Pickle ice cream and steak eclairs: CNE unveils this year’s wacky treats

TORONTO – Chocolate-banana steak eclairs, pickle ice cream, fried frog legs and s’more fried chicken sandwiches are among the crazy gastronomic concoctions revealed before the Canadian National Exhibition opens in Toronto on Friday.

The annual summer carnival is known for its wacky foods and the selection for this year’s event that was unveiled Wednesday is proving to be no different.

The eclair is a mix of sweet and savoury, with a piece of steak accompanied by provolone cheese, banana slices, chocolate sauce and whipped cream — all wrapped in a donut.

Besides the pickle ice cream, the CNE says other unusual frozen flavours will be on offer, including creme de la corn, which is served with a fresh piece of corn on the cob, and curry coconut, which is served in a coconut shell.

Those with finer taste can have the vanilla ice cream dessert covered in chocolate and edible 24-karat gold leaves.

Another rich choice is a mega-sized burger with maple bacon, peameal bacon, Canadian cheddar, onion rings, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo — all in an edible golden bun.

The CNE also did not forget Toronto sports fans with the “Blue Jay Nest” — a waffle bowl stuffed with vanilla ice cream, pretzels, popcorn, caramel drizzle, cotton candy and a donut decorated like a baseball.

Other usual treats include deep-fried wine and cheese, deep-fried Ferrero Rocher and cotton candy ice cream burritos.



Author of Muslim Bigotry Report Is a Noted Bigot and Antisemite

In April, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) published its “2018 Civil Rights Report.” Accompanied by the subtitle “Targeted,” the report claims an alarming increase in Islamophobic incidents across America, which it partly blames on the Trump administration.

CAIR’s report was covered by media outlets around the world. Given the seriousness of the report’s findings — and CAIR’s proclaimed dedication to fighting bigotry — those unfamiliar with CAIR’s history may be surprised to discover that the lead author of CAIR’s report has a long history of promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and supporting extremist causes.

Zainab Arain is CAIR’s Research and Advocacy Manager. Over the past eight years, she has worked for a number of Islamist organizations, including Helping Hand for Relief and Development and the Islamic Circle of North America, both outposts of the South Asian Islamist movement Jamaat-e-Islami. While a student at UCLA, Arain served as web editor for Al Talib, an Islamist student publication, which in 1999 celebrated Ayatollah Khomeini and Osama bin Laden’s “spirit of jihad.”

This was, of course, long before Arain’s time at the magazine. And nothing that she wrote for Al Talib appears particularly terrible. Her Twitter account, however, is another story.

Arain seems particularly fond of antisemitic conspiracy theories. Over the course of many years, she has circulated articles from fringe publications, claiming that Israel steals the organs of Palestinians (an invocation of the ancient antisemitic blood libel conspiracy) and has attempted to assassinate American and Pakistani officials. She states that the FBI is “manufacturing terror plots against Jewish-Americans” — ostensibly, her linked article suggests, to justify harsher counter-terrorism efforts. And she promoted a bizarre claim made by the Iranian regime’s Press TV that Israel was supporting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Arain merely commented: “Is it surprising?”


Other articles circulated by Arain include claims of Israeli control over American leaders, published at the white nationalist anti-Jewish website Information Clearing House. A similar article promoted by Arain claiming that an Israel lobby runs America is authored by Jeff Gates, whom the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center includes on a list of antisemitic conspiracy theorists.


Arain also makes it clear that she has a soft spot for Islamist extremists. She praises the Muslim Brotherhood and writes that “The case of the Holy Foundation is sad. One of those convicted said it was an honor to be convicted for feeding palestinian women & children.” For those readers who might have forgotten, the Holy Land Foundation was the chief US financier of Hamas, a designated terrorist organization. It was shut down by Federal authorities and its officials were imprisoned, following the largest terror financing case in American history.


Those who are familiar with CAIR may not be so surprised that it would task a bigot with writing an in-depth report about bigotry. CAIR’s record is well-known. In 2008, federal prosecutors named CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator during the very same Holy Land Foundation trial. In 2014, the United Arab Emirates designated CAIR as a terrorist organization. The Anti-Defamation League has claimed that CAIR promotes anti-Jewish sentiment.

While CAIR is keen to claim that anti-Muslim activity is skyrocketing, it neglects to mention the hatred of its own officials toward Muslim minorities.

Senior CAIR official Hassan Shibly has endorsed a Pakistani hate group named Khatme Nubuwwat (KN), which exists solely to incite hatred and violence against Muslims from the peaceful Ahmadiyyah sect, whom KN claims are apostates. Following KN’s recent conference in Virginia, in which it reaffirmed its hatred of Ahmadi Muslims, CAIR’s Shibly told American KN operatives: “May Allah reward you guys. You guys are doing very important work.”

In their report, some of the statistics that CAIR and Arain cite are indeed drawn from hateful and sometimes violent attacks on Muslims that have taken place across America. But CAIR’s figures are heavily inflated by what it calls “anti-Muslim bias,” which make up the vast majority of the “Islamophobic” incidents counted by the Islamist group. CAIR states there were 2,599 “anti-Muslim bias incidents” in 2017 and only 300 “hate crimes.”

Of its figures on “anti-Muslim bias,” CAIR claims that 35% were in fact “instigated” by “government agencies.” This particular “bias,” it turns out, mostly comprised interviews of Muslims conducted by the FBI and Customs and Border Protection officers in their attempts to identify and challenge terrorists. CAIR offers almost no examples in its report of how these interviews constituted “anti-Muslim bias,” despite claiming to have recorded over 700 incidents.

CAIR’s other examples of “anti-Muslim bias,” meanwhile, include legislative efforts in states across the country to prevent boycott efforts against Israel.

Hiring an antisemitic activist to warn the public about the horrors of intolerance tells us all we need to know about CAIR’s agenda. But it is important to note that moderate Muslims are also harmed by CAIR’s deceit. By treating efforts to fight terrorism and the Islamist ideology that underpins it as examples of “anti-Muslim bias,” the plight of Muslims who have suffered actual abuse at the hands of bigots is diminished.

Sam Westrop is Director of Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.



Alcohol misuse ‘biggest health problem in Northern Ireland’

Alcohol misuse is the “greatest healthcare problem facing Northern Ireland”, a coroner has said.

Figures obtained by BBC News NI show the number of alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland is the highest on record.

Between 2001 and 2016, more than 3,500 deaths in Northern Ireland were attributed to alcohol.

Coroner Joe McCrisken said: “We have an enormous problem with alcohol use, misuse and abuse in Northern Ireland.”

“The figures are frightening because they show that the number of alcohol-related deaths is increasing, so it’s important to raise awareness about the dangers,” he added.

Dealing with alcohol-related illnesses costs the health service about £250m a year, said Dr George O’Neill, the chairman of Addiction NI.

He added that 12,000 people were admitted to hospital each year with alcohol-related problems in Northern Ireland, where 170,000 people drank hazardously and 47,000 drank harmfully.



False Rape Accuser: Nicole Marie Hosmer

A Florida woman told police back in May that while she was driving in Ocala, a man entered her vehicle and forced her to take him to buy cigarettes and fast food and get cash. She then said the man removed her pants and tried to rape her.

Nicole Marie Hosmer, a 22-year-old from Leesburg, Florida, pleaded “no contest” to falsely reporting that crime to the police, and was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and more than $500 in court fees. If she doesn’t pay or complete those hours, she could face one-and-a-half months in jail, according to the Ocala Star-Banner.

The man Hosmer accused said he didn’t do anything to her, and she eventually admitted she had lied.

“Hosmer eventually told police she doesn’t know why she lied and that the man did not make any sexual advances,” the Star-Banner reported. “After her interview, she was arrested.”

Falsely reporting a crime — even one with as much potential to damage as a false report of attempted rape — is considered only a first-degree misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for perpetrators is one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Conversely, if the case had gone forward against the man, he could have faced decades in prison.