Rob Ford has released an audio recording from his hospital bed that is a mix of gratitude, a vow that he’ll beat cancer, and an appeal to Torontonians to rally behind his brother’s candidacy for mayor.
“In a few hours I will begin my chemotherapy. Then I will spend the next little while, with my family, focused on getting better,” Ford begins, his voice hoarse but clear, in the audio clip released Thursday.
But Ford said before he does that he wanted to thank “the great people of Toronto” for their overwhelming “kindness and support.”
“It means the world to us that so many of you have reached out to show your concern and offer prayers,” he says, adding his thanks to staff at Humber River Hospital, where he was first admitted last week, and Mount Sinai Hospital, here he is currently a patient.
“With the love and support of my family and my friends, and the people of Toronto, I know I will beat this terrible disease. I am determined to face this head on and return strong for my family and for my city.”
On Wednesday, Sinai’s Dr. Zane Cohen revealed the 45-year-old mayor has a malignant liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer. He faces more than a month of chemotherapy treatment. Last Friday, Ford announced he was stepping back from the mayoralty race but was adding his name to the ballot in his old seat, Ward 2. He also anointed his brother, Doug Ford, 49, as his replacement in the mayoralty contest.
Ford’s audio clip turned to his brother and election campaign. “Toronto needs Doug Ford as mayor,” the ailing mayor says.
He thanks Doug Ford, who was also his campaign manager, for behind by his side and sharing his vision, “fighting for the great people of Toronto. I never could have accomplished that without him.”
“When people get to know Doug as well I do they will see a man who cares, a man with vision, a man with integrity and determination,” Ford says.
“You, the people of Toronto, have been with me since day one. Now I ask you to throw your support behind my brother Doug.”
Ford concludes by thanking his wife Renata and offering a message of hope to other people facing similar health battles.
“Friends, please, please never give up. Be strong, stay positive and never, ever give up. God bless all of you and all the best.”
GLASGOW— “I’m English, to start with, and I don’t want to live in a foreign country,” said Jimmy Hearne, 61, as he waited for the pro-union rally to start.
The part-time carpet fitter has lived in Glasgow for 40 years. His Scottish wife won’t tell him which way she’s voting.
He seemed baffled that support for a 307-year-old union — one a solid majority of Scots said they favoured barely two months ago — had fallen to a margin so slim that no one can say which way Thursday’s vote will go.
“I don’t know how it got to this point,” he said. “Their campaign’s been better than ours. They’ve made a lot more noise.”
The question of whether Scotland should be independent will be answered in the polling stations Thursday.
But the question of who ran the better campaign was answered long ago.
“The Better Together campaign has been hopeless,” Peter Kellner, president of the polling firm YouGov said last week. “It’s badly constructed. It lost the ground war.”
In less than two years, the Yes Scotland campaign has harnessed what it claims to be the largest grassroots movement in Scottish history.
Blue Yes placards, banners and Scottish saltires can be found on lampposts, windows, construction sites and even farm fields across Scotland.
Unionists grumble that’s because Yes supporters are also more willing to abuse or intimidate those who disagree with them, forcing many No voters to stay silent.
But they also acknowledge that Better Together has been beset by poor leadership and lack of focus.
Yes has Alex Salmond, the feisty, wily Scottish first minister whom Kellner called “the one British politician who could be seen making a good fist of a Senate race in Illinois.”
Better Together was led for most of the campaign by Alistair Darling. The bespectacled, stern-voiced former chancellor of the exchequer bears an uncanny resemblance to the Muppets’ Sam the Eagle and has the ability to sound like he’s scolding even when addressing supporters.
Westminster’s political leaders seemed to be on cruise control when it came to the referendum — until a poll two weeks ago suddenly showed the Yes side ahead.
The whole experience has been a deeply humbling one for the U.K.’s governing elite.
The Better Together campaign has warned that a Yes vote could lead to a loss of jobs. One of the first to go could be Prime Minister David Cameron’s.
The prime minister could face a rebellion after Thursday’s vote, regardless of the outcome — either from MPs furious that he managed to lose the union, or from those appalled at the promises for greater powers and funding for Scotland he’s been authorizing over the last two weeks.
Though Cameron insists he won’t resign in the event of a Yes vote, the campaign has forced him to make some uncomfortable public concessions to his unpopularity north of the border.
Last week he prevailed upon Scots not to vote Yes as a flip-off to the “effing Tories.”
“If you don’t like me, I won’t be here forever,” he told an Aberdeen audience Monday with a rueful smile. “If you don’t like this government, it won’t last forever. But if you leave the U.K. — that will be forever.”
Cameron’s Conservatives may be anathema in Scotland, but the Labour Party hasn’t fared much better.
The opposition party has a lot to lose if Scotland leaves and a reliable base of Labour support goes with it. Nonetheless, they too seem to have been playing catch-up in the last two weeks, with equally embarrassing results.
On Tuesday, Labour leader Ed Miliband hit the streets of Edinburgh in an effort to mingle with common folks. Instead of the conversations with undecided voters he was hoping for, he was besieged by reporters and heckling Yes supporters.
He managed to have face-to-face conversations with two people — one a confused tourist, the other a Yes voter — before cutting the whole visit short in less than 15 minutes.
“I think we have seen in parts of this campaign an ugly side to it from the Yes campaign,” he told the BBC afterward.
On Wednesday, with less than 24 hours to go before polls opened, the Better Together team was taking no such risks. A 90-year-old Glasgow auditorium was filled exclusively with guests handpicked from the rolls of local supporters and volunteers.
After an introduction by the English comedian and aspiring politician Eddie Izzard, a bagpipe player led the speakers through a sea of waving placards reading “Love Scotland: Vote No.”
The crowd cheered passionately for all of them. There are not many rooms in Britain where people spontaneously shout “We love you!” at Alistair Darling, but this was one of them.
The event closed with a fiery exhortation from Gordon Brown, the former U.K. prime minister, who has stormed the country in recent days making a series of very expensive promises to Scotland that some Conservative MPs are already refusing to keep.
“This is not their flag, their country, their culture, their streets,” he said of the Scottish National Party, or SNP. “We have no answers. They do not know what they are doing. They are leading us into a trap.”
Within the hour, some commentators were calling it the finest speech of Brown’s political career. He left to thunderous applause.
The enthusiasm made it as far as the street.
“I’m voting yes, 100 per cent,” said Ian Anderson, 27, an employee of the printing shop next door. “If the working class people of Scotland were in there, it’d be a different reaction.”
Microsoft Corp. is firing 2,100 workers Thursday, part of a plan announced in July to eliminate 18,000 jobs to streamline the workforce and integrate the acquisition of Nokia Oyj’s handset unit.
The job reductions will take place across the company in various divisions, said Peter Wootton, a spokesman for Microsoft. In the Puget Sound region, where Microsoft is based, 747 people are being cut.
Satya Nadella has been aggressive in making changes since he became CEO in February, replacing Steve Ballmer. He has shuffled management, emphasized making Microsoft’s software available for all types of devices, and announced the job cuts.
This week, the Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft said it would buy Mojang AB, maker of the Minecraft video game, for $2.5 billion in Nadella’s first deal as CEO.
Microsoft shares were little changed at $46.55 at 12:34 p.m. in New York. The stock has gained 24 per cent this year.
NYON, SWITZERLAND—FIFA’s ethics investigator ordered football officials on Thursday to return 65 luxury watches given as World Cup gifts or risk disciplinary action.
The Brazilian federation distributed gift bags with the expensive watches at the pre-World Cup Congress, FIFA said in a statement. They were distributed to 28 executive committee members, an official with each of the 32 teams and representatives as well as members of the South American soccer confederation.
FIFA did not say if president Sepp Blatter, an executive committee member, accepted the gift or has already returned the watch.
The Brazilians obtained the watches from sponsor Parmigiani for $8,750 each. But after launching an investigation into the gifts in June, the FIFA ethics committee’s investigators discovered the watches had a market value of $26,600.
FIFA’s ethics code says football officials cannot offer or accept gifts that have more than “symbolic or trivial value.”
“Those who received gift bags should have promptly checked whether the items inside were appropriate and, upon discovering the watch, either returned it or, like the football officials referred to above, reported the matter to the investigatory chamber,” FIFA said in a statement.
But FIFA said officials will avoid ethics proceedings if the watches are returned by Oct. 24 “in an effort to resolve this matter expeditiously.”
After the deadline, the watches will be donated to an “independent non-profit organization or organizations committed to corporate social responsibility projects in Brazil,” FIFA said.
FIFA also acknowledged that secretary general Jerome Valcke had asked ethics officials for permission to give two watches from Hublot to each of the 28 executive committee members as a gift as part of the sponsorship deal. Valcke was told the gifts would violate the ethics code, FIFA said.
The Rob Ford musical will debut on schedule Thursday night but without the festivities that surround opening night.
“We have decided to cancel our gala red carpet, opening night party and will dim the marquee this evening in deference,” Toronto producer and writer Brett McCaig said in a statement on the show’s website.
He was referring to the announcement Wednesday that Mayor Rob Ford has a malignant cancer tumour that will require immediate and intensive chemotherapy to fight.
“The show will continue as planned as we fulfil contractual obligations to the cast, crew, theatre staff and honour ticket obligations to the patrons,” McCaig said.
“We will also be collecting donations for the Canadian Cancer Society, nightly. We send our best wishes to Rob Ford and his family.”
Rob Ford the Musical: Birth of a Ford Nation stars Saskachewan actor-singer Sheldon Bergstrom as the mayor in a show described as an “urban satire” following the “personal and political journey of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford as he ascends to power and global attention.”
Anthony Bastianon composed 10 songs for the show, which is scheduled to run through Sept. 28 at Factory Theatre in Toronto.
Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey was disqualified from the US PGA Championship after the second round for failing to "recreate his lie" after removing a ball from sand.
American Scott Verplank withdrew from the US PGA Championship with a hip problem half-way through his second round at the Ocean Course.
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