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Google searches for ‘stress’ hit week-high during first presidential debate

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There’s no debate — Americans are on edge about the election.

Google searches for the term “stress” and related topics hit a high for the week on Tuesday — ahead of the first presidential debate between President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, according to Google data.

Searches for the topic of stress hit a high for the week at 4 a.m. Tuesday before the two men underwent their shouting match in front of moderator Chris Wallace and the rest of the nation.

“Most searches coming from Wallace’s IP address,” one Twitter user joked.

“’Stress’ #Debates2020,” another user, Ashley Fraser, wrote bluntly.

The two candidates spent much of their first debate yelling over each other, with Trump often cutting off Biden and the exasperated former vice president at one point relenting, “Shut up, man.”

Some of the top recent searches related to stress included, “stress test,” “stress balls,” “stress acne” and “too stressed to sleep,” according to Google.

Residents in West Virginia had made the most queries related to stress over the last week, followed by those in the states of Texas and Florida.


Source: nypost.com

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Did Joe Biden actually call Trump xenophobic?

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Did Joe Biden actually call Trump xenophobic?

President Trump slammed Joe Biden for calling him “xenophobic” in the early days of the coronavirus outbreak during their debate on Thursday night.

But the two sparred over why Biden had lobbed the insult.

The president said Biden had called him xenophobic over the restrictions on travel from China that he had imposed.

“When I closed and banned China from coming in… months later he was saying I was xenophobic, that I did it too soon,” Trump said, “and now he’s saying I should have moved quicker.”

In response, Biden said: “He is xenophobic, but not because he shut down travel to China.”

Biden did in fact call the president “xenophobic” in a tweet on Feb. 1, but did not specifically reference the travel restrictions.

“We are in the midst of a crisis with the coronavirus. We need to lead the way with science — not Donald Trump’s record of hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering,” Biden tweeted.

“He is the worst possible person to lead our country through a global health emergency.”


Source: nypost.com

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Protesters gather after Polish court supports almost total ban on abortion

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Curbing access to procedure a long-standing ambition of country’s ruling party

Protesters gathered across Poland on Thursday after the Constitutional Tribunal ruled that abortion due to fetal defects was unconstitutional, banning the most common of the few legal grounds for ending a pregnancy in the largely Catholic country.

After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permissible in Poland in cases of rape, incest or when a mother’s health and life are in danger, which make up only about two per cent of legal terminations conducted in recent years.
 
“[A provision that] legalizes eugenic practices in the field of the right to life of an unborn child and makes the right to life of an unborn child dependent on his or her health … is inconsistent … with the constitution,” said Julia Przylebska, president of the Constitutional Tribunal.
 
Hundreds marched toward the house of governing party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski on Thursday night after the ruling, some carrying candles and signs that read “torture.” Most wore face masks to comply with coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
 
Police in riot gear had cordoned off the house, and private broadcaster TVN showed police using tear gas as protesters threw stones and tried to push through the police line.
 

Small protests also took place in the cities of Krakow, Lodz and Szczecin.
 
“It’s sick that such controversial things are being decided at a time when the entire society lives in fear [of the pandemic] and is afraid to go into the streets,” said 41-year-old, Marianna Dobkowska.

A ‘devastating sentence’ for women

Conservative values have played a growing role in public life in Poland since the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party came into power five years ago on a promise to defend what it sees as the nation’s traditional, Catholic character.
 
Curbing access to abortion has been a long-standing ambition of the party, but it has stepped back from previous legislative proposals amid widespread public backlash.
 

A group of right-wing lawmakers asked the tribunal in December 2019 to rule on the legality of abortion when there is serious, irreversible damage to the fetus.

“Today Poland is an example for Europe, it’s an example for the world,” said Kaja Godek, a member of the Stop Abortion public initiative.
 
Women’s rights and opposition groups reacted with dismay.
 
“The worst-case scenario that could have come true has come true. It is a devastating sentence that will destroy the lives of many women and many families,” said lawyer Kamila Ferenc, who works with an NGO helping women denied abortion.
 

“It will especially force the poor to give birth to children against their will. Either they have no chance of surviving, or they have no chance of an independent existence, or they will die shortly after giving birth.”
 
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic called it a “sad day for women’s rights.”
 
“Removing the basis for almost all legal abortions in Poland amounts to a ban and violates human rights. Today’s ruling of the Constitutional Court means underground/abroad abortions for those who can afford and even greater ordeal for all others.”

Critics allege courts are politicized     

Opponents say the Constitutional Tribunal may have acted on the ruling party’s behalf. While the tribunal is nominally independent, most of its judges have been nominated by the Law and Justice party, some to replace candidates picked by the opposition but whose appointment was refused by President Andrzej Duda, a party ally.
 
“To throw in the subject of abortion and produce a ruling by a pseudo-tribunal in the middle of a raging pandemic is more than cynicism. It is political wickedness,” said Donald Tusk, head of the main centre-right group in the European Parliament and a former prime minister of Poland.
 
PiS denies trying to influence the court or taking advantage of the pandemic to push through the changes. Its justice reforms, which included the tribunal, have attracted wide international accusations of undermining democratic norms.
 

Abortion rights activists say access to the procedure was often declined in recent years in Poland, even in cases when it would be legal.
 
Many doctors in Poland, which already had some of the strictest abortion rules in Europe, exercise their legal right to refuse to terminate pregnancies on religious grounds. Some say they are pressured into doing so by their superiors.
 
“We are glad with what the Constitutional Tribunal ruled because one cannot kill a child for being sick,” Maria Kurowska, a lawmaker from the United Poland party, said.

“This is not a fetus, it is a child.”


Source: cbc.ca

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Trump: ‘I get along very well’ with Anthony Fauci

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Trump:

President Trump claimed at the final presidential debate on Thursday that he gets along well Dr. Anthony Fauci, despite his recent public criticism of him.

“I’m listening to all of them, including Anthony,” Trump said of the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

“I get along very well with Anthony,” Trump added, calling him a “good person.”

The president then criticized Fauci, saying he flip-flopped on issues like mask wearing, but added: “he’s allowed to make mistakes.”

In a conference call earlier this week, Trump said Fauci was a “disaster.”

“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people that have gotten it wrong. Fauci is a nice guy,” Trump said.

“Every time he goes on television there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. Fauci’s a disaster. If I’d listened to him, we’d have 500,000 deaths,” he added.


Source: nypost.com

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Injunction against First Nations land reclamation camp sparks skirmish with police

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Camp spokesperson says judge is ‘pitting Canada against Indigenous people’

Blazing wooden pallets and tires blocked one side of a street leading into a southern Ontario community on Thursday, after a skirmish between police and members of a First Nation land reclamation camp. 

The confrontation in Caledonia, Ont., came hours after a judge granted a permanent injunction against the camp’s presence, which has stopped construction of a subdivision. 

A electrical power pole was also set on fire by members of the Six Nations of the Grand River.

People at the blockade said officers with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) used a Taser on one person and fired at least one rubber bullet.

The OPP said police cruisers parked on the street were “heavily damaged” by the protest and that officers responded with “appropriate non-lethal force.” There were no injuries and an investigation is underway, the force said on Twitter. Several cruisers had been used to create a buffer zone between the burning blockade and the public.

Earlier, Ontario Superior Court Justice R.J. Harper granted the injunction sought by Foxgate Development and Haldimand County, the municipality that oversees Caledonia, after removing Skyler Williams, a spokesperson for the camp, from the proceedings.

Harper, who insisted that Williams was the leader of the effort, said Williams showed “contempt” for the court by refusing to obey the previous, temporary injunctions, and by insisting the Cayuga, Ont., courtroom was part of the “colonial” court system.

Harper said the court must acknowledge the “abuses that have been put upon the Aboriginal community.”

However, he added, “claims and grievances in our society … must be done respectfully, must be done in compliance with the orders.”

Williams said later the judge is “is pitting Canada against Indigenous people” and that the camp would remain.

“We are committed to defending our territory, that includes staying on the land and it also means we will file an appeal immediately,” he said in a statement to CBC News.

“It’s clear that we’re facing racism and discrimination in this process. From the beginning, we’ve stated that the colonial court process is inherently unfair and it’s clear that is what is playing out today.” 

Members from Six Nations of the Grand River, which sits next to Caledonia about 22 kilometres south of Hamilton, set up the camp in July to stop the construction of the McKenzie Meadows development.

The camp, dubbed 1492 Land Back Lane, was raided by the OPP on Aug. 5, triggering a day of road and railway blockades. Demonstrators set tires ablaze and threw rocks and police fired rubber bullets. 

A senior OPP officer said, in an affidavit filed as part of the injunction, that a second enforcement operation could trigger a stronger reaction that could see railways, bridges and power stations “attacked and damaged in retaliation.” The affidavit also said infrastructure could be targeted in other parts of the country.

“The violence that was brought here was brought here by the guys with guns,” said Williams, speaking to reporters from the 1492 Land Back Lane site, after the hearing.

“The OPP came in here shooting rubber bullets, Tasering … That’s what’s violent. As much as I don’t encourage any type of violent action, I certainly had no blame for folks that engage in it, any of the things going on in the world that has seen hundreds and hundreds of years of oppression and hate and racism, over-criminalization, residential schools. This is what can be expected from oppressing a people for so long.” 

Call for chief to step in

Six Nations member Gowenetoh said she wants to see elected council Chief Mark Hill take a stronger role in the evolving situation and approach the traditional government, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, to find a solution.

“He hears our cries,” she said. “He could rectify this. All he needs to do is go knock on the Confederacy door and say, ‘I’m willing to help us get our lands back.'”

The Six Nations members of the reclamation camp have historical records they say show that the land the development sits on was sold by a squatter to a settler who then received a land patent from the colonial authorities in 1853.

The property is part of the Haldimand Tract granted to Six Nations of the Grand River in 1784 for allying with the British during the American Revolution. The granted land encompassed 10 kilometres on both sides of the 280-kilometre Grand River which runs through southern Ontario and into Lake Erie. Six Nations now has less than five per cent of its original lands.

The Six Nations elected council has stated that, according to Ontario court decisions, there was no requirement for a private entity like a developer to accommodate Six Nations for developing lands that were taken illegally in the 1800s. Yet, the council said, Foxgate had transferred 17 hectares of land and $352,000 to Six Nations for accommodation.

Foxgate never consulted with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, the traditional Six Nations government, before commencing its project. The Confederacy Chiefs Council has supported 1492 Land Back Lane and deems the property to be in a red zone of land over which it contests title.

The Six Nations elected council has an ongoing court case, filed in 1995, against Ottawa and Ontario over lost lands. It is scheduled to go to trial in 2022.

The Six Nations elected council did not respond to a request for comment.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council could not be reached for comment.

Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt said the blame fell on the federal government for allowing the situation to fester for decades. 

“The federal government has a huge role to play,” he said.

“It has abdicated its duties over the years in giving the people of Six Nations a platform for them to voice their concerns and push those concerns through a process. That is why we are here today.” 

Hewitt said if Ottawa stepped in to negotiate, it may create a path away from what the OPP says will lead to conflict. 

“I would hope there is enough respect between the two communities and ties between the two communities that we can find a better way to bring this to the front of the federal government,” he said. 


Source: cbc.ca

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Kid Rock in attendance for Nashville presidential debate

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Kid Rock in attendance for Nashville presidential debate

Kid Rock’s in the house.

The musician, who has roots in Nashville, was spotted at Thursday night’s presidential debate hosted in the city.

The 49-year-old was seated in the stands of Belmont University next to PGA pro golfer John Daly.

Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, was asked by NBC News if he was there to cheer on Trump.

“I think being here says it all, right?” he told the outlet. “Happy to be invited.”

The musician was wearing a mask over his mouth, but still had his nose exposed.

Last month, Kid Rock headlined a campaign rally for President Trump in Michigan.


Source: nypost.com

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Ivanka campaigning to bring suburban women back to President Trump

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Ivanka campaigning to bring suburban women back to President Trump

President Trump is turning to White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump in the final stretch of the 2020 campaign to try and shore up the support of suburban women — who carried him across the finish line in 2016.

Over the past six weeks, the first daughter and senior adviser to the president has made 17 campaign stops for her father, according to Politico.

From tweets to pleas at rallies, the commander in chief pledged repeatedly in recent months that he would save the ‘burbs as part of a larger effort to secure the support of suburban women.

“Finally! Suburban women are flocking over to us. They realize that I am saving the Suburbs – the American Dream! I terminated the Regulation that would bring projects and crime to Suburbia. Not on my watch!” the president tweeted Thursday morning, adding that a President Biden would oversee an increase in regulation.

In total, Ivanka has visited 10 battleground states — Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona. She plans to visit Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina again before Election Day, a Trump aide told the outlet.

From August through late September, she brought in a staggering $15 million to the campaign by holding a mere four fundraisers, according to CNN.

Citing a Trump aide, Politico reported Wednesday that the campaign expected to raise $35 million from the first daughter’s fundraising and campaigning efforts from August through the election.

Behind the commander in chief himself, Ivanka is the most requested campaign surrogate for events, White House officials say.

President Trump’s eldest daughter will host a fundraiser alongside her father in Nashville on Thursday, just prior to his final debate appearance against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

In a statement to Politico on Ivanka’s campaign efforts, Trump campaign senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp said, “As a working mother who has dedicated her career to the improvement of women’s lives, Ivanka intrinsically understands the issues facing American families today. Ivanka Trump can speak to President Trump’s success from the perspective of both a policy adviser and close family member — a remarkably effective combination on the campaign trail.”

Ivanka’s fundraising prowess is not lost on the minds of those in her father’s orbit.

After bringing in $4 million at a single fundraiser in August that a mere 100 people attended over Zoom, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel released a statement showering praise on the first daughter’s ability to mobilize donors.

“Ivanka is a tremendous voice for the re-election effort. Supporters across the country are eager to hear from her on issues ranging from the economy to workforce development and paid family leave,” she said at the time.

One White House official told CNN of Ivanka’s appeal, “The fact is, she’s talking about issues at these events that other surrogates are not. She can talk about paid family leave, or workforce development, or the child tax credit — issues that a lot of voters frankly haven’t heard Republicans talk about as much this campaign.”

For his part, President Trump has spent much of his 2020 reelection effort placing a heavy emphasis on “the suburbs” and how he would protect them.


Source: nypost.com

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Plexiglass removed from debate stage after Trump, Biden test negative for COVID-19

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Plexiglass removed from debate stage after Trump, Biden test negative for COVID-19

Thursday night’s presidential debate will not feature plexiglass partitions after all.

The campaigns of both President Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden supported the removal of the barriers that were installed on the Nashville debate stage as a coronavirus precaution, Frank Fahrenkopf, the head of the debate commission, told CNN.

But with news that Trump and Biden both tested negative for COVID-19 hours ahead of their final debate, medical advisers to the debate commission felt the measure was unnecessary, the report said.

White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci was also consulted — and gave the move his blessing, Fahrenkopf said.

Fauci “agreed that the plexiglass wouldn’t do anything,” according to Fahrenkopf.


Source: nypost.com

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In uOttawa controversy, Quebec government seizes opportunity to push back against anti-racism advocates

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Premier François Legault risks political capital in confronting movement demanding systemic change

The Quebec government now has an official position about how a university in Ontario should manage its teaching staff, a remarkable development for a number of reasons. 

One, Quebec is yet again struggling to contain the spread of COVID-19, which has killed more people here than anywhere else in Canada.

And yet no fewer than three members of the government, including the premier and two cabinet ministers, took time this week to make public comments chastising the University of Ottawa for temporarily suspending a professor who said the N-word in class.

Moreover, Premier François Legault has never hidden his ire when other governments — be they federal, provincial or municipal — have ventured to comment on Quebec’s internal politics.

Legault, for instance, lashed out at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several premiers when they criticized his government’s law, known as Bill 21, that bans religious symbols in parts of the civil service.

“You have to respect Quebec’s jurisdiction,” Legault’s intergovernmental affairs minister, Sonia LeBel, told critics in the rest of Canada last fall.

The University of Ottawa professor at the centre of a debate about the use of the N-word in classes apologizes. All of her students, but one, have dropped out of her class. 1:59

In Quebec City on Tuesday, a journalist asked Legault why he had abandoned the mind-your-own-business principle to launch broadsides at the bilingual university on the other side of the Ottawa River.

“I feel a certain responsibility to defend francophones,” Legault explained.

His response wasn’t beside the point. Legault’s current popularity is due, in no small part, to how he’s navigated the relationship between language and race, often playing one against the other.

Defending francophones

When the University of Ottawa suspended Verushka Lieutenant-Duval last month, more than 30 francophone colleagues signed an open letter defending the white art history lecturer.

Lieutenant-Duval used the N-word while attempting to illustrate to her students how some groups have reclaimed the slurs used against them. She later apologized and was reinstated. 

Her suspension, her francophone colleagues argued, violated her academic freedom, and would in future limit their ability to teach seminal works by Quebec writers who employ the term.

That letter drew its share of counter-arguments. A group of BIPOC professors and librarians at the university said in a petition that even a pedagogical setting can’t neutralize the violence of the N-word, and it should be avoided outright by non-Black professors.

The letter of support for Lieutenant-Duval was also met with a stream of anti-francophone comments on social media.

Amid the invective directed at francophone Quebecers, Legault opted to pick a side, blaming the University of Ottawa for failing to stand up for Lieutenant-Duval.

It appears, though, that he wasn’t concerned simply with the treatment of francophones on Twitter. Legault warned vaguely on Tuesday of a “censorship police” and hinted that political correctness was running amok.

His deputy premier, Geneviève Guilbault, blamed “ideologies imported from the U.S.” for sparking the conflict, echoing an argument popular among Quebec’s white pundits who believe concepts like systemic racism can’t be applied to the province.

In the controversy at uOttawa, the Legault government saw an opportunity to push back against progressive anti-racism.

The rise of progressive anti-racism

The anti-racism movement that has claimed the attention of Canada’s political leaders in recent months includes Indigenous activist networks as well as Black Lives Matter and older social justice groups.

A central claim of the movement is that racism is systemic. It exists beyond individual intentions and is inscribed, rather, in most institutions, exposing Indigenous people and people of colour to the pervasive threat of violence.

The Legault government, on the other hand, has continued to deny the existence of systemic racism, ignoring a growing number of reports that have concluded otherwise.

Legault repeatedly justifies this reluctance by invoking the will of the majority.

He sometimes cites polls, comments on social media and even his own majority in the legislature as examples of how Quebec’s white francophone majority perceive progressive anti-racism as antagonistic to their interests. 

After Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw woman, died last month amid a torrent of racist remarks from staff at a hospital in Joliette, Que., pressure once again mounted for Legault to abandon his position that systemic racism does not exist.

“I am convinced my wife died because systemic racism contaminated the Joliette hospital,” said Echaquan’s husband, Carol Dubé.  

Legault demurred, saying it was his duty to protect the feelings of the majority, instead of acknowledging how minorities in the province experience racism.

“It wouldn’t be a good idea to turn your back on the good part of Quebecers who don’t think there is systemic racism in Quebec,” he said. 

Legault used a similar argument last year when racial and religious minorities urged him to reconsider Bill 21, which bans public teachers, government lawyers and police officers from wearing religious symbols at work.

The law, they said, would further marginalize already under-represented racialized groups, especially Muslim women.

After the bill was passed, Legault was asked why he had refused to consider their concerns.

“The majority was asking for secularism, and they were ignored,” he said. “Now they feel listened to.”

Who is winning the argument?

Legault came to power by appealing to this silent majority. 

As the leader of the third-ranked opposition party, he argued the incumbent Liberals were too busy lecturing the province about the merits of cosmopolitanism to listen to the concerns of francophones about their cultural survival.

It was largely white francophone voters outside Montreal who delivered Legault’s party, the Coalition Avenir Québec, a landslide victory in 2018. The Liberals were reduced to mainly urban ridings with large concentrations of immigrants and anglophones.

The day after the election, one prominent conservative nationalist remarked “francophone Quebec has just reclaimed its state.”

Taking systemic racism seriously entails a significant reordering of that state, refashioning institutions such as the police, hospitals and universities to be more inclusive.

From the perspective of a conservative nationalist like Legault, that would mean siding with progressive anti-racism against the block of voters that carried him to power.

Of course, not everyone in the province believes a commitment to anti-racism is incompatible with the interests of the francophone majority. 

At the provincial level, both the Liberals and left-wing Québec Solidaire — the two largest opposition parties — maintain racism is systemic. 

The federal Liberals won 35 seats in Quebec last year, despite their opposition to Bill 21. And the Bloc Québécois, too, has acknowledged that systemic racism exists, at least in terms of Ottawa’s treatment of Indigenous people.

Public opinion in the province also appears to be shifting.   

A Mainstreet poll conducted this summer found 67 per cent of Quebecers believe Black people are treated less equitably by police; 60 per cent said Black people are discriminated against in the workplace. 

Other recent polls suggest an overwhelming majority of Quebecers believe Indigenous people in the province are also the subject of systemic racism.

Therein lies the other danger of progressive anti-racism for Legault. It is fast making it seem like he’s the one in the minority.


Source: cbc.ca

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