Tag Archives: Special

Barr says no need for special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, publicly undercutting Trump

Breaking with U.S. President Donald Trump, outgoing Attorney General William Barr said Monday he saw no reason to appoint a special counsel to look into the president’s claims of election fraud or the tax investigation into the son of president-elect Joe Biden.

In his final news conference, Barr also undercut Trump as he reinforced the belief of federal officials that Russia was behind the cyberespionage operation targeting the U.S. government. Trump had suggested without evidence that China could be responsible.

Barr said the investigation into Hunter Biden’s financial dealings was “being handled responsibly and professionally.”

“I have not seen a reason to appoint a special counsel and I have no plan to do so before I leave,” he said.

Barr also told The Associated Press in a previous interview that he had seen no evidence of widespread voting fraud, despite Trump’s claims to the contrary. Trump has continued to push baseless claims even after the electoral college made Biden’s victory formal Dec. 14.

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden and his son Hunter are pictured in January. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump continues to press baseless claims of election fraud

Trump — angry that Barr didn’t announce there was a two-year-old investigation into Hunter Biden — has consulted on special counsels with White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, White House counsel Pat Cipollone and outside allies, according to several Trump administration officials and Republicans close to the White House who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss matters they were not authorized to discuss publicly.

Beyond appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the younger Biden, the sources said Trump was interested in having another special counsel appointed to look into his own baseless claims of election fraud. Trump has even floated the idea of naming attorney Sidney Powell as the counsel on election fraud — though Powell was booted from Trump’s legal team after she made a series of increasingly wild conspiratorial claims about the election.

Naming a special counsel would make it harder for Biden to shut down investigations. But it’s not clear how it could be done without buy-in from Justice Department officials. And if Trump was expecting his newly named acting attorney general, Jeff Rosen, to go further than Barr on either matter, he could end up quickly disappointed.

Barr said the hack of U.S. government agencies “certainly appears to be the Russians.”

In implicating the Russians, Barr was siding with the widely held belief within the U.S. government and the cybersecurity community that Russian hackers were responsible for breaches at multiple government agencies, including the Treasury and Commerce departments.

Hours after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a radio interview that Russia was “pretty clearly” behind the hacks, Trump sought to undercut that message — and play down the severity — by tweeting that the “Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality.” He also said China could be responsible even though no credible evidence has emerged to suggest anyone other than Russia might be to blame.

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CBC | World News

Flames ride special teams to earn win over Jets

The Calgary Flames rode superior special teams to a 4-1 win over demoralized Winnipeg Jets to start their qualifying-round series Saturday.

The Jets didn’t recover from losing centre Mark Scheifele to injury early in the first period. They were outshot 33-18 and dominated by the Flames in the second period.

Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan produced power-play goals and Tobias Rieder scored shorthanded in the second. Andrew Mangiapane added an empty-net goal.

Andrew Copp countered for the Jets in the first period.

WATCH | Scheifele leaves game with injury:

Winnipeg Jets centre Mark Scheifele needed help getting off the ice after being hit along the boards by Matthew Tkachuk. 1:44

Cam Talbot made 17 saves for the win in his first playoff start with the Flames.

Whether it was the 33-year-old or David Rittich who would get the nod for Game 1 of the best-of-five series was much-debated in Calgary, and not revealed until game time.

Talbot had less work than Vezina Trophy nominee and Jets counterpart Connor Hellebuyck, although the Flames goaltender weathered three straight Jets power-play chances in the third.

Hellebuyck stopped 29 shots in the loss.

The potential loss of season scoring co-leader Scheifele would be devastating for Winnipeg’s Stanley Cup prospects.

The Flames (36-27-7) ranked eighth in the conference and the Jets (37-28-6) ninth when the NHL suspended the season March 12.

The only all-Canadian matchup in the NHL’s qualifying round had little history from the 2019-20 season.

WATCH | Reider scores short-handed goal:

Tobias Reider’s shorthanded goal in the 2nd period would hold up as the game winner in Calgary’s 4-1 win against Winnipeg. 1:03

Their lone meeting was the Oct. 26 outdoor Heritage Classic in Regina, which Winnipeg won 2-1 in overtime.

But animosity brewed in the first period when Scheifele went awkwardly into the boards at 5:41.

He appeared to jam his left leg under him as Flames winger Matthew Tkachuk applied his arm to Scheifele’s back.

Scheifele injury leads to fight

As Scheifele writhed in pain, Winnipeg’s bench directed a stream of expletives at Calgary’s.

Tkachuk’s skate appeared to make contact with Scheifele’s. No penalty was called on the play.

Jets captain Blake Wheeler summoned Tkachuk for retributive justice on the Flames forward’s next shift. Tkachuk obliged and the two traded punches.

Just 31 seconds after that scrap, Adam Lowry dished a backhand from behind the net out front to Copp to whip over Talbot’s glove.

But Winnipeg otherwise mustered little offence with a power play held scoreless on seven chances.

WATCH | Jets vs. Flames series preview:

In part 5 of 10, Rob Pizzo breaks down the only all-Canadian matchup in the qualification round.  1:11

Jets winger Patrik Laine headed to the dressing room early in the third after a collision with Flames captain Mark Giordano.

Calgary went 2 for 4 with a man advantage.

Backlund buried a high shot on Hellebuyck’s blocker side at 18:14. Calgary’s Rieder shelved a backhand on a short-handed breakaway at 12:51.

The puck bobbling on a pass from Sean Monahan, Gaudreau deftly corralled it to get a sharp-angled shot away and by Hellebuyck’s glove at 7:06 to pull Calgary even.

The Jets and Flames got their first taste of playoff hockey without fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cold, cavernous interior of Edmonton’s Rogers Place was tarted up with multiple large light screens throwing colour onto screens covering empty seats.

The clack of the puck on sticks and exhortations from the players’ benches were often the only sounds heard after faceoffs.

Calgary was the home team Saturday and will be again for Game 2 on Monday. Winnipeg is the home club in Tuesday’s Game 3.

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CBC | Sports News

COVID-19 poses big challenges for day camps, programs catering to those with special needs

Parents across the country are trying to fill the empty days this summer for their kids, after many camps and programs were cancelled due to the pandemic. The scramble for playdates, day trips and other activities is a daily preoccupation, but for those with children who are among society’s most vulnerable, the need for daily structure is even more crucial.

“Our parents were at their breaking points,” says Yaffi Scheinberg, executive director of Kayla’s Children Centre (KCC) which operates a day camp in Thornhill, Ont., for children with special needs.

Kathy Laszlo, co-founder and director of Developing and Nurturing Independence (DANI), says it was a similar situation for the families of the adults in its programs, many of whom have been without access to support during the pandemic lockdown. “When there is no respite, there is no health worker coming to your house, there is no one taking out your kid. So you’ve had to do this 24/7 in the last 18 weeks, and it was a great toll on the families.”

KCC and DANI are the only special needs programs of their kind that have reopened in Ontario so far during the COVID-19 pandemic.

KCC runs a school and a variety of programs for children with disabilities and complex medical issues. The organizers were debating whether or not to open this year, due to the risks posed by COVID-19 and the complexity of making sure the campers would be safe. However, they really wanted to support parents of high-needs kids who were looking at a summer without the break the camp provides them with.

“We feel like we’re literally saving lives by having this camp open and giving these kids this opportunity, and giving their parents the chance to recuperate from the trauma that they went through in the last couple of months,” Scheinberg says.

The programs at Kayla’s Children Centre give campers and their families a break from the stresses of months of COVID-19 isolation, says executive director Yaffi Scheinberg. (Perlita Stroh/CBC)

Julie Higgins is one of those parents. Her six-year-old daughter Emily has attended the camp for three years. Emily suffers from Rett Syndrome, a neurological disorder that robs her of control over her body. She also experiences strong, painful muscle spasms.

After being isolated at home for four months with her daughter, Higgins admits the toll the situation was taking on the family was severe.

“It was awful,” says Higgins. “We were in crisis and desperate for anything, it was quite a few months of just survival and just day by day, hour by hour.”

When Higgins heard KCC camp was opening, she decided Emily needed the respite as much as the rest of her family.

“We knew they would take every precaution to make sure it was safe. And obviously you know you’re taking a bit of a risk, but we also took into consideration what it was doing to Emily not being around other people, and that was really hard on her.”

Julie Higgins, left, says that at the KCC camp her daughter Emily gets the structure and therapy she needs to thrive. (Perlita Stroh/CBC)

Also hard on Emily was the loss of skills she was experiencing due to the interruption in her therapies. At KCC she receives physiotherapy and occupational therapy, as well as taking part in recreational activities. All that structure is what Higgins says makes her thrive.

“Even though we tried to do as much as we could at home, it’s not the same. So, she’s getting all that now. She loves it. We can see her strength is back.”

KCC has more than 80 campers this summer and runs the full months of July and August.

Emily’s favourite activities at camp include music class and water play. Higgins, who drives her an hour each way to get to and from the camp each day, says her daughter’s overall mood has improved dramatically since she’s been there.

“She’s happy, so we’re happy.”

Julie Higgins says until the KCC camp was able to open, the stress of isolation during the pandemic was taking a toll on her daughter Emily and the rest of the family. ‘We were in crisis and desperate for anything.’ (Perlita Stroh/CBC)

Delicate decisions

Opening the camp during a pandemic was not easy. KCC consulted with public health officials as well as Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children when considering how it could open.

The organizers are using a large building where they can space children out, and they’re keeping campers in cohorts of five that do not mix. They take everyone’s temperatures at the door, and ensure all counselors and staff wear masks.

They started planning for the possibility of opening in March and remained in constant touch with parents about their intentions.

Emily’s favourite activities at the KCC camp include music class and water play. (Perlita Stroh/CBC)

Scheinberg knew the decision parents were weighing about sending their kids was a delicate one. Many of the children have underlying health conditions that make them high-risk if they contract COVID-19. But on the first day of camp she knew her staff had made the right decision.

“Lots of our parents dropped off their kids that first week and sat in their cars and sobbed. They had a flood of emotion as everything they’d gone through over the past four months just hit them,” says Scheinberg.

“That was really emotional for us, as a staff, to witness.”

Recreational therapies for adults

Special needs children and their families aren’t the only ones who’ve suffered as a result of the isolation COVID-19 created. Adults with developmental and physical disabilities were also left without the structure of their day programs and specialized therapies.

DANI, also based in Thornhill, has provided these adults with recreational therapies, vocational training and a day program since 2006. When it closed in March due to the pandemic, many of its families were left without care.

Even though DANI did transition to online programming, not all of its clients could participate. That didn’t sit well with Kathy Laszlo, who co-founded the centre after her own special-needs son aged out of programs for children with disabilities.

“I personally feel that even if one person is left behind because they cannot be part of this online learning, it’s one too many,” says Laszlo.

“We always want to put the participants first. We knew it was going to be a major undertaking, but it’s their need and the families’ need.”

Kathy Laszlo says reopening the DANI camp and making sure everyone would be safe was a huge undertaking, but it was well worth the effort. (Perlita Stroh/CBC)

Laszlo was right, reopening DANI was a huge undertaking. The centre fundraised and spent upwards of $ 25,000 installing plexiglass barriers, investing in personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation stations, and hiring a consultant to help them meet government protocols.

Even then, it could only offer its participants two half-days per week to ensure proper social distancing. They are currently able to accommodate most of their 34 regular program participants, and plan to continue doing so as long as restrictions allow.

Laszlo says even this reduced program was worth the effort.

“The parents are overjoyed, they are so grateful. Anything we can do, even three hours twice a week, we see them when they drop off the participants and they can’t thank us enough.”

Gary and Rina Kogon’s daughter Tanya, 42, is one of those able to attend the DANI program. She suffers from cerebral palsy, a global development delay and a seizure disorder. The past four months at home were not easy for her, or her parents.

“She requires 24/7 care, someone nearby,” says Gary. “Unrelenting is a good word, because we don’t have that break … but like everything else with these special needs, you don’t have a choice, you just do it.”

Gary and Rina Kogon’s daughter Tanya requires 24/7 care. Gary says she was excited about the camp reopening, and ‘when she’s happy, we’re satisfied.’ (Perlita Stroh/CBC)

Rina adds that knowing her daughter is in good hands and receiving much-needed stimulation helped her make the decision to send Tanya back to DANI, even with the risk posed by COVID-19.

“When we saw how they were doing it, I felt relieved,” says Rina. “And, she was looking forward to it, she was so excited.”

“When she’s happy we’re satisfied,” adds Gary.

Tanya Kogon, left, walks with some of the staff at the DANI camp. (Perlita Stroh/CBC)

DANI hopes to ramp up its program to full time as remaining COVID-19 restrictions are loosened. The group is also looking for more space so they can bring back more participants, and applying for government grants to expand their online learning program for clients who can’t yet return physically.

Lazlo says her knowledge of what her own son needs drives her to keep going and helping others.

“People with disabilities need a good schedule,” she says. “Most of them don’t chit-chat on the phone, they don’t do Facebook and all those typical things a 20-something would do. They need a personal touch, to be together, to be heard, to talk or be listened to. Or even just to be there.”

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CBC | Health News

Trump ally Roger Stone got ‘special treatment’ due to relationship to president: federal prosecutor

A federal prosecutor is prepared to tell Congress on Wednesday that Roger Stone, a close ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, was given special treatment ahead of his sentencing because of his relationship with the president.

Aaron Zelinsky, a career U.S. Justice Department prosecutor who worked on cases as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, including the case against Stone, will say that he was told in no uncertain terms that political considerations influenced the handling of the case, according to testimony released by the House judiciary committee.

“What I heard — repeatedly — was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the president,” Zelinsky says in the prepared testimony.

Zelinsky now works in the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland. The panel subpoenaed Zelinksy and John Elias, a career official in the department’s antitrust division, as part of its probe into the politicization of the department under Attorney General William Barr.

The Democratic-led panel and Barr have been feuding since shortly after he took office in early 2019, when he declined to testify about Mueller’s report.

William Barr’s intervention in the Stone case led to the resignations of four prosecutors and an open letter signed by over 1,000 former Justice Department officials calling for the attorney general’s resignation. (The Associated Press)

The Democrats launched the investigation earlier this year over Barr’s handling of the Stone case, but have expanded their focus to several subsequent episodes in which they believe Barr is doing Trump’s bidding. That includes the department’s efforts to dismiss the criminal case against Gen. Michael Flynn and the firing last weekend of the top prosecutor in New York’s Southern District. The prosecutor, Geoffrey Berman, has been investigating the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

House judiciary committee chair, Democrat Jerrold Nadler, has threatened to subpoena Barr himself for a hearing next week if he doesn’t agree to appear. The attorney general has never testified before the panel.

‘Significant pressure’

Zelinsky, one of four lawyers who quit the Stone case after the department overruled their sentencing recommendation, says in the prepared testimony that supervisors in the office where he worked said that “Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the president.” He plans to say that the acting U.S. attorney at the time, Timothy Shea, was “receiving heavy pressures from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to give Stone a break.” He does not say who was doing the pressuring, but says there was “significant pressure” on prosecutors to “obscure” the correct sentencing guidelines and “water down and in some cases outright distort” what happened at Stone’s trial and the events that resulted in his conviction.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

Before Stone’s Feb. 20 sentencing, Justice Department leadership changed the sentencing recommendation just hours after Trump tweeted his displeasure at the recommendation of up to nine years in prison, saying it had been too harsh. Stone was later sentenced to serve more than three years in prison plus two years’ probation and a $ 20,000 US fine.

Barr calls decision ‘righteous’

Barr has said the president’s tweet played no role in the change. He said he ordered the new filing hours before the president’s tweet because he was caught off guard by the initial sentencing recommendation and believed it was excessive based on the facts of the case. Filing a new one was a “righteous decision based on the merits,” he has told The Associated Press.

According to his prepared testimony, Zelinsky will describe having learned from the media that the Justice Department planned to overrule the trial team’s sentencing recommendation, something he said he found unusual given the department’s conventional practice of not commenting on cases. Though the U.S. Attorney’s office initially said the reports were false, the team was later told that a new sentencing memorandum would be issued that would see a lighter punishment for Stone.

“We repeatedly asked to see that new memorandum prior to its filing. Our request was denied,” Zelinsky will say. “We were not informed about the content or substance of the proposed filing, or even who was writing it. We were told that one potential draft of the filing attacked us personally.”

‘Afraid of the president’

Zelinsky says he was also told that the acting U.S. attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favourable treatment because he was “afraid of the president.”

Stone was convicted on all seven counts of an indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

On Tuesday, Stone filed a motion asking to extend his surrender date until September because of coronavirus concerns. He is scheduled to report to a federal prison in Georgia by June 30.

In separate testimony released by the committee, Elias plans to detail antitrust investigations that he says were started over the objections of career staff. He says he asked the department’s inspector general to investigate “whether these matters constituted an abuse of authority, a gross waste of funds, and gross mismanagement.”

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U.S. threatens to strip Hong Kong of special status, says China is modelling region ‘after itself’

The United States government has threatened to strip Hong Kong of the special legal status that has enabled it to remain a global business powerhouse in a move that could escalate tensions with China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that he informed the U.S. Congress of his view that in light of recent events, Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from China.

“No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China given facts on the ground,” he said in a statement.

Pompeo’s announcement would enable Congress to end longstanding rights to freer trade and travel between Hong Kong and the U.S. that are more open than conditions applied to mainland China.

“Hong Kong and its dynamic, enterprising and free people have flourished for decades as a bastion of liberty, and this decision gives me no pleasure,” Pompeo said.

“But sound policy-making requires a recognition of reality. While the United States once hoped that free and prosperous Hong Kong would provide a model for authoritarian China, it is now clear that China is modelling Hong Kong after itself.”

Change would have implications for tariffs, travel

That sets the stage for what one analyst said would be “the nuclear option”: stripping the region’s status under the 1992 U.S.-Hong Kong Policy Act, which recognizes Hong Kong as distinct from China.

“That would have many implications, including extending all U.S. tariffs that exist on China to Hong Kong,” said Bonnie Glaser of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“It would make travel to the U.S. for Hong Kongers more difficult, and it would likely trigger a departure of many expatriates living and working in Hong Kong.”

Pro-democracy protesters are arrested by police in Hong Kong on May 24. (Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images)

The implications of that would ripple across the world, and Canadians would feel it, too, said Lynette Ong of Toronto’s Munk School.

Speaking in a weekend interview, before Pompeo’s announcement, she said any pension fund, capital market or business with interests in Hong Kong would be affected if the region lost that legal status.

“That would have quite massive ramifications. That’s not a decision that should be taken lightly,” Ong said. “It has implications not only for the United States — but for everybody. For you and me.” 

U.S. still has some cards to play against China

CBC News reached out to a half-dozen North American authorities on China last weekend after pro-democracy politicians were arrested and Beijing threatened a law expanding its control over the country’s semi-autonomous enclave.

Police turned a water cannon on thousands of protesters crowding the streets last weekend as they marched against China’s move to ban secessionist and subversive activity.

The general view of the experts contacted was that Washington still has several tools at its disposal. Aside from threatening Hong Kong’s crucial trade status, it can punish rights abusers with sanctions and grant U.S. visas to protesters.

But they shared three warnings. 

First, such actions might not work. Second, they might even rebound to harm the U.S. and Hong Kong itself. And, finally, there’s a high-ranking wild card: U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump, the ultimate wild card

It’s still unclear how deeply Trump cares about the Hong Kong issue. He’s sent mixed signals. 

On the one hand, he promised last week he’d react “very strongly” to any Beijing power grab and elaborated Tuesday that he’d have an “interesting” announcement soon. He’s also made standing up to China one of his main re-election arguments

Yet there’s scant evidence of Trump taking an interest in the political freedoms of Hong Kong residents. He tweeted 118 times during the three-day Memorial Day long weekend yet Hong Kong didn’t come up once in his Twitter feed.

Trump’s clearest tweet about Hong Kong is six years old, and what he said back then was that former president Barack Obama shouldn’t bother supporting its protesters.

Hong Kong — a long-term U.S. dilemma

American uncertainty about Hong Kong was etched into its response from the very first day the former British colony reverted to Chinese control.

Then-secretary of state Madeleine Albright flew in for the 1997 celebration but made a point of snubbing one event. Voicing a fear that residents’ political freedoms might disappear, she skipped the opening of the new Hong Kong legislature.

That fear of lost autonomy is now materializing, and a quarter-century later, the United States is running into a hard deadline for picking a path on Hong Kong.

The main difference now is that the U.S., no longer the unrivalled superpower it was in 1997, is running lower on options for influencing events within China.

Anti-government protesters set up roadblocks under umbrellas during a march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong on May 24. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

‘The beginning of the end of Hong Kong’s uniqueness’

When asked if the U.S. is still capable of affecting Hong Kong’s trajectory, Ong hesitated.

“Maybe. Maybe, possibly,” she said.

“I hate to say this, but I think it’s the beginning of the end of Hong Kong’s uniqueness.” 

WATCH | Thousands in Hong Kong protest China’s national security bill on Sunday:

Protesters and police clash in Hong Kong as thousands take to the streets to push back against a Chinese national security bill some warn could erode Hong Kong’s autonomy. 2:04

Bill Bishop, a writer and businessman who’s lived in Beijing and Washington and writes a daily China newsletter, Sinocism, expressed skepticism in a weekend interview that the U.S. would take major action in defence of Hong Kongers.

“I don’t think [Trump] actually cares about the human rights stuff,” Bishop said.

Still, the U.S. has significant interests in Hong Kong, with 85,000 American citizens and more than 1,300 businesses located there. 

Hong Kong also remains a critical point of contact between China and the outside world. A majority of the foreign business investment in China occurs through Hong Kong.

Pan-democratic legislator Chu Hoi-dick scuffles with security during a committee meeting in Hong Kong’s legislature, known as the Legislative Council. ( Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Three potential U.S. policy tools

A former Canadian ambassador to China, David Mulroney, said it’s still possible for democracies to influence the course of events in Hong Kong.

He said it’s imperative to push back and buy time for Hong Kong residents to vote this fall in their legislative elections, which might allow them to send a strong pro-democracy message.

“It’s very late in the day, but it’s not too late,” he said.

Anti-government protesters demonstrated on New Year’s Day to call for better governance and democratic reforms in Hong Kong. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Mulroney identified three broad sets of actions the U.S. and allies might take:

Migration: Protesters should be reassured, Mulroney said, that they would be allowed to enter the U.S. if they have been arrested for political dissent. 

Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien said in a weekend interview with NBC that he expects an exodus of financial capital and human talent from Hong Kong: “You’re … going to have a terrible brain drain.”

Bishop, however, said he doubts Trump would open the immigration floodgates — he’s actually restricting immigration during the pandemic.

Sanctions: Mulroney said the U.S. and allies could freeze assets and deny entry to rights-violators.

Glaser said there could be targeted sanctions against entities and individuals who violate the terms of the 1984 U.K.-China agreement.

The agreement promised Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after the transfer, meaning until 2047.

Hong Kong’s last British governor, Chris Patten, left, sits with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright during a June 30, 1997, banquet for the handover of the territory to China. (Reuters file)

Stripping Hong Kong’s status: That’s what Pompeo alluded to Wednesday. Under a U.S. law passed last year with near-unanimous support, the State Department must report annually to Congress on whether Hong Kong still deserves the distinction set out in the 1992 law.

The death of Hong Kong?

Can any U.S. action scare China’s president, Xi Jinping, into reversing course?

“To be honest, not much at this point [would make a difference],” Bishop said over the weekend. 

“The U.S., the international community, can condemn and punish. But I think it’s very unlikely — if in fact not totally impossible — that any such punishment will actually lead to Beijing changing its decision or modifying its behaviour.”

Xi arrives for a plenary session Monday of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, where new security laws for Hong Kong are under discussion. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

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CBC | World News

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Perform Intimate Duet on CMT’s ‘Feed The Front Line’ Special

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw Perform Intimate Duet on CMT’s ‘Feed The Front Line’ Special | Entertainment Tonight

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Jonas Brothers, Barack Obama, Zendaya & More: The Best Moments From the ‘Graduate Together’ Special

‘Graduate Together’ Best Moments: Jonas Brothers, Barack Obama, Zendaya & More | Entertainment Tonight

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How to Watch the ‘Graduate Together’ Class of 2020 Special

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‘Girl With No Job’ Instagram Star Claudia Oshry Releases Trailer for Her Debut Stand-Up Special

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CFL’s Tackle Hunger program holds special meaning for Argos’ Jamal Campbell

Jamal Campbell was never quite sure how the box of food ended up at his home while growing up in the community of Jane and Finch in Toronto, but he understood what it meant to his family.

He saw relief and gratitude.

He grew one of four kids to single mother Christine. who he says worked around the clock trying to provide the best life for her children.

“She’s a wonderful woman,” said Campbell, now an offensive lineman for his hometown Argonauts. “I get my hard work from her. Growing up watching her take care of me and my siblings. She raised us pretty much on her own over the years.”

Campbell’s family relied on many community services, and Christine paid it back by volunteering the family’s efforts at summer camps and other programs, helping to ensure they were there for other families in need.

“It was always important for us to give back,” Campbell told CBC Sports. “It helped with character building and me understanding all the blessings that I have.”

All these years later, Campbell can fully grasp how vital food banks and other community services were in helping achieve the life he had always imagined for himself.

“Growing up I needed that support and wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for others helping out,” he said.

Now, as Canada and the rest of the world battle the global pandemic, Campbell is doing his part to give back.

Jamal Campbell, right, helps up quarterback Michael O’Connor during a game against the Ottawa Redblacks in October. Campbell has played four seasons as an offensive lineman with the Toronto Argonauts. (Hans Deryk/Canadian Press)

On Monday, the Canadian Football League launched its annual Purolator Tackle Hunger Initiative in support of food banks across Canada. Normally the campaign would kick off in the midst of the CFL season, allowing fans to bring nonperishable food items to the stadiums, but with the season on hold, the league has started it early with so many people in need.

Since 2003, this employee-led grassroots initiative has helped deliver more than 13 million pounds of food to families across the country. Campbell is doing everything he can to raise awareness about the difference it can make and has made for his family.

This crisis is larger than sports and business. It’s about people and life.– CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie

“It’s critical,” he said. “Growing up we would get our box of food, I was appreciative of it and I know my family was but I didn’t understand the full complexity of how it got to us.”

In 2019, food banks across the country saw an average of 1.1 million visits per month. One third of them are children. The obstacle for food banks now is they cannot accept physical food donations from the public because of the virus. So, the CFL is asking Canadians to donate money to help the food banks. 

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the league is doing everything it can to help ease the burden of worrying about being able to put food on the table.  

“This crisis is larger than sports and business. It’s about people and life,” he said.

“In this time of self-isolation and staying apart, it’s important to know that we can come together for a cause. The coronavirus and food insecurity affect us all — children, families, communities and at our core, who we are as Canadians. Now more than ever, we must uplift, support and protect one another.”

Campbell is deeply introspective and vulnerable. He doesn’t shy away from speaking candidly about the long and winding journey he’s taken to get this point — he just recently signed a three-year contract extension with the Argos.

On May 22, 2016 Campbell was selected 22nd overall in the CFL draft by the Argos. He said it is one of the greatest moments of his life — his mother and family were all by his side inside their home when the announcement was made, hugging and celebrating.

“There are no words to explain that moment. To get there was a journey and a long process,” Campbell said.

Campbell grew up in the area of Jane and Finch in Toronto and is grateful for the community services that helped him and his family. (Photo courtesy tomasmakacek.com)

The 26-year-old offensive lineman understands fully where he comes from, what he has, and doesn’t take any of it for granted — it’s what drives him to give back today.

For years, he’s been a lead player in helping raise awareness for the CFL’s food bank campaign. He’s been in food banks, meeting the volunteers and supporting cast who make the food boxes.

“That actually helped me humble myself a little more. It reminded me of when I was younger,” Campbell said.

“When you go back years later and see the process, the people, it really goes full circle and shows there’s a lot of love out there. That’s what we have to stand on right now.”

Proud of his Jane-Finch roots

Campbell is relentless in giving back to his community. He still lives in Jane and Finch, a community in Toronto Campbell says has socio-economic issues but one he’s proud to call home.

“A lot of people are working and hustling. A lot of people are just trying to make something more of themselves. I think that’s where I got my strength from,” Campbell said.

“There are going to be a lot of youth coming out of that community and other parts of Toronto who are going to have a great impact on this world. I just want to encourage them on that journey. Just really believe.”

In 2017 Campbell was given the Urban Hero Award for his work with youth in the community. He volunteers at after-school programs, food banks, Boys and Girls clubs as well as a number of community sport programs.

He says when he speaks to young children and young athletes, he sees so much of himself in them and wants to remind them of their potential.

“You just see how much ability they have. They don’t even understand it. They don’t see their greatness,” Campbell said.

“We have to continue to show them how great they can be.”

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