A letter from a Vancouver realtor to his clients suggests ways to get around the new 15 per cent foreign buyer tax implemented by the provincial government. It is just part of a howling chorus of real estate professionals upset with the province’s latest legislation.
An email sent by Century 21 realtor Michael Stewart and obtained by Global BC calls the new tax, announced on Monday and to be in effect on Aug. 2 this year, “unfortunate news” that might have “a big impact.”
It goes on to offer a solution.
“For our clients and others who have bought presales we do offer a solution. Most of the presales bought in the last 24-36 months have seen significant increases in value. It is possible in many cases to assign the presale purchase contract to a family member or friend who is a Canadian Citizen or Resident. For those of you who do not have that option, we may be able to sell the presale to a third part[sic] at a profit to you.”
READ MORE: B.C. to bring in 15 per cent foreign buyer tax: Finance Minister
Stewart is suggesting foreign buyers can use assignment clauses to flip their pre-sale condo before the building is complete and they must register their land title and pay the tax.
According to the new foreign buyer tax legislation, any foreign buyer who purchases a pre-sale condo does not need to pay the 15 per cent tax until the building is complete and the unit is registered into the land title registry.
Given rapid year-over-year price increases and that many pre-sales occur years before the building is built, that gives considerable time for a buyer to flip their property for a profit without incurring the tax.
READ MORE: NDP says foreign buyer tax will not apply to purchases of pre-sale condos
The second solution offered by Stewart, that he may be able to sell the pre-sale to a third party, is more ambiguous, but it likely indicates the realtor would assign the contract to another one of his clients.
Stewart told Global BC he received a lot of hate mail after sending out the email, but he thinks it is because most don’t understand the legislation.
“I think a lot of people may have misunderstood what I’m saying. This is not tax avoidance and this is not a way to rip off the government. I would not do that and I am not allowed to do that.”
He adds that his suggestions are “totally legitimate and totally legal.” He also argues that encouraging foreign buyers to flip their pre-sale condos actually will help affordability as it frees up more supply.
But Premier Christy Clark says realtors should not be advising their clients on how to get around the tax.
“Realtors should not be doing that. They should be informing their clients that every single one of these transactions could be audited.”
The premier says the government has an audit team ready to analyze every transaction that was on the table and closed before Aug. 2.
Realtors are upset, deals are shaken
As a realtor, Stewart is just one of many who is in opposition to the new tax.
“I think it is unfair because it is abrupt. I think it is a highly political thing and a response by the provincial government to concerns about affordability, and it’s so that Christy Clark can win the next election. I support her, but I personally am going to be taking a big hit on this. I sell in an area with a lot of foreign buyers, so I personally am taking a hit on this.”
Stewart estimates that foreign buyers make up about 10 per cent of his clients, the same proportion reported by the B.C. government on Tuesday. The latest data from the Ministry of Finance found that foreign buyers made up 10.9 per cent of all real estate transactions in the City of Vancouver from June 10 to July 14.
That number jumped to 18 per cent in Richmond and 17.7 per cent in Burnaby. Across Metro Vancouver, it averaged at 9.7 per cent.
READ MORE: Foreigners bought 10.9 per cent of Vancouver real estate between June and July
Stewart says he has already heard from many clients who are uneasy with the new legislation.
“I’ve got clients who are deeply concerned about this and there undoubtedly will be lawsuits, deals dying, and bad things happening in the real estate market.”
Don Ledoux, a realtor with Royal LePage, feels the same.
“I just can’t believe that the place I grew up and lived for thirty years, that there’s a government that can come along and have legal contracts in place and can impose a tax on people who have a deposit. It doesn’t fit with what I see as a Canadian what we stand for.”
Real Estate Board cries foul
The outrage from realtors has sparked the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), which has previously minimized the impact of foreign money in the Vancouver market, to ask its members to send a letter to their MLA and the premier.
In a memo to its members, the REBGV says they have asked brokers to report how many accepted deals will be impacted and the total dollar value of those transactions. They also “urge all members” to write their elected representatives and let them know their feelings.
They include a form letter which begins: “I’m writing to express my concern with the provincial government’s decision to implement a new foreign buyer tax on August 2 with no consultation and no time for the home buying and selling public to prepare.”
It also says that the tax is “causing unnecessary stress and volatility in our housing market.”
It requests that the government exempt accepted real estate contracts already in place from the new tax.
UPDATE: The Real Estate Council of B.C. says realtor Michael Stewart is now under investigation. A statement provided by the council reads:
“The legislation introduced by government earlier this week includes anti-avoidance rules designed to prevent transactions that are undertaken to avoid or defer payment of the Additional Property Transfer Tax. The Province is introducing and will be enforcing stringent non-compliance penalties. Under the legislation, any individual who fails to pay the additional tax, or who participates in providing incorrect information to avoid the tax could be liable for fines of up to $100,000 and/or two years in prison.
“The Council advises all consumers to obtain independent professional legal or accounting advice before entering into any transaction promoted to them as a “solution” or measure to avoid payment of applicable taxes. On July 25, in an email to all licensees, the Council advised licensees to recommend to both their buyer clients and their seller clients to seek independent professional advice to determine if their trade in real estate will be subject to the Additional Property Transfer Tax, and any potential impact that may have.
“The Council has contacted the licensee and the brokerage to advise them to immediately cease these advertisements. We have opened an investigation and will be looking into the matter very closely.”
Beyoncé and Adele are the top nominees at the MTV Video Music Awards, where their music videos will compete against Kanye West’s controversial Famous for video of the year.
Famous, Beyoncé’s Formation and Adele’s Hello will battle Justin Bieber’s Sorry and Drake’s Hotline Bling for the top prize when the VMAs air live Aug. 28 from New York’s Madison Square Garden. The nominations were announced Tuesday.
West’s infamous Famous features what appears to be naked images of the rapper and other celebrities, including Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Donald Trump and Bill Cosby.
READ MORE: Kanye West ‘Famous’ video: Lena Dunham condemns ‘sickening’ imagery
The song is at the centre of his current war with Swift: Kardashian recently leaked audio of Swift giving West her blessing after he told her the lyric, “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.”
But Swift later said she was upset because West did not play her the entire track or tell her the full lyric regarding her, which included the line, “Why? I made that bitch famous.”
Beyoncé, though, is the overall VMA leader with 11 nominations — marking a career best for the pop diva, who released her Emmy-nominated Lemonade visual album this year.
Adele is behind her with eight nominations. The songstresses will compete for best female video along with Rihanna, Sia and Ariana Grande.
West is nominated for best male video against Drake, the Weeknd, Bryson Tiller and Calvin Harris, whose nomination is for This is What You Came For, which he co-wrote with former girlfriend Swift.
READ MORE: Adele accidentally kisses fan on lips during concert
David Bowie, who died from cancer earlier this year, is nominated for best direction, cinematography, art direction and editing for Lazarus — a video that showed him frail and lying in bed, eyes bandaged. It was released several days before the icon’s Jan. 10 death.
Others who earned multiple nominations include Coldplay, Desiigner, Fergie and Alessia Cara.
Fans can start voting online Tuesday. Nominees for best song of summer will be announced at a later date.
Swift won last year’s video of the year with Bad Blood, which featured Kendrick Lamar and included cameos from Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham and others.
Visualization by Graphiq
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife Catherine, will be visiting British Columbia and the Yukon this fall.
This will be the Royal couple’s second visit to Canada. Their first Royal Tour was conducted in late June and early July 2011, when they visited Ontario, Montréal, Québec, Charlottetown, Summerside, Yellowknife, Slave Lake and Calgary.
The itinerary of the 2016 Royal Tour has not yet been announced by the Department of Canadian Heritage.
“Once again, Sharon and I will be delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Canada,” said His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, in a release. “Their Royal Tour will take them to the beautiful province of British Columbia and the scenic territory of Yukon. Our true Canadian pride and spirit will shine and be at the very heart of this visit so they can feel at home.”
TRH hold very happy memories from their last visit to Canada in 2011 – their first overseas tour as a married couple pic.twitter长沙桑拿/5snXeRfSv2
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 27, 2016
The Duke and Duchess look forward to exploring more of Canada, from British Columbia to the territory of Yukon, when they return this Autumn
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 27, 2016
Excited to welcome The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge this fall for their 2nd #RoyalTour. @KensingtonRoyal https://t.co/OKZkmdoXAI
— David Johnston (@GGDavidJohnston) July 27, 2016
In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is delighted by the announcement of the upcoming Royal visit and hopes it will showcase some of Canada’s finest natural beauty.
“This Royal Tour, the second undertaken by Their Royal Highnesses to Canada, also presents a unique opportunity for Canadians of all backgrounds to meet with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and learn more about our heritage, traditions, and institutions,” said Trudeau.
“Our government looks forward to providing Canadians with further details closer to the beginning of the Royal Tour.”
More details to come.
PHILADELPHIA – Meet the new Hillary Clinton, repackaged and updated from previous versions. But will voters notice or care?
After decades in the public eye, Clinton is being presented to Americans again at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, this time as a barrier-breaking liberal champion who fights for families and children.
But even as Democratic Party stars delivered one testimonial after another this week, some voters watching from the convention floor said they already know Clinton, or think they do, through her years as first lady, senator and secretary of state, and not all views are favourable. That presents a unique challenge for Clinton and her supporters as they try to reintroduce one of the country’s most visible women to voters who’ve been watching her for years.
“Why can’t we have somebody in the White House that doesn’t need to be shined up?” asked 31-year-old Liz Maratea of New Jersey, standing Tuesday outside the Wells Fargo Center, where she’d come to support Bernie Sanders. “Nothing needs to be repackaged about Bernie.”
READ MORE: Social media celebrates Hillary Clinton’s Democratic nomination
Clinton backers have long argued that if voters only knew her as those close to her do, they would find plenty to like. The campaign has worked on that message in recent months, and this week’s convention is aimed squarely at presenting that Clinton to the bigger general election audience.
The portrait was laid out in waves this week.
She is someone who wants to “break down all the barriers to opportunity,” in the words of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.
VIDEO: Hillary Clinton makes history as Democratic presidential nominee
She’s tireless and hard-working, gets knocked down but “has never quit on anything in her life,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.
She’s spent decades fighting for women and children, minorities and the disabled – or, as her husband, former President Bill Clinton, put it Tuesday night, “She’s a change-maker.”
Some of the reintroduction is more than cosmetic: Clinton moved left on issues including trade and education in the course of the primary campaign, adopting stances pushed by Sanders.
READ MORE: The trouble with Bill: What would Bill Clinton’s title be if Hillary gets elected?
It’s far from the first time Clinton has had to reintroduce herself. Allies say she’s often been preceded by wrong impressions created by political adversaries. Others note that she’s done harm to her own image through issues like her use of a personal email server.
Backers argue that Clinton’s strength is not as a campaigner but as a hard worker, and once she gets a job, she adopts a “workhorse” approach that impresses even adversaries.
VIDEO: Can Hillary Clinton win over U.S. voters by November’s presidential election?
Former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln recalled fellow senators wondering whether Clinton would require a lot of attention when she joined the Senate in 2001. But Lincoln said she heard from colleagues, “You know what, you were right, she’s not a diva, she wants to work.” Lincoln added, “I wish people could know her as I know her.”
Some skeptical voters in Philadelphia are willing to give Clinton a re-hearing, especially after listening to fellow Democrats vouch for her from the convention stage.
READ MORE: Bernie Sanders makes classy move at DNC in support of Hillary Clinton
“I’m always open to new information,” said Colby Clipston, 23, of Portland, Oregon. He pointed to Sanders’ convention speech, where the senator detailed positions that he and Clinton now share.
“If Hillary Clinton comes out and she demonstrates that she is going to be someone we can trust to stick to that, I think we can begin to have a conversation,” Clipston said.
Hackers who stole almost 20,000 emails from the U.S. Democratic Party, and published them online, exposed the passport numbers of Americans in Canada who gave to the party in late April and May.
Kerry plans to raise issue of possible Russian involvement in DNC email hack with Russian government
‘Probably China’: Trump rejects claims Russia hacked ‘horrible’ DNC emails
Trump, Obama, and more weighing in on DNC email hacking scandal
There has been speculation that the Russian government was behind the hack by WikiLeaks, a claim it denies.
Released on the eve of the party’s convention in Philadelphia, the content of the leak caused some embarrassment. Some emails suggested that party officials sought to undermine Sen. Bernie Sanders, a rival to the eventual nominee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Longtime party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned after the emails were made public.
The data includes over 50 records of Americans abroad giving money to the party, including several in Canada. All had to provide their passport number, as well as home phone number, personal e-mail address, home address, occupation and employer, which are all now published on Wikileaks.
READ MORE: Democratic emails: All about the hack, the leak, the discord
Complete credit card numbers aren’t included in the leaked data.
“I had no knowledge of any of this,” says Toronto-based theatre writer Jeniva Berger, whose U.S. passport data appears on Wikileaks. “I didn’t know there was anything the matter with our data.”
“That certainly is disturbing – you don’t want that kind of thing to be bandied around online.”
Berger, a U.S. citizen who votes in Illinois, donated to the Democrats in May.
“That’s bad news,” said Montreal resident Dorothy Piron, whose data was also leaked. “It doesn’t sound like a good thing, to have your information published.”
Global News asked the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa what Americans whose passport data is published online along with other identifying information should do about it, but haven’t heard back.
Passport numbers are one piece of information would-be identity thieves are looking for, the RCMP warns.
WATCH BELOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had a simple but sharp answer on Tuesday, July 26, to a reporter’s question on the Democratic Party’s email leak scandal.
iPhone sales fell for the second quarter in a row, putting a damper on Apple’s revenue and profit for the period ending June 30.
The tech giant sold 40.4 million iPhones in the quarter, down 15 per cent from a year earlier. Profit fell 27 per cent to $7.8 billion, while revenue dropped 15 per cent to $42.4 billion.
Overall results were slightly better than forecast by Wall Street analysts, causing Apple stock to soar; however, analysts worry that consumers just aren’t as excited about the newest iPhone models.
READ MORE: Goodbye ‘Stocks’ app! Apple will finally let you delete those un-deletable iPhone apps
In April, Apple reported its first revenue drop since 2003, selling ten million fewer iPhones year over year, putting more pressure on Apple and CEO Tim Cook to come up with its next big product.
The one bright spot was a 19 per cent revenue jump for the Apple segment that includes iTunes, Apple Music, and the App Store. Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said online services are increasingly important to Apple, since their financial contribution is increasing.
“Our Services business grew 19 percent year-over-year and App Store revenue was the highest ever, as our installed base continued to grow and transacting customers hit an all-time record,” said Maestri.
Interestingly, although iPad sales have been declining over the last year, Apple actually beat analyst expectations for its tablet sales. The company said it sold 10 million iPad’s in the last quarter, bringing iPad revenue from $4.4 to $4.9 billion. Some of that might be thanks to the company’s new 9.7-inch iPad Pro tablet, released in March.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) Revenue Breakdown by Product | FindTheCompany
Apple also reported that revenue in “Greater China,” which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, was down 33 per cent year over year. Previously, China was Apple’s second-biggest market in terms of revenue.
READ MORE: Chinese patent dispute could block Apple’s iPhone 6 being sold in Beijing
Apple has faced several road block in China recently, including patent dispute in China that threatens to block future sales of the iPhone 6 in Beijing. The potential ban stems from a decision issued in May by the Beijing Intellectual Property Office. The agency found the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus infringed on a patent for the exterior design of a smartphone called the 100C made by a Chinese company, Shenzhen Baili.
Apple iPhone 6S vs. iPhone SE | SpecOut
– With files from Global News reporter Nicole Bogart
PARIS – France’s main religious leaders have sent a message of unity and solidarity following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande after Islamic State extremists attacked a Catholic church and slit the throat of an elderly priest.
Hollande was presiding over a defence council and cabinet meeting Wednesday after speaking with Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish leaders.
On Tuesday, the attackers took hostages at the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in the northwest region of Normandy, during morning Mass. After the priest was slain, both attackers, one a local man, were killed by police outside the church.
Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, called on Catholics to “overcome hatred that comes in their heart” and not to “enter the game” of the Islamic State group that “wants to set children of the same family upon each other.”
READ MORE: Here’s what we know about Normandy church attackers
The rector of the main Paris mosque, Dalil Boubakeur, said France’s Muslims must push for better training of Muslim clerics and urged that reforming French Muslim institutions be put on the agenda, but without elaborating.
The French prosecutor identified one of the attackers as Adel Kermiche, a 19-year-old who grew up in the town and tried to travel to Syria twice last year using family members’ identity documents. He was detained outside France, sent home, handed preliminary terrorism charges and wore a tracking bracelet.
The identity of the second attacker has not been made public. Police combing the area after the attack detained a 16 year-old whom prosecutor Francois Molins said was the younger brother of a young man who travelled to the Syria-Iraq zone of the Islamic State group – carrying the ID of Kermiche.
Candles were set in front of the town hall, and stunned townsfolk were calling for the kind of unity Hollande is seeking.
READ MORE: ISIS claims responsibility for Normandy church siege that left priest dead
“It’s going to be hard to admit it … we are scared …,” said Mulas Arbanu, a resident of the town near Rouen. “Be we Christians, Muslims, anything, we have to be together.”
Said Aid Lahcen had met the 85-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel, the slain priest, in the past.
“From the moment when you touch a religion, you attack the nation, and you attack a people. We must not get into divergences, but stay united people as we were before,” he said.
BERLIN – A 27-year-old Syrian asylum seeker who blew himself up at a bar in the southern German town of Ansbach was chatting online with a still-unidentified person immediately before the explosion, Bavaria’s interior minister said Wednesday.
Attacker Mohammed Daleel died and 15 people were wounded when his bomb exploded in a wine bar Sunday night after he was denied entry to a nearby open-air concert because he didn’t have a ticket.
“There was apparently an immediate contact with someone who had a significant influence on this attack,” state Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said on the sidelines of a party meeting in southern Bavaria, news agency dpa reported.
It wasn’t clear whether Daleel was in contact with the Islamic State group or where the other person in the chat was, Herrmann said. He said investigators checking the assailant’s cellphone came across the “intensive chat” and that “the chat appears to end immediately before the attack.”
WATCH: German police raid home of suspected bomb attacker
“Because of witness testimony on what happened and also the course of the chat, there are indeed questions about whether he intended to set off the bomb at that moment,” Herrmann said.
On Tuesday night, the online magazine of the Islamic State group said the attacker spent months planning the attack, once even hiding his home-made bomb in his room in a state-supported asylum shelter moments before a police raid.
The weekly Al-Nabaa magazine’s report added that Daleel had fought in Iraq and Syria with a branch of al-Qaida and the IS group before arriving in Germany as an asylum seeker two years ago.
READ MORE: Islamic State magazine claims Ansbach attacker fought for group before coming to Germany
Herrmann said a roll of 50-euro ($55) notes was found on the attacker. It’s unclear where the money came from – but it is “unlikely that it could have been paid for solely from what an asylum-seeker in Germany gets in the way of pocket money.” He didn’t specify how much cash was found in total.
The Ansbach explosion was the last of four attacks in Germany in a week, two of which have been claimed by IS. Islamic extremism wasn’t the motive in the other two – including the deadliest, Friday’s shooting in Munich in which nine people were killed.
The attacks have brought Chancellor Angela Merkel’s policy of welcoming refugees under renewed criticism.
READ MORE: German chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments on asylum bring refugee girl to tears
Conservative lawmakers have called for an increased police presence, better surveillance and background checks of migrants – and new strategies to deport criminal asylum seekers more easily.
Al Nabaa’s Arabic-language report on the attacker said he initially fought against government forces with al-Qaida’s branch in Syria before pledging alliance to IS in 2013. He also helped the group with its propaganda efforts, setting up pro-IS accounts online.
In Germany, he started making the bomb, a process that took three months, al Nabaa wrote.
It added that German police once raided his asylum shelter in an unrelated case and searched Daleel’s room without noticing the bomb that he had hidden moments earlier.
IS earlier claimed the Ansbach attack, publishing a video it said was of Daleel pledging allegiance to the group and vowing that Germany’s people “won’t be able to sleep peacefully anymore.” It appears to be the same video as the one found by German investigators on the suicide bomber’s phone.
Daleel unsuccessfully sought asylum in Germany and was awaiting deportation to Bulgaria.
WATCH: Security tight after string of attacks in Germany
The recent attacks have heightened concerns about the government’s migration policy that saw more than 1 million people enter Germany last year.
A senior figure in the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, which has no seats in the national parliament but saw its popularity surge after last year’s migrant influx, suggested Wednesday that there should be “a halt to immigration for Muslims to Germany” until all asylum seekers now in the country have been registered, checked and had their applications processed.
“For security reasons, we can no longer afford to allow yet more Muslims to immigrate to Germany without control,” Alexander Gauland, a deputy party leader, said in a statement. “There are terrorists among the Muslims who immigrated illegally and their number is rising constantly.”
The Interior Ministry says Germany is not still seeing uncontrolled migration. Spokesman Johannes Dimroth said that “for some time” all new arrivals have been registered and checked against security databases.
As for whether people could be treated differently depending on their religion, “as I understand it that simply would be incompatible with our understanding of freedom of religion,” he said.
The bloodshed in Germany began July 18, when a 17-year-old from Afghanistan wielding an axe attacked passengers on a train near Wuerzburg, wounding five people before he was shot to death by police. The IS group claimed responsibility.
German train operator Deutsche Bahn said Wednesday it would invest heavily in increased security and hire hundreds of security staff to control trains and train stations across the country.
The city of Munich said it is re-evaluating its security concept for the annual Oktoberfest and is considering banning all backpacks from the popular beer fest.
Mroue reported from Beirut, Lebanon. Geir Moulson contributed from Berlin.
There was a general consensus (at least across social media) that first lady of the United States Michelle Obama‘s Democratic National Convention (DNC) speech was the highlight of Monday night’s festivities.
She had poise, vigour, and an eloquence that revved up the crowd and even brought some people to tears. She also raised a poignant point about living in the White House, and how she has to “wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.”
WATCH BELOW: Michelle Obama’s full DNC speech
“I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”
Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly managed to put his own spin on the line, trying to somehow justify the use of slaves for contracted labour.
“Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labour in 1802,” he said.
“However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labour. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well. Got it all? There will be a quiz.”
READ MORE: ‘The nomination was stolen’: Bernie Sanders supporters walk out of DNC, clash with police
Widely condemned as insensitive and irrelevant to the point Obama was trying to make, O’Reilly’s remarks were criticized strongly on 桑拿会所.
How dare @oreillyfactor defend the practice of slavery?! He should be fired and/or resign for saying something so ignorant. #BillOReilly
— Sam Levine (@Sam_Levine) July 27, 2016
I’m starting a movement to build a wall around Bill O’Reilly. Don’t worry, I’ll make sure he’s just as well-fed as the slaves were.
— Erin Entrada Kelly (@erinkellytweets) July 27, 2016
#BillOreilly says slaves who built #WhiteHouse were well fed & had decent lodges. Bill-they were still slaves!
— Carl Dix (@Carl_Dix) July 27, 2016
Bill O’Reilly reminds you that Kunta Kinte never even thanked white people for the free boat ride.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) July 27, 2016
I will happily keep Bill O’Reilly fed and sheltered. I’m even willing to put a leash on him and take him for a walk every day.
— Dave Lartigue (@daveexmachina) July 27, 2016
I think Bill O’Reilly just invented Slave-splaining.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) July 27, 2016
Obama has not commented on O’Reilly’s rebuttal to her speech, and O’Reilly has not yet responded to the backlash (as of this writing).
WATCH BELOW: Cartoon Hillary Clinton “most qualified,” tells Stephen Colbert she makes computer “boo-boos” like any other grandma
The DNC continues tonight with speeches by President Barack Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden.
Bill O'Reilly Timeline | PrettyFamous
JUBA, South Sudan – South Sudanese government soldiers raped dozens of ethnic Nuer women and girls last week just outside a United Nations camp where they had sought protection from renewed fighting, and at least two died from their injuries, witnesses and civilian leaders said.
The rapes in the capital of Juba highlighted two persistent problems in the chaotic country engulfed by civil war: targeted ethnic violence and the reluctance by U.N. peacekeepers to protect civilians.
At least one assault occurred as peacekeepers watched, witnesses told The Associated Press during a visit to the camp.
On July 17, two armed soldiers in uniform dragged away a woman who was less than a few hundred meters (yards) from the U.N. camp’s western gate while armed peacekeepers on foot, in an armoured vehicle and in a watchtower looked on. One witness estimated that 30 peacekeepers from Nepalese and Chinese battalions saw the incident.
READ MORE: 26,000 refugees flee South Sudan to Uganda, says UN
“They were seeing it. Everyone was seeing it,” he said. “The woman was seriously screaming, quarreling and crying also, but there was no help. She was crying for help.” He and other witnesses interviewed insisted on speaking on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals by soldiers if identified.
A spokeswoman for the U.N. mission, Shantal Persaud, did not dispute that rapes took place close to the camp. She did not immediately address why peacekeepers didn’t act to prevent the rapes, saying she was looking into the issue.
The reported assaults occurred about a week after rival government forces clashed in Juba, forcing opposition leader Riek Machar from the city and killing hundreds of people. As a cease-fire took hold, women and girls began venturing outside the U.N. camp for food.
The camp houses over 30,000 civilians who are nearly all ethnic Nuer, the same ethnicity as Machar. They fear attacks by government forces who are mostly ethnic Dinka, the same as Machar’s rival, President Salva Kiir.
As the women and girls walked out of the U.N. camp, they entered an area called Checkpoint, in the shadow of a mountain on Juba’s western outskirts. That stretch of road along one side of the camp saw some of the heaviest fighting and is lined with wrecked shops and burned tanks. It is now inhabited by armed men in and out of uniform.
READ MORE: Harjit Sajjan: spread of terrorism in Africa on Canada’s peacekeeping radar
In interviews with the AP, women described soldiers in Checkpoint allowing them to leave to buy food but attacking them as they returned.
“When we reached Checkpoint, the soldiers come out and called the women and said, ‘Stop, please, and sit down,’ so we stopped and sat down, and they took one woman inside a shop,” a woman said.
“Four men went inside the shop and they raped the woman while we three stayed outside.”
In another incident, one woman said a group of soldiers pulled two women and two underage girls from their group and gang-raped them in a shop, with more than 10 men to each victim. One girl later died, she said.
“I saw the men taking their trousers off and the ladies crying inside,” said a middle-aged woman. As she spoke, she began to cry. “They said, ‘This one belongs to me, this one belongs to me,”‘ she added.
Multiple Nuer women said soldiers threatened them because of their ethnicity or accused them of being allied with Machar. The women identified the soldiers as ethnic Dinka because of the language they spoke.
“One soldier came and he turned the gun to us. He said, ‘If I kill you now, you Nuer woman, do you think there is anything that can happen to me?”‘ one woman said. She said the soldier slapped her before another soldier intervened, allowing her to escape.
The number of rapes that took place outside the U.N. camp was unclear. The AP interviewed more than a dozen witnesses of rapes or people who spoke with victims, both one-on-one and in small groups.
READ MORE: US military sends support to protect its citizens in war-torn South Sudan
The Protection Cluster, a group of aid workers that monitors violence against civilians in South Sudan, noted a “significant spike in reported cases was observed on 18 July when large numbers of women began leaving (the camp) to travel to markets in town in search of food.”
The Protection Cluster said at least two victims are known to have died as a result of their injuries.
Civilian leaders in the U.N. camp have given estimates ranging from 27 to over 70 rapes from the time that women started venturing out for food. The United Nations says it received reports of dozens of cases. A South Sudanese rights group, the Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, said it is investigating 36 reported rapes.
Hospitals inside the camp received four rape cases last week, including an underage girl who said she had been gang-raped by five men and a woman who said she had been gang-raped by five men and beaten, according to medical staff who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The number of victims reporting to clinics is believed to be lower than the actual total because of the stigma in Nuer culture attached to rape.
The rape of civilians has been a near-constant in South Sudan’s civil war which began in 2013, with both sides accused of using sexual assault, based on ethnicity, as a weapon of war.
READ MORE: South Sudan: A look back at what brought the country to the brink of civil war
Army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang did not deny that rapes occurred after the latest fighting but said the military has yet to receive any formal complaints from victims.
Witnesses and aid workers accuse the armed U.N. peacekeepers, who are mandated to protect civilians with lethal force if necessary, of failing to act.
The U.N. spokeswoman, Persaud, said the recent rapes were not limited to Checkpoint.
“For a fact, uniformed soldiers were involved, heavily involved, in horrific acts of violence against civilians,” Persaud said.
This is not the first time that U.N. peacekeepers have been accused of failing to act.
Last year, over 1,300 women and girls were raped by government forces and allied militias during a scorched-earth campaign in Unity state, according to the Protection Cluster. Doctors Without Borders accused the U.N. mission of “complete and utter failure” to protect civilians there. The medical aid organization also blamed the peacekeeping mission over a government attack on the U.N. camp in the town of Malakal in February that killed about two dozen civilians. A U.N. investigation found confusion in command and control by U.N. forces.
In the latest clashes in Juba, residents of the U.N. camp accused peacekeepers of running away when the camp was shelled. Two Chinese peacekeepers were killed.
Aid workers said they asked the U.N. to increase patrols July 17-18 along the camp where women were most vulnerable, but that patrols in the area did not begin until July 21.
The U.N. said in a statement it had increased patrols outside the camp in response to reported rapes.
One local woman, Christmas David, who said she was beaten by government soldiers but not raped, said the limited patrols were not enough.
“When the U.N. is moving, (the government soldiers) just stop the women and tell them to sit down,” she said. “When the peacekeepers leave the road, then they do the things.”