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Royal Ontario Museum apologizes for contributing to racist rhetoric in 1989 exhibit

NICOLE THOMPSON, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 10th, 2016

The Royal Ontario Museum is apologizing for contributing to anti-African racism in a controversial exhibit nearly three decades ago.

The exhibit, called Into the Heart of Africa, took place in 1989 and featured objects and images collected by soldiers and missionaries – including one highly contentious magazine cover showing a British soldier plunging a sword into the chest of a Zulu warrior.

At the time, museum staff said that the show was intended as a critical view of Canadian missionaries and soldiers who went to Africa in Victorian and Edwardian times.

But members of Toronto’s black community denounced the exhibit as racist, saying it brought pain to black Canadians because of the way it portrayed Africans while glorifying imperialism.

At an event Wednesday evening, the museum’s deputy director of collections and research expressed “deep regret” for the exhibit and its impact on black Canadians.

Mark Engstrom said the exhibit inadvertently “perpetuated an atmosphere of racism and the effect of the exhibition itself was racist.”

The apology was welcomed by the Coalition for the Truth about Africa, a group that initially formed to protest the exhibit. Spokesman Rostant Rico John said it took persistence to come to an agreement after 27 years.

The group nonetheless said some of its members still feel “vilified and hurt” by the exhibit.

The exhibit is now held up in classrooms as an example of what curators should not do, said Matt Brower, a professor of museum studies at the University of Toronto.

“It was an enormous failure,” Brower said of the exhibit. Curators meant for the exhibit to show that the things being presented “were not being endorsed.” It was supposed to be an ironic look at how the items exhibited entered the museums – through damaging colonial relationships.

“And yet when people came in, they saw the Zulu warrior being impaled. They saw the missionary woman teaching Africans how to wash, and they didn’t see any irony,” he said.

The exhibit prompted protests at the time, during which three people were hurt and eight people were charged in a dispute between demonstrators and police.

Protestors demanded that the exhibit be shut down, but the ROM refused.

“Every museum in Canada would hit the roof if we closed the show because it would mean that any group could close a show,” said then-museum director Cuyler Young in 1990.

Brower said that at the very least, the exhibit should have been reframed in response to the protests.

Last year – 25 years after Into the Heart of Africa ended – the ROM launched a new project about Africa.

Of Africa is a three-year project that includes a number of displays in permanent galleries as well as temporary exhibits intended to show the complexities and diversity that exist on the African continent.

The museum also said Wednesday it would take steps to strengthen its ties with African-Canadian communities, including enhancing its partnerships with black educational networks and offering opportunities for black youth interested in museums.

Bodies recovered from submerged car belonging to missing Oakville brothers

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Nov 9th, 2016

Two bodies have been recovered from the scene where a car belonging to two missing Oakville brothers was found submerged in water.

Peel police have not confirmed the identity of the bodies and are awaiting the results of the Coroner’s report.

Police from both Halton and Peel regions were called around 2 p.m. Tuesday after reports a submerged vehicle was spotted in a man-made pond at Ninth Line and Thomas Street in Mississauga.

Indications were that the car in the pond is a silver BMW, the same type of vehicle that belongs to Hamza and Shahruka Khan.

The brothers were last seen at a plaza near 10th Line and Thomas Street last Friday.They were dropped off by a friend at a gym in the plaza and they spoke with another family member around 9:15 p.m., indicating they were going to be home shortly.

The brothers have not been seen since, their phones turned off and the GPS system in their car deactivated.

According to their father, their disappearance was considered out of character.

“They are very kind; they are very good. They are loving boys … and always obedient,” said Mohammad Khan.


Twitter reacts to Trump presidency

NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, Nov 9th, 2016

Donald Trump is now president-elect of the United States of America. He will become the 45th U.S. president after a contentious campaign and a last-minute surge at the voting booth.

Hillary Clinton had been forecast to win, but Trump outperformed predictions. Here’s what people on Twitter had to say about his win.


Does breast milk help premature babies? Sick Kids wants to know

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 9th, 2016

File photo of a father feeding his baby. GETTY IMAGES/KIDSTOCK
They randomly put 363 preterm infants with very low birth weight into two groups, giving them either supplementary formula or donor milk.They wanted to see how babies performed on a battery of cognitive exams, such as motor development.

They found that at 18 months, neither group showed a difference in cognitive test scores.

The researchers plan to follow these babies up to five years.

The research is in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Trump election elicits fears, some cheers around the globe


The world faces a starkly different America led by a President Donald Trump.

While the billionaire businessman’s election was welcomed in some countries, others saw it as a big shock, as governments will now have to deal with a man who has cozied up to Vladimir Putin, told NATO allies they would have to pay for their own protection and vowed to make the Mexican government pay for a multibillion-dollar border wall.

Trump’s win was particularly startling in Mexico, where his remarks calling Mexican immigrants criminals and “rapists” were a deep insult to national pride. Financial analysts have predicted a Trump win would threaten billions of dollars in cross-border trade, and government officials say they have drawn up a contingency plan for such a scenario, though without releasing details.

“It’s DEFCON 2,” Mexican analyst Alejandro Hope said. “Probably something as close to a national emergency as Mexico has faced in many decades.”

“It depends if he means what he says and if he can do what he claims he wants to do,” Hope added. “A massive deportation campaign could really put some stress on Mexican border communities. A renegotiation of NAFTA could seriously hobble the Mexican economy. It could create a lot of uncertainty. … Financial markets could suffer.”

The Mexican peso, which has tracked the U.S. election closely, fell sharply to 20.45 to the dollar late Tuesday before recovering somewhat. The Bank of Mexico’s interbank rate had stood at 18.42 at the end of the day’s trading.

In Europe, NATO allies now wait to see if Trump follows through on suggestions that America will look at whether they have paid their proper share in considering whether to come to their defence.

Trump’s rhetoric has challenged the strategic underpinning of the NATO alliance, rattling its leaders at a time when Russia has been increasingly aggressive.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen called the vote “a big shock” and “a vote against Washington, against the establishment.”

Von der Leyen said on German public Television Wednesday that while many questions remain open, “We Europeans obviously know that as partners in NATO, Donald Trump will naturally ask what ‘are you achieving for the alliance,’ but we will also ask ‘what’s your stand toward the alliance.”’

The French populist, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen congratulated Trump even before the final results were known, tweeting her support to the “American people, free!”

Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France would work with the new president and that European politicians should heed the message from Trump votes. “There is a part of our electorate that feels … abandoned,” including people who feel “left behind by globalization,” he said.

Trump’s victory is being viewed with shock and revulsion in Ireland, a country close to the Clintons and fearful of Trump’s campaign pledge to confront U.S. companies using Ireland as a tax shelter.

The newspaper of record, the Irish Times, branded the New York businessman a “misogynistic racist liar” who would fan instability overseas and intolerance at home.

Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote Wednesday: “The republic of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt is now the United Hates of America.”

“President Trump is the creation of the same demographic that gave Europe its far-right authoritarian movements with such disastrous consequences for the world,” he wrote. “This does not mean that we are facing an American fascism. But it does mean that Trump will not be able to rule without stoking and manipulating fear.”

British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a statement saying she looks forward to working with Trump and building on the two countries’ longstanding “special relationship.” Her predecessor, David Cameron, had been outspoken in his criticism of Trump during the primary campaign.

Nigel Farage, acting leader of the UK Independent Party, which played an important role convincing Britons to leave the European Union, told The Daily Telegraph that Trump’s victory would bring a “massive result” for Britain. A spokesman said Farage — who campaigned briefly with Trump — was flying to Washington Wednesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Trump a telegram Wednesday morning congratulating him on his victory.

Moscow has been unusually prominent in the race. Clinton’s campaign and the Obama administration blamed Russian hackers for leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign staff. Trump, in turn, has made complimentary remarks about Putin; the ties some of his advisers and former campaign officials have to Russia have raised suspicions.

“We of course regard with satisfaction that the better candidate of the two presented to the American voters was victorious,” said Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democratic party, according to the Interfax news agency.

In Asia, security issues and trade will top the agenda for the new administration, from North Korea and the South China Sea to the contentious and yet-unratified Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Chinese state media and government-backed commentators had signalled Beijing’s preference for a Trump win. Like Russia, China is seen as favouring Trump because he appears less willing to confront China’s newly robust foreign policy, particularly in the South China Sea.

Clinton, by contrast, is disliked in Beijing for having steered the U.S. “pivot” to Asia aimed at strengthening U.S. engagement with the region, particularly in the military sphere.

Scholar Mei Xinyu wrote in the Communist Party newspaper Global Times that China would find it easier to cope with a Trump presidency.

“Trump has always insisted on abandoning ideological division and minimizing the risks that unnecessary conflicts with other countries may bring to the U.S.,” Mei wrote.

In Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, social media was abuzz with speculation about whether Trump would follow through on campaign rhetoric calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Some said they fear they would be prevented from visiting relatives and friends who live in America or travelling there as tourists.

News of Trump’s widening lead hit hard in Cuba, which has spent the last two years negotiating normalization with the United States after more than 50 years of Cold War hostility, setting off a tourism boom. Trump has promised to roll back Obama’s opening with Cuba unless President Raul Castro agrees to more political freedoms.

“If he reverses it, it hurts us,” taxi driver Oriel Iglesias Garcia said. “You know tourism will go down.”

In pubs, bars and restaurants in much of the world, people watched TV and took in the surprise news of Trump’s victory.

At a pub in Sydney, Pamela Clark-Pearman, a 63-year-old Clinton supporter, sat nursing a beer.

“I never thought the Americans could be so stupid. I just think it’s Brexit all over again,” Clark-Pearman said, referring to the June 23 British vote to leave the European Union.

Serving the last drinks of the night at a Mexico City tavern where a half-dozen TVs were tuned to election news, bartender Angel Mendoza wondered what will happen to his 15 or so family members living in the United States, about half of whom are there illegally.

“They’re not coming here,” he said. “Their lives are already made there, but (now) with a certain fear.”

Associated Press writers Christopher Sherman in Mexico City; Michael Weissenstein and Andrea Rodriguez in Havana; Kirsten Grieshaber in Berlin; Angela Charlton in Paris; Jim Heintz in Moscow; Christopher Bodeen and Gillian Wong in Beijing; Kristen Gelineau in Sydney; Shawn Pogatchnik in Dublin and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.

Historic election shocker: Donald Trump wins, becomes 45th U.S. president

ALEXANDER PANETTA, THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 9th, 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaking at the third presidential debate at UNLV in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, 2016. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/David Goldman

The market-shaking, adjective-defying prospect of a Donald Trump presidency became reality Wednesday, with a brash billionaire and reality TV star known for building skyscrapers and flinging insults was suddenly poised to enter the White House.

It was sealed at 2:31 a.m. Wednesday by The Associated Press, followed shortly afterwards by reports that Hillary Clinton had conceded the race to her bitter rival.

As a result, the country’s first African-American president, the progressive and still-relatively-popular Barack Obama, stands to be replaced by a populist he deeply disdains and who rose to political prominence by insinuating Obama was born in Africa.

Trump was written off again and again, repeatedly shocking the political establishment since last year – first by running, then by becoming a contender, winning the nomination and finally by moving into the Oval Office.

He gave a gracious concession speech that complimented his rival, sought to reassure minorities, promised peace with other countries, and asked for help in governing even from people who opposed him.

“(Ours is) a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs,” Trump said, his family and advisers by his side.

“We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us… We expect to have great, great relationships.”

Trump vastly outperformed electoral prognostications and market forecasts that viewed a historic Clinton victory as a fait accompli, taking Florida, Ohio, and northern industrial states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that hadn’t gone Republican in decades.

Clinton did not speak Wednesday – but she called the president-elect.

The prospect of a Trump presidency jolted the markets: at one point, Dow futures plunged more than 4 per cent and Japan’s major index nosedived more than 6.1 per cent, its largest drop in years. The Mexican peso likewise tumbled and investors looking for safe assets bid up the price of gold.

Trump’s threat to scrap trade deals and slap tariffs on foreign-made goods as punishment for job outsourcing might have dismayed many Canadians, economists, businesses and brokers. Yet it was central to his message to white working-class voters in the old industrial belt.

Democrats made another bet – that his comments about Mexicans, Muslims and women that made him a hero to white-supremacist groups would prove so disgusting to other voters that Clinton would be carried to the presidency on the backs of minorities, the college-educated, and females, the coalition that elected Barack Obama.

The first reaction from a famous foreign politician came from the leader of France’s far-right National Front. Marine Le Pen tweeted: “Congratulations to the new president of the United States, Donald Trump, and to the American people, free.”

Trump was considered so unpalatable a choice by so many that senior members of his party refused to endorse him or appear at election rallies with him. He was shunned by every living Republican nominee except Bob Dole.

The Bushes made it known they didn’t vote for him, along with Mitt Romney and John McCain. A former speechwriter for George W. Bush offered an example of the fatalistic attitude permeating political circles in Washington.

“On the bright side, 227 years is a really good run for a republic,” tweeted Canadian David Frum, referring to the number of years since George Washington became the first American president.

At Trump headquarters in Manhattan, people chanted, “U-S-A!” and, “Lock her up!” in reference to Hillary Clinton. People were reportedly in tears, some even leaving early at the Democratic gathering across town.

Democrats began the evening expecting to celebrate a different kind of history.

Clinton had an evening rally scheduled under a see-through roof, a symbolic nod to the prospect of the first female president smashing the ultimate glass ceiling and occupying perhaps the most powerful office in the world.

Her campaign was repeatedly sidetracked: by hacks of her aides’ emails, conflict-of-interest allegations into her family’s charitable foundation, an investigation and leaks from the FBI and voter confusion about her platform.

The Democrats’ campaign even focused on Trump.

Clinton’s platform, titled “Stronger Together,” was a nod to her opponent’s racially tinged rhetoric. The message obscured the actual purpose of her platform – economic inequality. Some elements, like a parental-leave program, are shared by her rival – who is the least conservative Republican nominee in memory.

Trump’s inimitable style of American populism veers from right to left; from military hawkishness to doveish language. He could have the opportunity to pass an unusually high number of bills, depending on which party agrees with his policy of the moment.

His North American neighbours would be watching nervously for moves on trade. He’s demanded a renegotiation of NAFTA, without offering details, and promises to rip it up if unsuccessful.

One Canadian official expressed doubt in a recent conversation that it would get that far. Even if a president did order NAFTA scrapped, the impact of the move would be softened by several firewalls – the need for Congress to reinstate old tariffs, and potentially by the continued existence of the old 1987 Canada-U.S. agreement.

“I don’t really think we’re in danger there,” said the Canadian official. “There would be a revolt by the private sector… His own party would revolt.”

The Trump victory also deprived the current president of a historic achievement.

A Democratic win would have placed Obama in the company of Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan as the only postwar presidents to have a successor extend their party’s time in the White House beyond two terms.

Republicans roared to big victories down-ballot that allowed them to retain some control of Congress: they held the House of Representatives as expected, and narrowly retained the Senate – which would give a Republican president considerable, but not total, power.

Pundits struggled to process what was happening.

On Fox News, the moderator of the last presidential debate wondered whether, in the seat of power, he’d continue to be the erratic insult-flinger he’d been on the stump. And stumped Chris Wallace was.

“Is he going to be different than the candidate Trump? The only answer you can really give is, ‘Who the hell knows?’ And I don’t know that he necessarily knows,” Wallace said.

“But let’s face it: He’s a 70-year-old billionaire who pulled off the most improbable victory in the history of our country. I’m not sure that humility and a feeling of, ‘Gee, I’ve gotta change the way I do business,’ is necessarily gonna be at the top of his agenda…

“He may think: ‘You know what? I’m smarter than all these guys.’”

Others debated what caused this result – which could keep busy generations of historians and political scientists.

A former ambassador to Russia who’d clashed with Vladimir Putin bitterly tweeted, in reference to the Wikileaks hacks: “Putin intervened in our election and succeeded.” Michael McFaul added in Russian: “Well done.”

He got a blunt response from an international-relations expert who’d accidentally helped coin Trump’s foreign-policy slogan. Ian Bremmer had noted that it sounded like the “American First” isolationists during the Second World War – and Trump loved the slogan, embracing it.

“Disagree,” Bremmer tweeted back.

“If Trump wins it’s our fault alone.”

Tight fight for the White House, markets tumble


Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump waits behind his podium as Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton makes her way off the stage following the third presidential debate on Oct. 19, 2016. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/David Goldman

Donald Trump captured a crucial victory over Hillary Clinton in Ohio Tuesday night, a Midwestern battleground drawn to his searing strain of economic populism.

Clinton carried Virginia and Colorado, but other key battleground states remained exceptionally tight as an ugly and unpredictable presidential election lurched to an uncertain finish.

For Trump, victory in Ohio was vital to hopes of winning the White House. Clinton was banking on victories in the upper Midwest and Western battlegrounds to hold off Trump, where votes were still being counted.

The uncertainty sent Dow futures and Asian markets tumbling, reflecting investor concern over what a Trump presidency might mean for the economy and trade.

As Clinton’s team anxiously waited for results to roll in, the candidate tweeted to supporters, “Whatever happens tonight, thank you for everything.”

Clinton, a fixture in American politics for decades, was hoping to become the first woman to serve as commander in chief. She faced stiff competition from Trump, the billionaire businessman who tapped into a searing strain of economic populism.

Trump picked up a number of reliably Republican states, while Clinton won in Democratic territory. But the race was to be determined by fewer than a dozen competitive states where the candidates spent millions of dollars and much of the fall wooing voters.

Exit polls underscored the deep divisions that have defined the 2016 contest. Women nationwide supported Clinton by a double-digit margin, while men were significantly more likely to back Trump. More than half of white voters backed the Republican, while nearly 9 in 10 blacks and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for the Democrat.

Control of the Senate was also at stake, with Democrats needing to net four states if Clinton wins the White House. Republicans held their ground in North Carolina and in Indiana, where GOP Rep. Todd Young defeated former Sen. Evan Bayh.

The 45th president will inherit an anxious nation, deeply divided by economic and educational opportunities, race and culture. The economy has rebounded from the depths of recession, though many Americans have yet to benefit. New terror threats from home and abroad have raised security fears.

Most problems that did pop up at polling places Tuesday appeared to be routine — the kinds of snags that come every four years, including long lines, machines not working properly and issues with ballots or voter rolls.

Even before Tuesday, almost 45 million people had cast ballots for president. Many expressed relief the end was in sight after an election season in which personal attacks often drowned out the issues.

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