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Amazon UK website defaced with racist abuse


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Amazon has blamed a “bad actor” for racist abuse that appeared on multiple listings on its UK website.

The abuse, now removed, appeared when users searched the online shop for Apple AirPods and similar products.

It was unclear how long the racist language remained on the site, but it sparked outrage on Twitter and the sharing of screenshots and video grabs.

Amazon told the BBC that it removed the images and took action against the “bad actor” as soon as the issue was raised.

The company did not elaborate on the “bad actor”, nor give details of how many products were defaced and how long the abuse was visible on the listings.

Nadine White, a journalist for the Huffington Post, tweeted that the abuse “needs to be acknowledged, removed, explained, apologised for asap. Being Black right now is hard enough; we don’t need to be called the N- word while shopping online, to boot”.

Another Twitter user said Amazon should have been able to remove the offending messages in minutes. “They’re still on Amazon UK. Extraordinarily poor site administration,” he said during early hours of Sunday.

Amazon also allows third-party retailers to sell goods through its website, with the company making about half its retail revenues from this.

But the Amazon Marketplace platform has come under scrutiny.

There has been concern about counterfeit goods appearing in the listings, and during the coronavirus pandemic Amazon was criticised for not doing enough to stop sellers inflating prices.

In April, five Amazon e-commerce websites, including the UK, were added to the US trade regulator’s “notorious markets” report on marketplaces known for counterfeiting and piracy concerns.

Amazon disagreed strongly with the move, saying in a statement that “this purely political act is another example of the administration using the US government to advance a personal vendetta against Amazon”.



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B.C. board launches public effort to rename school named after ‘racist’ federal MP – BC


A Vancouver Island school district is embarking on what could be a difficult exercise to rename an elementary school named after a long-serving, controversial former municipal, provincial and federal politician.

The Alberni School District in Port Alberni, B.C., is setting the stage for a public consultation to rename A.W. Neill Elementary School, named for Alan Webster Neill, a former mayor, member of the B.C. legislature and a federal MP who represented the area in the House of Commons from 1921 to 1945.

Neill, known as and advocate for a blue-collar workers, an early backer of the Canada Pension Plan and a supporter of unemployment insurance, was also considered racist for his efforts in the House of Commons to deny voting rights to Asian immigrants, his support of anti-Chinese laws in the B.C. legislature and his approval of Indigenous residential schools.






First Nations’ students successfully petition B.C. government for provincial park name change


First Nations’ students successfully petition B.C. government for provincial park name change

Neill’s own home in Port Alberni included a restriction that it could never be sold to Asian people. He died in 1960 at 91. The home’s covenant was removed earlier this year.

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“In my opinion, his behaviour and his beliefs were so heinous that he doesn’t deserve a spot on a main plaque on any public building,” said Rosemarie Buchanan, a school board trustee who spearheaded a failed 2017 attempt to have the city council drop the name of Neill Street.

“To think we were sending children to a school named after somebody who was an Indian Agent, who believed the residential school system was good for kids,” she said. “He said the Japanese people were a cancer.”


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The district’s school board said in a statement last month it is considering a name change for the school.

“In the Alberni Valley, much discussion has taken place about the values and actions of A.W. Neill and whether or not A.W. Neill Elementary School should continue to bear this individual’s name,” said school board chairwoman Pam Craig.

She said board trustees propose A.W. Neill elementary become either Compton Elementary School or Kitsuksis Elementary School.


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Prof. Reuben Rose-Redwood, a social and cultural geography expert at University of Victoria, said there is a long, worldwide history of renaming places, including cities, streets and public squares. He cited the Soviet Union as an example of a country that underwent extensive name changes.


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Victoria’s council approved the removal of a statue of John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, from the front entrance at city hall earlier this year.

Rose-Redwood said the two issues are similar.






City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue


City of Victoria removes John A. Macdonald statue

“It speaks to what do we in the present hold as our values of who we choose to honour from the past,” he said. “How can we constructively engage with the past in the present to create a better future.”

He said the debate about to unfold in Port Alberni is healthy.

“We often learn our history, not by having monuments there, but by the debates that arise from people who suggest we should remove monuments.”

The Port Alberni school board will decide by next spring whether to make the name change, said Craig, adding the board is looking for public input.


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Buchanan said she knows that people don’t like change.

“Some people have said to me, ‘that was just the way that was at that time.’ There is no get out of jail free card because it was said so many years ago. It is still incredibly racist.”

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Former Port Alberni mayor Mike Ruttan said he expects old history to collide with today’s values during the debate.






Cost of removing John A. Macdonald statue growing


Cost of removing John A. Macdonald statue growing

“I can tell you it isn’t going to be an easy conversation because it isn’t just the name,” said Ruttan, who was mayor when the council rejected a name change for Neill Street.

“Without a doubt, A.W. Neill was racist, but also, we have to think about that time. It was a very racist time and there were what people perceived as a lot of threats to the economy, a lot of threats to safety and all that kind of stuff.”

Neill was the MP during the Great Depression, the years of the Second World War and the growth of residential schools.

Ruttan, a retired school principal, said he went to A.W. Neill school as a youngster. He said he did not know about Neill’s history while growing up in Port Alberni.


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“It’s going to be a really interesting community discussion and ultimately the decision, as I understand it, will be made by the school board,” Ruttan said. “Kudos to them if they can work through this decision without alienating people in the larger community.”

Prof. Ian Baird, a geography expert at University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Neill’s views were strong even for the time period.

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“Even for his day and age, and I think this is the very important thing to recognize, he was one of the most racist politicians around,” said Baird. “He was fundamentally against all Asians from the first moment he entered politics. Asians were seen as an economic threat to white people, or at least to him.”

Baird, who owns property in the Port Alberni area, said changing the name of the school is up to the people of Port Alberni, but “it doesn’t seem to me he’s worthy of an honorific.”




© 2019 The Canadian Press







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Calgary Flames continue to investigate allegations of racist comments by head coach Bill Peters


CALGARY — The Calgary Flames are continuing to investigate allegations head coach Bill Peters made racist comments directed at former player Akim Aliu.

Aliu, who played seven games for the Flames in 2012 and 2013, made the allegation over social media on Monday, saying Peters hurled racial slurs at him while he played for the Rockford IceHogs in the American Hockey League during his rookie year.

While he didn’t mention Peters by name, Aliu indicated that’s who he was talking about when he tweeted the following:  “Not very surprising the things we’re learning about (former Leaf coach) Babcock. Apple doesn’t fall far from the Tree, same sort of deal with his protege in YYC. Dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room in my rookie year because he didn’t like my choice of music.”

The IceHogs are the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks, who drafted Aliu 56th overall in 2007 out of the Ontario Hockey League. Aliu played 48 games under Peters with the IceHogs, and 13 more with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye.

In an interview with TSN on Tuesday, the Nigerian-born Aliu elaborated on the allegations.

“He walked in before a morning pre-game skate and said ‘Hey Akim, I’m sick of you playing that n—– s—,’ ” Aliu told TSN, with Peters, who was then the Ice Hogs head coach, referring to Aliu’s selection of hip-hop music. “He said ‘I’m sick of hearing this n—–s f—— other n—–s in the ass stuff.’

“He then walked out like nothing ever happened. You could hear a pin drop in the room, everything went dead silent. I just sat down in my stall, didn’t say a word.”

Flames’ general manager Brad Treliving responded to allegations on Monday, and again on Tuesday morning.

“We hope to have this completed quickly, but it’s got to be thorough and it’s got to be done correctly, and I’m not about to comment on anything halfway through or give tidbits or give soundbites at this point other than to say the serious nature of this is not lost on us,” he said.

“We take it with extreme seriousness and until such time as I can personally talk to all parties involved, we’re not going to comment.”

Treliving said he has spoken to both Peters and Aliu.

“Until such time as I can put everything together, I’m not going to comment on any individual in terms of what they’ve said,” he said.“This needs to be handled correctly, it needs to be thorough and it needs to be deep.”

The Flames are currently on the road, having played in Pittsburgh on Monday night before travelling to Buffalo.

Treliving called the allegation, “repulsive.”

“Now it’s my job to find out exactly what’s taken place.”

At the time of the alleged incident, John McDonough was president of the Blackhawks while Stan Bowman was general manager.

Aliu added on social media: “First one to …admit I rebelled against him. Wouldn’t you? And instead of remedying the situation, he wrote a letter to John McDonough and Stan Bowman to have me sent down to the ECHL. 20 year old on pace for 20 goals in his first pro year with zero PP/PK time was off to a great start in his …Pro career.”

Aliu has played seven career games in the NHL, all of them with the Flames between 2011 and 2013.

The NHL issued a statement Tuesday morning.

“The behaviour that has been alleged is repugnant and unacceptable,” it read. “We will have no further comment until we have had an opportunity to look into the matter more thoroughly.”

Another player, Sean McMorrow, tweeted Tuesday that Peters was the “Worst human being ever to coach me.”

“Treated me terrible on a AHL team (IceHogs) where I won a League Award for Community Service,” he wrote in part, adding the hashtag, #badguy.

McMorrow was with the IceHogs for the 2008-09 season and played one game in the NHL, with the Buffalo Sabres, in the 2002-03 season. He has been with the Jonquiere Marquis in the LNAH since 2014-15.



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Irish people have ‘no right’ to be racist


Former president Mary McAleese has called for the abandonment of old thinking about a united Ireland at an event in Dublin.

“We really, really have to abandon the old narrative around a united Ireland,” she said on Saturday night, adding that Irish people, considering their own history, had no right to be racist.

Mrs McAleese was speaking at Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral in a panel discussion as part of the Jonathan Swift Festival, with other panellists including Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, historian Ida Milne, and economist and Irish Times columnist David McWilliams.

On the issue of a united Ireland, Prof McAleese said: “We have to create a new narrative around a reconciled Ireland where everyone is welcome.”



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