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Jazz singer Josephine Baker first Black woman honoured at France’s Pantheon

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Josephine Baker, the famed French American singer and dancer, was inducted on Tuesday into the Pantheon mausoleum in Paris – one of France’s highest honours – at a ceremony attended by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Baker, who also served in the French Resistance during World War Two and was a prominent civic rights activist after the war, is the first Black woman and sixth woman to enter the Pantheon, a Paris landmark dominating the city’s Latin Quarter.

She was “a Black person who stood up for Black people, but foremost, she was a woman who defended humankind,” Macron said during a speech.

He spoke shortly after Baker’s most famous song, “J’ai deux amours, mon pays et Paris” (“I have two loves, my country and Paris”), was played at the ceremony.

Baker was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1906 but went on to find much of her fame after arriving in Paris in the 1920s, as many Black Americans stayed on in the French capital after World War One and brought over with them American jazz culture.

Baker, who became a French citizen in 1937, died in 1975 and is buried in Monaco.

In accordance with her family’s wishes, Baker’s remains have not been moved to the Pantheon. To represent her presence there, a symbolic coffin was carried into the mausoleum by six pallbearers containing handfuls of earth from four locations: St. Louis, Paris, Monaco and Milandes, in the Dordogne department of France, where Baker owned a castle.

Baker’s empty coffin will lie alongside other French national icons in the mausoleum such as authors Emile Zola and Victor Hugo, the philosopher Voltaire and politician Simone Veil.

 

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Prince Andrew seeks jury trial, denies Virginia Giuffre’s sex abuse claims

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Britain’s Prince Andrew on Wednesday asked for a U.S. jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre‘s accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17.

Giuffre, 38, sued the Duke of York last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Andrew, 61, admitted to meeting Epstein in or around 1999, but denied Giuffre’s claim that he “committed sexual assault and battery” upon her.

David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, said in a statement that Andrew was trying to “blame the victim.”

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse,” Boies said.

Andrew’s ties to Epstein, who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges, have undermined his reputation with the public and standing in Britain’s Royal Family.

Earlier this month, the family removed Andrew’s military links and military patronages, and said the second son of Queen Elizabeth would no longer be known as “His Royal Highness.”

Andrew’s filing was an “answer,” a common document in U.S. litigation in which defendants deny or say they lack enough information to comment on plaintiffs’ substantive accusations.

The prince’s lawyers had previously called Giuffre’s lawsuit “baseless” and accused her of seeking another payday.

Giuffre received $500,000 in a 2009 civil settlement with Epstein.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December 2022.

If Giuffre won at trial, Andrew could owe her damages. She has asked for an unspecified amount.

Andrew has not been criminally charged, and no criminal charges can be brought in Giuffre’s civil lawsuit.

Kaplan this month denied Andrew’s earlier request to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit, which the prince said he was shielded from under the 2009 Epstein settlement.

Andrew renewed that argument in Wednesday’s filing, and also said Giuffre lacks legal standing to sue because she lives in Australia.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Canada pledges non-lethal support for Ukraine, extends training mission

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Canada on Wednesday said it would send non-lethal equipment to Ukraine, and help the Eastern European country gather intelligence and counter cyber attacks as Russia builds up its military presence on its borders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said his government would extend for three years and double the size of a mission to train the Ukrainian military called Operation Unifier.

Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine but denies planning to attack its neighbor. The United States and Britain have started sending more arms to Ukraine.

“With rising tensions, and unwarranted Russian aggression, Canada will be there to provide ongoing support to Ukraine so that it can defend itself,” Trudeau told reporters.

Canada will also set up a task force and expand its diplomatic capacity – including in Kyiv – to coordinate support for Ukraine, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said.

“Diplomacy is the only viable path forward for Russia. Any further aggression will have serious consequences including coordinated sanctions, and Canada is prepared,” Joly said.

Defense Minister Anita Anand will visit Latvia and Ukraine “in the coming days” to visit Canadian forces in both countries, Trudeau said.

Some 200 Canadian military personnel are already in Ukraine as part of the training mission, which has been provided to “over 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers”, Anand said.

Trudeau said the training mission would be extended by three years, at a cost of C$340 million ($268.5 million), with 60 additional Canadian soldiers leaving within days. Ultimately as many as 400 Canadian trainers may be sent, the prime minister said.

Trudeau said the non-lethal equipment would include things like “body armor, optics and scopes”. Anand said it would include surveillance equipment.

Canada also said it would provide up to C$50 million in development and humanitarian aid, adding to a loan of up to C$120 million promised last week.

Canada, with a sizeable and politically influential population of Ukrainian descent, has taken a strong line with Russia since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

($1 = 1.2661 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Ismail Shakil; editing by Richard Pullin)

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The Best Casino Restaurants in Canada

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In the past, gaming establishments that were not under the jurisdiction of the government or other related agencies have not found favour with the Canadian populace. Laws permitting single-game sports betting were passed only in August of 2021, with many people now anticipating that the day will not be far off when gambling in Canada will be allowed throughout the country.

As the world comes out of the explosive trend of playing casino games online and starts visiting land-based casinos again, one other thing has entered the public mindset. Something that the online casino experience can’t match: food. Land-based casinos come with restaurants, and in this article, Kevin N. Cochran lists out every casino in Canada that tantalizes the palettes of culinary experts worldwide. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Neros Steakhouse

With its luxury hotel next to the gambling facility, Caesars Windsor is clearly one of Canada’s top destinations. They boast a large selection of slots, including several progressives with jackpots in the six-figure bracket, as well as a variety of table games. The hotel itself boasts 700 rooms, allowing it to accommodate a large number of people.

A steakhouse, like many other casinos in Canada, is the best place to eat. Neros is a high-end restaurant, yet the costs are more reasonable than you may expect. While some steakhouses charge upwards of $50 and $60 per entrée, most things are priced between $29 and $41. When you start looking at premium cuts like bison tenderloin and 20-ounce dry-aged tomahawk ribeye, you’ll start to see prices above $50.

Ponte Vecchio

Fallsview offers a veritable feast of dining alternatives, with over 20 different establishments to choose from. Ponte Vecchio, which got the 2019 Diners’ Choice, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, is our favourite. This restaurant, named after a historical bridge in Florence, Italy, is, as you might expect, an Italian eatery.

Consider starting with the wine list, which is wonderful. After that, the choices can take you in a variety of wonderful directions. Authentic plates of pasta are always a fantastic choice. The Osso Buco veal shank is always a classic, but the Agnello Arrosto is the one true champion. A maple-dijon-coated rack of lamb is served with truffle polenta, tomato ragu, lamb jus, and rapini to balance out the richness.

The Victor

One of Canada’s newest gaming venues, Parq Vancouver, is a behemoth. There is roughly 72,000 square feet of gaming space in Vancouver, albeit not all of it is dedicated to the casino. There are over 600 slot machines, as well as a variety of table games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, and Jade Salons for private gaming.

There are a few good restaurants here, but we’ll start with The Victor, which serves a steak and seafood fusion. While that may sound like most steakhouses, this isn’t the case because this is a modern dining room with sushi, caviar, and ceviche on the seafood side and bone marrow, porterhouse, and wagyu on the meaty side.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is the place to go if you’re seeking one of Montreal’s greatest casino restaurants and want to have a unique experience. Robuchon, who regrettably passed away two years ago, was one of the world’s most celebrated chefs. A visit to L’Atelier, which means ‘workshop,’ is a wonderful experience.

The tasting menu is the way to go if you’ve hit it big at the tables or have some cash to spend. The complete trademark tasting menu is $200 per person, making it pricey. On a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, though, you may complete a four-course menu for $85.

Honey Salt

Honey Salt is a wonderful option at the Parq Vancouver if you’re searching for something a little more informal yet still stylish. This restaurant takes a farm-to-table approach and has a strong local focus. Consider it a hip neighbourhood hangout that’s still enjoyable but a little more toned down than a steakhouse.

This is the place to go if you want a golden-seared scallop. These delicate jewels are covered with a truffle jus and served with roasted or pureed cauliflower. It’s flavourful, and it’s only one of the menu’s many fascinating selections.

Conclusion

Restaurants in casino towns are often the most top-tier establishments of their ilk in that area, so if you’re planning to splurge in a casino, you might as well take a detour to get some quality grub. At the end of the day, casinos are all about having a good time, and food is probably the best medium to achieve that. So, go crazy, and feast like kings! We’ve all deserved it after the last couple of years.

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