USA & CANADA (175)
TORONTO - Councillor Rob Ford’s family was optimistic he would win the “big battle ahead of him” after his cancer surgery “success” on Monday.
After months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, the former mayor went into Mount Sinai Hospital on Monday for an all-day surgery to remove a tumour in his abdomen.
Eleven hours later, Ford’s office announced he was “fully conscious and recovering from his surgery.
“The procedure, which included nearly 10 hours of anesthesia, went as the team expected, with no surprises,” said the last of several statements issued by Ford’s office.
“There were no new growths, the cancer had not spread beyond what they were already aware of, and they were able to remove all the existing growths without causing damage to any internal structures.
“The clinical team has declared that they consider the operation to be a success.”
As Ford’s surgery was wrapping up, Ford’s brother, Doug, said they spent the day praying he would make it through and were “100% confident that he will.
“He has a big battle ahead of him and with all the support and love he has out there, I’m sure he’ll make it through,” he said.
“We just want to thank the people of Toronto, how grateful our family is for the outpouring of support,” added Ford, who lauded the efforts of staff at Mount Sinai.
According to the latest update from Ford’s chief of staff, Dan Jacobs, the 45-year-old politician was in some pain but he was under the care of one of the hospital’s pain management teams.
Ford is expected to spend the next two weeks in hospital and four months recovering at home.
The operation included removing a small piece of Ford’s abdominal wall and sewing a biologic mesh into its place.
“This mesh will take several months, to heal,” Ford’s spokesman warned. “Doctors have advised the councillor that he will need to take it especially easy for the first two to three months, but will need to keep stress on the area low for several months following this initial period.” As Ford went into surgery around 8 a.m. on Monday, Jacobs tweeted a picture of his boss giving two thumbs up to the camera.
“@TorontoRobFord ready to roll,” Jacobs wrote.
At the ceremonial dedication of University Ave. as Nelson Mandela Blvd. on Monday, Mayor John Tory noted Ford’s surgery, saying, “I know everybody here and everybody across the city is saying a prayer for him and wishing him well.”
Shauna Hunt tells interlocutors who uttered vulgar internet meme – one of whom has since been fired from his job – ‘It’s a disgusting thing to say, it’s degrading to women’
A Canadian television sports reporter took her on-air trolls to task on Sunday after falling victim to a prank that has overwhelmingly targeted female live television reporters over the past year and four months and appears to brazenly glorify and celebrate the sexual assault of women.
The prank involved a man saying a vulgar phrase on air while Shauna Hunt, a reporter with Toronto-based television news channel CityNews, interviewed fans after a soccer match.
One man involved in the incident has already been identified by his employers, electricity provider Hydro One, and has been fired as a result. The man in question is an assistant management engineer who makes $106,510 a year, the Toronto Star reported.
Shortly after Hunt began her post-match live coverage in Toronto on Sunday, a soccer fan bombed her reporting frame and interrupted her interview with fans by casually uttering the words “fuck her right in the pussy”.
Hunt was quick to react. After voicing her objection by repeatedly saying “hey”, she spotted a group of men who appeared to have been waiting nearby for the prank to unfold, and confronted them.
The ensuing exchange was also caught on camera in a video released by CityNews that has since gone viral.
“It’s a disgusting thing to say, it’s degrading to women,” Hunt said to one of those men defending the act as entertaining and harmless.
“You would humiliate me on live television?” she asks.
“I am sick of it. I get this every single day. Ten times a day by rude guys like you,” Hunt says to her interviewee.
Although her calling out of men who appear to think the practice of bombing live television newscasts by saying the phrase – a phenomenon that since January 2014 has become an internet meme, also referred to as FHRITP, or #fhritp – is in many ways cathartic, her male interviewee’s response is not.
“It has nothing to do with you, it has everything to do with everyone else,” he says, seemingly referring to the amount of fun had by him and his male companions both standing beside him, watching television and waiting for the video online.
In a scenario echoing much of gender-based violence, lack of female consent and negative emotions are either overlooked or cause for more satisfaction.
The practice of FHRITP kicked off in January 2014, when an Ohio Fox news male reporter who was being broadcast live – but had not realized he was – told his cameraman that he “would fuck” the missing 20-year-old woman they were reporting on.
“I don’t care if she’s 20. Hell, I’d fuck her. You can’t say you wouldn’t fuck her. Maybe that’s what I’ll do when they find her. I will go and I’ll fuck her. I’ll fuck her right in the pussy,” John Cain, the since-fired reporter, said on air.
The video has been watched over 3m times on YouTube and appears to have kicked off a trend of male interruptions of mainly female live newscasters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, all proudly saying the same, offensive words.
YouTube abounds with videos of the pranks.
John Cain has proudly become one of the movement’s faces and can be seen on his own personal website sporting a T-shirt with the letters FHRITP.
Hunt: the interruptions are ‘overwhelming’
In an interview on Toronto-based television station City Television on Tuesday morning, Hunt said having to listen to men say the phrase to her has become a norm on the job, as it has for other female and male colleagues working different beats.
“Every single day, people are yelling this at us. Men drive by and roll down their car windows and just yell it at you on the street,” she said, describing the phenomenon as “overwhelming”.
On Tuesday, Ontario’s largest electricity provider, Hydro One, said it had identified one of the men as being one of its employees and has fired him as a result of the incident.
The now out-of-work engineer is featured in the video saying “I don’t care, it’s fucking hilarious,” later telling Hunt she is lucky nobody put a vibrator in her ear, apparently referring to a similar video incident in the UK.
“My mom would die laughing,” he says after Hunt asks him what his mother would make of this.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the largest sports and entertainment company in Canada that owns the stadium in front of which Sunday’s interactions occurred, issued a statement Tuesday, publicized on Twitter, stating they were working to identify the individuals involved and would ban them from the facility.
They added they would also work to provide “extra security” to female reporters doing live hits during games.
While no reporters have pressed criminal charges, Toronto police told CityNews on Monday a variety of charges – including breach of the peace, harassment, sexual harassment or mischief – could be laid, should Hunt or one of her colleagues be inclined to take such steps.
Kingston police in Canada’s eastern Ontario tweeted on Monday that the crime of causing disturbance would likely apply in the case, writing that “media partners should not have to deal with #FHRITP”.
Following a pushback by a member of the public who minimized the type of encounter with the excuse that “boys will be boys”, the Kingston police Twitter account quickly quipped back that “boys will be boys” may be a “weak excuse for public sexual harassment”.
Last November, an 18-year-old man in Pennsylvania was charged by police with a misdemeanor of “falsifying a report” after he executed a similar prank on a female television news journalist, but denied it when questioned by police. The denial is what led to the charges.
This weekend, U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (pictured) delivered a both candid and powerful commencement speech to Tuskegee University‘s 2015 graduates, speaking to the many challenges African Americans face with racism in America, according to the Guardian.
Tuskegee University is an historically Black college and university (HBCU) founded by the iconic Booker T. Washington in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1881.
On Saturday, Mrs. Obama spoke to the mostly African-American graduates by sharing her own struggles that she faced as her husband campaigned for president.
“As potentially the first African-American first lady, I was also the focus of another set of questions and speculations, conversations sometimes rooted in the fears and misperceptions of others.
“Was I too loud or too angry or too emasculating? Or was I too soft, too much of a Mom, not enough of a career woman?” she asked.
This fear became reality once New Yorker Magazine portrayed Mrs. Obama, a Princeton- and- Harvard-educated lawyer, as an Afro-wearing terrorist fist-bumper on their July 21, 2008, cover, with husband Barack Obama as a kufi-wearing Muslim in tow (pictured).
And the blatant racist imagery “knocked [her] back a bit.”
“It was a cartoon drawing of me with a huge Afro and a machine gun,” she recalled.
“Now, yeah, it was satire, but if I’m really being honest, it knocked me back a bit. It made me wonder just how are people seeing me.”
The First Lady then admitted that the way she was being portrayed — and its potential effect on daughters Malia and Sasha — kept her up at night.
“Back in those days, I had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about what people thought of me, wondering if I might be hurting my husband’s chances of winning his election, fearing how my girls would feel if they found out what some people were saying about their mom,” she said.
Ultimately, Mrs. Obama found peace in disregarding what the naysayers and bigots said, “I had to ignore all of the noise and be true to myself – and the rest would work itself out.
“I also worked to ensure that my efforts would resonate with kids and families – and that meant doing things in a creative and unconventional way.
“So, yeah, I planted a garden, and hula-hooped on the White House lawn with kids. I did some mom dancing on TV … And at the end of the day, by staying true to the me I’ve always known, I found that this journey has been incredibly freeing.”
But with the recent internationally covered police brutality cases in America against Black men, Mrs. Obama made sure to warn this year’s graduates that obviously “the road ahead is not going to be easy.”
“It never is,” the First Lady said, “especially for folks like you and me. Because while we’ve come so far, the truth is that those age-old problems are stubborn and they haven’t fully gone away. So there will be times … when you feel like folks look right past you, or they see just a fraction of who you really are.
“People would not see them as the hard-working graduates they appeared on the day of their graduation who had struggled to achieve their education, pay for it, and give back to their communities, she said.
“They don’t know that part of you.”
Referencing her aforementioned struggles on the road to the White House, Mrs. Obama explained, “Instead they will make assumptions about who they think you are based on their limited notion of the world.
“And my husband and I know how frustrating that experience can be. We’ve both felt the sting of those daily slights throughout our entire lives – the folks who crossed the street in fear of their safety; the clerks who kept a close eye on us in all those department stores; the people at formal events who assumed we were the ‘help’ – and those who have questioned our intelligence, our honesty, even our love of this country.
Mrs. Obama spoke even more pointedly when she said that despite all of the graduates’ accomplishments, they “will never be enough” for some within the United States.
“And I know that these little indignities are obviously nothing compared to what folks across the country are dealing with every single day – those nagging worries that you’re going to get stopped or pulled over for absolutely no reason; the fear that your job application will be overlooked because of the way your name sounds; the agony of sending your kids to schools that may no longer be separate, but are far from equal; the realization that no matter how far you rise in life, how hard you work to be a good person, a good parent, a good citizen – for some folks, it will never be enough.
“They’re rooted in decades of structural challenges that have made too many folks feel frustrated and invisible, and those feelings are playing out in communities like Baltimore and Ferguson and so many others across this country.”
Former US President Jimmy Carter on Sunday cancelled plans to observe general elections in the South American country of Guyana after falling ill, his organisation said.
The 90-year-old Carter left for the city of Atlanta in his home state of Georgia, The Carter Centre said.
The nature of his illness was not disclosed.
“President Carter was not feeling well and has departed Guyana to return to Atlanta today. The Carter Center election observation mission in Guyana is continuing its work and will keep him informed of developments,” a statement read.
Carter was the 39th President of the US and held office between 1977 and 1981. He remains very active in global human rights work.
Prior to leaving the former British colony, Carter held separate talks with the leader of Guyana’s main opposition coalition and the country’s president, Donald Ramotar.
Forty-nine other observers are remaining in Guyana to observe Monday’s poll, which is expected to be keenly contested between the country’s two major political parties.
“President Carter is hopeful about Guyana’s election and expressed his commitment and that of The Carter Center to supporting Guyana in the days ahead, stressing the need for a peaceful process before, during, and after the election,” the center said.
•Sourced from AFP. Photo shows Carter.