Tag Archives: wake

Biden orders review of domestic terrorism threat in wake of U.S. Capitol riot

U.S. President Joe Biden has directed law enforcement and intelligence officials in his administration to study the threat of domestic violent extremism in the United States, an undertaking being launched weeks after a mob of insurgents loyal to Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The disclosure Friday by White House press secretary Jen Psaki is a stark acknowledgement of the national security threat that officials see as posed by American extremists motivated to violence by radical ideology.

The involvement of the director of national intelligence, an office created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to prevent international terrorism, suggests that American authorities are examining how to pivot to a more concerted focus on violence from extremists at home.

The threat assessment, co-ordinated by the national intelligence office, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, will be used as a foundation to develop policy, the White House said.

In addition, the National Security Council will do its own policy review to see how information about the problem can be better shared across the government. And the administration will work on a more co-ordinated approach, with a focus on addressing social media and radicalization, Psaki said.

“The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol and the tragic deaths and destruction that occurred underscored what we all know: The rise of domestic violent extremism is a serious and growing national security threat.” 

She said the administration will confront the problem with resources, policies and “respect for constitutionally protected free speech and political activities.”

Riot raising questions about national security

The riot at the Capitol, which led last week to Trump’s second impeachment, raised questions about whether a federal government national security apparatus that for years has moved aggressively to combat threats from foreign terror groups and their followers in the U.S. is adequately equipped to address the threat of domestic extremism.

It’s an issue that has flared periodically over the years, with different attacks — including a massacre at a Pittsburgh synagogue — renewing debate over whether a law specific to domestic terrorism is needed.

WATCH | New war on terrorism in U.S. is domestic, former FBI agent says:

Given the events of Jan. 6, the likelihood of someone attempting an attack around the presidential inauguration is ‘extremely high,’ says former FBI special agent Jack Cloonan. 7:46

It is unclear when the threat assessment will conclude or whether it will precipitate law enforcement and intelligence getting new tools or authorities to address a problem that officials say has proved challenging to combat, partly because of First Amendment protections.

FBI Director Chris Wray said last fall that, over the past year, the most lethal violence has come from anti-government activists, such as anarchists and militia types.

Law enforcement agencies are under scrutiny for their preparations for the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. More than 150 people are facing charges so far, including a man who was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt, as well as QAnon conspiracy theorists and members of militia groups.

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Protesters sue Chicago police over alleged attacks and false arrests in wake of George Floyd’s death

Dozens of protesters sued Chicago’s police chief and several officers on Thursday in federal court, accusing them of brutal attacks and false arrests during social justice demonstrations this summer.

The 205-page lawsuit that 60 protesters filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Illinois named Chicago Police Department (CPD) Supt. David Brown as a defendant. It claims officers violated protesters’ constitutional rights and it calls for the department to pay them unspecified monetary damages.

“The CPD and other city agencies responded to these demonstrations with brutal, violent, and unconstitutional tactics that are clearly intended to injure, silence, and intimidate,” the suit said.

Demonstrations calling for racial justice and police reforms unfolded in Chicago and other U.S. cities after George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in late May. Some of the demonstrations in Chicago this summer turned violent with rioters destroying property and looters stealing from retail stores.

The suit claims police officers used unjustifiable tactics such as tackling and beating protesters and using chemical agents against them. It also accuses police of falsely arresting protesters and trapping them in enclosed areas.

The city’s law department said it had not been served with the lawsuit.

“It is important to remember that these are allegations at this stage and not proof. We will review the complaint thoroughly, and each allegation it contains, once we have been served and respond through the courts as appropriate,” the department’s spokesperson, Kathleen Fieweger, said in an email to Reuters.

Before the lawsuit, protesters filed more than 520 complaints against Chicago police officers for their conduct during the demonstrations.

Five officers were referred to state and federal law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution while eight were reassigned or relieved of police duties, the suit noted.

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Quebec promises diversity training for health-care workers in wake of Joyce Echaquan’s death

A little less than a month after taking over as Quebec’s Indigenous affairs minister, Ian Lafrenière has announced a $ 15-million plan to teach health-care workers how to better provide services to members of Indigenous communities — with an emphasis on cultural safety.

That means providing care in accordance with Indigenous norms and traditions.

The announcement is a direct response to the death this fall of a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman at a hospital in Joliette, Que., a town about an hour north of Montreal.

In late September, Joyce Echaquan did a Facebook live of her treament in her hospital room shortly before her death. Viewers could hear her pleas and the staff’s response: degrading and racist insults.

The exact cause of her death is still not known.

Lafrenière was accompanied by Health Minister Christian Dubé as he told reporters the government wants to remove barriers for Indigenous communities in the health and social services network. 

“We would like to regain trust from different nations,” Lafrenière said.

Echaquan’s death sparked protests, a public inquiry and a public apology from Quebec Premier François Legault at the National Assembly.

WATCH | Lafrenière says Quebec’s efforts are not just about ‘image making’:

Ian Lafrenière, Quebec’s new minister of Indigenous affairs, says the province is “talking about facts” and not just concerned with “image making.” 0:49

Cultural safety was a key component in the Viens Commission’s 142 recommendations, which documented the discrimination Indigenous people face when receiving public services.

The cultural-safety training is expected to be rolled out gradually, starting with hospitals that take in more Indigenous patients — such as Joliette Hospital where Echaquan died  — before eventually being implemented across the province.

A team at l’Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue developed the training guide, and Indigenous community leaders will have a chance to weigh in on its contents.

“There are many subtleties that we need to have in the training and this is the reason we want to involve them,” Dubé said.

The province will also hire liaison agents and health-care “navigators” who will serve as go-betweens for hospitals and members of Indigenous communities, with the navigators expected to come from Indigenous communities.

“Today, this is not image making, this is facts,” said Lafrenière. “We’re not telling you it’s going to be done within a week. It’s going to be a long process.”

Joyce Echaquan’s mother is seen at a vigil after hear death at the Joliette, Que., hospital. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

‘This is one announcement, this is not the last one’

The $ 15-million investment is part of a $ 200-million envelope set aside by the CAQ government in its latest budget.

It’s also Lafrenière’s first major move since replacing Sylvie D’Amours as the Indigenous affairs minister.

“This is one announcement, this is not the last one,” he said. “Let’s hope for the future, work for the future.”

His appointment last month raised eyebrows and drew criticism, due to his history as a high-ranking Montreal police officer. Indigenous communities have said their relationship with Montreal police is a tense one.

Lafrenière promised swift action, and claimed his experience with the SPVM was an asset in his new role, not a liability.

Following Echaquan’s death, voices calling for the CAQ government to recognize systemic racism grew louder, but Legault and Lafrenière, have both denied it exists in the province.

WATCH | Legault apologizes following Joyce Echaquan’s death

François Legault said the Quebec government has a duty to treat everyone with dignity and respect. He said Quebec failed that duty by allowing Joyce Echaquan to die amid racist taunts. 1:05

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Quebec’s $100M mental health funding announcement pushed up in wake of sword attack in capital

In his first public address since a sword attack that killed two people in Quebec’s capital on Halloween, Premier François Legault says the province will invest more time and money into improving mental health services. 

“What happened on Saturday night is appalling,” Legault said at a news conference Monday morning. “It’s hard to understand how such violence can occur. It raises questions about mental illness.”

“We can reduce the impacts for certain people who have mental illness by offering more services,” he said.   

When announcing details of $ 100 million in provincial funding for mental health services Monday afternoon, Lionel Carmant, Quebec’s junior health minister, said he didn’t want to draw any links between the pandemic’s effects on people’s mental health and the attack, but said the government was taking those effects seriously.  

The funding announcement was expected next week, but was pushed ahead in light of the attacks. 

On Sunday, 24-year-old Carl Girouard was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder after allegedly attacking seven people in Old Quebec on Halloween night with a sword while dressed in a medieval outfit. He is expected back in court Thursday. 

Carmant said he also wanted to make sure people don’t confuse mental health issues with mental health illnesses, and said that people who experience either are rarely violent. 

“I think that what happened this weekend was unpredictable and that we can’t make a definitive link to the pandemic.”

A third of the $ 100 million in funding will go toward reducing wait lists for mental health services, both in public health and education settings. There are 16,000 people in line for mental health services, Carmant said. 

Another third of the money will go to improving services in health facilities. Of the rest of the funding, $ 19 million will go to street workers who are part of a team called Sentinelle, whose role is to meet with vulnerable populations, and $ 10 million will go to community organizations providing mental health services. 

Too soon to diagnose suspect, expert says

Though experts say it is too soon to diagnose the suspect in the attacks, some drew comparisons to the trauma experienced in the wake of the Quebec City mosque shooting. Meanwhile, the province also moved to provide psychosocial supports for those affected by the attacks.

Marc-André Lamontagne, a psychologist who interviewed the Quebec City mosque shooter over two days in 2018, said there are some commonalities between the two incidents, namely that they occurred in a public place and people were not expecting to be attacked. 

“But when it comes to motivation, what’s hidden behind the act, the personal history — for now, we don’t know enough to establish resemblance between the two cases,” Lamontagne said. 

University of Ottawa psychology professor Tracy Vaillancourt, who studies the links between mental health and violence as a Canada Tier 1 Research Chair, pointed out that the mosque shooting “was a targeted event — it was directed at individuals because of their religion.”

Streets were blocked off and orange tape was strung up throughout the Old Quebec on Sunday. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

Police and provincial and municipal officials held a news conference Sunday morning, where Quebec City police said the suspect’s actions show that he likely premeditated the attack, but that the victims were chosen at random. They said Girouard does not have a criminal record, but the suspect did reveal five years ago in a “medical context” that he wanted to commit a violent act.

Vaillancourt said that past history is a better indicator of the likelihood someone would commit a violent act, rather than mental health issues. 

Mental health support crucial, officials say

Describing mental illness as the “biggest safety concern” in major Canadian cities for decades to come, Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said during Sunday’s news conference that it is becoming increasingly difficult for authorities to manage.

Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault echoed Labeaume’s call for public discussion about mental health Sunday, calling it “a major issue that has perhaps been too long and too often forgotten.”

Manon Massé, co-spokesperson for Québec Solidaire, said COVID-19 public health restrictions “are causing even more distress” than usual. 

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said the question of mental health is “at the heart of what we do.”

Monday evening, Labeaume held a news conference saying he welcomed the $ 100-million investment from the provincial government, but was calling for a debate about how mental health services are administered in the province.

“People want to know what innovations there are in how we intervene in mental health; what other places are doing; whether we’re doing things the right way, and can we re-discuss existing laws? People want to understand why mental health feels like a bigger problem than it was 10 or 20 years ago,” Labeaume said. 

Describing it as the “biggest safety concern in major Canadian cities for decades to come,” Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume said mental illness is becoming increasingly difficult for authorities to manage. (Sylvain Roy Roussel/Radio-Canada)

Quebec City’s regional health authority is sending an intervention team to provide psychosocial support to citizens of Old Quebec on Monday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the corner of Hébert and Remparts streets, near where the attacks occurred.

The Info-Social 811 line is also available to answer calls for people who need support. 

Labeaume will offer a message of reassurance and comfort to students at the Collège François-de-Laval and the École des Ursulines in Old Quebec, which are also near the scene of Saturday’s attack. Psychological support staff will also be sent to the schools.

Memories of Quebec City mosque shooting

Labeaume said the sword attack reminded him of the mosque shooting that took place at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre just under four years ago in his city. 

Mohamed Labidi, founder and president of the Quebec Islamic Cultural Centre, said he was also reminded of the 2017 attack. 

“These were gratuitous attacks which should never have taken place,” Labidi said, offering his condolences to the families of the victims.  

He said addressing mental health issues is extremely important. 

“The more we address these issues, the more we will have a peaceful society.”

WATCH | Attack evokes memories of 2017 mosque attack:

Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault and Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume say the overnight stabbing in Quebec City reminded them of the 2017 mosque shooting, which killed six people. 1:53

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Union launches nationwide appeal for long-term care reform in wake of COVID-19

The union backing Canada’s public employees is launching a nationwide effort to transform long-term care into a publicly funded, universal health care system in the midst of a pandemic it says has exacerbated problems in facilities across the country and led to the deaths of thousands of residents.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees — which represents 65,000 long-term care nurses, aides and dietary, cleaning and administrative staff — is ramping up previous calls to overhaul Canada’s system in a new campaign intended to educate the public and capture the attention of federal politicians.

“Right now, long-term care in Canada is a patchwork system with no national standards,” said CUPE national secretary-treasurer Charles Fleury in a news release. “It’s time to fix that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately hit long-term care facilities across Canada, with approximately 80 per cent of deaths related to the disease occurring in seniors’ homes. Some employees are dealing with shortages of protective equipment and low wages, while others have contracted the disease themselves. 

The Canadian Armed Forces has also sent more than 1,250 personnel to assist seniors’ homes in Quebec and Ontario, which have experienced significant outbreaks.

The crisis has prompted federal and provincial politicians alike to confront the state of elder care in Canada.

In April, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country was “failing” its older population, while Ontario Premier Doug Ford called Canada’s existing system “broken.”

WATCH | Trudeau on federally regulating long-term care:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with reporters on Thursday. 1:12

Members pushing for national standards of care

CUPE is planning to ask its members working in care homes to send their appeals directly to the federal government and hopes to target the prime minister and individual MPs through a letter-writing campaign.

The impetus behind effort is the union’s belief that improving elder care will be top of mind for voters in the next federal election.

In a letter addressed to Trudeau and other federal party leaders last week, CUPE National president Mark Hancock called for long-term care to be regulated under the Canada Health Act, the federal legislation responsible for publicly funded health care insurance. 

The union also implored leaders to set aside dedicated funding to the provinces and territories through the Canada Health Transfer and wants to see the implementation of national standards of care. 

Long-term care is a provincial responsibility, and the majority of facilities are public, non-profit or a mix of the two. Less than 40 per cent of residences are privately owned, which operate on a for-profit basis.

Eliminating the for-profit ownership of homes is another element of CUPE’s strategy.

“We believe long-term care should be a core, publicly delivered health care service, like visiting a family doctor or staying in a hospital, in part because the profit motive negatively impacts working conditions and quality of care,” the union said in a statement to CBC News. “Valuing profitability of care over quality of care is what got us into this situation.”

For-profits not the problem, private home owner says

But the pandemic caught all types of residences off guard, said Paul Arbec, the vice president of the association representing Quebec’s private long-term care residences.

Arbec, who also leads a health care group that owns 16 private care centres across Quebec, said the lack of testing in his province and reduced access to protective equipment was largely responsible for the outbreaks that have devastated some of Quebec’s facilities.

He also rejected the notion that residences built on for-profit models result in lesser conditions for residents and staff. 

“Profit is made on the real estate and room and board side of things and does not in any way hinder direct care to the residents,” Arbec said.

However, he added that he was not opposed to private homes receiving subsidies, stating that both models work better in tandem.

“Having private partners in a public system has managed to keep the public system as efficient as possible, as there remains a healthy competition,” Arbec said.

CUPE plans to launch its campaign Monday.

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Are Auto Shows a Goner in the Wake of Coronavirus?

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Another auto show bites the dust, temporarily. The New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) has been postponed from April to late August, hardly prime time for a car show, on account of concerns about the novel coronavirus outbreak. That makes three major auto shows called off recently: in China, the mid-February Beijing International Automotive Exhibition (Auto China 2020) was postponed from its April 21 opening date with no makeup date announced. The Geneva International Motor Show (GIMS) with public days March 5-15 was canceled in late February, the week before press days were to begin.

Now New York is a goner, at least from its customary dates starting on Good Friday, two days before Easter, and running 10 days, plus press days the Wednesday and Thursday before. The new dates are Friday, August 28 through Sunday, September 6, 2020 (Labor Day weekend), with two press days before the show opens. This is hardly prime time for an auto show. But it’s not easy to find two-plus weeks open for setup, media days, the show’s 10-day run, and teardown at a major convention center.

Javits Center, near the Hudson River, site of the annual New York International Auto Show. This year it’s in late August and early September.

Lots of Tech Shows Cancelled

Auto shows are not alone. Lots of other technology events were canceled, including:

  • Mobile World Congress (Feb. 24-27, Barcelona).
  • The annual developer conferences for Facebook (F8, May 5-6, in Silicon Valley) and Google (Google I/O, May 12-14, Mountain View)
  • SXSW (South by Southwest, March 13-22, Austin)
  • Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (weekends of April 10 and April 16, Indio, Californa)
  • E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo, June 9-11, Los Angeles)

There is some fear MWC may implode because of losses racked up by smaller vendors. Most attendees love Barcelona (other than the pickpockets), nestled at the eastern edge of Spain along the Mediterranean.

At the 2019 New York show, a Kia Niro concept car offshoot with a fabulous name: Kia HabaNiro.

The Threat to Auto Shows

The auto shows are a special case because they’re facing pressures unlike those experienced by developer conferences or conference/music festivals (SXSW, Coachella). There’s a growing angst about why auto shows exist at all.

Auto shows are three events in one. In advance of the shows are one or two days of press conferences, parties, and drinking, called the media and analyst days. Then there’s a day of insider previews or advance looks for some of the public and a formal dinner where dealers and spouses can dress up; this is often tied to a charity. Then there are about 10 days of public events.

One threat is that the public can learn a lot about new cars online including background information, plus pricing and shopping strategies. There’s less need to visit the dealer until you’re ready to buy. Also, as newer generations of kids grow up, cars seem less mystical, and auto shows less interesting, than they were for their parents and grandparents.

Also, automakers using marketing tools honed online to reach out to the most likely prospects and entice them with a $ 50 gift card for visiting the dealer and doing a test drive. For high-end cars, they may be “experiential marketing” events in the parking lot of a sports stadium where drivers race (so to speak) through pylon courses and eat a nice lunch under a canopy. The money for that has to come from somewhere and it may be from automaker auto show budgets.

Automakers at most major shows set up nice booths for the press days then turn them over to the dealers. If auto shows lose value in the eyes of automakers, dealers and dealer associations fear there’ll be less automaker support for future shows.

With the cancellations, there have been no major and only two mid-major shows this year, Washington and Chicago. The third, Miami, is skipping from November 2019 to February 2020 once Detroit’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) moved from January (last show in 2019) to June 2020 (planned for June 9-20).

All this came about because the Detroit show grew weaker, in part because luxury / sport brands (Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche especially) found little buyer support in Michigan, not surprising when you can get an excellent friends/family discount on a Cadillac, Lincoln, or GMC Denali upscale vehicle. Detroit also wound up losing its modest tech aura to the CES show the week before in Las Vegas. And the weather was often poor. Detroit’s Automobili-D tech exhibit wound up being less of a media draw than was LA’s Automobility focus, a sort of trade show/conference running parallel to the press days.

All this affects tech moving forward in this sense: Auto shows and CES are about exchanging ideas, poaching workers, and showcasing technology in a party town where there’s no snow. On that score, Detroit versus Las Vegas, it was Sin City 2, Detroit 0. The Los Angeles show does the next-best job of blending tech into its show. Interestingly, even as auto manufacturing in Michigan has not been growing, the state remains a center of innovation for all the world’s automakers, components suppliers such as Magna, and for smaller tech conferences not part of auto shows.

Detroit auto show in 2009, when the Europeans still took part wholeheartedly.

What’s Happening in New York

Tuesday, the New York show posted:

As a result of the ongoing health concerns from the spread of the coronavirus in the region, the New York International Auto Show has been rescheduled to August 28 – September 6, 2020. Press days are August 26 & 27, 2020. “We are taking this extraordinary step to help protect our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus,” said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, the organization that owns and operates the New York Auto Show.

“For 120 years, ‘the show must go on’ has been heavily embedded in our DNA, and while the decision to move the show dates didn’t come easy, our top priority remains with the health and well-being of all those involved in this historic event. We have already been in communication with many of our exhibitors and partners and are confident that the new dates for the 2020 Show will make for another successful event,” Schienberg added.

What happens to the temporarily moved New York show is uncertain. Most of the German automakers had already announced they would not be at the 2020 show in April, and several bailed the year before. This even though the three top sales areas for expensive cars are metro New York, LA/Southern California, and Miami. It’s not clear if automakers who committed, pre-coronavirus, to X-thousand square feet of exhibition space for April will continue with same-size plans for the August-September show. The final days coincide with Labor Day weekend.

Now read:

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Whirlwind continues for Christine Sinclair in wake of world goal-scoring record

The whirlwind continued for Christine Sinclair a day after becoming the world’s all-time leading goal-scorer.

In the wake of notching goals No. 184 and 185 in an 11-0 romp over St. Kitts and Nevis on Wednesday at the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, the Canada captain left H-E-B Park holding a box containing a pair of bespoke pair of Nike PhantomVNM boots commemorating her milestone night.

The red boots features her No. 12 jersey number, a Canadian flag, a quote from her late University of Portland coach Clive Charles (“You better earn your right to play”) and two nicknames (Sinc and Wonder) among other special touches.

Sinclair said Thursday that equipment manager Maeve Glass had been carrying them around for the last couple of months in anticipation.

“They’re pretty sick. I’ll probably be wearing them the next couple of games,” she said with a laugh.

Back at the hotel, the 36-year-old from Burnaby B.C., was greeted by a congratulatory video supervised by midfielder Sophie Schmidt featuring friends and former college, club and Canada teammates. Robyn Gayle, a former teammate now on the Canadian team staff, decorated a room with photos documenting her career.

“It was very embarrassing but very special,” said Sinclair.

WATCH | Sinclair scores record-breaking goal:

Canadian Christine Sinclair scores the 185th goal of her career, passing American Abby Wambach on the all-time goals list. 1:10

As one might expect, her phone blew up. But she made just two calls, both to her family.

“I hope people understand that I’ll slowly get back to them over the course of the next couple of days because it’s been a lot, it’s been overwhelming.”

Then there was a wave of interviews Thursday. Sinclair, while no fan of the limelight, was a trooper.

“I’m not going to lie. To have broken the record is a weight off my shoulders,” she said. “Now I can just actually go out and enjoy it and help Canada qualify for the Olympics, because that’s the true focus, now that that goal thing is out of the way.”

Sinclair’s brace moved her past retired American Abby Wambach, who had held the mark of 184 goals. And while the Canadian skipper is as humble as they come, she is savouring seeing a Maple Leaf atop the all-time goals list.

“I’m a proud Canadian. I’m proud a Canadian’s on top of the list, I’m not going to lie,” she said.

“To have a Canadian on top of the list in a so-called hockey country, is pretty cool,” she added.

WATCH | Sinclair discusses the impact Wambach, Hamm had on her:

After becoming international soccer’s all-time leading goal scorer, Christine Sinclair spoke about the impact Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach had on her career. 1:10

Sinclair also noted the growth of the game in Canada and the support the program has received over the years.

“This environment has never been the most comfortable for me,” she said, waving at the cameras around her. “But at the same time I’m proud to represent women’s soccer. I’m proud that people care.

“When I first joined the national team, my first World Cup [in 2003] I don’t even think people knew it was happening [back] in Canada. To see the change in that has been remarkable. And it’s only going to get bigger and better. Knowing that I’ve been a small part of that is pretty special.”

Asked what she has to say to kids looking up to her, Sinclair said: “Aim higher. Follow your crazy dreams. For me it happened to be soccer, it happened to be sports. To this day I mean I don’t think I’ve worked a day in my life. When you’re so passionate about what you do, you’re willing to put in the extra work.

“Myself, my teammates, we’re proof that those dreams sometimes do come true.”

In the wake of her record-breaking performance, Sinclair drew the attention of FIFA president Gianni Infantino. In a letter to Sinclair released by FIFA, Infantino offered his “warmest congratulations on this historical and exceptional accomplishment.”

“This achievement rewards your outstanding 20-year career at the highest level, which could only be achieved thanks to your tremendous commitment, exemplary motivation, hard work and incredible passion for our beautiful game,” he wrote. “Your human qualities and skills, not to mention your remarkable contribution to the popularity and growth of women’s football, or soccer, deserve our admiration.”

WATCH | Canadian athletes congratulate Sinclair:

Canada dominates Saint Kitts and Nevis 11-0 in Olympic qualifying tournament, Christine Sinclair becomes international soccer’s top goal scorer. 2:01

The FIFA boss noted Sinclair had made 290 appearances for Canada, appearing in five FIFA Women’s World Cups and three Olympics.

“Congratulations again, dear Christine, and thank you for helping convey the positive message of football, promoting its image and benefits and being a wonderful example and role model for all those wishing to forge a career in football,” he added.

CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani, Canada Soccer president Steven Reed and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were among those who also sent congratulations after the game via social media. As did Wambach and fellow American Mia Hamm, who held the goals record at 158 until Wambach passed her in 2013.

Sinclair’s Twitter feed had passed the 100,000 mark by Thursday evening.

Sinclair’s goal haul is more than Cristiano Ronaldo (99) and Pele (77) combined. Ali Daei leads the men’s international goal list with 109 in 149 appearances for Iran between 1993 and 2006.

Dwayne De Rosario tops Canadian men in scoring with 22 goals in 81 games, although 20-year-old Jonathan David is making waves with 11 goals in just 12 appearances.

Having thumped the Sugar Girlz to open the tournament, Canada now faces the Reggae Girlz of Jamaica on Saturday. No. 51 Jamaica lost 1-0 to No. 26 Mexico on Wednesday.

WATCH | Canada dominates St. Kitts in historic match:

With her 185th international soccer goal, Christine Sinclair become the world record-holder for most ever international goals. Here are some Canadian sports legends sending her well wishes on the feat. 1:30

Canada is 7-0-0 all-time against the Jamaicans with a 48-1 edge in scoring. Sinclair has accounted for 11 of those goals.

The Canadian women reviewed the St. Kitts win in a meeting with Sinclair saying coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller had offered her congratulations “for the last time.”

“I think once I probably walk out of this room, it will be time to move on an focus on the upcoming games,” Sinclair said. “And then probably revisit this when the tournament is over and I get to spend some time with my family back home and let it sink in.”

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Queen Elizabeth Is ‘Devastated’ in Wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Announcement

Queen Elizabeth Is ‘Devastated’ in Wake of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Announcement | Entertainment Tonight

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Japan vows to strengthen immigration checks in wake of Carlos Ghosn escape

Japan’s justice minister says the flight of former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn as he awaited trial on financial misconduct charges was inexcusable and vowed to beef up immigration checks.

Justice Minister Masako Mori said Sunday she has ordered an investigation after Ghosn issued a statement saying he was in Lebanon.

She said there were no records of Ghosn’s departure from Tokyo.

She said his bail has been revoked, and Interpol had issued a wanted notice. Departure checks needed to be strengthened to prevent a recurrence, Mori said.

While expressing deep regret over what had happened, Mori stopped short of outlining any specific action Japan might take to get Ghosn back.

Japan does not have an extradition treaty with Lebanon.

A vehicle leaves Ghosn’s house in Beirut, Lebanon, on Saturday. (Maya Alleruzzo/Associated Press)

“Our nation’s criminal justice system protects the basic human rights of an individual and properly carries out appropriate procedures to disclose the truth of various cases, and the flight of a suspect while out on bail is never justified,” she said in a statement.

Mori’s statement was the first public comment by a Japanese government official after the stunning escape of Ghosn, once a superstar of the auto industry.

First arrested in November 2018, Ghosn was out on bail over the last several months, and more recently had moved into a home in an upscale part of Tokyo.

He has repeatedly said he was innocent. His statement from Beirut said he was escaping injustice.

Japan’s justice system has come under fire from human rights advocates for its long detentions, the reliance on confessions and prolonged trials.

Ghosn’s trial was not expected to start until April at the earliest.

During that time, he had been prohibited from seeing his wife, and was only allowed a couple of video calls in the presence of a lawyer.

Watch: Interpol issues ‘red notice’ for Ghosn

Why disgraced ex-Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn may be beyond the reach of prosecutors after his dramatic escape to Lebanon — and despite a request for his arrest by Interpol. 2:06

Ghosn had been charged with underreporting his future compensation and breach of trust in diverting Nissan money for his personal gain.

Although the details of his escape are not yet clear, Turkish airline company MNG Jet has said two of its planes were used illegally, first flying him from Osaka, Japan, to Istanbul, and then on to Beirut, where he arrived Monday and has not been seen since.

He promised to talk to reporters Wednesday.

His lawyers in Japan said they knew nothing, were stunned and felt betrayed by his action.

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Geoff Ward has Flames playing in tune in wake of Bill Peters’s departure

With his daughter Valentina by his side in the Calgary Flames locker room, Milan Lucic ruminated on the importance of what he calls Happyland.

Happyland, to Lucic, is the rink itself — a magical place where distractions, such as Friday’s dramatic departure of head coach Bill Peters, disappear if only for a while.

“I think I speak for everyone,” the hulking winger said Saturday night after the Flames dispatched the Ottawa Senators 3-1 in the first home game under interim head coach Geoff Ward. “When you’re out there, you get a chance to be free and be yourself and not think of anything other than doing what you love to do. And that’s playing hockey.”

Happy is not a word anyone would use to describe Calgary through the first two months of the 2019-2020 campaign. 

Fresh off a first-place finish in the Western Conference — and despite losing in five games to the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs — the Flames considered themselves legitimate Stanley Cup contenders to start the season.

Since then, however, they’ve struggled to score, endured a six-game losing streak and watched defenceman T.J. Brodie collapse during practice on Nov. 14. The defenceman was convulsing on the ice before paramedics rushed him to hospital — a situation defenceman Mark Giordano called the scariest moment of his career. Brodie is, thankfully, okay and returned to the lineup on Nov. 25.

WATCH | Flames pick up 2nd straight win:

Elias Lindholm scored a pair of goals in the Calgary Flames 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators. 1:20

But that same night, during a game in Pittsburgh, things got even worse when Akim Aliu tweeted allegations of racism against Peters from a decade ago when the two were with the American Hockey League Rockford IceHogs. Aliu claimed Peters repeatedly used a racial slur in a profanity-filled rant about his choice in hip-hop music.

One day later, former NHL defenceman Michal Jordan alleged Peters was physically abusive when he coached the Carolina Hurricanes.

Flames general manager Brad Treliving put Ward in charge of the bench last Wednesday in Buffalo. By Friday, Peters was officially gone and Ward was interim head coach.

The Flames beat Buffalo 3-2 in overtime before dispatching the expansion Ottawa Senators on Saturday night.

“For Wardo, it’s awesome,” said forward Dillon Dube. “Guys are really working for him now. Just the situation that happened, he comes in and it’s his first head coaching job in the NHL with us. It’s just awesome for him to be able to get two wins.”

On Friday, at his first home-ice practice as head coach, Ward asked Rasmus Andersson to play disc jockey and select music to pipe over the loudspeakers at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

The Swedish defenceman chose Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, Queen’s Radio Ga Ga and It’s Tricky by Run DMC.

And so the music plays on in Calgary with Ward asking players to take turns with DJ duties.

Ward runs practice on Friday following the resignation of head coach Bill Peters. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

“The frustration level is not high right now,” Ward said. “Guys are really helping each other out, talking, finding solutions. Talking to each other. They’re more solution-oriented rather than frustration-oriented, whereas some points earlier that may have been the case.

“We’re moving in the right direction. Guys are starting to see their play is trending up — and they’re feeling good about that. They’re finding ways to support each other and, as a result, the mood on the bench is real good.”

Ward is a one-time Grade 5 teacher in Kitchener, Ont. Now an 11-year assistant coach in the NHL, Ward helped the Boston Bruins win a Stanley Cup in 2011. He smiles easily and exudes positivity — which might be exactly what the Flames need in the post-Peters era.

“We’ve got seven out of the last eight points here,” Lucic said Saturday. “We want to get that good feeling going again. And how you get that good feeling again is by working hard and playing good defence.”

Further endearing himself to his charges, Ward cancelled Sunday’s practice to give the Flames two consecutive days off. 

Two days to escape to the Rocky Mountains. Two days to sleep in and play video games. Two days to change diapers and hit the toboggan hill with the kids.

Calgary’s Milan Lucic, right, bumps with Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki in the Flames’ win on Saturday. Lucic says being on the ice frees the players from all the distractions that have surrounded the team the past week. (Larry MacDougal/Canadian Press)

“December is a great month for everyone with the holiday season coming up,” Lucic said. “It’s no different for us as players.”

The hard-luck Flames enter December at 13-12-4 in the thick of a cluttered playoff race in the Western Conference.

“For us it has been a tough month for travel and with everything that happened, all in all, we’ll take it,” Ward said. “We can be happy with the progress we’re making but we can’t be satisfied with it. There are a lot of areas we’ve got to improve to get to where we ultimately want to be.”

Destination: Happyland.

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