Tag Archives: American

Trinity Rodman becomes youngest American NWSL goal scorer in Challenge Cup debut

Trinity Rodman became the youngest player to score in the National Women’s Soccer League with a goal in her professional debut for the Washington Spirit on Saturday night.

But the Spirit could not overcome the North Carolina Courage, falling 3-2 in the Challenge Cup match.

Rodman, the 18-year-old daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman, was the second overall pick in the NWSL draft earlier this year. A standout on the U.S. youth national teams, she decided to go pro before her freshman season at Washington State.

“My team has helped me a lot, obviously, being a really young player and very new, it’s definitely a lot faster, girls are a lot stronger, a lot more intelligent, at this level,” Rodman said. “I think just getting advice from my teammates in scrimmages and practices, I’ve been able to kind of think ahead. And I think that’s a huge part of what’s helped me in the game. “

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Signa Butler previews Canada’s upcoming U.K. friendlies:

Head coach Bev Priestman has a chance to determine her strongest 18-player roster as Canada come up against Wales and 6th-ranked England in back to back friendlies this month. 9:02

The NWSL’s Challenge Cup kicked off Friday. Each of the league’s 10 teams are divided in two divisions, with the title game set for May 8. The league’s regular season opens on May 15.

Kumi Yokoyama also scored for the Spirit in the game. Kristen Hamilton, Jessica McDonald and Merritt Mathias each scored for the Courage.

Rodman scored in the 60th minute after coming in off the bench. The only player younger than Rodman to score in the NWSL was Australian Ellie Carpenter, who had a goal for the Portland Thorns 22 days after her 18th birthday for against the Spirit.

“The kid is just brilliant. She’s a machine as an athlete, just unbelievable,” Burke said. “When you play against her, you train with her, you see how quickly she closes you down. She’s deceptively quick to close you down. But now she’s getting tactically better, too.”

Rodman has been vocal in the past about wanting to forge her own path in women’s soccer, separate from her Hall of Fame father’s legacy. Her brother DJ Rodman plays basketball for Washington State.

In Saturday’s other Challenge Cup match, Cece Kizer scored Racing Louisville’s first-ever goal in the expansion team’s 2-2 draw with the Orlando Pride. Racing’s Brooke Hendrix scored a stoppage time goal to deny the Pride the victory at Louisville’s Lynn Family Stadium.

Players from the Canadian and U.S. national team were not with their NWSL club teams because of a European trip during the FIFA competition window. On Friday, Canada defeated Wales 3-0. Canada’s next game will be against England on Tuesday. 

WATCH | Deanne Rose scores opening goal as Canada trumps Wales:

Deanne Rose opened the scoring in the first half, as Canada went on to beat Wales 3-0 in an international friendly in Cardiff in the United Kingdom. 1:07

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CBC | Soccer News

Suspect arrested on hate-crime charges in NYC attack on Filipino American woman

A man was arrested on hate-crime and assault charges after a Filipino American woman was attacked near New York City’s Times Square, police said early Wednesday.

Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, is the man seen on video kicking and stomping the woman on Monday. They said Elliot was living at a hotel that serves as a homeless shelter a few blocks from the scene of the attack.

He was taken into custody at the hotel around midnight. Tips from the public led to his apprehension, police said.

Elliot was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in the Bronx neighbourhood in 2002, when he was 19. He was released from prison in 2019 and is on lifetime parole. The parole board had previously twice denied his release. His record also included an arrest for robbery in 2000.

“When you’re releasing people from prison and you’re putting them in homeless shelters you’re asking for trouble,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told WPIX-TV. “There’s got to be a safety net and there’s got to be resources for them…. You just shake your head and say, ‘What could possibly go wrong’ and this is what goes wrong. It just never should happen.”

Elliot faces charges of assault as a hate crime, attempted assault as a hate crime, assault and attempted assault in Monday’s attack, police said. It wasn’t immediately known whether he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. He was expected to be arraigned by video Wednesday.

Police said Brandon Elliot, 38, is the man seen on surveillance video attacking the woman outside an apartment building near New York City’s Times Square. (Courtesy of New York Police Department/The Associated Press)

Victim suffered serious injuries

The victim was identified as Vilma Kari, a 65-year-old woman who immigrated from the Philippines, her daughter told the New York Times. The newspaper did not identify Kari’s daughter.

Kari was walking to church in midtown Manhattan when police said a man kicked her in the stomach, knocked her to the ground, stomped on her face, shouted anti-Asian slurs and told her, “You don’t belong here,” before casually walking away.

She was discharged from the hospital Tuesday after being treated for serious injuries, a hospital spokesperson said.

The attack was among the latest in a national spike in anti-Asian hate crimes and happened just weeks after a mass shooting in Atlanta that left eight people dead, six of them women of Asian descent.

Jo-Ann Yoo, executive director of the Asian American Federation, cries after speaking on Tuesday at a news conference with politicians and community activists outside the building where the attack happened. (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)

The surge in violence has been linked in part to misplaced blame for the coronavirus pandemic and former president Donald Trump’s use of racially charged terms such as “Chinese virus” and “China virus.”

Bystanders criticized

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called Monday’s attack “absolutely disgusting and outrageous.” He said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that witnesses did not intervene.

“I don’t care who you are, I don’t care what you do, you’ve got to help your fellow New Yorker,” de Blasio said Tuesday.

Mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, said the victim “could easily have been my mother.” He, too, criticized the bystanders, saying their inaction was “exactly the opposite of what we need here in New York City.”

WATCH | De Blasio, Yang respond to ‘horrifying’ attack:

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and mayoral candidate Andrew Yang react to the violent attack on a 65-year-old Filipino American woman that was caught on a security camera. 1:06

The attack happened late Monday morning outside a luxury apartment building two blocks from Times Square.

Two workers inside the building who appeared to be security guards were seen on surveillance video witnessing the attack but failing to come to the woman’s aid. One of them was seen closing the building door as the woman was on the ground. The attacker was able to casually walk away while onlookers watched, the video showed.

The building’s management company said the workers were suspended pending an investigation. The workers’ union said they called for help immediately.

Residents of the building defended the workers Wednesday in a letter to the management company and the media. They contend that a video clip focusing on the suspect and the assault was “unfortunately cut to inadvertently exclude the compassionate action” taken by staff members, which they said included giving the victim aid and alerting medics.

Philippine government reacts

Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez said the victim is Filipino American.

The country’s foreign secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jr., condemned the attack in a Twitter post, saying: “This is gravely noted and will influence Philippine foreign policy.”

Locsin did not elaborate how the attack could influence Philippine policy toward the United States. The countries are longtime treaty allies, and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is a vocal critic of U.S. security policies who has moved to terminate a key agreement that allows large-scale military exercises with American forces in the Philippines.

“I might as well say it, so no one on the other side can say, ‘We didn’t know you took racial brutality against Filipinos at all seriously.’ We do,” Locsin said.

Increase in hate crimes 

This year in New York City, there have been 33 hate crimes with an Asian victim as of Sunday, police said. There were 11 such attacks by the same time last year.

On Friday, in the same neighbourhood as Monday’s attack, a 65-year-old Asian American woman was accosted by a man waving an unknown object and shouting anti-Asian insults. A 48-year-old man was arrested the next day and charged with menacing. He is not suspected in Monday’s attack.

A man looks at two police officers patrolling along a busy section of Main Street in Flushing, a largely Asian American neighborhood, in the Queens borough of New York on Tuesday. Police have stepped up patrols across the city. (Kathy Willens/The Associated Press)

The NYPD last week said it was increasing outreach and patrols in predominantly Asian communities, including the use of undercover officers to prevent and disrupt attacks.

“This is crucial to the equation,” de Blasio said of the new policing efforts. “It’s a very few people but we need to find each and every one of them and stop this.”

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CBC | World News

How a bridge to Canada got the axe from American lawmakers

Funding for this bridge between upstate New York and the Ottawa-Montreal region, seen here in March 2020, was included in a major U.S. pandemic-relief bill. Then it was chopped. (Christine Muschi/Reuters)

This story is part of Watching Washington, a regular dispatch from CBC News correspondents reporting on U.S. politics and developments that affect Canadians. 

What’s new

As American lawmakers inched toward approving a bill with an eye-watering 13-digit price tag, it was apparently a bridge to Canada that proved a bridge too far.

Funds to upkeep an existing cross-border bridge from Massena, N.Y., to Cornwall, Ont., were included in, and have now been stripped out of, a $ 1.9 trillion US pandemic-relief bill that Congress could pass any day.

Less than one-millionth of the bill’s overall price tag had originally been set to fund operations of the half-century-old Seaway International Bridge, jointly run by the Canadian and U.S. governments.

The original version of the bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives guaranteed $ 1.5 million for several months’ funding of the span, which connects upstate New York with the Ottawa-Montreal area through Cornwall, Ont.

“It’s a vital, necessary access point between our two countries,” Steven O’Shaughnessy, the town supervisor of Massena.

That funding is gone in the latest version of the bill, which could be advanced into law any day by the U.S. Senate.

If adopted, the bill would become the first major piece of legislation passed during Joe Biden’s presidency and would fund a vast array of causes, from reducing child poverty to expanding access to health care to sending out $ 1,400 relief cheques to Americans.

What’s the backstory

Critics called it a ‘bridge to nowhere’ and accused top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer, a New Yorker, of pork-barrel politics. But New York Republicans wanted the bridge funding, too. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

So how did one of the most expensive pieces of legislation in American history, which will affect tens of millions of lives, stumble over a bridge that ends near the Cornwall BBQ in southeastern Ontario?

As fate would have it, that bridge became a symbolic talking point for critics of the bill.  

Republicans pointed to it as an example of how myriad items unrelated to the pandemic are being crammed into a supposed rescue package.

“We have millions upon millions of dollars for this lovely bridge to get from New York into Canada,” Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said earlier this week, inflating the price of the bridge upkeep. “And, folks, how is that helping us fight COVID?

“This is supposed to be a COVID recovery package. And somehow I don’t see my Iowa taxpayers benefiting from those porky pricey projects.”

Never mind that funding for the bridge has previously been supported by New York lawmakers from both parties, including Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and the area’s House lawmaker, Elise Stefanik.

It became Exhibit A of the idea that this 630-page bill, which would also allot billions of dollars to expanding health coverage and decreasing child poverty, is about more than COVID.

It was derided on Fox News, in its news coverage and by its hosts, as a “bridge to nowhere.”    

But it’s more complicated than that. 

The bridge, which has seen toll revenues drop during the pandemic, sits in the district of New York Republican lawmaker Elise Stefanik. She has previously supported additional funding for the bridge but voted against the stimulus bill that included $ 1.5 million US for upkeep of the span. ( Republican National Convention/Handout via REUTERS)

Democrats have argued that most of this bill’s items are, indeed, connected to COVID-19 — including that bridge funding.

The pandemic has caused a spectacular drop in cross-border traffic, with a 70 per cent plunge in toll fees collected at the bridge since last year, said a U.S. official with the binational Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

So why not just fund the bridge in a transportation bill instead of a pandemic-relief bill?

Blame the joys of the American legislative process. 

A generation of partisan gridlock has resulted in fewer bills becoming law. So majority parties have tended to rely more often on a legislative shortcut, a process called reconciliation, which allows a bill to pass with just 51 Senate votes instead of 60.

The catch with that process is it can only be used once a year, on a budget bill. Which is how you wind up with all sorts of unrelated items crammed together in what is colloquially referred to in Washington as a Christmas tree bill.

In the end, under this particular tree, there was nothing left for Cornwall and Massena.

What’s next

Democrats pulled that item, and some other items, out of the Senate bill to help silence the naysayers and ease its adoption.

The bridge is now funded through the end of this month thanks to $ 2.5 million delivered from the Canadian government last year. 

But the U.S. official said the cash originally in the bill would have supplied funding from next month to September. Without it, the official said, there could be an impact on its services and its essential workers.

The bridge itself is in decent physical shape after millions of dollars in renovations over the last decade.

Bernadette Clement, mayor of Cornwall, said she hopes it stays that way because it not only connects families and friends and the regional economy but also supports international trade, with hundreds of commercial trucks using it each day.

The Seaway International Bridge joins Cornwall, Ont., and Massena, N.Y. It is a regional link between Canadian and American communities and also a commercial trade link that sees hundreds of trucks per day. (CP)

“It is extremely important to our national economies,” Clement said. “The maintenance of those bridges — it’s critical for us.”

When asked what happens after this month, a Canadian government spokesperson said the bridge’s critical needs will be met — but did not immediately say whether it might require an additional cash injection from Ottawa.

It wouldn’t be the first time political gridlock in the U.S. left Canada with the bill for a cross-border bridge. 

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American radio host Rush Limbaugh dead at 70

Provocative and polarizing U.S. talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, a leading voice on the American political right since the 1980s who boosted and was honoured by former U.S. president Donald Trump, has died, his family said Wednesday.

The veteran radio host died after suffering from lung cancer, his wife, Kathryn, announced on a radio show. His death was also later announced on his website.

Limbaugh first announced his diagnosis in February 2020, saying he would take time off for medical tests and to determine treatment after noticing shortness of breath during his birthday weekend in January. 

He said he intended to continue to work as much as possible, as well as focus on what he called his “deeply personal relationship” with God.

A day after he announced his diagnosis, Trump awarded Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom in an unprecedented move during the State of the Union address.

WATCH | Trump surprises Rush Limbaugh with honour:

U.S. President Donald Trump awards Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the state of the union address. 2:10

Limbaugh had not been publicly announced as a White House guest until the night before. When the honour was announced, he appeared genuinely surprised, giving a nearly tearful reaction. 

Unflinchingly conservative, wildly partisan, bombastically self-promoting and larger than life, Limbaugh galvanized listeners for more than 30 years with his talent for vituperation and sarcasm.

Shaping political conversations

He called himself an entertainer, but his rants during his three-hour weekday radio show, broadcast on nearly 600 U.S. stations, shaped the national political conversation — swaying ordinary Republicans and the direction of their party.

Blessed with a made-for-broadcasting voice, he delivered his opinions with such certainty that his followers, or “Ditto-heads,” as he dubbed them, took his words as sacred truth.

“In my heart and soul, I know I have become the intellectual engine of the conservative movement,” Limbaugh, with typical immodesty, told author Zev Chafets in the 2010 book Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to Limbaugh at a Make America Great Again rally on Nov. 5, 2018. (Jim Watson/Getty Images)

Limbaugh took as a badge of honour the title “most dangerous man in America.”

He said he was the “truth detector,” the “doctor of democracy,” a “lover of mankind,” a “harmless, lovable little fuzz ball” and an “all-around good guy.” He claimed he had “talent on loan from God.”

His idol, former president Ronald Reagan, wrote a letter of praise that Limbaugh proudly read on the air in 1992: “You’ve become the number one voice for conservatism.” In 1994, Limbaugh was so widely credited with the first Republican takeover of Congress in 40 years that the party made him an honorary member of the new class.

Following his death, former president George W. Bush said he “spoke his mind as a voice for millions of Americans.” Trump — whom Limbaugh supported from early on in his race for the presidency — called into Fox News Channel to describe the late radio host as “a legend” with impeccable political instincts. 

Long before Trump’s rise in politics, Limbaugh was pinning insulting names on his enemies and raging against the mainstream media, accusing it of feeding the public lies.

He called Democrats and others on the left communists, wackos, liberal extremists, radicals and “femi-nazis,” a term he coined.

Forbes magazine estimated his 2018 income at $ 84 million US, ranking him behind only Howard Stern among radio personalities.

A career of controversies

He began broadcasting nationally in 1988 from WABC in New York, before moving his show to Palm Beach, Fla.

He had a late-night TV show in the 1990s that got decent ratings but lacklustre advertising because of his divisive message. When he guest-hosted The Pat Sajak Show in 1990, audience members called him a Nazi and repeatedly shouted at him.

He was frequently accused of bigotry and blatant racism for such antics as playing the song Barack the Magic Negro on his show. The lyrics, set to the tune of Puff, the Magic Dragon, described then-presidential candidate Barack Obama as someone who “makes guilty whites feel good” and is “Black, but not authentically.” 

He was fired from a short-lived job as an NFL commentator on ESPN in 2003 after he said the media had made a star out of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb because it was “very desirous that a Black quarterback do well.” His racial remarks also derailed a 2009 bid to become one of the owners of the NFL’s St. Louis Rams.

A fan holds a sign in support of Limbaugh after he was dropped from his bid to buy the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, on Oct. 18, 2009, in Minneapolis. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Also in 2003, Limbaugh admitted he was addicted to painkillers and went into rehab. He was arrested on prescription drug charges in 2006 but eventually reached a deal with prosecutors. They agreed to drop the case if he continued with treatment and paid $ 30,000 toward the cost of the investigation. 

He lost his hearing around the same time, which he said was due to an autoimmune disease, though his critics argued it could have been a side effect of opioid use. Limbaugh was fitted with cochlear implants soon after, which restored his hearing and saved his career.

In 2008, he signed an eight-year contract renewal for The Rush Limbaugh Show, a deal valued at roughly $ 400 million. The show was renewed again in 2016 for four more years, cementing his place in American conservative radio. 

“Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night and just think to yourself, ‘I am just full of hot gas?'” David Letterman asked him in 1993 on The Late Show.

“I am a servant of humanity,” Limbaugh replied. “I am in the relentless pursuit of the truth. I actually sit back and think that I’m just so fortunate to have this opportunity to tell people what’s really going on.”

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How big a deal is Joe Biden’s Buy American pledge? Here’s what to watch for

Is the Buy American pledge from incoming U.S. president Joe Biden a nothingburger or a potential billion-dollar blow to Canada’s economy?

It could go either way. 

The actual scope of Biden’s insistence on buying American goods — and what it means in practice — will be revealed with several events in the new year.

What we do know is that Biden this week reiterated his plan to launch a massive construction program, and his intention to award contracts only to U.S. companies. 

That pledge underscores that international trade tensions won’t all magically disappear with the departure of Donald Trump from the White House.

WATCH | What a Biden presidency could mean for Canada:

If Joe Biden wins the U.S. presidential election, Canadians could feel the impact in areas like energy, trade and defence. 6:42

But when it comes to “buy local” rules, the devil is in the eye-glazing details. And few people know these details better than former U.S. trade negotiator Jean Heilman Grier.

In a career with the U.S. government spanning a quarter-century, she negotiated numerous agreements on procurement with other countries, including an important one with Canada, the 2010 pact that exempted Canadians from some Buy American rules.

“[Biden]’s a strong supporter of Buy American,” said Heilman Grier, now a consultant working outside government.

“The question is: what’s he going to do with that?”

We’ll start getting answers in January — right after a pair of Senate races in Georgia that will determine which party controls the Senate.

Will there even be a big infrastructure plan?

Biden’s proposed $ 2-trillion US clean infrastructure plan is the crown jewel of his campaign pledge to drive down greenhouse gas emissions.

It also hints at possible riches for energy, transportation and construction companies that will all want a slice of that staggering sum of cash.

Yet there’s no guarantee it will ever happen.

Passing any landmark bill through Congress tends to be challenging — let alone one that comes with a 13-digit price tag.

Now add another possible hurdle: Senate Republicans.

If Republicans retain control of the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will decide whether Biden’s infrastructure plan gets anywhere. (Susan Walsh/The Associated Press)

We’ll learn on Jan. 5 whether Biden’s Democrats will control the U.S. Senate — and the party that controls the Senate decides what bills are even allowed for a vote.

If Democrats lose either of two Georgia elections that day, Republicans will retain the majority, and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will decide which bills get voted on.

One Canada-U.S. trade expert says he expects both parties will want to do something on infrastructure. But the details are far from settled. 

“I think we are going to see some kind of infrastructure [bill]. The size and scope remain to be determined,” Dan Ujczo of the law firm Dickinson Wright said from Ohio.

“It ain’t gonna be in the first 100 days [of the next administration].” 

What about trade deals?

Once we see the bill, it’s time to read the fine print. Specifically: Will any such bill reference international trade agreements, and promise to comply with them?

Canada and the U.S. have some free-trade deals on procurement. 

There’s the World Trade Organization agreement on federal contracts. In addition, some state and provincial departments are covered under the WTO deal’s Annex 2. There are also separate agreements on military contracts.

Canada received approximately $ 674 million worth of contracts from the U.S. government in 2015, out of $ 12.1 billion handed out in total to foreign firms, according to a 2019 paper by U.S. federal researchers.

So Canada and other countries would scour any future bill for references to these agreements and see whether they would be respected.

A 2009 stimulus bill, being promoted here by former U.S. president Barack Obama, included a Buy American provision. The provision was watered down in the U.S. Senate, and later led to a new deal with Canada on state-provincial contracts. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Biden knows this terrain well.

He played a role in the last major infrastructure bill that kicked off a Buy American kerfuffle: the $ 900-billion stimulus package in 2009.

In that bill, a version that passed the U.S. House of Representatives included no reference to trade agreements; the Senate later added a clause about respecting international trade deals.

Biden was the Obama administration’s point person in implementing that controversial 2009 stimulus package.

“He was kind of [leading] that through the Congress,” said Heilman Grier, who predicted a future bill would respect trade agreements. 

“I would expect you would see that kind of provision in any infrastructure bill.”

One legacy of that 2009 Buy American dispute was a pact between Canada and the U.S. that made it easier for some state and provincial agencies to award contracts to companies across the border. 

But there are still numerous gaps. 

Where are the gaps?

Whether an infrastructure project is covered by trade deals depends on where federal funds are spent. Federal money flows to states and cities — and the rules are completely spotty, with different standards for departments in different places.

If Canadians want to understand why that is, we can start by glancing in the mirror.

Canadian provinces have refused to open some of their big agencies to free trade in procurement, such as Hydro-Québec and Infrastructure Ontario.

Toronto trade lawyer Mark Warner says Canadians love to complain about procurement protectionism, but are far from blameless.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, seen here meeting Biden in Ottawa in 2016, briefly raised Buy American as a possible concern this month in his first post-election phone call with Biden. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

“If your starting position is, ‘You, United States, open everything and we open virtually nothing,’ it’s really hard to see how you progress from that,” Warner said in an interview.

Heilman Grier, who negotiated the 2009-10 agreement for the U.S., said the Americans could be brought back to the table if Canada offered something.

“If [Canada] came and said, ‘We’ll give you [access] to Hydro-Quebec if you gave us the [U.S. power utilities] then we could have a conversation,” she said.

“That’s a question for Canada.” 

But Heilman Grier said she can’t imagine such a reform happening in the next few months, as it would require complex and politically fraught negotiations between Washington and state governments.

Lawyer Ujczo cited another limitation to free trade in procurement: fear. 

He said some Americans will just be too scared to use foreign suppliers. That includes companies looking for subcontractors, and buyers for state and local governments, who worry about the law and figure it’s safer just to buy locally.

“To me, Buy American is always more about the perception than the reality,” Ujczo said.

What else might Biden do?

Heilman Grier anticipates a few other Buy American actions from Biden. She said he could further tighten some of the many executive orders signed by Trump.

For example, Trump has proposed increasing by several percentage points how much American content different products must have in order to qualify as a U.S. good.

The rule, which has not yet taken effect, would increase the current threshold of 50 per cent for most products to 55 per cent American content, with a far more dramatic increase for iron and steel products.

Heilman Grier said Biden could toughen it further. She also said the incoming president’s team might also be looking at tightening exemptions to Buy American rules.

For example, a U.S. buyer can work around those rules by claiming that a certain product isn’t available domestically. 

She said American manufacturers can already challenge that claim for contracts awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation; that sort of rule could be extended to other departments.

The bottom line? Buy American rules aren’t going away.

WATCH | Biden vowed to ‘make America respected around the world again’ in his victory speech:

In his first address as president-elect of the United States in Wilmington, Del., Joe Biden pledged to unite Americans and make the country ‘respected around the world again.’ 14:30

Free-market purists can do all the finger-wagging they want about comparative advantage, and they can point out that these rules lead to higher costs for taxpayers, but it won’t change that political reality, Ujczo said.

“You’re really rolling the stone uphill if you’re trying to [complain about] Buy American,” Ujczo said.

“What you need to do is find exemptions, exclusions and side deals.”

How Canada can succeed

Ujczo’s advice to Canada is twofold, but based on the same principle: slide in by repositioning “Buy American” as “Buy North American.”

First, Canadians should get in early and try convincing the U.S. government to take a Buy North American approach to pandemic-related medical gear. COVID-19 is what Washington is currently focused on.

Months from now, when the attention shifts to infrastructure, Ujczo said Canada can ask to replicate the same Buy North American approach there.

He said Canada’s big public-private investors could also offer to help fund U.S. projects, and tie funding to certain conditions — such as a Buy American exemption.

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Polish teen Iga Swiatek beats American Sofia Kenin to win French Open title

Minutes after suddenly becoming a Grand Slam champion at age 19, while ranked just 54th, Iga Swiatek held a microphone during the French Open trophy ceremony and was hesitant for pretty much the only time over the past two weeks.

“First of all, I’m not very good at speeches,” Swiatek began, haltingly, “so, sorry, because I won my last tournament like two years ago, and I really don’t know who to thank.”

When she’s got a racket in her hand, it’s a whole different story. With the poise of a veteran and the shots of a champion, Swiatek wrapped up a dominating run at Roland Garros, grabbing the last six games to beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-1 in Saturday’s final.

‘I’m just overwhelmed’

“Two years ago, I won a junior Grand Slam, and right now I’m here. It feels like such a short time,” Swiatek said, her voice cracking. “I’m just overwhelmed.”

Swiatek (pronounced shvee-ON’-tek) is the first Polish tennis player to win a major singles trophy and said, “I know it’s pretty crazy back home” — where one newspaper’s front page was splashed with the headline “Poland Garros” ahead of the final.

When she smacked one last forehand winner to the corner to end things, Swiatek placed her right hand over her mouth then crouched, shaking her head.

Hard to believe? Maybe. This was, after all, only her seventh major tournament; she’d never been past the fourth round at one.

But the way she played these two weeks — with powerful groundstrokes sent to corners, the occasional drop shot, terrific returning and impressive court coverage — made this outcome less of a surprise.

Swiatek lost only 28 games across seven matches and is the first woman to triumph in Paris without ceding a set since Justine Henin in 2007. She also is the first teen to win the women’s title there since Iva Majoli in 1997.

And Swiatek did it with victories over such opponents as 2018 champion Simona Halep and 2019 runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, both by scores of 6-1, 6-2.

So it made sense that Swiatek would be able to get past the fourth-seeded Kenin, even if the 21-year-old American was trying to claim her second major title of 2020 after winning the Australian Open.

“A great tournament,” Kenin told Swiatek. “A great match.”

Kenin was 16-1 in Grand Slam matches this year. But she dealt with a leg issue in the second set and showed frustration by kicking her red-white-and-blue racket after lost points.

And then there was this: She ran into the composed Swiatek, who only recently completed her high school studies and listens to “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses before walking on court.

‘Mentally consistent’

“I was just mentally consistent,” said Swiatek, who travels with a sports psychologist and meditates during changeovers, breathing slowly with her eyes closed. “I felt like today was really stressful for me, so it was kind of hard.”

This weekend is the culmination of an unusual two weeks, to say the least. The tournament was postponed form May-June to September-October because of the coronavirus pandemic; the recently rising number of COVID-19 cases in France led the government to limit the number of spectators allowed on the grounds to 1,000 each day.

Some top women, including 2019 champion Ash Barty and three-time major champ Naomi Osaka didn’t enter the event; 23-time Slam winner Serena Williams withdrew before the second round with an injury.

The temperature was in the mid-50s (low teens Celsius), with a slight breeze, and the hundreds of fans scattered in Court Philippe Chatrier were mostly subdued — other than a group that would shout Swiatek’s first name, stretching it out over several seconds each time to sound like “Eeeeeeeeeee-gah.”

Swiatek began with a 3-0 run, taking 12 of the first 15 points, delivering four winners and zero unforced errors.

No one expected Kenin — self-described as “feisty” — to go quietly. She got on the board with a hold, then broke when Swiatek double-faulted, the first sign that the magnitude of the moment might be hitting her. Soon enough, it was 3-all.

But Swiatek is nothing if not resilient. She served for the set at 5-3, and got broken, but responded right away by stealing yet another one of Kenin’s service games.

Same thing happened to begin the second set: Kenin broke for a 1-0 edge, and Swiatek broke right back. She wouldn’t lose another game on her way to her first tour-level title.

Kenin takes medical timeout

At the changeover at 2-1, Kenin left the court for a medical timeout, then returned with her left thigh wrapped.

While Kenin was gone, Swiatek stayed warm by pulling on a white jacket and hitting some serves, earning applause from spectators.

When play resumed, Swiatek needed only 12 more minutes to wrap up the victory, finishing with a 25-10 edge in winners.

All that was left was to hear the Polish anthem — never before played after a major singles final — ring out in the stadium, check out her shiny trophy and go through the speeches and interviews.

After speaking for a bit, Swiatek asked, “Should I say something else?”

She was told by the emcee that she could if she wanted.

“I have no idea,” Swiatek said. “Sorry.”

Better practice up, Iga. The tennis world expects to see more such speeches in the future.

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California company likely source of North American salmonella outbreak linked to onions

U.S. federal health officials say an outbreak of salmonella infecting nearly 400 people in more than 30 states has been linked to red onions, and they identified a California company as the likely source.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a statement on Friday that Thomson International Inc. of Bakersfield, Calif., has notified the food agency that it will be recalling all varieties of onions that could have come in contact with potentially contaminated red onions because of the risk of cross-contamination.

This recall would include red, white, yellow, and sweet onions from Thomson International, the agency said.

The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said salmonella newport has sickened 396 people and landed nearly 60 in the hospital. There have been no deaths linked to the outbreak, which was first identified July 10 and has since grown. The agency says the illnesses began between mid-June and mid-July.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is also investigating an outbreak of salmonella newport illnesses with a genetic fingerprint closely related to the U.S. outbreak, the agency said Thursday.

According to an agency releasethere have been 55 additional cases of the bacterial infection in Canada since the outbreak was first announced, for a total of 114 cases across five provinces between mid-June and mid-July.

Sixteen people have been hospitalized. No one has died.

People in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are being asked not to eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including food products containing red onions, until more is known about the outbreak.

A breakdown of cases shows 43 have been reported in B.C., 55 in Alberta, 13 in Manitoba, two in Ontario and one in P.E.I. involving someone who reported falling ill after travelling to Alberta.

Federal officials say Saskatchewan is investigating some salmonella newport illnesses but has not confirmed that they’re related to this outbreak.

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Canadian duo Pavan, Humana-Paredes eager for rematch with American rivals

Driving alongside the Atlantic Ocean through Long Beach, Calif., is now a familiar journey for Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes.

With Pavan driving and Humana-Paredes riding shotgun, the picturesque ocean view disappears as they turn toward Interstate 405 and speed past gas stations and Mexican restaurants on their way home.

It’s been the routine for the reigning beach volleyball world champions after every match of the Champions Cup, the first beach volleyball event held since COVID-19 brought the world to a halt. And it will continue this weekend in the third and final tournament where many hope to see them in a gold-medal match with American rivals April Ross and Alix Klineman. 

“There are days when we drive home and we’re really disappointed with a certain play or a certain set or how a match went,” Pavan told CBC Sports. “It’s always the alternative rock station on and we usually take some pauses to sing a bit, but we’re usually covered in sand, having some snacks, and chatting.

“And we’ll each talk about the things we personally felt like we didn’t do well or could have done better.”

Even when they win, the conversation doesn’t change much.

WATCH | Back to the beach:

Canadian world champions Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes describe what its like competing after quarantine. 3:46

“Sometimes we’ll be like, ‘How did we do that? We weren’t on our best game,'” said Humana-Paredes. “It’s hard for us to praise ourselves.”

However, last week’s tournament complicated that dynamic because being critical of their performance is futile: Pavan and Humana-Paredes knew there was no way they’d perform at the level they’re accustomed to and they admit it’s been a bumpy start. So their expectations were set accordingly, looking to ease back into competition and fall back in love with the game, a far cry from their typical goal of winning.

But that’s easier said than done when you’re face to face with your biggest rivals and competing on national television for bragging rights and a sizable cash prize.

“We’re definitely going after it, working our hardest and leaving it all out there but, normally, we’re much more critical and are pushing so much harder,” Pavan said. “And so just finding that balance of understanding and acceptance and that urge to be better.

WATCH | Mad Libs with world champions:

Did you do Mad Libs as a kid? Well, here’s Team Canada athletes playing… with a twist. It’s hilarious. Trust us. 3:10

“It’s been an interesting thing to work through at this time, but I think we’re handling it in the right way.”

They’ve had some brilliant moments and strung together great plays that showed glimpses of their pre-quarantine form. They finished third in week one, second in week two. But even top-three finishes are a vulnerable place to be for the world champions.

‘Doing it publicly’

“The challenging part is normally when we’re going through this process, we’re not doing it publicly,” said Pavan. “This is a typical, early season look for us, but nobody ever sees that. They usually see the finished product.

“So that’s been really challenging to deal with because we know it’s there, we just haven’t been able to train enough to let it shine through.”

But with their mental game prepared and momentum on their side, Pavan and Humana-Paredes plan on finishing on top in this weekend’s tournament. If they make the gold-medal match they’ll likely face Ross and Klineman who have dominated this event, winning their first two tournaments and beating the Canadians each time they’ve met.

WATCH | Canadian pair loses in AVP finals: 

Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes dropped a straight sets loss to Alix Klineman and April Ross in Wilson Cup final. 1:06

“Sarah had a really great moment on camera,” said Humana Parades, smiling. “We were coming off a technical time out, it was 11-10, and Sarah said ‘You know we’re playing at a zero out of 10 right now and it’s still a close score.’ And she was so right, we were not playing our best and we were still able to compete.”

“That’s almost more frustrating than being at a good level and being close, so we’re using that as motivation. The fire inside me is burning and I’m sure it is inside Sarah too.”

The Canadians say the key to staying competitive with the Americans, who are making very few mistakes, is managing their serve. 

“It’s disappointing when we don’t lay them at the level we want to,” said Pavan. “But we’re really lucky because our coach is there with us every step of the way and he’s gathering so much information, noticing what changes they’ve made against us and what we need to do to take it to the next level.

“We’re using this as an opportunity, we absolutely want to beat them because we don’t want to lose to them three times in a row.” 

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Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to American red onions

Health officials have tracked a salmonella outbreak in Canada reported earlier this week to red onions imported from the United States.

According to a release from the Public Health Agency of Canada, there have been 55 additional illnesses in Canada since the outbreak was first announced for a total of 114 cases of salmonella across five provinces. 

Sixteen people have been hospitalized. No one has died.

People in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are being asked to not eat any red onions imported to Canada from the U.S., including food products containing red onions, until more is known about the outbreak.

Health officials are urging retailers and restaurants in these provinces to not to use, sell or serve red onions imported from the U.S.

One resident of P.E.I. also became sick, but this was after travelling to Alberta.

Those who have become ill consumed the red onions in homes, restaurants and long-term care residences. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall for red onions imported to Canada by Sysco. Red onions grown in Canada are not involved in this recall. 

People in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario are affected by the outbreak, which has made more than 100 people sick so far and led to 16 hospitalizations but no deaths. One person in P.E.I. who travelled to Alberta also contracted the bug. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press)

Anyone can get a Salmonella infection, but children five years and under, older adults, pregnant women or people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for contracting serious cases of the illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.

The public health agency suggests taking the following precautions to prevent becoming sick from a contaminated red onion.

If you have red onions at home:

  • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.
  • If the packaging or sticker shows that it is from the U.S., don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
  • If it isn’t labelled, don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
  • If you don’t know whether the red onion found in a pre-made salad, sandwich, wrap or dip contains red onion from the U.S., don’t eat it. Throw it away and wash your hands.
  • Wash and sanitize drawers or shelves in areas (such as fridges and cupboards) where red onions were stored.

If you buy red onions at a store:

  • Look for a label showing where the red onion was grown. It may be printed on the package or on a sticker.
  • If the packaging shows that it is from the U.S., don’t buy it.
  • If it is an unpackaged product, or is not labelled, ask the retailer whether the red onion comes from the U.S.
  • If you can’t confirm that the red onion in stores is not from the U.S., don’t buy it.

Restaurants and retailers are advised to check the label on bags or boxes of red onions or ask their suppliers about the source of their red onions.

You can find more information here.

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Buy American policies will live on — even if the Trump presidency doesn’t

Tensions over Buy American rules appear destined to live on after this year — even if Donald Trump’s presidency doesn’t.

It’s one takeaway from trade policies laid out by U.S. election frontrunner Joe Biden, who in a speech Thursday promised to turn the page on numerous Trump-era practices.

With at least one glaring exception. 

One notable area where he’s emulating the president’s rhetoric is the idea that contracts for large-scale public projects should go to U.S. firms.

Biden has promised to spend $ 400 billion US on clean energy and infrastructure with American products, materials, services and shipping companies favoured; he then reiterated the pledge in a Pennsylvania speech.

“Products made by American workers,” Biden said.

“When we spend taxpayers’ money — when the federal government spends taxpayers’ money — we should use it to buy American products and support American jobs. I plan to tighten the rules to make this a reality.”

Buy American: what the rules say

Existing free-trade rules guarantee Canadians some access to U.S. publicly funded construction work, within limits.

The rules are more porous for work funded at the state and local level. Also, the old NAFTA procurement rules have been eliminated in the new agreement, leaving Canadian companies relying on similar rules agreed to at the World Trade Organization.

But Biden suggests he wants to tighten the global rules too. 

His new plan says he’d work with allies to modernize international agreements so that countries’ procurement tax dollars are spent at home.

The big-picture political context looming over Biden’s speech involves his need to address one lingering political weakness.

It involves economic policy, and working-class voters.

The political context

While the presumptive Democratic nominee has been leading President Trump in numerous national and swing-state polls, surveys also show that the current president is more trusted on economics.

A notoriously critical plank of Trump’s economic policy is trade protectionism — especially when it comes to public works projects, with his series of executive orders and other moves, like at the NAFTA negotiating table, to erode free trade in procurement.

Trump, seen here at an electrical contractors’ conference in Pennsylvania in 2018, has seen his standing erode with virtually every demographic group. Polls, however, do show he still holds a strong edge with white working-class voters. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)


One Washington trade-watcher said he still assumes Biden would be a more favourable interlocutor for Canada when it comes to trade.

While free-trade purists hate Buy American rules, and warn they drive up the cost of products, they remain generally popular.

Eric Miller said it’s normal for campaigning politicians to promise Buy American rules.

Biden or Trump? 

What’s less normal, Miller said, is the current administration’s habit of constantly threatening tariffs against allies.

“In many ways [this speech from Biden] is expected. No politician in the United States will run against ‘Buy American.’ The name itself sounds good,” said Miller, a former Canadian official who now runs the Washington-based Rideau Potomac consulting firm.

“I am skeptical that Joe Biden would be a big user of Section 232 [national security tariffs on allies like Trump]. … Biden’s instinct is not to go after allies. It is to work with allies. “

WATCH | ‘Is this who we are?’ Biden asks Americans:

In a speech highly critical of U.S. President Donald Trump and his response to the death of George Floyd, former vice-president Joe Biden acknowledged that racism has long torn the U.S. apart. 3:09

Some aspects of Biden’s trade policies will, indeed, be more welcome in foreign capitals. 

Biden’s just-announced plan promises a more cooperative approach on steel and aluminum. He said he would build alliances to press China to reduce its excess production and alleged dumping of products at below-market prices.

“Rather than picking fights with our allies and undermining respect for America, Biden will work with our closest allies,” says his plan.

“[We’ll] focus on the key contributor to the problem – China’s government.”

A wakeup call on China

Miller said that section should also serve as a wakeup call to Ottawa: U.S.-China tensions will continue and Canada must prepare to live in a world with that growing rivalry.

“I think there is some hope in some quarters that somehow this [tension] is all going to go away and that the U.S.-China disagreements will somehow moderate,” Miller said.

“Even if we have a Biden presidency we are not going to be magically pulled back to 2016. …  Deep structural changes in the functioning of global affairs and realignments in balances of power do not reverse easily.”

Biden lags behind Trump with some categories of working-class voters. His trade policy was a pitch to such voters. On the day he made a speech promising Buy American policies, he visited his childhood home in Pennsylvania. (Tom Brenner/Reuters)

One pact relevant to that international alliance-building is the multi-country trade deal formerly known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which now exists without the U.S.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden doesn’t envision quickly rejoining the pact now rebranded as the CPTPP — but he’s leaving open the possibility of re-entering eventually.

Miller said Canada should take the initiative quickly to work with other CPTPP countries, and start talking about what conditions a U.S. re-entry might look like.

Biden’s trade policy includes one other element with potentially major international significance: he’s calling for a “carbon adjustment fee,” essentially a tariff, for countries failing to meet their Paris climate goals.

While that could mean, in theory, a tax on Canadian exports, Miller said he suspects Canada’s domestic carbon pricing and cooperation with a Biden administration on regional climate projects, like Arctic oil-drilling bans, might allow it to avoid such a tax.

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