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North Dakota abortion clinic files federal suit over 2 laws

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:29
FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota’s sole abortion clinic filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over two state laws it believes forces doctors to lie, including one measure passed this year requiring physicians to tell women that they may reverse a so-called medication abortion if they have second thoughts. The complaint from the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic and the American Medical Association also targets an existing law requiring doctors to tell patients that abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The suit says the laws violate the constitutional rights of doctors by forcing them to “convey false information and non-medical statements” to patients. It asks a judge to block enforcement. “The First Amendment prohibits the government from hijacking the doctor-patient relationship to advance a political agenda,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. A spokeswoman for North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Stenehjem was not immediately available for comment. He said earlier when asked about the possibility of a lawsuit that he will be required to defend the current laws. Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick, also named as a defendant, had not seen the lawsuit and said he could not comment. North Dakota is among eight states, including five in the last year, to pass or amend laws requiring doctors to tell women undergoing medication abortions they can still have a live birth after the procedure. The North Dakota law, scheduled to go into effect Aug. 1, also requires doctors to tell the patient that “time is of the essence” if she changes her mind. Republican state Rep. Daniel Johnston said he sponsored the bill so that “women having second thoughts” know they have options. He said the bill does not restrict abortions and couldn’t see “how anyone could be against it.” AMA President Dr. Patrice Harris told The Associated Press that North Dakota’s law requires doctors to “mislead and misinform” their patients and the consequences could undermine relationships between all physicians and patients. The AMA, which is the country’s largest physician organization, sued the Trump administration in March over funding for family planning organizations offering abortion services. “The AMA will step in when there is any interference with our ability to talk to our patients about legal, evidence-based medical procedures,” Harris said by phone from Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she was attending an event by the British Medical Association. She said AMA lawyers are monitoring abortion laws in all states and decided North Dakota’s was the next case to be “actively involved in.” Other states that have passed similar laws that require patients to be informed about medication abortion reversal are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Utah. The suit says there is no “credible, scientific evidence” that a medication abortion can be reversed and the drug that would be used in the procedure has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The other law requiring doctors to define a fetus is part of the state’s longstanding abortion control act. The suit says the mandate is a “controversial and ideological opinion about when life begins” and is meant to further the state’s attempt to discourage abortion. Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, said the measures do not allow doctors to give honest and informed advice. “North Dakota’s laws are forcing us to say things that violate our medical ethics and will soon force us to say things are simply false and not backed up by science,” Kromenaker said. Lawmakers passed another abortion bill this year that bans the method of so-called dilation and evacuation. It would make it a crime for a doctor performing a second-trimester abortion to use instruments such as clamps, scissors and forceps to remove the fetus from the womb. Opponents have called it “human dismemberment abortion.” Dave Kolpack, The Associated Press

Trudeau leans on Trump to help Canadians detained in China at G20 summit

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:28
OTTAWA - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will lean on the power and influence of the mercurial Donald Trump to raise the issue of two detained Canadians during a bilateral meeting with the Chinese president at a G20 summit in Japan this week - something the U.S. president publicly committed to doing at “Justin’s request.” The summit comes at a critical moment for Trudeau, just months ahead of the October election and as Canada continues to push for the release of the Canadians in China - Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. Earlier this month in Normandy, France, Trudeau said he was looking forward to attending the G20 and that the “opportunity to engage with the Chinese president directly is certainly something that we are looking at.” So far, however, no such meeting has been confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Office. Trudeau’s staff will only say they expect to have information soon on which leaders Trudeau will meet in Osaka, where key themes include the global economy, trade and investment and innovation. Trump pledged his support during a meeting with Trudeau last Thursday in the Oval Office, where the two leaders sat together in bright yellow armchairs and the president vowed to bring up the issue in a sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “Are you trying to get a meeting?” Trump asked of Trudeau in response to a reporter’s question, to which the prime minister replied: “We’ve got a lot of things to discuss. “ “Anything I can do to help Canada, I will be doing,” Trump said. Trudeau needs that assistance. The detentions of Kovrig and Spavor are largely viewed as retaliation for the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, where she awaits extradition to the U.S. to face allegations of fraud in violating Iran sanctions. David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said it should not come as a surprise that China is not interested in a meeting between its president and the prime minister. Trump will be Canada’s best shot to address the issue of the detentions, said Mulroney. “That would be the strongest card that could be played in our interests,” he said. “It would be an American card played to say … ‘If you want a normal relationship with us, you’ll leave our allies alone.'” Mulroney said he would also use the G20 to talk to other leaders who face similar challenges with China and are susceptible to its bullying. “If we can build this sense of shared purpose in pushing back against China, in not allowing ourselves to be isolated like this, that’s a big step forward,” he said. “It is in America’s interest and it is in the interest of a lot of other countries to see China pull back from hostage diplomacy and bullying… The only way to counter that is through collective action and that is a long, hard slog.” Christopher Sands, the director of the Center for Canadian Studies at John Hopkins University, said Canada doesn’t play offence very much but he agreed it would be advisable for Canada to talk to other leaders about the detained Canadians. Beyond asking for Trump’s support, countries like Japan, South Korea and perhaps India might be willing to do the same, Sands said, adding that would only strengthen the U.S. president’s commitment to the cause. To date, a list of countries including Australia, France, German, Spain, the U.S. and the U.K. have spoken in support of the detained Canadians.  Rohinton Medhora, the president of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, said he will be watching to see who else Xi meets in one-on-one sessions - called “bilaterals,” or just “bilats,” in diplomatic circles. “Beyond the Trump bilat, how many other bilats does he grant?” Medhora said. “If it turns out that he has very few others, then I wouldn’t read that much into it. On the other hand, if he has half a dozen and Canada isn’t one of them, then I would read something into that.” The G20 is an opportunity to show whether Canada is a player or not and its place in the world, Medhora added. “I would say the pressure (is on), especially going into an election when you have to demonstrate that Canada is better and different than four years ago,” he said. Conservative foreign-affairs critic Erin O’Toole echoed that point, saying it is critical Canada not let the opportunity afforded by the G20 pass, especially given the upcoming election campaign. “As of September, the writ will drop,” he said. “This is really the last major time to really shake up and try to stop the spiral of the China relationship.” -Follow @kkirkup on Twitter   Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

North Dakota abortion clinic files federal suit over 2 laws

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:23
FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota’s sole abortion clinic filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over two state laws it believes forces doctors to lie, including one measure passed this year requiring physicians to tell women that they may reverse a so-called medication abortion if they have second thoughts. The complaint from the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic and the American Medical Association also targets an existing law requiring doctors to tell patients that abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The suit says the laws violate the constitutional rights of doctors by forcing them to “convey false information and non-medical statements” to patients. It asks a judge to block enforcement. “The First Amendment prohibits the government from hijacking the doctor-patient relationship to advance a political agenda,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. A spokeswoman for North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Stenehjem was not immediately available for comment. He said earlier when asked about the possibility of a lawsuit that he will be required to defend the current laws. Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick, also named as a defendant, had not seen the lawsuit and said he could not comment. North Dakota is among eight states, including five in the last year, to pass or amend laws requiring doctors to tell women undergoing medication abortions they can still have a live birth after the procedure. The North Dakota law, scheduled to go into effect Aug. 1, also requires doctors to tell the patient that “time is of the essence” if she changes her mind. Republican state Rep. Daniel Johnston said he sponsored the bill so that “women having second thoughts” know they have options. He said the bill does not restrict abortions and couldn’t see “how anyone could be against it.” AMA President Dr. Patrice Harris told The Associated Press that North Dakota’s law requires doctors to “mislead and misinform” their patients and the consequences could undermine relationships between all physicians and patients. The AMA, which is the country’s largest physician organization, sued the Trump administration in March over funding for family planning organizations offering abortion services. “The AMA will step in when there is any interference with our ability to talk to our patients about legal, evidence-based medical procedures,” Harris said by phone from Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she was attending an event by the British Medical Association. She said AMA lawyers are monitoring abortion laws in all states and decided North Dakota’s was the next case to be “actively involved in.” Other states that have passed similar laws that require patients to be informed about medication abortion reversal are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Utah. The suit says there is no “credible, scientific evidence” that a medication abortion can be reversed and the drug that would be used in the procedure has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The other law requiring doctors to define a fetus is part of the state’s longstanding abortion control act. The suit says the mandate is a “controversial and ideological opinion about when life begins” and is meant to further the state’s attempt to discourage abortion. Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, said the measures do not allow doctors to give honest and informed advice. “North Dakota’s laws are forcing us to say things that violate our medical ethics and will soon force us to say things are simply false and not backed up by science,” Kromenaker said. Lawmakers passed another abortion bill this year that bans the method of so-called dilation and evacuation. It would make it a crime for a doctor performing a second-trimester abortion to use instruments such as clamps, scissors and forceps to remove the fetus from the womb. Opponents have called it “human dismemberment abortion.” Dave Kolpack, The Associated Press

Mother of Alberta boy who died of meningitis breaks down testifying at trial

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:15
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - The mother of a toddler who died of bacterial meningitis broke down several times while she testified at her trial Tuesday that she is still haunted by her boy’s death. Collet Stephan told court that she still counts Ezekiel, who was 19 months old when he died, among her current living children. “He’s my son,” she said tearfully. “My role as a stay-at-home mom is to care for my children. It’s my purpose. It’s why I was put on Earth.” Collet Stephan and her husband, David, are charged with failing to provide the necessaries of life for Ezekiel, who died in March 2012. The Crown argues the Stephans should have sought medical treatment for the boy sooner. The couple opted instead to treat him with alternative medicines before he stopped breathing. A jury convicted the couple on the charge in 2016, but the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a second trial last year. It is being heard by a judge without a jury, and David Stephan is acting as his own lawyer. Collet Stephan testified that she has vivid memories of some aspects of Ezekiel’s death but has blocked out others. “It was an extremely traumatic time which no parent should have to go through,” she said. Stephan was holding her son and listening to his irregular breathing when he first stopped. “I had patted him on the back and he started breathing again. I carried him to the bedroom and when I laid him on the bed he stopped breathing again.” She said she pinched his nose and blew into his mouth and he coughed up mucus and fluid and seemed to improve. They called 911 while driving him to hospital. The couple have testified that they originally thought Ezekiel had  croup and began treating him with natural remedies. Despite a fever and a lack of energy, they saw no reason to take him to the hospital. “I didn’t see any health concerns warranting him to see the doctor,” she said. David Stephan testified they eventually concluded Ezekiel may have contracted viral meningitis. It is less serious and usually clears up on its own, but the bacterial form can be fatal if not treated quickly with antibiotics. “I recall distinctly that bacterial meningitis wasn’t on the radar,” David Stephan told Crown prosecutor Britta Kristensen during her cross-examination. “If we thought he had a fatal infection, we would have been to the doctor right away.” He testified that his wife did call a friend at one point who was a nurse and a midwife. The friend mentioned the possibility Ezekiel might have meningitis but she wasn’t sure. David Stephan told court that he was “100 per cent convinced” that Ezekiel had recovered, until he noticed the child had an odd breathing pattern.  He said the couple continued to treat him with natural remedies, even after he was declared brain dead at the children’s hospital in Calgary. “We were given no hope whatsoever. We weren’t willing to let go,” he said. “We would cling onto anything.” - Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

Trial hears Manitoba Mountie made disastrous tactical decision before shooting

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:07
THOMPSON, Man. - An expert in police use of force testified an RCMP officer in northern Manitoba made a disastrous tactical decision to step in front a vehicle before he shot the driver. Const. Abram Letkeman is on trial for the 2015 death of Steven Campbell, who was behind the wheel of a Jeep that the officer had tried to pull over for erratic driving. At the time of the shooting, police said the Jeep came to a stop after a brief chase and when Letkeman approached the vehicle, it suddenly accelerated and hit the officer, prompting him to fire. Christopher Butler, a retired Calgary police inspector, told court it was a major error for the officer to step in front of the Jeep and Letkeman put himself in jeopardy. But Butler says if the vehicle moved toward the officer and the officer believed he could die, firing his gun would be consistent with RCMP policy. The trial previously heard Campbell was shot at least nine times and his girlfriend was also injured on one side of her head. The Canadian Press

Cardi B pleads not guilty to new charges in strip club brawl

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:06
NEW YORK - Grammy-winning rapper Cardi B has been arraigned on new felony charges in connection with a fight last year at a New York City strip club. The rapper was dressed in a dark blue pantsuit with her hair tinted blue. She pleaded not guilty in state court Tuesday to attempted assault and various lesser charges. Police say Cardi B, whose real name is Belcalis Almanzar, and her entourage were at the club when she argued with a bartender. They say a fight broke out in which chairs, bottles and hookah pipes were thrown, causing minor injuries to the woman and another employee. The rapper rejected a plea deal earlier this year. Two other defendants in the case who allegedly participated in the brawl pleaded not guilty to similar charges. The Associated Press

Lawsuit says North Dakota laws force abortion doctors to lie

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 14:03
FARGO, N.D. - North Dakota’s sole abortion clinic filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday over two state laws it believes forces doctors to lie, including one measure passed this year requiring physicians to tell women that they may reverse a so-called medication abortion if they have second thoughts. The complaint from the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic and the American Medical Association also targets an existing law requiring doctors to tell patients that abortion terminates “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The suit says the laws violate the constitutional rights of doctors by forcing them to “convey false information and non-medical statements” to patients. It asks a judge to block enforcement. “The First Amendment prohibits the government from hijacking the doctor-patient relationship to advance a political agenda,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem was not immediately available for comment but said earlier when asked about the possibility of a lawsuit that he will be required to defend the current laws. Cass County State’s Attorney Birch Burdick, also named as a defendant in the suit, did not immediately return a phone message. North Dakota is among eight states, including five in the last year, to pass or amend laws requiring doctors to tell women undergoing medication abortions they can still have a live birth after the procedure. The North Dakota law, scheduled to go into effect Aug. 1, also requires doctors to tell the patient that “time is of the essence” if she changes her mind. Republican state Rep. Daniel Johnston said he sponsored the bill so that “women having second thoughts” know they have options. He said the bill does not restrict abortions and couldn’t see “how anyone could be against it.” AMA President Dr. Patrice Harris told The Associated Press that North Dakota’s law requires doctors to “mislead and misinform” their patients and the consequences could undermine relationships between all physicians and patients. The AMA, which is the country’s largest physician organization, sued the Trump administration in March over funding for family planning organizations offering abortion services. “The AMA will step in when there is any interference with our ability to talk to our patients about legal, evidence-based medical procedures,” Harris said by phone from Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she was attending an event by the British Medical Association. She said AMA lawyers are monitoring abortion laws in all states and decided North Dakota’s was the next case to be “actively involved in.” Other states that have passed similar laws that require patients to be informed about medication abortion reversal are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Utah. The suit says there is no “credible, scientific evidence” that a medication abortion can be reversed and the drug that would be used in the procedure has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The other law requiring doctors to define a fetus is part of the state’s longstanding abortion control act. The suit says the mandate is a “controversial and ideological opinion about when life begins” and is meant to further the state’s attempt to discourage abortion. Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, said the measures do not allow doctors to give honest and informed advice. “North Dakota’s laws are forcing us to say things that violate our medical ethics and will soon force us to say things are simply false and not backed up by science,” Kromenaker said. Lawmakers passed another abortion bill this year that bans the method of so-called dilation and evacuation. It would make it a crime for a doctor performing a second-trimester abortion to use instruments such as clamps, scissors and forceps to remove the fetus from the womb. Opponents have called it “human dismemberment abortion.” Dave Kolpack, The Associated Press

Toronto FC looks to snap winless skid in coach Greg Vanney’s 200th game

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:57
TORONTO - Greg Vanney has encountered better times in his five years as head coach of Toronto FC. After Toronto won the MLS Cup, Supporters' Shield and Canadian Championship in 2017, the team failed to make the playoffs last year and has endured an eight-game (0-5-3) winless streak in the previous six weeks. The 45-year-old Virginian hopes to see his club celebrate his 200th game on the sidelines with Toronto with a win against Atlanta United FC at BMO Field on Wednesday. But Vanney knows his team, with six regulars missing because of injury and international duty, will be in tough against the defending champions. “It feels like 400 games, at least in the last year,” Vanney said on Tuesday. “This is the club I was given the opportunity to cut my teeth as a head coach. Even though we’ve had a tough go over the better part of a year, the things that we have accomplished with seven or eight trophies between Eastern Conference championships, Canadian champions and an MLS Cup, it’s (been) a good ride, 200 games.” Vanney’s side has scored only five goals during the winless streak and has been blanked on four occasions, including a messy 3-0 loss in Dallas on Saturday. The poor outing in Dallas resulted in a 40-minute team meeting between Vanney, his staff and the players. The coach felt an in-depth chat among his players would allow them to park the loss in Texas and board the plane home thinking about Atlanta during a short turnaround. “For me, it was one of these games that was frustrating for the group,” Vanney said. “I wanted to make sure that when we left the locker room, we had discussed the game. We had discussed some things that had gone on and things we needed to be addressed, so we could leave that locker room having conversations about the next game and not carrying this game for two more days or three more days and bleeding into our next game." There were frustration and anger mixed in among the players after the loss in Dallas. But the group remains upbeat, even though Toronto will once again be without Gold Cup participants Jozy Altidore (United States), Michael Bradley (U.S), Ashtone Morgan (Canada) and Jonathan Osorio (Canada). “I think everybody's together and everybody said what they had to say in that meeting,” Toronto forward Jordan Hamilton said. “Maybe guys had different opinions. “But we’re all professionals. Nobody wants to lose. From that aspect, it’s difficult. From a collective standpoint, the team knows we’re all capable and what we have to do. At the end of the day, it’s just producing on game day.” This game pits the past two MLS titleholders against each other. Toronto dropped a 2-0 decision in Atlanta on May 8. “These are the games you look forward to, playing against a team that strives to be the best as much as you do,” Toronto defender Justin Morrow said. “Every time we play against them, it seems to be pretty intense.”   ATLANTA UNITED FC (8-5-2) AT TORONTO FC (5-7-4) Wednesday, BMO Field HEALTH REPORT: Toronto defenders Auro and Chris Mavinga are expected to miss Wednesday’s outing with hamstring injuries. But they have returned to training. Coach Greg Vanney expects both to see action at D.C. United on Saturday. OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS: While Vanney’s side has struggled, Atlanta has reeled off four wins in a row and nine of its last 11 to climb into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta has scored 11 goals during the winning streak with four from substitute Brandon Vazquez in the last two games. The 20-year-old centre forward is expected to make his first start on Wednesday. WESTBERG HONOURED: Toronto goalkeeper Quentin Westberg was named to the MLS team of the week for his brilliant performance in Dallas. Despite the 3-0 defeat, the native of France made nine saves on 12 shots. It took Dallas until the 41st minute to solve Westberg. Tim Wharnsby, The Canadian Press

Mounties put more eyes in the sky with expanding drone fleet

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:38
OTTAWA - Newly disclosed records show the RCMP has assembled a fleet of more than 200 flying drones - eyes in the sky that officers use for everything from accident-scene investigation to protecting VIP visitors. The compact airborne devices are equipped with tools including video cameras and thermal-image detectors. An RCMP privacy assessment of the technology says the force is committed to protecting any personal information the drones collect and that officers strive to comply with federal laws. But one privacy expert notes the assessment, recently released under the Access to Information Act, was drafted in 2017 - seven years after the Mounties began using drones. Micheal Vonn of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association says the assessment also provides few details about the technical capabilities of the cameras attached to the drones.  She says there are legitimate policing uses for drones but also potentially invasive ones, such as taking photos at public events so they can be electronically run against images in databases. The Canadian Press

Hayley Wickenheiser one of six going into Hockey Hall of Fame this year

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:33
TORONTO - Longtime Canadian women’s team star Hayley Wickenheiser is one of six new members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Wickenheiser joins fellow Canadian Guy Carbonneau in the player category, along with Czech forward Vaclav Nedomansky and Russian defenceman Sergei Zubov. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, a native of Beeton, Ont., and Boston College head coach Jerry York were selected in the builder category. The selections were announced Tuesday, with the induction ceremony to take place Nov. 18. Wickenheiser was the only first-year eligible player to be selected. Wickenheiser retired as the country’s all-time leading scorer after 23 years on the national team. She now works as the assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 40-year-old native of Shaunavon, Sask., was one of the top players on four Olympic champion Canadian women’s teams. Carbonneau, a native of Sept-Iles, Que., was the last captain of a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, doing so with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. He won three Selke Awards as the NHL’s top defensive forward and three Stanley Cups (two with Montreal, one with the Dallas Stars). “This is an honour you think about, but it’s never a sure thing," Carbonneau said in a statement. “It is an incredible recognition and I thank the selection committee.” Nedomansky played 12 seasons in Bratislava before becoming the first athlete from an Eastern European communist country to defect to North America to pursue a pro hockey career. He played in the WHA with Toronto and Birmingham before joining the Detroit Red Wings as a 33-year-old rookie in 1977. Nedomansky played 252 career NHL games with Detroit, the St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers. “I appreciate my accomplishments being recognized by the Hockey Hall of Fame,” said Nedomansky. “I’m proud to be the first player from a communist country to come and play in North America.” Zubov joined the Rangers in 1992 after playing four seasons with the Moscow Red Army. He won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers in 1994 and another with Dallas in 1999. Rutherford began his management career with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires in 1984. He went on to be general manager of the Hartford Whalers for 20 years and won a Stanley Cup in Carolina in 2006 after the franchise moved. Rutherford has won two more Stanley Cups with the Penguins. “I started my career in Beeton, 50 miles north of the Hall of Fame, never dreaming that I would once be in it,” said Rutherford. “I’ve travelled lots of miles in hockey and met so many great people along the way.” The American-born York has been a head coach in the NCAA ranks since 1972. He has won five national titles. “I’m flabbergasted with this unexpected honour,” said York. “I will cherish this special recognition.” The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An incorrect nationality for Vaclav Nedomansky was published in a previous version.

Mitsubishi Motors to relocate North America HQ to Tennessee

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:32
NASHVILLE - Mitsubishi Motors announced on Tuesday that it is relocating its North America headquarters from California to Tennessee, a move that will bring the Japanese automaker closer to its sister company Nissan and strengthen Tennessee’s growing reputation as an epicenter of the automotive sector. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe - who made the announcement with Mitsubishi Motors North America - say the headquarters move from Cypress, California, to Franklin, Tennessee, will result in an $18.25 million investment in the region and approximately 200 jobs. Lee and Rolfe added that they met with Mitsubishi’s global executives last week to convince them to move to Tennessee while in Japan during the Republican governor’s first trade mission. It is unclear what financial incentives state officials offered Mitsubishi to move to Tennessee. “As we drive toward the future, this is the perfect time for us to move to a new home. While we say farewell to the Golden State with a heavy heart, we’re excited to say hello to Music City,” Fred Diaz, Mitsubishi Motors North America’s president and CEO, said in a statement. Franklin is located just south of Nashville, also known as “Music City,” and is home to the state’s most powerful Republicans, ranging from Gov. Lee, U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and House Speaker Glen Casada. Mitsubishi’s relocation announcement is the latest move in an industry that has found a warm reception in recent years in the American South, where politicians tend to take a dim view of labour unions and aggressive regulation. “Over the years, Tennessee has become the epicenter of the Southeast’s thriving automotive sector, and I’m proud Mitsubishi Motors will call Franklin its U.S. home and bring 200 high-quality jobs to Middle Tennessee,” Lee, who took over the office this year, said in a statement. Mitsubishi Motors’ North America headquarters has been located in California since 1988. The company expects the relocation will begin in August and will be completed by the end of the year. Initially, a temporary office will handle operations to allow the company time to identify a permanent office. Company officials say the move is part an ongoing effort to “reinvent every aspect of Mitsubishi Motors in the U.S.,” as well as strengthen the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Nissan has a production plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, and owns a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors. Last week, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. shareholders approved the ouster of Carlos Ghosn, who was pivotal in the Japanese automaker’s three-way partnership with Nissan and French automaker Renault until he was arrested on financial misconduct charges last year. Ghosn says he is innocent. Mitsubishi shareholders then approved the appointment of Renault’s chairman Jean-Dominique Senard to replace Ghosn. Renault owns 43% of Nissan. Mitsubishi has also faced its own scandals. In 2016, the company disclosed it falsified mileage data. That followed a massive coverup over decades of auto defects thought to have helped cause a fatal accident. In 2004, its president, Katsuhiko Kawasoe, was arrested. He was sentenced to three years in prison, suspended for five years, and did not serve time in jail. Along with the Nissan plant, German automaker Volkswagen operates a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee - the state’s fourth most-populated city. The company unveiled earlier this year an $800 million expansion at the Tennessee plant, which is expected to create 1,000 jobs for electric vehicle production beginning in 2022. It’s set to receive $50 million in state incentives. Recently, Volkswagen workers voted against forming a factory-wide union - handing a blow to the United Auto Workers’ efforts to gain a foothold among foreign auto facilities in the South. Meanwhile, General Motors also has a large manufacturing plant in Tennessee. Additionally, more than 900 auto suppliers, including large ones such as Hankook Tire and Bridgestone Americas, operate in Tennessee. Tennessee officials say the state has the fastest rate of headquarter job growth among states in the Southeast. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press

CP NewsAlert: Hayley Wickenheiser one of six going into Hockey Hall of Fame

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:12
TORONTO - Longtime Canadian women’s team star Hayley Wickenheiser is one of six new members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Wickenheiser joins fellow Canadian Guy Carbonneau in the player category, along with Russians Vaclav Nedomansky and Sergei Zubov. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, a native of Beeton, Ont., and Boston College head coach Jerry York were selected in the builder category. Wickenheiser retired as the country’s all-time leading scorer after 23 years on the national team. She now works as the assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The 40-year-old native of Shaunavon, Sask., was one of the top players on four Olympic champion Canadian women’s teams. Carbonneau, a native of Sept-Iles, Que., was the last captain of a Canadian team to win the Stanley Cup, doing so with the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. The induction ceremony will take place in November. The Canadian Press

Postal service returning decade-old stolen Hawaii mail

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:07
HONOLULU - The U.S. Postal Service says it has found mail stolen in Hawaii more than a decade ago. KHON-TV reported Monday that the family of a now-deceased postal worker discovered the stolen mail inside a storage unit and turned them over to officials. The postal service says the stolen mail is being sent back in the next couple of days. The mail dates back about 13 to 15 years ago. The stolen mail was mostly First-Class and Priority Mail and newspapers and magazines. Officials haven’t identified the postal worker or his or her route. Most of the mail belonged to people living in the downtown Honolulu area. The postal service says stolen mail that’s returned will have a label explaining the item’s delay and a number to call. ___ Information from: KHON-TV, http://khon.com The Associated Press

David Saint-Jacques doing well after space flight: Canadian Space Agency

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:02
MONTREAL - Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques is doing well as he continues his long journey home after a six-month stint aboard the International Space Station, the Canadian Space Agency said Tuesday. The 49-year-old Quebec native boarded a NASA plane after landing in Kazakhstan late Monday and was expected to arrive in Houston Tuesday after a brief stopover in Scotland. The agency said Saint-Jacques is in good health despite suffering the effects of a 400-kilometre drop to Earth. “Despite experiencing typical post-flight symptoms like nausea, he is well,” agency spokeswoman Marie-Andre Malouin wrote in an email. The married father of three was able to speak with his wife and parents after landing, Malouin added. Former astronaut Robert Thirsk, who co-hosted a viewing party at the Canadian Space Agency headquarters in Longueuil, Que., Monday night, said descending from space in the capsule is a shock to the body comparable to a car crash. “In descending, the force of gravity is strong. It’s like having four people sitting on your chest,” he told the audience, which included members of Saint-Jacques’ family. “It’s hard to breathe, but you have to concentrate to make sure you breathe well and don’t get hurt.” He added that when the parachute opens before landing, “there is a big movement like a pendulum, left to right, and the landing is a crash like a car accident.” Thirsk, who spent 188 days on the space station in 2009, said despite the jarring impact, injuries are rare because the seats in the capsule are designed to keep the astronauts protected. Saint-Jacques, along with NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, returned to Earth aboard a Soyuz capsule. He gave a thumbs-up as he was carried from the capsule following what NASA described as a “picture perfect” landing at 10:47 p.m. ET. During a mission that began Dec. 3, Saint-Jacques took part in a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk and set a record for the longest single space flight by a Canadian at 204 days. He also became the first Canadian astronaut to use the Canadarm2 robotic arm to perform a so-called “cosmic catch” to snag a SpaceX cargo capsule. The engineer, astrophysicist and family doctor also oversaw science experiments and had numerous discussions with children across the country during his mission. His next few weeks will be spent recovering from the physical challenges of the flight and readapting to life on Earth after months in zero gravity. Saint-Jacques is expected to spend weeks or months recovering from the after-effects of the flight, which could include blood circulation problems, muscle pains and an elongated spine that will eventually return to normal. Raffi Kuyumjian, a doctor with the Canadian Space Agency, has said spending six months in space is “a little like having spent six months in bed without moving.” In a recent interview, he told The Canadian Press that Saint-Jacques is likely to struggle with balance and co-ordination, as well as a loss of bone density. Kuyumjian said Saint-Jacques will work with specialists in the gym to help him regain his muscle tone, cardio fitness, and endurance. He will also undergo a separate series of tests for research purposes, to measure how the human body reacts to space flight. Beyond the muscle and balance issues, it’s likely Saint-Jacques could suffer from a type of reverse motion sickness Kuyumjian dubs “Earth sickness.” “So the symptoms of nausea that generally come when astronauts arrive in space, there is the equivalent when they return to Earth,” he said. –With files from Ugo Giguere Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press

Licence revoked for doc who used own sperm to artificially inseminate patients

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 13:00
TORONTO - Ontario’s medical regulator has revoked the licence of an Ottawa fertility doctor who used his own sperm as well as that of the wrong donors to artificially inseminate several women over three decades. The discipline committee for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario had ruled earlier today that Dr. Bernard Norman Barwin committed professional misconduct and failed to maintain the standards of the profession. Lawyers for the college had then asked the committee to revoke Barwin’s licence, saying it was the only appropriate penalty for such a shocking abuse of trust. The committee revoked Barwin’s licence this afternoon, which means other medical regulators would be alerted should he apply to practise medicine elsewhere. An uncontested statement of facts read before the committee laid out the cases of more than a dozen patients who say they suffered irreparable harm as a result of Barwin’s actions. Barwin, 80, who did not attend the hearing, pleaded no contest to the allegations through his lawyer. A lawyer for the regulator had told the discipline committee Barwin’s actions traumatized entire families and left them forever altered. “There is no precedent for the case you have before you at this college,” Carolyn Silver said. “Dr. Barwin’s patients and their families were the unsuspecting victims of his incomprehensible deception,” which saw him contradict their specific instructions without their knowledge or consent, she said. Some patients discovered their children were half-siblings, even though they had requested the same donor be used for both, the statement of facts in the case said. Several men learned the children they had raised were not biologically theirs. Rebecca Dixon, who waived a publication ban protecting her identity, said she discovered three years ago that Barwin - and not the man who raised her - was her biological father. “In that moment, my life changed forever,” she told the committee, adding she felt her entire identity was thrown into question. The news made her feel ashamed and “contaminated,” and strained her family, she said. Even now, Dixon said she continues to scan the crowds in Ottawa, looking for people who look like her and who may be her half-siblings. A woman who can only be identified as Patient M said she learned recently that her teenage daughter was conceived using an unknown donor’s sperm rather than her husband’s. She has not yet broken the news to her daughter, worried the shock would be debilitating at such a “fragile” age, she said. Patient M said Barwin went out of his way during the procedure to show her the vial of sperm with her husband’s name on it, knowing it contained material from another man. “I still felt so violated, I felt dirty, almost as if I’d been raped,” she told the committee. According to the statement of facts, an expert retained by the college to review Barwin’s case found it was unlikely the doctor’s use of his own sperm was accidental. Barwin’s explanation that contamination must have occurred when he used his own sperm to calibrate a sperm counter is neither plausible nor believable, the expert said in the statement. “This is a tragic situation in which a sea of avoidable harm was done,” the expert said. Barwin had previously been disciplined for artificially inseminating several women with the wrong sperm, admitting to professional misconduct when he appeared before committee in 2013. At the time, Barwin said errors in his practice had left three patients with children whose biological fathers were not the ones they intended. The committee then suspended him from practising medicine for two months, but Barwin gave up his licence the following year. There was no evidence in that case that Barwin was the biological father of any of his patients’ children, said Silver, the college’s lawyer. Barwin intentionally concealed what he was doing, she said. Tuesday’s hearing dealt with fresh allegations against Barwin of incompetence, failing to maintain the standard of practice of the profession and of engaging in dishonourable or unprofessional conduct. He is also facing a proposed class-action lawsuit launched by several of his patients. The lawsuit alleges more than 50 children were conceived after their mothers were inseminated with the wrong sperm, including 11 with Barwin’s. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press

Ottawa sets up secretariat to root out racism in federal institutions, programs

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:57
OTTAWA - The federal government is setting up a secretariat to root out systemic racism and discrimination within federal institutions, programs and services. The secretariat is part of a $45-million federal anti-racism effort, which also includes funding for programs run by community groups on things like job-skills training, youth mentorships, legal services and protections against hate speech. The effort will also include a national public awareness and education campaign. Canadian Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, who announced the initiative Tuesday in Toronto, said every day in this country, people still face racism, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and anti-black racism. “It’s often subtle, sometimes invisible,” he said in the text of a speech delivered at a centre devoted to helping those living in poverty or with mental illness. “But its effects are always very real and completely unacceptable. I’m talking about the inequalities embedded in our society, like who’s called for a job interview, who’s encouraged to aim for university and who’s not, or who gets carded (by police) on their way home from school.” Those inequalities are apparently embedded in the federal government as well. Independent MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes has argued that black Canadians are passed over for senior jobs in the federal civil service. And she’s noted that a black person has never achieved the rank of deputy minister in the entire history of Canada’s federal government. The former Liberal MP introduced a private member’s bill last week which would require the Canadian Human Rights Commission to report annually on what progress, if any, the federal civil service has made in promoting visible minorities to senior positions. However, the bill will never be passed since the House of Commons has adjourned for the summer and subsequent federal election. Chavannes, who is not seeking re-election, will not be around to reintroduce it after the election. Rodriguez said the anti-racism secretariat will tackle “systemic racism in all the ways it manifests itself in our laws, programs and services.” “Our government recognizes that we are in a unique position to address racism in our institutions and society. This national anti-racism strategy is an essential first step in building a more inclusive country, where all Canadians can participate equally.” Last fall, Rodriguez was criticized for saying the term “systemic racism” is “not part of my vocabulary.” Talking about consultations that were being held on the anti-racism strategy, he told the Globe and Mail that “Canada is not a racist society, wherever one lives.” He quickly backed off that assertion, however, telling the Commons days later that “throughout history and even today, there are people in communities who experience systemic racism, oppression, discrimination, preventing them from fully participating in our society.” The Canadian Press

Infrastructure bank gives Via $55M for work on multibillion-dollar project

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:53
OTTAWA - Via Rail is getting $71 million in federal cash - some through Transport Canada and some from an infrastructure financing agency - to tackle the last few details needed to make the case that its high-frequency rail proposal should get private-sector backing. The head of the financing agency says there is “strong interest” from private investors to kick in for dedicated rail lines aimed at increasing the frequency and speed of trips and ensure Via’s trains will no longer have to yield to freight trains on borrowed tracks. But Via must first make the case that the project is worth pursuing, which is where the money announced Tuesday comes in. Federal coffers will fund work to make sure that Via trains can seamlessly move between any new dedicated tracks and local transit systems in Montreal and Toronto. For Montreal, that includes running Via trains along the electric-rail system under construction, known best by its French acronym R.E.M., which the Canada Infrastructure Bank is also financing. The infrastructure-bank money, totalling $55 million, will be largely used for environmental assessment, consultations with Indigenous communities, and a technical and financial review to help the government make a final funding decision. The rest of the money, $16 million, is coming from Transport Canada. If the rail lines are built, passenger routes would connect, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City along discontinued and lesser-used tracks. Connections would also be made to Peterborough, Ont., and Dorion and Trois-Rivieres in Quebec. The proposal would likely come with a price tag of $4 billion or more and Via Rail is looking at ways to bring in private cash to supplement public dollars. “It is seen as an option. We have participated in a round of market-sounding with potential investors who have shown strong interest,” said Pierre Lavallee, chief executive of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. “There’s interest and there’s a very real need for more detailed information, which is what we’re going to be developing,” he said. “We’re obviously working in that direction and we’re hopeful it all works out to develop a great project for Canadians.” The Liberals created the Canada Infrastructure Bank in 2017, aiming for it to use $35 billion in federal funding as a carrot to entice the private sector to get involved in paying for new, large-scale projects that are in the public interest, and can also provide a profit for investors. So far, the agency has gotten involved in two projects, first with a $1.28-billion loan to the electric-rail project in Montreal, and last month with up to $2 billion in debt to expand GO Transit’s rail network around Toronto. The money unveiled Tuesday is the first time the agency has handed out money without an expectation of repayment. Lavallee said this shouldn’t be seen as a sure sign the agency would help finance the entire project. First, the federal government has to make a decision whether to move ahead and then the infrastructure agency would have to do its own research to see if it’s worth investing in a “transformational project,” he said. There is some consensus among partisan actors that the project could reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and boost regional economies, though NDP transportation critic Robert Aubin, who represents the Trois-Rivieres riding, said people are disappointed that the government didn’t announce the start of construction, but rather another study. A transportation advocacy group said the risks for the project are lower now that Via Rail has focused on existing corridors and rights-of-way, meaning work could be done by 2022. “The largest risk, which we feel the government needs to pay more attention to, is the escalating opportunity cost to Canada of falling further behind the rest of the world on this vital aspect of our transportation infrastructure,” the group Transport Action Canada said in a statement. “Infrequent and inadequate inter-city rail service both is a constraint on our domestic economic growth and a deterrent to international investors.” Jordan Press, The Canadian Press Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the Canada Infrastructure Bank was providing Via Rail with $71 million.

Pickup driver pleads not guilty in fatal motorcycle crash

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:41
CONCORD, N.H. - A driver for a transport company who has a history of traffic arrests pleaded not guilty Tuesday to seven counts of negligent homicide in a collision with a group of motorcyclists on a rural highway. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was ordered to remain in preventive detention, with a judge saying his driving record poses a potential danger to the public and himself. The plea was entered by Zhukovskyy’s attorney Melissa Davis in Coos County Court in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Zhukovskyy remains behind bars there. Davis didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment. The Dodge pickup Zhukovskyy was driving was towing a flatbed trailer and collided with the motorcycles in Randolph early Friday evening, investigators say. He was driving erratically and crossed the centre line, according to criminal complaints released Tuesday. A survivor of the crash said the trailer wiped out most of the bikers behind him. Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in Massachusetts and handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a court appearance that day. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Nov. 8, with the trial running through December. Connecticut prosecutors say Zhukovskyy was arrested May 11 in a Walmart parking lot in East Windsor Walmart after failing a sobriety test. Zhukovskyy’s lawyer in that case, John O’Brien, said he denies being intoxicated and will fight the charge. Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported. Zhukovskyy’s father, who goes by the same name, told the Boston Herald that his son is a Ukrainian national and has permanent resident status in the U.S. The younger Zhukovskyy’s court file includes a letter dated Sunday from a deportation officer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting details on his 2017 heroin and cocaine convictions. Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for at the time of the motorcycle crash, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the past two years, MassLive.com reported. Phones rang unanswered at the company. The owner has previously said he was co-operating with the investigation. The crash victims were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses and ranged in age from 42 to 62. Four were from New Hampshire, two from Massachusetts and one from Rhode Island. JarHeads president Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said he just remembers an “explosion” and the trailer from the truck wiping out most of the bikers behind him. The crash would not have been so deadly, he said, if not for the trailer. After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the road before authorities arrived and took him away. The dead were identified as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr., 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts. Michael Casey, The Associated Press

Iran says ‘idiotic’ new US sanctions shut doors of diplomacy

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:37
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran warned Tuesday that new U.S. sanctions targeting its supreme leader and other top officials meant “closing the doors of diplomacy” between Tehran and Washington amid heightened tensions, even as President Hassan Rouhani derided the White House as being “afflicted by mental retardation.” President Donald Trump called that a “very ignorant and insulting statement,” tweeting that an Iranian attack on any U.S. interest will be met with “great and overwhelming force … overwhelming will mean obliteration.” His secretary of state said the Iranian statement was “immature.” The sharp remarks from Tehran shows the pressure that the nation’s Shiite theocracy and its 80 million people feel over the maximalist campaign of sanctions by the Trump administration. From Israel, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Iran could walk through an “open door” to talks with America but also warned that “all options remain on the table” if Tehran makes good on its promise to begin breaking one limit from its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The verbal volleys recalled North Korea’s statements about Trump before the dramatic change in course and the start of negotiations with Washington. In 2017, state media quoted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un calling Trump “the mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” However, there are no signs the Iranian leadership would welcome talks. “The useless sanctioning of Islamic Revolution Supreme Leader (Khamenei) and the commander of Iranian diplomacy means closing the doors of diplomacy by the U.S.’ desperate administration,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted. “Trump’s government is annihilating all the established international mechanisms for keeping peace and security in the world.” Trump enacted the new sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates on Monday. U.S. officials also said they plan sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, something that drew Rouhani’s anger during his televised address Tuesday. “You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks,” an exasperated Rouhani said. He called the sanctions against Khamenei “outrageous and idiotic,” especially since the 80-year-old Shiite cleric has no plans to travel to the United States. “The White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do,” he added in Farsi, using a term similarly as offensive in English. While U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hadn’t heard Rouhani’s reaction to the new sanctions, he said that if true, “that’s a bit immature and childlike.” “But know that the United States will remain steadfast in undertaking the actions that the president laid out in this strategy to create stability throughout the Middle East, which includes the campaign we have, the economic campaign, the pressure campaign that we have on the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Pompeo added. The crisis gripping the Middle East stems from Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S. a year ago from the nuclear deal with Iran and other world powers and then imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran. Recently, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium to be on pace to break one of the deal’s terms by Thursday, while also threatening to raise enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels on July 7 if European countries still abiding by the accord don’t offer a new deal. Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict, 40 years after the Islamic Revolution. The sanctions followed Iran’s downing on June 20 of a U.S. surveillance drone, worth over $100 million, above the Strait of Hormuz, sharply escalating the crisis. Trump then said he pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes but continued his pressure campaign against Iran. Mousavi’s statement echoed that of Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, who warned Monday that the situation in the Persian Gulf is “very dangerous” and said any talks with the U.S. are impossible in the face of escalating sanctions and intimidation. Meanwhile, the U.S. envoy at the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, said the Trump administration’s aim is to get Tehran back to negotiations. Later Tuesday, Rouhani spoke by phone with French President Emmanuel Macron and told him: “If the Americans again want to violate the waters and airspace of Iran, Iran’s armed forces are assigned to confront them and will take a strong approach,” according to the state-run IRNA news agency. But he added that Iran does not have any interest in escalating tensions in the region and never seeks war with any country, including the United States, the news agency reported, quoting him as saying: “We have always been committed to improving the stability and security of the region, and we will take efforts in this direction.” Pompeo held talks Monday with officials in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia about building a broad, global coalition that includes Asian and European countries to counter Iran. He is likely to face a tough sell in Europe and Asia, particularly from those nations still committed to the nuclear deal with Iran. Meanwhile, Bolton said Trump was open to real negotiations to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program and “all that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door.” He was meeting with his Russian and Israel counterparts in a first-of-its-kind trilateral security summit in Jerusalem that was focused on Iranian involvement in regional conflicts, particularly in neighbouring Syria. “As we speak, American diplomatic representatives are surging across the Middle East, seeking a path to peace. In response, Iran’s silence has been deafening,” Bolton said. “There is simply no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons and open realistic discussions to demonstrate that decision.” But only hours later, Bolton told a news conference that “all options remain on the table” if Iran goes over the limit for its low-enriched uranium stockpile as planned by Thursday. “It would not be in their interest to do it but they have done a lot of things recently that are not in their interest,” Bolton said. ___ Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writer Aron Heller in Jerusalem contributed. Nasser Karimi And Jon Gambrell, The Associated Press

Judge upholds $6.6M judgment against rapper Yo Gotti

Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:37
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - A North Carolina judge is refusing to throw out a $6.6 million judgment against rapper Yo Gotti. The Winston-Salem Journal reports the rapper, whose legal name is Mario Mims, appeared in court Monday asking for the decision to be vacated. Singer Young Fletcher’s manager Michael Terry filed a lawsuit accusing Mims of shirking a $20,000 deal to rap on one of Young Fletcher’s songs and thereby boost sales. Terry says Mims didn’t sign paperwork necessary for putting the song on streaming services. Mims said he was never served the lawsuit and therefore hadn’t been able to defend himself. Terry’s lawyers say Mims was served after a May 6, 2018 concert. Forsyth County Superior Court Judge Todd Burke said Mims waived any challenge by not responding to the lawsuit. Mims’ attorneys say they plan to appeal. ___ Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com The Associated Press

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