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Protest planned for Toronto over violence at Charlottesville white supremacist rally

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 14th, 2017

A vigil was held outside the U.S. consulate in Toronto on Aug. 13, 2017, to remember the victims of Saturday’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. CITYNEWS/Nitish Bissonauth
A rally is planned in Toronto on Monday to protest the weekend violence in Virginia that saw one woman killed and nearly 20 others injured.

Demonstrators are expected to gather outside the American consulate to express their opposition to white supremacists.

“We are gathering peacefully in front of the U.S. consulate on Monday morning to oppose violent right-wing bigotry in the US and support victims and survivors of the recent violence in Charlottesville,” the Facebook post reads.

The rally is expected to start at 8 a.m.

On Saturday, a car plowed through a group of people who were protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

The driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. from Ohio, faces charges that include second-degree murder. A high school teacher said 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 vigil was held in Toronto on Sunday night to remember the victims of Saturday’s violence.

A rally was also held in Montreal according to social media and local media reports.

Vigils and protests also took place across the U.S. The gatherings Sunday spanned from anti-fascist protests in San Francisco to a march to President Donald Trump’s home in New York.

Canadian pastor freed from North Korea gets rock star-like welcome home

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Aug 14th, 2017


Despite a grim account of his imprisonment, the mood was joyful as a Canadian pastor freed from a North Korean prison addressed the congregation at a Toronto-area church Sunday.

During his first public appearance since arriving home, Hyeon Soo Lim described his two years in isolation, where he says he did gruelling physical labour that landed him in hospital on several occasions.

In an English translation of the address he gave in Korean, Lim describes the work he was forced to do and the effects it had on his body.

Lim had been sentenced to life in prison with hard labour for alleged anti-state activities, but was released on what the North Korean government described as “sick bail” last week.

“The mud was so hard it took two days to dig one hole. It was incredibly challenging. My upper body was sweating; my fingers and toes were frostbitten,” he said.

“One year of this difficult labour took a toll on my body and I was admitted to the hospital for two months. There would be three other occasions where I would be admitted to the hospital in serous condition.”

im said he often felt lonely and sometimes hopeless during his imprisonment. “It was difficult to see when and how the entire ordeal would end,” he said. A member of the congregation said he told his audience he didn’t know about his release until 15 minutes before it happened.

When Lim arrived at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., he was greeted by a cheering crowd. Some in the crowd reached out to embrace him as he walked by.

About a half hour later, Lim gave his address in front of a church so full that some people who couldn’t find seats stood in the back.

And although the speech’s contents read as solemn in the English translation, he delivered them energetically. He and the audience laughed as he delivered jokes in Korean that congregants later described as self-deprecating.

“You can see I’ve had a haircut,” he reportedly told the congregation, gesturing to his bald head. He also joked that he’s now an expert on North Korea, explaining that he read more than a hundred books on the country while in prison.

He said he also read the Bible in both English and Korean five times “and memorized over 700 Bible verses.”

Church officials passed out sheet music for a song with lyrics that Lim wrote while he was imprisoned. Congregants were encouraged to sing along to “Forever, Forever Hold Steadfast,” a song about faith.

After the service, Lim told members of the media he was grateful for the support of his congregation, and for the Canadian government officials who secured his release.

“It is a miracle for me to be here today,” he said through a translator.

Lim then greeted members of the congregation, who were eager to speak with him.

Timothy Cho, 22, has been attending services at Light Korean Presbyterian Church since his childhood. He says he was worried the imprisonment would take a significant toll on Lim, but was relieved to see him making the same kinds of jokes he used to make before he left.

“I was amazed to see him,” Cho said. “I don’t think there’s a lot of change, despite his solitary confinement.”

Photo released of man wanted in TTC bomb threat scare

NEW STAFF | posted Monday, Aug 14th, 2017

Photograph of man wanted in bomb threat investigation (TPS / Handout)
Police have released an image of a man wanted in connection with a bomb threat aboard at TTC subway that caused a temporary suspension of both Line 1 and 2 on Sunday.

Police were called to the Yonge-Bloor station just before 2 p.m. following reports a man on a southbound train claimed he had a bomb and would blow the train up.

According to police, the man’s actions forced an unsafe evacuation of the crowded train.

The suspect managed to leave the station under the cover of the crowd.

The bomb squad was called in to investigate and determined there was no threat.

The suspect is described as white and last seen wearing dark shorts, a t-shirt with rolled up sleeves, a baseball cap and glasses. He was also carrying a black back pack.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police.

Photograph of man wanted in bomb threat investigation (TPS / Handout)

Protests, vigils decry Charlottesville white supremacist rally


Candles are held during a vigil for victims in Charlottesville, Va., at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Statue in North Las Vegas, Nev., on Aug. 13, 2017. Protesters decrying hatred and racism converged around the country on Sunday, saying they felt compelled to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)
Protesters decrying hatred and racism converged around the country, saying they felt compelled to counteract the white supremacist rally that spiraled into deadly violence in Virginia.

The gatherings Sunday spanned from anti-fascist protests in San Francisco to a march to President Donald Trump’s home in New York. In Toronto, a vigil was held outside the U.S. Consulate, and a rally will be held on Monday morning.

Some focused on showing support for the people whom white supremacists condemn. Other demonstrations were pushing for the removal of Confederate monuments, the issue that initially prompted white nationalists to gather in anger this weekend in Charlottesville, Va. Still other gatherings aimed to denounce fascism and a presidential administration that organizers feel has empowered white supremacists.

“People need to wake up, recognize that and resist it as fearlessly as it needs to be done,” said Carl Dix, a leader of the Refuse Fascism group organizing demonstrations in New York, San Francisco and other cities. “This can’t be allowed to fester and to grow because we’ve seen what happened in the past when that was allowed.”

“It has to be confronted,” said Dix, a New Yorker who spoke by phone from Charlottesville on Sunday afternoon. He had gone there to witness and deplore the white nationalist rally on Saturday that spiraled into bloodshed.

In Seattle, a rally previously planned for Sunday by the conservative pro-Trump group known as Patriot Prayer drew hundreds of counter protesters. Police arrested three men and confiscated weapons as Trump supporters and counter-protesters converged downtown.

A barricade separated the two groups as police officers stood by dressed in riot gear. Police said they used pepper spray and blast balls to disperse crowds after fireworks were thrown at officers. In a statement, police said they observed some people in the counter protest carrying axe handles and two-by fours as they infiltrated the hundreds of peaceful demonstrators.

In Denver, several hundred demonstrators gathered beneath a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in City Park and marched about 3.22 kilometres to the state capitol. In Fort Collins, Colorado, marchers chanted “Everyone is welcome here. No hate, no fear.” One demonstrator’s sign said, “Make racists ashamed again.”

In New York, protesters marched from several locations in Manhattan to Trump Tower, demanding the president denounce white nationalist groups involved in the violent confrontations in Charlottesville. One sign read: “Call out evil.”

Helen Rubenstein, 62, was among hundreds of people who marched through downtown Los Angeles. She said her parents were Holocaust survivors, and she’s worried that extremist views were becoming normal under Trump’s presidency.

“I blame Donald Trump 100 per cent because he emboldened all these people to incite hate, and they are now promoting violence and killing,” Rubenstein said.

Charlottesville descended into violence Saturday after neo-Nazis, skinheads, Ku Klux Klan members and other white nationalists gathered to “take America back” and oppose plans to remove a Confederate statue in the Virginia college town, and hundreds of other people came to protest the rally. The groups clashed in street brawls, with hundreds of people throwing punches, hurling water bottles and beating each other with sticks and shields.

Eventually, a car rammed into a peaceful crowd of anti-white-nationalist protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The driver, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. from Ohio, faces charges that include second-degree murder. A high school teacher said 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.

During Saturday’s incident, a Virginia State Police helicopter deployed in a large-scale response to the violence then crashed into the woods outside of town. Both troopers on board died.

A crowd gathered on the street where the crash happened for a vigil Sunday evening. They sang “Amazing Grace” and prayed around piles of flowers that mark the spot where Heyer was killed.

Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer, who attended the rally, denied all responsibility for the violence. He blamed the counter-protesters and police.

Trump condemned what he called an “egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides,” a statement that Democrats and some of the president’s fellow Republicans saw as equivocating about who was to blame. The White House later added that the condemnation “includes white Supremacists, KKK, neo-Nazi and all extremist groups.”

Some of the white nationalists at Saturday’s rally cited Trump’s victory, after a campaign of racially charged rhetoric, as validation for their beliefs. Some of the people protesting Sunday also point to the president and his campaign, saying they gave license to racist hatred that built into what happened in Charlottesville.

“For those who questioned whether ‘oh, don’t call it fascism’ … this should resolve those issues,” Reiko Redmonde, an organizer of a Refuse Fascism protest planned in San Francisco, said by phone. “People need to get out in the streets to protest, in a determined way.”

Associated Press writers Dake Kang, Jonathan Drew, Jennifer Kay, Holly Ramer and Dan Elliott contributed to this report.

Woman seen abusing dog on subway charged; animal in care of OSPCA

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 11th, 2017

An OSPCA animal care staff member with the Chinese Crested-type dog. OSPCA
The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), along with Toronto police, have arrested and charged a 37-year-old woman after a video surfaced of her mistreating her Chinese Crested-type dog on the subway.

Teresa Rutledge has been charged with willfully permit pain and suffering of an animal. She’s scheduled to appear in court on October 11, 2017.

After police notified the OSPCA, an investigation was started and a warrant was obtained to seize the dog from the woman.

The dog has since been in the care of the OSPCA and from pictures they released Thursday, seems to be in good health and high spirits.

An OSPCA animal care staff member with the Chinese Crested-type dog rescued from a 37-year old woman. OSPCA

“We are grateful for the public coming forward with this evidence that allowed us to conduct this investigation,” said Connie Mallory, chief Inspector of the Ontario SPCA.

However, she added that the video evidence was only one part of the investigation.

The charges laid against the Rutledge and the legal removal of the dog were not based solely on the video, but rather on a full and thorough investigation

Rutledge also faces one count of causing distress to an animal under the Ontario SPCA Act.

Related stories:

Dog seen being hit by woman on subway seized by OSPCA

OSPCA investigating after video surfaces of dog abuse on subway

SIU determine Hamilton police justified in fatal shooting of unarmed suspect

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Aug 11th, 2017

The Special Investigations Unit headquarters in Mississauga. CITYNEWS
The Special Investigations Unit says it will not lay charges against a police officer in the fatal shooting of a Hamilton man last September.

Anthony Divers was shot and killed last year following a confrontation with police near the Hamilton GO station.

Police had been dispatched to the area following reports a woman had been assaulted. They were told the suspect may be armed.

The SIU report into the shooting noted Divers failed to respond to police commands to “stop” and “get down” on several occasions before he was shot twice.

SIU Director Tony Loparco said even though it was later determined that Divers was not armed, the officer who fired the fatal shots reasonably believed his life was in danger.

“It is clear the SO (subject officer) believed he was at risk of death or grievous bodily harm at the time he discharged his firearm. He based that belief on both his observations at the time and his knowledge of Mr. Divers’ past behaviour,” wrote Loparco.

“The SO did not have the luxury of delaying and risking his own life by waiting to see if a shot was actually fired from whatever weapon that Mr. Divers was intimating that he had hidden inside his waistband or sweater.”

Richmond Hill teen Denis Shapovalov upsets Rafael Nadal at Rogers Cup

BILL BEACON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Aug 11th, 2017

Denis Shapovalov of Canada celebrates after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain during round of sixteen play at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Montreal on Aug. 10, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Even Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov was amazed he had beaten tennis superstar Rafael Nadal.

The 18-year-old from Richmond Hill shocked himself, the crowd that roared with every point he scored, and the tennis world with his 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over top-seeded Nadal in the third round of the Rogers Cup on Thursday night at a sold out Uniprix Stadium.

Shapovalov dropped to the ground and covered his face in joy and surprise as the cheers reached deafening levels after the match point fell, completing his comeback from a 3-0 deficit in the third-set tiebreaker.

“It’s what I dreamed of all my life growing up, playing guys like Rafa (Nadal), Roger (Federer), Andy (Murray),” said Shapovalov. “You know, my dream came true today.”

The victory put him into a quarter-final Friday against France’s Adrian Mannarino, who beat Hyeon Chung 6-3,6-3.

It was one of the biggest wins in Canadian tennis history and it came at the tournament that some still call the Canadian Open.

Shapovalov became the youngest player to reach the tournament’s quarter-finals since Bjorn Borg in 1974.

He also became the youngest quarter-finalist at a Masters Series tournament ever and is the youngest to beat a player ranked in the top two in the world since Nadal beat Federer in 2004 in Miami.

Shapovalov will reach his goal of moving into the top 100 in the world in a week that saw him save four match points in a first round win over Rogerio Dutra Silva, then beat 2009 U.S. Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro in the second round before toppling Nadal.

“I’m very thankful that I’m in this position,” said Shapovalov, who had hockey great Wayne Gretzky and Olympic swimming star Penny Oleksiak cheering for him from the seats. “If I didn’t save those four match points in the first round, there wouldn’t even be a chance to play Juan Martin or Rafa.

“It’s difficult to say how I was feeling during the match. It was extremely hard physically and mentally. Rafa is such a warrior. I’m just so happy to come out with the win.”

Related stories:

Sportsnet: Shapovalov shoots to star status with win over all-time great Nadal

Sportsnet: Denis Shapovalov’s upset of Rafael Nadal historic in more ways than one

Big Read: Shapovalov doing what it takes to succeed at tennis’s highest level

Nadal, who could have claimed the No. 1 ranking if he had reached the semifinals this week, said it was the worst match he played all year, but he had kind words for Shapovalov.

“He played well,” the 31-year-old said. “He has a great potential.

“I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.”

Shapovalov looked unfazed in facing the biggest opponent of his young career. After Nadal cruised through the first set, Shapovalov kept battling, breaking service while taking a 3-0 lead in the second. When Nadal would start taking a control of a game, the younger of the two lefthanders would respond with big serves or impressive forehands down the lines.

Nadal fought off two break points to hold serve at 4-2, then earned his own break to win back the momentum from the 2016 Wimbledon junior boys champion, only to see Shapovalov snatch it back and clinch the second set.

The two held serve through the third. Nadal went up 3-0, but Shapovalov used two aces to fight back and complete the upset victory over the 10-time French Open champion.

Second-seeded Roger Federer, a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Spain’s David Ferrer, isn’t one to gloat over his stunning record against Spaniard, who was ranked third in the world in 2013.

Without playing especially well, the 19-time Grand Slam champion from Switzerland stretched his career record against the Ferrer to 17-0. It started with a win in Vienna in 2003.

“Maybe in the beginning he was not as good as he is now,” Federer said of Ferrer. “Maybe I won five times because I’m better than he was.

“I was No. 1 in the world. I played him on hard courts also. I didn’t play him often on clay. Also, there were many tight matches, so maybe it became a mental thing for him. I have a lot of respect for David. As a person, he’s very nice. He’s a great fighter on the court. So this type of head-to-head is a bit strange.”

In Friday’s quarter-finals, second-seeded Federer will face 12th-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain, against whom he is 6-0. Bautista Agut outlasted Frenchman Gael Monfils 4-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (2) in a two hours 56 minutes battle.

Unseeded Argentine Diego Schwartzman posted a strange win over American Jared Donaldson 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 to advance to a quarter-final meeting with Robin Haase, the 52nd-ranked Dutchman who upset seventh-seeded Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-1.

Kevin Anderson of South Africa downed American Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-1 and will next play fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, who ousted 16th seeded Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-3.

Federer, who breezed past Canadian Peter Polansky in the second round on Wednesday, looked lost in the opening set, spraying balls long, wide or into the net, but gradually rediscovered at least some of the form that has seen the 36-year-old Swiss put back the clock with two grand slam wins this year.

OPP request information on ‘aggressive’ motorcyclists

NEWS STAFF | posted Thursday, Aug 10th, 2017


Ontario Provincial Police are looking for information after receiving numerous complaints of a large group of motorcycles behaving in a dangerous manner on several GTA highways over the long weekend.

Police say the incidents occurred on August 6th between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Highways 409, 401, 403, the Queen Elizabeth Way, Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Express Way.

“Riders were operating their motorcycles in an aggressive manner shutting down sections of the highway causing major traffic disruptions to rally and perform stunts,” said the OPP.

“The actions of these riders jeopardized the safety of all road users by increasing the risk of collisions, as well as frustrating drivers which may lead to road rage incidents.”

Police are asking for any videos, photos or dash cams that would help in identifying any of the individuals or motorcycles involved.


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