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Hong Kong airport shuts down amid pro-democracy protest

Yanan Wang, The Associated Press | posted Monday, Aug 12th, 2019

One of the world’s busiest airports cancelled all flights after thousands of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters crowded into the main terminal Monday afternoon.

Hong Kong International Airport said in a statement that the demonstration “seriously disrupted” airport operations.

Hong Kong has experienced more than two months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and an independent inquiry into police conduct, with both the protesters and police adopting ever-more extreme tactics.

Only flights that had already begun boarding or those cleared for landing were allowed to use runways at the airport.

“All other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today,” the statement said.

A massive traffic jam soon formed on the highway leading back to Hong Kong’s city centre, with some people walking in the sweltering weather.

Earlier Monday, Hong Kong police showed off water cannons that could be deployed in the case of future demonstrations, a development which Amnesty International has warned could lead to serious injuries if misused within the densely-populated city’s confined spaces.

Legislators and journalists were invited to witness the display of extreme crowd control tactics, which came after a weekend of protests at the airport and on the streets of one of the city’s main shopping districts.

During the weekend protests, website Hong Kong Free Press showed footage of one arrest that appeared to include officers in plain clothes pinning a demonstrator pressed to the ground. The young man, who said his name was Chow Ka-lok and asked for a lawyer, was shown with a bleeding head wound and said he had a broken tooth.

Police have also reported injuries among their ranks, including eye irritation from laser pointers, burns from petrol bombs and bruises and cuts from flying.

Protesters hurled bricks at officers and ignored warnings to leave before tear gas was deployed in the Sham Shui Po area, police said, calling a march there an “unauthorized assembly.”

Tear gas was also deployed in central Hong Kong on both sides of Victoria Harbour, in the Tsim Sha Tsui area on the Kowloon side and in Wan Chai on Hong Kong Island. At one point, protesters blocked the entrance to a plaza to prevent police from entering.

A train station in Kwai Fong filled with smoke after about a dozen police officers fired tear gas inside. It was not clear how many protesters were inside the station at the time, but it has been rare for officers to fire tear gas indoors.

Earlier, a large group of mostly young protesters marched down the middle of Hennessey Road, a main shopping drag in the Causeway Bay area, as a rally was held in nearby Victoria Park. Many wore face masks to shield their identities, and a few had helmets. Others just carried backpacks over the black T-shirts that have become their uniform.

The protest movement’s demands include the resignation of the Chinese territory’s leader, Carrie Lam, democratic elections for her successor, the release of those arrested in earlier protests and an investigation into police use of force.

A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 under the principle of “one country, two systems,” which promises the city certain democratic rights not afforded to people on the mainland. But in recent years, some have accused the Communist Party-ruled central government of steadily chipping away at their freedoms.

Banners at the rally in Victoria Park read “Give Hong Kong back to us” and “Withdraw the evil law,” the latter a reference to an extradition bill that was the original spark for the protests. A large crowd sat under umbrellas, which are both a protest symbol in Hong Kong and protection from the summer heat.

At the airport, a flight attendant protesting on his day off, who gave only his surname, Lau, to avoid repercussions from his employer, said heavy-handed police tactics had alienated some people.

“The police have told a lot of lies to Hong Kong people. We cannot believe them anymore. We have to come here to protest,” Lau said. China has reportedly threatened to bar air crew who take part in protests from its air space.

Another protester, who identified herself only as Bea, said she took the day off from work to express her outrage.

“I feel that I have to do something. … It’s just too sad to see what has happened. The police action has gone totally nonsensical,” she said.

Associated Press journalists Katie Tam and Raf Wober and journalist Royston Chan contributed to this report.

Mississauga teen Andreescu wins Rogers Cup after Williams retires

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Aug 12th, 2019

Bianca Andreescu is the first Canadian to win the Rogers Cup in 50 years.

She was up 3-1 in the first set when American opponent Serena Williams called for a medical timeout.

Less than a minute later, the chair umpire announced that Williams was retiring from the match, handing Andreescu her second WTA Premier title of the season.

The 19-year-old Andreescu has now won 17 consecutive matches, not counting when she has had to retire from matches due to injury herself.

Andreescu, from nearby Mississauga, now has victories over seven of the top 10 players in the world.

Her world ranking will rise from 27th to 14th on Monday. Her previous high was 22nd.

The Rogers Cup was Andreescu’s first tournament after a right-shoulder injury sidelined her since the French Open in May.

Andreescu had been on the court more than any other player at this year’s Rogers Cup at 10 hours 54 minutes heading into the match against Williams.

The tournament’s final lasted only 16 minutes before Williams withdrew.

After the chair umpire announced Williams’s retirement the former world No. 1 started to cry on her bench. Andreescu went over to comfort her, hugging her and telling Williams how much she admires the 23-time Grand Slam winner.

Faye Urban of Windsor, Ont., beat Vancouver’s Vicki Berner in the 1969 final, when the tournament was still played on clay courts and called the Canadian Open.

Rafael Nadal wins second straight Rogers Cup men’s title

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Aug 12th, 2019

Rafael Nadal has added a fifth Rogers Cup title.

The tournament’s top seed made quick work Daniil Medvedev in the men’s final Sunday, defeating the Russian 6-3, 6-0 at IGA Stadium in just 70 minutes.

Nadal, 33, won last year’s Rogers Cup in Toronto, where he also triumphed in 2008.

The Spaniard’s other two victories on Canadian soil came in Montreal back in 2005 at age 19 over Andre Agassi — his first-ever hardcourt conquest — and against Milos Raonic in 2013.

Currently ranked second in the world, Nadal improved to 41-6 in 2019 and raised his third trophy of the season at the US$5.7-million ATP Tour Masters 1000 series event after also winning on clay in Rome and at the French Open.

He advanced to Sunday’s showdown with Medvedev after Gael Monfils withdrew from their scheduled semifinal with an ankle injury.

The Frenchman was forced to play a quarterfinal delayed more than 18 hours by inclement weather against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut on Saturday afternoon. Monfils only had a short time to recover before the subsequent match with Nadal, and decided against risking further damage.

Nadal fought off a break point in the first game of Sunday’s opening set before going up 3-1 when Medvedev double faulted. Then leading 5-3, the Spaniard sealed the set with a great passing forehand shot down the line after Medvedev came to the net.

Medvedev, who was playing Nadal for the first time, was broken again to open the second set. Despite clearly being second favourite in the eyes of the crowd, fans tried to spur the

Russian on down 2-0, but his shaky performance continued as he was broken again to fall behind even further when his shot went long on another break.

Then trailing 4-0, Medvedev was broken again when his shot went into the net. Nadal served out from there to clinch the 83rd tournament win — and 20th on a hardcourt — of his singles career.

The Spaniard also defended a hardcourt title for the first time in walloping an opponent that hadn’t lost a set all week before Sunday.

The 6-3, 6-0 score was the most lopsided men’s final at the event since American star John McEnroe defeated countryman Vitas Gerulaitas 6-0, 6-3 in 1984.

Seeded eighth at the tournament and starting the week ranked No. 9 in the world, Medvedev was the first Russian to play in a men’s Rogers Cup final since Marat Safin won back in 2000 when it was called the du Maurier Open. Andrei Chesnokov was also victorious in 1991, while Yevgeny Kafelnikov lost the 1999 final.

The 23-year-old Medvedev defeated countryman Karen Khachanov 6-1, 7-6 (6) in the only semifinal to be played Saturday, and will jump over his fellow Moscow native into eighth in the overall rankings when the new list is released Monday.

Medvedev entered Sunday with a 4-4 record against top-10 opponents in 2019, including a quarterfinal victory in Montreal over world No. 4 Dominic Thiem of Austria. A four-time winner on tour, Sunday marked his fifth final of the year, including last weekend’s loss to Nick Kygrios in Washington.

Fans in Montreal were invited to arrive at IGA Stadium early to watch the women’s final from Toronto on the television screens placed around the venue’s grounds, but many didn’t make it time to see Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu’s victory over Serena Williams because the American star retired trailing 3-1 in the first set due to injury.

The Rogers Cup alternates the men’s and women’s tournaments between Montreal and Toronto every year.

With the victory, Nadal stretched his lead atop the all-time Masters 1000 series title list to 35, two more than world No. 1 Novak Djokovic. He also reached his 51st final, moving past No. 3 Roger Federer for top spot.

Medvedev fell to 1-7 all-time against the Big 3, with his only victory coming against Djokovic at Monte Carlo back in April.

Djokovic and Federer both skipped this year’s event in Montreal, but are scheduled to participate at the upcoming Cincinnati tournament as preparations swing into high gear for the U.S. Open.

Spain’s Marcel Granollers and Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos, playing together for the first time, defeated Robin Haase and Wesley Koolhof of the Netherlands 7-5, 7-5 to win the men’s doubles final at the Rogers Cup.

Tournament director Eugene Lapierre said even with all tickets being refunded for the previous Saturday’ night session after Monfils bowed out — and a draw minus Djokovic and Federer — the 2019 edition in Montreal would eclipse the previous high of 216,000 spectators that went through the turnstiles in 1997.

He added that while a roof on IGA Stadium is a long-term goal, there are other areas where the fan and player experience can improve.

“Some things might need great investments, but the way we are doing things with our team is to look at the details,” Lapierre said. “People love the site. All week they’ve been telling me how beautiful it was.

“But we do see the small details that are wrong, and we take notes, and we are going to improve them for next year.”

2 dead, 3 others injured in fiery Hwy. 401 crash in Mississauga

News Staff | posted Monday, Aug 12th, 2019

A portion of Highway 401 eastbound is expected to be closed into the morning rush hour after two people were killed and three others were hurt in a fiery collision involving a transport truck and three other vehicles.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said a car lost control near Dixie Road in Mississauga and crashed into a transport truck, causing the truck to flip over and catch fire at around 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Schmidt said there were reports that the first car, a red Corvette, may have been driving erratically before the crash happened.

Both people inside the Corvette were rushed to hospital where one of them later died. The second person who died was in another vehicle carrying two people. Schmidt said that vehicle sustained heavy damage in the crash.

The three people injured in the crash are in serious condition but expected to survive.

“We really want to speak with any witnesses, anyone who may have seen any of these vehicles or (have) any information to assist us with the circumstances leading up to this collision,” Schmidt.

“If you have a dashcam that may have any of this event … please forward it to police.”

Schmidt said the investigation and cleanup will take hours and motorists should expect the 401 between Highway 403 and Dixie Road to be closed well into the morning rush.


Police search for alleged thief chased from home by Ontario senior

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Aug 9th, 2019

Police are crediting an elderly Ontario woman with chasing an alleged thief from her home, but say he managed to get away with thousands of dollars of cash and jewelry.

Provincial police say the woman woke up in her home in Simcoe, Ont., Thursday morning to find a man on his hands and knees on her bedroom floor.

Police allege he was going through the woman’s purse next to her bed when she woke up.

They say the woman chased the young man, described as between 17 and 20, out of her house, adding he was last seen running away from the scene.

They allege a large amount of U.S. cash and about $20,000 worth of jewelry was taken during the encounter.

Police say they’re still looking for the suspect and are urging anyone with information to come forward.

Canada raises travel warning amid escalating protests in Hong Kong

The Canadian Press | posted Friday, Aug 9th, 2019

The federal government has issued a travel advisory that urges Canadians traveling to Hong Kong to exercise “a high degree of caution” because of the escalating protests in the city.

The government’s website said there are “identifiable safety and security concerns or the safety and security situation could change with little notice.”

Canadians are advised to “exercise a high degree of caution at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.”

Pro-democracy protesters demonstrated at Hong Kong’s airport Friday even as the city sought to reassure visitors of their welcome despite the increasing levels of violence surrounding the two-month-old protest movement.

The government concedes road blockages and confrontations between police and protesters have caused inconveniences, but says they were limited to specific areas.

The protests, however, are not abating, and more are planned for this weekend, including at the airport, where protesters holding signs staged a sit-in at the arrival and departure halls Friday.

With files from The Associated Press

Shots fired at random homes near Martin Grove and Finch

News Staff | posted Friday, Aug 9th, 2019

Toronto police are on the hunt for a suspect after multiple shots were fired at homes in the Rexdale area.

Emergency crews were called to Martin Grove Road and Finch Avenue West just before 10:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police said a vehicle was being driven through the neighbourhood while someone inside the car randomly shot at houses.

So far, no injuries have been reported.

Investigators at the scene found at least 13 shell casings in the area.

No vehicle or suspect description has been released.

Area of Scarborough rocked by more gun violence

News Staff | posted Friday, Aug 9th, 2019

A 26-year-old man is in critical condition in hospital after a shooting in Scarborough.

Toronto police were called to the area of Lawrence Avenue West and Orton Park Road, east of Scarborough Golf Club Road, around 1:15 a.m. on Friday.

Police said the gunman walked up to the victim, shot him, and then took off.

The victim made his own way to hospital.

There is no word on suspects.

This is the second shooting that took place in the same area in just over 24 hours. On Thursday, police were investigating after a man was shot while he was in his car.

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