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University of Guelph pauses search for new president, names interim one – Guelph


The University of Guelph says it is suspending its search for a new president and vice-chancellor amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the board of governors have appointed current provost and vice-president Charlotte Yates as president on an interim basis for two years.


READ MORE:
University of Guelph cancels ‘face-to-face’ classes, events in response to COVID-19

Board chair Shauneen Bruder said universities and organizations worldwide are focused on addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and this is where their efforts and resources should be concentrated.

“COVID-19 is creating much uncertainty, both now and for the future,” Bruder said in a statement. “We expect that even once the crisis subsides, the implications will be long-lasting. At the same time, there are many other strategic imperatives the university must address to continue to move forward.”

Yates replaces outgoing president and vice-chancellor Franco Vaccarino, who announced last year that he was stepping down. His term will end on Aug. 1 and Yates will officially take over the following day.

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A search committee has been working since last fall and the university said it was at a critical stage of the process when it made the decision to pause the search.

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Bruder said Yates was chosen in part because of her effectiveness in a range of complex situations and circumstances.

“Her significant experience and extensive knowledge of the complexities and challenges facing the university will enable her to act immediately on priorities during this critical period,” Bruder said.


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Yates has served as provost since 2015 and the university said since then she has built a strong leadership team that includes five new deans and other key academic leaders.

She previously served as dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at McMaster University.

“I am deeply honoured by the trust the board has placed in me to lead the University of Guelph during this challenging time,” Yates said.

“I welcome this opportunity. The university has extraordinary, dedicated faculty, staff and students and exceptionally strong academic and administrative leaders. Working together, we will rise to meet the challenges before us while also enhancing our reputation for quality and excellence.”

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An announcement regarding an interim provost and vice-president to replace Yates will be forthcoming, the university said.


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In response to the pandemic, the University of Guelph has cancelled all in-person classes for the remainder of the winter semester and more than 4,000 students living on residence have moved out.

Classes resumed on Monday in what the university called an “alternative delivery format.”

More information on its response to the pandemic can be found on the university’s website.










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New Zealand volcano: Search fails to find last two victims as death toll hits 16



A search has failed to locate the bodies of the last two victims of a volcano eruption in New Zealand that claimed the lives of at least 16 people.

It came as New Zealand police confirmed the 16th victim died on Saturday at Sydney’s Concord Hospital, one of several Australian hospitals where survivors suffering from severe burns were being treated.

It comes as the first five victims were officially named by police. 

On Sunday, two four-person teams landed on the volcanic White Island by helicopter to search a location thought to be where one of the remaining bodies might be. 

The teams were wearing heavy protective clothing due to the toxic air and gases present on the island as a result of the eruption.

Their breathing apparatus allowed them to search for only 75 minutes.

The searchers were unable to locate either body and returned to the mainland where they underwent decontamination. 

New Zealand Police national operations commander John Tims said the search will continue.

Members of a dive squad conduct a search during a recovery operation around White Island (NEW ZEALAND POLICE via REUTERS)

“We have always anticipated recovering all bodies from the island, and we remain deeply committed to that goal, to allow families some closure,” he said.

“We are now debriefing, reassessing and coming up with a new plan going forward.”

Mr Tims said the process of identifying victims and releasing bodies to their loved ones was ongoing in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.

“We will continue to release the names of those who have died as soon as we are able to,” he said.

Five victims have so far been named, four of whom are Australians.

The first to be named was Krystal Browitt, a veterinary nursing student from Melbourne, Australia, who turned 21 on November 29.

On Sunday, Zoe Hosking, 15, and her stepfather Gavin Dallow, 53, both from Adelaide, were confirmed as dead. Lisa Dallow, Zoe’s mother, is being treated for severe burns.

Anthony Langford, 51, of Sydney, has also been confirmed dead. He was travelling with his wife Kristine Langford and their children Jesse, 19, and Winona, 17.

Jesse survived the eruption and was identified in a New Zealand hospital on Tuesday evening. His mother and sister are still unaccounted for.

The fourth person identified on Sunday is New Zealand resident Tipene Maangi, 24.

Two British women were among those admitted to hospital in New Zealand after the volcano erupted.

All 13 Australians who suffered burns were transported to hospitals around Australia for treatment, at least eight of whom are reported to be in a critical condition.

Navy and police divers are expected to resume the search of waters around the island later on Sunday.

 

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100 Jewish graves were desecrated in France. A search for the websites that fueled the hate led to the US


But in early December, that is exactly what happened in the small village of Westhoffen in the Bas-Rhin region of Alsace, in eastern France. No one knows exactly when swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were spray-painted onto 107 tombstones in the village’s ancient Jewish cemetery — the 42nd anti-Semitic attack in the region in just 18 months.

French authorities are taking the matter extremely seriously. France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner visited Westhoffen the day after the swastikas were discovered and French President Emmanuel Macron paid his respects at the cemetery of Quatzenheim after it was desecrated earlier this year. And yet, no one has been caught.

A source close to the investigation told CNN that locals are believed to be responsible for the recent spree and that they may have been incited by global websites. Extra police resources have been allocated to the search for the culprits and several officers are working on the cases full-time. Part of the difficulty is that the villages are remote and very quiet. And according to the man in charge of the investigation in the Bas-Rhin, the culprits are not your average criminals.

“Normally,” says Colonel Francois Despres, “it is about following the money, but this is another type of criminal and people who are used to adopting a low profile both in society and when they commit acts. So that’s why it’s a question of patience and we are patient and that patience will pay.”

For now, 42 attacks — on graveyards, town halls, schools and cultural centers — remain unpunished and the threat of more remains. While the hunt for the culprits continued on the ground, CNN began to investigate who might be influencing them from afar. What we found was a trail that led us from Alsace, through the Bahamas and Panama, and on to the United States.

People look at tombs at Westhoffen cemetery near Strasbourg after they were desecrated.

Searching the internet, CNN found two French-language websites posting celebratory articles and photographs about the attacks in Alsace. “White Europe” and “Participatory democracy,” are both domiciled outside of France — in the Bahamas and Panama — and therefore beyond the reach of France’s anti-hate speech laws. Both are openly anti-Semitic, with “White Europe” hailing the work of “the proud people of Alsace who are leading the way.”

In response to CNN’s questions, “White Europe” said that although they didn’t know who was responsible, they did support such actions. “Participative democracy” told us that whilst they did not condone the crimes, they believed that the attacks were staged as part of a Jewish conspiracy. Both sites promote the theories of the late American white supremacist David Lane, whose 14-word slogan — “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” — is a rallying cry for parts of the extreme right. A reference to it was made in the attack at Westhoffen: one of the tombs had been graffitied with the number 14.

Both sites use the American internet infrastructure company Cloudflare — which not only allows websites to get online but helps them stay there, by shielding them from cyberattacks. In the wake of the El Paso mass shooting this summer, Cloudflare discontinued its service to 8chan after a user believed to be the killer was found to have posted a rant on it. Cloudflare also said it stopped its service to the US neo-Nazi blog Daily Stormer in 2017. Not because any laws obliged it to but because it chose to following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cloudflare said it stopped its service to the US neo-Nazi blog Daily Stormer in 2017 after Charlottesville.

CNN asked the company why it was not doing the same against hate speech that happens to be in French, and much of which is illegal in France, but received no reply.

We also found that posts from the French sites stayed up for a while on Facebook before they were taken down, while Facebook says posts from Daily Stormer are blocked from being shared. After CNN reached out to ask about Facebook’s policy, the company began blocking the French sites too. Twitter, for its part, allows the sharing of posts from both the French sites and Daily Stormer. In response to CNN’s questions, the company said it will start blocking certain content in the future. Twitter also said that they take action on content that violates their policies, including hateful conduct.

The trouble is that for the time being, with hate speech on the internet so far beyond the reach of national laws, the only restrictions that apply to it are decided by private companies and on a case-by-case basis. Guillaume Debré says it is time that this global problem received a global solution. “Without it,” he says, “you’re going to have more Westhoffens, more Quatzenheims and others and not just in France but in New Zealand and in America.”

It is an issue on which France is seeking to lead the way in the wake of the Christchurch attack, live-streamed on the internet. Soon after, the French government announced a bill, now working its way through the parliament, that seeks to force social media platforms to be responsible for the content they distribute. Companies like Facebook would have 24 hours to take hate speech down after users flagged it or face a hefty fine.

In an exclusive interview with France’s Interior Minister, we asked whether the United States, where so many of the internet giants are based, was doing enough. “No. And my answer is clear,” said Castaner, “because there is a clear difference of culture.”

“It is not about opposing French or European culture to American culture, but clearly on these subjects there is a belief in the freedom to say anything and everything. I believe that there is no freedom when it is us and our fundamental values that are being attacked.”

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, center, visits the Jewish cemetery at Westhoffen after the attack this month.
In the meantime, the French government says it is doing what it can. After visiting Westhoffen, Castaner announced a national taskforce dedicated to investigating and fighting hate crimes. This in a country that has Europe’s largest Jewish population — 550,000 people — and where in 2018 the number of anti-Semitic attacks, which includes both threats and assaults, rose by about 75%, according to the latest interior ministry figures.

One question is why these attacks have happened in this particular area of France. Positioned on France’s border with Germany and Switzerland, Alsace has changed hands several times over the centuries. A history reflected in its local dialect — far closer to German than to French — and in its culture. It is also a region that has one of the oldest Jewish populations in Europe, first documented in the 12th century.

Long confined to the villages by edicts that banned them from the cities, the Jewish community was an important part of rural life in the Bas-Rhin region. Relations between the communities were not always calm — there were regular pogroms and sectarian tensions between local Protestants and Catholic populations — but for 1,000 years they lived side by side. By the 20th century though, local Jews were migrating to Strasbourg, a rural exodus hastened by World War II, and leaving behind only their cemeteries. In all, there are just 45 cemeteries of them in the Bas-Rhin.

Inside one of the largest — and heavily guarded — synagogues in Europe, the chief rabbi of Strasbourg, Harold Weill, told us that it was because Alsace had such a vibrant and well-integrated Jewish population that those on the extreme fringes chose to target it, warning that “hatred that begins with the Jews, never ends with the Jews.”

Yoav Rossano, is on the frontline of that hatred. In his role as the head of Jewish heritage in the Bas-Rhin he is often the first on the scene of attacks and the first to be confronted by the symbols of hate.

“It is awaking the history,” he says of the recent spate of attacks. “Part of the family line died in Auschwitz so to see here in my region, you feel a big responsibility.”

That responsibility both protects the history of the Jewish population here and ensures its future.

But it is a lonely and difficult battle with ancient regional tensions now being fed by an international white supremacy movement facilitated by technology.

Global hate is now fanning local flames and that may be harder for Rossano to stop.



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Australian police find body of man in search for missing British backpacker



Australian police have found a body they believe to be that of Aslan King, a British backpacker who went missing from a campsite at the weekend.

The body has not yet been formally identified, but local authorities believe it is that of King, 25, who has been missing in the state of Victoria since Saturday.

King, an illustrator from Brighton, was last seen at a camping ground in Princetown, on the Great Ocean Road, at about 2am on Saturday. His disappearance prompted an intensive search.

King had been camping with friends near the Twelve Apostles, about three hours southwest of Melbourne, when he suffering a suspected seizure and hit his head, before suddenly running into bushland.

Fearing King – who had been on holiday in Australia – had become disorientated and lost in the bush, police deployed a helicopter, horses, motorcycle riders, specialist rescue teams and volunteers to find him.

“The body was located about 10:15 am this morning in a creek just over a kilometre from the camping ground where Aslan was last seen,” police said.





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With coach Khari Jones signed, Als turn their attention to GM search


Now that Khari Jones is returning as the Alouettes’ head coach — the two sides reached agreement on a three-year deal during Grey Cup week in Calgary, the Montreal Gazette has learned — and until the team’s ownership situation is settled, the next order of business will be hiring a general manager.

It would be easy for the Als to hire someone with experience. Should the Canadian Football League team go that route, the three leading candidates could be Eric Tillman, Brendan Taman and Danny Maciocia.

Tillman has experience with British Columbia, Toronto, the Ottawa Renegades, Saskatchewan, Edmonton and, most recently, Hamilton. He has won three Grey Cups and, at the very least, deserves to be interviewed by president Patrick Boivin.

Taman, currently out of football, was the GM at both Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, while Maciocia is a former Edmonton GM and head coach. Now the coach at Université de Montréal, Maciocia has led the Carabins to three Vanier Cup appearances, and one title, since 2014. The Carabins lost Saturday’s championship game to the University of Calgary.


Montreal Alouettes head coach Khari Jones smiles during practice in Montreal on Nov. 8, 2019.

John Mahoney /

Montreal Gazette

But it’s also possible Boivin and the organization will think outside the box and hire someone with vast CFL experience, but who has never been a GM.

It shouldn’t be forgotten Boivin has enlisted the services of Wally Buono, the former B.C. GM and head coach, in an advisory role. Buono will probably recommend former colleagues Neil McEvoy and/or Geroy Simon — perhaps a combination of the two — for the job.

Those two seemingly would work well with Jones — a key component in this scenario, because the Als have hired a coach before the GM — who came to Montreal after being the Lions’ offensive coordinator.

McEvoy, the Lions’ director of football operations, has held that position five years, but has been with the organization for 24. He handles many of the daily football operations activities, including player contracts, training camp and travel logistics and scouting preparation. He also plays a key role in the evaluation of Canadian talent for the CFL draft.

Simon, the former standout receiver, is the Lions’ director of Canadian scouting and draft coordinator. He has spent five seasons in football operations and, in 2018, said he was ready to become a GM.

Two members of the Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers also deserve consideration.

Danny McManus is the Bombers’ assistant GM and director of U.S. scouting. A former CFL quarterback for 17 seasons, McManus has been with Winnipeg since December 2013.

He scours the U.S. for talent while working closely with GM Kyle Walters in helping shape the roster and the team’s negotiation list. McManus also organizes the team’s free-agent tryout camps held throughout the U.S. during the winter.

Before joining the Bombers, McManus worked as a scout with Hamilton from 2009-13. He originally was hired as a regional scout before becoming the Tiger-Cats’ head U.S. scout. He was an offensive assistant coach with the team in 2008.

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Ted Goveia also serves as an assistant GM with Winnipeg along with being the team’s director of player personnel. He has been with the Bombers for six years. He held the same role with Toronto between 2010-13.

Ottawa assistant GM Jeremy Snyder and Jean-Marc Edmé, the Redblacks’ director of player personnel, both spent time with the Als.

Snyder joined the Redblacks in March 2013 as the director of football administration along with serving as a pro and college scout. He was promoted to assistant GM in May 2017.

He began his CFL career with the Als in 2010, working under former GM Jim Popp as a scouting assistant. He became a full-time employee the following season, assuming many key roles in the team’s scouting department. Snyder also has NFL experience with the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.

Edmé, meanwhile, spent eight years with the Als under Popp, where his duties included scouting university and pro players. He also served as a defensive assistant under former head coach Marc Trestman.

Edmé has spent 13 seasons in the CFL, including the last four with Ottawa. He joined the Redblacks in January 2016 as the player personnel coordinator before being promoted to the director of player personnel. He’s also bilingual.

The Als’ GM position, however, won’t be for everyone. Normally, the manager is hired first and his responsibility is to find a coach with whom he can work. Because the Als have gone about this unconventionally, any potential GM will want to know how the power will be divided and who will answer to whom. If the GM doesn’t have full autonomy, that could eliminate many potential candidates.

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