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Justin Trudeau apologizes for Canada’s 1939 refusal of Jewish refugee ship

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Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologized on Wednesday for the country’s 1939 refusal to take in a ship carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees, adding that the country would do more to protect Canadian Jews from violence.

The St. Louis left Hamburg in May 1939 in a desperate search for a safe haven from persecution by Nazi Germany. After it was rebuffed by Canada and other nations, it returned to Europe, where historians have estimated that more than 250 of the passengers were murdered in Nazi death camps.

“We apologize to the 907 German Jews aboard the St. Louis, as well as their families,” Trudeau told the House of Commons. “We are sorry for the callousness of Canada’s response. We are sorry for not apologizing sooner.”

The apology came less than two weeks after a gunman shot dead 11 people, including a Canadian woman, at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Vigils were held across Canada in the aftermath of the attack.

Jewish Canadians “are understandably feeling vulnerable” and there have been calls “to protect synagogues and other places that are at risk of hate-motivated crimes,” Trudeau said during his parliamentary address.

“And I pledge to you all now: we will do more,” he said, noting that around 17 percent of all Canadian hate crimes target Jewish people.

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Shimon Koffler Fogel, head of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, applauded Trudeau’s “historic apology” and his pledge to expand security measures for Jewish institutions.

Earlier, Trudeau met with Ana Maria Gordon, the only surviving Canadian passenger from the ship, and her family members, and spoke about the need to fight anti-semitism.

Trudeau, a Liberal, has made a number of apologies for Canada’s historic failings.

Last week the prime minister visited hundreds of indigenous people in British Columbia to say sorry for the hanging of six chiefs 150 years ago.

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In May 2016, six months after taking office, he stood in parliament to apologize to the descendents of hundreds of passengers of the Komagata Maru, a Japanese vessel carrying Sikh, Muslim and Hindu migrants who were refused entry into Canada under 1914 immigration laws.

Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Greg Mitchell

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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