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Pope Francis arrived in Philadelphia for the last leg of his U.S. trip. Philadelphia is hosting the world meeting of families which initially brought the Pope to the U.S. Edward Lawrence reports.
PHILADELPHIA – Standing at the birthplace of the United States, Pope Francis extolled America’s founding ideals of liberty and equality Saturday while warning that religious freedom is under threat around the globe.
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The pontiff arrived in the City of Brotherly Love on the final leg of his six-day U.S. trip, and in a moment rich with historical symbolism, he spoke outside Independence Hall – where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed – and used the lectern from which Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address.
The pope known for his simple tastes and devotion to the poor and downtrodden arrived to the strains of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man.”
READ MORE: Feeding Francis: Celebrity chef serves simple, healthy fare
Addressing an exuberant crowd of tens of thousands with the red-brick colonial building as a backdrop, he extended a warm welcome to Hispanics and immigrants.
But he said he wanted to talk mostly about religious freedom – a rallying cry for U.S. bishops who have waged high-profile fights against gay marriage, abortion and insurer-provided birth control.
Francis didn’t mention any of those topics by name in his speech, putting religious liberty instead in a historical and global context.
“In a world where various forms of modern tyranny seek to suppress religious freedom, or try to reduce it to a subculture without right to a voice in the public square, or to use religion as a pretext for hatred and brutality,” he said.
“It is imperative that the followers of various religions join their voices in calling for peace, tolerance and respect for the dignity and rights of others.”
Francis came to Philadelphia to close out a big Catholic festival for families. He found a city practically under lockdown, with blocked-off streets and checkpoints manned by police, National Guardsmen and border agents.
There had been fears that visitors might be scared away by all the security, and, in fact, train ridership was lower than expected, some streets were eerily quiet, and a vendor of pope sunglasses cut his price from $15 to $10 for lack of business.
It remains to be seen if the expected 1 million people will turn out for Francis’ final Mass in the U.S., an outdoor event Sunday on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
He reached Independence Hall in his open-sided Jeep, rolling slowly past adoring crowds and kissing babies handed up to him by members of his security detail.
READ MORE: Pope kisses forehead of disabled boy after landing in Philadelphia
Earlier in the day, the pontiff arrived from New York at the Philadelphia airport, where a Catholic high school band played the theme song from the Philadelphia-set movie “Rocky” upon Francis’ arrival. Among those greeting him was Richard Bowes, a former Philadelphia police officer wounded in the line of duty. Francis also kissed the forehead of a 10-year-old boy severely disabled with cerebral palsy.
Then Francis then celebrated a Mass for about 1,600 people at the downtown Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, saying in his homily that the future of the Catholic Church in the U.S. requires a much more active role for lay Catholics, especially women.
“It means valuing the immense contribution which women, lay and religious, have made and continue to make to the life of our communities,” he said.
Francis has repeatedly said women should have a greater role in church leadership, though he has rejected the idea of ordaining women. By calling for more involvement of women and the laity, he seemed intent on healing one of the major rifts in American Catholicism that has alienated many from the church.
Francis is in town for the World Meeting of Families, a conference for more than 18,000 people from around the world. Also on the itinerary was a Saturday night music-and-prayer festival featuring Aretha Franklin, Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, actor Mark Wahlberg and comedian Jim Gaffigan.
During the first two legs of his U.S. visit, in Washington and New York, he addressed Congress and the United Nations, urging action on such global issues as climate change and inequality. The Philadelphia visit is expected to be more personal, more focused on ordinary Catholics and their families.
WATCH: Pope Francis addressed the United Nations on Friday, Sept. 2015.
Pope Francis tells UN greed threatens the planet
Pope Francis tells UN greed threatens the planet
Iranian UN members applaud after Pope calls for prohibition of nuclear weapons
Pope focuses on climate in address to United Nations
Pope Francis pleads with UN to help countries in economic crisis
‘Harm to environment is harm to humanity’: Pope repeats climate change warning
Pope calls for preserving rights of individuals
“He has a magnetic personality that not only appeals to Catholics, but to the universal masses. He’s not scripted. He’s relatable,” said Filipina Opena, 46, a Catholic from LaMirada, California.
As he did in New York and Washington, the pontiff will give his attention to both the elite and the disadvantaged, this time visiting inmates in Philadelphia’s largest jail.
“It’s probably not politicians who will remember his message but the kids,” said Liza Stephens, 48, of Sacramento, California, who was in Philadelphia with her two daughters, ages 10 and 12.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia organized the conference, hoping for a badly needed infusion of enthusiasm amid shrinking membership, financial troubles and one of the worst clergy sex-abuse scandals to hit a U.S. diocese.
The archdiocese has been the target of repeated investigations. In 2011, before Archbishop Charles Chaput came to Philadelphia, a grand jury accused the diocese of keeping on assignment more than three dozen priests facing serious abuse accusations.
READ MORE: Pope Francis visits Ground Zero memorial, holds moment of silence
A monsignor who oversaw priest assignments was found guilty of child endangerment, becoming the first American church official convicted of a crime for failing to stop abusers.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, who retired as Philadelphia archbishop in 2011 amid the scandal, helped celebrate Saturday’s Mass with Francis.
The pope is widely expected to talk privately with abuse victims this weekend.
The visit is also shaping up as one of the most interesting ecclesial pairings of the pope’s trip. His host is Chaput, an outspoken opponent of abortion and gay marriage who takes an especially hard line.
Francis has strongly upheld church teaching on such issues but has struck a more compassionate note, saying, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about a supposedly gay priest.
Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Rachel Zoll in New York and Kathy Matheson and Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia.
©2015The Associated Press
ZAGREB, Croatia – Conciliation replaced confrontation among European nations which have clashed over their response to a wave of migration, but confusion faced many asylum-seekers streaming into Croatia on Saturday in hopes of chasing a new future in Western Europe.
Thousands were stranded at the border in the Croatian village of Strosinci, where Croatian authorities said they had been dropped by Serb buses.
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Migrants trying to move on got lost in cornfields and were found by the Croatian police. More buses were deployed to take the travellers to the nearby transit camp at Opatovac, but families were separated.
READ MORE: Fate holds cruel twist for Syrian family sent to asylum centre
Such problems persisted despite a co-operative mode emerging.
Hungary has announced that it has removed spools of razor wire from a section of the border with Slovenia, a barrier that had been seen as breaching European Union rules about unrestricted travel within much of its territory. The gesture followed the reopening of the main border point between Croatia and Serbia.
The concessions, coming two days after a European Union summit on the crisis, suggest that the 28-nation bloc had become alarmed at the lack of co-operation among members and the increasingly ugly tone of their exchanges. The squabbling had hampered efforts to help the people fleeing war and poverty from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
READ MORE: What EU leaders agreed to at summit on the migrant crisis
New problems arose on Saturday.
At the Strosinci camp, a woman from Damascus, who only gave her first name, Ranaa, said she lost her sons, 2 years old and 7 years old, after they boarded a bus to Opatovac without her. Later buses leaving her area were going directly to Hungary — bypassing the transit camp.
Distraught and struggling in English to make herself understood, she begged to be taken from Strosinci to the transit camp, where relatives have seen the children. Her fate is unclear.
In a visit to the camp, Ranko Ostojic, Croatia’s interior minister cited the Strosinci crossing as being particularly problematic.
“My opinion is that this is a torture for the people,” he said.
Hungary’s closure of its border with Serbia on Sept. 15 triggered a series of responses that sent migrants scurrying from one border to the next as they tried to reach Germany, Austria and other European countries that have offered safe haven. Some 66,000 had entered Croatia since Hungary shut its border with Serbia.
A migrant enters the territory of Hungary by crossing the temporary protection fence along the Hungarian-Serbian border at Roszke, 180 kms southeast of Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015. Edvard Molnar/MTI via AP
A migrant enters the territory of Hungary by crossing the temporary protection fence along the Hungarian-Serbian border at Roszke, 180 kms southeast of Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Sept. 7, 2015.
Edvard Molnar/MTI via AP
Croatia first welcomed the migrants, thinking they would transit through Slovenia, into Austria and on to Germany. But Slovenia refused to let the people pass, leaving Croatia, one of the poorest EU nations, responsible for them. The government in Zagreb then accused Serbia of shunting the refugees into its territory and closed the cargo crossing in retaliation.
Leaders have taken steps to address the troubles. After Croatia opened the border with Serbia on Friday, its prime minister, Zoran Milanovic, appeared on Serbia’s main television station to explain his actions. Likewise, Serbia’s leader, Aleksandar Vucic agreed to an interview on Croatian television.
The exchanges were testy, but the fact they occurred suggested movement to ease tensions between Croatia and Serbia, old rivals who fought a war amid the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, also changed his tone. He promised to consult with others before Hungary completes a razor-wire fence along its border with Croatia, a move that would insert more confusion into an already difficult situation in the Balkans.
Djorjde Vlajic, a commentator and acting editor-in-chief of Serbia’s state Radio Belgrade 1, said the apparent softening of hard-line positions was the result of EU pressure on the smaller players to resolve their differences because the bloc must develop a unified response to the immense wave of refugees that is still on its way.
“The only countries ruffling the sea are the countries that will not solve the problem in the end, the transit countries,” Vlajic said. “So, ‘Teacher Europe’ said enough, stop and wait until serious players figure out how to solve this,” he said.
WATCH: Pope Francis urges Congress not to fear immigrants but to welcome them as fellow human beings
Associated Press Writer Amer Cohadzic in Strosinci, Croatia and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this story.
OTTAWA – A federal advisory panel lambasted an early, sombre design for a national memorial to the victims of communism as potentially “detrimental to the dignity” of nearby Parliament Hill, newly released documents show.
The National Capital Commission’s advisory committee on planning, design and realty also had concerns last year about the project’s price tag, “negative symbolism” and structural safety, particularly in the slippery Ottawa winters, the internal records reveal.
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READ MORE: Groups opposed to communism victims’ memorial take NCC to Federal Court
Other documents disclosed under the Access to Information Act say the projected cost of the memorial — to be covered by federal and private funds — had almost doubled to about $6 million by January of this year.
The records help explain why the commission unveiled plans in May for a redesigned and significantly smaller version of the memorial. The commission is expected to consider a final design in November, after the federal election.
The Conservative government has strongly backed the planned memorial as a means of recognizing the more than 100 million people around the globe who died or suffered under communist regimes. The government is managing the project on behalf of Tribute to Liberty, a charity established in 2008.
READ MORE: Controversial monument in Ottawa for victims of communism to be smaller
The initiative has drawn fierce criticism from critics who object to the memorial’s stark design and location on a patch of green in the parliamentary precinct long reserved for a new Federal Court building.
A lawsuit aimed at blocking the project has been placed on hold until after the final design has been approved.
It was well-known that the federal advisory committee, composed of leading architects and planners from across Canada, had concerns about the memorial. But the newly released minutes of the committee’s Aug. 21 and 22, 2014, meetings reveal disdain for the entry that would later be selected as the winner by a jury.
The design by Toronto-based Abstrakt Studio Architecture features a series of angular peaks, or “memory folds,” with more than 100 million pixel-like “memory squares” — each representing a person — covering the exterior face of the folds. The initial idea was to have the folds depict a mural of dead bodies when viewed from a distance. The design also includes a Bridge of Hope and elevated viewing platform.
READ MORE: Gov gives $1.5 M to build memorial to victims of communism
The members praised the plan to depict individuals as “a strong gesture” and said the overall concept “makes a statement.” But they also considered the design:
Well over budget.Replete with negative symbolism that could be misinterpreted as offering no hope, and be detrimental to the dignity of Parliament Hill.A statement of negativity, since the images of corpses would be seen from many vantage points in the capital.Problematic to build in that subtleties would be lost in the execution.To pose safety and accessibility issues, including slippery surfaces in winter.Too similar to a planned national Holocaust monument.
The committee also worried the Bridge of Hope would offer a less-than-inspiring view of a heating plant and felt a planned “aggressive lighting scheme” would alter the Parliament Hill landscape.
The National Capital Commission cited ongoing input from the advisory committee in late June when it outlined several changes to the winning design.
The memorial would now occupy just over one-third of the site — not 60 per cent — and its overall height had dropped by about half to approximately five metres.
The new plan also included more attention to landscaping, additional trees, nuanced lighting and better access for the disabled. In addition, it emphasized the theme of Canada “as a land of refuge” in the memorial’s imagery and message.
The good news for drivers? The aging Pattullo Bridge won’t be shut down on nights and weekends for 18 months, as originally expected.
The bad news? There’s still no consensus on what the long-term solution is.
“Right now, we can’t find a technical solution, a viable solution, to extend the life of the bridge by spending a lot of money and repairing the bridge to bring it up to modern seismic code,” said TransLink Board Vice Chair Barry Forbes today.
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“We don’t have a technical solution for that yet.”
He made the announcement at a TransLink board meeting, the organization’s first ever public board meeting.
But despite the open invitation, turnout was low with only one member of the public asking a question.
TransLink’s original plan was to spend half of 2016 and all of 2017 making seismic upgrades to the bridge deck, but they now say the $100 million price tag is too expensive. Instead, minimal upgrades will take place for five months next year.
They were promising a brand new bridge to replace the Pattullo if the transit plebiscite passed, but it failed by a significant margin earlier this year.
Cummings made clear the status quo for the bridge, which opened in 1937, was not an option.
“We’re beyond the design life. We’re outside that 50-year design life. We’ve been operating it for 30 years beyond that.”
Canadian Taxpayers Federation director Jordan Bateman argues a new bridge could still happen without any tax increase.
“TransLink has always been hoping for the big wad of cash and frankly the Pattullo Bridge was a way for the mayors to get support from drivers for their sales tax,” he said.
“They have the one-third funding, they were always planning for it to be a toll bridge, they didn’t need the sales tax. This bridge could proceed.”
It’s close to one of the main arteries in Maple Ridge, and for months the Cliff Drive homeless camp has been a main topic of concern in the community.
At one point this summer, over 65 people were living the makeshift camp, and one person died of an overdose.
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READ MORE: Residents rally against homeless camp in Maple Ridge
Now, action is being taken. A temporary shelter has opened across the street on Lougheed Highway, and Raincity Housing will operate the temporary low barrier shelter. It will have 40 cots, offer three daily meals, and have washrooms and laundry facilities.
The aim is to have it open from October until March. But while some have applauded the move, it’s making the owners of neighbouring businesses nervous.
“I’m frustrated. I get tired of seeing the car dealership with the guys going and pissing there. It’s not healthy,” said Louis Bayard of Louis Leather Shop.
An open house was held last week to address concerns. The city says there will be random security patrols throughout the night, and lighting improvements in the area.
Sean Spear, Raincity Housing Assistant Director, said the meeting was a success.
“It is a housing crisis, for people to come indoors. People want to have their community without a camp there, and they want people to come indoors,” he said.
Kelly Swift with the City of Maple Ridge concurred.
“The business in the area are going to see a significant improvement from what they’re experiencing right, and I know a lot of their concerns come from what they’re experiencing right now.”
THE HAGUE, Netherlands – In a Sept. 26 story about a suspect in the destruction of mausoleums in Timbuktu being sent to the International Criminal Court, The Associated Press reported erroneously the last name of the court’s prosecutor. The correct name is Fatou Bensouda, not Fatou Nesouda.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Suspect in destruction of Timbuktu mausoleums sent to ICC
Islamic extremist charged in destruction of Timbuktu mausoleums sent to Intl Criminal Court
By MIKE CORDER
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An alleged Islamic extremist charged with being involved in destroying religious buildings in Mali’s historic city of Timbuktu has been arrested and was sent Saturday to the International Criminal Court to face justice.
Ahmad Al Mahdi Al Faqi, known as Abu Tourab, is the first suspect in the court’s custody charged with the war crime of deliberately destroying religious or historical monuments.
“The people of Mali deserve justice for the attacks against their cities, their beliefs and their communities,” the court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in a statement.
She called the 2012 destruction in Timbuktu “a callous assault on the dignity and identity of entire populations, and their religious and historical roots.”
The entire city of Timbuktu is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. At the peak of its influence in the 15th and 16th centuries, Timbuktu counted 180 schools and universities that received thousands of students from all over the Muslim world.
Islamic radicals who overran Timbuktu in 2012 destroyed 14 of the city’s 16 mausoleums, one-room structures that house the tombs of the city’s great thinkers. The extremists condemned the buildings as totems of idolatry. The 14 mausoleums have since been restored by the United Nations.
Niger sent Al Faqi to the court based on an arrest warrant issued a week ago and he was transferred to The Hague early Saturday. No date was immediately set for his arraignment.
The court said he was a member of Ansar Dine, an Islamic extremist group with links to al-Qaida that ruled across northern Mali in 2012. He is charged in the destruction of 10 historic buildings, including mausoleums and a mosque in Timbuktu.
The militants were driven out after nearly a year by a French military intervention.
El-Boukhari Ben Essayouti, head of Timbuktu’s cultural mission, said that Al Mahdi, who he knows, is not the only person responsible for the destruction of the mausoleums.
“There are also in Timbuktu today others who collaborated in the destruction of the mausoleums. So we do not take this announcement by the ICC as a relief, but rather (as) the start of a trial against the people who destroyed the Timbuktu mausoleums, a UNESCO World Heritage site,” he said Saturday.
“Today’s arrest and surrender signals that there will be a price to pay for destroying the world’s treasures,” said Corrine Dufka of Human Rights Watch’s Africa division.
Mali’s government asked the court in 2012 to investigate crimes committed on its territory. Prosecutors opened an investigation in 2013. Al Faqi is the first suspect detained. The ICC is a court of last resort that steps in when countries are unable or unwilling to prosecute crimes on their territory.
Associated Press writer Baba Ahmed in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.
LOS ANGELES – The horror still haunts them today. A revving engine and the sight of a car bearing down. There was little time to get to safety and almost nowhere to run among the throngs on the Venice Beach Boardwalk that summer afternoon.
“I ran to save my life,” Joanna Botton wrote in a letter to the court from her home in France. “I took a deep breath, I closed my eyes and I knew I was going to die.”
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In an off-road rampage that lasted little more than 30 seconds, Nathan Campbell altered many lives that day, killing an Italian honeymooner and injuring Botton and 16 others.
Campbell was sentenced Friday to 42 years to life in prison after a judge said his apology rang hollow and failed to take responsibility for his crimes.
READ MORE: Driver convicted of murder in death of Italian honeymooner on California boardwalk
The 40-year-old drifter from Colorado was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of newlywed Alice Gruppioni, 17 counts of assault with a deadly weapon and 10 counts of leaving an accident scene.
Campbell acknowledged the nightmare he unleashed on so many as he read clearly and without emotion from a handwritten statement.
He said no words would ever express his sorrow for the terrible “accident.” While acknowledging that he had taken a life and caused lasting emotional and physical trauma, Campbell said it was unintentional and that he used bad judgment.
“Every minute of every day I wish that the horrible things that happened on Aug. 3, 2013, had not,” he wrote on yellow-lined legal paper. “I wish I could have stopped instead of panicking, causing pain to so many people.”
Judge Kathryn Solorzano said the terror he inflicted was no accident.
“Everything you did on that date is criminal behaviour,” she said. “You had this deadly weapon that you were manipulating. All you had to do was stop.”
WATCH: California massive hit-and-run incident
Campbell was gunning for a drug dealer who ripped him off when he steered his dark blue Dodge Avenger around poles onto the pedestrian-only walkway and accelerated through one of Los Angeles’ top tourist attractions, Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila said in his sentencing memo.
Witnesses said Campbell was smiling and that he swerved to strike people.
An ATM machine flew through the air and struck a woman. Merchandise from peddlers was scattered. People screamed in terror and cried in pain.
No one reported hearing a horn or any warning from the driver.
Campbell testified at trial that he meant to shift the car into reverse and panicked when it went forward. Defence lawyer James Cooper III said Campbell had been drinking earlier in the day and that he tried to avoid pedestrians.
READ MORE: Man drives car into crowd in Austria killing 3, injuring 34: police
Cooper sought a shorter sentence that wouldn’t have tallied the deadly weapon convictions consecutively. He said Campbell had surrendered to police shortly after the incident and had owned up to the damage he caused.
“This is not a movie. We can’t have Super Man turn back the earth,” Cooper said. “He can’t do that.”
In a statement read by Avila, Botton described ongoing pain from injuries and the emotional toll the incident has taken. She is still disturbed at her initial thought that her fiance, John Israel, might be dead.
After discovering he was alive, they soon witnessed what that kind of loss was like as they came upon Gruppioni covered in blood and her husband of two weeks, Christian Cassadei, screaming.
“I’ll never forget the sound of him crying,” she wrote.
©2015The Associated Press
TORONTO – A lack of discipline and special-teams struggles cost the Toronto Maple Leafs in pre-season action against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Leafs gave up three power-play goals and one short-handed in a 6-4 loss to the Sabres on Friday night at Air Canada Centre.
Buffalo scored on three of its four power plays after not scoring three power-play goals in any game last regular season.
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Marcus Foligno, former Montreal Canadiens forward Brian Gionta and Mark Pysyk scored with the man advantage for the Sabres, who also got a short-handed goal from star centre Ryan O’Reilly.
READ MORE: Toronto Maple Leafs captain Phaneuf takes forward Mitch Marner under his wing
Matt Frattin scored on the power play for the Leafs, who also got goals from Stuart Percy, Daniel Winnik and Nazem Kadri.
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier allowed five goals on 32 shots.
Nicolas Deslauriers also scored for Buffalo, and former Ottawa Senators forward David Legwand added an empty netter.
Robin Lehner, whom the Sabres acquired from the Senators at the draft, stopped 22 of the 25 shots he faced in two periods of work.
NOTES: The attendance was announced as 17,403 on the same night the Blue Jays played in front of 47,000 plus in the midst of a playoff race in baseball. … Winnik and Joffrey Lupul were the alternate captains for the Leafs. Coach Mike Babcock said he hadn’t decided who would wear the “As” this season. … The Leafs’ game Saturday night against the Montreal Canadiens will feature three-on-three overtime regardless of the score. The NHL wants teams to practise the new overtime format before the regular season starts.
An Oklahoma man is using his talent of making shots while standing backwards at half-court to raise awareness for kidney donation.
It’s called #Quinning4Kidneys, and for 30 days the man behind the awareness campaign, Clay Quinn, hopes to raise enough money and support for the cause that hits close to home.
Quinn’s dad has type one diabetes.
“We’ve know for a long time that he was going to need a kidney transparent,” Quinn told News 9.
Luckily for Quinn’s dad, his wife was the perfect match. But not everyone gets so lucky. That’s where Quinn’s “uncannily skill” comes into play.
Quinn pledges to sink a basket every day for a month. But it’s not an easy win for him. Sometimes it takes Quinn up to 40 tries before he scores, truly making you appreciate the struggle he goes through day after day for a single shot of glory.
To make it fun, Quinn changes his appearance every time he hits the court.
“I try to give it like a different theme or idea every day,” Quinn told News 9.
He’s been a football player, ninja and cowboy, just to name a few looks.
So far, #Quinning4Kidneys has beaten the fundraising goal of $10,000 with $12,500 raised to date. All proceeds will go to the National Kidney Foundation.
“Hopefully it will pick up and it will catch on a national scale and the donations… we’ll just quadruple it.”
Until the 30 days are complete, Quinn will be back on the court, ready, and hoping, to make a slam-dunking difference in the lives of many.
TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays have clinched a post-season berth, but it may be the most confusing entry ever.
The Blue Jays and presumably most of their fans went to bed Friday night thinking there was one more hurdle to cross before ending a 22-year playoff drought.
READ MORE: MLB commissioner wants to see Blue Jays in World Series
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Toronto came into Friday night’s game needing a win over Tampa combined with losses by the Twins and Angels to secure a wild-card berth.
The Jays won, the Twins lost but the Angels beat Seattle.
Most went to bed thinking ‘To be continued.” But baseball’s number-crunchers determined the Jays had indeed clinched at least a wild-card berth.
It turns out only two of the Rangers, Astros and Angels can finish at 88-74 – the record the Blue Jays would finish at if they lost all nine of their remaining games – because of the trio’s head-to-head games with one another.
One would win the AL West after a tiebreaker, while the other would claim a wild card along with the Blue Jays or Yankees.
Playoff bound! The @BlueJays are heading to the postseason 杭州桑拿按摩论坛t.co/0MCQXylqky #ComeTogether pic.twitter杭州桑拿/vvWSVxzuv6
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) September 26, 2015
On Saturday morning, the team tweeted: “Playoff bound! The Blue Jays are heading to the postseason.”
MLB杭州桑拿 at first said the Jays were “on cusp” of the playoffs along with the Mets and Dodgers. “Each can secure a place in the post-season today.” But it changed it’s headline to “Jays in” shortly after.
Toronto also had an x next to it in the standings, denoting that it had indeed qualified for the playoffs.
However it happened, pitcher R.A. Dickey was clear Friday night that the Jays wanted more than a wild-card berth. They have their eyes set on the division crown.