NEW YORK (AP) — America’s neighbors to the north — so often the butt of their jokes — are taking to social media to try to keep spirits up in the U.S. during this divisive election season.
Using the hashtag #tellamericaitsgreat, Canadians have swamped Twitter with compliments about American music, culture, technology and even tailgating. The outpouring of love triggered a reply — #TellCanadaThanks.
It’s all an effort started by the Toronto-based ad agency The Garden Collective, which chose its hashtag as a play on Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America great again.” The firm’s video launching the social media push has gotten over 752,000 YouTube views and the hashtag has been trending on Twitter for several days. Many Canadians have made their own mini-videos, too.
Dic Dickerson, managing director of the firm, called it a pet project they devised for no other reason than to just spread love. “We put it out there and I don’t think any of us expected to get as much traction as it did but we’re really, really excited by all the positivity,” he said. “A lot of people are talking, which is exactly what we wanted.”
The agency was found about 18 months ago and usually focuses its attention on businesses. Dickerson said they’d never done anything like this.
“Every day we come in and the founders and myself and our team, we sit around and sort of talk about what’s new, what’s everybody reading, what are we looking at, and it always sort of came back to this notion of just how negative everything was about this upcoming election,” he said. “You can either pile on with the negativity or try to look at the positive side of things.”
Some of the things Canadians say they admire about the U.S. are its federal parks, its diversity, its missions to Mars, jazz and Tupac Shakur. One Canadian from Halifax on Tuesday complimented Americans for baseball, “The Catcher in the Rye” and first lady Michelle Obama.
Canadians, who have long been mocked by their southern neighbors for their accents (“aboot”), their creation of Justin Bieber and an apparent abundance of moose, have enjoyed some good press recently, largely thanks to their telegenic new prime minister, Justin Trudeau.
Americans, meanwhile, have been in the doldrums as Trump and Hillary Clinton face accusations of running a squalid campaign for presidency, not to mention several dispiriting Hollywood breakups, including the demise of Brangelina. The land that gave the world Ryan Gosling has now proven as seemingly warm and kind as that sensitive actor in America’s time of need.
“Don’t worry neighbors, if the election goes haywire, you can all come and live up here with us, plenty of room!” wrote one Canadian on Twitter.
Only the most cynical people would suspect this, but might the cheer-up ad campaign be really a massive attempt to troll Americans? Is this just a big mocking of the Yanks? Dickerson said no.
“It’s only coming from a place of love,” he said. “We’ve kind of been joking around about it like it’s a collective group hug from your neighbors to the north. It just felt right at this moment to share the love.”
Mark Kennedy can be reached at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
NEW YORK (AP) — You can still watch the final televised presidential debate Wednesday even if you don’t have a TV.
Many social networks and online outlets will join traditional news organizations in streaming the debate on their websites and apps. Some will also offer behind-the-scenes content and commentary, ranging from collecting related tweets to serious fact checks.
Viewership is expected to be high. In fact, the first debate in September was the most-watched presidential debate ever, with 84 million viewers.
Here’s your online guide to Wednesday’s debate, which starts at 9 p.m. EDT and will be moderated by Chris Wallace, the host of Fox News Sunday. It will take place at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.
The service will again stream Bloomberg Television’s live coverage of the debate, just as it has done for the previous ones. To watch, go to http://debates.twitter.com , or visit Bloomberg’s bpolitics Twitter feed. Twitter says the streams will include special political programming and commentary from Bloomberg 30 minutes before and after the debate. You do not need a Twitter account — or be logged in — to watch.
ABC News will show live streams from the debate and offer footage from watch parties, anchors and correspondents. The network says it will “incorporate viewers’ comments, questions and conversations” into its Facebook Live coverage. To find it, go to the ABC News Facebook page.
Other organizations are hopping on the Facebook Live bandwagon as well, including Fox News, C-SPAN, The New York Times, CNBC and Telemundo.
Google’s video streaming site is hosting debate streams from several news outlets, including NBC News, C-SPAN, The Washington Post, Telemundo, Univision and Fox News. In addition, Google says “your favorite YouTube creators” such as the Young Turks and Complex News will be streaming live reports from the debates, using YouTube Live directly from their phones.
For those with virtual-reality headsets, NBC News is planning special VR streams and content for the debate. It will also help organize virtual watch parties. Some of the events require RSVPs .
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
BuzzFeed, which offered emoji responses to the first debate, will stream the debate on Facebook and superimpose tweets on the video feed, presumably so its audience doesn’t have to switch back and forth from Facebook to Twitter on their phones.
Snapchat will cover the debate as a “Live Story” within its app, as it did with the previous ones.
CBSN, CBS News’ digital streaming service, will feature Instagram “Stories” in its live streaming coverage. Instagram Stories lets users share photos and videos from their day; they disappear automatically after 24 hours.
LAST, BUT NOT LEAST
Bars across the country will be showing the debates. As with past debates, there will be drinking games and debate bingo for those interested. You can find online bingo cards from outlets like Newsweek and The Denver Post . These can easily be turned into a drinking game for those so inclined. Take a drink every time “a candidate interrupts” or “the moderator is talked over” and you’re all but guaranteed to get drunk by the time the debate ends.
Whether you’re a fan of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, or you’re still deciding, check Meetup, Facebook or Google to find debate-viewing events near you.
Find Barbara Ortutay on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BarbaraOrtutay
This story has been corrected to remove BuzzFeed’s plans for emoji responses, which occurred in the first debate.
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily on Tuesday:
Netflix Inc., up $18.99 to $118.79
The streaming video company reported strong international subscriber growth, and its U.S. results were better than excepted.
Del Taco Restaurants Inc., up $1.11 to $13.74
The restaurant chain raised its annual profit and revenue projections after it reported solid sales in the third quarter.
IBM Corp., down $4.05 to $150.72
Analysts said the technology and consulting company’s profit margins were weak, although its profit and sales were solid.
UnitedHealth Group Inc., up $9.26 to $143.39
The largest U.S. health insurer reported a bigger-than-expected profit and raised its annual forecast.
Amaya Inc., down $1.25 to $14.24
The poker website operator said it won’t combine with competitor William Hill PLC.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., up $3.63 to $172.63
The bank’s quarterly results surpassed expectations thanks to strong results at its trading and investment businesses.
Visa Inc., down 57 cents to $81.58
The payment processor said CEO Charlie Scharf will resign for personal reasons.
Johnson & Johnson, down $3.08 to $115.41
Pfizer said it will start selling a lower-cost version of Johnson & Johnson’s biggest selling drug, Remicade, in November.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling announced plans on Tuesday to run against Elizabeth Warren in the U.S. Senate if his wife agrees, but he declined to apologize to Rhode Island taxpayers left on the hook for tens of millions of dollars when his video game company collapsed.
Schilling spoke Tuesday with WPRO-AM, his first interview about 38 Studios since settling a lawsuit over it and since a criminal investigation resulted in no charges.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo has said Rhode Island residents were hurt by the bad deal and deserve an apology.
Schilling said it’s not that he won’t apologize, but he wants Raimondo to tell him what he should apologize for. He asked listeners: “What do you want me to apologize for?”
The company moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island in 2010 in exchange for a $75 million loan guarantee, then went bankrupt less than two years later.
Schilling said his company failed because it didn’t raise enough money, not because he did anything malicious or illegal, and that he has apologized to his former employees.
“I couldn’t raise the final tranche of money and get the product to launch and that will never be anyone’s fault but mine,” he said.
But Schilling also faulted politicians for giving him a loan guarantee in the first place.
“If I was the governor, I would have never even offered this deal,” Schilling said. “The government doesn’t belong in private business. But I’m on the other side of this. My job and responsibility is to my company and to my employees and I was doing everything I could do, within my legal means, to make that be a success.”
Schilling took questions from callers in the wide-ranging, three-hour interview.
He also said he had decided to run against Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, in 2018, but that he must clear it with his wife.
“I’ve made my decision, I’m going to run,” he said. “But I have to talk to Shonda, my wife, and ultimately it’s going to come down to how her and I feel this would affect our marriage and our kids.”
Schilling took issue with Warren opposing a November ballot question aimed at dramatically expanding the number of charter schools in Massachusetts. He said he’s not scared to debate her, noting that the Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians when he was a player.
“I’ve beaten the real ones before so I’m not worried about that,” the self-described conservative and Donald Trump supporter said, an apparent reference to Warren’s claims of Native American heritage.
Earlier this year Schilling was fired from his job as an ESPN baseball analyst after comments on Facebook critical of transgender rights. He now has an online radio show.
A judge recently approved a settlement with Schilling and three other 38 Studios officials over the loan deal. The state of Rhode Island sued Schilling and other key players involved.
Just one company remains as a defendant, First Southwest, which acted as the state’s financial adviser. Schilling said he expects to testify at the trial.
Raimondo said on Tuesday that she’s angry because Rhode Islanders were hurt by the 38 Studios deal. She said it wasn’t right that “tax dollars vanished on a terrible deal.”
Associated Press writer Matt O’Brien in Providence contributed to this report.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Kate Rubins applied to be an astronaut while she was procrastinating about writing a grant application to the National Institutes of Health.
So on Tuesday, from orbit, she thanked the director of the NIH for her career.
Rubins, an infectious disease specialist who is the first virus hunter in space, was chosen by NASA in 2009. That’s the same year Dr. Francis Collins took over the NIH after years of leading its National Human Genome Research Institute.
“So I think I would say probably ‘Thank You’ directly,” Rubins said, laughing during a video hookup from the International Space Station, “because I have found myself in some extraordinary and unexpected places, because I have done whatever seems to be the most fascinating, interesting and compelling thing to do at that time.”
Replied Collins, “I love that answer.”
In August, Rubins became the first person in space to perform full-blown DNA decoding, or sequencing, using just a pocket-size device. She’s already sequenced more than 1 billion base pairs, which are the building blocks of DNA. That’s roughly one-third of a human genome, Collins pointed out.
The tests have been successful, Rubins noted, and show the value in the procedure for future space explorers and even those seeking life beyond Earth.
Collins said Rubins’ outlook would benefit any young person pondering careers.
“A lot of it is keeping yourself open to unexpected opportunities — it sounds like being an astronaut was one of those for you — and not expect that you can actually plan things out over many decades” he said. “Things are changing too fast. There are too many exciting things happening in science.
“If you have a passion to make a discovery, to make a difference in the world, to add to the knowledge of the universe, science is a great place to be right now.”
Rubins showed Collins one of the large laboratory pipettes — droppers for liquid samples — she took up to test in weightlessness. To her surprise, they worked just as well as on Earth.
“That was not my hypothesis,” she said.
That’s how she spent her spare time, she confessed.
Rubins, 38, has a Ph.D. in cancer biology. Before joining NASA, she worked with some of the world’s deadliest viruses, including Ebola, and conducted research in Congo. Her space samples, for the DNA testing, were harmless.
Her four-month mission ends in just over a week, with a return to Earth aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — An Iranian-American businessman and his father have been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran, a state-run judicial news agency reported Tuesday, the latest dual nationals imprisoned since the nuclear deal.
The announcement by the Mizan news agency came a day after it released footage of businessman Siamak Namazi. The video highlighted recent tensions between Iran and the U.S. and was a sign of the power still wielded by hard-liners in the Islamic Republic.
The Mizan report said Namazi and his 80-year-old father Baquer Namazi, a former UNICEF representative who once served as governor of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province under the U.S.-backed shah, were convicted of “cooperating with the hostile American government.” It did not elaborate.
A Namazi family statement posted online described the sentences as “beyond comprehension.”
“My father has been handed practically a death sentence and it will be a criminal act by me, his only able son, not to fight for my father’s life and freedom as well as that (of) my brother,” wrote another son, Babak Namazi.
The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply concerned” by reports of the sentencing.
“We join recent calls by international organizations and UN human rights experts for the immediate release of all U.S. citizens unjustly detained in Iran, including Siamak and Baquer Namazi, so that they can return to their families,” said a State Department spokesman, Mark Toner.
UNICEF, the U.N. children’s agency, expressed “deep sadness and personal concern” over the sentence of Baquer Namazi.
“The entire UNICEF family are deeply concerned for his health and well-being,” UNICEF said. “Baquer has been a humanitarian all his life. We appeal for his release on humanitarian grounds.”
The Mizan report said Nizar Zakka, a U.S. permanent resident from Lebanon, also received a 10-year prison sentence. His supporters had earlier told The Associated Press about the sentence, though the Mizan report was the first official Iranian confirmation of it.
It said two others had been convicted as well, without naming them or identifying their nationalities.
Later Tuesday, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying three Iranians were sentenced to 10-years imprisonment for “espionage and cooperating with the U.S. government.” He named them as Farhad Abdesaleh, Kamran Ghaderi and Alireza Omidvar, without elaborating. It was unclear if they had lawyers or if they were among the two previously mentioned by Mizan.
The Namazi family fled after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but appears to have kept business ties in Iran, and the younger Namazi traveled back several times. He also wrote several articles calling for improved ties between Iran and the U.S., and urging Iranian-Americans to act as a bridge between the rival governments.
Still, Siamak Namazi’s efforts raised suspicions among hard-liners in Iran. In May 2015, a hard-line Iranian website called Fardanews specifically pointed to him in a highly critical article, accusing him of being part of efforts to allow the West to infiltrate Iran.
On Monday, Mizan released a video of the younger Namazi, the first images of him since his detention in October 2015. The montage of clips included an Iranian drone flying over a U.S. aircraft carrier and American sailors on their knees after being briefly detained by Iran in January.
It showed Namazi’s U.S. passport, his United Arab Emirates ID card and a clip of him in a conference room, his arms raised at his sides.
At the end of the video, it also showed a still image of U.S. Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican who chairs the House’s Foreign Affairs Committee, quoting him describing Namazi’s arrest as a “latest show of contempt for America.”
Iran does not recognize dual nationalities, meaning those detained cannot receive consular assistance. In most cases, dual nationals have faced secret charges in closed-door hearings in Iran’s Revolutionary Court, which handles cases involving alleged attempts to overthrow the government.
The Namazis were not released as part of a January deal that freed detained Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans in exchange for pardons or charges being dropped against seven Iranians.
That deal also saw the U.S. make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran.
Analysts and family members of those detained in Iran have suggested Iran wants to negotiate another deal with the West to free those held. In September, Iran freed a retired Canadian-Iranian university professor amid negotiations to reopen embassies in the two nations.
Others with Western ties recently detained in Iran include Robin Shahini, an Iranian-American detained while visiting family who previously had made online comments criticizing Iran’s human rights record, and Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian woman sentenced to five years in prison on allegations of planning the “soft toppling” of Iran’s government while traveling with her young daughter.
Still missing is former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished in Iran in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission.
“We also respectfully underscore the importance of Iran cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Robert Levinson, who went missing on Iran’s Kish Island,” said Toner, the State Department spokesman. “As President Obama stated last January, we will not rest until the Levinson family is whole again.”
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.