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Wednesday, Aug 15, 2018
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Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news


Leader quits: ‘I was wrong’

Ten days of demonstrations forced the resignation Monday of the man who has led post-Soviet Armenia since 2008. The unexpected resignation prompted the jubilation of tens of thousands in capital Yerevan’s Republic Square and other cities. Serzh Sargsyan, 63, reached his legal two-term limit in March. But parliament, controlled by his conservative party, had voted to reduce the powers of the presidency and give them to the prime minister, installing Sargsyan in that post. Protest leader Nikol Pashinian met Sunday with Sargsyan, who walked out after Pashinian refused to talk about anything but resigning. On Monday, Sargsyan said he should not have resisted the opposition’s demands. "I was wrong," he said. Thousands of mostly incensed youth had protested in Republic Square and in other cities starting April 13. The pressure on Sargsyan to resign rose Monday after about 200 soldiers joined the protest in Yerevan. Today is Armenia’s Genocide Memorial Day, which was expected to quickly turn into a vast anti-Sargsysan demonstration. Karen Karapetyan, a Sargsyan ally, stepped in as acting prime minister.


Van driver kills 10, injures 15 in Toronto

A rented van jumped onto a crowded Toronto sidewalk Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 15 before the driver fled and was quickly arrested in a confrontation with police, authorities said. Witnesses said the driver was moving fast and appeared to be acting deliberately, but by Monday evening, police said they did not yet know the motive. They only released the suspect’s name: Alek Minassian, 25, from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill. Deputy Chief Peter Yuen said police were interviewing witnesses and examining surveillance video in northern Toronto. A senior national government official said authorities had not turned over the investigation to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a sign that investigators believed it’s unlikely that terrorism was the motive. "Our hearts go out to everyone affected," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. "We are going to have more to learn and more to say in the coming hours."


Man films dog’s Nazi salutes. Now, he has to pay for hate crime.

A man who filmed his girlfriend’s dog giving Nazi salutes was fined about $1,200 on Monday after being convicted of a hate crime. Mark Meechan, 30, filmed the pug lifting its paw to phrases like "sieg heil" and posted the footage on YouTube in 2016. Sheriff Derek O’Carroll said the video "contained menacing, anti-Semitic and racist material." The dog was filmed responding to "Gas the Jews," 23 times. The comedian who goes by Count Dankula says it was a joke. The judge said Monday that while the right to freedom of expression is very important, "in all modern democratic countries, the law necessarily places some limits on that right." Meechan said he will appeal. Several far-right figures championed him. — tbt* wires

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