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Mixed messages from Trump on China trade war during G7 – Global News

August 25th, 2019

Injecting fresh uncertainty at a time of global economic jitters, President Donald Trump sent mixed messages Sunday on the U.S.-China trade war as leaders at a global summit pushed the unpredictable American president to ease frictions over tariffs and co-operate on other geopolitical challenges.

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Trump’s head-snapping comments at the Group of Seven summit about his escalating trade fight with China — first expressing regret, then amping up tariff threats — represented just the latest manifestation of the hazards of the president’s go-it-alone mantra. Allies fault his turbulent trade agenda for contributing to a global economic slowdown.

READ MORE: Trudeau meets with Trump at G7 summit with focus on trade, economic issues

Despite Trump’s insistence that reports of U.S. tensions with allies are overblown, fissures between the U.S. and six of the world’s other advanced economies were apparent on trade policy, Russia and Iran as the leaders gathered at a picturesque French beach resort.

Two days after the U.S. and China traded a fresh round of retaliatory tariffs and Trump threatened to force U.S. businesses to cut ties with China, the president appeared to harbour qualms about the trade war, which has sent financial markets tumbling.

WATCH: Trump says ‘not the biggest fan’ of tech companies but unhappy with France technology tax

Asked during a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson if he had any second thoughts about escalating the trade conflict, Trump told reporters, “Yeah. For sure.”

He added, “I have second thoughts about everything.”

Hours later, the White House backpedaled. Press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying the press had “greatly misinterpreted” Trump’s comments. She said the president only responded “in the affirmative – because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher.”

READ MORE: Trudeau meets with U.K., Japan prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who was in the room when Trump spoke and was later interviewed by CBS’ “Face the Nation,” offered his own explanation.

Kudlow claimed Trump “didn’t quite hear the question” although reporters asked the president three times whether he had any second thoughts about ramping up the trade war and he responded three times.

At first, Trump’s admission appeared to mark a rare moment of self-reflection by the famously hardnosed leader. The subsequent explanation fits a pattern of Trump recoiling from statements he believes suggest weakness.

WATCH: G7 leaders meet to talk trade, climate change at Biarritz summit

Earlier this month, Trump backed off on a threat to place even tougher tariffs on Chinese imports as aides fretted about their impact on the holiday shopping season and growing fears of a recession in the U.S.

Trump had hoped to use the summit to rally other leaders to do more to stimulate their economies, as fears rise of a potential slowdown in the U.S. before he stands for reelection in November 2020.

READ MORE: Trump faces limits of go-it-alone stance at the G7 summit in France

Johnson, for his part, praised Trump for America’s economic performance — but chided the U.S. leader for his unbending China policy.

“Just to register a faint sheep-like note of our view on the trade war,” he told Trump. “We’re in favour of trade peace.”

Trump said he had “no plans right now” to follow through on his threat of an emergency declaration, but he insisted he would be within his rights to use a 1977 law designed to target rogue regimes, terrorists and drug traffickers as the newest weapon in the clash between the world’s two largest economies

“If I want, I could declare a national emergency,” Trump said. He cited China’s theft of intellectual property and the large U.S. trade deficit with China, saying “in many ways that’s an emergency.”

WATCH: Trump arrives in Biarritz for G7 summit

For all of that, Trump disputed reports of friction with other G-7 leaders, saying he has been “treated beautifully” since he arrived.

The cracks started to emerge moments later after the French government said the leaders had agreed at a Saturday dinner that French President Emanuel Macron would deliver a message to Iran on behalf of the group.

Trump denied he had signed off on any such message.

WATCH: Trump says China tariffs ‘doing very well’ for the U.S.

“No, I haven’t discussed that,” he told reporters during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Administration officials said Trump was noncommittal when the leaders discussed the subject of a message to Iran during a conversation about Iran’s nuclear program.

For several months, Macron has assumed a lead role in trying to save the 2015 nuclear accord, which has been unraveling since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the agreement. The French went even further Sunday, inviting Iranian Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif to Biarritz in a bid to open talks meant on lowering tensions.

READ MORE: Iran’s foreign minister makes surprise visit to French town hosting G7 summit

Trump curtly told reporters he had “no comment” on Zarif’s presence. Officials said the White House was not aware in advance of the invitation to Zarif _ a further indication of Trump’s diminished role.

Trump also faced opposition from European leaders over his stated desire to find a way to re-admit Russia to the G-7 before next year’s meeting of the world leaders, which will be held in the United States. Russian President Vladimir Putin was expelled from the former G-7 in 2015 following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

And, sitting feet away from Abe, Trump declined to forcefully condemn North Korea’s flouting of international sanctions with a recent burst of short-range ballistic missile tests, calling them “much more standard” missiles. Abe views them as a critical security threat.

Trump told reporters: “We’re in the world of missiles, folks, whether you like it or not.”

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The ‘Ford factor’ and battleground Ontario – CBC News

August 25th, 2019

Will the ‘Ford factor’ sink the Conservatives in this election?

Vassy Kapelos, host of Power & Politics

A foreign species invaded Ottawa this past week. 

No, not people who like to have fun (I kid). Representatives of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s government were here to meet with the Association of Municipalities — which is a fancy way of saying “all the mayors in one room.”

The relationship between the mayors and the Ford government hasn’t exactly been a happy one.

After Ontario municipalities passed their budgets, the provincial government announced it was cutting municipal funding earmarked for things like public health and child care.

A big fight ensued, with the mayors accusing the province of trying to pull a fast one and the province saying everyone had to pitch in to tackle the deficit.

The mayors won round one; the cuts were put on hold. This week the cuts were re-introduced — but they won’t take effect until the new year, and not to the degree initially proposed.

In his speech to the Association of Municipalities Monday announcing this walk-back, Premier Ford tried to smooth things over with the mayors with lots of talk of working together and forging “partnerships”, something called a “transitional fund” — you get the drift.

There’s a reason the Ford government’s language and tactics on budget austerity have changed. The cuts to municipalities, to autism programs, classrooms, libraries, legal aid … they didn’t go over well.

Popular support for Doug Ford and his government cratered. One poll said Ford was less popular than former Liberal leader Kathleen Wynne right before she lost the election. Ouch.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford tried to smooth things over with Ontario mayors with lots of talk of working together and forging “partnerships” after walking back his cuts to public health and child care. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Federal Conservatives knew all this before the rest of us, of course. Their candidates in the 905 area surrounding Toronto heard it at the door. It was a high-ranking Conservative who first told me in early May that “this guy [Ford] could sink us.”

And though it’s the federal Liberals who have seized on the Ford factor most openly — taking every opportunity to identify their primary opponent as Ford, not Andrew Scheer — Conservatives seem to be disseminating that message just as much as their rivals, if not more. They’re just doing it very quietly.

For every high-profile Liberal saying things like “the Ford government and Conservatives like them,” (drink!), there seems to be a federal Conservative telling people privately that if the party does lose the election, it will be due to Doug Ford. “He’s our Achilles heel,” an MP told me just last week.

I met with nearly a dozen people who work in the Ford government this week. Most of them don’t think the federal Conservatives will win a majority in this election, but most of them hope they will. They freely admit they messed stuff up and that the five-month break they took from the legislature was intended to calm the waters for Scheer and his team. “It’s the least we can do,” one staffer told me.

But some are them are also kind of annoyed at how they’re being talked about in federal Conservative circles. They feel like they’re being set up as a scapegoat in the event Team Scheer does lose the election in October.

One high ranking staffer told me he’d been told, straight up, that if Scheer faces a leadership review following the election, his message will be, “I lost because of Doug Ford.”

It’s impossible to say at this point whether the Conservatives are losing the pre-writ period, given how tight the polls are for both them and the Liberals. 

But the 905 is really important. A third of all the seats in the House of Commons are in Ontario, and about a third of those are in the 905. Conservatives tend to do well in the 905 — Ford did in the 2018 provincial election — but the people living there don’t love his budget cuts.

And though Scheer has worked to distance himself from those cuts, the Liberals’ push to handcuff the federal Conservatives to their provincial cousins in voters’ minds is bearing fruit, at least according to the public opinion polls. (Internal Liberal polls too — there’s a reason they keep making announcements in Ontario.)

As I’ve said before, I don’t know if the “Ford factor” will be a deciding factor in October. A lot can happen between now and then. But just like the SNC-Lavalin issue I wrote about last week, the Ford government presents a political narrative that could move votes. The suggestion that Scheer, if elected, would cut services and programs you and your family depend on is one the Liberals will work hard to hammer home. So they’ll keep talking about Ford as long as they can.

And so will the Conservatives … quietly.

Vassy Kapelos is host of Power & Politics, weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on CBC News Network.

Power Lines

The Power & Politics Power Panellists on where the big parties will be focused this week

Amanda Alvaro  president and co-founder of Pomp & Circumstance
Liberals will continue to press Andrew Scheer on ending his lifelong boycott of Pride events, while demanding that Canadians deserve to know if he would still deny same-sex couples the equal right to marry. Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau will continue to stand up for middle-class jobs, a clean environment and Canadian values at the G7 Summit.

Rachel Curran senior associate at Harper & Associates Consulting
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will highlight his plan this week to make life more affordable for ordinary Canadians and lower the cost of living. His message to voters will be that it is time for them to get ahead, not just get by.

Kathleen Monk principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group
New Democrats understand Canadians want someone to challenge politics-as-usual, whether it’s Justin Trudeau saying one thing to Canadians and then helping his corporate friends instead, or the resurfacing of Andrew Scheer’s prejudiced rant against the LGBTQ community. As he gets officially nominated this week, Jagmeet Singh will show how he’s ready to fight to put people first. 

Poll Tracker Takeaway 

Éric Grenier’s weekly look at key numbers in the political public opinion polls. 

The big question last week was whether the ethics commissioner’s scathing report on the SNC-Lavalin affair would have the same catastrophic impact on Liberal support that the initial breaking of the story did this past spring.

This week, we got our answer: Nope. Or not yet, at least.

The answer came from three pollsters who published new numbers this past week and were also in the field in mid-July: Ipsos, Abacus Data and Léger.

The average support for the Liberals recorded by these three pollsters in July was 32 per cent.

And now? It’s 32.7 per cent.

It’s up a little, but not enough to be statistically significant. Still, it suggests the report has not had any impact on Liberal support.

That’s not to say that it won’t in the future, but early indications are that it did not change voters’ minds. Abacus even found that, for the vast majority of respondents who were aware of the report, it merely confirmed what they already thought.

It certainly hasn’t improved the Conservatives’ position. The polls found the party’s support actually dropped by an average of 1.7 points. Support for the New Democrats and Greens was virtually unchanged.

But both Abacus and Ipsos found a small slip in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s own personal ratings. So it’s possible that Liberal support has been made more fragile as a result of the report — a weakness the opposition parties undoubtedly will try to exploit over the next eight weeks.

For now, however, the Liberals appear to be weathering the storm.

Tap here to go to the full poll tracker 

Canada Votes 2019 Poll Tracker: federal polling averages as of August 21, 2019. Conservatives: 33.9%, Liberals: 32.6%, New Democrats: 14.3%, Greens: 10.6%, Bloc Quebecois: 4.1%, People’s Party of Canada: 2.8%

Ask us

Anujanrajah on Instagram asks: What is the spending limit for each local campaign and each party? 

The money a party can spend depends on how many candidates are running under its banner. According to Elections Canada, if a party runs a full slate of 338 candidates, it can spend up to $28.1 million.

In addition to this cap on the national campaigns, candidates in each riding also have spending limits for their local campaigns. The limit varies by riding, ranging from about $85,000 in Prince Edward Island to as much as $139,000 in the Quebec riding of Lac-Saint-Jean.

Combined, each party and its candidates can spend up to $65.6 million. That sounds like a lot of money (it is) but it’s unlikely any party will get anywhere close to spending that much. (The Liberals, for example, won’t bother spending to the limit in rural Alberta.)

And to put that sum in perspective, the price tag of the 2016 U.S. presidential and congressional elections was, according to one estimate, just under $9 billion in our dollars. That’s the equivalent of the economic output of almost three Greenlands.

— Éric Grenier

Have a question about the October election? About where the federal parties stand on a particular issue? Or about the facts of a key controversy on the federal scene? Email us your questions and we’ll answer one in the next Canada Votes newsletter.

More from CBC Politics

How voter turnout might affect who wins in October

The 2011 and 2015 elections offer two very different turnout scenarios to consider as we look ahead to October — one in which young voters stay home and one in which they don’t. Read Eric Grenier’s full analysis here

Federal NDP leader Singh makes stop in Edmonton, party’s lone Alberta riding

The New Democrats have failed to translate strong support for the Alberta NDP into gains at the federal level. Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan, who is not seeking re-election, has been the sole NDP member in Alberta since 2008. Read more here

Analysis: Why the Liberals turned Scheer’s same-sex marriage speech into a political weapon

There is no small amount of politics at play in the Liberals’ decision to resurface video of a speech Andrew Scheer gave in 2005 in which he explained, somewhat awkwardly, his opposition to same-sex marriage. Read Aaron Wherry’s take here.

Thanks for reading. If you’ve got questions, criticisms or story tips, please email us

Canada Votes is delivered to your inbox every Sunday.

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Ad company rejects calls to remove anti-immigration billboard featuring Maxime Bernier –

August 25th, 2019

The owner of billboards currently showcasing ads that promote the People’s Party of Canada’s controversial stance on immigration says the material is staying up.

The ads, featuring a photo of party leader Maxime Bernier, the slogan “Say NO to mass immigration” and a call to vote for his party, started popping up across the country late last week. They were criticized nearly immediately as promoting what some called hateful, anti-immigrant rhetoric.

WATCH: PPC leader Maxime Bernier launches party’s national campaign

Story continues below

Petitions have since sprung up to call for the owner of the billboards, Pattison Outdoor Advertising, to take the ads down, arguing that they violate the company’s own code of conduct.

But the company issued a statement Sunday saying that if people have a problem, they should contact the advertiser, True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp.

Pattison’s statement suggested they had reviewed the ad content and did not find it violation of the Ad Standards of Canada (ASC) code or their own policies.

READ MORE: ‘One of the least Canadian things I’ve seen’: anti-immigration billboard sparks anger in Halifax

“We take a neutral position on ads that comply with the ASC code as we believe Canadians do not want us to be the judge or arbiter of what the public can or cannot see,” the company said in a statement circulated on their social media accounts.

“Should advertising elicit a public debate, we encourage Canadians to voice their opinions directly to the advertiser who placed the message as it is our policy that their contact information must be a legible part of the ad.”

The company said they will monitor the signs to ensure the contact information remains up, and if it doesn’t, they will remove the campaign.

In their statement, Pattison Outdoor included a link to the People’s Party of Canada platform, prefacing it by saying it “outlines that they would prioritize economic immigration over mass immigration.”

The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

WATCH: People’s Party of Canada leader Bernier says Canadians demand lower immigration levels

The People’s Party platform pledges to dramatically slash the number of immigrants Canada accepts, arguing the Liberals and Conservatives use “mass immigration” as a political tool to buy votes. On top of cutting the number of people admitted, the party would cancel a program that allows people to sponsor their parents and grandparents, and strictly limit other family immigration programs, as well as accept far fewer refugees.

“The billboards are not the product of the People’s Party of Canada,” Johanne Mennie, the party’s executive director, said in a phone interview Friday with Global News. “They are authorized by a third party and the PPC has not been in any contact with this third party.”

The billboards have been reported in Halifax, parts of Quebec, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Regina and Vancouver. The People’s Party of Canada has said it is not associated with the group that put up the signs.

READ MORE: The battle for Maxime Bernier’s riding

According to a filing with Elections Canada, the third-party group behind the ads is run by Frank Smeenk, the chief executive of a Toronto-based mining exploration company.

The group filed interim financial returns with Elections Canada that show it spent $59,890 on billboards in “select cities in Canada” and received $60,000 from Bassett & Walker International Inc., a company that specializes in the international trade of protein products.

Last week, Smeenk declined to comment on the billboard beyond what appeared in the Elections Canada filing. The Canadian Press attempted to reach Smeenk again on Friday, but he did not respond.

WATCH: Bernier answers question after posing for photos in Calgary with alleged extremists

Similarly, messages left at Bassett & Walker were not returned.

Bernier officially launched the party’s national campaign Sunday at an event about two hours outside Montreal.

Polls suggest the party has around 4 per cent of voter support heading into the October election, and thus far, Bernier has been excluded from the official leadership debates.

Negative reactions to the billboard were raised fast, especially in Halifax where local politicians took to Twitter to denounce both the board and Bernier.

Arshia Vosoughi’s family immigrated to Canada from Iran when he was seven years old. Vosoughi, who points out that his parents are doctors, says that there are many skilled immigrants who come to Canada from different countries.

READ MORE: ‘Very hurtful to see,’ Peace by Chocolate founder says of anti-immigration billboard in Halifax

“I think it’s ridiculous to say ‘no immigration,’” said Vosoughi. “It’s one of the least Canadian things I’ve seen in all my time in this country.”

Peace by Chocolate founder Tareq Hadhad, who came to Nova Scotia as a Syrian refugee in 2016, says that the billboard is both divisive and inaccurate.

“There is nothing called ‘mass immigration’ in Canada,” Hadhad told Global News in a phone interview Saturday.

WATCH: People’s Party of Canada leader says he supports Canada’s distinct sense of multiculturalism

“Saying ‘mass immigration’ is certainly trying to make an illusion to the public that, you know, like caravans and waves of millions of people trying to hit the border, coming through the airports, but this is not happening.”

With files from Graeme Benjamin

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G7 leaders fail to persuade Trump to reissue waivers on Iran oil sanctions – CBC News

August 25th, 2019

Iran’s foreign minister flew in for side talks at the G7 summit on Sunday as host France ramped up efforts to ease tensions between Tehran and Washington, a dramatic diplomatic move that the White House said had surprised U.S. President Donald Trump.

European leaders have struggled to tamp down the brewing confrontation between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled Washington out of Iran’s internationally brokered 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif delayed a planned trip to Asia and flew to the southwestern French town of Biarritz, where the Group of Seven leaders are meeting.

A French official said Zarif had held talks for almost 3.5 hours, including 30 minutes with President Emmanuel Macron, before he boarded his aircraft to leave at 8 p.m. local time.

The official said the talks had been positive and would continue during the leaders’ summit this evening and tomorrow

However, leaders of G7 nations failed at a summit dinner on Saturday to make progress in persuading U.S. President Donald Trump to reissue oil sanction waivers, a European diplomat familiar with the discussion said.

“Zarif came to Paris on Friday with Iranian propositions which obviously must be refined,” a French presidency official said.

An Iranian government plane is seen on the tarmac at Biarritz airport in Anglet, France, during the G7 summit. (Regis Duvignau/Reuters)

“Yesterday there was a substantial discussion between G7 leaders and it is important to now update Zarif in order to keep closing the gap … on the conditions with which we could de-escalate the tensions and create breathing space for negotiations.”

Zarif held talks with France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the official said. French, Iranian and U.S. officials said no meeting was scheduled at this stage with U.S. officials.

Macron spent two hours with Trump over lunch on Saturday and all seven leaders discussed Iran at length in the evening. The French official said the decision to invite Zarif was made after the dinner.

Trump declined to comment when asked whether he was aware of Zarif’s presence in Biarritz. A White House official said “it was a surprise” to Trump that Zarif had been invited.

Calling Zarif’s visit a parallel event to the summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said every opportunity should be seized to reduce tensions and that she had been informed at short notice.

U.S. authorities earlier this month placed Zarif under U.S. sanctions.

“Zarif will convey the Iranian leadership’s response to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal aimed at saving Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal,” a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman said Zarif would return to Tehran on Sunday before heading to China.

Trump had earlier appeared to brush aside French efforts to mediate with Iran, saying that while he was happy for Macron to reach out to Tehran to defuse tensions, he would carry on with his own initiatives.

The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major powers aimed to curb Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of many international sanctions on Tehran. Since pulling Washington out of the deal last year, Trump has pushed a maximum pressure policy to try to force Iran into a new negotiation that would include its ballistic missile program and regional activities.

Iran seeks oil exports

While Trump’s European allies also want new talks with Iran, they believe the nuclear deal must be upheld. Macron, who has taken the lead in Europe in trying to salvage the agreement and avert a deeper crisis in the Middle East, met Zarif in Paris on Friday.

They discussed proposals to de-escalate tensions between Washington and Tehran, including easing some U.S. sanctions or providing Iran with an economic compensation mechanism to make up for oil revenues lost under U.S. sanctions.

Iran says it wants to export a minimum of 700,000 barrels of oil per day and ideally up to 1.5 million barrels per day if the West wants to negotiate with Tehran to save the nuclear deal. (Raheb Homavandi/Reuters)

In response to the tougher U.S. sanctions and what it says is the failure of European powers party to the deal — France, Britain and Germany — to compensate it for lost revenues, Tehran has responded with a series of moves, including retreating from some of its commitments to limit its nuclear activity.

Highlighting just how difficult it will be ease tensions, two Iranian officials and one diplomat told Reuters on Sunday that Iran wants to export a minimum of 700,000 barrels per day of its oil and ideally up to 1.5 million barrels per day if the West wants to negotiate with Tehran to save the nuclear deal.

One of the Iranian officials also said Iran’s ballistic missile program was not open for negotiation.

“We’ll do our own outreach, but, you know, I can’t stop people from talking. If they want to talk, they can talk,” Trump said earlier when asked about Macron’s mediation efforts.

The United States has made no indication it will ease any curbs and it is unclear what kind of compensation mechanism Macron wants to offer Iran, given at this stage a proposed trade channel for humanitarian and food exchanges with Iran is still not operational.

Macron has also said that in return for any concessions he would expect Iran to comply fully with the nuclear deal and for Iran to engage in new negotiations.

“It’s unprecedented and given the context it’s pretty audacious,” said a French diplomatic source.

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ASIRT probes officer-involved shooting in southeast Calgary – Global News

August 25th, 2019

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team is investigating following an officer-involved shooting in southeast Calgary early Sunday morning.

Calgary Police Service members responded to a strip mall near Shawville Boulevard at around 4 a.m. for reports of a suspicious man who police said was allegedly threatening people in the area.

Once on scene, police found a man in his 30s next to an ice cream shop. He was believed to be armed with a weapon. After the situation continued to escalate, police said the man was shot by one of the officers.

Calgary police officers attend a scene on Shawville Boulevard S.W. on Aug. 25, 2019.

Calgary police officers attend a scene on Shawville Boulevard S.W. on Aug. 25, 2019.

Josh Ritchie/Global News

Following the shooting, police said they had to use additional force to take the man into custody. He was later taken to Foothills Medical Centre.

Police said a large machete-type knife was found at the scene following the incident. No officers were injured.

The 11-year member of the police force who shot the suspect has now been placed on a 30-day administrative leave.

Shawville Boulevard was closed between 162 Avenue and Shawville Link for several hours and police advised people to avoid the area.

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Fantasy: Takeaways from Saturday’s preseason games –

August 25th, 2019

Get ready for your season with theScore’s 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Kit and subscribe to push notifications in the NFL Fantasy News section.

Every game night during the preseason, theScore gets you caught up on the most important fantasy performances from around the league.

Luck’s surprise retirement

Andy Lyons / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Andrew Luck‘s plan to inform his teammates about his retirement after the Colts’ preseason game and then hold a press conference Sunday afternoon to announce it fell through when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the stunning development Saturday night.

For as shocking as the news was, it was even more surprising to see some fans booing Luck as he left the field in Indy. A classless move by those in attendance and one that Luck admitted hurt him when he addressed the media after the game.

While many words will be written on Luck’s career and his decision to walk away, we’re here to break down what it means for fantasy managers, especially those drafting in the coming days. The next update to my rankings will be live on Monday, but until then, let’s take a quick look at what this means for the Colts’ skill position players.

Jacoby Brissett takes over under center and though he’s one of the better backups in the league, the drop off from Luck is immense. Brissett himself will be a fringe QB2 in fantasy around the likes of Andy Dalton and Marcus Mariota. It’s possible Brissett is more prepared for this moment than we realize, but he’ll need to prove that in real games before he can be trusted.

Every member of Indy’s receiving corps takes a hit, with T.Y. Hilton‘s value falling at least a full round into the fourth. Devin Funchess becomes nothing more than a touchdown-dependent weekly dart throw, and Parris Campbell‘s potential rookie breakout is now put on ice.

Eric Ebron was already slated for significant regression, especially with a deeper cast of pass-catchers around him, including a healthy Jack Doyle. Brissett’s presence lowers the upside of the entire offense, meaning those scoring opportunities Ebron thrived in will be even fewer and farther between. Ebron is a fringe TE1 and Doyle remains a bye-week fill-in at best.

Marlon Mack‘s stock is also negatively impacted. His touchdown ceiling is lowered and there will be less second-half carries due to poor game scripts. However, the Colts still boast one of the top offensive lines in the NFL and Brissett might be willing to dump the ball off to his backs more than Luck would have, which is notable given Mack’s increased role in the receiving game during the preseason. Consider Mack a low-end RB2 around the range of Leonard Fournette and Josh Jacobs.

Let’s hope Brissett can step up and help keep this offense rolling overall. He is facing the fourth-easiest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks in 2019.

Miller out for the year

Icon Sportswire / Icon Sportswire / Getty

Since arriving in Houston, it felt like Lamar Miller always left meat on the bone in terms of his production, and if you don’t believe me, just ask anyone who owned him in fantasy.

Even so, Miller was set up for another year as a borderline RB2/high-end RB3 given his status as the unquestioned lead back in a prolific offense.

On Saturday night, Miller’s time in Houston may have come to an end as he suffered what the team fears to be a torn ACL, according to Schefter. We already expected the Texans would move on from the 28-year-old rusher when his contract finished after this season, and now with the injury, that scenario is all but guaranteed.

Fortunately, Houston did recently trade for Duke Johnson – a superb change-of-pace back who has always wanted his shot to be a full-time ball carrier. This sounds exactly like Miller, who left the Dolphins for a chance to be a workhorse.

We know now that Miller was far more suited for a committee role than a true lead back, as he tended to break down late in seasons. If the Texans attempt to deploy Johnson in a similar fashion, the results will likely be the same.

Johnson is an outstanding pass-catching back, but he’ll need help carrying the workload. Whether that comes in the form of rookies Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon or via a free agent like Jay Ajayi remains to be seen. Crockett is the more enticing of the young backs, but adding a veteran could be a smart move.

It’s also possible the team once again delves into the trade market, though a major deal for a star like Melvin Gordon seems like a long shot.

For the time being, Johnson is moving up to Miller’s former spot in my rankings, around RB30. If you want to stash one of the rookies, Crockett would be my choice.

Instant impressions

  • You can’t overreact to one play, but Dalvin Cook breaking an 85-yard touchdown in the third preseason contest has to make fantasy managers feel good about his outlook. It’s the first game action we’ve seen from Cook in 2019, who is a top-10 back in my rankings and one of my favorite targets in the second round. With Minnesota shifting to a more run-heavy approach, Cook could be a fantasy MVP – if he can stay healthy.
  • Assuming Kyler Murray sits out next week, the rookie completed the preseason with one strong performance, one weak outing, and one average display. It’s been tough to assess Murray, since we know head coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t showing his cards before the real games in September and is running a basic offense. The first overall pick remains a high-variance fantasy option with an enticing top-five ceiling if everything comes together for him in Year 1. His offensive line is a concern, though.
  • We’re clinging to the belief Ezekiel Elliott is likely to reach a new deal with the Cowboys at some point before Week 1 or at least early in the season. If he doesn’t, Tony Pollard is going to smash in fantasy. The rookie has racked up 103 yards from scrimmage on 18 touches this preseason and deserves a role in this backfield even when/if Zeke returns.
  • Michael Gallup continues to flash in the Cowboys’ offense. His box score may only show one 12-yard touchdown catch on the night, but he actually crossed the goal line again on the next drive for a 21-yard TD that was taken away due to a penalty. Amari Cooper‘s foot issues make Gallup an even more intriguing late-round target for fantasy owners.
  • Sam Darnold has been outstanding in August, completing 17 of 25 attempts for 211 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. The sophomore often goes undrafted in fantasy, despite having breakout potential in a new offense with a better array of weapons around him. Keep him in mind if you’re waiting until the last rounds to address quarterback. His emergence would be a boon to Robby Anderson‘s fantasy stock, as well. The duo connected on a 41-yard reception on Saturday, part of a two-catch, 60-yard night for Anderson, who has low-end WR2 appeal this season.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo responded to recent struggles in preseason and practice by going 14 of 20 for 188 yards and a score on Saturday. It’s a relief to anyone associated with the 49ers, but Jimmy G is still a low-end QB2. We need Garoppolo to hold up his end of the bargain in order for the rest of the offense to thrive in fantasy. Dante Pettis had his best night of the preseason with three receptions for 36 yards and is an upside pick in the eighth round.
  • There’s value to be had in the 49ers’ backfield. Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida are being underestimated at their current ADPs in the fifth and 10th round, respectively. Coleman had a quiet night Saturday, but Breida went off for 44 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards, including a 20-yard diving touchdown. Both backs could potentially finish as top-30 fantasy options, which makes Breida a must-target.
  • Though Darwin Thompson has received most of the recent hype in the Chiefs’ backfield, Damien Williams reminded everyone he’s the lead back in Kansas City with a catch down the sidelines that he broke back into the middle of the field for a 62-yard touchdown. Williams will enter the year as an RB2 in fantasy and owners worried about Thompson can scoop him up as insurance in the middle rounds.
  • The Russell WilsonTyler Lockett tandem is one you’ll be hearing about a lot this season. Fresh off a breakout campaign, Lockett is set to take over as the clear top target in Seattle as an increase in volume is guaranteed with the departure of Doug Baldwin and injuries to D.K. Metcalf and David Moore. On Saturday, Lockett hauled in two passes for 50 yards, which was just a taste of his looming production in 2019. I’m so confident in Lockett, I’ve been willing to wait until the fourth round and take him as the No. 1 WR on some of my teams. With the aforementioned injuries, Jaron Brown is a sneaky pickup or late-round selection who could be a flex option early in the year.

Previous takeaways

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Trump regrets not raising tariffs on China higher, White House says – CBC News

August 25th, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump wishes he had raised tariffs on Beijing even higher, the White House said on Sunday, seeking to clarify earlier remarks that suggested Trump regretted his decision on Friday to escalate his trade war with China.

Trump raised eyebrows during a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of a G7 summit when he responded in the affirmative to questions from reporters on whether he had had any second thoughts about raising tariffs on Chinese goods by five per cent.

“President Trump responded in the affirmative because he regrets not raising the tariffs higher,” White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

Trump announced the additional duty on $550 billion US in targeted Chinese goods on Friday, hours after China unveiled retaliatory tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. goods.

Tit-for-tat trade war

The moves were the latest round in a tit-for-tat trade war between the world’s two largest economies that has damaged global growth, upset allies and raised market fears that the world economy will tip into a recession.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Sunday he did not expect China to retaliate further.

“I think his was an action to respond to their action. So I doubt whether they’re going to take another step,” he said on CBS’ Face the Nation program. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

In a separate appearance on Sunday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had become “enemies” on trade, despite a good relationship in other areas.

“President Xi is still his friend,” he said on the Fox News Sunday program.

“But as it relates to financial issues and trade, we have become enemies. We’re not making progress,” said Mnuchin, who has been helping lead trade talks with China.

In this June 29 file photo, Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, western Japan. Both sides have incentives to settle a trade war that is battering exporters on either side of the Pacific and threatening to tip the global economy into recession. (Susan Walsh/The Associated Press)

‘Second thoughts about everything’

During his meeting with Johnson on Sunday in France, Trump was asked if he had second thoughts about his latest escalation.

“Yeah, sure. Why not?” he said.

The reporter repeated the question and Trump replied: “Might as well. Might as well.”

A second reporter followed up again, asking if he had second thoughts about escalating the trade war with China.

“I have second thoughts about everything,” Trump responded.

In addition to his decision to jack up tariffs, Trump said he was ordering U.S. companies to find alternatives to doing business in China and move operations back to the United States.

Mnuchin said Trump would have the authority to order companies out of China under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act if he declared a national emergency.

Trump said he was not considering taking that action at this time, however.

“I could declare a national emergency. I think when they steal and take out, and — intellectual property theft, anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year, and where we have a total loss of almost a trillion dollars a year … in many ways, that’s an emergency,” he said.

“I have no plan right now. Actually, we’re getting along very well with China right now. We’re talking.”

Still, Mnuchin and Kudlow said Trump wanted U.S. businesses to start looking to shift investments away from China.

“We want them to be in places where there’re trading partners that respect us and trade with us fairly,” Mnuchin said, saying U.S. businesses would be better off relying less on China in the event the trade war lasts for a long time.

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Report: Colts reach settlement with Luck, could’ve recouped $24.8M –

August 25th, 2019

The Indianapolis Colts have reached a financial settlement with former quarterback Andrew Luck, who shockingly announced his retirement Saturday, that will not see them recoup $24.8 million that was owed to them, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Schefter reported Sunday that the Colts are allowing Luck to keep the money, even though it is “within their rights to reclaim it.” He added that the deal was reached late last week.

The sum included $12.8 million of a pro-rated portion of his $32-million signing bonus from the Colts as part of his five-year extension in 2016, as well as another $12 million in roster bonuses he was paid in March.

Schefter called it his “parting gift” from the franchise after all the hits the oft-sidelined star took over the years.

After a seemingly endless series of injuries, the former first-overall draft pick announced that he was hanging up his cleats at age 29.

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Report: Luck allowed by Colts to keep $24.8 million – TSN

August 25th, 2019

Following his abrupt retirement at the age of 29 Saturday night, the Indianapolis Colts will not take back any of the $24.8 million they are allowed to recoup according to Adam Schefter of

“The Colts essentially are telling Luck to keep it all, even though it is within their right to reclaim the money,” Schefter writes, adding terms were agreed to late last week. 

According to Schefter, Luck could have owed the Colts a pro-rated $12.8 million of his $31 million signing bonus Indianapolis gave him when he signed his extension in 2016. They also could have recouped a $12 million roster bonus he was paid in March of this year. 

“I’m in pain, I’m still in pain. It’s been four years of this pain, rehab cycle,” Luck said of his decision Saturday night. “It’s a myriad of issues — calf strain, posterior ankle impingement, high ankle sprain. Part of my journey going forward will be figuring out how to feel better.”

“There’s no doubt when you hear him talk about the cycle of pain and injury and rehab, you can hear that,” head coach Frank Reich said. “There’s a saying in football that everyone knows and everybody lives by, it’s next man up and even though this situation is unique, no one is exempt.”

Luck finishes his career in Indy with a record of 53-33 in the regular season. He’s thrown for a total of 23,671 yards and 171 touchdowns compared to 83 interceptions. 

The Colts are now expected to turn to quarterback Jacoby Brissett to lead the franchise. The will open the regular season against the Bengals in Cincinnati on Sept. 8.

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Did Trudeau keep all his campaign promises? New book from academics bears mixed results – National Post

August 25th, 2019

OTTAWA — A new book arriving on the eve of the federal election campaign is offering policy geeks a comprehensive take on whether Justin Trudeau lived up to his 2015 vows.

At the heart of the 237-page publication — the product of work from two dozen Canadian academics — is an analysis of 353 Liberal pre-election promises and an evaluation of how many have actually been fulfilled since Trudeau’s team took office.

In short, the experts found that by March of this year Trudeau’s government had entirely followed through on about 50 per cent of its pledges, partially delivered on about 40 per cent and had broken roughly 10 per cent.

The authors say the book — which also features a deep plunge into the weeds of about a dozen key policy areas — will not only interest wonks, like scholars and journalists, but can serve as a primer for all voters ahead of October’s election.

“In an era of ’fake news,’ negative advertising campaigns and conventional and social media overload, voters face a daunting challenge in providing a neutral and objective assessment of the past four years under the Liberal government,” they write in the book, published by les Presses de l’Universite Laval.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promises are scrutinized in a new book from 24 academics.

Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

“This book provides them with tools based on real facts to enlighten their evaluation of Justin Trudeau’s government’s record.”

The English edition, titled “Assessing Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government,” is scheduled for release Monday. The authors say their mission was to create a non-partisan, transparent source of information about pledge fulfilment.

For those looking to keep score, the book also provides a historical dimension. Researchers have retroactively examined pledge fulfilment by federal governments dating back to Brian Mulroney’s first majority mandate in 1984.

The Trudeau government’s result is based on a platform-monitoring tool called the “Polimetre,” which is managed by Universite Laval’s Centre for Public Policy Analysis.

The gauge’s latest reading — updated since March — shows the Liberals have entirely fulfilled 53.5 per cent of their 2015 vows, partially lived up to 38.5 per cent and broken eight per cent.

This November 14, 2015 file photo shows Canada’s former Prime Minister Stephen Harper as he speaks during a joint press conference with New Zealand’s prime minister in Auckland.

David Rowland / AFP / Getty Images

The researchers also created a Polimetre for Stephen Harper’s last majority government that stretched from 2011 to 2015. The Harper government, they found, completely met 77 per cent of its election pledges, delivered in part on seven per cent and broke 16 per cent of their promises.

The Harper Polimetre was the group’s first at the federal level — and the Trudeau version was the first to be made into a book.

There are two ways to draw a conclusion on Trudeau and Harper’s promise-keeping records, said book co-editor Francois Petry, a political science professor from Universite Laval.

One is to combine pledges fully met with those partially kept — which gives Trudeau a score of 92 per cent and 85 per cent for the final four years of Harper’s run. Or, Petry said, one can simply compare vows fully realized — Trudeau gets 53.5 per cent and Harper 77 per cent.

However, not all pledges are created equally, he noted.

“Transformative” promises and “Transactional” promises

Trudeau entered the 2015 campaign having made a lot of “transformative” promises, he said, in part because the Liberals wrote their more ambitious pledges while they were a third-place party.

In contrast, Harper made a lot of “transactional” promises, which Petry described as those targeted at sub-populations like parents, for instance.

The writers also stress that efforts by all governments to deliver on promises often converge with conditions outside their control. Circumstances could include the fulfilment-hampering effects of an economic downturn or a boost from strong growth, which the Liberals have seen in recent years.

There is a sort of negative bias in the Canadian population

In the end, however, the researchers found the Trudeau and the last Harper government had the highest rates of follow-through on their campaign promises of any Canadian government over the last 35 years.

Overall, governments in Canada have good records when it comes to keeping promises, Petry said. Polls, on the other hand, have long shown that most Canadians think politicians are liars, even though voters have generally done a poor job keeping tabs on party pledges.

“There is a sort of negative bias in the Canadian population,” said Petry, who co-edited the book with Centre for Public Policy Analysis executive director Lisa Birch.

“We are trying, therefore, to sort of change the view of the public on this particular topic.”

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (L) and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper participate in the Munk Debate on Canada’s foreign policy in Toronto, on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015.

Fred Thornhill / The Canadian Press

The book also explores the effectiveness of Liberal policies and decisions over the last four years in a range of areas — from the party’s vows to support the middle class, address climate change and deliver on electoral reform.

For example, the research notes how the Trudeau government abandoned its 2015 campaign vow to run annual deficits of no more than $10 billion and to balance the books by 2019.

It also noted how the Liberals broke their promises to introduce legislation on electoral reform within 18 months of forming government and to end the first-past-the-post voting system.

Asked about potential criticism of the research, Petry said the authors make no claims their method is foolproof, nor do they argue the results are as airtight as a controlled lab experiment.

He said the Polimetre has been applied to recent provincial governments in Quebec. The group, Petry added, is considering a project that will scrutinize the pledges of Ontario’s Doug Ford government.

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