Donald Trump held court from his perch high above Manhattan on Monday, receiving a line of former rivals, longtime allies and TV executives while overseeing a presidential transition that at times resembles a reality show like the one he once hosted.
Trump met with nearly a dozen prospective hires, all of whom were paraded in front of the cameras set up in the Trump Tower lobby as they entered an elevator to see the president-elect. Out of public view himself, he fell back on his TV star roots by filming a video that touted his legislative goals once he takes office.
Trump; did not immediately announce any appointments after the meetings, which came on the heels of a two-day whirlwind of interviews at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
Unlike his predecessors, who often spoke with Cabinet candidates under a cloud of secrecy, Trump has turned the search into a very public audition process. The extraordinary exercise took on a routine feel on Monday: First, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown stepped off the gold-plated elevator into the marble-coated lobby after his meeting to declare to waiting reporters that he was “the best person” to become Veterans Affairs secretary.
Next, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a candidate for interior secretary, did much the same, striding off the lift to say she had “a wonderful discussion” with Trump. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry declined to speak to reporters, but he did take time for a photo with the Naked Cowboy, the underwear-sporting, guitar-strumming New York institution who is normally a fixture at Times Square but has spent recent days camped out at Trump Tower singing about the president-elect.
Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who resigned her post on the Democratic National Committee after endorsing Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, also met with Trump but entered and exited out of sight. She later defended crossing party lines to meet with Trump about U.S. involvement in Syria, saying in a statement she would never “play politics with American and Syrian lives.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime Trump ally, also arrived with his wife, Callista, and told reporters that he indicated to Trump that he was interested in being a “senior planner” to co-ordinate long-term political efforts among the Republicans in control of all three branches of government.
Senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said of the visitors, “Not all of them will be in his Cabinet and his federal government, but they are all incredibly important in offering their points of views, their experience and certainly their vision of the country.”
No one was saying whether Trump would announce more appointments before heading to Florida for Thanksgiving. He was planning to leave Tuesday or Wednesday to spend the holiday at his Mar-a-Lago estate, while Vice-President-elect Mike Pence will spend Thanksgiving in Mississippi, where his Marine son is stationed.
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Trump has largely remained out of sight since winning the election, save for a flurry of brief public appearances over the weekend, often with Pence at his side, to flash thumbs-ups and provide quick updates on his progress in building a government. He remained in the upper floors of his skyscraper Monday, seeking counsel on the phone and interviewing candidates all while keeping an eye on the cable news coverage of the day’s events.
He appeared in a two-and-a-half minute video released late Monday in which he pledged to the American people that he was appointing “patriots” to his administration and reiterated a number of his campaign promises, including plans to renegotiate trade deals, scrap excessive regulations and institute a five-year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists.
The video – which made no mention of key pledges to build a border wall with Mexico or repeal the Affordable Care Act – continues the president-elect’s practice of trying to go over the heads of the media and take his case directly to the American public. Since Election Day, he has twice ditched the group of reporters designated to follow his movements and has so far eschewed the traditional news conference held by the president-elect in the days after winning.
Trump has not held a full-fledged news conference since July.
But the media were clearly on his mind as he met with executives and on-air personalities from TV networks. He frequently singled out the media – declaring them “so dishonest” – for criticism during the campaign, but it’s not unusual for presidents to hold off-the-record meetings with journalists when trying to promote policies or programs.
Among the attendees were NBC anchor Lester Holt and ‘Meet the Press’ host Chuck Todd, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America’ host George Stephanopoulos and anchor David Muir, CBS’ ‘Face the Nation’ host John Dickerson, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and several executives at the networks.
None of the attendees would discuss the meeting with reporters in the lobby, though Conway said it was “very cordial, very productive, very congenial.”
Those Trump met with over the weekend included former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a former critic now being considered for secretary of state; retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, who Trump dubbed an “impressive” prospect for defence secretary, and billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, who is under consideration for Commerce secretary.
“We’ve made a couple of deals,” Trump said Sunday. He gave assurances that “incredible meetings” would be bringing “incredible people” into the government.
Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey in Bedminster, New Jersey, Dave Bauder in New York and Julie Bykowicz and Laurie Kellman in Washington contributed to this report.
Rapper Kanye West has been hospitalized in Los Angeles – reportedly for stress and exhaustion – after abruptly cancelling the rest of his Saint Pablo concert tour, including a Canadian date in Toronto on Dec. 18.
Police were called to a house Monday for what turned out to be a medical situation and say West was taken to hospital and placed on psychiatric hold.
Only hours earlier, he’d pulled the plug on his tour after days of erratic behaviour that included an epic rant against Jay Z, Beyonce and Mark Zuckerberg early in his Saturday show in Sacramento before he left the stage.
TORONTO – Ontario has some advice for its fellow provinces as they move to meet the federal government’s newly unveiled goal of eliminating coal-fired power generation in Canada by 2030: keep an eye on those electricity bills.
The province’s Liberal government likes to boast that shutting down coal plants has all but eliminated Ontario’s once-ubiquitous smog days, making life easier for people with asthma and other breathing problems.
But it cost billions of dollars to build new transmission lines and replace coal with power from natural gas, wind, solar and biomass projects — not to mention maintaining a fleet of expensive nuclear reactors that still supply about half of Ontario’s electricity.
Electricity rates for homes and small businesses in Ontario jumped 70 per cent between 2006 and 2014 as coal was being phased out.
The province’s auditor general said the Liberal government’s planning and implementation of new power generation as it moved to replace coal cost consumers an extra $37 billion during that time — including an extra $9.2 billion for green energy projects — and was expected to cost another $133 billion from 2015 to 2032.
The political fallout from soaring hydro bills is still causing problems for Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government, which is looking to take steps it hopes will defuse the anger of ratepayers before the 2018 election.
Wynne admitted on the weekend that she should have paid closer attention to the impact of the government’s programs on hydro bills.
“People have told me that they’ve had to choose between paying the electricity bill and buying food or paying rent,” Wynne said. “That is unacceptable to me. Our government made a mistake. It was my mistake.”
The federal government wants 90 per cent of Canada’s electricity to come from sustainable sources by 2030, up from 80 per cent now.
Ontario phased out the last of its coal-fired generating stations in 2014, but coal power in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia still accounts for more than eight per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault urged those provinces Monday to make sure they have a diverse supply mix— wind, solar, biomass and nuclear power — to replace coal-fired generation.
“You need all of those to ensure you can replace the power that you’re eliminating,” Thibeault said.
“But the one thing I would suggest is they can never take their eye off the affordability ball. That’s something we could have done a better job at.”
It would have been a lot cheaper to just build more coal plants, admitted Thibeault. “We made the choice of clean and green, which to us is the right thing to do.”
For decades, Ontario relied on cheap electricity to help attract industry and drive its economy, with coal accounting for about 25 per cent of the province’s power supply by the 1990s.
However, the province’s five coal-fired generating plants were Canada’s largest source of pollutants that included sulphur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, mercury, arsenic, lead and carbon dioxide.
While the Liberals get credit for shutting down the coal plants, it was former Progressive Conservative Premier Mike Harris who took the first step towards a coal-free Ontario in 1999 by closing the Lakeview Generating Station in Mississauga, one of the biggest polluters in the Toronto area.
That same year, then-Opposition leader Dalton McGuinty promised to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2007 if the Liberals won the 2003 election, which they did.
McGuinty’s plan, which called for replacing coal with a combination of conservation, renewable energy, natural gas and nuclear power, came from his senior adviser, Gerald Butts, who now holds the same position in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office.
McGuinty was repeatedly forced to delay the ambitious promise; in the end it took until 2014 to close the last of the plants.
But the Ontario Clean Air Alliance said the use of coal had dropped to negligible levels by as early as 2011 — the largest single reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions in North America, and the equivalent of taking seven million cars off the road.
“A precedent had been set that demonstrated that it was possible to take meaningful action on climate change and air quality without stalling economic growth or lowering quality of life,” the group concluded.
The 2016 American Music Awards featured a number of pop stars strumming their guitars, Drake making a rare awards show appearance, an emotional speech from Selena Gomez and political moments about President-elect Donald Trump.
Drake, who has skipped his fair share of awards shows in recent years, was the big winner with four awards and debuted a new commercial for Apple Music.
The Toronto native collected awards for rap/hip-hop artist, rap/hip-hop song: “Hotline Bling,” rap/hip-hop album: “Views,” and soul/R&B song: “Work,” Rihanna featuring Drake.
“For our genre, I just like to keep things excited and keep making music. Shout out to everybody that’s trying to do the same thing,” said Drake, who broke Michael Jackson’s record for most AMA nominations after scoring 13 nominations.
Fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, who performed from his tour in Zurich, Switzerland, also won four awards – pop/rock male artist, pop/rock song: “Love Yourself,” pop/rock album: “Purpose,” and video of the year: “Sorry.”
Gomez, who lost artist of the year to Ariana Grande but won favourite female artist – pop/rock, gave a heartfelt speech onstage that earned a loud applause from the audience at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
“I think it’s safe to say that most of you know a lot of my life whether I liked it or not, and I had to stop, ’cause I had everything, and I was absolutely broken inside. And I kept it all together to where I never let you down. But I kept it too much together where I let myself down,” said 24-year-old Gomez, who recently took time off to treat depression and anxiety.
“I don’t want to see your bodies on Instagram. I want to see what’s in here,” she added, pointing to her heart. “And I have to say thank you so much to my fans because you guys are so damn loyal, and I don’t know what I did to deserve you. If you are broken, you don’t have to stay broken.”
Grande was shaking onstage as she collected artist of the year at the fan-voted show that aired live on ABC, beating Adele, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood and Bieber. “With or without this, I love you from the bottom of my heart,” she said to her fans.
Green Day was one of many big-named acts promoting new albums at the AMAs, including Bruno Mars, the Weeknd, Lady Gaga, Sting, John Legend and The Chainsmokers. But Green Day got political during their performance of “Bang Bang” as band leader Billie Joe Armstrong sang “No KKK, no fascist USA, no Trump” during the show.
The show’s hosts – former “Saturday Night Live” comic Jay Pharaoh and model Gigi Hadid – also mentioned the Trump family when telling jokes: After Pharaoh impersonated Jay Z, Hadid acted like Melania Trump.
“I love my husband, President Barack Obama, and our children, Sasha and Malia,” she said, scrunching up her face.
Strumming guitars while singing was one of the night’s themes: One Direction’s Niall Horan slowed things down for his acoustic-folk solo single, “This Town”: James Bay sang his smoky single, “Let It Go”; and Shawn Mendes performed his hit “Treat You Better” and switched to piano for the aching “Mercy.”
But the best singer-guitarist was Gaga, who beautifully belted the lyrics to her latest single, “Million Reasons.” She earned a rousing applause from the audience.
Sting also impressed, who performed “Message In a Bottle,” “Every Breathe You Take” and his new single, “I Can’t Stop Thinking About You.” He received the American Music Award of Merit, which was presented to him by Robert Downey Jr.
“American music lit the musical spark in my young mind,” the English singer said after his performance. “My musical soul is all American!”
Other highlights included double winners twenty one pilots and Mars, who kicked off the AMAs with his groovy hit, “24K Magic,” backed by his band who matched his slick, upbeat dance moves.
Grande and Nicki Minaj got steamy during their performance of the reggae-tinged “Side to Side”: Grande’s background dancers danced closely on her, and one male dancer even pulled up her skirt, while Minaj, who rapped from a chair, spread her legs widely.
Other performers included Maroon 5 with Kendrick Lamar; DJ Khaled with Minaj, Future, Rick Ross and August Alsina; and Fifth Harmony, who won collaboration of the year for “Work from Home” with Ty Dolla $ign.
Prince’s 1984 “Purple Rain” album, which gained new attention after his death in April, won top soundtrack. His sister, Tyka Nelson, collected his trophy onstage and cried as she spoke to the audience.
“We’ll keep this for you at Paisley Park until we see you again,” she said weeping and naming her siblings. “This is for you.”
Other winners included Tim McGraw, the Chainsmokers and Florida Georgia Line. Rihanna, who didn’t attend, won three awards. Adele and Beyonce were also absent but both won an award.
Zayn, who has won a handful of AMAs with his One Direction bandmates, took home new artist of the year.
“Wow. This one just has my name on it, right?” he said. “This has been a crazy year … I didn’t expect anyone to vote for me, so thank you for voting for me.”
With files from The Canadian Press
Toronto and the GTA are under a special weather statement, with more snow in the forecast and icy roads expected to snarl the morning and evening commute.
Environment Canada issued the weather statement for Toronto, Caledon, Mississauga, Brampton, York, and Durham on Monday morning.
Flurries off of Georgian Bay are expected to continue, and some areas could receive an additional two to five centimetres of snow.
Roads may be icy and that will have a significant impact on traffic. Beck Taxi is already warning that wait times may run slightly longer than normal.
The weather will be cloudy and windy with few sunny breaks, 680 NEWS meteorologist Jill Taylor said.
Winds could hit 50 km/h, with even stronger gusts in some areas. There’s a high of 1 C in the forecast and with the wind chill, it will feel like -8 C.
Health Canada has issued a product recall on certain brand of hummus.
Sabra Canada Inc. says all brands of hummus with best before dates up to and including January 23, 2017 are being recalled due to concerns over Listeria monocytogenes.
The recall coincides with a similar one in the United States where Listeria was found at the manufacturing centre but not in any of the products tested.
There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of these products, said the Health Canada statement.
The recalled products should be thrown out or returned to the store where they were purchased.
Food contaminated with Listeria may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. In severe cases of illness, people may die.
A complete list of the products affected can be found at this link.
At least 96 people were killed Sunday when 14 coaches of an overnight passenger train rolled off the track in northern India, with rescue workers using cutting torches to try to pull out survivors, police said.
The body of a victim lies buried amid the mangled remains of crashed bogies after 14 coaches of an overnight passenger train rolled off the track near Pukhrayan village,Kanpur Dehat district, Uttar Pradesh state, India, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. Dozens were killed and dozens more were injured in the accident. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
Daljeet Chaudhary, a director general of police, said the death toll was likely to rise because rescue workers had yet to gain access to one of the worst-damaged coaches.
The bodies were retrieved from the mangled coaches that fell on their side after the train derailed at around 3:10 a.m., jolting awake passengers. More than 200 other passengers were injured as some coaches crumpled when they crashed into others, trapping hundreds of people inside.
“We are being very careful in using the cutting torches,” Chaudhary said.
The derailment occurred near Pukhrayan, a village near the industrial city of Kanpur.
Rescuers used the torches to open the derailed train cars to reach those trapped inside, while cranes were deployed to lift the coaches from the tracks. However, rescue workers were moving cautiously as some of the coaches were precariously tilted and there was the danger of the coach toppling over, causing injuries to people trapped inside.
Medical teams were providing first aid near the site, while the more seriously injured were moved to hospitals in Kanpur, Chaudhary said. Around 200 people were injured, 72 of them seriously, he said.
Police were having a hard time keeping away hundreds of people from nearby villages who were the first to reach the accident site. “We have cordoned off some area near the coaches to keep people from hampering the rescue efforts,” Chaudhary said.
Passenger Satish Kumar said that the train was travelling at normal speed when it stopped suddenly.
“It restarted, and then we heard a crash. When we came out of the train, we saw a few coaches had derailed,” said Kumar, whose coach remained standing on the track.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his concern over the derailment.
“Anguished beyond words on the loss of lives due to the derailing of the Patna-Indore express. My thoughts are with the bereaved families,” Modi posted on his Twitter account.
Kanpur is a major railway junction and hundreds of trains pass through the city every day. Several trains using the line have been diverted to other routes, Anil Saxena, spokesman for Indian Railways, said in New Delhi.
It was not immediately clear what caused the coaches to derail. Rail authorities have ordered an investigation into the accident, Saxena said.
Accidents are relatively common on India’s sprawling rail network, which is one of the world’s largest but lacks modern signalling and communication systems. Most crashes are blamed on poor maintenance and human error.
Trains are the most popular mode of transport for millions of Indians, with around 23 million using the country’s vast railway network every day.
India’s worst train accident occurred in 1981 near Saharsa Bihar when a passenger train fell into the Baghmati River, killing nearly 800 people. Several other major train crashes have claimed hundreds of lives each since then.
Santa Claus is coming to town on Sunday. So soon, you ask? No, he is right on time.
With Christmas just over a month away, the holly and jolly festive season kicks into high gear in the GTA this weekend. The parade in Toronto is one of the highlights of the season.
Toronto Santa Claus Parade
It’s that time of year, again, when St. Nick temporarily leaves the North Pole to make his appearance at the Santa Claus Parade in Toronto on Sunday.
He is a very busy man at this time of the year. While he is making a list of who has been naughty or nice, he also has a list of places to visit before Christmas Eve.
On Sunday, Santa will make his way to the 112th annual parade but not before floats and marching bands delight children (and the young at heart). The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. at Bloor and Christie streets. It then heads down Bloor to Queen’s Park Crescent East, University Avenue, Wellington Street, and ends at Front and Jarvis streets around 3-4 p.m. Click here or see below for the parade route.
Ahead of the parade, the Holly Jolly Fun Run will travel the parade route at 11:45 a.m., but ends at Maple Leaf Square.
Toronto Christmas Market
Rediscover the magic of Christmas at the Toronto Christmas Market. The Christmas Market is now in its seventh year and has once again taken over the Distillery District.
Revellers can take in sparkling Christmas displays, traditional music and carols, and dance performances. There are also family-friendly activities including Santa’s House, a Ferris wheel, a carousel and a life-sized gingerbread house. You can get cozy with your loved one at the “Under the Mistletoe” sculpture, or strike a pose in the Hershey’s Kisses Deluxe Photo Booth.
The event officially kicks off on Friday with a special tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. The market runs until Dec. 22.
In the lead up to next weekend’s Cavalcade of Lights at Nathan Phillips Square, several tree-lighting events will brighten up Toronto this weekend. There is also a tree-lighting event in Mississauga.
Illuminite, the tree-lighting ceremony at Yonge-Dundas Square, will take place on Saturday. Revellers can enjoy live music starting at 5 p.m. ahead of the tree lighting at 6 p.m.
Around the same time, a tree lighting ceremony takes place in Bloor-Yorkville. The event, which runs from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Village of Yorkville Park, features a live performance from Shawn Desman. For a suggesting donation of $2, you can enjoy some refreshments too. Money raised will go to the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research.
That same day, at 2 p.m., Rosedale will hold its own Cavalcade of Lights celebration along a portion of Yonge Street. Aside from the tree lighting, there will be live music, food and drinks, photos with Santa and carriage rides. The event runs until 6 p.m.
Light Up the Square
Mississauga’s Celebration Square will be turning into a wintry wonderland this Saturday with Light Up the Square.
There will be skating, carousel rides, family activities, a pop up Holiday Street Market and plenty of cheer to go around. There will also be food trucks, in case you get hungry. Canadian singer Stella Rio will perform Christmas classics and new music to help celebrate the season. Mayor Bonnie Crombie, members of council and Santa Claus will be on hand for an official lighting of the Christmas tree.
Light Up the Square runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and guests can check out the Holiday Street Market all day long from noon to 11 p.m.
Hot Docs Podcast Festival
You listen to them while your commuting to work, washing the dishes, at the gym and falling asleep. Now, you can see your favourite podcasts live on stage. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema is hosting a Podcast Festival from Friday to Sunday.
It includes one-of-a-kind events, live podcasts, various panels and networking opportunities. Some of the podcasts include Criminal, Under the Influence with Terry O’Reilly, and Mystery Show.
Gourmet Food & Wine Expo
Wine and cheese lovers, rejoice. The Gourmet Food and Wine Expo is back for its 22nd year at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
The four-day-long event, which starts on Thursday, will allow you to sip and savour your way through international gourmet cuisine, exotic delicacies and over 1,500 fine wines, spirits and beers. Highlights include the Tutored Tasting Program, the Chef Stage and the Spiritology Pavilion.
There will also be live entertainment throughout the show. Guests must be 19 years or older to attend.
Trinity Bellwoods Flea Pre Holiday Market
It’s never too early to get a head start on your Christmas shopping list, and the Trinity Bellwoods Flea Pre Holiday Market is here to help.
The market features 75 vendors offering one-of-a-kind gifts. You will be able to find everything from art, fashion and beauty to baby supplies, jewelry and food. The market runs Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Studio Bar located on Dundas Street West near Bathurst Street.
Line 3 shutdown
TTC riders in the east end will have to rely on shuttle buses to get them downtown on Saturday. The entire Line 3 (Scarborough RT), from McCowan to Kennedy stations, will be shut down for track work.
Line 3 will also be shut down on Nov. 26 for track work. Shuttle buses will be running.