24
Jun 19

Donald Trump denounces recent ‘horrible’ threats against Jewish community centres

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday denounced recent threats against Jewish community centres as “horrible … painful” and said more must be done “to root out hate and prejudice and evil.”

Trump made his remarks after touring the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture.

“This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said.

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On Monday, 11 Jewish community centres across the country received phoned-in bomb threats, according to the JCC Association of North America. Like three waves of similar calls in January, Monday’s threats proved to be hoaxes, the association said in a statement. In addition, as many as 200 headstones were damaged or tipped over at a Jewish cemetery in suburban St. Louis late Sunday or early Monday.

READ MORE: Several US Jewish centres evacuated over bomb threats; Ivanka Trump calls for ‘religious tolerance’

“The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centres are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil,” Trump said. He did not outline what that might include.

The president’s comments marked the first time he had directly addressed recent incidents of anti-Semitism and followed a more general White House denouncement of “hatred and hate-motivated violence.”

That statement, earlier Tuesday, did not mention the community centre incidents or Jews. Trump “has made it abundantly clear that these actions are unacceptable,” the statement said.

WATCH: FBI probing wave of fake bomb threats to U.S. Jewish centres in January

The FBI said it is joining with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to investigate “possible civil rights violations in connection with threats.”

On Monday, Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump wrote on 桑拿会所, “We must protect our houses of worship & religious centres,” and used the hashtag #JCC. She converted to Judaism ahead of her 2009 marriage to Jared Kushner. She joined her father at the African American museum tour.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump was criticized for what some saw as belated and inadequately forceful denunciations of hateful rhetoric by supporters.

During a news conference last week, Trump scolded a Jewish reporter for asking about rising anti-Semitism, calling his query a “very insulting question.”

“So here’s the story, folks. Number one, I am the least anti- Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person,” Trump said, apparently misinterpreting the question as an attack on him personally.

The White House was also criticized by Jewish groups last month after issuing an International Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that did not mention Jews.

Early Tuesday, former presidential rival Hillary Clinton urged Trump to clearly denounce recent incidents. “JCC threats, cemetery desecration & online attacks are so troubling & they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting @POTUS,” she said on 桑拿会所.

Trump told NBC’s Craig Melvin before his remarks Tuesday that he denounces anti-Semitism “all the time” and “wherever I get a chance I do it.”

Trump’s latest remarks came as he paid a visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture with a group that included Ben Carson, his rival-turned-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

The museum includes an exhibit dedicated to Carson’s rise from poverty to prominent pediatric neurosurgeon, which the group stopped to admire and pose for photos in front of.

“Honestly, it’s fantastic,” Trump said during the tour. “I’ve learned and I’ve seen and they’ve done an incredible job.”

Trump also took special interest in an exhibit dedicated to the boxer Muhammad Ali, museum officials said.

Trump’s wife Melania Trump visited the museum last week with Sara Netanyahu, wife of the Israeli prime minister.

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Associated Press writer Julie Bykowicz contributed to this report from Washington. AP writer Patrick Mairs contributed from Philadelphia.


24
Jun 19

Red Top Drive Inn co-owner dies while on vacation in Costa Rica

WINNIPEG —; A local community is in mourning after the co-owner of a popular Winnipeg diner died while on vacation this week.

Peter Scouras, owner of Red Top Drive-Inn, was swimming in Costa Rica when he got caught in an undertow and drowned, staff at the diner said.

Scouras was in Costa Rica for a rugby tournament with his team the Wombats Rugby Club, according to a Facebook post.

Many friends and Red Top customers took to Facebook to express their condolences.

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The family-owned restaurant has been around since 1960.

Scouras ran the St. Boniface diner with his mother, Vicky after his father, John died suddenly while on vacation in Greece in August 2007.

The diner has gained popularity in recent years, especially since it made an appearance on Food Network Canada’s You Gotta Eat Here!

Former Winnipeg mayor, Sam Katz has boasted about the restaurant as well.

Back in 2013, Global News asked then Mayor Sam Katz to pick any restaurant in the city to do a year-end interview. He picked the Red Top.

“I used to come here every weekend in days gone by… sometimes after a rough day at the office you need some comfort food,” he said at the time.

Red Top Drive Inn on 219 St. Mary’s Road

Former Winnipeg mayor, Sam Katz says he frequents the diner.


24
Jun 19

Trump expansion of deportation guidelines could affect millions of people

WASHINGTON – Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation – including people simply arrested for traffic violations – under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration.

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Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offence, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offences – or simply having crossed the border illegally.

The Trump administration memos replace more narrow guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.

READ MORE: Hundreds of undocumented immigrants arrested in ‘routine’ U.S. enforcement sweep

Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission and those who overstayed their visas.

Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offence, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.

Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offence. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before.

The new enforcement documents are the latest efforts by President Donald Trump to follow through on campaign promises to strictly enforce immigration laws. He’s also promised to build a wall at the Mexican border – he insists Mexico will eventually foot the bill – and Kelly’s memos reiterate calls for Homeland Security to start planning for the costs and construction.

WATCH: ICE officials say of the 161 arrests of undocumented immigrants – 151 of those taken into custody had majority criminal, felony convictions.

Trump’s earlier immigration orders, which banned all refugees as well as foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries, have faced widespread criticism and legal action. A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary halt.

Kelly’s enforcement plans call for enforcing a longstanding but obscure provision of immigration law that allows the government to send some people caught illegally crossing the Mexican border back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from. Those foreigners would wait in that country for U.S. deportation proceedings to be complete. This would be used for people who aren’t considered a threat to cross the border illegally again, the memo says.

That provision is almost certain to face opposition from civil libertarians and Mexican officials, and it’s unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. But the memo also calls for Homeland Security to provide an account of U.S. aid to Mexico, a possible signal that Trump plans to use that funding to get Mexico to accept the foreigners.

WATCH: NDP MP to Trudeau: will Liberals denounce Trump’s immigration policies?

Historically, the U.S. has quickly repatriated Mexican nationals caught at the border but has detained immigrants from other countries pending deportation proceedings that could take years.

The memos do not change U.S. immigration laws, but take a far harder line toward enforcement.

One example involves broader use of a program that fast-tracks deportations. It will now be applied to immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States longer than two years. It’s unclear how many immigrants that could include.

Since at least 2002 that fast deportation effort – which does not require a judge’s order – has been used only for immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border, within two weeks of crossing illegally.

The administration also plans to expand immigration jail capacity. Currently Homeland Security has money and space to jail 34,000 immigrants at a time. It’s unclear how much an increase would cost, but Congress would have to approve any new spending.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the directives.

“These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

However, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, applauded the Trump effort, saying the memos “overturn dangerous” policies from the Obama administration.

The directives do not affect President Barack Obama’s program that has protected more than 750,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place, though participants could be deported if they commit crimes or otherwise are deemed to be threats to public safety or national security, according to the department.

During the campaign Trump vowed to immediately end that program, which he described as illegal amnesty.

The directives indicate that some young people caught crossing the border illegally by themselves may not be eligible for special legal protections if they are reunited with parents in the United States. And those parents or other relatives that the government believes helped the children would face criminal and immigration investigations.

Under the Obama administration, more than 100,000 children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were caught at the border. Most were reunited with parents or relatives living in the United States, regardless of the adults’ immigration status.

The enforcement memos also call for the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, but it’s unclear how quickly that could take place. Currently, two of every three applicants for Customs and Border Protection jobs fail polygraph exams and there are about 2,000 vacancies.

The government also plans to review a program that allows local police and jailers to act as immigration agents and a program that used fingerprint records from local jails to identify immigrants who had been arrested.


24
Jun 19

Ontario PC leader supports anti-Islamophobia motion; says party opposes any form of hate

TORONTO – Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Leader will support an anti-Islamophobia motion from a Liberal member and is encouraging his caucus to do the same.

Patrick Brown’s support means the Ontario motion is unlikely to garner the kind of political debate seen over a similar motion in the House of Commons.

The federal motion is opposed by a number of Conservative MPs, including several leadership contenders, who say it could stifle legitimate debate about issues like Shariah law and the niqab.

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The Ontario motion, from Liberal backbencher Nathalie Des Rosiers, is to be debated Thursday.

READ MORE: Islamophobia motion: Iqra Khalid, Irwin Cotler offer conflicting takes on their conversation

It calls on the legislature to “stand against all forms of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance; rebuke the notable growing tide of anti-Muslim rhetoric and sentiments; denounce hate-attacks, threats of violence and hate crimes against people of the Muslim faith (and) condemn all forms of Islamophobia.”

Des Rosiers’ motion was introduced Dec. 1 in response to crimes directed toward the Muslim community, but she asked the government house leader to move the motion’s debate slot to the earliest opportunity.

“The debate on the federal motion has uprooted a number of troubling comments from the Conservative Party of Canada, which seem designed to divide and detract from the purpose of fighting discrimination,” she wrote in a letter asking all politicians at the legislature to support it.

“It was important, I think, to raise the profile of this issue and make sure that we stand against discrimination – all types of discrimination, but particularly discrimination that affects this particular group at this point,” Des Rosiers said Tuesday.

READ MORE: What you need to know about the anti-Islamophobia motion making waves in Ottawa

Brown wouldn’t weigh in on the federal debate, but said he believes support for the bill is “pretty universal” within his caucus.

“Whether it’s hate against any faith, it’s wrong,” he said. “We always will condemn any form of hate. In terms of Islamophobia, it’s real.”

The federal motion was to be put to a vote Tuesday.

Conservative MPs have argued that the Liberal motion singles out one religious group over others and could potentially curtail freedom of speech because it doesn’t define the term Islamophobia.

But a Canadian Muslim leader says they are stoking a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment by raising unfounded fears. Samer Majzoub, president of the Canadian Muslim Forum, says Muslim Canadians are increasingly suffering prejudice and acts of hatred, including a deadly shooting at a Quebec mosque last month that left six worshippers dead.