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The flags of the United States, Canada and Mexico fly in the breeze at the Louis Armstrong International Airport Monday, April 21, 2008 in New Orleans. The three heads of state, U.S. President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, are attending the fourth annual North American Leaders' Summit. (AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)

Trump wants new NAFTA deal to cut trade deficit with Mexico

JOSH BOAK, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jul 18th, 2017

The flags of the United States, Canada and Mexico fly in the breeze at the Louis Armstrong International Airport (AP Photo/Judi Bottoni)
President Donald Trump vowed Monday to boost U.S. manufacturing by cutting the $64-billion trade deficit with Mexico as he showcased products made in all 50 states – everything from a fire truck to a baseball bat.

“No longer are we going to allow other countries to break the rules, to steal our jobs and drain our wealth,” Trump said at a White House event that spilled from the East Room to the South Lawn.

Shortly after Trump’s remarks, the U.S. trade representative released an 18-page report about its goals for updating the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. In addition to reducing the trade deficit, the administration wants to insert a chapter on the digital economy into the deal. It also wants to strengthen labour and environmental obligations, as well as amending the rules of origin so that more of the products traded come from the United States and North America.

Facing an investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia and a tax and health care agenda struggling to make headway as quickly as promised, Trump is turning his focus to trade this week. Administration officials are to meet Wednesday with economic officials from China, a nation the president has accused of dumping steel on the global market to hurt U.S. steelmakers. The White House emphasis on trade follows a string of other recent theme weeks on energy, job-training and infrastructure that mostly failed to draw much attention away from the Russia inquiry.

The president took his time checking out products from all over the country: Trump donned a cowboy hat from Texas. He swung a baseball bat from Louisiana. And he even climbed into the cab of a Wisconsin-built fire truck and pretended to be a firefighter, saying, “Where’s the fire? Where’s the fire? Put it out fast!”

The new NAFTA objectives, a requirement to begin talks on updating the agreement in the next 30 days, contain the first specifics for a Trump administration that has made bold promises on trade. Trump has pledged to recover factory jobs and boost wages by crafting new trade deals. Supporters note that NAFTA enabled companies to charge cheaper prices for products that range from cars to vacuum cleaners, helping many U.S. consumers.

The president said he only seeks a level playing field for U.S. companies and workers, but “if the playing field was slanted a little bit toward us, I would accept that, also.”

But the president has a conflicted relationship with global trade. His namesake clothing business depended on the work of low-wage workers living overseas, as does the fashion line of his daughter and White House aide, Ivanka Trump.

As of now, Ivanka Trump’s firm continues to have its products made overseas. Her lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said in a statement Monday that the president’s daughter “has resigned from the company, does not control its operations, and has been advised that she cannot ask the government to act in an issue involving the brand in any way, constraining her ability to intervene personally.”


Related stories:

‘This will not be a short negotiation’: U.S. releases list of demands for NAFTA

Canada dives deep into data to make case to U.S. on NAFTA, says Freeland

Public consultations intensify as launch of NAFTA renegotiations looms


Trump has blasted trade deficits as hampering the economy by sending money abroad. But the trade deficit has actually improved from $762 billion in 2006 to $505 billion last year, a change brought about largely because U.S. consumers cut back spending during the Great Recession. His administration already is pursuing multiple trade cases on individual products and is weighing whether to impose tariffs and quotas on foreign steel in hopes of curbing production in China, even though that country represents a fraction of U.S. steel imports.

The Mexican government said in a statement that the administration’s NAFTA objectives will give greater clarity to the negotiations.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, said, “NAFTA supports millions of middle class jobs” across North America and Canada welcomes the opportunity to add “progressive, free and fair approaches” to the pact.

Despite the report, it’s still not clear exactly how Trump will renegotiate NAFTA to reduce the trade deficit, said Phil Levy, a senior fellow for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a business professor at Northwestern University.

“There’s no detail,” Levy said. “There’s nothing in there where you could say, this is how we get rid of the trade deficit.”

When NAFTA went into effect in 1994, the United States ran a small trade surplus in goods with Mexico and a slight deficit with Canada. But the size of the deficits steadily began to increase afterward.

By last year, the United States ran a $64-billion trade deficit with Mexico and a nearly $11-billion gap with Canada. Neither trade deficit is near its peak level. The trade deficit with Canada hit a high in 2008, while the trade gap with Mexico nearly reached $75 billion in 2007.

Loblaws pulls product after disturbing photos show birds trapped in wasp catcher

GINELLA MASSA AND NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Jul 18th, 2017

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Loblaws is pulling a bug trapper off store shelves after photos surfaced online of several small birds stuck to the product’s surface.

The disturbing photos were posted to social media on Monday.

“We bought a wasp trap from Real Canadian Superstore recently as we were noticing a lot of wasps in our backyard. We often have little children playing there so we thought that a trap would help,” the Facebook post read.

“Sadly unbeknownst to us it trapped 7 tiny birds as well.”

The poster, who lives in the Beaches, said that she contacted the manufacturer of the TrapStik but was told they would not remove the product or post a warning.

According to the company, the TrapStik was designed to catch wasps as well as mud daubers, hornets, yellowjackets and carpenter bees.

In a statement to CityNews, Stephanie Cates, director of marketing and communications for Sterling International Inc., the company behind the TrapStik, said that while it is extremely rare, the product has been known to trap birds.

“Relative to the number of TrapStiks we sell every year, catching a bird is an extremely rare occurrence. In the 5 years since this product was introduced in the U.S., we’ve sold over 1 million TrapStiks, and have been alerted to a bird catch about a dozen times,” the statement read.

“While rare, we acknowledge that this is an upsetting and traumatizing sight for anyone to see. As with any sticky trap used outdoors, there is a risk of catching a bird, a beneficial insect or any other creature that flies and comes into contact with this trap.”

Cates said customers are told to only hang a TrapStik in a tree if there is a hornet’s nest in that tree. Otherwise the product is to hang from a man-made structure, away from where children, birds or pets may come in contact with the adhesive.

But instances of bird catching were news to Loblaws.

Tammy Smitham, vice president of external communication for Loblaw Companies Ltd., said this was the first time they’d heard concerns about the product and they would begin notifying their stores to accept refunds.

“While we are aware that other Canadian retailers carry this item, we have made the proactive decision to remove the product from our shelves,” the statement read.

“We are working on issuing this notification to our stores and will be able to accept any returns with a receipt for a full refund.”

Home Hardware, which also carries the product, told CityNews it would be investigating the situation.

Customers are being advised that if they find birds or other small animals stuck to the TrapStik, to use soap and water to free the animals.

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Fall 2017

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

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Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital and production intern for its Fall 2017 term (Sep. through Dec.). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

comments@bttoronto.ca
Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

Health Canada issues warning about Fluffy Unicorn workout supplement

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

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Health Canada issues warning about Fluffy Unicorn workout supplement
Health Canada says Fluffy Unicorn — an unauthorized natural health product promoted as a workout supplement — may pose serious health risks.

Health Canada says laboratory testing on product seized from a shop in Laval, Que., found that it contains undeclared synephrine and higher levels of caffeine than declared on the label.

When combined, synephrine and caffeine can cause serious side effects ranging from dizziness, tremors, headaches and irregularities in heart rate to seizures, psychosis, heart attacks and stroke.

Health Canada says consumers should stop using the product and consult with a health care professional if they have used Fluffy Unicorn and have any health concerns.

Should additional retailers or distributors be identified, Health Canada says it will take appropriate action.

Justin Trudeau’s summer playlist includes Drake, k.d. lang

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a Faith + Pride church service before the Pride parade in Toronto, on June 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has released an official Spotify playlist.

Trudeau unveiled his “PM Mix” of 39 songs on the streaming service Saturday. It includes tracks by Canadian artists such as Drake, Shawn Mendes, k.d. lang and The Tragically Hip, as well as songs by Fiona Apple, R.E.M., Peter Gabriel and Neneh Cherry.

Trudeau asked “What am I listening to this summer? What should I be?” in both English and French when he posted the playlist Saturday on Twitter.

The 45-year-old prime minister is not the first world leader to publicly share a Spotify playlist. Former President Barack Obama released his summer music selections in two Spotify playlists in 2015. The artists included Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Coldplay and the Rolling Stones.

 

High Park Zoo reopens following unexpected death of bison

NEWS STAFF | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

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Bison are seen at the High Park Zoo
The High Park Zoo has reopened after closing unexpectedly following the death of one of its bison.

A spokesperson for Parks, Forestry and Recreation says it was one of four bison at the zoo and that the animal had no recent history of illness.

Matthew Cutler says they were alerted to the death by visitors to the zoo and that an investigation is underway to determine what caused the animal’s sudden death.

The zoo is also home to deer, llamas, peacocks, highland cattle and capybaras.

Ombudsman says failure of guards to obey use of force videotaping rules ‘alarming’

COLIN PERKEL, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jul 17th, 2017

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Federal prison guards are failing to comply with rules around videotaping their use of force against inmates in a majority of cases, according to data obtained by The Canadian Press.

In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the Office of the Correctional Investigator led by Ivan Zinger reviewed 1,436 incidents in which guards resorted to force against a prisoner. While the situation has improved in recent years, the high incidence of problems around video – in 67 per cent of the cases – is of significant concern, the prison ombudsman said in an interview.

“This is still a very high number of non-compliance,” Zinger said from Ottawa. “That’s what is alarming.”

Prison policy mandates that guards use a hand-held camera to video planned uses of force, as well as in spontaneous situations where feasible. Compliance problems exist in both scenarios, data show.

Some of the issues with video compliance are of a relatively minor or technical nature but in other cases, crucial video of incidents in which a prisoner alleges guards used excessive force – a criminal offence – simply isn’t available when it should be.

One recent example is the case of Timothy (Mitch) Nome, who alleged guards in March at Kent Institution in Agassiz, B.C., beat him in his cell without provocation. The independent investigator from Zinger’s office found no hand-held video of the incident was available for reasons not properly explained.

The lack of video evidence that could have proven or refuted Nome’s allegation left the investigator with little choice other than to say he couldn’t conclude what happened in Nome’s cell that morning, his report shows.

Overall, Zinger said, cases where video goes missing, is deleted, or is otherwise unavailable to his ombudsman office are relatively rare but have an enormous impact.

“They cast an incredibly negative light on, and it may taint all, the good work that correctional officers do,” he said. “It’s all good to say, ‘we’ve acted appropriately,’ but if you can demonstrate that you have – and the video does that for you – then it makes the system even more credible and erases any doubt in anybody’s mind.”

Non-compliance incidents involving video have fallen since the 83.5 per cent found in 2014-2015, but the Office of the Correctional Investigator identified ongoing issues such as:

– Delays in dispatching hand-held cameras during spontaneous use of force when time and resources are available;

– Failure to video pre-incident briefings when force is planned;

– Lack of video of decontamination procedures after guards have used chemical spray on an inmate.

The correctional service wouldn’t be commenting on the data because they came from a third party and would need to be verified, spokeswoman Laura Cumming said in an email. She also said policy breaches are not tolerated and would be investigated.

Given the immense power entrusted to guards, the ombudsman said, full compliance with law and policy in all aspects is critical. Video can help protect vulnerable inmates from abuse, but can also protect guards against false allegations of brutality.

“This is behind the wall and it’s always very secretive (so) there’s even more of a necessity that you follow the policy with respect to video evidence,” Zinger said. “It’s to the benefit of everybody to make sure that cameras are used appropriately.”

One problem area Correctional Service Canada could easily fix, he said, relates to the amount of time video from the myriad surveillance cameras in prisons must be kept before they become part of an active investigation. Current policy allows the service to retain video for six days.

Zinger said that’s too short and means information may disappear before anyone gets to it. He wants reinstatement of a 30-day retention policy that existed until 2005.

“Memory is very cheap,” he said. “There’s no cost issue about having lots of storage.”

Cumming said the service was in the process of examining “various technologies to improve the retention capacity of existing recording equipment” in prisons.

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