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Russian ambassador claims Canada a ‘very dangerous country’ to visit

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Russia’s ambassador in Ottawa claims Canada is unsafe for his compatriots to visit.

“Canada today is a very dangerous country for Russian citizens,” Oleg Stepanov said in a Russian-language interview last Friday.

“I would not recommend it for tourism, education or business.”

Stepanov told state news agency RIA Novosti that Canada keeps sanctioning people, which he deems to be an arbitrary response to the conflict in Ukraine.

He also claimed that Russians in Canada are regularly experiencing racism and bemoaned what he said are daily protests outside of Russia’s Ottawa embassy and its consulates in Montreal and Toronto.

“Russian-Canadian relations are now in a deep freeze,” Stepanov was quoted as saying.

He took aim at Canada’s intent to forfeit US$26 million held by a firm owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, which would be the first case under a new law that allows Ottawa to take possession of funds from sanctioned people and divert them to victims of wrongdoing.

Ottawa has yet to actually file its court application. Stepanov said the idea amounts to an attack on property rights.

However, Stepanov added that most Canadians treat Russians well, and Moscow’s travel advisory for Canada only warns of street gangs and a “rather harsh climate.”

He also claimed that Russia has been unable to open a consulate in Vancouver.

Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Stepanov said Russia is open to dialogue with Canada if it stops echoing U.S. policy, but Ottawa has said that change will only happen when Russia ends its invasion of Ukraine, and compensates that country for losses.

Earlier this year, a Russian woman living in Ottawa, Elena Pushkareva, said Stepanov denied her consular services over claims that her participation in a pro-democracy Facebook group amounted to a security risk.

Last year, Russia summoned Canada’s ambassador in Moscow over claims that the RCMP and Global Affairs inadequately responded to security concerns, such as security footage that suggests someone threw a Molotov cocktail over the fence of the Ottawa embassy.

The Trudeau government has accused Russia of sowing chaos globally and summoned Stepanov over social media posts against LGBTQ people.

Last summer, a bicycle painted blue and yellow sat outside the embassy for weeks until a group spray-painted it black on Aug. 16.

The group also painted a large Z on the sidewalk and lamppost, which is a sign indicating support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. One passerby posted photos of the group, which appeared to have arrived on the scene in a car with diplomatic plates.

Stepanov’s interview last week called out the Canadian public for taking photos of diplomatic cars.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 13, 2023.

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LSU cornerback Javien Toviano arrested on accusation of video voyeurism, authorities say

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU sophomore cornerback Javien Toviano surrendered to authorities Sunday on charges of video voyeurism, the East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s office said.

Toviano, 19, of Arlington, Texas, is accused of recording himself having sex with a woman without her consent, according to an arrest warrant. The woman told detectives she found videos of the two on Toviano’s iPad that were recorded through a clock with a built-in camera placed near the bed, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The woman told detectives that Toviano had recorded them having sex in the past without her consent and she told him she did not want to be recorded.

Toviano, in an interview with detectives, admitted using a hidden camera to record the sexual encounters, the arrest warrant states.

Bond information was not immediately available. It was unknown if Toviano has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

Toviano “has been suspended from all team activities, in accordance with departmental policies,” LSU said in a statement.

“We will not have further comment out of respect for the legal process,” the university said.

Toviano signed with LSU last year. He appeared in every game as a freshman and made three starts over the last five games. He finished his freshman season with 33 tackles and one pass breakup.

LSU begins preseason practice on Aug. 1, and Toviano was expected to compete for playing time at cornerback.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Beltré, Helton, Mauer and Leyland inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Adrian Beltré, Joe Mauer and Todd Helton were pegged as athletic phenoms from a young age and all three lived up to expectations with their induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were so sold on Beltré early on that they broke MLB rules to sign him before he turned 16.

Beltré reached the big leagues just after his 19th birthday and was quickly considered one of the best prospects in sports as a teenager.

In Beltré’s induction speech, he says he played for his first team at the age of 13 and was a second baseman because his dad told him that’s the position he should play.

After a teammate asked him to switch and play third base, Beltré obliged and the decision paid off.

Beltré played 21 years for the Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers. He became a five-time Gold Glove winner and is the first third baseman with at least 450 home runs and 3,000 hits.

During his playing days, Beltré made it clear that he did not like anyone touching his head so of course, his teammates ignored the request and made a habit of touching his head anyways. At Sunday’s ceremony, fellow Hall of Famer David Ortiz continued the tradition by touching Beltré’s head prior to his speech.

“That never relaxes me,” Beltré said with a laugh. “(But) it was a little cute to go back to my playing days. …It’s just part of being in this fraternity. Even though I don’t love it, I don’t like it, but it felt like I’m open to people to be able to play around with me. I always like that.”

Mauer was a high school phenom in both football and baseball in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was named USA Today’s High School Player of the Year in football in 200 and baseball in 2001.

He was drafted by his hometown Twins with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft.

“It was truly an honor to be a (Minnesota Twin) and represent my hometown team,” Mauer said.

The future six-time All-Star catcher spent just three years in the minors before spending all 15 years of his big league career with the Twins.

Mauer finished his career with one Most Valuable Player award, three batting titles and is the only catcher in history with at least 2,000 hits, a .300 batting average and a .380 on-base percentage.

Mauer noted the emotion he felt seeing all the Minnesota fans throughout the weekend.

“It’s not easy to get to Cooperstown and especially with the events that have happened this last week,” he said. “But to see that many Twins fans out there, I just felt the love and I was just hoping that I could deliver the speech that I wrote down.”

Helton was also a football and baseball star and played both sports at the University of Tennessee.

Despite his dominance in both sports at an early age, Helton never felt comfortable in the spotlight or felt like a Hall of Famer.

“Those of you who know me know I’d be more comfortable doing anything other than standing up here talking about myself,” Helton said to open his speech. “I’m just a ball player and anyone in the media can attest to that fact.”

Helton’s claim to fame could have been that he was the quarterback at the University of Tennessee between future first-round draft picks Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning, but he was destined for bigger things on the baseball diamond.

After a knee injury in 1994 paved the way for Manning to become Tennessee’s quarterback, Helton shifted all of his focus to baseball where he was named the winner of the Dick Howser Award by the American Baseball Coaches Association and named Player of the Year by Baseball America.

Helton was selected by the Colorado Rockies with the No. 8 overall pick in the 1995 amateur draft and never left the Mile High City.

After becoming the starting first baseman in 1995, Helton finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting and posted a .315 batting average with 25 home runs and 97 RBIs.

He went on to become one of just three players to record multiple seasons with 100-plus extra-base hits in his career and helped the Rockies reach the 2007 World Series.

While Helton began the weekend feeling out of place, the second Rockies Hall of Famer knows he is where he belongs now.

“Just standing back there waiting to go up onto the stage, the guys were so kind, but they all came by and offered me advice,” Helton said. “For me, that was the beginning of feeling that I belong. But we have a players-only dinner tonight and I’ll probably feel like I belong after that.”

Jim Leyland was elected by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee. He managed for 22 seasons, won three Manager of the Year awards, the 1997 World Series, had a 1,769-1,728 career record as a manager and was the manager of the U.S. Olympic team in 2017 when the Americans won their only World Baseball Classic.

Leyland made sure to acknowledge the importance of the fans to the game of baseball.

“No matter which Hall of Famer you’re here to support today, or which team you cheer for, your presence is always felt,” Leyland said. “On your feet in the ninth with the home team clinging to a one-run lead, turning on your television for the first game in the World Series and seeing 50,000 fans hoping and praying that this may be their year, or a little boy or girl getting their first autograph scurrying back to the stands to show mom and dad what they just did. Ladies and gentlemen, that’s you. That’s baseball. And this is the Hall of Fame.”

Beltré led this year’s class with 95.1% of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote in his first year on the ballot. Helton followed with 79.7% of the vote in his sixth year of eligibility and Mauer received 76.1% of the BBWAA vote in his first year.

Other players included on this year’s ballot who fell short of the 75% threshold were Billy Wagner (73.8%), Gary Sheffield (63.9%), Andruw Jones (61.6%), Carlos Beltrán (57.1%), Alex Rodriguez (34.8%), Manny Ramirez (32.5%), Chase Utley (28.8%), Omar Vizquel (17.7%), Bobby Abreu (14.8%), Jimmy Rollins (14.8%), Andy Pettitte (13.5%), Mark Buehrle (8.3%), Francisco Rodriguez (7.8%), Torii Hunter (7.3%), David Wright (6.2%), José Bautista (1.6%), Victor Martinez (1.6%), Bartolo Colon (1.3%), Matt Holliday (1%), Adrián González (0.8%), Brandon Phillips (0.3%), Jose Reyes (0%) and James Shields (0%).

Sheffield was on the ballot for the 10th time without reaching the 75% mark and is no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration. Bautista, Martinez, Colon, Holliday, González, Phillips, Reyes and Shields did not receive the minimum requirement of 5% of the vote and are also no longer eligible for BBWAA consideration.

Joe Castiglione and Gerry Fraley were also honored during Hall of Fame weekend. Castiglione has been the Boston Red Sox radio broadcaster for a record 42 seasons and received the Ford C. Frick Award. Fraley was posthumously honored with the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for his work as a writer. During his career, Fraley covered the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers and worked as the national baseball writer for the Dallas Morning News.

___

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Baby Gourmet Foods recalls organic baby cereal over possible bacteria contamination

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CALGARY – A brand of baby cereal is being pulled from all in-store and online retailers in Canada due to possible Cronobacter contamination.

Calgary-based Baby Gourmet Foods has issued a product recall for its Banana Raisin Oatmeal Organic Whole Grain Cereal, which is sold in 227 g packages.

The bacteria can cause serious or fatal infections to the bloodstream, central nervous system and intestines.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall was triggered by agency test results.

The company says no other Baby Gourmet or Little Gourmet products are affected by the recall and no incidents related to the product have been reported to date.

It says anyone who purchased the cereal should dispose of it immediately or return to the location where it was purchased.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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