Day: October 9, 2019

Editorial Roundup: Excerpts from recent editorials

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad:

Oct. 8

The Washington Post on international reaction to Facebook’s plan to encrypt all of its messaging services:

Facebook wants to pivot to privacy, but there’s a new obstacle in its path: Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mr. Barr and other law enforcement officials in the United States, Britain and Australia are asking the technology company to scrap its much-touted plan to make all of its messaging services end-to-end encrypted by default, BuzzFeed reported last week. The move is likely the first salvo in a broader fight against programs that put users’ communications out of government’s reach — a trend that Mr. Barr this summer called “unacceptable” and “exceptionally dangerous.”

But leaving consumers’ information unprotected is dangerous, too. The officials say in their letter that they support a “means for lawful access,” otherwise known as a “backdoor” for authorities to enter when they come knocking with a warrant. The problem is, a door for U.S. authorities could be a door for everyone else. And everyone else wants in.

Services such as WhatsApp operate with a universal code, which means the moment the United States is offered a security workaround, the leaders of countries far less free will start asking for similar treatment. Egypt, the New York Times recently reported, has been conducting sophisticated cyberattacks on its opposition politicians and civil society. Devices can be altered for individual markets, but that doesn’t mean building intentional vulnerabilities is wise. Last week, Microsoft revealed that the Iranian government had attempted to breach email accounts belonging to a U.S. presidential campaign. Create a “golden key” for the good guys here, and hackers might find ways to unlock whatever they wish.

Mr. Barr’s concerns are legitimate. Criminals take advantage of these systems to conduct their business in the dark, and some of that business, such as child exploitation imagery, is repugnant. There is a tradeoff between security and safety. But the tradeoff need not be absolute. Even with encryption, there are ways to gather evidence, and there could be areas for compromise beyond the debate over a backdoor.

Solutions might vary depending on the abuse being targeted, and each possibility comes with narrower tradeoffs of its own. Forwarding limits could stop disinformation from going viral; filtering tools could conceivably allow users to reject flagged material from being sent to them or prevent some material from being sent altogether. Some believe the way forward for criminal investigations is to permit court-compelled device unlocking for suspects in custody; others believe lawful hacking is the answer. But preventing end-to-end encryption entirely would be a mistake.

Online: https://ift.tt/1LG6QUD

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Oct. 8

Chicago Sun-Times on toxic spills in one of the Great Lakes that have polluted drinking water:

You might think that when a company has a long record of polluting our drinking water, including a recent chemical spill that killed thousands of fish in Lake Michigan, state and federal officials would spring into action.

You might think the U.S. EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management would have begun investigating long ago, methodically and aggressively, to understand why the polluting goes on and on, and taken every step to put an end to it.

You might think they would do their jobs.

But they have not.

Both government agencies have been pretty much missing in action, prompting two environmental groups on Friday to file a 60-day notice of a lawsuit in the hope of convincing the federal government and Indiana that it’s not a good thing to allow dangerously toxic chemicals to flow into the lake.

Such a lawsuit is permitted by the federal Clean Water Act when the government fails to act.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Hoosier Environmental Council report that the Burns Harbor steel mill in northwest Indiana, owned by ArcelorMittal, has broken clean-water laws more than 100 times since 2015. That includes an Aug. 11 toxic spill of concentrated cyanide and ammonia into a ditch that drains into the Little Calumet River, which in turn flows into Lake Michigan.

The ELPC says the “total cyanide load” discharged from one outfall at the mill was 548% higher than the legal limit on Aug. 12, 795% higher on Aug. 13, 557% higher on Aug 14 and 419% higher on Aug. 15. The amount of ammonia discharged into the environment also far exceeded the legal limit.

Yet the supposed environmental sheriffs here — the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management — have made an art of foot-dragging. They repeatedly have sent a message that cracking down on polluters is simply not a priority for them, particularly on the federal level by the Trump administration.

After the most recent spill, local officials in Portage, Indiana, complained that the public was not warned for several days, at which point the sight of thousands of dead fish floating around a nearby marina made it clear something bad had happened.

Boaters complained about the stench of the dead fish. Local fishermen were warned not to eat their catch. The toxic spill was so severe that officials closed nearby beaches, including in the Indiana Dunes National Park, and shut off a drinking water intake.

The EPA and IDEM have said they will file inspection reports about the Aug. 11 spill, but neither agency has taken formal enforcement action over any of the steel mill spills over the past four years, according to records obtained by The Environmental Law & Policy Center and the Hoosier Environmental Council.

Part of the problem is that budget cuts have hacked away at IDEM’s staffing levels year after year. And scientists at the U.S. EPA’s regional office have complained for more than two years that the Trump administration’s antipathy toward environmental regulations has made it harder for them to be effective. The bosses don’t back them up.

When government environmental watchdogs are not watching, any company has a motivation to handle toxic waste in the cheapest way possible, which can mean cutting corners in ways that add to environmental pollution.

Last May, ArcelorMittal was fined more than $5 million for clean-air violations that date back years, but nothing was done about the clean-water violations.

The company says the Aug. 11 spill at its Burns Harbor facility occurred because of a loss of power at a pump station, and that workers did not realize wastewater with ammonia and cyanide would get into the lake.

Assuming that explanation is true, it does not explain the many previous toxic spills. That kind of lax industrial management also is far less likely when there’s a real government watchdog on duty.

Seven million people get their drinking water from Lake Michigan. The U.S. EPA and the state of Indiana owe every one of them a thorough investigation and an end to this nonsense.

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Oct. 7

The New York Times on a tweet that created controversy between the National Basketball Association and China:

“Fight for freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted that message on Friday (Oct. 4). It’s a sentiment that should command broad support in the United States, and throughout the free world.

But the reaction from China, which does not number free expression among its cherished values, was swift and painful for the N.B.A. The shoe company Li Ning and the Shanghai Pudong Development Bank ended sponsorship deals with the Rockets; Chinese broadcasters said they would not show Rockets games; the Chinese Basketball Association — led by the former Rockets star Yao Ming — suspended ties with the team.

“There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear,” said Adam Silver, the league’s commissioner.

Mr. Silver went on to add that he supported Mr. Morey, but “what I am supporting is his freedom of political expression in this situation.”

The billionaires who control the lucrative basketball league, however, nearly tripped over themselves in their haste to abjure Mr. Morey’s remarks. The N.B.A., like many large American businesses, is besotted by the opportunity to make money in China’s expanding market. And the league once again made clear it is willing to obey China’s rules to preserve that chance.

The owner of the Rockets, Tilman Fertitta, raced for the traditional refuge of international capitalists — the insistence that business can be segregated from political considerations. “We’re here to play basketball and not to offend anybody,” Mr. Fertitta told ESPN.

But it should be perfectly clear that playing basketball in China is political.

Last year, the N.B.A. staged a game in South Africa for the explicit purpose of celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela. When the N.B.A. goes to China, that’s a statement, too.

It means that the N.B.A. has weighed China’s human rights abuses against China’s potential as a source of revenue, and it has decided that it can live with state policies like the detention of hundreds of thousands of Chinese Muslims in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.

The owner of the Brooklyn Nets, the Chinese billionaire Joe Tsai, took the opportunity to publish an open letter scolding Americans for talking about the affairs of other nations. He also mischaracterized the Hong Kong protests as a “separatist movement.”

Mr. Tsai’s suggestion that people should avoid “third rail” issues may well be good manners when visiting a foreign country, but Mr. Morey posted his tweet while visiting Japan — and on a website that is not accessible to the general public in mainland China.

The face of the Rockets, the point guard James Harden, issued a public apology on Monday.

“We apologize,” he said.

For what, exactly, remained unclear.

Do the N.B.A.’s owners appreciate that their wealth is a product of the freedoms they enjoy in this country? Does Mr. Harden, the owner of a famous beard, know that Muslims in Xinjiang are not allowed to grow beards like his?

The N.B.A. has an undoubted right to set rules for its work force, but it cannot simultaneously claim to champion free expression — the value of which consists entirely in the right to say what others don’t want to hear.

American executives and policymakers initially reconciled themselves to following China’s rules by arguing that China’s turn toward capitalism, and its exposure to the United States, would gradually lead toward democracy and a greater respect for human rights. They argued, in effect, that silence was the most productive form of criticism.

It should now be clear that silence is merely complicity, no more or less.

It is the moral price the N.B.A. and other businesses are paying for making money in China.

Online: https://www.nytimes.com

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Oct. 6

The Khaleej Times on protests of the government in Iraq:

Widespread poverty, unemployment, and corruption have crippled life in Iraq and is forcing its young population to pour their anger onto the streets to demand what should be their basic right in the first place. When communication with government fails, protests become the preferred vehicles to seek attention of leaders. The protesters, majorly from the Shia population, feel they have been left behind while other sects have benefitted more from Iraq’s improving economic condition. They are calling for reforms. These young Iraqis are frustrated with pervasive corruption that has corroded every institution in the country. They are infuriated over the lack of employment opportunities which are arguably the only means to improve living conditions. They are vexed at the lack of basic amenities such as uninterrupted electricity. It’s not too much to ask for. Come to think of it, why should an oil-rich country suffer poverty at this scale anyway? Iraq is among the top producers of oil. It’s the second biggest in OPEC, and yet the Adel Abdul Mahdi government hasn’t been able to steer the country to a better future. Yes, Iraq was ravaged by war but collective efforts by international community have put the country back on its feet.

Despite foreign aid, the government has so far failed to turn its military victory over Daesh into social gains. Almost 60 per cent of the population of 40 million is aged under 24. With education and opportunities to remain gainfully employed, the youth can help rebuild Iraq in a more constructive manner. Yet, they are on the streets escalating the protests into the worst civil unrest since 2017. Shutting down the Internet and imposing a curfew might help now, but it would not resolve the issue. True, there is no magic formula to solve the country’s problems immediately, like Mahdi noted in his speech late on Thursday (Oct. 3). But there can be ways to improve the conditions of people, and the government would do well to explore and discuss them rather than just highlight the obvious. The Mahdi government should ensure sectarian divide in Iraq doesn’t erode the gains made thus far.

Online: https://ift.tt/2wcLl8C

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Oct. 6

The Miami Herald on the policy that could deport Haitians from the Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian:

The Bahamas, for decades, has made clear that its Haitian residents, especially the undocumented, are not welcome. They are unfairly stigmatized, ostracized and bad-mouthed. But this is the worst time for the country to resume its iron-clad immigration policy of deporting Haitians who have been living in the Bahamas illegally.

In September, after Hurricane Dorian brought utter devastation to Grand Bahama Island and Abaco Island, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis declared that deportations would be suspended, a justified respite. Last week, though, he announced they would resume.

Obviously, the trauma of being deported before the hurricane to a dysfunctional Haiti — rocked by corruption, protests, an ineffectual government, a flummoxed president, food scarcity, rampant unemployment and even tent cities still inhabited almost a decade after the 2010 earthquake — pales in comparison to barely surviving Dorian’s deadly ferocity and then being kicked out of the country, perhaps still unsure if relatives are dead in the debris or alive somewhere.

Michelle Karshan, who runs a disaster-recovery program for children in Haiti, told the Editorial Board, “There’s been no national budget for (two) years, there’s a huge movement for the president to step down, hospitals and schools are not open and there are upwards of (30,000) internally displaced people since the earthquake.

“It’s an impossibility to resettle people into Haiti now.”

Deportations, no doubt, will resume. However, it is particularly cruel to do so at this time. This is the same argument that the Editorial Board has made in recommending that the United States continue to extend Temporary Protected Status to Haitians who fled here after the 2010 earthquake.

Of course, they are here legally, able to work and put down roots, however tentative. But Haiti is in no shape to receive those in the United States, either. And because they send remittances to relatives back home, ejecting them also cuts a financial lifeline.

Haitian Bahamians, likewise, contribute to the economy. Why can’t even the undocumented continue to do so, participating in efforts to rebuild the islands, earning money while doing so?

The Bahamas is a sovereign nation with the right to legislate its immigration policies as it sees fit. But the government’s restrictions on Haitian residents’ ability to return to communities such as the Mudd and Sandbanks by banning any rebuilding, after they’ve been sequestered in shelters, sounds like a land grab, an attempt to get rid of a population that was never welcome in the first place.

As with any immigrant population, Haitian Bahamians have settled there for decades, creating families. Some have children who became citizens, some have offspring who are stateless because they failed to apply for citizenship between the ages of 18 and 19, as the law allows.

Moreover, it’s foolhardy to demand that they present documents that prove they are legally able to live in the Bahamas when so many homes and their contents were completely destroyed.

Minnis should show the same compassion he did immediately after the storm and not be swayed by politics. If he does not relent, we urge the members of CARICOM, an organization of Caribbean nations, to speak up on Haitians’ behalf. The organization rightly protested when the Dominican Republic sought to withdraw citizenship from Haitians there.

The organization, while respecting the Bahamas’ autonomy, should speak up now. The Bahamas is a CARICOM member. So is Haiti. That should count for something, especially during this humanitarian crisis.

Online: https://ift.tt/2BsciM2

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Oct. 3

The Orange County Register on the executive power past and aspiring U.S. presidents:

For too long, the power of the executive branch has long exceeded the narrow set of powers and expectations set out by the U.S. Constitution.

Unfortunately, there is little sign of this changing, with President Trump and the Democratic candidates alike perpetually seeking to push the limits of executive authority.

Just because someone is elected president doesn’t mean they can do whatever they’d like. And even for those who claim a “mandate,” any purported mandate must be constrained by the limits of the constitution.

While presidents have a tendency to take on an almost cultish devotion among their strongest supporters, Americans ought to see the dangerous path of infusing a single individual with so much power.

Though there is still plenty of information to sort through, there is legitimate cause for concern about President Trump’s apparent order to hold up congressionally approved aid to Ukraine ahead of a call with Ukraine’s then newly-elected president Volodymyr Zelensky.

It raises, among other things, red flags over the president breaching the separation of powers with regards to Congress’ power of the purse.

But in addressing another sort of abuse of power, these pages have called out other instances of President Trump overextending the reach the executive branch ought to have.

This includes tariffs initiated officially under dubious national security grounds. It also includes his perpetuation of American involvement in conflicts without congressional authorization, particularly U.S.-support for Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen. And it includes his efforts to sidestep Congress by declaring a national security at the southern border after Congress refused to fund a border wall.

Whatever the merits of any of these ideas, there’s supposed to be a process for implementing and pursuing such policies.

Unfortunately, in sidestepping Congress and expanding the power of the executive branch, President Trump has merely followed those who came before him.

And to make matters worse, those vying to succeed him aren’t much better on that front.

Democratic presidential candidates have been more than happy to run with the idea that they can abuse executive authority, particularly by way of executive orders, to get what want without having to go through Congress.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, for instance, has promised that if Congress doesn’t agree to gun control policies to her liking, she’ll simply issue executive orders to impose gun control policies.

Joe Biden’s website touts the former vice-president’s promise to “sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden Administration platform and put us on the right track” with respect to climate change.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, meanwhile, has vowed to “do everything I can by executive order,” on guns, while also wanting to use that power to raise the pay of women of colour.

It’s unfortunate that the American power have allowed presidents and aspiring presidents to get such an outsized view of their powers. It is likewise unfortunate that Congress has been allowed to do little more than allow things to run on autopilot, with only rare efforts to check presidential powers.

One thing is for certain: the founders would not recognize the federal government of today as what they envisioned and planned for.

Online: https://ift.tt/2u1yutB

The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law October 9, 2019 Off

Teen fatally stabbed in front of his mother was bullied, family says

TORONTO — A mother who watched her 14-year-old son be stabbed to death outside of his Hamilton, Ont. high school said bullying had been an ongoing issue.

Speaking with CTV News Toronto off-camera one day after her teenage son had died, Shari-Ann Sullivan Selvey said she was alerted to Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School, located near Parkdale Avenue South and Main Street East, on Monday afternoon for a problem.

She said her son, Devan Selvey, had been bullied at the school for quite sometime, but did not go into any further detail on the matter.

Devan Selvey

She described her 14-year-old son as being a bit shy as he took time to open up to people.

A friend of Selvey told CTV News Toronto the teenager was “quiet and very giving.”

“He would share with people and he was nice to everyone,” Bobby Shoker said. “I feel sad because he was really close to me and we were close friends and he was really innocent.”

Two teens charged with first-degree murder

Two suspects, an 18-year-old male and a 14-year-old male, both from Hamilton, were taken into police custody after emergency crews were called to the high school around 1:30 p.m. for reports of a violent incident happening just outside.

hamilton

The pair was charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday morning as they appeared in court.

Sgt. Steve Berziuk said investigators are “satisfied based on evidence that there was some element of pre-planning and pre-meditation to this homicide” while speaking at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

At the news conference, Berziuk announced that two additional suspects had been arrested in the case.

One day later, Hamilton police said the pair was “released unconditionally.”

The identity of those facing charges in connection with the fatal stabbing cannot be released due to a publication ban and the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Victim’s mother ‘witnessed something horrible’

When emergency crews were called to the scene of the stabbing, Selvey’s mother was by his side.

The teenager was transported to hospital from the scene but succumbed to his injuries a short time later.

“She was just very upset,” a witness, who only identified herself as Alice, told CTV News Toronto. “She couldn’t stop crying. She had two people beside her, holding her because she was shaking, she was crying and crying.”

“Can you imagine a mother watching her son die on the sidewalk?”

hamilton vigil

Berziuk described the victim’s mother as being “distraught and devastated” in the aftermath of what had occurred.

“(The mother) witnessed something horrible here,” he told reporters.

Vigil to be held tonight

A candlelight vigil is scheduled to take place on Wednesday evening at the Hamilton high school.

An event page on Facebook said the gathering in Selvey’s honour will be a peaceful memorial and time of solidarity.

“Please leave any hate and negativity at home,” the description of the event said.

“We must come together at this time of grief as a community to show solidarity with the families and in support of all our children being bullied all over Canada.”

school

The organizer of the vigil, Kevin Ellis, said the gathering is meant to “strengthen our children to understand that violence is not the answer to anything in this world.”

“Devan, like a lot of kids, was bullied and silenced for a long time,” he said. “His mother did reach out for help and he was unable to find it.”

“Now, everyone is coming together, but it quite frankly is too late. We need to do something to make sure that Devan’s life is one that shows that a line was drawn in the sand after his death and the community has stepped forward and said ‘enough is enough.’”

The vigil is set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Officers appeal for more information

While Berziuk said that officers have spoken with “dozens of witnesses,” they are continuing to ask anyone with further information to come forward.

Furthermore, investigators are continuing to look into the relationship between the accused and the victim, Berziuk said.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.

“One of the interventions we apply, when there is a case of bullying, is that we do reach out to police because each high school has a police liaison officer so when we feel that the bullying incident is severe enough we would reach out to the police so we continue to do that,” Manny Figueiredo, the school board’s director, told CP24 on Wednesday morning.

“In terms of this case, I am reluctant to speak now because that is evidence as part of the crime investigation.”

Figueiredo said his heart goes out to Selvey’s family at this difficult time.

“I have been hearing what Devan’s mother has been saying, and his step-father, around bullying and it really, across the province, all schools boards, have policies around that and we will, at the right point, review what has happened here because at the essence of bullying it is what was reported and how did people respond,” he said.

“There is a whole range of what we provide as response in terms of measures and in terms of interventions but at this point we are going to cooperate with police because some of our evidence will be the evidence in the crime investigation at this point.”

The school board plans to review its own “safe schools” policy in the wake of this tragedy, Figueiredo said.

“Until we do our own assessment, I would hate to make any kind of conclusion.”

Berziuk said “police will continue to work with Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.”

Investigators with Hamilton police are expected to provide an update into the case at 4 p.m.

Anyone with further information regarding the case is asked to contact investigators at 905-546-4123 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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By The Wall of Law October 9, 2019 Off

Ontario’s top court expected to rule on controversial brain death case

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court is expected to rule today in the case of a Toronto-area family that fought to keep their daughter on life support after she was declared brain-dead.

Taquisha McKitty was 27 when doctors declared her “dead by neurological criteria” in September 2017 following a drug overdose that left her unconscious.

Her relatives went to court to prevent doctors from taking her off life support, arguing her Christian faith defines death as the cessation of heartbeat, not brain function.

They argued the Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires doctors to make accommodations for religious beliefs in making a determination of death, and were granted an injunction to keep McKitty on a respirator until the case was resolved.

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled against them in the summer of 2018, saying the charter does not apply to McKitty because it only protects “persons” and a clinically dead patient is not legally a “person.”

 he family challenged the ruling, arguing that determining and certifying death is a function delegated by the state, and therefore subject to scrutiny under the charter.

Lawyers representing McKitty’s doctor, meanwhile, argued the family’s appeal relies on evidence that was rejected by the lower court judge, and that it misstates several facts.

They said the judge was correct to find brain death is death in the eyes of the law, and that this definition does not infringe on charter rights.

The appeal ruling expected today will have no impact on McKitty herself: the woman’s family said her heart stopped in December 2018, rendering her dead in their view.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2019.

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By The Wall of Law October 9, 2019 Off

Irish border residents worry about future if no-deal Brexit

GREENORE, Ireland — The small ferry moves gently across the calm waters of Carlingford Lough, connecting the picturesque hamlet of Greencastle in Northern Ireland with the village of Greenore, a mile and a half away in the Republic of Ireland.

It began sailing a little more than two years ago, saving farmers, commuters and tourists an hour-long drive inland to the nearest bridge.

The service is another sign that the border has all but vanished since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, ending decades of sectarian violence and creating a quiet sense of normality that older generations cherish and younger people may take for granted.

But if the U.K. leaves the European Union on Oct. 31 without a Brexit divorce deal, this local boat could find itself plying an international border.

“We don’t know what to expect,” said Paul O’Sullivan, the ferry company’s managing director. “Brexit has resulted in chaos for our company.”

With both in the EU, the border barely resonates. As members, both the U.K. and Ireland have to abide by the rules of the club — the free movement of goods, services, capital and people.

In a no-deal Brexit, that all goes and the border — the only land border between the U.K. and the EU — will resonate once again.

Little wonder then that it’s been the most intractable issue in the Brexit negotiations over the past three or so years since the U.K. voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

With little more than three weeks to go before the scheduled Brexit date of Oct. 31, the two sides have failed to agree on a plan to ensure the border remains open, without the checkpoints that were magnets for violence during three decades of conflict. More than 3,500 people died during “The Troubles.”

“People in their 40s and 50s and older, we remember The Troubles very well,” said 51-year-old Patrick Robinson, a member of Border Communities Against Brexit. “What started off as border troubles exactly like what is going to happen now escalated into what became known effectively as the civil war in Northern Ireland.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the U.K. as a whole, including Northern Ireland which voted to remain in the EU during the referendum, has to leave on the scheduled Brexit date — with or without a deal. Not doing so, he says, would undermine faith in democracy.

That stance has raised concerns that a physical border will return and threaten the fragile peace process in Northern Ireland and the economic opportunities it has created.

No one really knows what will happen even though political leaders on all sides keep insisting the border will stay open. People are worried about the long-term impact of the potential changes.

Like many businesses, the Carlingford Lough Ferry has received little guidance: Will farmers carrying hay from the south need to declare their goods? Will there be forms? Customs officers with clipboards? And then there’s the question of whether the ferry will be allowed to operate at all.

Back in the days of hard borders, trade between North and South was impeded. It took truck drivers hours to get cleared and cross to the other side. Lush rolling hills were marred by guard towers, soldiers and checkpoints. Criss-crossing the border several times a day was challenging.

The inability to no longer move freely is likely to hurt the smallest operators the most.

“The economic shock will be so great that there is no way to mitigate against the risk,” warned Daniel Donnelly, a spokesman in Northern Ireland for the Federation of Small Businesses.

Even low tariffs in the event of a no-deal could wipe out the profits that small businesses with low margins make, he added.

People here just don’t see any point in going back to the past. Piloting the ferry across Carlingford Lough, 31-year-old Shane Horner remembered the border checks and troops that were deployed along the border when he was a child. Crossing was slow and intimidating, he said, but “once that stopped it was grand, you could come and go as you pleased.”

Today, farmers from the Republic take the new ferry service to sell silage and hay from the lush fields of County Louth to customers north of the border. Wedding parties from the North use it to cross for events in the medieval Carlingford.

It’s a bus service on the water — not a stronghold between nations.

“There is a cross-community dimension,” said O’Sullivan, who remembers meeting some northerners taking the ferry on their first journey across the border. “If there is a hard Brexit, it almost certainly will have an adverse impact.”

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David Keyton, The Associated Press

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By The Wall of Law October 9, 2019 Off

Ontario’s top court expected to rule on controversial brain death case

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court is expected to rule today in the case of a Toronto-area family that fought to keep their daughter on life support after she was declared brain-dead.

Taquisha McKitty was 27 when doctors declared her “dead by neurological criteria” in September 2017 following a drug overdose that left her unconscious.

Her relatives went to court to prevent doctors from taking her off life support, arguing her Christian faith defines death as the cessation of heartbeat, not brain function.

They argued the Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires doctors to make accommodations for religious beliefs in making a determination of death, and were granted an injunction to keep McKitty on a respirator until the case was resolved.

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled against them in the summer of 2018, saying the charter does not apply to McKitty because it only protects “persons” and a clinically dead patient is not legally a “person.”

The family challenged the ruling, arguing that determining and certifying death is a function delegated by the state, and therefore subject to scrutiny under the charter.

Lawyers representing McKitty’s doctor, meanwhile, argued the family’s appeal relies on evidence that was rejected by the lower court judge, and that it misstates several facts.

They said the judge was correct to find brain death is death in the eyes of the law, and that this definition does not infringe on charter rights.

The appeal ruling expected today will have no impact on McKitty herself: the woman’s family said her heart stopped in December 2018, rendering her dead in their view.

The Canadian Press

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By The Wall of Law October 9, 2019 Off