Finnish president denies ever discussing ‘raking’ with Trump

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and President Donald Trump hold a joint news conference.

President Sauli Niinistö of Finland said he didn’t discuss raking with President Donald Trump during their brief meeting in Paris last weekend. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The leader of Finland denied on Sunday that he’d ever told President Donald Trump that the small Nordic nation relies upon “raking” its forests to prevent wildfires — even though Trump promoted the dubious conservation method during a visit to flame-ravaged California over the weekend.

“You look at other countries where they do it differently, and it’s a whole different story,” Trump said Saturday, standing alongside Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom of California among the charred ruins of the Skyway Villa Mobile Home and RV Park in the town of Paradise.

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“I was with the president of Finland, and he said, ‘We have a much different — we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation,” Trump continued. “And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem. So I know everybody’s looking at that to that end. And it’s going to work out, it’s going to work out well.”

But President Sauli Niinistö of Finland told Ilta-Sanomat, the country’s second-largest newspaper, on Sunday that he never discussed raking with Trump during their brief meeting in Paris last weekend, where the leaders attended various commemorations marking the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I.

“I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network,” Niinistö said, adding that he recalled telling Trump: “We take care of our forests.”

The Camp Fire in Northern California, the deadliest and most devastating wildfire in the state’s history, has resulted in at least 76 deaths and nearly 1,300 people missing. The fire, which is 55 percent contained, has destroyed nearly 10,000 homes and set ablaze 233 square miles, according to The Associated Press.

While in California, the president was reluctant to blame the effects of rising global temperatures for a series of increasingly devastating wildfires. Asked by reporters whether his visit to the fire zone had altered his opinions on climate change, Trump replied: “No. No. I have a strong opinion: I want great climate. We’re going to have that, and we’re going to have forests that are very safe.”

The president has instead largely attributed the natural disasters to forestland mismanagement by California’s leaders. He was widely criticized by local officials last week for a tweet in which he threatened to withhold the state’s federal funding.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” Trump wrote online. “Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!”

On Saturday, the president continued to emphasize the importance of working with environmental groups to improve forest maintenance, and pledged to “take care of the floors, you know, the floors of the forest.”

“I think everybody’s seen the light, and I don’t think we’ll have this again to this extent. We’re going to have to work quickly,” Trump said. “But a lot of people are very much — there’s been a lot of study going on over the last little while, and I will say I think you’re going to have — hopefully this is going to be the last of these because this was a really, really bad one.”

As news of Niinistö’s contradiction of Trump disseminated across social media on Sunday, Finns took to Twitter to post videos, pictures and memes accompanied by the word #haravointi, which translates from Finnish to English as “raking.”

“Just an ordinary day in the Finnish forest,” wrote @pyryluminen, who posted a photo of herself vacuuming leaves in a small clearing.

Another post featured a Photoshopped picture of Niinistö brandishing a rake in the Oval Office in an effort to “offer aid” following Trump’s warning of an “invasion” of incoming Central American migrants.

And a user from Wales wrote, “Now we know what Trump supporters wear to do forest work,” tweeting a picture of the president’s signature campaign baseball cap emblazoned with the words “Rake America Great Again.”

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Women’s World Twenty20: West Indies beat England by four wickets

Deandra Dottin’s 46 off 52 balls included four sixes
ICC Women’s Twenty20, St Lucia
England: 115-8 (20 overs): Dunkley 35, Shrubsole 29
West Indies: 117-6 (19.3 overs): Dottin 46, Campbelle 45 Shrubsole 3-10
West Indies won by four wickets

England will play India in the Women’s World Twenty20 semi-finals after a narrow defeat in their final Group A game against West Indies in St Lucia.

After losing six wickets in the first 10 overs, England posted 115-8 thanks to an excellent partnership between Anya Shrubsole and Sophia Dunkley.

Shrubsole took two wickets in her first over, but Deandra Dottin and Shemaine Campbelle steadied the hosts.

The defending champions won with three balls to spare and face Australia next.

Both semi-finals will take place on Thursday, with the West Indies match starting at 20:00 GMT and England’s beginning about four hours later.

‘It’s so close, it’s unreal’ England’s Jones has lucky escape

England were put in to bat by the hosts and were quickly in trouble when Danni Wyatt was caught behind off Shakera Selman in the first over.

They stuttered to 50-6 off 10 overs, but after Britney Cooper’s brilliant run-out dismissed Lauren Winfield for a duck, Shrubsole and Dunkley moved England towards a competitive total with a seventh-wicket stand of 58.

Both batters hit a six apiece, with Shrubsole falling to the final ball of the innings when Dottin pulled off an outstanding catch diving to her right.

Shrubsole’s excellent form continued when she took the ball for the second over of the West Indies reply, bowling Hayley Matthews with her first delivery and Stafanie Taylor with her fourth.

Shrubsole bowls Matthews & Taylor in second over

Shrubsole’s hat-trick had inspired England to victory over South Africa in their third match, but this time Dottin calmed their opponents by hitting 46.

Left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon tied down and then dismissed Dottin, but Campbelle picked up the scoring rate to take West Indies near to victory, and was missed by Dunkley off a steepling chance in the penultimate over.

It was a frantic finish at the Darren Sammy Stadium, with substitute Fran Wilson allowing a catching chance to go through her hands and then for four, and keeper Amy Jones also dropping a skier – although in the aftermath Cooper was run out by an alert Winfield.

Shrubsole stepped up for the final over with five needed by the West Indies, but after dismissing Campbelle for 45, she saw her next delivery sent to the point boundary by Kycia Knight to give the hosts victory with three balls to spare.

England captain Heather Knight on BBC Test Match Special: “What a game of cricket, what a great atmosphere – I couldn’t be more proud of the fight they showed. A little bit more composure maybe needed to get over the line, but what a game.

“Ideally, you want a player from the top five to bat for most of the innings, and with the ball I think the spinners went slightly over their lengths but in general our bowling’s been brilliant.

“Sophia Dunkley hits in weird areas, it’s difficult to set fields to her, and she and Anya kept us in the game. Australia and India both look very strong, it looks like it’s going to be a great couple of semi-finals.

“Dani Hazell was a bit unlucky as a few of the balls just went over fielders’ heads – we’ll have to assess what’s going to be our strongest XI against India. I’ve got a bit of a hoarse throat trying to get fielders’ attention, but what an atmosphere to play in.”

Ex-England captain Charlotte Edwards on TMS: “West Indies look like they can win from anywhere – my money was definitely on England with five overs to bowl. What an incredible game to play in front of a crowd like this – it’s what the tournament needed.

“I think the noise affected England as three or four catches went up [and were dropped], but hopefully they’ll react better in a semi-final.”

ICC Women’s World Twenty20 semi-finals
Venue: Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua Date: Thursday 22 November
West Indies v Australia (20:00 GMT), England v India (00:00 GMT, 23 Nov)
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary, in-play video highlights and live text commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and via the BBC Sport website & app

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Toronto boys’ private school launches independent review amid sexual assault investigation by police | CBC News

A Toronto private boys’ school at the centre of controversy after allegations that students have been assaulted or sexually assaulted on camera says that it will launch a “rigorous independent examination” of the incidents. 

St. Michael’s College School also said that its principal, Greg Reeves, has forwarded an additional video to police, but does not know whether it’s a new video or a duplicate of video the police already have. 

“Recent incidents at our school are offensive to everything we strive to teach the young men of St. Michael’s College School,” the school said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

Victims ‘being supported’

“The victims of these horrendous acts are being supported and cared for.”

Toronto police sources said one incident, which was captured on video, involved a group of students on the football team pinning down another student and allegedly sexually assaulting him with a broom handle. The sources said another incident involved members of the basketball team bullying a student and soaking him with water.

Eight students have been expelled and another was suspended in the wake of multiple incidents, one of which involved an alleged sexual assault.

Police said in a Friday news release they are working with school officials and investigations into “a number of occurrences involving incidents of alleged assaultive and sexually assaultive behaviour have been opened.”

The school says that a “respect and culture review” by a third party committee will be launched to help examine present and past “unacceptable behaviours​” at the school and take steps to eliminate them. 

“This review will listen and collect information from students, parents, alumni and current and former faculty and staff.”

Review to report in spring

St. Michael’s College School says that it has begun its search to find members for the committee and that it expects it to be established by the first week of December.

The school adds that its goal is to have the committee deliver a preliminary report in the spring, with a final report in the summer. The recommendations in the review will be implemented in the 2019-2020 school year, the school says.

“We must return our culture to one founded upon absolute trust and mutual respect, a culture that graduates young men who change the world for the better, together,” Reeves said in a statement.

Police said there may be more victims and urged anyone who has not already come forward to contact them.

No criminal charges have been laid at this time.

Violent hazing goes back decades, alumnus claims

Jean-Paul Bedard, who attended St. Michael’s College School in the ’80s, said he was prompted to come forward by news of the incidents.

It’s not known whether any of the alleged incidents involved hazing, but Bedard said that’s what he experienced when he played on the football team after transferring to the school in Grade 9.

“I didn’t realize at the time, but there was a bit of an initiation rite. And I experienced sexualized violence,” said Bedard, now 52, in an interview.

“I just dismissed it as ‘boys will be boys,’ and it’s part of the macho culture and all that stuff,” he said. “But then when I saw the story in the news earlier this week at St. Mike’s, I realized — here we are 35 years later, and this is still going on.”

On Friday, the school said it had also reported a third incident but declined to provide any details. Police encouraged anyone with information to come forward.

While Bedard remains an elite athlete today — spending his time on the running trail instead of the football field — he has also become an author and an advocate for survivors of sexual violence.

St. Michael’s College School did not respond to requests for comment about Bedard’s allegations, but notes in a statement on its website that the most recent incidents are “unacceptable and fall far short of upholding the principles we strive to live by.”

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Trump blasts ‘little Adam Schitt’ on Twitter

Rep. Adam Schiff addresses an audience.

Rep. Adam Schiff is poised to take the helm of the powerful House Intelligence Committee. | Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Rep. Adam Schiff — along with “Crooked Hillary Clinton,” “Cryin’ Chuck Schumer” and “Crazy Maxine Waters” — has long been a target of mockery on Donald Trump’s Twitter feed. But in a post Sunday, the president may have coined his crudest nickname yet for a political rival.

“So funny to see little Adam Schitt (D-CA) talking about the fact that Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker was not approved by the Senate,” the president wrote online, “but not mentioning the fact that Bob Mueller (who is highly conflicted) was not approved by the Senate!”

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Schiff fired back 35 minutes later, quoting the president’s post and writing on Twitter: “Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the president’s misspelling of Schiff’s name was intentional. The office of first lady Melania Trump, who has championed anti-cyberbullying efforts through her “Be Best” initiative, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Schiff, who is poised to take the helm of the powerful House Intelligence Committee after Democrats recaptured the chamber from Republicans in the midterm elections, appeared Sunday morning on ABC’s “This Week.” The California congressman spoke about Trump’s decision to appoint former U.S. Attorney Matthew Whitaker to lead the Justice Department after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was ousted earlier this month.

Whitaker, who most recently worked as Sessions’ chief of staff, has previously criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Kremlin by the Trump campaign. In his new role as acting attorney general, Whitaker is charged with overseeing that probe.

“The biggest flaw from my point of view is that he was chosen for the purpose of interfering with the Mueller investigation,” Schiff told journalist Martha Raddatz of Whitaker’s appointment, which he called “unconstitutional.”

“He auditioned for the part by going on TV and saying he could hobble the investigation,” Schiff said, adding: “We will expose any involvement he has in it. He needs to know that if he takes any action to curb what Mr. Mueller does, we’re going to find out about it.”

Trump has been known to delete some tweets with typos or obvious factual errors, firing off amended posts within minutes. But since referencing Schiff just after 1 p.m., the president has not corrected the spelling of the congressman’s name, and has gone on to tweet about South American migrants and rebroadcasts of his Sunday interview with Fox News anchor Chris Wallace.

The president’s apparent dig at one of the top Democratic lawmakers in Congress comes as the White House has complained about a lack of civility among members of the media — specifically CNN’s Jim Acosta, whose security pass was yanked by Secret Service personnel following a dispute involving a news conference earlier this month.

When a federal judge on Friday ordered the White House to reinstate Acosta’s pass, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement: “There must be decorum at the White House.”

In an interview later Friday on Fox News, Sanders said that “if certain reporters like Jim Acosta can’t be adults, then CNN needs to send somebody in there who can be.”

Trump, in his interview with Fox News’ Wallace on Sunday, said the White House was in the process of drafting new protocols for conduct by reporters at news conferences.

“We’re writing them now,” the president said. “We’ll have rules of decorum.”

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Women’s World Twenty20: ‘It’s so close, it’s unreal’ England’s Amy Jones gets lucky – BBC Sport

England’s Amy Jones has a lucky escape as the ball hits her stumps without removing the bails during the Women’s World Twenty20 tie against West Indies.

FOLLOW LIVE: England v West Indies – in-play clips, TMS & text

WATCH MORE: ‘A staggering catch’ – Australian Vlaeminck’s amazing take

Available to UK users only.

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Poor weather prompts temporary shutdown of all offshore rigs, petroleum board says | CBC News

All Newfoundland and Labrador offshore facilities have been temporarily shut down as a safety precaution due to stormy seas and will not resume operations until the offshore industry regulator says it’s safe to do so.

The Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board confirmed the province-wide shutdown Saturday, in the wake an offshore spill that was one of the largest in the history of the N.L. industry.

Husky Energy reported Friday, after the storm, that a flowline to the SeaRose FPSO, a vessel stationed about 350 kilometres off the Newfoundland coast, leaked 250,000 litres of crude. The board is working “around the clock” to ensure appropriate response to the spill, spokesperson Lesley Rideout said.

Due to ongoing high swells, the spill has not yet been contained. A Husky spokesperson could not confirm whether the line has stopped leaking.

The board confirmed Saturday that the SeaRose FPSO, and other rigs including the Terra Nova FPSO and the Hebron platform, had suspended operations just before bad weather hit earlier in the week.

The SeaRose had begun preparing to resume operations Friday when they reported the spill.

“There are significant precautions taken prior to a storm like this,” said Rideout. “All workers are safe, which is our main priority.”

Offshore operators must obtain authorization from the board before they can continue production. Rideout said the board does not yet know when that will happen.

Lingering impact

A number of accidents — and near misses — at sea followed the mid-week battering.

On Thursday, smoke was reported on the Hebron platform and the crew ordered to muster. According to the board, the smoke came from a breaker fault from standby switchgear. No fire was detected.

Also on Thursday, a Panamanian bulk carrier called for Canadian Coast Guard assistance after it took on water and endured a power outage, but crew wrested control of the flooding and restored power late Thursday evening. Reports claiming crew had abandoned ship in lifeboats were unfounded.

On Sunday afternoon, a Husky spokesperson said the company has been conducting hourly sweeps of the White Rose field with no oil sheens currently in the immediate vicinity of the field, with water monitoring and aerial surveillance. Two sheens were reported Saturday.

“There is a sheen located approximately 50 kilometres south of the field. The Maersk Dispatcher is in the area for surveillance and wildlife monitoring. To date, there have been no reports of impacted wildlife,” said an email from Husky’s Colleen McConnell.

“Additional wildlife observers have been placed on vessels responding to the spill,” wrote McConnell, who added that the Skandi Vinland is en route to the White Rose field and would begin subsea inspections via remotely operated vehicles as soon as conditions permit.

McConnell said wildlife observers are aboard the Skandi Vinland, which arrived at the White Rose field Sunday night. The ship carries an underwater rover that will be dispatched when swells subside, she said.

A marine wildlife expert has told CBC News tens of thousands of seabirds could be at risk.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Next Canadian federal election will be target for Russian meddling: Sajjan | CBC News

With a federal election less than a year away, Canada’s defence minister is warning voters they will be targeted by online cyberattacks and fake news as Russia steps up its efforts to undermine Western democracies.

“We have taken this into account very seriously in our defence policy,” Harjit Sajjan said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“We need to further educate our citizens about the impact of fake news. No one wants to be duped by anybody.”

Sajjan made the comments while attending a defence and security conference in Halifax, where experts, military officers and politicians representing democracies from around the world spent a great deal of time discussing cyber-warfare.

“When we stand up for human rights, and when we stand up … to nations like Russia who are going against the rules-based order … you become a target,” Sajjan said, adding that Canada’s decision to protest Russia’s annexation of Crimea has also raised Russia’s ire.

He said the Canadian government has a cybersecurity plan that includes establishing the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security within the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s domestic spy agency.

The harm of disinformation 

Rose Gottemoeller, deputy-secretary general of NATO, stressed that Russia is not the only country using the internet to spread disinformation, citing a NATO report released Sunday that drew attention to North Korea, China and Iran.

The report, presented Sunday to a NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Halifax, was discussed by NATO’s science and technology committee.

There’s a lot of creativity among the bad guys– Rose Gottemoeller, deputy-secretary general, NATO

U.S. Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis told the committee that Russian interference continued in the early stages of the recent U.S. midterm elections, although not on the scale seen during the 2016 election that saw Donald Trump elected president.

Last year, Facebook said hundreds of dubious accounts, likely operated out of Russia, spent about $100,000 on some 3,000 ads about contentious issues such as LGBT rights, race, immigration and guns.

Facebook later said an estimated 10 million people in the United States saw the ads.

Gottemoeller, who previously served as undersecretary for international security at the U.S. State Department, said democracies have to be ready to defend themselves — on the battlefield or in cyberspace.

“There’s a lot of creativity among the bad guys,” she said in an interview Sunday.

As an example, Gottemoeller pointed to the Canadian-led NATO Battle Group in Latvia, which has been subjected to a steady stream of fake news aimed at undermining the year-old mission.

“The Russians are pumping out a lot of reports about misbehaviour of Canadian troops and how expensive the [battle group] is for Latvia,” she said, adding that Canadian soldiers have taken a proactive role by letting local residents know why they are there.

“It’s a great example of how Canada … has made a difference pushing back against disinformation.”

Destabilizing tactics

Pauline Neville-Jones, chairwoman of the U.K.-based Advisory Board to Cyber Security Challenge, said Russian operatives use online algorithms to distribute false stories that are aimed at sowing division and distrust of democratic institutions.

“In the case of Canada, [the Russians] would find it very interesting to try to destabilize your relationship with the United States,” said Neville-Jones, who was David Cameron’s national security adviser before he became prime minister of Britain.

“That gets at the sinews of Western democracy. It gets at the sinews of NATO relationships.”

Neville-Jones said the rise of social media has eroded the influence of traditional media sources, which has left citizens more susceptible to cyberattacks. The best defence against fake news, she said, is to seek other news sources.

She said there was plenty of evidence of online interference in the 2016 U.S. vote, particularly from the Russians.

“Propaganda … has been one of the things they’ve always done,” Neville-Jones said. “They see international relations as a zero-sum game. If you’re losing, then I’m winning.”

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