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- 08/14/17--11:27: _Bombardier CSeries ...
- 08/14/17--12:00: _Mother of Charlotte...
- 08/14/17--10:39: _Judge orders releas...
- 08/14/17--16:08: _Organized crime’s i...
- 08/14/17--15:41: _Will controversial ...
- 08/14/17--15:17: _The end of Ends, th...
- 08/14/17--11:48: _Toronto police ask ...
- 08/14/17--14:49: _Raise HST by one pe...
- 08/14/17--13:32: _Girl, 13, killed an...
- 08/14/17--10:51: _Trump often has viv...
- 08/14/17--06:30: _Pregnant Canadian k...
- 08/15/17--11:51: _Wynne not intereste...
- 08/15/17--13:04: _Toronto man arreste...
- 08/15/17--16:48: _1 man, 2 women inju...
- 08/15/17--11:26: _Metro grocery chain...
- 08/15/17--11:02: _Edmonton boy thwart...
- 08/15/17--05:05: _‘We can’t go backwa...
- 08/15/17--14:57: _Pearson airport suf...
- 08/15/17--13:15: _Rare, elusive white...
- 08/15/17--10:12: _Swiss hotel sparks ...
- 08/14/17--10:39: Judge orders release of refugee claimant jailed ‘for no real reason’
- 08/14/17--15:41: Will controversial cow sculpture be moooved?
- 08/14/17--15:17: The end of Ends, the famed thrift shop in the Beach
- 08/15/17--11:51: Wynne not interested in raising taxes to pay for infrastructure
- 08/15/17--13:04: Toronto man arrested following Flemingdon Park shooting
- 08/15/17--16:48: 1 man, 2 women injured in North York shooting, police say
- 08/15/17--14:57: Pearson airport suffers another close call on a runway
- 08/15/17--13:15: Rare, elusive white moose caught on video in Sweden
Delta Air Lines Inc. is eyeing New York and Los Angeles as the main bases for Bombardier Inc.’s new jetliner next year, offering a glimpse of how carriers can add service economically with the mid-size plane.
Dallas is also likely to get a lot of CSeries flights, Delta said in an internal memo to pilots, a copy of which was reviewed by Bloomberg. That sets up a test of the carrier’s ability to use the single-aisle aircraft to attract customers in the backyard of American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co.
Delta is the first major U.S. carrier to buy the CSeries, a mid-range aircraft that offers roomier interiors than regional jets while typically carrying fewer passengers than a plane from the Boeing Co. 737 or Airbus SE A320 families.
The Bombardier aircraft, which the Montreal-based company has spent at least $6 billion developing, should enable airlines to offer comfy rides to mid-size cities without flooding the market with too many seats.
“From the standpoint of operating costs, from the standpoint of ownership costs, it’s an ideal aircraft for these not-quite-mainline markets,” said Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former airline executive. “If it performs as advertised, reliably, it’s going to be a real game-changer.”
Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for Delta, declined to comment on the memo or how the company will use the CSeries. The aircraft is scheduled to enter service for the Atlanta-based airline in the second quarter of 2018, according to the Aug. 7 notice to pilots, which described preliminary plans for the planes.
The U.S. airline ordered at least 75 of the CS100 models last year in a deal valued at $5.6 billion, before the discounts that are customary for large aircraft purchases. Ordering the CSeries was a bit of an anomaly for Delta under former CEO Richard Anderson, who had historically preferred more tested airplanes over new models. He handed over the reins as CEO to Ed Bastian days after the order was announced.
The purchase threw a lifeline to Bombardier after the CSeries program came in 2-1/2 years late and more than $2 billion over budget. But the transaction also prompted Boeing to file a trade complaint with the U.S. government, accusing Bombardier of selling Delta the planes at “absurdly low” prices, while benefiting from unfair Canadian government subsidies, and calling for tariffs. Bombardier has denied the allegations.
Air Baltic Corp., which began flying CS300 planes in December, has seen a 21-per-cent improvement in fuel economy compared with the Boeing 737-300s that the model is replacing, CEO Martin Gauss has said. Bombardier had promised a 19-per-cent boost. Passenger feedback has focused on lower noise levels, a brighter interior and bigger spaces for stowing baggage, Gauss added.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Swiss unit, which last year became the first operator of the CS100, has also praised the jet’s performance.
Delta will place the new CS100 planes on popular routes now served by the airline’s largest 76-seat regional jets, which will free up those planes to replace 50-seat aircraft around Delta’s system, President Glen Hauenstein said last month.
He said New York would get the first CS100, without providing additional details. The plane has 108 seats in a standard dual-class configuration, according to Bombardier.
In Dallas, Delta may see a chance to poach some business customers from hometown carriers American and Southwest, potentially taking a bite out of their profit margins, said aviation consultant George Hamlin.
“Southwest is very much a thorn in Delta’s side in its home market in Atlanta,” Hamlin said. “The airline business is about margins, so if you can pry a modest amount of business from your competitor, the margin in that market may become problematic for the incumbent.”
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.—The mother of the woman killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Virginia said she doesn’t want people to be angry about her daughter’s death. Instead, she said she wants people to continue her daughter’s fight against injustice in a peaceful way.
“I miss her so, so much, but I’m going to make her death worth something,” Susan Bro told The Associated Press in an interview Monday.
Bro described her daughter, Heather Heyer, as a courageous, stubborn, and principled woman who was a firm believer in justice and equality who died Saturday for those beliefs. Bro said she would prefer to grieve in private, but felt compelled to try to follow her daughter’s example.
“Let’s take from her death that we’re going to move forward in conversation. We’re going to move forward in understanding and listening to one another and seeing how we can come together,” Bro said.
Heyer, 32, was among the hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Charlottesville to decry what was believed to be the largest gathering of white supremacists in a decade — including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members — who descended on the city to rally against plans to remove a Confederate statue.
Felicia Correa, a longtime friend of Heyer, said the slain woman was a “true American hero.”
Heyer grew up in Greene County and worked as a legal assistant at a law firm. Her boss, Larry Miller, said the young woman was active in the firm’s bankruptcy practice and had a “big heart.”
“She cares about the people we take care of. Just a great person,” he said.
Two state troopers—Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates—also died when their helicopter crashed in a wooded area while deployed as part of a large-scale police effort to contain Saturday’s violence. They were remembered for their commitment and love of their jobs.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe knew both troopers personally and expressed grief over their deaths. McAuliffe frequently uses state police aircraft to travel the state and said Cullen, 48, had been one of his regular pilots. Before joining the aviation unit, Bates has been a member of the state trooper team that guards the governor and his family.
“It was personal to me,” McAuliffe said Sunday morning at a church service. “We were very close.”
Cullen was a 23-year veteran of the department and head of the aviation unit. He is survived by his wife and two sons. Berke joined the department in 2004, and is survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.
“Both of them were great guys who loved what they were doing,” said Perry Benshoof, a retired trooper who worked with both.
Craig Bates said his younger brother had always wanted to serve others and to fly.
The younger Bates, who died one day short of his 41st birthday, worked for years as a trooper, first in Florida and then in Virginia. He’d recently gotten his pilot’s license so that he could apply to work for the department’s aviation unit. He got his wish, and joined the unit only last month.
“It was the culmination of a lot of dreams come true,” Craig Bates said. “This is something that he truly wanted to do. It was much too short but I’m grateful for the fact that he was able to do that.”
In a clear and emphatic denunciation of federal immigration authorities, an Ontario Superior Court judge ordered the release Monday of a refugee claimant he said had been detained in a maximum-security jail “for no real reason at all.”
Ricardo Scotland, a 38-year-old native of Barbados who is the single parent to his 13-year-old daughter, had been held at the maximum-security Niagara Detention Centre in Thorold, Ont., for a total of 18 months in two stints over the last two years. He has no criminal convictions, nor active criminal charges.
He was charged with a number of offences in 2013, but the charges were stayed. In spite of this, he was jailed by Canada’s border police, the Canada Border Services Agency, as a flight risk while his refugee claim is being processed.
The CBSA has alleged that he breached the conditions of his release, even though criminal bail court, upon which his immigration conditions were reflected, either withdrew the alleged breaches or found them to be innocent mistakes.
On Monday, Justice Edward Morgan was unequivocal in his criticism of immigration authorities, describing the alleged breaches against Scotland as “faux breaches” or “non-breaches.”
“(Scotland) appears enmeshed in an endless circuit of mistakes, unproven accusations, and technicalities.”
“Although the government cannot provide a clear rationale for Mr. Scotland’s initial or continued detention,” Justice Morgan says in his decision, “the reason for this lack of clarity is itself clear to me: there is no rationale.
“Mr. Scotland is being held in prison for no real reason at all.”
More to come . . . .
Once a relatively safe, profitable business for outlaw bikers and mobsters, organized crime is moving away from the marijuana market because legalization and home-grown pot are making any gain not worth the risk, experts say.
The market share in the pot business for organized criminals has already slid as pot-loving “disorganized criminals” perfected their horticultural skills. There wasn’t much need to smuggle pot into the country when Canadian cannabis connoisseurs liked the homegrown stuff better, experts say.
The days when Hells Angels and mobsters enjoyed a strong hand in Canada’s marijuana trade will be just a hazy memory by the time pot is to be legalized next year, according to some experts.
“A pretty small part of the marijuana industry today is what I call organized crime,” said criminologist Neil Boyd of Simon Fraser University — a change from a few decades ago, when big-league criminals thrived in the pot trade.
That’s a major shift from the mid-2000s, when outlaw bikers worked with traditional Mafia groups to move into exporting Canadian marijuana, according to Kash Heed, former B.C. solicitor general, minister of public safety and West Vancouver Police chief. Most of that product was exported to the U.S., Heed said.
Rick Ciarniello, a Canadian spokesperson for the Hells Angels, politely brushed off questions about whether the world’s largest outlaw motorcycle club has a position on legalized marijuana.
“Some are prone to believe all the police hype and propaganda,” Ciarniello said. “If that is to be believed, the Hells Angels must have such a position. The fact is; the hype and propaganda is wrong. As such, the short answer is no.”
The efforts of organized crime to control the pot trade have been undermined for the past three decades by “disorganized crime,” according to Alan Young, an associate professor at the Osgoode Hall law school. Many of these are green-thumbed potheads growing marijuana for friends.
Others are in it for the money but don’t resort to traditional organized crime hallmarks of corruption, collusion and violence, Boyd says: “They’re really just business people.”
Legalization of marijuana in some American states has cut the demand to smuggle it south. In Colorado and Washington State, where marijuana was recently legalized, pot prices have dropped almost 50 per cent over the past year, Boyd says, and lower prices mean less incentive to break the law.
“I suspect there’s not going to be much money in cannabis at all,” Boyd said. “I think things are changing.
“I think they (organized criminals) already have been withdrawing from the market.”
A veteran says organized crime is entering a period of readjustment — and potential new opportunities — regarding marijuana in Canada. “They’re all trying to get into the legal side of it,” says the officer. “They have so much money they can manipulate the stock. Any criminal wants to legitimize his business.”
Small-scale cultivation of pot would likely be allowed, much like it’s now legal to make limited amounts of beer or wine for personal use. Amateur enthusiasts should be allowed to grow four plants per household, according to the Final Report of The Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.
Former Toronto police Chief Bill Blair is the Liberal’s point man in shaping marijuana legislation. He declined to be interviewed for this article.
In Toronto, police will continue to crack down on illegal marijuana dispensaries until the law is changed, spokesperson Mark Pugash said, adding that marijuana at some pop-ups has been found to contain pesticides, mould, rat feces and insecticide.
Experts agree it will be a mistake for the government to overtax pot and drive the price up, as this will create an opening for criminals.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau clearly supports the push to regulate illegal pot pop-ups. In a meeting with the Star’s editorial board in December, Trudeau said: “We haven’t legalized it yet. Yes, we got a clear mandate to do that. We’ve said we will. We’ve said we’re going to do it to protect our kids and to keep the money out of the pockets of criminals.”
Will Charity have to mooove? Or be forced off her stilts onto greener pastures?
Those are some of the questions Markham councillors are grappling with ahead of a September committee meeting where residents and councillors will have a chance to air their beefs about a controversial cow statue installed last month.
At a special council meeting last week, residents showed up to pressure councillors to address ongoing concerns and support for the 8-metre high sculpture that was erected in the middle of a small park on Charity Cres., in the quiet subdivision of Cathedraltown.
Council voted to place the item for discussion on the agenda of the development services committee meeting on Sept. 25
“It’s not going away. It is something we have to address,” said regional councillor Nirmala Armstrong, who put forward the motion at the Thursday meeting.
The motion also calls for a delegation of councillors, including Armstrong and local councillor Alan Ho to meet with developer Helen Roman-Barber, who donated the sculpture, prior to the meeting. Armstrong said their aim is to explore what options are available.
The stainless steel sculpture depicts Charity, a beloved show cow partly owned by Stephen Roman, who owned Romandale Farms, the land on which Cathedraltown and Cathedral of the Transfiguration now sit.
His daughter, Roman-Barber, donated the statute to the city to honour her father’s investment in the world-famous cow. Initially, residents were told that the cow had grazed on the lands of Romandale Farm, and for that reason, the statute should be placed in that location.
A plaque near the statue also claimed this to be true: “The city of Markham is pleased to announce the installation of a statue, Brookview Tony Charity, to commemorate an internationally award-winning Holstein cow that was raised on Romandale Farms,” it reads.
But last week, the Star, discovered Charity never came to Markham, and spent her entire life at the Hanover Hill farm in Port Perry. She was buried on the farm by diary farmer Ken Trevena when she died in 1988.
Ed Shiller, a spokesperson for Roman-Barber, said: “The importance of Charity to Cathedraltown and Markham as a whole is not derived from where Charity lived,” but making “Romandale Farm as Canada’s leading breeder and exhibiter of Holstein cows,” which “contributed significantly to the growth and prosperity of the city of Markham.”
Armstrong said she felt compelled to reopen the issue “in light of new information that has come forward.”
“What I have read tells me that the information that I had was deficient, and what has come to light would likely change how many of the councillors would vote,” she said.
Councillors voted to approve the sculpture in June 2016. Previously the developer and artist presented the sculpture to the city’s public art advisory committee, which rejected the donation amid concerns about the height and location.
But councillors who were present at the June meeting said they were never told about the committee’s rejection, and were only presented with a staff recommendation to approve the donation.
Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti told the Star last week “council knew details of the sculpture, including its location and height” before they approved it.
And while he “understands concerns” around the height and location of the sculpture, he said the city needs to “be careful (how they handle this) … so that we are still considered for future public art donations.”
At the meeting last Thursday, Scarpitti said he had previously met with Roman-Barber to find a compromise and suggested other members of council give it a try.
Armstrong said that will be the goal of the delegation ahead of the September meeting.
“The possible options of what happens next are up to the donor,” she said, which could include relocating it, bringing it down, or removing it altogether.
Customers at Ends, the famed thrift shop in the Beach, rummaged through worn-out cardboard boxes and rusted racks on Monday, eyeing $4 bath mats and feeling the fabric of $10 tuxedos.
It’s an experience that could never be had on Amazon, the online company that the owner of Ends partly blames for the store’s closure.
Harold Weisfeld, widely known as “Zoltzz,” is closing down his location on Queen St. E. this month after 35 years. The store began after Weisfeld started buying left-behind clothing from dry cleaners and reselling it, and his operation expanded into all kinds of apparel and home products at a discount.
“I’m tired,” said Weisfeld, a 73-year-old who warmly greets customers and passersby on the street.
The store’s official closing date is Tuesday, but it will stay open until the end of the month to allow him to give his stuff to charity.
Online shopping is one reason that Weisfeld is closing down.
“Once Amazon and online came in, the traffic patterns changed,” he said. “There just isn’t any traffic, it’s too much down time.”
His store’s location on Avenue Rd will remain open.
While increasing property taxes are hurting his business, Weisfeld also decided to close the store on Queen after an unpleasant end to an act of charity.
“A woman came up to me and I make, as a hobby, wooden sculptures and she told me how much she loves this stuff,” he said. “I gave her a little piece, it was like 75 bucks. I gave it to her as a present and she was very poor lady . . . Ten minutes later, one of the kids that was working for me came up and says ‘you know the lady you were talking to? She just stole a pair of socks.’
“I phoned my wife and I said I’m finished. That was the last straw.”
That experience didn’t sour Weisfeld on most of his customers, who he beams about.
“I love the people,” he said, reflecting on his time running the store at 1930 Queen, near Woodbine Ave.
“They were great, just fabulous to me. There’s a couple that didn’t like me but that’s what life’s all about.”
Now that he is nearing retirement, Weisfeld plans to spend more time working on his sculptures.
As for his customers, many of whom bought from Ends for decades, they are sad to see it go.
“It’s very, very sad,” said Mary Loria, who has been going to Ends for 20 years. “The ambience of this place, the character, the staff is amazing.”
Elizabeth McFicker has been shopping for “everyday things” at Ends for 15 years.
“The quality is quite good for the really inexpensive price,” she said. “I hope another condo doesn’t come up.”
Eddie and Alexa Smith will benefit from Weisfeld’s decision to give his products to charity. They are organizing a youth powwow this month, where they will give some of the products to the children.
“We’ve had great success (with) beautiful people like this (Weisfeld),” Alexa Smith said.
Weisfeld said that giving is “a great high.”
“When you give, you teach people to give,” he said.
Toronto police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman pulled out of Lake Ontario in Etobicoke last week.
Police say they responded to a call for an unknown trouble on Aug. 10 at 5:15 p.m. in the area of Humber Bay Shores Park.
Paramedics say the woman was without vital signs when she was extracted from the water. She was later pronounced dead on the scene.
Toronto police Const. Craig Brister said police are not considering her death suspicious.
The woman is described as white between the ages of 55 to 70 years old, 5 foot 4 to 5 foot 6, 135 to 150 lbs., short grey hair, and brown eyes.
Police say she was wearing a red tank top and navy blue pants.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-2200, Crime Stoppers.
Police are also investigating after a man’s body was pulled from the water near the Argonaut Rowing Club on last Friday.
Ontarians should pay an extra percentage point on the HST, raising $2.5 billion a year to keep local roads, bridges, arenas and other infrastructure in better repair, says the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.
The lobby group representing hundreds of local governments called on Premier Kathleen Wynne to boost the sales tax to 14 per cent from 13 per cent and launched a public relations campaign at www.thelocalshare.ca.
“Municipalities cannot possibly make ends meet on property taxes alone,” AMO president Lynn Dollin told councillors from across the province at the association’s annual convention in Ottawa.
She acknowledged the request is “something very bold” but said the group’s polling suggests about three-quarters of Ontarians support such a levy.
“Is the public ready? Yeah, I think so,” she told the crowd on Monday. “They like it more than higher property taxes. They like it more than deep cuts.”
With less than a year until the provincial election next June 7, however, a decision to raise the HST one per cent would be politically dangerous for Wynne’s Liberal government.
Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s office quickly shot down the AMO idea as Wynne prepared to speak at the convention Tuesday.
“We will not be increasing the HST,” Sousa spokesperson Jessica Martin said in a statement, saying Ontario has a “strong track record” of supporting municipalities with $4 billion a year, up from $1.1 billion when the Liberals took power in 2003.
The province is also doubling gas tax revenues to municipalities beginning in 2019 and has embarked on a $190-billion, 13-year infrastructure program to build new public transit, hospitals, schools and more, Martin added.
Dollin said the AMO’s research found retail sales tax increase is the fairest way to go, spreading the cost more widely as municipalities face cash crunches as their own infrastructure ages and crumbles.
She noted that 25 U.S. states and a number of countries, such as France and Spain, have similar arrangements to help local governments, which in Canada own two-thirds of the infrastructure — more than the federal or provincial governments.
Existing federal and provincial infrastructure programs don’t come close to meeting the need, Dollin added, putting the annual funding gap at $4.9 billion annually for the next 10 years.
Closing that gap would require municipalities to raise property taxes 8 per cent a year, she told the convention, a must-attend annual gathering for politicos including the premier, cabinet ministers, opposition party leaders and MPPs.
“Can that be done? Should that be done? How high does the Ontario government want property taxes to go?” said Dollin, deputy mayor of the Town of Innisfil, north of Toronto.
She also made a pitch to local councillors whose political beliefs may cause them to blanch at pressing for an HST increase, urging them to come on side.
“Going alone, there is little we can achieve.”
Wynne told AMO’s annual convention in Windsor last summer that municipalities need to consult constituents before they ask the province for increased taxation powers or new “revenue tools.”
“We’ve risen to that challenge,” Dollin replied Monday, calling a one per cent local share of the HST “a 21st century revenue tool.”
Toronto is now the only municipality in the province with the power to raise revenue with new levies, such as vehicle registration taxes and the land transfer tax, but it is prohibited from introducing sales taxes or income taxes.
Last winter, Wynne’s government blocked Toronto Mayor John Tory’s plan to toll the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway, which is when her government promised to double the share of the two-cents-a-litre gasoline tax earmarked for municipalities.
Wynne had initially appeared receptive to the tolls but did a U-turn after a surge of dissent from cabinet ministers and Liberal MPPs with the party trailing in the polls and next year’s election looming.
“Any leader who doesn’t listen to those voices, doesn’t listen to the team . . . s isn’t actually leading,” the premier said in January.
Tory has also pressed the province to allow Toronto to impose a hotel tax.
SEPT-SORTS, FRANCE—A man believed to be under the influence of drugs — and possibly suicidal — deliberately rammed his car into a pizzeria east of Paris on Monday night, killing an adolescent girl and injuring her younger brother and 12 others, authorities said.
The driver was immediately arrested in what was the latest of several attacks in France and elsewhere using a vehicle as a weapon. The local prosecutor said the man’s actions in the dinnertime attack in the town of Sept-Sorts were clearly deliberate, but not terrorism-related.
The girl and her brother were among restaurant patrons eating on the outdoor terrace of Pizzeria Cesena when a man in a BMW accelerated toward them, an official with the national gendarme service told The Associated Press. Some officials said the girl was 13, while the prosecutor said she was 12.
The girl died immediately, and her brother’s injuries were considered life-threatening, according to a gendarme official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name.
Deputy regional prosecutor Eric de Valroger said a 3-year-old boy was flown by helicopter to France’s premier children’s hospital in Paris and 12 other people were also hospitalized, four in serious condition.
Speaking to reporters near the attack site, de Valroger said he had opened a homicide investigation. At this stage, he said, “I rule out a terrorist motive.”
He called it “highly probable” that the driver was under the influence of drugs and that he left the road and deliberately aimed his car at restaurant-goers. De Valroger identified the attacker as a 31-year-old from the nearby town of La Ferte-sous-Jouarre.
The suspect is believed to have tried to kill himself last week, French Interior Ministry Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television. Brandet said the man was not known to intelligence or police.
Explosives experts combed the area and found no weapon other than the car itself, according to the prosecutor.
Witnesses to the incident were being given emergency counselling.
A police official said authorities were not searching for accomplices, and a security official said there was no evidence of a political or Islamic extremist motive.
The targeted pizzeria is in a shopping zone in the small town of Sept-Sorts, about 65 kilometres east of Paris near Champagne country. Police cordoned off a large area, and BFM reported that a nearby Chinese restaurant was requisitioned to take in victims and survivors.
The incident on a quiet August night on the eve of a national holiday reignited fears after multiple attacks in which a vehicle was the weapon of choice. An Algerian man drove his car into a group of French soldiers last week, and an Islamic extremist truck attack in the French city of Nice left 86 people dead a little more than a year ago.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his government expressed condolences and support for the victims and survivors of Monday’s attack, according to an Interior Ministry statement.
WASHINGTON—Like Heather Heyer, the paralegal and protester killed in Charlottesville, Kate Steinle was 32 when she was died.
“Look at Kate. Beautiful Kate,” Donald Trump said, his voice softening, in a campaign speech last year. “Illegal immigrant, five times came across the border, and shot Kate.”
Trump then lamented the murder of Jamiel Shaw, 17, by another man in the country illegally.
“An unbelievable young boy,” Trump said. “Good student. Was going to go to college on a football scholarship. Maybe Stanford. And he was shot in the face three times by a guy that did it because he was just told to shoot somebody.”
When he wants to be, this president is a vivid storyteller. Talking about crimes committed by Muslims and undocumented Hispanics, Trump has used evocative adjectives and anecdotes to emphasize the depravity of the offenders and the humanity of the victims.
An alleged white supremacist is accused of killing Heyer on Saturday. On Monday, Trump described her with just one generic word.
After two days of withering criticism from across the political spectrum, Trump finally condemned white supremacists. In a White House attempt at a do-over for his widely denounced first try on Saturday, Trump called racism “evil” and identified “the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups” as “repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
But the rhetorical shift appeared to many observers as begrudging, a half-hearted attempt to quell the furor that erupted when he faulted bigotry and violence “on many sides.”
“It’s pretty clear he didn’t want to do this, or he would have done it before today,” Cody Keenan, who was chief presidential speech writer to Barack Obama, said in a message to the Star.
In a marked departure from post-tragedy convention, Trump began the five-minute speech with seven sentences of boasting about his economic record. He uttered just two sentences about Heyer, saying nothing about her life and lapsing into the passive voice in describing what happened to her.
“Two days ago a young American woman, Heather Heyer, was tragically killed,” he said. “Her death fills us with grief, and we send her family our thoughts, our prayers and our love.”
Keenan, who still works for Obama, said the former president tried in such addresses “to find a way to pay tribute to someone and what they cared about.” And two days, he said, is “an eternity” for a White House to take for a perfunctory statement like Trump’s.
Obama’s speech on the Sandy Hook school shooting, one of the most memorable addresses of his presidency, was written in two days, Keenan said.
“I think a big difference is that Obama would likely have gone to Charlottesville today,” Keenan said. “I don’t think Trump could have even if he wanted to.”
Douglas Brinkley, the prominent presidential historian, said Trump’s second attempt was “very marred” by his unusual introduction.
“The lead for the president’s talk today needed to be about Charlottesville. This will be known to history as his Charlottesville address to the nation, round two. And by self-promoting himself right out of the gate, it did a disservice to the victims of Charlottesville,” Brinkley told the Star. “He couldn’t let go of it being about Trump puffery out of the gate. And then the death became secondary.”
Trump, he said, seemed to be attempting to “not alienate a single person in his base while trying to calm the mainstream media and GOP senators down.”
Trump did appear to satiate Republican legislators. In the eyes of pundits on right-wing Fox News, the speech was enough to close the book on the question of Trump’s attitudes toward white racists.
“There is nothing this president can ever do that is going to please his haters,” said Gina Gentry Loudon.
After meeting with FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump announced a civil rights investigation into what he called a “deadly car attack.” Unlike Sessions, he did not declare the attack an act of terrorism.
James Alex Fields, seen standing with white supremacists in Charlottesville, has been charged with second-degree murder. He was denied bail on Monday.
His mother repeatedly called police about him in 2010 and 2011 to accuse him of beating her, The Associated Press reported.
Trump, sticking to his prepared text, asked Americans to choose love and unity over hate and division. He said “this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence” has “no place in America.”
“And as I have said many times before, no matter the colour of our skin, we all live under the same laws, we all salute the same great flag and we are all made by the same almighty God,” he said.
But Trump’s first act Monday once again called into question his sincerity. Before his speech, he tweeted a biting remark about Ken Frazier, the black chief executive of Merck and Co., who resigned from Trump’s manufacturing council “to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.”
“Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Trump wrote. He added another shot at Merck six hours after the speech.
And in remarks to Fox News on Saturday, Trump said he was “seriously considering” issuing a pardon to former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of contempt of court for ignoring an order to stop arresting people he merely suspected were illegal immigrants.
His musings on Arpaio were published less than an hour after his speech on Charlottesville.
One of the Canadian victims of a terror attack in the capital of Burkina Faso was a pregnant newlywed who was living in the country while finishing a doctorate at the University of Cambridge in England.
Tammy Jane Mackay Chen, 34, was one of two Canadians killed in the attack on a restaurant Sunday night in Ouagoudou that authorities in the African nation are treating as a terrorist incident.
She was killed along with her husband, Mehsen Fenaiche, who is a Senegalese citizen and a Muslim, said the man’s brother, Naim Fenaiche. The couple were married last month in Ouagoudou. On her Facebook account, Chen identified herself Tammy Chen Fenaiche.
Chen’s death was confirmed by her grandmother, Doris Mackay.
“She was going to have my first great grandchild, a grandson. She was six months (pregnant),” MacKay told the Star.
Eighteen people were killed late Sunday when suspected Islamic extremists opened fire at a popular Turkish restaurant in Ouagoudou, the capital.
“It is with very great sorrow that I can confirm the deaths of two Canadians in yesterday’s attack in Burkina Faso,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday.
“The heartfelt condolences of our government go out to the loved ones of those targeted and the victims of this tragic attack. Canadian consular officials are working hard to provide assistance to their loved ones.”
A native of Montreal, Chen studied education at McGill University and then at Queen’s University. She worked as a French teacher at Toronto’s Glen Ames Senior Public School and Swansea Junior Public School, according to her resume posted to the University of Cambridge’s Center of Development Studies website. But it was at Queen’s University that she developed a passion for development work.
In 2011, she co-founded a Canadian charity, Bright Futures of Burkina Faso, that worked toward supporting education for at-risk students in the country.
Her doctorate thesis at the University of Cambridge, which she was set to complete her studies in December, was looking at the intergenerational effects of poverty on women in Burkina Faso.
The other Canadian victim of the attack has not yet been identified.
Local authorities say other foreigners killed include two Kuwaitis and one person each from France, Nigeria, Lebanon and Turkey.
Seven Burkina Faso citizens were also killed and authorities said three other victims had not yet been identified.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the violence, which continued into the early hours Monday.
At least three members of Burkina Faso’s security forces were wounded during the assault, said Capt. Guy Ye, spokesman of the security forces.
The assailants arrived at the restaurant on motorcycles and then began shooting randomly at the crowds dining Sunday evening, he said. Security forces arrived at the scene with armoured vehicles after reports of shots fired near Aziz Istanbul.
The attack brought back painful memories of the January 2016 attack at another café that left 30 people dead.
Burkina Faso, a landlocked nation in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world. It shares a northern border with Mali, which has long battled Islamic extremists.
With files from The Associated Press
Raising the HST to help municipalities pay for road, arena and other infrastructure improvements would “fly in the face” of her efforts to ease pocketbook pressures on Ontarians, Premier Kathleen Wynne says.
She told local councillors from across the province at the annual convention of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario that she was surprised by the group’s call for a one-per-cent HST hike to raise $2.5 billion.
“I have not heard that discussion from mayors,” she said at the convention in Ottawa on Tuesday, a day after AMO president Lynn Dillon issued the challenge.
Wynne’s Liberal government, which is up for re-election next June 7, cut electricity bills 25 per cent this year after skyrocketing hydro prices infuriated consumers and fuelled attacks by opposition parties.
The premier said AMO’s push to raise the HST to 14 per cent from 13 would mean “constituents paying more taxes.”
“That’s why it’s not something that we’re going to look at.”
Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and his NDP counterpart, Andrea Horwath, also said “no” to the association’s HST request Tuesday, preferring other ways to ease financial pressures on municipalities.
Wynne suggested a less drastic solution to find ways to fund local projects that are falling through the cracks in programs from the province.
“Let’s figure out what’s the best way for them to be paid for,” Wynne said. “There are billions of dollars that are flowing into municipalities right now. Let’s figure out what the gaps are.”
Solutions could include Ontario taking financial responsibility for some local roads that are more suited to being under provincial control and finding ways to help small municipalities to pay for arena and other recreational facilities, she said.
“In small municipalities it is very, very difficult to raise those funds,” Wynne acknowledged.
Although AMO’s board of directors unanimously supported the push for a one-per-cent rise in the HST to create a “local share,” the premier pointed out that there isn’t unanimous support at the convention.
“This room was divided; not everyone in the room believes that increasing the HST is the way to go.”
Dissenters included Deputy Mayor James Leduc of Bradford West-Gwillimbury and Timmins Mayor Steve Black.
“It’s still taxes,” Black said at a microphone on the convention floor as Wynne took questions from the audience.
“I don’t support that, either. I think there’s better ways,” Leduc told the crowd.
Brown told AMO delegates that a PC government would bring in reforms to a system called “joint and several liability” that have some municipalities closing recreational facilities because of high insurance premiums and fears of expensive lawsuits.
Orangeville, for example, has banned tobogganing on Murray’s Mountain. Under the concept of joint and several liability, a defendant who is only partially at fault may have to pay an entire damage settlement if other defendants don’t have the ability to pay.
That often leaves municipalities on the hook, said Brown, who pledged to find a way to protect local governments from “unfair and unaffordable settlements” while ensuring victims are “fairly compensated.”
Brown did not specify how this would be achieved but said he would consult widely on better solutions.
For the NDP, Horwath said her party, if elected, would “shoulder its fair share” of municipal programs for child care, transit and social housing.
A 22-year-old Toronto man has been arrested following a shooting near Flemingdon Park on Saturday that left one man in serious condition.
An unidentified man in his early 20s was found by police with a gunshot wound to his abdomen near Linkwood Ln. and St Dennis Dr. shortly before 6:30 p.m.
Di’on Jahil Wong was arrested Tuesday and is facing 14 charges including attempted murder and firearm related charges.
On Sunday police searched Wong’s home where they found 2.17 grams of cocaine, a shotgun with a folding stock, homemade ammunition, a bulletproof vest and paraphernalia used to produce illegal drugs.
Three people are in non-life threatening condition after a shooting in North York, Tuesday evening.
At around 5:15 p.m., police received a call for gunshots heard in the Jane St. and Sheppard Ave. W. area, said Toronto police spokesperson Const. David Hopkinson.
“We had info that a number of shots were heard and that there were kids in the area,” said Hopkinson.
Police found shell casings at the scene, a residential area.
Hospkinson says that police then located three victims in a car — a man and two women — who were suffering from non-life threatening gunshots wounds.
According to investigators, the victims may have been taking themselves to the hospital when police found them.
Police say it’s too early in the investigation to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Investigators are now looking for a black SUV that was seen fleeing the area.
MONTREAL—Ontario’s third-largest grocery chain will accelerate its study of automation as it looks to cut costs to offset the provincial government’s plan to raise the minimum wage next year, the CEO of Metro Inc. said Tuesday.
Eric La Fleche said the industry is under the gun because there is little time to adjust to cost increases, especially when intensifying competition is straining margins.
Metro estimates an increase in the Ontario minimum wage to $14 per hour from the current rate of $11.40 will cost it about $45 million to $50 million on an annualized basis in 2018. The impact excludes any pressure to subsequently increase other salaries.
“It’s the pace that makes it a pretty big challenge but we’re confident that we’ll find some offsets on our own,” La Fleche said during a conference call about its third-quarter results.
The chain said it hasn’t calculated the full impact when the minimum wage rises to $15 an hour in January 2019.
The higher labour costs would account for about eight per cent of the $586 million in net earnings last year and more than a third of the $127 million paid out in dividends.
It’s just the latest cost pressure facing business after enduring several years of increased energy charges.
“As a team we will strive to mitigate this impact as much as we possibly can through productivity and cost reduction initiatives, but the size and pace of these increases pose a significant challenge,” La Fleche told analysts.
The Montreal-based chain said it “will spare no effort” to manage the labour costs but declined to specify whether the changes will have any impact on the number of employees. It has piloted the use of electronic tags on stores shelves and has considered automating its distribution centres.
La Fleche’s comments follow similar warnings by other retailers and a coalition representing a broad range of business groups.
Rival Loblaw Companies Ltd., which owns Shoppers Drug Mart and grocery chains including Loblaws and No Frills, has said it is mobilizing all its resources to offset the $190-million hit next year from higher minimum wages in Ontario and Alberta.
Discount retailer Dollarama Inc. said it won’t rule out raising prices if labour costs continue to climb, while Magna International has warned that higher costs could affect its business investments in the province.
Movie chain Cineplex Odeon Corp. last year raised ticket prices in response to higher minimum wages, which affect much of its workforce.
An economic analysis commissioned by the Keep Ontario Working Coalition found that 185,000 jobs could be at risk as Ontario businesses stand to take a $23-billion hit within two years of the implementation of Bill 148.
The coalition, which includes groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada, said the changes proposed in the bill would force employers to find creative ways to cut costs, such as hiring less and increasing automation.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a national think tank, said research suggests the dire predictions are unlikely to pan out.
David Macdonald, the centre’s senior economist, has said there was little impact on employment from past minimum wage hikes and that forecasts fail to account for increased employee spending. The centre has said raising the minimum wage to $15 is only a start to addressing the 19 per cent cut in income between 2000 and 2015 among the bottom half of Ontario families raising children.
Metro’s net income for the 16 weeks ended July 1 rose 3.7 per cent to $183 million or 78 cents per share.
Overall sales edged up 1.4 per cent to $4.07 billion but same-store sales were down 0.2 per cent as poor weather caused store traffic to decrease.
Meanwhile, the company said it plans to expand its e-commerce offering to Ontario eventually, but wouldn’t say how soon that may come. By year-end, it plans to offer home delivery and store collection of online purchases in major urban areas of Quebec covering 60 per cent of the population.
Metro also said it is looking to expand its Adonis chain of Mediterranean-inspired food stores in both provinces next year after buying out its minority partners.
Edmonton police are praising the actions of a boy who they say thwarted the alleged abduction of his sister.
Police say a man allegedly took the 5-year-old girl who was riding her bike with her older brother on Saturday evening.
Officers say the man, who wasn’t known to the girl, took hold of her handle bars and led her away.
They say her brother went to get help from family members who chased the man and found the girl unharmed a block away.
A suspect was found in the area shortly thereafter and arrested.
Dusty Greg Chalifoux, who is 37, is charged with abducting a child under 14 and breaching recognizance.
Det. Manuel Illner, with the Edmonton police’s child protection section, praised the boy for acting quickly to protect his little sister.
“This young man followed his instincts and certainly did the right thing by running home and notifying family members immediately,” Illner said in a release Tuesday. “I encourage all parents to talk to their children about what to do in the event they are approached by a stranger.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has attacked a long list of people and groups, late-night comedians noted Monday in the aftermath of deadly weekend violence in Charlottesville, Va.
Yet it took him two days to condemn the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and other white supremacy groups who had gathered there.
“Was that so hard? Why did that take two days?” asked Late Show host Stephen Colbert.
“It shouldn’t take longer for the president to do the right thing than it takes to get a package from Amazon,” said Seth Meyers of Late Night.
“He sounds like a kid whose parents made him apologize for egging their neighbour’s house,” said Jimmy Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“The whole thing is such a bummer because Nazis were like the last thing we all agreed on,” Meyers added. “Indiana Jones fought the Nazis and we love Indiana Jones!”
They rattled off lists of people the president had found easier to criticize.
Just in the last week, Meyers said, the president “slammed the Senate Majority Leader of his own party and got into a war of words with North Korea.” Trump, he noted, has previously excoriated the likes of former presidential candidate Jeb Bush and even “people who drink Diet Coke.”
Colbert’s list was longer: “Hillary Clinton, the New York Times, CNN, Joe Scarborough, Kristen Stewart and the cast of Hamilton, Diet Coke, Nordstrom not selling his daughter’s clothes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, me, the state of New Hampshire, Gold Star families, Penn Jillette’s Las Vegas show, the movie Django Unchained, Meryl Streep and Lady Ghostbusters.”
As Kimmel said, “When Donald Trump is upset . . . he doesn’t keep it bottled up, he lets us know.”
While the comedians criticized the president as well as voiced their dismay over the weekend events that unfolded, there were elements of humour, too.
“We went into the weekend wondering about Kim Jong Un starting a war,” Kimmel said. “We came out of it wondering if our president was cutting eyeholes out of his bedsheets.”
A sombre moment
Jimmy Fallon gave the most serious of the monologues, saying it was his “responsibility to stand up against intolerance and extremism as a human being.”
As he watched the news about Charlottesville, with his daughters in the next room, Fallon said he thought, “How can I explain to them that there is so much hatred in this world?”
He commended “one brave woman,” Heather Heyer, 32, who was killed when a car slammed into a group of counterprotesters.
Fallon said ignoring the hateful behaviour exhibited at the rally is “just as bad as supporting it.”
He said all Americans need to “stand against what is wrong” and acknowledge that racism exists, in order “to show the next generation that we haven’t forgotten how hard people have fought for human rights.”
“We cannot do this,” Fallon said, seemingly on the verge of tears. “We can’t go backward. We can’t go backward.”
The tiki torches used by the white nationalists in a late-night march in Charlottesville caught the comedians’ attention, in part because the maker of the torches issued a statement saying it wasn’t “associated in any way” with the events that took place there.
“You know it’s bad when the thing you were angrily waving denounces you,” Meyers said. Then, taking aim at Trump, he added: “You didn’t have to rise to the level of FDR or JFK. All you had to do was show the same amount of courage and moral clarity as the people who make tiki torches. And you failed.”
Colbert echoed that sentiment. “It’s pretty troubling when a backyard decoration comes out swinging stronger against Nazis than the president of the United States,” he said.
“It’s really hard to come off as intimidating when you got torches from your mom’s patio,” Meyers said.
The comedians also poked fun at Trump’s initial public comments Saturday, in which he referred to the violence in Charlottesville as coming from “many sides.” He did not identify the groups he viewed as disruptive.
“How can you possibly say you condemn this in the strongest possible terms when you don’t even name the groups responsible or say what they did?” Colbert said. “I have seen angrier Yelp reviews. And they weren’t afraid to use the word ‘Nazi’ when describing how long their jalapeño poppers took.”
“There were two sides, not many sides,” Kimmel said. “And one of those sides had Nazis on it.”
“Mr. President, Mr. President, this is terrorism, not your order at KFC,” Colbert said to chuckles from the audience. Imitating Trump, he said: “I’d like the 10-piece bucket with potato wedges, fries, mash — you know what? Many sides. Many sides. Coleslaw.”
OTTAWA—A U.S. regional jet, same runways at Pearson — and a quick radio warning from an air traffic controller to prevent a close call.
Safety officials are probing yet another runway incursion that happened Monday at Canada’s busiest airport, a virtual carbon copy of past incidents that have spurred a review of runway operations by the Transportation Safety Board.
“Again, very similar to the other incursions,” Ewan Tasker, the safety board’s regional manager for air investigations, said Tuesday.
In Monday’s incident, an Embraer 175 regional jet operated by Republic Airline, had landed on runway 24 left about 6:35 p.m. after a flight from Newark, N.J. The jet exited on to a taxiway at the end of the runway and a tower controller gave the pilots instructions to hold short of a parallel runway.
An Air Canada Boeing 787 bound for Zurich was cleared for departure on that parallel runway and began its take-off roll.
But as has happened many times before, the controller, concerned that the jet was going a “little fast” and wasn’t going to stop as instructed, issued fresh instructions, Tasker said.
“Brickyard 3553, please stop there,” the controller said, using the airline’s call sign, according to a recording on the website liveatc.net.
The jet stopped but just past the hold short line that marks the boundary to the protected runway environment. At the time, the Air Canada jet was halfway down the parallel runway, accelerating quickly for take-off, Tasker said.
Even if the regional jet entered the parallel runway, the Air Canada flight was safely airborne by that point, he said.
But Tasker said this latest event drives home the concerns around a recent rash of incursions involving the two parallel runways on the airport’s south side that has prompted the safety board to launch a special review of operations.
During busy periods, aircraft land on the outer runway and then taxi across the inner runway to reach the terminal buildings. But in almost two dozen occasions in recent years, aircraft have failed to stop as instructed on a taxiway.
“The direct risk of collision on this individual event again, not extremely high, but change the circumstances a bit and that severity changes significantly,” Tasker said.
The review is looking at a host of factors — pilot and controller procedures, human factors, airport design — to find ways to minimize the high rate of incursions.
One common factor — underscored by Monday’s incident — is that U.S. regional airlines are overwhelmingly involved in the majority of the incursions.
“That’s definitely something we need to analyze. Why is that? What are the U.S. crews used to? Are they used to something different?” Tasker said.
The fact prompted the head of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority to write to regional airlines several years ago to alert them to the problem. The airport also made changes to lighting and pavement markings. “We need to look at how much of an effect that did have. That’s part of the ongoing work,” Tasker said.
In a statement Tuesday, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which operates Pearson, said it was taking additional steps to address the potential risks.
“We are stepping up our efforts with all parties in an attempt to address this situation as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
That includes reaching out to air carriers “to address the role they play in reducing incursions.”
The authority also wants a meeting “as soon as possible” with Nav Canada, to discuss their processes and “ways to heighten awareness with pilots crews in order to reduce incursions,” the authority said in a statement to the Star.
Transport Canada is aware of the incident that prompted the Transportation Safety Board to deploy a team of investigators to Lester B. Pearson International Airport. The department is supporting and cooperating with the Transportation Safety Board in their assessment of the incident and have appointed a minister’s observer who will obtain factual information from the ongoing assessment, identify any issues relevant to the Minister of Transport’s responsibilities, and coordinate the required support during the assessment.
Tasker said it’s certain that the quick intervention of controllers has prevented other runway incursions from happening.
Peter Duffey, president of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, which represents controllers, said such incidents underscore why controllers remain vigilant to ensure pilots are obeying instructions, especially in the fast-paced environment at Pearson.
“The controllers are banging stuff off and yet as that guy rolled off the runway, he saw what was happening when he passed the stop line,” Duffey told the Star.
“That is literally a split second decision and it is because they’re constantly going up and down the runways scanning for that exact sort of thing. It’s just part of what we do,” he said.
Hans Nilsson has spent three years trying to spot an elusive white moose in the town of Eda, in western Sweden. Last week he got lucky and crossed paths with the ghost-coloured herbivore two days in a row.
When Nilsson saw the moose the first time, he was amazed. On the second day, he was ready.
He whipped out a camera and shot video of the moose, well, being a moose. It waded into a nearby stream. It shook off water. It nibbled on some plants. Nilsson, of course, described the scene in more majestic terms.
“When I shot the video everything fell into place: the location, the light and the calmness,” Nilsson told the Local, a Swedish newspaper. “It was an experience to meet such a stately animal up close.”
According to the newspaper, this is the second white moose sighting that’s gone viral in Sweden this summer. In July, Jessica Hemlin photographed a white moose that regularly visits her garden in Munkeda, which is also in western Sweden.
Sweden has an estimated 400,000 moose, most of which unabashedly resemble Bullwinkle, the newspaper reported. But about 100 of them are mostly white, according to the BBC. Some of them have albinism, in which the body doesn’t produce a lot of melanin pigment. But many more have a recessive gene that causes mostly white fur interspersed with bits of brown, the Local reported.
According to National Geographic, the white colouring may be a form of natural selection, as flabbergasted hunters choose to let the white moose live, increasing their numbers. Moose in Sweden have no natural predators except humans.
“Hunters have chosen to not kill any moose that are light,” Göran Ericsson, a professor of elk and moose for the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, told the magazine. “It is kind of like dog breeding. They choose to select for traits that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred.”
And although this moose has made international headlines this week, it probably has never taken a moment to appreciate its rare colour.
Moose are colorblind.
GENEVA—Switzerland’s tourism office on Tuesday decried an “unfortunate” incident in which a small Alpine hotel posted a sign asking “Jewish guests” to shower before swimming in the hotel pool.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center demanded the closure of the Paradies Arosa hotel, and issued a statement calling on “the broader Jewish community and their Gentile friends to blacklist this horrific hotel.” On Twitter, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called for “justice” against the hotel’s management.
Officials said the hotel in the eastern town of Arosa had apologized for the incident and taken the sign down. Hotel management didn’t immediately respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Swiss Tourism spokesman Markus Berger called the sign unacceptable, adding: “It always needs to stay in perspective: This is one unfortunate incident.”
Under the headline “To our Jewish Guests,” the sign read: “Please take a shower before you go swimming. If you break the rules, I am forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you. Thank you for your understanding.”
Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister, posted an image of the sign on her Facebook page and wrote that “there can be no tolerance and no indifference” to anti-Semitism and racism, in comments that also alluded also to violence around a white supremacist rally in Virginia in the United States.
We “must not let there be a place in the free world for Nazi flags or Ku Klux Klan masks or ugly signs in hotels directed at Jews only,” she wrote. “We cannot allow acts of hate against Jews around the world to become normal.”
The secretary-general of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities said it was “really a dumb thing” to do, but he called for calm.
“It’s somebody who really didn’t think a lot,” Jonathan Kreutner said in a phone interview.
He said that calls to close the hotel were “very exaggerated,” Kreutner said. “This is the most important thing now: To stay cool. Things happened that are not good. I don’t want to reduce the problem behind this, but it is very important to stay cool.”
Kreutner said that most of the Jews who visit the area are from Belgium, Britain, Israel, Switzerland and the U.S.
Berger, the tourism spokesman, cited a recent trend of Orthodox and other Jews travelling to four Alpine villages in the area in the summertime, including Davos of World Economic Forum fame. He said didn’t know the origin of the trend, but that numbers “definitely in the thousands” have grown in recent years. He said many area hotels serve kosher food, and that Jewish guests “feel well-treated” there.
“It’s just this one lady at this one hotel who was not on top of the situation,” Berger said. “It’s an isolated incident that doesn’t need for greater action to be taken.”
Switzerland’s foreign ministry, responding to a request for comment from The Associated Press, said that it has been in touch with the Israeli ambassador and “outlined to him that Switzerland condemns racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in any form. Switzerland has been strongly committed for years — as it is at the moment, for example, within its presidency for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance — to raise awareness to the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination.”