Police in Canada’s biggest city are piecing together witness accounts and surveillance video trying to determine why a driver plowed a rented van along a crowded sidewalk, killing 10 people and injuring 15 in what many said seemed a deliberate attack.
A 25-year-old suspect was quickly captured in a tense but brief confrontation with officers a few blocks away from where his van jumped the sidewalk Monday and continued for a mile, leaving people bloodied and dead in his wake. But authorities so far had not disclosed a possible motive or cause even as the police chief agreed with witnesses that it seemed intentional.
“The incident definitely looked deliberate,” Police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters at a late-night news conference.
Saunders said the suspect, Alek Minassian, who lives in the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill, had not been known to police previously. An online social media profile described him as a college student.
Officials would not comment on a possible motive except to play down a possible connection to terrorism, a thought that occurred to many following a series of attacks involving trucks and pedestrians in Europe and the presence in Toronto this week of Cabinet ministers from the G7 nations.Asked if there was any evidence of a terrorist link, the chief said only, “Based on what we have there’s nothing that has it to compromise the national security at this time.”
A senior national government official said earlier that authorities had not turned over the investigation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a sign that investigators believed it was unlikely that terrorism was the motive. The official agreed to reveal that information only if not quoted by name.
Authorities released few details in the case, saying the investigation was still underway, with witnesses being interviewed and surveillance video being examined.
“I can assure the public all our available resources have been brought in to investigate this tragic situation,” Toronto Police Services Deputy Chief Peter Yuen said earlier.
Police said the suspect was scheduled to appear in court at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and that information on the charges against him would be released at that time.
The incident occurred as Cabinet ministers from the major industrial countries were gathered in Canada to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale called the incident a “horrific attack” and said the G7 foreign ministers extended their condolences.
The driver was heading south on busy Yonge Street around 1:30 p.m. and the streets were crowded with people enjoying an unseasonably warm day when the van jumped onto the sidewalk.
Ali Shaker, who was driving near the van at the time, told Canadian broadcast outlet CP24 that the driver appeared to be moving deliberately through the crowd at more than 30 mph.
“He just went on the sidewalk,” a distraught Shaker said. “He just started hitting everybody, man. He hit every single person on the sidewalk. Anybody in his way he would hit.”
Witness Peter Kang told CTV News that the driver did not seem to make any effort to stop.
“If it was an accident he would have stopped,” Kang said. “But the person just went through the sidewalk. He could have stopped.”
Video broadcast on several Canadian outlets showed police arresting the driver, dressed in dark clothes, after officers surrounded him and his rental Ryder van several blocks from where the incident occurred in the North York neighborhood of northern Toronto. He appeared to make some sort of gesture at the police with an object in his hand just before they ordered him to lie down on the ground and took him away.
Witness Phil Zullo told Canadian Press that he saw police arresting the suspect and people “strewn all over the road” where the incident occurred.
“I must have seen about five, six people being resuscitated by bystanders and by ambulance drivers,” Zullo said. “It was awful. Brutal.”
Police shut down the Yonge and Finch intersection following the incident and Toronto’s transit agency said it had suspended service on the subway line running through the area.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his sympathies for those involved.
“We should all feel safe walking in our cities and communities,” he said. “We are monitoring this situation closely, and will continue working with our law enforcement partners around the country to ensure the safety and security of all Canadians.”
Associated Press writers Ben Fox in Miami and Rob Gillies in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, contributed to this report.
Source: Associated Press
Students Defrauded By For-Profit Colleges Win Big Victory Set Up By Obama
WASHINGTON (AP) — Students defrauded by for-profit colleges scored an important victory on Tuesday, when a court cleared the way for an Obama-era policy that will make it easier for them to get their student loans forgiven.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had said the regulation, known as borrower defense, made discharging loans too easy and was unfair to taxpayers. The rule was due to take effect in July 2017, but DeVos froze it while she worked on devising a new regulation.
But U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss ruled last month that DeVos’ delay was unlawful. On Tuesday, he denied a request by an organization representing for-profit colleges in California, to further postpone the rule, thus paving the way for borrower defense to enter into force.
“The rule is finally in effect. No more excuses. No more delays,” said Julie Murray, an attorney with Public Citizen, who is representing the defrauded students in their suit against DeVos.
Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill said DeVos “respects the role of the court and accepts the court’s decision” and will soon provide information about how the regulation will be implemented.
But DeVos continues to regard the regulation as “bad policy” and will continue writing a new rule “that protects both borrowers and taxpayers,” Hill said in a statement Tuesday.
The ruling marks a significant setback for DeVos, who has made deregulating the for-profit college industry a top priority. The decision means that the Obama rule, which DeVos has fought hard to scrap, could be in effect until July 2020, when any new rule written by DeVos would enter into force.
Under the Obama rule, students whose school closed mid-program or shortly after completion, will become eligible for automatic loan discharge. The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank, estimates that Tuesday’s decision will affect tens of thousands of students at over 1,400 schools who will now be eligible for $400 million in automatic debt relief across the nation.
Other provisions in the rule allow students to apply for loan discharge as a group. It also prevents schools from forcing students to sign away their rights to sue the program and makes sure that the schools, not just tax payers, bear financial responsibility in case the schools end up shutting down.
Over 100,000 students who say they have been swindled by their schools are currently waiting for the Education Department to consider their applications for loan forgiveness. James Kvaal, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, said that the agency must immediately halt debt collections and wipe out the loans of those borrowers whose schools have been shut down.
“This is a major victory for students across this country in the ongoing battle against the Department of Education and the for-profit college industry,” said Toby Merrill, director of the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard University that also took part in the lawsuit.
But Steve Gunderson, president of Career Education Colleges and Universities, the industry lobbying group, described Judge Moss’ ruling as “disappointing as it will only create further confusion for students and schools” and urged the Education Department to provide as much as guidance as possible while it finishes writing the new rule.
Gunderson added, “Many will look at this ruling where a Judge appointed by President Obama upholds a rule created by the Obama Department of Education and see further evidence of the politicization of our court system.”
The group, whose motion to delay the rule was denied Tuesday, the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools, did not return a request for comment.
WTH!!! Minnesota GOP Senate Contender Comparing Michelle Obama To A ‘Chimp’on Facebook
Republican Karin Housley, a state senator running to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate, compared then-first lady Michelle Obama to a “chimp” in 2009.
In an April 2009 Facebook post, Housley criticized the first lady’s posture when she met Queen Elizabeth II.
“Michelle is soooo far from cool. Don’t we expect our First Ladies to at least stand up straight? (And my dear sister, know the proper etiquette and DO NOT TOUCH THE QUEEN!),” Housley wrote on her Facebook wall.
In the comment thread on her post, Housley said the chimpanzee in the 1951 film “Bedtime for Bonzo,” starring then-actor Ronald Reagan, likely had better posture than Mrs. Obama.
“I do miss Nancy Reagan. Ronald even more. Speaking of Bedtime for Bonzo, I think even that chimp stood up straighter than Michelle,” Housley wrote. “Uh-oh, someone is going to make a comment.”
Comparing African-Americans to apes, even obliquely, as Housley did, has been a longstanding feature of racist American innuendo. ABC canceled “Roseanne” at the end of May after star Roseanne Barr tweeted that Valerie Jarrett, an African-American who advised former President Barack Obama, looked like the child of “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes.”
Housley is challenging Sen. Tina Smith (D), Minnesota’s former lieutenant governor. Gov. Mark Dayton (D) appointed Smith to fill the Senate seat vacated by Al Franken, who resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct in December.
Read More Here
Hillary Clinton Says Bill Clinton’s Affair With Monica Lewinsky Was Not An Abuse Of Power
Hillary Clinton said Sunday that her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was right not to resign over his affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent scandal that rocked his administration in the late 1990s.
“Absolutely not,” Hillary Clinton, a champion of the Me Too movement, told CBS’ “Sunday Morning” when asked whether Bill Clinton should have stepped down.
The former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic nominee for president denied that her husband’s sexual relationship with Lewinksy, who was 22 when it began, should be considered an abuse of power.
When CBS’ Tony Dokoupil noted that critics say it’s impossible for a president to have a consensual relationship with an intern, Hillary Clinton responded that Lewinsky was “an adult,” then steered the conversation toward the numerous sexual misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump.
“Let me ask you this, where’s the investigation of the current incumbent against whom numerous allegations have been made and which he dismisses, denies and ridicules?” Clinton asked. “So there was an investigation and it, as I believe, came out in the right place.”
Read More Here