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In this Sunday, June 4, 2017, handout photo provided by Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester, singers Ariana Grande, right, and Miley Cyrus perform at the One Love Manchester tribute concert in Manchester, north western England, Sunday, June 4, 2017. One Love Manchester is raising money for those affected by the bombing at the end of Ariana Grande's concert in Manchester on May 22, 2017. (Dave Hogan via AP)

Teary-eyed Grande returns to stage for One Love Manchester concert

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 5th, 2017

In this Sunday, June 4, 2017, handout photo provided by Dave Hogan for One Love Manchester, singers Ariana Grande, right, and Miley Cyrus perform at the One Love Manchester tribute concert in Manchester, north western England, Sunday, June 4, 2017. One Love Manchester is raising money for those affected by the bombing at the end of Ariana Grande’s concert in Manchester on May 22, 2017. (Dave Hogan via AP)
Ariana Grande returned to the stage Sunday, two weeks after a suicide bombing killed 22 people at her concert in Manchester.

She paid tribute to the victims with an all-star affair in the city with the help of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Liam Gallagher and others.

Grande emerged onstage for the One Love Manchester concert, appearing teary-eyed and emotional as she performed her hits “Be Alright” and “Break Free.”

She told the audience, “Manchester, we’re gonna be all right.”

Sunday’s One Love Manchester concert, held at the city’s Old Trafford cricket ground, also featured Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Take That, Imogen Heap, Robbie Williams, Marcus Mumford, Niall Horan and Little Mix.

Gallagher and Take That hail from Manchester.

Grande sang multiple times throughout the three-hour-plus show, even duetting with Miley Cyrus, the Black Eyed Peas, Mac Miller and the Parrs Wood High School Choir, one of the show’s strongest moments.

“I don’t feel or smell or hear or see any fear in this building. All we feel here tonight is love, resilience, positivity,” said Pharrel Williams, who performed alongside Miley Cyrus.

The show was broadcast across the globe and proceeds from the concert will go to an emergency fund set up by the city of Manchester and the British Red Cross.

GTA home sales plummet 20.3% in May

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 5th, 2017

A sold sign is shown in front of west-end Toronto homes on April 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
The Toronto Real Estate Board says home sales in the GTA plunged last month by 20.3 per cent as prices continued to climb.

The board says the average selling price for all properties in May was $863,910, an increase of 14.9 per cent from the same month last year.

Sales of detached homes, which had an average selling price of $1,141,041, fell by 26.3 per cent in the GTA.

The data captures a month during which the Ontario government implemented a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, a fast-growing region stretching from the Niagara Region to Peterborough retroactive to April 21.

The measures are intended to temper rapid price growth that has given rise to concerns that Toronto has become increasingly unaffordable.

They are also aimed at preventing or mitigating the damage that could result from a housing correction if one were to occur.

The board said in a statement Monday that the effects of Ontario’s housing changes have yet to be seen.

Policy-makers at various levels are watching the city’s housing market closely as there are fears that the fallout from a possible crash in prices could have ramifications on the national economy.

There are signs that Canada’s other real estate market of concern – Vancouver – may be heating up again after that city’s real estate board reported Friday that home sales last month have rebounded to near record levels.

Transactions in Metro Vancouver in May were down 8.5 per cent year-over-year, while the MLS benchmark price for all properties hit $967,500, an increase of 8.8 per cent since May 2016.

Like Ontario, British Columbia introduced several measures including a tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver area last August in an effort to stabilize the housing market.

Related stories:

Toronto home sales dip could signal market cool-down

Home sales cool last month after record March, GTA leads decline

Ontario to tax foreign buyers, expand rent control to cool housing market

Canadian woman from B.C. confirmed as victim in London terror attacks

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Jun 5th, 2017


A woman who worked in a homeless shelter before moving to Europe was identified on Sunday as the Canadian killed in Saturday’s terror attack in London that left seven people dead.

Family members say Christine Archibald from Castlegar, B.C. was a victim of the attack on London Bridge and in the bustling produce market nearby.

“We grieve the loss of our beautiful, loving daughter and sister. She had room in her heart for everyone and believed strongly that every person was to be valued and respected,” read a statement released on behalf of the family through the federal government.

“She lived this belief working in a shelter for the homeless until she moved to Europe to be with her fiancé. She would have had no understanding of the callous cruelty that caused her death.”

Messages posted on Facebook by the brother and sister of Archibald’s fiance, identified as Tyler Ferguson, said the couple was on London Bridge when Archibald was struck and killed by a van.

“I can’t breath. You hear these things so often but it doesn’t seem real. Last night in London my baby brother lost the love of his life on the London bridge. In a split second his entire life was ripped away from him,” Cassie Ferguson Rowe, Ferguson’s sister posted on Facebook.

The family asked that people honour her memory by making the community a better place by volunteering or donating to a homeless shelter.

Dr. David Docherty, president of Mount Royal University, where Archibald took courses, expressed his great sadness upon learning of her death.

“Christine Archibald was a truly outstanding student who completed her coursework at Mount Royal in 2014 and officially received her Social Work diploma in 2015,” the Calgary university president said in a statement.

“Our deepest condolences go to her family and loved ones, as well as to members of our community who are grieving her loss.”

B.C. Premier Christy Clark issued a statement saying her thoughts are with the Archibald family, and with everyone who knew and loved Chrissy.

“As her family and province mourn, we must never forget who we are – and the diversity that makes us strong,” Clark said.

“The individuals who carry out these acts of hate want to change us. They want to sow fear and division. Ultimately, they want us to turn on each other. They will never succeed.”

B.C. New Democrat Leader John Horgan tweeted about Christine Archibald, saying “let’s honour her & never let hate win.”

Earlier Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was heartbroken to hear that a Canadian was killed.

“We grieve with the families and friends of those who have lost loved ones, and wish all those injured a speedy and full recovery,” he said in the statement. “Londoners and people across the United Kingdom have always displayed strength and resilience in the face of adversity. We recently witnessed this after the attacks in Manchester and in the Westminster area of London. This time will be no different.”

The Canadian government is advising citizens to be vigilant in the wake of the attack.

The High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom says any Canadians in need of urgent help should call 00 800 2326 6831 or email sos@international.gc.ca

The government and diplomats on the ground in London are advising travellers to avoid the affected areas, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.

tory tweet

On Saturday, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer tweeted that he was “horrified by the events in London” and that Canada would always stand with the people of London.

scheer tweet

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a tweet Saturday that Canadian hearts were heavy with the news of the violence in London.

wynne tweet

The attack began at about 10 p.m. local time when police and witnesses say a white van barrelled into pedestrians on London Bridge.

The attackers, wielding blades and knives, then ran down a set of stairs into Borough Market where they stabbed people in several different restaurants.

The attack lasted about eight minutes, police said, but seven people were killed and at least 48 were hospitalized.

The attackers were shot dead by police, and 12 people have been arrested in Barking in east London. Raids are going on elsewhere in the city.

The SITE Intelligence Group says Islamic State’s news agency is claiming fighters for the extremist group carried out the van and knife attack.

SITE said in a statement Sunday that the Islamic State’s Aamaq news service cited “a security source” in the Arabic-language posting claiming the attack.

Islamic State has often made such claims not just when it has sent attackers, but when extremists carrying out deadly plots were inspired by the group’s ideology.

This is the third attack in Britain in as many months. Two weeks ago, a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, in northwest England, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more.

In March, a British convert to Islam ran down people with a vehicle on Westminster Bridge, killing four before fatally stabbing a police officer on Parliament’s grounds.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday that police had recently foiled five other plots.

The violence turned a warm spring night in an area packed with revellers into a scene of panic and chaos, with officers running through crowded streets screaming for people to flee.

Related stories:

6 victims, 3 suspects all killed in London Bridge ‘terrorist incidents’
12 arrested after London Bridge attack that left 7 dead, 48 injured

Karla Homolka will no longer volunteer at Montreal elementary school

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Jun 2nd, 2017


A private Montreal elementary school is moving to quell public fears following media reports about Karla Homolka doing some volunteer work there.

The school, which is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, says it won’t allow anyone with a criminal record to volunteer in any capacity on school grounds.

The church issued a brief statement Thursday that didn’t mention Homolka by name, but said it has “heard and listened to the concerns of parents and members of the community uncomfortable with recent reports in the media.”

Local media captured images of Homolka using a purse to hide her face Wednesday morning as she dropped off her children outside the school in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grace neighbourhood.

On Tuesday, City News reported that Homolka had occasionally volunteered at the school, including supervising a field trip and bringing her dog into the classroom to interact with children.

A spokesman for the church told the TV station earlier this week that Homolka was not a regular volunteer and was not allowed to be alone with the children.

Thursday’s statement said the church would have no further comment.

Homolka and ex-husband Paul Bernardo were convicted of crimes related to the rape and murder of two schoolgirls, Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy.

Homolka struck a deal with prosecutors where she served 12 years in prison for manslaughter while Bernardo was convicted of murder and is serving a life sentence.

Homolka was released in 2005 after serving her full sentence and has since settled in Quebec.

Tim Danson, a lawyer who represents the French and Mahaffy families, said Wednesday it was a “kick in the gut” for the families to hear reports of Homolka seemingly living a normal life with her husband and children. Danson also said he’s convinced Homolka was never rehabilitated and shouldn’t be allowed to work with children.

Related stories:

Toronto, Peel boards have similar policies that would let Homolka volunteer

Ex nurse Wettlaufer felt ‘urge to kill’ seniors in her care, pleads guilty

LIAM CASEY, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Friday, Jun 2nd, 2017


A former Ontario nurse angry with her career and personal life believed she was an instrument of God as she used insulin to kill vulnerable seniors in her care over the course of nearly a decade.

About seven months after her arrest last fall, Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty Thursday to eight counts of first-degree murder, four counts of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated assault.

The crimes – which took place in three Ontario long-term care facilities and at a private home – make Wettlaufer one of Canada’s most prolific serial killers.

Emotional family and friends of her victims packed a Woodstock, Ont., courtroom as the 49-year-old quietly said the word “guilty” 14 times and admitted to a judge that she used insulin in every case.

“There was always that red surging that I identified with God talking to me,” Wettlaufer told a detective calmly in a confession video played in court. “Then I’d go get the insulin.”

Prosecutors laid out the details of each incident in an agreed statement of facts that included chilling revelations Wettlaufer made to authorities. Later, the crowded courtroom watched the video of the former nurse confessing to Woodstock police last October, saying she had told others about some of her crimes more than three years earlier.

In many cases, a growing rage over her job and her life built up until Wettlaufer felt an “urge to kill,” believing she was helping God, court heard. She said the feeling would only abate after she overdosed her victims.

“Then I’d get that laughing fit, like a cackle,” she told police.

Follow our live blog below.

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Chronology of events in former nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s case

Who is alleged serial killer Elizabeth Tracey Mae Wettlaufer?

Court heard that Wettlaufer was not intoxicated on drugs or alcohol when she killed or tried to kill. Many of her victims lived with dementia.

She told police she knew that “if your blood sugar goes low enough, you can die.” She also told police she refrained from logging her use of insulin in order to avoid detection, court heard.

In Aug. 11, 2007, Wettlaufer deliberately injected James Silcox, an 84-year-old man with diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, with insulin, “hoping he would die,” the Crown said.

“It was his time to go because of the way he acted,” she told police, according to the agreed statement of facts.

Silcox was later found without vital signs by a personal support worker, court heard. That was Wettlaufer’s first “successful” kill after two previous attempts failed.

Wettlaufer told investigators that afterwards, she felt “like a pressure had been relieved from me, like pressure had been relieved from my emotions.”

There were religious undertones to many of the killings, court heard, and in some cases, there was no motive other than “returning them to God.”

“I honestly felt that God wanted to use me,” Wettlaufer told investigators at one point.

Wettlaufer would even comfort some of her victims’ families after her crimes. In one incident, court heard that she hugged the niece of a 90-year-old woman she had murdered.

The former nurse may have gotten away with the killings if she kept quiet. But, court heard, Wettlaufer told her pastor about some of the people she had killed.

“He prayed over me,” she told police. “He said if you ever do that again, we’ll have to tell police.”

Wettlaufer also told a lawyer about everything in 2014, who advised her it was in her best interests to stay silent, court heard.

The former nurse also told other friends and acquaintances about killing patients with insulin, some took her seriously and told police, but most didn’t tell authorities, or believed she was lying, court heard. Many of those confessions came last fall.

Then, last September, Wettlaufer admitted herself to a psychiatric hospital in Toronto.

There she repeatedly confessed to the killings to doctors and staff, who told police. At the hospital she wrote a four-page confession.

“She insisted she wanted to be treated seriously,” said Crown attorney Fraser Kelly.

Wettlaufer jumped at the chance for an interview with Toronto police, where she confessed again. Then she told the story, “with great recall and in great detail,” to Woodstock police, Kelly said.

In that confession, Wettlaufer apologized to the families of her victims.

“I am sorry,” she said without emotion. “I am extremely sorry.”

“What would you say to the families?” the detective asked.

“I’m sorry isn’t enough,” Wettlaufer said. “I should have gotten help sooner. I took something from you that was precious and taken too soon. I honestly believed at the time that God wanted to do it, but now I know it’s not true. If I could take it back, I would.”

Some family members of Wettlaufer’s victims broke down in the courtroom as the proceedings unfolded.

At one point, a close friend of a man Wettlaufer killed walked by the prisoner’s box and yelled expletives at the former nurse.

Susan Horvath, whose father was killed in 2014, called Wettlaufer a monster.

“It tore me apart. Tore me apart to hear how she killed my dad,” she said outside court. “And she’s sitting there, no expression on her face.”

Horvath said she could not forgive the former nurse and called for better oversight at the province’s long-term care facilities.

“I don’t want my dad’s death, and everybody’s death, to just be wasted,” she said. “Let’s make a change.”

The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario called for a public inquiry into the deaths of Wettlaufer’s victims.

“We need to get to the bottom of what happened, how it happened and what we can learn from an organizational, regulatory and system perspective to ensure nothing like this ever happens again,” Doris Grinspun, RNAO CEO, and the group’s president, Carol Timmings, said in a statement. “We want no stone unturned in this effort.”

Records from the College of Nurses of Ontario show Wettlaufer was first registered as a nurse in August 1995 but resigned Sept. 30, 2016, and is no longer a registered nurse.

Court heard Wettlaufer stopped nursing because she was transferred to a different job where she would be dealing with diabetic children. She didn’t trust herself around children and insulin, court heard. Wettlaufer still faces a disciplinary hearing with the nurses college, court heard.

Sentencing hearings for Wettlaufer will take place on June 26 and 27, with both the Crown and her defence lawyer suggesting she serve her sentences concurrently.

Laura Jackson, a friend of victim Maurice Granat, said she blames the Caressant Care Nursing Home in Woodstock for allowing Elizabeth Wettlaufer to continue working despite being “not a good employee.” Watch the video below or click here.

Letter from Caressant Care

We watched today’s developments with great sadness.

Our thoughts are with the relatives and friends of those victimized by the tragic events in our communities.

Our focus remains on providing for the physical, social and spiritual needs of our residents. We are supported by an excellent staff, which continued to perform at a high level through an extraordinarily challenging time.

We have been working with law enforcement to support their efforts to establish the facts surrounding the events at our home. And, through regular contact with
the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and the support of others, we continue to strive for the highest levels of safety and security of our residents.

Lots going on this weekend in Toronto … but good luck getting there

CHRISTINE CHUBB AND SAMANTHA KNIGHT | posted Friday, Jun 2nd, 2017

Cyclists taking part in the Becel Heart and Stroke Ride for Heart. SOURCE: facebook.com/HSFRide
June has finally arrived and this weekend there are a lot of reasons to get out and enjoy the city.

But, getting around might be a bit of a challenge with one of the city’s biggest charity cycling events closing down two major highways. Plus there is a partial subway closure on Line 1 (Yonge-University-Spadina). So it might be wise to plan ahead if you’re out and about or just treat yourself to a weekend in the city’s downtown core at one of the many hotels in some of the city’s hippest neighbourhoods.


Becel Heart & Stroke Ride for Heart

There’ll be a different kind of traffic on the Gardiner and DVP this Sunday. Cyclists, runners and walkers will be taking over the highways for the 30th annual Becel Ride for Heart. Fifteen thousand cyclists and 5,000 runners/walkers are expected to take part in the event, which raises funds for critical research. All participants will begin at the Enercare Centre at Exhibition Place. The ride kicks off at 6 a.m, the run begins at 10 a.m. and the walk gets underway at 10:30 a.m. The Gardiner Expressway from the Humber River to the Don Valley Parkway and the DVP from the Gardiner Expressway to York Mills Road will be closed from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event. For more information, click here.

Summer and After-School Program Registration

With summer right around the corner, the city of Toronto is opening registration for swim, skate and After-school Recreation Care (ARC) programs this Saturday. Registration for Scarborough and Etobicoke York begins at 7 a.m. There are four ways to register: online at http://www.efun.toronto.ca, by phone through touch tone or operator assisted registration and in person at select locations, including Etobicoke Civic Centre and Centennial Recreation Centre. For more information, click here.

Appleseed Cider Festival

Whether you crave sweet or dry drinks, the Appleseed Cider Festival at Artscape Wychwood Barns has something for everyone. The festival celebrates Ontario Craft Cider producers and their products. It offers two sessions, the first runs from 3 to 6 p.m. and is family friendly. The second session goes from 6 to 11 p.m. is 19+ only. Admission includes 3 sampling tickets. The first 300 guests of each session will receive a souvenir Appleseed glass. To purchase tickets, click here.MacIntosh apples and cider. GETTY IMAGES/Jan Tyler


DesiFEST is taking over Yonge-Dundas Sqaure this Saturday for 12 hours of free concert performances. Over 15 artists will take the stage between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. The show is hosted by SatsB, the founder and CEO of DesiFEST. The event aims to foster and grow the South Asian Arts community in Toronto and across Canada. For more information, head to http://desifest.ca.

Mac & Cheese Festival

Celebrate the ultimate comfort food this weekend at the third annual Mac & Cheese Festival at Ontario Place. Tempt your tastebuds with over 50 creative takes on this classic dish by talented chefs and food entrepreneurs. This family-friendly event will also feature a massive Kids Village, a gaming zone and marshmallow fire pits. For more information, click here.

Thompson Diner, one of the restaurants taking part in the Mac 'n Cheese Festival in Toronto. FACEBOOK/ThompsonToronto

Toronto Festival of Clowns

Love them or hate them, a slew of clowns will be downtown this weekend for the 12th annual Toronto Festival of Clowns. The event brings together traditional clowns and physical theatre artists of all disciplines and backgrounds. The festival will also features several Cirque Du Soleil alumni. It all takes place from May 31 to June 4 at the Factory Theatre. For more information, click here.

Inside Out LGBT Film Festival

Be one of the first to see some of the best and most diverse work of interest to LGBT communities at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival. Enjoy screenings, artist talks, panel discussions, installations, and parties during the 11 day event. More than 180 films and videos from Canada and around the world will be showcased. The festival runs from May 25 to June 4 at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. For more information, click here.

Riverside Eats & Beats food and music street festival

Riverside eateries are opening their door this weekend for the fifth annual Eats & Beats Street Festival. Work off some of those delectable delicacies with the sounds of Samba, Indigenous music, New Orleans-style Jazz and Roots/Rock. The festival spans 10 blocks between the Don Valley Parkway to just past De Grassi Street on historic Queen Street East. For more information, click here.

TTC Closure

A heads up if you’re trying to navigate the city this weekend, there will be no service on the TTC’s Line 1 — the Yonge-University line — between Sheppard West and St. George stations. During the closure crews will complete signal upgrades.

Shuttle buses will be running, but only between Sheppard West and Lawrence West stations due to on-street construction. Customers are encouraged to use existing bus and/or streetcar routes to access the Yonge portion of Line 1 and Line 2.

Giant rubber duck coming to Toronto ‘counterfeit,’ Dutch artist claims

NEWS STAFF | posted Friday, Jun 2nd, 2017


A giant rubber duck that ruffled feathers at Queen’s Park earlier this week and is due to arrive in Toronto for Canada 150 celebrations is embroiled in a new controversy.

First, Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives questioned a government grant of about $120,000 going toward the cost of bringing the six-storey-tall, 13,600-kilogram duck to Lake Ontario for the Redpath Waterfront Festival.

Now, artist Florentijn Hofman is claiming his design was ripped off.

“The art studio confirms that the duck that has been retained by Canadian government sources is in fact a counterfeit of their original piece of art,” Hofman’s studio said in a statement.

The studio said Craig Samborski, who is providing the duck, has been using its design for profit and renting it at “exorbitant rates.”

“The duck was never supposed to be used for profit,” said spokesperson Kim Engbers. “It was designed to be a public art installation to bring joy and hope wherever it went.

“By renting the duck at exorbitant rates against the wishes of its creator, Mr. Samborski not only is stealing this joy from the public, he is also stealing from the legitimate artist and creator of this exhibit.”

But Samborski said the rubber duck is part of the public domain and claims when his team tried to work with Hofman in 2014, the artist tried to charge “exorbitant prices” for plans that proved to be worthless.

Samborski claims his team had its duck redesigned and built “using none of Hofman’s plans.”

“Hofman has since harassed anyone who has displayed an oversized toy duck, apparently in an attempt to extort money and gain notoriety,” Samborski said.

Samborski’s lawyer said there are no intellectual property rights associated with the duck’s size.

Trump says US will abandon global climate accord



President Donald Trump declared Thursday he was withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate agreement, striking a major blow to worldwide efforts to combat climate change and distancing the country from many allies abroad. He said the U.S. would try to re-enter but only if it can get more favourable terms.

Framing his decision as “a reassertion of America’s sovereignty,” he said, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”

Ending weeks of speculation, some of it fueled by Trump himself and his Cabinet members, he said, “As of today, the United States will cease all implementation of the nonbinding Paris accord.”

Watch the video here.

Under former President Barack Obama, the U.S. had agreed under the accord to reduce polluting emissions by about 1.6 billion tons by 2025. But the targets were voluntary, meaning the U.S. and the nearly 200 other nations in the agreement could alter their commitments.

Trump said that he would begin negotiations to re-enter the agreement or establish “an entirely new transaction” to get a better deal for the U.S. But he suggested re-entry was hardly a priority. “If we can, great. If we can’t, that’s fine,” he said.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy say the Paris climate accord cannot be renegotiated.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Paolo Gentiloni said in a joint statement Thursday that they take note “with regret” the U.S. decision.

The three leaders say they regard the accord as “a cornerstone in the co-operation between our countries, for effectively and timely tackling climate change.”

They added that the course charted by the accord is “irreversible and we firmly believe that the Paris Agreement cannot be renegotiated.”

Macron, Merkel and Gentiloni say they remain committed to the deal and will “step up efforts” to support the poorest and most threatened nations.

By abandoning the world’s chief effort to slow the tide of planetary warming, Trump was fulfilling a top campaign pledge. But he was also breaking from many of America’s staunchest allies, who have expressed alarm about the decision. Several of his top aides have opposed the action, too, as has his daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump.

Scientists say Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming sooner as a result of the president’s decision because America contributes so much to rising temperatures. Calculations suggest withdrawal could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year – enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather.

Trump’s decision marked “a sad day for the global community,” said Miguel Arias Canete, climate action commissioner for the European Union.

At home in America, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said it strongly opposed the decision and said mayors will continue efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. The group’s vice-president, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said the action “is shortsighted and will be devastating to Americans in the long run.” In fact, he said, sea level rise caused by unchecked climate change could mean that cities like his “will cease to exist.”

Trump, however, argued the agreement had disadvantaged the U.S. “to the exclusive benefit of other countries,” leaving American businesses and taxpayers to absorb the cost.

“This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States,” he said, claiming that other countries have laughed at the U.S. for agreeing to the terms.”

As Trump announced his plans, it was 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 Celsius) in Washington, a bit higher than the 80-degree average high for the day but well below the 2011 record of 98. Business investors seemed pleased, with stock prices, already up for the day, bumping higher as he spoke. The Dow Jones industrial average rising 135 points for the day

As for the mechanics of withdrawal, international treaties have a four-year cooling off period from the time they go into effect. That means it could take another three-and-half years for the U.S. to formally withdraw, though Trump promised to stop implementation immediately.

Major U.S. allies, business leaders and even the Pope had urged the U.S. to remain in the deal. The decision drew immediately backlash from climate activists and many business leaders.

The U.S. is the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon, following only China. Beijing, however, has reaffirmed its commitment to meeting its targets under the Paris accord, recently cancelling construction of about 100 coal-fired power plants and investing billions in massive wind and solar projects.

White House aides have been divided on the question of staying or leaving the accord and had been deliberating on “caveats in the language” as late as Wednesday, one official said. But Trump’s statement was clear and direct.

So was opposition from environmental groups, as expected.

“Generations from now, Americans will look back at Donald Trump’s decision to leave the Paris Agreement as one of the most ignorant and dangerous actions ever taken by any President,” Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune said in a statement.


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