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Melania Trump does not believe husband’s accusers

Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press | posted Tuesday, Oct 18th, 2016

Melania Trump on Monday dismissed her husband’s sexually aggressive language as “boy talk,” insisting his remarks do not reflect “the man I know,” and said she does not believe that he has assaulted any women.

Trump’s wife, in a series of media interviews, said she has accepted her husband’s apology and the couple is “moving on.” The comments come more than a week after the release of a 2005 video in which Trump brags about kissing women and grabbing their genitals without their permission.

“I said to my husband that, you know, the language is inappropriate. It’s not acceptable. And I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know,” she told CNN.

She suggested that Trump may not have known his microphone was on, calling it “kind of a boy talk” that ‘Access Hollywood’ host Billy Bush was encouraging. And she suggested that the women who have claimed in recent days that Trump made unwanted advances were attention-seekers who were making “damaging and unfair” accusations.

“I believe my husband,” she said in the interview that aired Monday night. “My husband didn’t do anything.”

Mrs. Trump also said it is fair game for her husband to appear with women who have accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual assault, claiming the Democrats fired the first volley into the increasingly ugly war about the couples’ private lives.

“They’re asking for it. They started. They started from the beginning of the campaign putting my picture from modeling days,” she said in excerpts released by Fox News ahead of the interview’s broadcast. “That was my modeling days and I’m proud what I did. I worked very hard.”

Melania Trump’s image was used in a negative ad campaign during the Republican primary, but there is no evidence that the Clintons were involved. At the time, Donald Trump accused former rival Ted Cruz of being involved and responded by tweeting an unflattering image of the Texas senator’s wife. Cruz also denied involvement.


Related stories:

Canadian writer accuses Trump of sexual assault more than a decade ago

Allegations of sexual assault emerge against Trump

Trump caught on video making lewd, crude remarks about women

NBC News fires Billy Bush after lewd Donald Trump tape airs


The interviews are Melania Trump’s first moments in the public eye since the accusations over the last 10 days that have sent her husband’s White House bid reeling.

First, a 2005 video leaked of Trump using vulgar language to describe women and apparently boasting of sexual assault. And in recent days, several women have come forward to say that Trump had groped or sexually assaulted them.

The Republican nominee has denied the claims, calling the women liars and belittling their appearances.

In the interviews, Melania Trump deemed the celebrity businessman’s comments on the leaked tape “offensive to me and they were inappropriate.”

“And he apologized to me,” she said in an interview with CNN airing at the same time the crowd at her husband’s rally in Wisconsin was chanting “CNN sucks.” “And I expect — I accept his apology. And we are moving on.”

She said something similar in a statement released by the campaign after the video’s release. She has also demanded retractions from a People Magazine writer who profiled the couple in 2005 and last week accused Donald Trump of an assault at the couple’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago, while Melania was out of the room. And she repeated her husband’s assertion, which he makes without supporting evidence, that the media and Clinton campaign are working in tandem to sink the Republican nominee’s campaign.

Melania Trump has never filled the role of the traditional political spouse, only making rare appearances on the campaign trail. Her speech at July’s national convention was initially praised until it was discovered that passages of it were lifted from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention address.

Trump, who attended each of the first two presidential debates, was also lampooned on this week’s Saturday Night Live. The long-running sketch show ran a video in which actresses playing Melania Trump, her two step-daughters and two of the candidate’s most visible female allies did a version of Beyonce’s feminist manifesto “Lemonade” in an act of rebellion against the candidate.

The video ends with the Cecily Strong, the comedian playing Melania Trump, suggesting she wrote the song herself.

Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.

Bid to ban Cleveland name, logo denied

Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 17th, 2016

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An Ontario judge has ruled that the Cleveland Indians will be allowed to use their full team name and logo in their playoff games with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The decision comes after lawyers for an indigenous activist sought to have a court ban use of the team’s full name and its logo of a grinning cartoon man with red skin and a feather in his headband.

The injunction had been sought by Douglas Cardinal, who has filed complaints to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and Canadian Human Rights Commission on the matter.

Cardinal’s lawyers had argued that the combination of the Cleveland team name and logo was racial discrimination and amounted to a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code and Canada’s Human Rights Act.

They suggested the team could use spring training jerseys _ which didn’t have the full name and logo _ during their games, while Rogers Communications, which broadcasts the games, could be ordered not to use the team logo on screens in the stadium where the Jays play.

But a lawyer for the Cleveland team had argued that Cardinal’s application amounted to asking for censorship and suggested the court where the matter was heard wasn’t the appropriate place for the issues raised by Cardinal to be decided.

Man who allegedly tossed beer at Blue Jays game no longer employed at Postmedia

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 17th, 2016

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A man who was charged after allegedly tossing a beer can towards a Baltimore outfielder during a high-intensity Blue Jays playoff game is no longer employed at the media company he worked for.

Ken Pagan was charged with mischief earlier this month after surrendering at a police detachment in downtown Toronto. He is scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 24.


Related stories:

Cameras and legal measures can help curb fan violence, British prof says
Hamilton man charged in beer-tossing incident at Jays game
Police release photo of man suspected of throwing beer can at Orioles player


The 41-year-old Hamilton man was an employee at Postmedia Network Inc., and an online profile listed him as a sports copy editor. But a Postmedia spokeswoman said Monday that Pagan had left the company.

Georgia Sourtzis would not elaborate on the circumstances of Pagan’s departure, but the company had said earlier that it was conducting an internal investigation following the beer-tossing incident.

A can thrown from the stands at a Jays game on Oct. 4 narrowly missed Baltimore Orioles player Hyun Soo Kim as he made a catch. The toss triggered a social media frenzy as many analysed photographs and video footage from the game to figure out where the can had come from.

Toronto police released a photograph of a person they called an “unsportsmanlike fan” as they investigated the throw, and Pagan confirmed to The Canadian Press that he was the person in the picture distributed by authorities.

Pagan also told the Toronto Sun he was “drinking out of a cup” during the game.

Pagan’s lawyer has said his client is presumed innocent and is going to wait until court to have his say. The tallboy tossing incident resulted in the Jays announcing they would not be serving beer in cans at the Rogers Centre in Toronto for the rest of the post-season.

The team has said beer will be poured into cups throughout the stadium instead.

Guy Laurence stepping down as president and CEO of Rogers

CityNews | posted Monday, Oct 17th, 2016

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Guy Laurence is stepping down as president and CEO of Rogers, effective immediately.

Chairman Alan Horn will serve as interim president and CEO, until Joe Natale joins the company. Natale is a former Telus chief executive.

“We have appreciated Guy’s leadership over the last three years,” Edward Rogers, deputy chairman of Rogers Communications Inc., said in a statement Monday.

“He has moved the company forward re-establishing growth, introducing innovative programs like Roam Like Home, while getting the company ready for its next phase of growth. On behalf of the Rogers family and the Board, I’d like to thank Guy for his competitive spirit and many contributions.”

Rogers Communications is the parent company of this station, and this website.

New mortgage rules take effect Monday

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 17th, 2016

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New federal rules that will cut into the purchasing power of some first-time homebuyers take effect Monday.

The rules involve a stress test for all insured mortgage applications to ensure the borrower can still service their loan in the event interest rates rise or their personal financial situation changes.

Until now, stress tests were not required for fixed-rate mortgages longer than five years.

The federal government is making the change to try to stabilize the country’s housing markets, particularly in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver where prices have gone through the roof.

Canadian mortgage brokers reported a flurry of borrowing last week as homebuyers tried to get in under the wire.

Toronto-based broker Matthew McKillen estimated that he was 30 to 40 per cent busier this week than during a normal week.


Related stories:

‘It’s crazy today’ as mortgage brokers see flurry of business ahead of new rules
Fed mortgage changes inject uncertainty into real estate market: CREA
CIBC head calls federal government’s new housing measures prudent

Blue Jays back home for Game 3 of ALCS

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Oct 17th, 2016

Toronto Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin (55) reacts at home plate against the Cleveland Indians during seventh inning, game two American League Championship Series baseball action in Cleveland on Saturday, October 15, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The Toronto Blue Jays are back home Monday night for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against Cleveland.

Thousands of baseball fans are expected to flood the streets of Toronto. It’s the first time Cleveland will play the Blue Jays in a playoff game in Toronto.

The Jays are 0-2 in the seven game series after scoring just one run during the first two away games. Part of the reason for the lack of offence has been Andrew Miller, Cleveland’s dominant reliever who’s been virtually unhittable.

Trevor Bauer will take the lead on the mound on Monday. Bauer had been scheduled to start Game 2, but was pushed back after he said he cut the pinkie on his right hand while fixing a drone. Bauer, who needed stitches to close the wound, is a self-described “nerd” and big “Star Wars” fan who studied mechanical engineering in college and enjoys playing around with the flying objects.

Marcus Stroman will start for the Blue Jays.

The Blue Jays totalled one run over Games 1 and 2, and of their 10 hits, just one came against the Indians’ bullpen. Jose Bautista is 0 for 6, Edwin Encarnacion 2 for 7, Troy Tulowitzki 1 for 8 and Russell Martin 1 for 7. Toronto was fourth in the majors in home runs during the regular season got off to a powerful start in the playoffs, but hasn’t hit one in 27 innings, since the first inning of Game 3 in their AL Division Series against Texas.

Road Closures

  • Blue Jays Way will have a partial road closure, for southbound traffic, from Front Street West to Navy Wharf
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a partial road closure, for eastbound traffic, from Spadina Avenue to Rees Street
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a full road closure, for eastbound traffic, from Rees Street to Lower Simcoe Street
  • Bremner Boulevard will have a full road closure, for westbound traffic, from Lower Simcoe Street to Navy Wharf
  • Rees Street will have a full road closure, for northbound traffic, from Lakeshore Blvd to Bremner Blvd

 

Toronto police are asking people to do the following:

  • utilize public transit
  • car-pool where possible
  • consider avoiding the area of the Rogers Centre, if not attending the game
  • extend courtesy to all while travelling
  • give yourself lots of extra time

Iraqi forces launch military push to drive IS from Mosul

Susannah George and Adam Schreck, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Oct 17th, 2016

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KHAZER, Iraq – Iraqi government and Kurdish forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition air and ground support, launched co-ordinated military operations early on Monday as the long-awaited fight to wrest the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State fighters got underway.

Convoys of Iraqi, Kurdish and U.S. forces moved east of Mosul along the front line as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes sent plumes of smokes into the air and heavy artillery rounds could be heard.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the operations on state television, launching the country on its toughest battle since American troops left nearly five years ago.

Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, has been under IS rule for more than two years and is still home to more than a million civilians according to U.N. estimates.

“These forces that are liberating you today, they have one goal in Mosul which is to get rid of Daesh and to secure your dignity. They are there for your sake,” al-Abadi said, addressing the city’s residents and using the Arabic language acronym for the Islamic State group.

“God willing, we shall win,” he added, flanked by military commanders.

The push to retake Mosul will be the largest military operation in Iraq since American troops left in 2011 and, if successful, the biggest blow yet to the Islamic State. Al-Abadi pledged the fight for the city would lead to the liberation of all Iraqi territory from the militants this year.

In Washington, Defence Secretary Ash Carter called the launch of the Mosul operation “a decisive moment in the campaign” to deliver a lasting defeat to IS.

Iraqi forces have been massing around the city in recent days, including elite special forces that are expected to lead the charge into the city, as well as Kurdish forces, Sunni tribal fighters, federal police and Shiite militia forces.

South of Mosul, Iraqi military units are based at the sprawling Qayara air base, but to the city’s east, men are camped out in abandoned homes as the tens of thousands of troops massed around the city have overwhelmed the few military bases in the area.

Kurdish forces are stationed to the north and east of Mosul, a mostly Sunni city that has long been a centre of insurgent activity and anti-central government sentiment after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Iraqi officials have warned that the Mosul operation has been rushed before a political agreement has been set for how the city will be governed after IS.

Lt. Col. Amozhgar Taher with Iraq’s Kurdish forces, also known as the peshmerga, said his men would only move to retake a cluster of mostly Christian and Shabak villages east of Mosul and would not enter the city itself due to their concern for “sectarian sensitivities.”

“To eliminate the threat we must eliminate (IS) from Mosul,” Taher said at a makeshift base in an abandoned house along the front line, some 30 kilometres (19 miles) east of Mosul.

Iraqi special forces Lt. Col. Ali Hussein said the Kurdish forces are leading the first push on Mosul’s eastern front. His men were also anxious to move out to the front line, though he said he expects they will wait near the town of Khazer for another day or two.

Mosul fell to IS fighters during the militants’ June 2014 blitz that left nearly a third of Iraq in the extremists’ hands and plunged the country into its most severe crisis since the U.S.-led invasion. After seizing Mosul, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi visited the city to declare an Islamic caliphate that at one point covered nearly a third of Iraq and Syria.

But since late last year, the militants have suffered battlefield losses in Iraq and their power in the country has largely shrunk to Mosul and small towns in the country’s north and west. Mosul is about 360 kilometres (225 miles) northwest of the capital, Baghdad.

The operation to retake Mosul is expected to be the most complex yet for Iraq’s military, which has been rebuilding from its humiliating 2014 defeat.

Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement that the operation to regain control of Mosul could take “weeks, possibly longer.”

Earlier, Iraqi Brig. Gen Haider Fadhil told The Associated Press in an interview that more than 25,000 troops, including paramilitary forces made up of Sunni tribal fighters and Shiite militias, will take part in the offensive that will be launched from five directions around the city.

The role of the Shiite militias has been particularly sensitive, as Nineveh, where Mosul is located, is a majority Sunni province and Shiite militia forces have been accused of carrying out abuses against civilians in other operations in majority Sunni parts of Iraq.

Fadhil voiced concern about potential action from Turkish troops based in the region of Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul. Turkey sent troops to the area late last year to train anti-IS fighters there. But Baghdad has seen the Turkish presence as a “blatant violation” of Iraqi sovereignty and has demanded the Turkish troops withdraw, a call Ankara has ignored.

Military operations are also predicted to displace 200,000 to a million people, according to the United Nations. Just a few kilometres from the eastern front line, rows of empty camps for displaced civilians line the road, but aid groups say they only have enough space for some 100,000 people.

In Geneva, a senior U.N. official said he’s “extremely concerned” for the safety of civilians in Mosul. Stephen O’Brien, the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief co-ordinator, said that as many as “1 million people may be forced to flee their homes in a worst-case scenario.”

He warned that families are at “extreme risk” of being caught in crossfire, and that tens of thousands may end up besieged or held as human shields and thousands could be forcibly expelled.

Aleksandar Milutinovic, the Iraq country director for the International Rescue Committee, said the population of Mosul is not all supporters of IS, “they’re just people who had no other opportunity or a place to go” and urged Iraqi forces to “show will and a very serious commitment to protecting civilians and ensuring their wellbeing.”

In the midst of a deep financial crisis, the Iraqi government says it lacks the funds to adequately prepare for the humanitarian fallout of the Mosul fight. In some cases commanders say they are encouraging civilians to stay in their homes rather than flee.

“While we may be celebrating a military victory (after the Mosul operation is complete),” said Falah Mustafa, the foreign minister for Iraq’s Kurdish region, “we don’t want to have also created a humanitarian catastrophe.”

___

Schreck reported from Irbil. Associated Press journalists Ahmed Sami in Baghdad, Qassim Abdul-Zahra in Khazer, Iraq, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Vivian Salama in Washington contributed to this report.

Donald Trump calls Saturday Night Live spoof ‘hit job,’ calls for end of show

The Associated Press | posted Monday, Oct 17th, 2016

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Donald Trump has some choice words for “Saturday Night Live.”

The Republican presidential candidate tweeted early Sunday morning that the show’s skit depicting him this week was a “hit job.” Trump went on to write that it’s “time to retire” the show, calling it “boring and unfunny” and adding that Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of him “stinks.”

Saturday’s show featured a send-up of the second presidential debate last held last Sunday at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Martha, she is trying to silence these women but they need to be respected,” Baldwin, as Trump, tells debate moderator Martha Raddatz, played by Cecily Strong. “They need their voices heard.”

“What about all the women accusing you of sexual assault?” Strong asks

“They need to shut the hell up,” Baldwin responds.

Baldwin, who retweeted Trump’s critique, has been playing him on “Saturday Night Live” since its 42nd season kicked off a few weeks ago, with Kate McKinnon depicting Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.

Trump himself hosted an episode of “Saturday Night Live” last November.

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