fields’s father was killed by a drunk driver a few months before the boy’s birth, according to an uncle who spoke on the condition of anonymity. His father left him money that the uncle kept in a trust until Fields reached adulthood.

    “When he turned 18, he demanded his money, and that was the last I had any contact with him,” the uncle said.

    Fields, he said, grew up mostly in Northern Kentucky, where he’d been raised by a single mother who was a paraplegic. The uncle, who saw Fields mostly at family gatherings, described his nephew as “not really friendly, more subdued.”

    He wouldn’t comment on his reaction to the charges against Fields.

    “I really don’t want to get into that,” he said. “I’m not going to slam my nephew or anybody in my family without knowing what the hell happened.”

    Angela Taylor, a spokesperson for the University of Virginia Medical Center, said 19 others were brought to the hospital in the early afternoon after the car barreled through the pedestrian mall. Five were in critical condition as of Saturday evening. Another 14 people were hurt in street brawls, city officials said.

    Earlier, police evacuated a downtown park as rallygoers and counterprotesters traded blows and hurled bottles and chemical irritants at one another, putting an end to the noon rally before it officially began.

    Despite the decision to quash the rally, clashes continued on side streets and throughout downtown, including the pedestrian mall at Water and Fourth streets where the Challenger slammed into counterprotesters and two other cars in the early afternoon, sending bystanders running and screaming.

    “I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here,” Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer (D) said in a tweet. “I urge all people of good will — go home.”

    Elected leaders in Virginia and elsewhere urged peace, blasting the white supremacist views on display in Charlottesville as ugly. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the display “repugnant.”

    But U.S. President Donald Trump, known for his rapid-fire tweets, remained silent throughout the morning. It was after 1 p.m. when he weighed in, writing on Twitter: “We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!”

    In brief remarks at a late afternoon news conference in New Jersey to discuss veterans’ health care, Trump said he was following the events in Charlottesville closely. “The hate and the division must stop and must stop right now,” Trump said, without specifically mentioning white nationalists or their views. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides. On many sides.”

    Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, a Trump supporter who was in Charlottesville on Saturday, quickly replied. “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists,” he wrote.

    Dozens of the white nationalists in Charlottesville were wearing red Make America Great Again hats. Asked by a reporter in New Jersey whether he wanted the support of white nationalists, Trump did not respond.

    Even as crowds began to thin Saturday afternoon, the town remained unsettled and on edge. Onlookers were deeply shaken at the pedestrian mall, where ambulances had arrived to treat those injured by the car.

    Chan Williams, 22, was among the counterprotesters at the pedestrian mall, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Whose streets? Our streets!” The marchers blocked traffic, but Williams said drivers weren’t annoyed. Instead, she said, they waved or honked in support.

    So when she heard a car engine rev up and saw the people in front of her dodging a moving car, she didn’t know what to think.

    “I saw the car hit bodies, legs in the air,” she said. “You try to grab the people closest to you and take shelter.”

    Williams and friend George Halliday ducked into a shop with an open door and called their mothers immediately. An hour later, the two were still visibly upset.

    “I just saw shoes on the road,” Halliday, 20, said. “It all happened in two seconds.”

    Saturday’s Unite the Right rally was meant to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The city of Charlottesville voted to remove the statue earlier this year, but it remains in Emancipation Park, formerly known as Lee Park, pending a judge’s ruling expected later this month.

    Tensions began to escalate Friday night as hundreds of white nationalists marched through the U-Va.’s campus, chanting “White lives matter,” “You will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us.”

    They were met by counterprotesters at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson, who founded the university. One counterprotester apparently deployed a chemical spray, which sent about a dozen rallygoers seeking medical assistance.

    On Saturday morning, people in combat gear — some wearing bicycle and motorcycle helmets and carrying clubs, sticks and makeshift shields — fought one another on downtown streets, with little apparent police interference. Both sides sprayed chemical irritants and hurled plastic bottles through the air.

    A large contingent of Charlottesville police officers and Virginia State Police troopers in riot gear were stationed on side streets and at nearby barricades but did nothing to break up the melee until about 11:40 a.m. Using megaphones, police then declared an unlawful assembly and gave a five-minute warning to leave Emancipation Park.

    “The worst part is that people got hurt and the police stood by and didn’t do a g------ thing,” said David Copper, 70, of Staunton, Va.

    State Del. David Toscano, D-Charlottesville, minority leader of Virginia’s House, praised the response by Charlottesville and state police.

    Asked why police did not act sooner to intervene as violence unfolded, Toscano said he could not comment. “But they trained very hard for this, and it might have been that they were waiting for a more effective time to get people out” of Emancipation Park, he said.

    By early afternoon, hundreds of rallygoers had made their way to a larger park two miles to the north. Duke, speaking to the crowd, said that European Americans are “being ethnically cleansed within our own nation” and called Saturday’s events “the first step toward taking America back.”

    White nationalist leader Richard Spencer also addressed the group, urging people to disperse. But he promised they would return for a future demonstration, blaming Saturday’s violence on counterprotesters.

    In an interview, Spencer said he was “beyond outraged” the police had declared the planned rally an “unlawful assembly.”

    “I never before thought that I would have my country cracking down on me and on free speech,” he said. “We were lawfully and peacefully assembled. We came in peace, and the state cracked down.”

    He said that counterprotesters attacked rallygoers but also acknowledged that “maybe someone threw a first punch on our side. Maybe that happened. I obviously didn’t see everything.”

    By 11 a.m., several fully armed militias and hundreds of right-wing rallygoers had poured into the small downtown park that was to be the site of the rally.

    Counterprotesters held “Black Lives Matter” signs and placards expressing support for equality and love as they faced rallygoers who waved Confederate flags and posters that said “the Goyim know,” referring to non-Jewish people, and “the Jewish media is going down.”

    “No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” the counterprotesters chanted.

    “Too late, f-----s!” a man yelled back at them.

    Michael Von Kotch, a Pennsylvania resident who called himself a Nazi, said the rally made him “proud to be white.”

    He said that he’s long held white supremacist views and that Trump’s election has “emboldened” him and the members of his own Nazi group.

    “We are assembled to defend our history, our heritage and to protect our race to the last man,” Von Kotch said, wearing a protective helmet and sporting a wooden shield and a broken pool cue. “We came here to stand up for the white race.”

    Naundi Cook, 23, who is black, said that she came to Saturday’s counterprotests to “support my people” but that she’s never seen something like this before.

    When violence broke out, she started shaking and got goose bumps.

    “I’ve seen people walking around with tear gas all over their face, all over their clothes. People getting Maced, fighting,” she said. “I didn’t want to be next.”

    Cook said she couldn’t sit back and watch white nationalists descend on her town. She has a 3-year-old daughter to stand up for, she said.

    “Right now, I’m not sad,” she said once the protests dispersed. “I’m a little more empowered. All these people and support, I feel like we’re on top right now because of all the support that we have.”


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    BRIDGEWATER, N.J.—U.S. President Donald Trump is rarely reluctant to express his opinion, but he is often seized by caution when addressing the violence and vitriol of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and far-right activists, some of whom are his supporters.

    After days of genially bombastic interactions with the news media on North Korea and the shortcomings of congressional Republicans, Trump on Saturday condemned the bloody protests in Charlottesville, Va., in what critics in both parties saw as muted, equivocal terms.

    During a brief and uncomfortable address to reporters at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, he called for an end to the violence. But he was the only national political figure to spread blame for the “hatred, bigotry and violence” that resulted in the death of one person to “many sides.”

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

    For the most part, Republican leaders and other allies have kept quiet over several months about Trump’s outbursts and angry Twitter posts. But recently they have stopped averting their gazes and on Saturday a handful criticized his reaction to Charlottesville as insufficient.

    “Mr. President — we must call evil by its name,” tweeted Sen. Cory Gardner who oversees the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate Republicans.

    “These were white supremacists and this was domestic terrorism,” he added, a description several of his colleagues used.

    Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and the father of the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, did not dispute Trump’s comments directly, but he called the behaviour of white nationalists in Charlottesville “evil.”

    Democrats have suggested that Trump is simply unwilling to alienate the segment of his white electoral base that embraces bigotry. The president has forcefully rejected any suggestion he harbours any racial or ethnic animosities, and points to his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an observant Jew, and his daughter Ivanka, who converted to the faith, as proof of his inclusiveness.

    In one Twitter post Saturday, Trump nodded to that inclusiveness.

    “We must remember this truth: No matter our colour, creed, religion or political party, we are ALL AMERICANS FIRST,” the president wrote, a statement that had echoes of his campaign slogan, America First.

    But like several other statements Trump made Saturday, the tweet made no mention that the violence in Charlottesville was initiated by white supremacists brandishing anti-Semitic placards, Confederate battle flags, torches and a few Trump campaign signs.

    Read more:

    Trump slow to respond to Charlottesville violence

    Chaos in Virginia as white supremacist rally takes deadly turn

    Chanting ‘blood and soil’ and ‘white lives matter,’ white nationalists march in Charlottesville

    Trump, the product of a well-to-do, predominantly white Queens enclave who in 1989 paid for a full-page ad in The New York Times calling for the death penalty for five black teenagers convicted but later exonerated of raping a white woman in Central Park, flirted with racial controversy during the 2016 campaign. He repeatedly expressed outrage that anyone could suggest he was prejudiced.

    When he retweeted white supremacists’ accounts, he brushed aside questions about them. When he was asked about the support he had been given by David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, he chafed, insisting he didn’t know Duke.

    Finally, at a news conference in South Carolina, Trump said “I disavow” when pressed on Duke. He later described Duke as a “bad person.”

    When his social media director, Dan Scavino, posted an image on Trump’s Twitter feed with a Star of David near Hillary Clinton’s head, with money raining down, Trump rejected widespread criticism of the image as anti-Semitic. And after years of questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship, he blamed others for raising the issue in the first place.

    In an interview that aired in September, Trump said “I am the least racist person that you have ever met,” a statement he repeated at a White House news conference in February.

    In Bedminster on Saturday, Trump said he and his team were “closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville,” then tried to portray the violence there as a chronic, bipartisan plague. “It’s been going on for a long time in our country,” he said. “It’s not Donald Trump. It’s not Barack Obama.”

    Trump did not single out the marchers, who included the white supremacist Richard Spencer and Duke, for their ideology.

    While Democrats and some Republicans faulted Trump for being too vague, Duke was among the few Trump critics who thought the president had gone too far.

    “I would recommend you take a good look in the mirror & remember it was White Americans who put you in the presidency, not radical leftists,” he wrote on Twitter, shortly after the president spoke.

    The president remained silent on the violence for most of the morning even as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Trump’s wife, Melania, and dozens of other public figures condemned the march.

    Melania Trump, using her official Twitter account, wrote, “Our country encourages freedom of speech, but let’s communicate w/o hate in our hearts. No good comes from violence. #Charlottesville.”

    Ryan was even more explicit. “The views fuelling the spectacle in Charlottesville are repugnant. Let it only serve to unite Americans against this kind of vile bigotry,” he wrote on Twitter at noon, around the time that Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia declared a state of emergency in the city.

    “As @POTUS Trump said, “We have to come together as Americans with love for our nation... & true affection for each other.” #Charlottesville” — Vice-President Mike Pence on Twitter.

    With files from the Associated Press


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    CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—A car rammed into a crowd of protesters and a state police helicopter crashed into the woods Saturday as tension boiled over at a white supremacist rally. The violent day left three dead, dozens injured and this usually quiet college town a bloodied symbol of the nation’s roiling racial and political divisions.

    The chaos erupted around what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade — including neo-Nazis, skinheads, members of the Ku Klux Klan — who descended on the city to “take America back” by rallying against plans to remove a Confederate statue. Hundreds came to protest against the racism. There were street brawls and violent clashes; the governor declared a state of emergency, police in riot gear ordered people out and helicopters circled overhead.

    Peaceful protesters were marching downtown, carrying signs that read “black lives matter” and “love.” A silver Dodge Challenger suddenly came barrelling through “a sea of people” and smashed into another car, said Matt Korbon, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student.

    The impact hurled people into the air and blew off their shoes. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed as she crossed the street.

    “It was a wave of people flying at me,” said Sam Becker, 24, sitting in the emergency room to be treated for leg and hand injuries.

    Those left standing scattered, screaming and running for safety. Video caught the car reversing, hitting more people, its windshield splintered from the collision and bumper dragging on the pavement. Medics carried the injured, bloodied and crying, away as a police tank rolled down the street.

    The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., a 20-year-old who recently moved to Ohio from where he grew up in Kentucky, was charged with second-degree murder and other counts. Field’s mother, Samantha Bloom, told The Associated Press on Saturday night that she knew her son was attending a rally in Virginia but didn’t know it was a white supremacist rally.

    “I thought it had something to do with Trump. Trump’s not a white supremacist,” said Bloom, who became visibly upset as she learned of the injuries and deaths at the rally.

    “He had an African-American friend so ...,” she said before her voice trailed off. She added that she’d be surprised if her son’s views were that far right.

    Read more:

    Chaos in Virginia as white supremacist rally takes deadly turn

    The ‘many sides’ of injustice in Charlottesville riot: Paradkar

    Critics slam Trump after he declines to call out Charlottesville white supremacists, some of whom are his supporters

    His arrest capped off hours of unrest. Hundreds of people threw punches, hurled water bottles and unleashed chemical sprays. Some came prepared for a fight, with body armour and helmets. Videos that ricocheted around the world on social media showed people beating each other with sticks and shields.

    Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Charlottesville Mayor Michael Signer, both Democrats, lumped the blame squarely on the rancour that has seeped into American politics and the white supremacists who came from out of town into their city, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, home to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s plantation.

    “There is a very sad and regrettable coarseness in our politics that we’ve all seen too much of today,” Signer said at a press conference. “Our opponents have become our enemies, debate has become intimidation.”

    Some of the white nationalists at Saturday’s rally cited U.S. President Donald Trump’s victory after a campaign of racially-charged rhetoric as validation for their beliefs.

    Trump criticized the violence in a tweet Saturday, followed by a press conference and a call for “a swift restoration of law and order.”

    “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” he said.

    The “on many sides” ending of his statement drew the ire of his critics, who said he failed to specifically denounce white supremacy and equated those who came to protest racism with the white supremacists. The Rev. Jesse Jackson noted that Trump for years questioned President Barack Obama’s citizenship and his legitimacy as the first black president, and has fanned the flames of white resentment.

    “We are in a very dangerous place right now,” Jackson said. McAuliffe said at Saturday’s press conference that he spoke to Trump on the phone, and insisted that the president must work to combat hate.

    Trump said he agreed with McAuliffe “that the hate and the division must stop and must stop right now.”

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced late Saturday that federal authorities will pursue a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

    The violence and deaths in Charlottesville strike at the heart of American law and justice,” Sessions wrote. “When such actions arise from racial bigotry and hatred, they betray our core values and cannot be tolerated.”

    Oren Segal, who directs the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said multiple white power groups gathered in Charlottesville, including members of neo-Nazi organizations, racist skinheads and KKK factions. The white nationalist organizations Vanguard America and Identity Evropa; the Southern nationalist League of the South; the National Socialist Movement; the Traditionalist Workers Party; and the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights also were on hand, he said.

    “We anticipated this event being the largest white supremacist gathering in over a decade,” Segal said. “Unfortunately, it appears to have become the most violent as well.”

    On the other side, anti-fascist demonstrators also gathered, but they generally aren’t organized like white nationalist factions, said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    In addition to Fields, at least three more men were arrested in connection to the protests.

    The Virginia State Police announced late Saturday that Troy Dunigan, a 21-year-old from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was charged with disorderly conduct; Jacob L. Smith, a 21-year-old from Louisa, Virginia, was charged with assault and battery; and James M. O’Brien, 44, of Gainesville, Florida, was charged with carrying a concealed handgun.

    Just as the city seemed like to be quieting down, black smoke billowed out from the tree tops just outside of town as a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed into the woods.

    Robby E. Noll, who lives in the county just outside Charlottesville, heard the helicopter sputtering.

    “I turned my head to the sky. You could tell he was struggling to try to get control of it,” he said.

    He said pieces of the helicopter started to break off as it fell from the sky.

    Both troopers on-board, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, and Berke M.M. Bates, one day shy of his 41st birthday, were killed. Police said the helicopter had been deployed to the violent protests in the city, which has been caught in the middle of the nation’s culture wars since it decided earlier this year to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, enshrined in bronze on horseback in the city’s Emancipation Park.

    In May, a torch-wielding group that included prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer gathered around the statue for a nighttime protest, and in July, about 50 members of a North Carolina-based KKK group travelled there for a rally. Spencer returned for Saturday’s protest, and denied all responsibility for the violence. He blamed the police.

    Signer said the white supremacist groups who came into his city to spread hate “are on the losing side of history.”

    “Tomorrow will come and we will emerge,” he said, “I can promise you, stronger than ever.”

    Six-hundred kilometres away, the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, hinted that the white supremacists might get the opposite of what they’d hoped for.

    Mayor Jim Gray announced on Twitter that he would work to remove the confederate monument at his county’s courthouse.

    “Today’s events in Virginia remind us that we must bring our country together by condemning violence, white supremacists and Nazi hate groups,” he wrote. “We cannot let them define our future.”


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    When Hyeon Soo Lim walked through the front doors of the Light Presbyterian Church and looked at a crowd he hadn’t seen since he was taken captive in North Korea in early 2015, the room erupted into applause and chants of “our pastor” in Korean. Lim, dressed in a black suit and tie with his hair closely shorn, raised both hands and smiled. And the crowd yelled louder, craning for a photo or a glance of the pastor they had been praying for.

    “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Junghwe Kim had said minutes before, positioning herself next to a potted tree in the hopes of taking a photo of the 62-year-old Lim. “Oh my god,” she said expectantly, clutching her phone and smiling, as all around her, people held hands and waited, giddy and excited. She talked of her prayers and her fears, and how happy she was that North Korea, which normally “does everything bad,” did a “very good” thing in releasing her pastor. “I hope he’s recovering.”

    More than an hour before Lim arrived, church members stared out the window at the parking lot where Lim was due to arrive, waving at the phalanx of photographers and reporters who stood underneath a banner with their pastor’s smiling face and a message: “Welcome home Rev. Lim”

    Anna Shin, who has been praying for Lim since the church found out he was captured during mission work in North Korea in January 2015, said she was “way too excited” for Sunday’s reunion with the congregation. She said the pastor is known for his sense of humour and his ability to connect with all ages.

    Lim will not give the Sunday church service, but is expected to thank the congregation, according to church spokesperson Richard Ha.

    Outside the church before the service, Lim told a group of reporters that he’s proud to be a Canadian.

    “We are extremely happy,” said Lim’s son, James, addressing the media at the church on Saturday. “We’re ecstatic and joyful that my father is home. It was surreal in the beginning to witness my father coming off of an airplane after 2 ½ years.”

    While he was in prison, Lim had only ever seen his not yet 1-year-old granddaughter in pictures, James Lim said. “It’s been amazing to see him hold my daughter for the first time.”

    James Lim said his father is in good health and is recovering after the “ordeal.”

    The elder Lim arrived in Toronto in the morning hours on Saturday. A spokesperson wouldn’t specify his route back to the city from North Korea.

    “Everyone was excited when we heard the news” that he was freed, said Sam Shim, operations manager at Lim’s church, Saturday afternoon. “There was crying, joyful crying.”

    After Lim was detained he was sentenced to life in a labour camp, with the regime there saying he had been conducting subversive actions against leader Kim Jong Un.

    “He loved North Korea,” said Shim, adding that the congregation was “shocked” when Lim was detained.

    Lim’s charitable work in North Korea was focused on food security and sustainable farming, the younger Lim said at the news conference.

    North Korea’s Central Court granted Lim “sick bail” on humanitarian grounds on Wednesday.

    Sweden helped facilitate his release as Canada does not have an embassy in North Korea.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed Lim’s freedom Thursday afternoon in a written statement: “The Government of Canada was actively in engaged on Mr. Lim’s case at all levels. In particular, I want to thank Sweden, our protecting power in North Korea, for assisting us.”

    It has been reported that Lim was in poor health and had lost a lot of weight.

    In a video provided by a spokesperson Saturday, a thin-looking Lim can be seen exiting what appears to be a government jet, smiling and hugging his family.

    A photo also provided by family shows him hugging his granddaughter on the tarmac.

    At the press conference, James Lim joked that his father welcomed the weight loss, adding that he is “in good spirits and is excited to come to church tomorrow. He hasn’t seen the congregation in many years”

    With files from Julien Gigna, Mary Ormsby and The Canadian Press


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    FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE—Relatives dug through the mud in search of their loved ones and a morgue overflowed with bodies Monday after heavy rains and flooding early in the day killed at least 200 people in Sierra Leone’s capital.

    Bodies were spread out on the floor of a morgue, Sinneh Kamara, a coroner technician at the Connaught Hospital mortuary, told the national broadcaster.

    “The capacity at the mortuary is too small for the corpses,” he told the Sierra Leone National Broadcasting Corp.

    Kamara urged the health department to deploy more ambulances, saying his mortuary only has four.

    Sierra Leone’s national television broadcaster interrupted its regular programming to show scenes of people trying to retrieve their loved ones’ bodies. Others were seen carting relatives’ remains in rice sacks to the morgue.

    Military personnel have been deployed to help in the rescue operation currently ongoing, officials said.

    Many of the impoverished areas of Sierra Leone’s capital are close to sea level and have poor drainage systems, exacerbating flooding during the West African country’s rainy season.


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    CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—A man accused of ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia was denied bond Monday after the public defender’s office said it couldn’t represent him and the judge was forced to find a local attorney to fill in.

    James Alex Fields Jr. was not present in the courtroom but appeared via video monitor dressed in a black-and-white striped uniform. Seated, he answered questions from the judge with simple responses of “Yes, sir” when asked if he understood what was being explained to him. Fields also replied “No, sir” when asked if he had ties to the community of Charlottesville.

    Judge Robert Downer set an Aug. 25 hearing for the 20-year-old Fields, who has been charged with second-degree murder and other counts.

    Downer said the public defenders’ office informed him it could not represent Fields because a relative of someone in the office was injured in Saturday’s protest. He appointed local attorney Charles Weber to represent him. Weber couldn’t immediately be reached by The Associated Press.

    Read more:

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    Fields is charged in the death of Heather Heyer, 32, of Charlottesville, who died after a car that police say Fields was driving slammed into a crowd of people protesting the nationalist rally Saturday. Fields was arrested shortly afterward and taken into custody.

    Fields was fascinated with Nazism, idolized Adolf Hitler, and had been singled out by school officials in the 9th grade for his “deeply held, radical” convictions on race, a former high school teacher said Sunday. Fields also confided that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was younger and had been prescribed an anti-psychotic medication, Derek Weimer said in an interview with The Associated Press.

    In high school, Fields was an “average” student, but with a keen interest in military history, Hitler, and Nazi Germany, said Weimer, who said he was Fields’ social studies teacher at Randall K. Cooper high school in Union, Kentucky, in Fields’ junior and senior years.

    “Once you talked to James for a while, you would start to see that sympathy toward Nazism, that idolization of Hitler, that belief in white supremacy,” Weimer said. “It would start to creep out.”

    Police say Fields drove his silver Dodge Challenger through a crowd of protesters in Charlottesville, killing Heyer and wounding 19 other people. A Virginia State Police helicopter deployed in a large-scale police response to the violence then crashed into the woods outside of town and both troopers on board died.

    Fields had been photographed hours earlier with a shield bearing the emblem of Vanguard America, one of the hate groups that took part in the “take America back” campaign to protest the removal of a Confederate statue. The group on Sunday denied any association with the suspect.

    Meanwhile, a message posted Saturday night on a leading neo-Nazi website called The Daily Stormer promised future events that would be “bigger than Charlottesville.”

    The mayor of Charlottesville, political leaders of all political stripes, and activists and community organizers around the country planned rallies, vigils and education campaigns to combat the hate groups. They also urged President Donald Trump to forcefully denounce the organizations, some of which specifically cited Trump’s election after a campaign of racially charged rhetoric as validation of their beliefs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced late Saturday that federal authorities would pursue a civil rights investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

    Weimer recalled that school officials had singled out Fields when he was in 9th grade for his political beliefs and “deeply held, radical” convictions on race and Nazism.

    “It was a known issue,” he said.

    Weimer said Fields left school for a while, and when he came back he was quieter about politics until his senior year, when politicians started to declare their candidacy for the 2016 presidential race. Weimer said Fields was a big Trump supporter because of what he believed to be Trump’s views on race. Trump’s proposal to build a border wall with Mexico was particularly appealing to Fields, Weimer said. Fields also admired the Confederacy for its military prowess, he said, though they never spoke about slavery.

    As a senior, Fields wanted to join the army, and Weimer, a former officer in the Ohio National Guard, guided him through the process of applying, he said, believing that the military would expose Fields to people of different races and backgrounds and help him dispel his white supremacist views. But Fields was ultimately turned down, which was a big blow, Weimer said. Weimer said he lost contact with Fields after he graduated and was surprised to hear reports that Fields had enlisted in the army.

    “The Army can confirm that James Alex Fields reported for basic military training in August of 2015, said Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Jennifer Johnson. “He was, however, released from active duty due to a failure to meet training standards in December of 2015,” she said.

    Fields’ mother, Samantha Bloom, told the AP late Saturday that she knew her son was going to Virginia for a political rally, but she had no idea it involved white supremacists.

    “I just told him to be careful,” she said, adding she warned him that if there were protests “to make sure he’s doing it peacefully.”


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    A Toronto paralegal has been found guilty by the legal profession’s watchdog of defrauding clients of over $1 million and providing immigration services for which he was not licensed.

    Victor Manuel Castillo Garcia, who was licensed as a paralegal by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2010, worked with clients from around the world — including Taiwan, Cuba, El Salvador, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Peru — for their permanent residence and work permit applications.

    The paralegal also failed to provide statements of account for money received from clients and instead, established a company, VIPA Financial, to receive payments and offer “financing” and credit to clients — an apparent conflict in interest, a law society disciplinary tribunal found.

    Not only did the clients lose their money, they were unable to retrieve their original documents submitted to the paralegal for their applications, said the tribunal in its decision.

    In one case, the paralegal partnered with an agent in Taiwan in 2013 to bring in 180 applicants for jobs in Canada at a price of $5,500 each.

    More than $1.1 million was deposited into the man’s account, which was not a trust account as required by the law society, according to the tribunal.

    Immigration laws stipulate paralegals can only represent refugees for their asylum claims, and must register with the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council to offer other immigration-related services. Garcia was not a member of the group.

    “The paralegal misappropriated over $1 million; relied on fraudulent documents; failed to serve his clients; practiced beyond the scope of his licence; acted in matters where there was, or was likely to be, a conflict of interests; and failed to co-operate with the (Law) Society’s investigations,” tribunal chair Lyle Kanee wrote in the tribunal’s 26-page decision.

    “The paralegal appears to be on the run from the law. His whereabouts have been unknown since the summer of 2014 ... Nonetheless, it is important to the public’s confidence in the profession that we convey this tribunal’s condemnation for the paralegal’s reprehensible conduct by imposing the most severe sanction.”

    According to the regulator, some of the victims have filed complaints with Toronto police, who have been unable to locate Garcia. Police fraud investigators did not immediately respond to the Star’s request for updates on the investigation.

    In the Taiwanese case, the complainant, identified as Agent A by the tribunal, said she came to learn the employment contracts and approved labour market assessments provided by Garcia were fake when immigration officials rejected her clients en masse for misrepresentation and submitting bogus documentation.

    Authorities also said their employment offers were fraudulent, and banned them from Canada for two years.

    Complainant Client B paid Garcia $6,000 in 2013 to obtain a work permit for her fiancé who lived in Cuba and an additional $5,000 for “the final stages” of the work permit application, said the tribunal.

    The paralegal said he would meet with the fiancé in Cuba for his medical checks and police clearance, but never showed up and his phone number was no longer in service. By the time the complainant attended the paralegal’s office on St. Clair Ave. W. in 2014, it had already been abandoned, said the tribunal.

    The tribunal said there was no record of a work permit application being submitted to the Immigration Department for the woman’s fiancé.

    In 2013 another complainant, Client H, paid Garcia $5,500 for a permanent residence application and provided him all of his original documents: work permits, study permits, employment contracts, school transcripts, English language exam, pictures, birth certificates and pay stubs.

    The complainant emailed the paralegal repeatedly for updates on the application, with no response.

    “Thank you so much for running away. Can I at least get my papers because I need my papers . . . the original documents,” Client H wrote to Garcia on WhatsApp after filing a complaint with the law society and Toronto police.

    In response, the paralegal said he had been sick and working from home but promised he would give the client an update later. Client H never got his documents back.

    Toronto immigration lawyer Sergio Karas, who is not involved in the case, said he was not surprised by the complaints but was shocked by the hefty fees the paralegal charged.

    “The amount of fees he was charging was incredibly high, over and above what lawyers would charge for the same kind of work,” Karas said.

    “This case really highlights the need for Ottawa to revisit the issue over who can practise immigration law in this country.”

    Earlier this year, a government committee completed a study of the immigration consulting industry and recommended Ottawa take over the policing of the profession. The report is under review by Parliament.

    In Garcia’s absence, the tribunal revoked the paralegal’s licence and ordered him to repay the law society compensation fund $33,680 and to pay costs of $15,555.

    With Garcia missing, the tribunal acknowledged its decision “likely would have little impact on him.”


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    On a sunny Wednesday evening outside the Rogers Centre, that familiar deep tone continues to ring out.

    “Baseball tickets? Buy, sell, upgrade!” shouts a tall, imposing man, waving a stack of slightly crumpled pieces of very expensive paper.

    Despite the last-place Blue Jays’ ongoing struggles, it’s one of the final marquee series of the year. The New York Yankees are in town.

    And two hours before game time, there they are — scalpers — dressed in rugged clothes and smoking cigarettes on three of the Rogers Centre’s four corners.

    On its south-east corner, opposite Bremner Blvd., one group of men (there are no women) manage the busiest gates, handing off their cash to a slightly-better-dressed manager who shakes hands and greets his minions as they arrive for work. On the north side of the Rogers Centre, two teams of scalpers man the bridge and steps that run off of Front St. and over the railway corridor.

    By 5:30 p.m., an hour and a half before the first pitch, they’ve already sold their entire inventory and have begun trying to acquire more tickets.

    “I’ll carry on, thanks,” says one man, shaking his head and laughing as a scalper tries to offer him half of face value for his set of outfield seats.

    “Name your price then!” responds the scalper, the man now a few metres away.

    Most others, too, blow past them. But some stop, already dressed in Blue Jays jerseys, convinced they’re going to the game and willing to pay top price for mediocre seats. So the scalpers keep coming back.

    Even as massive online third-party sports ticket retailers such as StubHub, Fan Exchange and Vivid Seats take over a larger share of the market, Toronto’s wealth of small regional scalpers and brokers are surviving — and growing.

    The Canadian Ticket Brokers Association lists 23 of its 27 members as headquartered in the GTA. The brokers, ranging from independent online retailers to family-run businesses, have sustained loyal clientele while continuing to acquire (and sell) more tickets. Some are broker-scalper hybrids who attempt to sell their tickets through privately-run online websites or phone numbers, and show up at the gates to sell their excess.

    What started as selling off a pair of tickets when they couldn’t attend every game has emerged as a close-knit community of buyers and sellers who share and redistribute swaths of thousands of licenses.

    One Toronto ticket broker who owns more than 30 seat licences for each of the Leafs and Blue Jays claims his business is “skyrocketing” and did $2.23 million in sales last year (up nearly a million on 2015) on an average profit margin of 15 per cent.

    “Where we make our money is sheer volume,” the broker, who didn’t want to be named for the story, said. “We deal with thousands of tickets every month.”

    In the last decade, these season seat holders-turned-brokers have made accessing tickets to Toronto’s pro sports franchises more expensive, according to Tom Pistore, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s (MLSE) vice-president of ticket sales.

    “The new secondary platforms coming online, albeit some of them operating in a completely non-legal format up until a couple of years ago — like StubHub — really just changed how consumers buy,” he said. “Buying direct and/or now buying on a secondary platform, there really isn’t any difference in many consumers’ minds.”

    Some teams and markets have clamped down on these season seat monopolists. In 2015, StubHub sued the Golden State Warriors for mandating all resale be done through its Ticketmaster platform. Other teams have required season seat holders live in the state or province of their team, forcing license owners to return their tickets or launch futile lawsuits.

    The Blue Jays recently told season ticket holders they should expect a 17 per cent hike in prices for 2018. In the past, Toronto’s sports franchises have said price hikes were aimed at biting into broker-scalper profits.

    MLSE has identified markers — ranging from credit card numbers to purchase addresses or ticket postage — that alert them when licence holders control dozens of tickets.

    They’re also considering options to combat the sometimes hundreds of fraudulent tickets sold to ignorant buyers from independent sellers.

    Still, MLSE must provide early access at a discounted rate to all of its season seat holders for events at the Air Canada Centre, according to Pistore.

    That can mean ticket brokers get their hands on as many as 50 per cent of all lower-bowl seats before they even hit the presale market, according to one Toronto broker.

    MLSE began operating on a dynamic pricing scheme in the early 2010s. Weather, a recent trade, opponent, a do-or-die game, and a win streak can raise or lower prices — even on the day of a game.

    At the end of the 2016-2017 season when the Leafs found out their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets was a win-and-you're-in scenario, they jacked up the prices for the game, according to Pistore.

    Some professional sports teams now price their tickets as far as a seat-to-seat basis, making aisle options more expensive than three or four chairs in.

    “We haven’t gone that granular yet. There are teams that, if you have 24 rows in each section, they have 24 prices and if you have 24 rows and two aisles they have a multiple of those 24 prices,” Pistore said.

    “We’re evaluating the benefit of whether that seat is actually more valuable. First rows and aisles, those are the easy ones. There’s a lot of best practices that are going to come out of this and we’re interested in seeing the outcome.”

    Until then, the same men buying seats before you can get them will continue offering them to you at above face value.

    The yelling is free of charge.


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    Ontario’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 will cost the average household $1,300 a year in extra costs and put 185,000 jobs at risk, says a coalition of business groups opposed to the change.

    “Making $15 an hour is great, but only if you have a job,” Karl Baldauf of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, a key member of the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, told a news conference Monday.

    The coalition commissioned what it called an “independent” study of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $14 in January and $15 a year later. The study was conducted by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

    Baldauf said “the unintended consequences are alarming,” as more employers would be expected to replace workers with self-checkout systems and ordering kiosks, for example.

    The warnings are in contrast to a letter released earlier this summer by about 40 economists, including a number at universities.

    They maintain the change is not as dramatic as opponents suggest because the minimum wage is, adjusted for inflation, barely $1 higher than its value in 1977, even though average productivity of workers has risen by 40 per cent over the same period.

    The new study, revealed Monday by the coalition, raises the possibility that 185,000 low-wage jobs could disappear in the next two years due to the extra labour costs, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

    That could leave vulnerable workers worse off in a set of circumstances that “undermines the intent of this legislation,” said Baldauf, who noted that women and youth would be hardest hit.

    The costs of raising the minimum wage 32 per cent in such a short period, from $11.40 now, will cause inflation to rise 0.7 per cent, the study predicted, and the impact would be expected to be $1,300 a year to households.

    Baldauf added that, at $23 billion in the first two years, the impacts to the business community are much bigger. It’s a number that makes it impossible for Premier Kathleen Wynne to provide meaningful “offsets” she has promised to ease the impact on companies, he said.

    “It’s the largest change we’ve seen in minimum wage in 45 years,” said Paul Smetanin, a chartered accountant and president of the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

    “It would be remiss to think such an amount would go unnoticed.”

    He warned that muncipalities will have to increase their payrolls by $500 million to account for the impacts of the minimum-wage increase, which could be felt on local property tax bills.

    The coalition called on the government to re-think the minimum wage increase and phase it in over a longer period of time, but did not lay out a recommended schedule.

    Baldauf is calling for other changes in Bill 148, which includes other workplace reforms, saying provisions to give workers better notice on work schedules are too strict in a “one-size-fits-all” model.

    Wynne said the workplace reforms, which include making three weeks’ vacation mandatory after five years in a job, are necessary to share the gains of Ontario’s improved economy in the last few years as many workers struggle to make ends meet.


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    When it becomes legal next July, recreational marijuana should be sold with more restrictions than that other weed — tobacco — says the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Ontario branch.

    The group will release a position paper Monday calling on the province to ban pot smoking in cars with a “zero tolerance” policy, cap the amount of THC in cannabis products and use all tax revenues from them to boost addiction and mental health services.

    Staff selling marijuana products in stores should have special training akin to the Smart Serve program for bartenders, with what the CMHA dubs a first-of-its-kind “Cannabis Card.”

    “We have an opportunity to start fresh with this,” Camille Quenneville, chief executive officer of CMHA’s Ontario branch, told the Star before the wide-ranging, 18-page submission was made public.

    The provincial government will spend the coming months settling on an age of majority for recreational marijuana, deciding on a retail network of stores where it will be sold, developing a public education campaign and dealing with a host of regulatory issues.

    Read more:

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    Ontario has established a Legalization of Cannabis Secretariat to co-ordinate the effort on behalf of all government ministries. Medical marijuana is already legal.

    Premier Kathleen Wynne has strongly hinted the age of majority for cannabis will be set at 19, the same as for alcohol — a position the mental health association supports.

    But Quenneville urged the province to set strict advertising and marketing restrictions, as with tobacco, to “minimize the profile and attractiveness” of cannabis, while going one step further with plain packaging to downplay brand identities.

    “We think that makes sense.”

    Cigarettes are now kept behind closed doors in stores with brand logos visible on their packaging, but alongside explicit warnings about the health dangers of smoking.

    The association’s push for pot tax revenues to improve addiction and mental health services is based on concerns that “there’s a link between heavy use and anxiety and depression and psychosis,” particularly if there’s a personal or family history or if cannabis use begins in the mid-teens, said Quenneville.

    “There’s not nearly enough mental health services for the population,” she added, also calling for more extensive research on causal relationships between cannabis and mental health problems.

    Mental health and addictions now account for 7 per cent of the provincial health-care budget and CMHA is pushing for an increase to 9 per cent, as recommended by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

    “The one piece we struggle with is young people who are at higher risk for mental health (problems),” Quenneville said, which makes a strong public education campaign critical to reach “emerging adults” in their teens and early 20s.

    ‎Efforts to make people aware of the dangers of cannabis are needed to combat any mindset that “if it’s legally available and it’s sold, how bad can it be?” she added.

    Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said last month that he wants to government to get out months in advance of legalization with a strong public education and awareness campaign, especially given medical concerns that cannabis can be harmful to people under 25 because their brains are still developing.

    Quenneville agreed, saying “we need to get at it. A year from now (to the expected legalization date, ‎next July 1) is not a long time.”

    On the concept of a “Cannabis Card,” Quenneville said it’s a logical step to certify that people selling recreational marijuana products have training on their attributes, risks and effects to better deal with customers.

    “We don’t think it’s out of scope for marijuana, which can be more harmful. You have to have a level of knowledge.”

    ‎The proliferation of marijuana dispensaries also needs to be “cleaned up,” said Quenneville, whose association is urging the government to cut back the number of outlets where cannabis will be sold, to regulate hours of opening more tightly and to consider a non-profit retail model once legal sales begin next summer.

    In the meantime, Ontario should be pushing the federal government to decriminalize, as soon as possible, the personal possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis, the CMHA recommends in the policy paper.

    Youth offences on cannabis possession should also be decriminalized and existing penalties replaced with fine, community service or mandatory education or addiction programs.

    “A lot of young people are being charged with possession,” said Uppala Chandrasekera, director of public policy for the mental health association.

    For drivers and their passengers, strict enforcement of a ban on cannabis consumption of any kind in automobiles will be key to curbing impaired driving, the association added.

    “A zero-tolerance policy would include both the driver of the motorized vehicle, as well as any passengers in the car. It is important that a clear message be sent to the public.”


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    Drug charges against three men have been thrown out after a judge ruled that a Toronto police officer had been “deliberately misleading” in his testimony and notes in an attempt to “strengthen the case” against one of the accused.

    Const. Bradley Trenouth “falsely attributed” a large piece of crack to Toronto man Jason Jaggernauth, Judge Katherine Corrick wrote in her Aug. 8 decision, staying the charges against Jaggernauth.

    Because of Trenouth’s actions, Corrick excluded evidence gathered by him and other officers from the trial of Jaggernauth’s co-accused, leading the judge to find them not guilty in the same decision.

    “The false attribution of evidence to an accused’s possession, and false testimony by a police officer constitute precisely the type of state misconduct that undermines the integrity of the judicial process,” Corrick wrote.

    Jaggernauth, Jordan Davis and Jimal Nembrand-Walker were charged with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking and possession of the proceeds of crime in 2014, after police found them in a Scarborough apartment that contained multiple types of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

    Police officers found several grams of crack on Davis and crack, powdered cocaine and other drugs in Nembrand-Walker’s pockets at the time of the arrest, Corrick wrote in her decision.

    Police did not find any drugs on Jaggernauth, Corrick said.

    Trenouth testified in a pretrial hearing that he saw a large piece of crack fall from Jaggernauth when officers got Jaggernauth to stand up from his chair — testimony that was backed up by the notes Trenouth said he took at the time of Jaggernauth’s arrest, according to the judge’s decision.

    But at the trial several months later, Trenouth told the court that he did not see the crack fall from Jaggernauth, Corrick wrote. Instead, Trenouth testified that he found the piece of crack on the floor near Jaggernauth and assumed it had fallen from him.

    Corrick noted other discrepancies between Trenouth’s pretrial and trial testimonies in her decision.

    At the preliminary hearing, Trenouth said he picked the large ball of crack off the floor after forensic officers had taken photos of the scene. But the photos taken do not include images of that specific piece of crack, Corrick wrote.

    Trenouth told the court that might be because the piece of crack had been moved or stepped on before the photos were taken.

    The large piece of crack was also missing from evidence photos taken by police about three hours later, in Trenouth’s presence, the judge said.

    Trenouth’s story changed at trial, where he said there were no photos of the piece of crack because he had already picked it up and put it in his pocket before the photos were taken, Corrick wrote.

    Corrick ruled on Aug. 8 that Trenouth did not find the crack near Jaggernauth, as the police officer had claimed.

    “I have concluded that Officer Trenouth was deliberately misleading when he prepared his notes and testified at the preliminary hearing, in an effort to strengthen the case,” Corrick wrote.

    It is unlikely that Trenouth, who has eight years of police experience, would pick up unwrapped drugs and put them in his pocket at a crime scene, Corrick said.

    And if Trenouth had merely been mistaken in his pretrial testimony, he should have informed the Crown before the case went to trial, the judge added.

    An investigation should be immediately opened into Trenouth’s conduct in the case, Jaggernauth’s lawyer Chris O’Connor said in an interview.

    “The bottom line is . . . an officer falsely attributed an exhibit to my client that never was on my client,” O’Connor said.

    Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray said she “can’t say whether (Trenouth) will face any discipline.” All disciplinary matters are confidential until the officer in question has appeared before a police services tribunal, Gray added.

    “Generally speaking an investigation into allegations of an officer providing false evidence in court could lead to criminal charges (such as) perjury or (internal) discipline under the Police Services Act,” Gray said.

    Corrick was scathing in her decision about the effects of Trenouth’s false testimony.

    “It is difficult to imagine how public confidence can be maintained in the rule of law when police officers present false evidence against accused persons,” Corrick wrote. “Our justice system cannot function unless courts can rely on the willingness of witnesses to . . . tell the truth.”


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    About 100 people gathered at the U.S. consulate in Toronto on Monday morning to protest against the violent white supremacist rally that occurred Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.

    Police moved the gathering, called “Toronto in Solidarity with Charlottesville,” away from the consulate on the west end of University Ave. to a corner on the east just after 8 a.m.

    Officers on-site gave a bevy of reasons for the move, including the east side giving more space for more demonstrators, not blocking the sidewalk, and avoiding infringing on “private property” in front of the consulate. Chalk messages were scrawled on the outside of the consulate as of Monday morning, denouncing white supremacy and U.S. President Donald Trump.

    The demonstration was called for Canadians to “register our dissent” towards the “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, where a rally of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other far-right Americans fighting the removal of a Confederate monument descended into scenes of violence Saturday.

    A 32-year-old woman, counter-protester Heather D. Heyer, was killed when by a car driven by James Fields Jr., a 20-year-old Ohio man who was earlier photographed among white nationalists at the rally, plowed into a crowd.

    And while the crowd in Toronto was much smaller and more docile, Julianna Hagen held her two-year-old daughter Mirabelle close, saying that if they were living in the States she may not have felt safe bringing her along. The toddler, meanwhile, was enamoured by a conversation with Toronto police Const. Sydney Evershed about how to respond if one person hurts another.

    Demonstrator Lynn Campbell said her own two-year-old, Sophie, saw some of the photos from Charlotteville on Sunday night and started to ask questions.

    “It’s kind of hard to explain to a two-year-old that not everyone has the same freedoms as we do and can walk down the street feeling safe,” Campbell said.

    Another demonstrator, Yvette Blackburn, cautioned Torontonians that they aren’t exempt from same kinds of tensions that exist in Charlotteville.

    “We are not the great white north that’s free from these issues,” she said, pointing to an incident at Nathan Phillips Square in April when anti-racism demonstrators were met with counter-protest that turned violent.

    Demonstrators participated in several chants throughout the morning, with specific chants expressing support for Jewish, queer, transgender, Black and Muslim communities. “Who’s the enemy? White supremacy,” the crowd echoed. Anti-Trump chants also took place later in the morning.

    Jim Brown, a uniformed officer that other police on-site identified as their supervisor, hung back at the edge of the square to check in with colleagues over the phone.

    “We’re here to facilitate to make sure it’s safe for everyone,” he told the Star.

    Discussing the attitude towards police after incidents like Charlottesville, he said that people are “passionate, and they should be.”

    Read more:

    15 photos that show Charlottesville’s stunning descent into violence

    What we know about James Alex Fields Jr., the man charged in the Charlottesville car killing

    Charlottesville victim: ‘She was there standing up for what was right’

    The Monday event was organized by two Toronto-area American history professors.

    Donna Gabaccia, a co-organizer and professor at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus, said she “was angered by the very public display of fascist language and symbolism” coming out of Charlottesville.

    “As a historian I see these events as part of a long history of white violence,” said Rubenstein. “White people protecting their place in a racial hierarchy by killing people and terrorizing people.”

    “We white people who disagree — to put it mildly — should come collect our people.”

    Rubenstein believes that Canadians have an important role to play in challenging discrimination and violence. While far from perfect, she said, “a lot of people” in the U.S. look to Canada as exemplary.

    “One thing Canadians can do is continue to provide an example of how to be better.”


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    Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Morgan spent most of Thursday morning with a furrowed brow and an incredulous look on his face. But his demeanour was at first subdued as he heard the case of Ricardo Scotland, an immigration detainee with no criminal record who is arguing that his indefinite detention in a maximum security jail is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    After the morning break, when the government’s lawyers stood to argue why the court should not release the native of Barbados, Morgan’s apparent confusion with the case became too much to contain.

    “Why is this man in prison?” he said bluntly, interrupting Bernard Assan, a lawyer representing the Department of Justice. Assan stammered. The judge continued.

    “Why is he incarcerated? He has no criminal record. He has no convictions of anything.”

    Read the Star’s Caged by Canada series

    Assan mentioned the fact that Scotland — who is in the midst of a refugee claim — had faced criminal charges in 2013 that were later stayed.

    “That means he’s innocent,” Morgan interjected. “He’s innocent until proven guilty. That’s elementary.”

    Scotland’s case is just the latest to put Canada’s immigration detention system — by which the federal government jails non-citizens, often in maximum security institutions, for an indefinite length of time, typically while it tries to deport them — under increased scrutiny.

    Scotland, a single parent to his 13-year-old daughter, has been held in maximum security jail for a total of 18 months in two stints over the past two years. He has been detained at the Niagara Detention Centre in Thorold, Ont., since October.

    Scotland’s case is unusual for several reasons — including the fact the government is actually arguing for the man’s release in a separate court proceeding. The case highlights some of what more than a dozen immigration lawyers have previously told the Star are systemic problems with both the Canada Border Services Agency and the Immigration and Refugee Board. The CBSA has the power to arrest and detain non-citizens, while the board is the quasi-judicial tribunal that holds monthly detention reviews to determine whether someone should be released or have their detention continued for another 30 days.

    In May, Scotland’s lawyer, Subodh Bharati, and a representative of the government made a joint submission to the board that Scotland should be released. Board members almost always grant release in such circumstances. But in this case the presiding adjudicator rejected the joint submission and ordered Scotland’s continued detention.

    That’s when Bharati filed an application for habeas corpus — a legal principle that allows someone to argue their detention is unlawful — with Ontario Superior Court. Immigration detainees are turning more and more to habeas corpus to seek release, citing the inherent unfairness of the Immigration and Refugee Board, which lawyers argue is procedurally unfair and stacked against detainees.

    Previously the court has granted release only in cases where detention has been “unduly or exceptionally lengthy,” and the government argues that the length of Scotland’s detention falls below that standard so the court lacks jurisdiction.

    They would prefer to maintain the status quo where Federal Court provides what’s called “judicial review” — as opposed to a full-fledged appeal — of a decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

    So even though the same government lawyers are currently arguing in Federal Court that Scotland should be released, they don’t want the Ontario Superior Court to be the ones to do it, fearing it would set an unwanted precedent.

    Bharati, meanwhile, argued that even a single day of Scotland's detention is unlawful because it stems from a procedurally unfair process.

    Scotland, who is being held solely as a flight risk and is not considered a danger to the public, is under a conditional deportation order, which takes effect only if his and his daughter’s refugee claims are denied.

    “It’s absurd that a person with no criminal convictions, a father to a girl who doesn’t have a mom, is being held in a maximum-security prison, despite the fact that he has a refugee claim,” Bharati said.

    The girl’s mother is alive, but not involved as a parent in her upbringing.

    The basis for Scotland’s continued detention is also contentious. It stems from four alleged breaches of previous bail conditions, three of which were either withdrawn or found by a criminal court to be innocent mistakes. The fourth was a technical breach related to a miscommunication of a change in curfew. Immigration authorities view the alleged breaches differently than the court, however.

    Morgan could not believe that one of the breaches was the fact Scotland had not reported a change of address to immigration officials after he was arrested. His new address was jail.

    “It sounds absurd,” he said. “How could you possibly hide your change of address if you’ve been arrested? Who are you hiding it from?”

    Another alleged breach was quashed by a criminal bail court judge that found Scotland was “happily being a dad” when he mixed up his reporting dates.

    Morgan didn’t mince his words as he challenged the government’s position.

    “It seems like his one misdeed, as far as I can tell, is when he failed to report one time … and it was found to be an innocent failure. So why is he incarcerated? What has he done?”

    Assan began to explain the legal mechanisms by which Scotland is being detained.

    Morgan interrupted him again.

    “Without a technical explanation can you tell me … what has he done?”

    Morgan will decide Monday morning whether Scotland should be released.


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    OTTAWA—Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says two Canadians were among 18 people killed in a suspected extremist attack on a popular restaurant in Burkina Faso.

    The incident happened late Sunday when suspected Islamic extremists opened fire at a Turkish restaurant in the country’s capital.

    “It is with very great sorrow that I can confirm the deaths of two Canadians in yesterday’s attack in Burkina Faso,” Freeland said on Monday.

    “The heartfelt condolences of our government go out to the loved ones of those targeted and the victims of this tragic attack. Canadian consular officials are working hard to provide assistance to their loved ones.”

    Local authorities say other foreigners killed include two Kuwaitis and one person each from France, Senegal, Nigeria, Lebanon and Turkey.

    Seven Burkina Faso citizens were also killed and authorities said three other victims had not yet been identified.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence, which continued into the early hours Monday.

    At least three members of Burkina Faso’s security forces were wounded during the assault, said Capt. Guy Ye, spokesman of the security forces.

    The assailants arrived at the restaurant on motorcycles and then began shooting randomly at the crowds dining Sunday evening, he said. Security forces arrived at the scene with armoured vehicles after reports of shots fired near Aziz Istanbul.

    The attack brought back painful memories of the January 2016 attack at another cafe that left 30 people dead.

    Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.

    With files from The Associated Press

    Read more: At least 17 dead, 8 wounded in Burkina Faso restaurant shooting


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    OTTAWA—On the eve of trade talks with the United States and Mexico, Canada is pushing back at U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim the North American free trade agreement is a disaster.

    Instead Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland touted the benefits of the NAFTA, saying the 23-year-old trade pact has been an “extraordinary success” to all three economies.

    Freeland used a Monday morning speech and parliamentary committee appearance to lay out the broad strokes of Canada’s objectives going into negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement, and to emphasize Canada goes into the talks with a strong hand.

    “The electricity in Trump Tower comes from Quebec,” said Freeland, asked how provinces will be involved in the talks. “So our American colleagues must always remember the importance of our economic ties.

    Freeland said “Team Canada” goes into negotiations that formally begin Wednesday in Washington with six overriding priorities for a revised NAFTA. The aim is to:

    • Accommodate the technology revolution and the rise of the digital economy

    • Make the deal more “progressive” through five key provisions, including putting stronger labour safeguards into the core of the agreement; strengthening environmental provisions to protect the right to address climate change; adding a new chapter on gender rights; adding an Indigenous chapter; reforming the investor-state dispute settlement process to protect governments’ right to regulate “in the public interest”

    • Cut red tape and harmonize cross-border regulations

    • Open up access to government procurement contracts to exempt Canadian suppliers from “Buy America” policies

    • Provide for freer movement of business professionals

    • Ensure fair processes around government moves to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties, and exempt Canadian culture and Canada’s system of supply management.

    Freeland gave a strong defence of the need for free trade and a modernized agreement, but delivered a strong warning that, unless deliberate steps are taken to spread the economic wealth of improved trade, divisions will grow in Canadian society.

    “There are too many communities in our prosperous nation where people do not feel prosperous, where they instead feel left behind by an economy that is increasingly divided between the wealthy one per cent at the very top, and everyone else,” said Freeland, according to a prepared text of her remarks.

    “If we don’t act now, Canadians may lose faith in the open society, in immigration and in free trade, just as many have across the Western industrialized world,” Freeland told an audience at the University of Ottawa.

    “This is the single biggest economic and social challenge we face. Addressing this problem is our government’s overriding mission,” she said.

    In sketching out Ottawa’s objectives, she said that the 23-year-old trade agreement needs to be modernized to address the changes in e-commerce and the digital economy.

    She said it must be “progressive” through safeguards for labour, enhanced provisions for the environment, a chapter on gender rights and improved relations with Indigenous peoples. She did not provide detail on just what those chapters or protections would look like, except to restate that Canada will be committed to the fight against climate change and ensure that is in the new agreement.

    Freeland said Canada will seek to improve the investor-state dispute settlement in Chapter 11 of the deal, which has long been criticized for allowing foreign companies to undermine elements of government policy.

    She said a sovereign and democratically elected government must have an “unassailable right” to regulate in the public interest.

    Canada pushed for such protections in the Canada-European Union free trade deal, and will use that as a model in this renegotiation.

    The U.S. has not put Chapter 11 on the table. Instead, Washington is taking aim at Chapter 19, the state-to-state dispute resolution process, where successive U.S. administrations have filed and lost complaints against Canadian softwood lumber.

    Freeland said Canada will seek to preserve elements of the current deal that it sees as “key,” including the country’s system of supply management for certain agricultural products, such as dairy, and a process to ensure anti-dumping and countervailing duties are applied fairly.

    “But we are committed to a good deal, not just any deal. That will be our bottom line,” Freeland said.

    Freeland took aim at one argument that has hung over these trade talks: the concern that NAFTA has cost Canada and the United States well-paying manufacturing jobs that have gone to Mexico.

    She warned against what she called “scapegoating the ‘other.’ ”

    “Although economic globalization has put pressure on some of our jobs, automation and digitization have been far greater factors,” she said, adding that even more technological changes lie ahead.

    While such innovations are innovations are “broadly positive,” it can only happen if the “gains of trade are fairly, broadly shared. She cited lower taxes for the middle class, investments in education and training and the Liberals’ child benefit, by way of example.

    “This is the all-important, connecting piece, the tie between free trade and equitable domestic policy,” she said.

    She said that free trade has not always been accepted as a good thing, noting the opposition that surrounded the original Canada-U.S. free trade deal in the late 1980s.

    “Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, to give credit where due, staked his prime ministership on getting free trade passed. And he was right,” Freeland said.

    “Two decades on, in our country, that debate is settled because the results are plain,” she said.

    Since 1994, when NAFTA took effect, trade among the three nations has tripled, creating a $19-trillion regional market, said Freeland, who added that Canada’s economy is “2.5 per cent larger every year than it otherwise would be, thanks to NAFTA. It is as if Canada has been receiving a $20-billion cheque each year since NAFTA was ratified.”

    “Thanks to NAFTA, the North American economy is highly integrated, making our competitive in the global marketplace and creating more jobs on our continent,” she said.

    Freeland spoke to an audience of 80, including senior Global Affairs officials, invited stakeholders, and students and faculty at the University of Ottawa’s Centre for International Policy Studies.

    Read more: Chrystia Freeland plans to sell Canadians on the need for a new trade deal with U.S., Mexico

    Trump wants a victory on NAFTA. These Trump voters disagree on what that should mean

    Meet NAFTA negotiator Steve Verheul, the most important Canadian you’ve (probably) never heard of

    Among those in the audience was Derek Burney, a former ambassador to Washington, who warned, last week, that Canada could be in for a bumpy ride in the negotiations due to the political rhetoric of President Donald Trump. Burney advised the government to keep in mind that “no deal is preferable to a bad deal,” and to be prepared to know “when and how to say no.”

    Burney said afterward Freeland’s speech and her tone were “right on,” but he warned the big unknown in the talks now is Trump.

    “I don’t think there’s going to be disagreement about modernizing NAFTA. The issue for me is, what’s the price of victory for Donald Trump?”

    In the first negotiations for the Canada-US negotiations, and, later, NAFTA, there was political consensus at the time among country leaders. Now, he said it is not at all clear the U.S. leader wants a deal among all three.

    In her appearances Monday, Freeland stressed that Global Affairs began laying the groundwork for the coming talks a year ago, when NAFTA become a hot topic in the U.S. election, not just after Trump got elected.

    Since then, Canada has mounted a “full-court press to preserve everything good about NAFTA for Canada, and also to find what elements of the deal can be improved,” Freeland said.


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    WASHINGTON—U.S. President Donald Trump condemned white supremacists on Monday after two days of withering criticism over his failure to do so.

    “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans,” Trump said at the White House.

    Trump had been denounced even by Republicans for a Saturday statement in which he faulted “many sides” for bigotry and violence at a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., where an anti-racist protester was murdered when an apparent white supremacist allegedly ran into her intentionally with a car.

    Trump, for the first time, said the name of the murder victim, 32-year-old Charlottesville paralegal Heather Heyer. He also extended condolences to the two Virginia state police officers killed in a helicopter crash.

    Trump, this time, stuck to his prepared text, eschewing the ad-libbed boasting that marked his address on Saturday – though he again bragged about his economic record. He spoke after a meeting with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

    Trump said the government was opening a civil rights investigation into the “racist violence” in Charlottesville.

    Trump was silent on Sunday. His administration generated additional criticism when it released an anonymous statement that said Trump condemns “all forms” of bigotry and violence, though that one specified that Trump was including “white supremacists, KKK Neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

    On Monday morning, he finally tweeted an emotional statement – criticizing a black business executive for criticizing him. After Ken Frazier, chief executive of the pharmaceutical company Merck and Co., resigned from Trump’s manufacturing advisory council to “take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” Trump lashed out in response.

    “Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” he wrote.

    Trump has long been reluctant to criticize white supremacists, many of which support him. He has his own extensive history of bigoted and racially inflammatory remarks. And he appointed, as his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who once ran the Breitbart website he described a “platform” for the white supremacist “alt-right.”

    Republican legislators had been among the public figures who castigated Trump for refusing to specifically excoriate neo-Nazis.

    “Mr. President — we must call evil by its name. These were white supremacists,” Cory Gardner, a senior Republican senator from Colorado, wrote on Twitter.

    Read more:

    15 photos that show Charlottesville’s stunning descent into violence

    Torontonians rally against white supremacist violence in Charlottesville

    White House condemns ‘white supremacists’ as backlash grows over Trump’s response to Charlottesville violence


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    Schools in more affluent areas across Ontario continue to raise so much money that they bring in almost $200 million more than what the government provides to lower-income communities to try and make up the gap.

    An analysis of the province’s education funding formula, to be released Monday, says the “learning opportunities grant” distributes about $179 per student to schools in needy areas, while fundraising brings in $548 million to boards, or an average of $280 per student.

    “School-based fundraising significantly reverses the impact of the (grant) on school boards’ resources,” says the report commissioned by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to mark the 20th anniversary of drastic changes to how the education system was funded.

    It notes that the boards that receive less grant money for needy schools actually bring in more than the $280 average, and those that receive the most in learning opportunity grants, or LOGs, bring in much less than the average.

    “Even these numbers radically understate the upside-down equity driven by school-based fundraising … at the school level, the gap between at-risk programming needs and local fundraising potential will inevitably be even starker,” says the report by economist Hugh Mackenzie.

    The provincial funding formula, introduced by the Conservative government back in 1997, not only took more than a billion dollars out of the system, it also took taxing powers away from individual school boards. It continues to come under fire for flaws that unions and parent groups have urged the Liberals to fix.

    The Liberal government has poured billions more into education, now spending $23 billion, or $12,107 per student, when adjusted for inflation, the report notes.

    Ontario now ranks fifth in Canada in per-student spending.

    The report, however, notes much of the additional money has been spent on class size reductions, and full-day kindergarten.

    Both of those initiatives have benefitted elementary teachers and created thousands of jobs.

    Overall, the report says whether special education, English-as-a-Second-Language students or school maintenance, these areas “have all been underfunded for two decades.”

    “We are not surprised by the findings,” said Sam Hammond, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario — the country’s largest teacher union — in an interview.

    “It’s telling in terms of the compounded problems that have been caused since 1997.”

    Despite changes to special education funding, some boards continue to spend millions more than they receive to deliver programming.

    “We acknowledge that the Liberals have put money into it …but every year the funding has changed, it has been inadequate,” he said.

    “Boards are struggling every year to balance their budgets; they are struggling to get enough resources and enough money into special education programming to support students with special needs.

    “And even with changes that the Liberals put in most recently, even under that, there are still boards that lost out on millions of dollars.”

    Teachers have been warning about this “for a number of years now,” Hammond added.

    “There’s been a consistent decline in the supports and resources with regards to special education programs at the same time as we see increases in the numbers of students requiring those levels of support.”

    In June, the government did make a move to address the problem, with Education Minister Mitzie Hunter announcing an extra $219 million into a fund for boards to hire a total of 875 teachers and 1,600 education workers.

    Hammond said the Liberals were the biggest critics of the funding formula and promised a full review, which has not been done, and the union is now asking for an evaluation of the funding system every five years.

    ETFO is also recommending the government increase funding for children with special education needs and mental health issues and hire external reviewers to examine how it allocates money in this area.

    The union would also like the province to pitch in more money for counselors, psychologists, social workers and speech therapists, which they say are lacking in the system now and leading to long wait lists.

    Previous series by the Star have highlighted how parent fundraising has grown over the years in Greater Toronto, coming to fill in the funding gaps in some schools.

    In Toronto public schools in 2013, the average for school-generated funds was $118 per elementary school, and the lowest in the Greater Toronto area. Almost-two thirds of schools are below $100 per child.

    The York Region Catholic board, however, was averaging $358 per student.

    School-generated funds include fundraising events, payments for field trips and cafeteria sales, among other things, and are used to bring in scientists or artists for enrichment programming, purchase extra computers or better gym equipment.


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    A leading neo-Nazi website is losing its internet domain host after its publisher posted an article mocking the woman who was killed in a deadly attack at a white nationalist rally in Virginia.

    GoDaddy tweeted late Sunday night that it has given The Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider because the site has violated the Scottsdale, Arizona-based company’s terms of service.

    GoDaddy spokesperson Dan Race said the move was prompted by a post on the site about Heather Heyer, who was killed Saturday when a man plowed his car into a group of demonstrators in Charlottesville. The post called her “fat” and “childless” and said “most people are glad she is dead, as she is the definition of uselessness.”

    Read more:

    James Alex Fields Jr., man accused of ramming car into Charlottesville protesters, denied bail

    Donald Trump speaks in Washington about Charlottesville protests

    “Given their latest article comes on the immediate heels of a violent act, we believe this type of article could incite additional violence, which violates our terms of service,” Race said in an emailed statement.

    Shortly after GoDaddy tweeted its decision, the site posted an article claiming it had been hacked and would be shut down. It wasn’t immediately clear if hackers had truly taken over The Daily Stormer or if that was just a prank post from a website known for its trolling tactics.

    Andrew Anglin, the website’s publisher and author of Sunday’s post about Heyer, said he couldn’t immediately comment Monday on GoDaddy’s move.

    “I don’t have time to talk, we’re trying to regain control of the site,” he said in an email to The Associated Press.

    Auernheimer, known online as “weev,” said GoDaddy hadn’t contacted The Daily Stormer to explain its decision. He said the site has an alternate domain name that it can use if GoDaddy cancels its service.

    “We’ll get it taken care of,” Auernheimer said. “If we need a new domain, we’ll get a new domain.”

    GoDaddy isn’t The Daily Stormer’s host, which means the site’s content isn’t on the company’s servers, according to Race. “Only the domain is with GoDaddy,” Race added.

    Anglin’s site takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda. The site includes sections called “Jewish Problem” and “Race War.”

    The Daily Stormer is infamous for orchestrating internet harassment campaigns carried out by its “Troll Army” of readers. Its targets have included prominent journalists, a Jewish woman who was running for a California congressional seat and Alex Jones, a radio host and conspiracy theorist whom Anglin derided as a “Zionist Millionaire.”

    In April, a Montana woman sued Anglin after her family became the target of another Daily Stormer trolling campaign. Tanya Gersh’s suit claims anonymous internet trolls bombarded Gersh’s family with hateful and threatening messages after Anglin published their personal information in a post accusing her and other Jewish residents of Whitefish, Montana, of engaging in an “extortion racket” against the mother of white nationalist Richard Spencer

    The Daily Stormer used a crowdfunding website, WeSearchr, to raise more than $152,000 in donations from nearly 2,000 contributors to help pay for Anglin’s legal expenses.

    Other internet services have taken similar action against The Daily Stormer since Anglin founded it in 2013. In 2015, Anglin said PayPal had permanently banned him from using the service. And he complained in January that a Ukrainian advertising company had banned them, leaving an Australian electrician as the site’s only advertiser.


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    Toronto police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman pulled out of Lake Ontario in Etobicoke last week.

    Police say they responded to a call for an unknown trouble on Aug. 10 at 5:15 p.m. in the area of Humber Bay Shores Park.

    Paramedics say the woman was without vital signs when she was extracted from the water. She was later pronounced dead on the scene.

    Toronto police Const. Craig Brister said police are not considering her death suspicious.

    The woman is described as white between the ages of 55 to 70 years old, 5 foot 4 to 5 foot 6, 135 to 150 lbs., short grey hair, and brown eyes.

    Police say she was wearing a red tank top and navy blue pants.

    Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-2200, Crime Stoppers.

    Police are also investigating after a man’s body was pulled from the water near the Argonaut Rowing Club on last Friday.


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    Delta Air Lines Inc. is eyeing New York and Los Angeles as the main bases for Bombardier Inc.’s new jetliner next year, offering a glimpse of how carriers can add service economically with the mid-size plane.

    Dallas is also likely to get a lot of CSeries flights, Delta said in an internal memo to pilots, a copy of which was reviewed by Bloomberg. That sets up a test of the carrier’s ability to use the single-aisle aircraft to attract customers in the backyard of American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. 

    Delta is the first major U.S. carrier to buy the CSeries, a mid-range aircraft that offers roomier interiors than regional jets while typically carrying fewer passengers than a plane from the Boeing Co. 737 or Airbus SE A320 families.

    Read more:

    Bombardier reports $296M loss, but says it has strengthened balance sheet

    Boeing asks U.S. government to delay decision on Bombardier CSeries duties

    Boeing says trade complaint against Bombardier designed to prevent larger CSeries

    The Bombardier aircraft, which the Montreal-based company has spent at least $6 billion developing, should enable airlines to offer comfy rides to mid-size cities without flooding the market with too many seats.

    “From the standpoint of operating costs, from the standpoint of ownership costs, it’s an ideal aircraft for these not-quite-mainline markets,” said Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former airline executive. “If it performs as advertised, reliably, it’s going to be a real game-changer.”

    Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for Delta, declined to comment on the memo or how the company will use the CSeries. The aircraft is scheduled to enter service for the Atlanta-based airline in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Aug. 7 notice to pilots, which described preliminary plans for the planes.

    The U.S. airline ordered at least 75 of the CS100 models last year in a deal valued at $5.6 billion, before the discounts that are customary for large aircraft purchases. Ordering the CSeries was a bit of an anomaly for Delta under former CEO Richard Anderson, who had historically preferred more tested airplanes over new models. He handed over the reins as CEO to Ed Bastian days after the order was announced.

    The purchase threw a lifeline to Bombardier after the CSeries program came in 2-1/2 years late and more than $2 billion over budget. But the transaction also prompted Boeing to file a trade complaint with the U.S. government, accusing Bombardier of selling Delta the planes at “absurdly low” prices, while benefiting from unfair Canadian government subsidies, and calling for tariffs. Bombardier has denied the allegations.

    Air Baltic Corp., which began flying CS300 planes in December, has seen a 21-per-cent improvement in fuel economy compared with the Boeing 737-300s that the model is replacing, CEO Martin Gauss has said. Bombardier had promised a 19-per-cent boost. Passenger feedback has focused on lower noise levels, a brighter interior and bigger spaces for stowing baggage, Gauss added.

    Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss unit, which last year became the first operator of the CS100, has also praised the jet’s performance.

    Delta will place the new CS100 planes on popular routes now served by the airline’s largest 76-seat regional jets, which will free up those planes to replace 50-seat aircraft around Delta’s system, President Glen Hauenstein said last month.

    He said New York would get the first CS100, without providing additional details. The plane has 108 seats in a standard dual-class configuration, according to Bombardier.

    In Dallas, Delta may see a chance to poach some business customers from hometown carriers American and Southwest, potentially taking a bite out of their profit margins, said aviation consultant George Hamlin.

    “Southwest is very much a thorn in Delta’s side in its home market in Atlanta,” Hamlin said. “The airline business is about margins, so if you can pry a modest amount of business from your competitor, the margin in that market may become problematic for the incumbent.”


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