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Nine dead, 16 hurt by van plowing over Toronto sidewalk: police

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A driver plowed his white Ryder rental van into a crowd, killing nine people and injuring 16 on a busy Toronto sidewalk on a sunny Monday afternoon, police said.

Toronto Deputy Chief Peter Yuen announced the casualties at a news conference. He said the driver was in custody.

The incident occurred just before 1:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) as large crowds of office workers were on lunch breaks. At least one witness described the driver as appearing to deliberately target victims on his roughly mile-long (1.6 km-long) rampage.

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 A Reuters witness saw at least two tarp-covered bodies at the site of the incident. Five people remained in critical condition at Sunnybrook Health Services Centre on Monday afternoon, the hospital said.
It was not immediately clear if the incident was a deliberate act by the driver or a traffic mishap in a mixed commercial and residential area.

Canada’s public safety minister, Ralph Goodale, declined to comment on what may have motivated the attack.

 “The investigation is at a stage where no further information can be confirmed at this point,” Goodale told a news conference said. “The police are conducting obviously their thorough investigation to determine what happened and why it happened, the motivations involved.”
Ryder System Inc (R.N) spokeswoman Claudia Panfil confirmed that one of the company’s rental vehicles had been involved in the incident and said the company was cooperating with authorities.

There have been a string of deadly vehicle attacks in the United States and Europe, including an Oct. 31 attack in New York that killed eight. Islamic State militant group encourages its supporters to use vehicles for attacks.

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Toronto is hosting a Group of Seven foreign ministers meeting about 30 kms (18 miles) away from the scene of Monday’s deaths.

The crash occurred at the corner of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue in the north end of the city, said Toronto Police spokeswoman Meaghan Gray.

A man who gave his name as Ali told CNN he saw the van and that the driver appeared to have been targeting people.

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“This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,” the man said. “He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another.”

He said a number of the victims were older people and at one point he saw a stroller fly into the air.

At least one person was struck outside on the sidewalk outside an Anglican church, north of where the van came to rest in front of a currency exchange in a condominium tower.

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Yonge Street is large, divided boulevard at the point where the incident occurred, its center meridian dotted with planter boxes and sculptures.

Some of the victims were struck in a public square popular with office workers on lunch breaks. Aerial photos of the scene posted on social media showed a food truck parked just a few feet away from where emergency workers busily transferred people onto stretchers.

There was no noticeable change in security around the Intercontinental Hotel where the ministers of Canada, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan were meeting on Monday.

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Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny and Allison Martell in Toronto; Additional reporting by Jim Finkle, Nichola Saminather, Carlo Allegri and Julie Gordon; Writing by Andrea Hopkins and Scott Malone; Editing by Grant McCool


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Swiss holding ‘funeral march’ to mark disappearance of an Alpine glacier

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Dozens of people will undertake a "funeral march" up a steep Swiss mountainside on Sunday to mark the disappearance of an Alpine glacier amid growing global alarm over climate change.

The Pizol "has lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier," Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, told AFP.

The organisation which helped organise Sunday's march said around 100 people were due to take part in the event, set to take place as the UN gathers youth activists and world leaders in New York to mull the action needed to curb global warming.

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2020 Election

UAW strike ‘threatens to upend the economy in Michigan’ — and could destroy Trump’s re-election: report

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At the end of the first week of a major strike by the United Auto Workers, the employment standoff threatens to upend President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election map, the Chicago Times reported Saturday.

Approximately 46,000 workers have been striking against General Motors.

There are two major threats to Trump's campaign from the strike.

The first is that the strike could cause regional recessions -- threatening Trump's political standing in key Rust Belt states.

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Security forces fired live rounds at protesters calling for the ouster of Egyptian president: report

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Egyptian security forces clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters in the port city of Suez on Saturday, firing tear gas and live rounds, said several residents who participated in the demonstrations.

A heavy security presence was also maintained in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt's 2011 revolution, after protests in several cities called for the removal of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Such demonstrations are rare after Egypt effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi.

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