FULL SPECIAL REPORTBy Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsHer father was a preacher and she says she believes in God.And she swears she’s telling the truth about the guns.Juanita Cree, 48, says she smuggled two Arizona-bought guns into Canada and planted them in the house of her former boss, a Lebanese-born Canadian citizen named Michael Chamas, 47, who is now a fugitive.“I brought the guns…into Canada,” said Cree, whose Mohawk father was a Pentecostal preacher in Akwesasne. “I put them there.”A Quebec judge issued a warrant for Chamas’ arrest after he skipped a court date on Oct. 19. Chamas is facing trial on nine weapons charges stemming from the two Arizona-bought guns police found in his Lorraine, Que., home on March 26, 2008.Police raided his home as part of Operation Cancun, which targeted a drug smuggling network operating out of Kahnawake and Akwesanse that brought Quebec-grown marijuana into the U.S.Chamas claimed he couldn’t show up for court because he was sick, but the RCMP discovered he had been traveling the globe, including a stop in Mexico where he is involved in a bid to revive Mexicana Air, Mexico’s oldest airline that went bankrupt in 2010.Police suspected Chamas was the “banker” for the cross-border marijuana smuggling organization.Chamas denies this, saying he didn’t know police believed some of the individuals he was linked to were allegedly involved in laundering money from marijuana smuggling.Cree says she planted the guns in Chamas’ house at the suggestion of a Surete du Quebec sergeant, who was with the Aboriginal policing unit.The officer could not be reached for comment. When APTN National News phoned his last known office, one officer said he was on leave, while another said he had been transferred from the unit.The guns, however are only part of Cree’s story.She says she also worked as an informant in Kanesetake, the Mohawk community at the centre of the 1990 Oka crisis, for the Surete du Quebec (SQ) and the RCMP.She claims these things in a sworn affidavit, now sealed but available for download on Michael Chamas’ website, that was filed this past May into Chamas’ court case.None of the claims in the affidavit have been proven in court.With Chamas on the run, it may take some time before Cree is ever challenged about her assertions on the witness stand.To this point, Cree has not been subpoenaed to testify.The RCMP said they could not comment on Cree’s claims.“There is a sealing order in place on this matter, so the RCMP cannot confirm or deny the allegations made by Ms. Cree,” said RCMP Cpl. Carine Cordey. “We don’t want to jeopardize anything that is going on right now that could be before the courts.”The Surete du Quebec also said they could not comment on the matter.The Crown prosecutor, Danny Lemieux, who works for a special unit created to deal with cases involving the proceeds of organized crime, refused to comment on an ongoing case.APTN National News has learned that the prosecution was prepared to challenge the credibility of her statements in the affidavit and was prepared to call SQ officers as witnesses against her if the defence attempted to use Cree’s explosive claims.It’s also believed that the prosecution was prepared to argue that Cree was never technically an informant, but did supply information to the police.The prosecution was prepared to say that the SQ officer Cree says recruited her to become an informant may have been “playing his own game,” according to a source with knowledge of the file.The former officer, Daniel Beaudry, was the police force’s liaison officer in Kanesetake. He could not be reached for comment.Beaudry was disciplined over ties to Chamas while the businessman was under criminal investigation, according to a letter of reprimand from Feb. 8, 2006.The letter of reprimand.Download (PDF, Unknown)Cree maintains she was recruited by Beaudry to become an informant for the SQ between 1994 and 2000. She said she signed a contract with Beaudry and was given a “Confidential Informant” number along with a pager.Cree said relationship with the SQ lasted between 1994 and 2000.“I was trying to help them to gain information that was relevant to some of the operations they were trying to undertake,” said Cree.No money was paid directly for the information she provided, she said.The money moved through separate contracts with Quebec’s justice department for setting up meetings with prominent community members and police training programs, said Cree.“They were cautious and careful about how they gave me money,” said Cree.In one instance, Cree said she worked with the SQ in preparation for a drug operation in August 1995.“They were gathering information via surveillance and most of it was aerial surveillance and we had these large (air surveillance) pictures of the reserve,” said Cree. “And they were asking me to identify who lived where and what was around, pockets of families and people who were in certain locations.”The relationship with the RCMP, which started in 1995, was different.Cree said she acted more as a consultant to the RCMP on policing in First Nations communities across Quebec.“It was how to approach communities, how to make a difference in community policing aspects…They were very interested in (Quebec’s) far north,” said Cree. “I actually flew on the RCMP commissioner’s plane…I spent time with their liaison officer going to different communities, looking at different training things, making connections…making sure they got in to speak to the right people.”The RCMP also gave Cree grants to run sensitivity and cultural training programs for police officers and justice officials.Cree said she eventually drifted away from the police and Kanesatake and by 2000 had reinvented herself in the business world.She became heavily involved in a project to create a free-trade zone at Montreal’s Mirabel airport. Free-trade zones allow goods to be imported, manufactured, reconfigured and then exported tax-free.The free trade zone project ended in the fall of 2001 after Bombardier was allowed to build a hanger that encroached on one of the runways. The airport suddenly didn’t meet the regulations to handle the volume needed for a free-trade zone.Cree said she met Chamas during a gala at the Sheraton related to the proposed free-trade zone.“He was standing in the lobby of the Sheraton and he was very striking, very tall,” said Cree.Chamas wanted in on the free-trade zone and Cree said he had lined up about $50 million worth of investments from China before the project fell through.A self-styled high-flying, international financier, it appears Chamas has business links all over the world; from China, to Switzerland, to Dubai to Venezuela.Chamas has also been the subject of police investigation in two other countries: Switzerland and France.Before becoming a fugitive in Canada, Chamas was gaining altitude. He was attending political fundraisers promising jobs, planning to buy a Quebec bank and promising to set up international construction deals in Dubai.He projected the image of an international financier with limitless access to overseas capital and high-level international connections.Yet, through most of it, he battled the tax man and eventually lost. Chamas had been fighting Revenue Canada in the courts before he fled the country.Tax authorities put a $1.8 million lien on his luxury home in Lorrain which has since been seized and put on the market. He also owed $1.5 million to Quebec in taxes, according to court records.Tax authorities also seized his $200,000 Rolls Royce and over $700,000 from two CIBC bank accounts, according to court records.Chamas, who obtained his Canadian citizenship in 1995, said he didn’t owe tax authorities any money because he maintained his residency overseas where he conducted the majority of his business.Tax authorities and the courts disagreed.But it was his relationship with Cree, who was his personal assistant on his North American dealings, which offered him the biggest prize: access to the Conservative government.Cree was a close associate of David Bernstein, a Montreal bankruptcy lawyer and former Tory candidate who ran unsuccessfully against former Independent Senator and Liberal MP Marcel Prud’Homme in 1976, 1979 and 1980.Bernstein was friends with John Crosbie, a former Tory cabinet minister in the Brian Mulroney government and current lieutenant-governor of Newfoundland and Labrador.Bernstein was also close to John Reynolds, a former Tory and Reform MP who chaired Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party leadership bid in 2004 and he chaired the Conservative’s federal campaign in 2006.Both men are mentioned in Bernstein’s obituary, along with Jerome Choquette, who was the minister of justice for the Quebec Liberal government of Robert Bourassa during the October crisis in the 1970s.Chamas, through Cree, began forming a business relationship with Bernstein who believed the self-styled international financier could raise $1.5 billion in capital for the purchase of the Laurentian Bank in Quebec.Everything, however, came crashing down on Chamas on March 26, 2008, when RCMP and SQ police officers with the Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit executed a search warrant at his home in Lorraine, just north of Montreal.The RCMP had traced a $1 million transfer into one of Chamas’ account from individuals investigators believed were laundering money for a cross-border smuggling network operating out of the Mohawk communities of Kahnawake and Akwesasne.Chamas said the transfer was for money he was owed.Revenue Canada and immigration officials were also present during the raid, which was part of Operation Cancun, an investigation aimed at dismantling the drug network which moved Quebec-produced marijuana to New York City.The RCMP’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit was also involved in the Cancun investigation and targeted the suspected money players, including Chamas and one of his associates named Nicolas Anthis.Investigators found two Arizona-bought guns when they searched Chamas’ house in Lorraine, just north of Montreal.One was a Taurus .38 calibre hand-gun bought at the Cash Box Jewellery & Pawn Co. in Tucson, Az., on Feb. 13, 2008, according to a gun trace supplied to the RCMP by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.The other gun was a Glock .40 calibre bought at Sportsman’s Warehouse in the same city on the same day, according to the gun trace.The gun trace.Download (PDF, Unknown)Chamas was charged with nine weapons offences in connection with the guns. None of the offences included gun smuggling.“Those guns, that wasn’t him. That was me,” said Cree, who also had her phone tapped and was under surveillance during the Cancun investigation.Cree says she used Chamas’ birthday as cover to plant the guns.Cree said she phoned Chamas, who was born on Feb. 9, to tell him she had a belated birthday present for him. She carried the guns inside a bag with the present, a magnetized globe.She said she planted the .38 in a basement closet while Chamas showed her some renovations she had done to his home theatre section.Under the pretext of wanting to see newly bought baby furniture in the adjacent room, Cree said she slipped the Glock into the inside pocket of one of this suit jackets hanging in the master bedroom closet.Police found the guns in those locations.Cree said she planted the guns on either March 12 or 13, two weeks before the raid.The proximity between the dates she says she planted the guns and the raids was pure coincidence, said Cree. She said she was not told about the looming raid or tip police about the guns.Cree, however, stayed in contact with Chamas after she says she planted the guns.“I wasn’t working directly with him,” said Cree. “After Cancun hit, he distanced himself from me…some of the associates around him kept telling him I was working for the police.”Cree, however, admits that as time passed, she again entered into Chamas’ sphere and finally told him in April over a lunch of steak and grilled chicken Cesar salad that she planted the guns. She said a glass of wine spilled.The continued relationship, however, raises the possibility that Chamas made a deal with Cree to file the affidavit and claim the guns were planted.They had worked together for several years and she had intimate knowledge of many of his business dealings.If Chamas went down, he could also take Cree with him.Cree’s affidavit gave Chamas a golden ticket to beat the weapons charges.Cree denies there was any deal.“He never paid me to do a deal for him or to take this or do anything. None of that,” said Cree.Chamas, in a separate interview, also denied there was a deal and used a vulgar term to describe Cree.“Are you out of your mind…that bitch, she ruined my life, why would I pay her?” he said.Cree said she arranged for the guns to be bought legally by a nephew. She then smuggled them into Canada.APTN National News traced the name of the individual whose driver’s license was used to buy the guns, but could not reach him for comment.APTN National News did reach the individual’s former partner, who is Cree’s niece, and she said he did buy guns for a family member, but she wasn’t sure about the date.“If the ATF comes to me and charges me, okay, I have to take responsibility for that. It was me. I don’t want them to go and find another scapegoat and say it was somebody else or whatever,” said Cree. “It was me. Am I running away from it? No.”Police seized hundreds of documents from Chamas when they raided his house, including an application for an Arizona driver’s licence.Cree says the application had nothing to do with the purchase of the guns.Chamas said he lived in Arizona in the 1980s after he came to North America from Lebanon for the first time.Cree said the decision to plant the guns began during a meeting in November 2007 with the SQ officer who spoke about Beaudry and Chamas.“He talked to me about who he was, that he was working in Aboriginal policing, (and) he said I know you, you have a reputation here,” said Cree.“(The officer) then stated that it would be better to take them all down,” her affidavit states. “He suggested this using the example of illegal weapons being discovered at the residences of individuals.”Cree said she had other conversations with her acquaintances that also pushed her toward the decision to plant the weapons.“I remember having a conversation with (one lawyer) in his office and he said ‘are you sure you know who you are dealing with?’” said Cree. “He was really pressing in terms of ‘are you sure of these things? Are you sure of these facts? Are you sure you know who this person is?’”But it was a conversation Cree had with Bernstein in January 2008 that finally convinced her to plant the guns.“It was almost like Chamas’ money smelled,” said Cree. “(Bernstein) was told something…and started referring to (Chamas) in a very negative way.”Cree said there were dark hints about financing terrorism.Cree said she decided to come clean about the guns this past spring after talking with Bernstein who was dying in hospital from cancer.Bernstein died in April.“When he was lying in bed and talking about doing things that we were having a lot of regret for,” said Cree. “I knew he was dying and he was talking directly about Chamas. I could do nothing else but come forward with the truth.”She says she just wants to clear her conscience.“My responsibility is to take responsibility, to take accountability for what I had done,” said Cree. “Yes it is a matter of conscience.”Cree says she is ready to face the consequences for committing the crimes of smuggling guns across an international border and using them to frame her former boss.Now she waits.“They are either going to say I am charged with something and get it over with or they are going to come out and call me a complete psycho,” said Cree.firstname.lastname@example.org
APTN National News OTTAWA—Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde wrote an email to MP’s urging them to support Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s private members bill to have UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People apply to new federal laws.Bellegarde sent the email to MPs across party lines Tuesday urging them to support Bill C-641 during Wednesday’s House of Commons second reading vote.If the bill fails to get enough votes it won’t go to committee for hearings and study.“Statements that the declaration is incompatible with Canada’s constitution are untrue and undermine Canada’s standing and reputation in the international community,” wrote Bellegarde, in the email, which was obtained by APTN National News. “The declaration offers a road map to correct the entrenched patters of system discrimination and the many barriers to First Nations enjoying all fundamental human rights and freedoms.”The Harper government is opposing Saganash’s bill arguing it is not compatible with the constitution and that it would give First Nations a veto over federal legislation.“Adoption of Bill C-641 provides a crucial opportunity for the federal government to engage in genuine partnership with Indigenous peoples,” wrote Bellegarde. “I urge you to vote for Bill C-641 at (second) reading…and to provide your unequivocal support to its passage and fulfillment.”email@example.com@APTNNews
APTN National NewsThe annual Yukon River Quest Race is underway in Whitehorse.Fifty-eight teams from around the world are racing through one of the world’s longest rivers to reach the Klondike gold fields in two days.APTN’s Shirley McLean has more on rookie team looking for an experience of a lifetime.
Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,800.40, up 30.04 points):Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED). Healthcare. Up 76 cents, 5.92 per cent, to $13.59 on 8.3 million shares. Canopy says it will develop up to three million square feet of greenhouse growing capacity in British Columbia, more than doubling Canada’s biggest licensed marijuana producer’s production footprint. The company said in a statement that it has entered into a definitive joint venture agreement with a large-scale greenhouse operator where it will be a majority shareholder of BC Tweed Joint Venture Inc., a new company.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Aerospace, rail equipment. Up 10 cents, 4.44 per cent, to $2.35 on 7.04 million shares. Delta Air Lines says its deliveries of Bombardier CSeries aircraft may be delayed next year but that ultimately it won’t be forced to pay the 300 per cent preliminary duties recently announced by the U.S. Commerce Department. “We’re not going to be forced to pay tariffs or anything of the ilk,” CEO Ed Bastian said Wednesday during a conference call about its third-quarter results.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Healthcare. Up five cents, 1.69 per cent, to $3.00 on 5.9 million shares.Birchcliff Energy Ltd. (TSX:BIR). Oil and gas. Up six cents, 1.16 per cent, to $5.24 on 4.3 million shares.Pretium Resources Inc. (TSX:PVG). Miner. Up $2.92, 24.07 per cent, to $15.05 on 3.6 million shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Oil and gas. Up 12 cents, or 0.84 per cent, to $14.35 on 3.6 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Metro Inc. (TSX:MRU). Grocer. Up 26 cents, 0.62 per cent, to $41.99 on 692,466 shares. The grocery store chain says it will eliminate about 280 jobs starting in 2021 as part of a $400-million overhaul of its Ontario distribution network. Metro says the move to modernize and automate its network will mean the loss of about 180 full-time and 100 part-time positions.Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP). E-Commerce. Down $2.64, or 2.28 per cent, to $118.40 on 1.4 million shares. Shopify’s chief executive says he’ll push back against a short-seller’s report questioning the company’s business model during the release of their next financial results. Company CEO Tobias Lutke tweeted that he looks forward to the next earnings call, expected in early November, where he’ll address the “short-selling troll” targeting Shopify.Thomson Reuters Corp. (TSX:TRI). Media. Up four cents, or 0.07 per cent, to $57.71 on 494,816 shares. The multinational information services company will spend about US$100 million to house its new technology hub at a Toronto complex that’s being built for occupation in 2021.
TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index fell sharply in a broad-based decline Monday, led by a slide in oil and gold prices, as U.S. stocks backed away from recent record highs.The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index fell 144.50 points to 16,094.72, with the energy, gold and materials sectors among major decliners.“We’re clearly seeming some selling today on the TSX,” said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist with Edward Jones in St. Louis. “The downside pressure in Canada, as compared to that of United States and, really, other global markets, is from the drop in oil and gold prices.”The March crude contract gave back 58 cents to US$65.56 per barrel and the February gold contract fell US$11.80 to US$1,340.30 an ounce.Meanwhile, south of the border, technology companies led Wall Street broadly lower, as shares of Apple slid two per cent amid concerns its new iPhone hasn’t been that big of a hit with customers.The Dow Jones industrial average lost 177.23 points to 26,439.48. The S&P 500 index declined 19.34 points to 2,853.53 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 39.26 points to 7,466.51.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 81.07 cents US, down 0.09 of a U.S. cent.“Probably the biggest headline today is what’s to come the rest of the week,” said Fehr, pointing to a busy week of potential market-moving corporate news and economic data coming out of the U.S..Several big-name companies are due to report quarterly results, including Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Google’s parent company Alphabet. About a quarter of the companies in the S&P 500 — the American equivalent to the TSX — have reported results so far this earnings season, with some 65 per cent of those exceeding financial analysts’ expectations, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.The market will also be sizing up new data on U.S. jobs, manufacturing and consumer sentiment. They’ll also be watching Tuesday night’s State of the Union address and listening for any developments out of a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee that ends Wednesday.Elsewhere in commodities, the March natural gas contract was down a cent to US$3.17 per mmBTU and the March copper contract was down a cent at US$3.19 a pound.– With files from The Associated Press.
OTTAWA – The federal government’s financial adviser has raised the possibility of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board becoming involved in the Trans Mountain pipeline project but there’s been no political pressure applied, CPPIB chief executive Mark Machin told a parliamentary committee Monday.The Toronto-based fund manager and its peers will likely take a look at the stalled Trans Mountain project because there are a limited number of investment opportunities of its magnitude, but CPPIB has yet to begin a formal analysis or receive any confidential information, Machin told Commons finance committee.His testimony came less than two weeks after the government announced it would buy the project for $4.5 billion from Kinder Morgan, to ensure the pipeline will be completed, with the intent of selling it at a profit in time.Machin insisted, in answer to a question by Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre, that there had been no contact between CPPIB and Finance Minister Bill Morneau or any other member of the Liberal government.But Machin said that CPPIB has been approached by Greenhill & Co., a small investment bank that has been hired to advise the government on selling the Trans Mountain project.“I believe they’ve approached every — a lot of — funds domestically and internationally,” Machin said.“At this stage, we haven’t done any analysis. We’re still evaluating the situation. Obviously, we have an obligation to investigate and to assess any major investment opportunity that comes along. And to fully understand all of the risks, all of the potential returns and understand the fit for our portfolio as well.”The issue of political pressure is relevant because the CPPIB was set up in the late 1990s to be an independent manager of funds on behalf of the Canada Pension Plan, an employer and employee-funded retirement system.As of March 31, when CPPIB’s financial year ended, it managed a fund with $356.1 billion in net assets, up from $316.7 billion at the end of fiscal 2017 and $278.9 billion at the end of fiscal 2016.Morneau has predicted the Trudeau government will have no difficulty selling the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project after uncertainty about its future is resolved.The federal government’s hand was forced by B.C. Premier John Horgan, who is waging a court battle over the federally regulated pipeline, which would carry diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to a sea port near Vancouver.Machin told the finance committee that the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has a mixed track record with pipelines and will use its usual approach when deciding whether to put money into Trans Mountain.In general, he said, a major factor to consider is regulatory risks — pointing out that CPPIB and its co-investors in a European pipeline were caught by surprise when the Norwegian government made a significant change in the tariff regime — or pricing structure — shortly after the deal closed.“We’ve been in legal proceedings for a number of years now,” Machin said.“That is part of the regulatory risk. It’s a really critical part of due diligence to understand regulatory risk for any infrastructure investment.”The federal government decided to buy Trans Mountain after Houston-based Kinder Morgan threatened to walk away from the pipeline expansion due to political uncertainty, particularly because Horgan’s New Democrat government said it will do everything in its legal power to stop the pipeline because of unresolved environmental concerns.Machin told the committee that the CPPIB hasn’t made a formal evaluation of Trans Mountain “purely because it’s at an early stage and we haven’t got any confidential information, or any information, to assess the situation yet.”The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan — another of Canada’s independent retirement fund managers — indicated last week that it had a financial obligation to take a look at the potential of Trans Mountain.— by David Paddon in Toronto
BERLIN — Thousands are marching in Berlin to demand that Germany make a quick exit from using coal-fired energy, a day before a U.N. climate summit opens in neighbouring Poland.Saturday’s march through Berlin’s government district and a simultaneous event in the western city of Cologne were organized by environmental groups. Many demonstrators carried flags with slogans like “Stop Coal!” and “The future is coal-free.”The summit opening Sunday in the Polish city of Katowice seeks to build on the landmark 2015 Paris accord, when countries agreed to try to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the century’s end.German officials had hoped to present a blueprint for phasing out Germany’s use of coal over the coming decades. But an expert committee postponed its report on that until after the U.N. conference.The Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A Canadian company says it will enter New Jersey’s sports betting market as an affiliate of Monmouth Park Racetrack.Toronto-based theScore says it will begin offering an online and mobile sports book in mid-2019, pending approval by state regulators.The company offers digital sports experiences through its web, social and esports platforms.The announcement came the same day that the National Basketball Association announced a deal making daily fantasy sports provider and recently minted bookmaker FanDuel a gambling partner of the league.FanDuel will gain access to official NBA betting data, along with league marks and logos across FanDuel’s sports betting offerings.New Jersey’s sports betting market is growing rapidly, with $928 million worth of bets having been taken by the state’s casinos and racetracks since mid-June.Wayne Parry, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Residential customers of Shaw Communications Inc. will likely see a price increase for their internet and television services, chief executive Brad Shaw said Thursday after the company’s annual meeting in Calgary.Shaw’s chief competitor in Western Canada, Telus Corp., has already announced price increases that will take effect Feb. 25.Shaw told reporters that the details of the cable, internet and wireless company’s price increases haven’t been decided but they will most likely take effect in April.He said the cost of getting rights to sports programing is getting higher for Shaw and other Canadian television service providers, even though audiences are falling.“It’s a real concern,” Shaw said. “How are Canadian companies even going to be able to compete?”He said that Shaw doesn’t get special treatment from Toronto-based Corus Entertainment — a publicly traded company that’s partly owned by the Shaw family and Shaw Communications.Corus owns more than 40 specialty television channels, some acquired along with the Global television network that it acquired from Shaw in April 2016.“Even though they’re both family controlled, the family really says (they’ve) got to stand on (their) own,” Shaw said.He said Corus has had a “fight on its hands” because of competition with other forms of entertainment, such as Netflix, but added that its most recent quarter was promising.Corus reported last week that its overall revenue for the quarter ended Nov. 30 totalled $467.5 million, up from $457.4 million and above the estimate of $451.2 million. Its television division had the biggest revenue increase, rising to $426.2 million from $415.5 million a year earlier.Despite the higher first-quarter revenue, Corus profit attributable to shareholders fell to $60.4 million, from $77.7 million a year earlier, partly because of its accounting for a revaluing of a TV brand that will be retired and replaced this year.Shaw Communications, on the other hand, beat analyst estimates for both profit and revenue over the same period — mainly because of its Freedom Mobile wireless division. Its main cable and internet business, however, saw virtually no revenue growth as it lost video subscribers and home phone customers.However, the profit margin at Shaw’s wireline residential services was up significantly from last year’s first quarter as management focused on optimizing its consumer business’ by removing costs where possible.A year ago, Shaw Communications announced a major employee buyout program aimed primarily at its residential consumer business, as part of adopting to a new generation of network technology using the Comcast X1 platform.Brad Shaw told reporters Thursday that it was “absolutely the right move” given the company’s need to be agile and more automated but added that the loss of 3,000 people “it’s a little bit emotional.”— by David Paddon in Toronto Companies in this story: (TSX:SJR.B, TSX:CJR.B)The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER, B.C. – In a new report published by BC Hydro, four out of 10 B.C. couples argue over the temperature in the household.Findings from their report titled ‘Thermostat wars: How the battle over household temperatures is turning up the heat on relationships’ are that as common as it is for couples across the province to argue about temperature, five percent of couples describe their situation as an “all-out thermostat war.”BC Hydro found out with a survey they commissioned, that British Columbian couples will go to great lengths to get their way when it comes to the temperature of their home. Twice as many couples are motived by comfort than cost savings. The survey included that more than 60 percent of people admitted to adjusting the thermostat when their partner was not looking and 50 percent say they have waited for their partner to leave the home before adjusting the dial. There is also the 20 percent that admits to turning the temperature up or down just to annoy their partner.Also revealed in the survey was what temperature the thermostat is set at as being one of the most contentious household arguments, this being ahead of who is cooking dinner, what time the dreaded morning alarm is set for, and who forgot to turn off the lights when they left the house.However, many of these arguments are often based around misconceptions, for example;Cranking up the thermostat does not heat the home up faster than turning it up a degree or two at a time.It is not more energy-efficient to keep the thermostat at a constant temperature instead of adjusting it based on the time of day or what activity is going on in the home.Turning on a space heater is not always a more energy-efficient way to keep warm.BC Hydro is encouraging British Columbian couples with Valentine’s around the corner to call an end to the thermostat war. It recommends setting the thermostat at 21 degrees Celsius when relaxing or watching T.V., 18 degrees Celsius when cooking or doing housework, and 16 degrees Celsius when away from home or sleeping.Other tips to reduce heating costs and stay comfortable this winter include:Using a programmable or smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature of the home based on the time of day.Installing weatherstripping around doors and windows to seal up gaps and cracks that let cold air into the home and warm air out – and lead to higher heating costs.Using BC Hydro’s electricity tracking tools to see how adjusting the thermostat can impact a household’s electricity use and costs.
Varanasi (UP): Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday claimed that “non-cooperation” by the previous Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh was responsible for the delay in start of a beautification project in his Lok Sabha constituency. He was addressing a gathering here after laying the foundation stone for the Kashi Vishwanath Temple’s approach road and its beautification. “In the first three years there was non-cooperation of the state government. The developmental projects here picked pace after you (people of Uttar Pradesh) made Yogi Adityanath the chief minister,” he said. “Had there been cooperation earlier, we would have launched the project instead of laying the foundation,” Modi said. Attacking previous governments, the prime minister said, “In the past 70 years no government thought of Baba (Lord Shiva) and were silent. They took care of themselves but not of this place.” Noting that it was his “pleasure” to have initiated the work at Kashi Vishwanath, he said, “I have dreamt for a long time to work for this place. When I was not in politics I came here several times and used to think that something should happen here.” “Bhole Baba ney tai kiya hoga baatein bahut karte ho yahan aao kuch karke dikhao,” (Lord Shiva must have decided that you talk much, so now you should come here and do something),” he said, adding that due to the blessings the fulfillment of his dream has started. After offering prayers at Kashi Vishwanath Temple, he said that he was blessed to be associated with the project of Kashi Vishwanath Dham. About the beautification project, Modi said this is “mukti (freedom) for Kashi Vishwanath Dham” which was surrounded with encroachment. He said the Kashi Vishwanath Temple has survived the vicissitudes of centuries and praised Queen Ahiyabai Holkar for her work on the shrine over two centuries ago. He said not much thought had been given by those in power to the area around the temple. “For the first time, we acquired nearby buildings, removed encroachments after which 40 ancient temples came to the fore. Many of them were encroached, kitchens were set up and people were living there,” he said. Modi said the entire temple complex is now in the process of rejuvenation and the results are becoming visible, with a direct link being established between the Ganga river and Kashi Vishwanath temple. He said this project will become a model for similar projects elsewhere and give a new global identity to Kashi. The prime minister not only complimented the officers involved with the project for performing their task with devotion, but also thanked all the people who had property around the temple and allowed its acquisition for the project. It was difficult to take people into confidence to give their properties and ensure the project does not take political colour, he said. “I thank people of Kashi, who gave their properties for Baba. This is the biggest ‘daan’ they have given for Baba,” the prime minister said. “I have seen a lot of government employees as I was CM for a long time. But I want to say with pride that the team of officers deployed here by Yogi ji is doing work with ‘Bhakti’ (devotion) and ‘sewa bhav’,” Modi said. Stating that the Kashi Vishwanath temple was “targeted by enemies”, he said they tried to destroy it but it again took “rebirth due to the faith” of people. “When Gandhiji came here, he was pained why is this place is like this. In his address in the BHU, he expressed his thoughts,” Modi said, suggesting the university should make a case study of the project so that when it is completed the world can know how it happened. “We will also try to trace the history of the 40 temples discovered here and the government will also take care of them,” the PM said, adding the project will be a model for “protection and preservation” of temples and a combination of modern technology with ancient faith. “It will give new identity to Kashi in the world. Maybe it’s in my fate. In 2014, when I came here I said ‘mai aaya nahi mujhe bulaya hai’ (I did not come here on my own, I was summoned). Maybe I came here for this work,” he said. Earlier, the prime minister visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple and also inspected the project site. During his brief stay in his constituency, Modi attended the National Women Livelihood Meet 2019 at Deendayal Hastkala Sankul and distributed appreciation letters to five Women Self Help Groups, whose members shared their experiences with the prime minister. Women SHGs aided by Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – NRLM, Uttar Pradesh handed over a cheque to the prime minister for contribution to the ‘Bharat Ke Veer’ Fund. Addressing a gathering at National Women Livelihood Meet, Modi said he could carry out development projects now that “middleman and corruption have been abolished and every penny is spent on people”. “Now there are no middleman and corruption. Modi did not have to take anything for himself. If he takes, what will he do…125 crore people of the country are my family. Keep trusting me,” he said. Listing the schemes launched by his government for women, Modi said these were playing an important role in the making of a new India.
Houston: The Indian-American foster mother of Sherin Mathews has got her passport back, nearly a week after charges were dropped against her in connection with the tragic death of her 3-year-old daughter, whose body was discovered in a culvert in suburban Dallas in 2017. Sini Mathews was charged with child endangerment after she left her adoptive daughter Sherin alone at home while she and her husband Wesley Mathews went out for dinner with their 4-four-year old biological daughter on the night before the toddler was reported missing from their house in Richardson, Texas. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingSini had been jailed on a child abandonment charge, but the charge was dismissed after the district attorney said there was not enough evidence to move forward and released her from the Dallas County Jail. On Thursday, a Dallas judge ordered authorities to return Sini’s passport, WBAP, an AM News/Talk radio station in Dallas reported. Defence attorney Heath Harris said the judge had little choice but to return the passport which was taken when Sini was arrested. He said Sini had no plans to go anywhere, but can do so if she chooses so. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in Xinjiang”I am blessed,” Sini, a nurse, said after the charges against her were dropped and told the media that she was looking forward to meeting her biological daughter. “I want to thank the DA’s office for dismissing the case and I am looking forward to being reunited with my daughter,” Sini said. She had lost parental rights to her biological daughter who has been adopted by her relatives in Houston. Lawyers are now reviewing options to possibly return her to her mother, Sini, the WBAP report said. Sini’s husband Wesley is still in Dallas County Jail for capital murder linked to Sherin’s death. He will face trial in May this year and is presently being held on a USD 1.1 million bond. Sini and Wesley, who hail from Kerala, adopted Sherin from an orphanage in Bihar in July 2016. After Sherin disappeared, Wesley had first claimed that he had punished her by making her stand outside their home at 3 am for not drinking her milk. After Sherin’s body was found in a culvert a kilometre from their home in October, 2017, Wesley then changed his version to he had tried to feed her the milk and that she choked on it. Wesley was indicted for capital murder by a grand jury and for tampering with evidence. Wesley, if convicted, could face the death penalty or an automatic sentence of life without parole.
New Delhi: It enthralled children with stories of Indian mythology for decades while narrating virtues of good deeds, but the ‘Chandamama’ magazine’s new owners are now in the dock for allegedly stashing illicit funds in Swiss banks. Mumbai-based Geodesic Ltd, which acquired the iconic magazine in 2007, and its three directors are being probed by the Indian authorities for alleged money laundering and other financial irregularities and Switzerland has agreed to provide “administrative assistance” regarding their accounts in Swiss banks, which broadly means sharing of information with India. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepSwitzerland was widely known as an alleged safe haven for black money before it bowed down before the global pressure and agreed to bring down the famed secrecy walls that had historically surrounded the Swiss banks, provided the requesting country gave proof for financial irregularities done by the concerned person or the company. Along with several other countries, India has also been making use of this change in stance of Switzerland by seeking details of suspected black money hoarders in Swiss banks and it has already got back information in a large number of cases in the last few years. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsIn a decision dated March 5, Switzerland’s Federal Tax Administration (FTA) has decided to grant “administrative assistance to India in respect of Geodesic Ltd and its three directors — Prashant Sharad Mulekar, Pankajkumar Onkar Srivastava and Kiran Kulkarni, according to the official documents. As per the Swiss law, the FTA decision can be appealed within 30 days, provided the appellant is able to give sufficient ground to challenge it. Earlier on October 30, 2018, also, the FTA had decided to provide the administrative assistance in respect of Geodesic Ltd and the three individuals. While that decision is appeared to have been challenged, the FTA has again decided to share the details with the Indian authorities, indicating that the earlier appeal could not sustain. In a similar case, the FTA also decided on March 5 to provide administrative assistance’ to India in case of a Chennai-based entity, Aadhi Enterprises Pvt Ltd. This decision can also be appealed within 30 days. An earlier decision was taken by the FTA on October 16 to assist Indian authorities in this case, but now a fresh notification has been issued for providing administrative assistance to India in case of this real estate firm which saw a meteoric rise soon after being incorporated in November 2014 and is said to have got significant political links. Geodesic, on the other hand, used to be a publicly-listed entity and has already faced the wrath of capital markets regulator Sebi for multiple violations. Its shares have not been trading since August 2014 when its share price had dipped to as low as Rs 1.50 apiece. While the Swiss government documents did not disclose specific details related to the information and assistance sought by the Indian authorities regarding the two companies and the three individuals, such an ‘administrative assistance’ follows submission of proof about financial and tax-related wrongdoings and typically involves sharing of information relating to bank account details and other financial data. Repeated attempts to contact the two companies and the three individuals for their comments failed to yield any result. In the past, they have denied any wrongdoing. The 1982-incorporated Geodesic, once known as a fast-growing company with cutting-edge technology solutions, does not have a functional website anymore and is also no longer a listed entity as trading in its shares has been suspended by stock exchanges for “procedural reasons”. The company and its directors have faced regulatory action by Sebi as well as other authorities like the Enforcement Directorate and the Economic Offence Wing of the Mumbai Police. Aadhi Enterprises had reportedly landed in trouble due to alleged links to tainted politicians and for allegedly indulging in money laundering. According to reports, the Income Tax Department has conducted multiple raids on properties of the company’s promoters. While Switzerland has always denied being a safe haven for black money, it has begun sharing details for last few years with several countries including India after submission of evidence about financial and tax-related wrongdoings of the clients of Swiss banks. Besides, a new framework of automatic information exchange has been now put in place and the details can be accessed under the new system from this year.
Mumbai: Workload management of pacer Jasprit Bumrah and all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be the main focus when Mumbai Indians take on a rechristened Delhi Capitals in their first match of the 12th Indian Premier League here Sunday.Pandya has had two breakdowns in the last six months. A recurring back-injury first ruled him out of the Asia Cup in last September before missing the home series against Australia. Even former India pacer Zaheer Khan, who is Mumbai Indians’ Director of Cricket, felt Pandya’s workload should be monitored since he has had recurring lower back injuries. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”He (Hardik) has to be monitored. He’s in consultation with the team of support staff. Everything is under control,” Zaheer had said earlier this week. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma too feels that with the World Cup round the corner, the onus is on individuals to manage their workload in the IPL. “We have been on the road for last three or four years. We have played a lot of back-to-back cricket. It depends on individuals. You should always listen to your body,” Rohit had said. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterBumrah is another player who will be closely monitored by the Indian team management in the IPL. Also it would be interesting to see how Mumbai Indians’ manage Bumrah’s workload, especially after veteran Sri Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga will miss the first six games for the franchise. Elsewhere, Rohit’s performance will also be keenly observed as he is expected to open in the World Cup. Besides, the three-time IPL winners have added legendary Yuvraj Singh to their squad, which already has a few big-hitters in Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Suryakumar Yadav to name a few. On the pace front, Barinder Sran, Mitchell McClenaghan can be considered, while Krunal Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Anukul Roy, Rahul Chahar and rising star Mayank Markande provide Mumbai ample spin options. Delhi Capitals, who have changed their name from Delhi Daredevils, have Shikhar Dhawan in their armoury and the lefty-hander would be keen to get runs in the before the World Cup. Also a good outing for young players like Shreyas Iyer and stumper Rishabh Pant will bolster their World Cup chances. Delhi also boasts of Prithvi Shaw, Manjot Karla and experienced campaigners like Colin Munro and Chris Morris, who can give stability to the team. With the likes of Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Kasigo Rabada and Nathu Singh on board, Delhi’s bowling attack looks a potent force. Teams (from): Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Jason Behrendorff, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Ben Cutting, Pankaj Jaiswal, Ishan Kishan (wicket-keeper), Siddhesh Lad, Evin Lewis, Lasith Malinga, Mayank Markande, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Salam, Yuvraj Singh, Anmolpreet Singh, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Suryakumar Yadav, Jayant Yadav and Quinton de Kock (wicket-keeper). Delhi Capitals: Colin Ingram, Manjot Karla, Prithvi Shaw, Sherfane Rutherford, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Bandaru Ayyappa, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kasigo Rabada, Nathu Singh, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Colin Munro, Hanuma Vihari, Jalaj Saxena, Keemo Paul, Rahul Tewatia, Ankush Bains and Rishabh Pant. Match starts at 8 pm.
Mumbai: The release of “PM Narendra Modi”, a biopic on the prime minister, has been pushed indefinitely, its producer Sandip Singh said on Thursday, a day before the film was scheduled to be screened in theatres across the country.Sources in the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) said the film is yet to get a clearance. The film was initially set to release on April 12, but producers had advanced it by a week, claiming “public demand”. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”This is to confirm, our film ‘PM Narendra Modi’ is not releasing on 5th April. Will update soon,” Singh posted on Twitter on Thursday. Though he did not clarify further, censor board sources said the process of getting CBFC certification is still underway. “The film has not been granted certification. It is still under process,” a source from the censor board said. The film, fronted by Vivek Oberoi and directed by “Mary Kom” maker Omung Kumar, was in the news with various political parties saying that releasing it less than a week before the general elections begin is a violation of the model code of conduct. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayThe Congress made a formal complaint to the Election Commission over the release of the film. Sources in the poll panel said on Wednesday that it is unlikely to prevent the release of the film and may leave it to the CBFC to take a call on the issue. Opposition parties, including the Congress, said the film would give undue advantage to the BJP in electioneering, and its release should be deferred till the elections are over. The project is also facing legal hurdles with a Congress leader filing a PIL in the Supreme Court, seeking a stay on its release. The court will hear the plea on Monday. The biopic ran into trouble over credits as well. Lyricists Javed Akhtar and Sameer said they were credited without contributing to the project. The producer, however, countered their claims, saying their old songs were reworked, so they gave credit where due.
Darjeeling: The Directorate of Revenue intelligence (DRI) busted a major smuggling racket of gold from Myanmar through Moreh in Manipur. Six persons were arrested from near Siliguri and more than 24 kg of gold, valued close to Rs 8 crore was recovered from them.Acting on a tip-off DRI sleuths from the Siliguri regional unit intercepted a bus and arrested 6 persons. Twenty pieces each of 1kg gold bar along with 25 pieces of gold biscuits each weighing 166 gm was recovered from their possession. The seizure is valued at around Rs 7.99 crore. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe six arrested persons — Mohammad Numan, Mohammad Lukuman, hafiz Misbahuddin, Md. Zamil Ahmed. Md. Dawood Akhtar and MM Washim Khan —were travelling by bus from Manipur to Siliguri via Cooch Behar on Monday. The seized gold had been smuggled into India from Myanmar through Moreh in Manipur. The accused are residents of Manipur and are involved in gold smuggling. During the last financial year, DRI seized 464 kg of gold from Bengal and Sikkim area allegedly smuggled in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and China. The recovered gold is valued at Rs. 145.69 crore in the 46 cases registered claimed a DRI release.
Casablanca – Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab have developed a device that is able to scan and read a text on a screen or a page, mainly to assist blind people. The so-called “FingerReader” is a device that contains a small camera and can be worn on an index finger. It reads aloud the given text through a synthesized voice.Its goal is to read print materials as well as onscreen text to the blind, but it still has certain issues with touchscreens since text is moved around and therefore cannot be as accurate. Furthermore, the main job of FingerReader, a prototype produced by a 3D printer, is to read texts such as menu cards, books and so on in real time. It can also be used to learn a new language, since it offers options such as translation and pronunciation. All of these features will give blind people more access to printed materials and better learning and productivity in their daily lives.Certainly, this invention does not replace Braille, a writing system used by visually impaired people, but it would enable blind people to gain a wider access to a vast number of books, newspapers, magazines and so forth that are not yet available in Braille.But, even though the FingerReader has undergone three long years of experimentation through code software and group feedback, it still needs some fine-tuning before it will be ready for sale.
Rabat – Thanks to the efforts of the Moroccan security services, Morocco stands out as a “safe haven” in North Africa, “immune” from terrorist attacks, according to The Times.In a recent article about Morocco published by The Times, the British newspaper hailed the efforts of the Moroccan authorities and their vigilance in keeping the Kingdom safe and secure from the threats of the so-called “Islamic States” that targeted some of the North African countries.“Morocco, a tourist destination for Europeans, remained immune against the convulsions experienced by other countries in the region,” The Times said in an article devoted to the Kingdom. The Times added that intense efforts by the Moroccan security services have recently dismantled terrorist cells in morocco recruited by the so-called “Islamic State”.The same source quoted Mustapha El Khalfi, Minister of Communication and government spokesman, as saying that “no terrorist network can develop in Morocco because the authorities would dismantle it before it could implement its schemes.”The Times also points out that the tourism sector in Morocco has increased by 8 percent since 2010 and is positioned as one of the largest industries in the Kingdom with a contribution of 9 percent of the GDP.It added that over 500,000 British citizens visited Morocco each year.Last summer, Morocco launched a new security mechanism known as “Hadar”, created to counter security threats facing the Kingdom, in most of the Kingdom’s major cities and tourist hubs.Thanks to “Hadar,” and the newly created Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), an FBI-like Bureau of Investigations, the Moroccan Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad said earlier that the Kingdom had dismantled twenty-seven jihadist cells since 2013.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
United Nations – The United Nations Security Council adopted on Friday its annual resolution on the renewal of the United Nations Mission for the Organization of a Referendum in Western Sahara, known as MINURSO. In the resolution, which received the yes of 10 members, two against and three abstentions, the UN Security Council highlighted Morocco’s achievements in human rights, notably through the National Human Rights Council (French acronym CNDH) and its branches in Laayoune and Dakhla, as well as the interaction of the Kingdom with the special procedures of the UN Human Rights Council.In its Resolution No. 2285, adopted by the majority of UN Security Council members extending the MINURSO mandate for one year until 30 April 2017, the Security Council hails the latest measures and initiatives taken by Morocco, and the role of the branches of the National Human Rights Council in Laayoune and Dakhla. The fifteen members of the UN Security Council also highlights “Morocco’s interaction with the special procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council”, stressing the need to “register” the populations in Tindouf camps, southwest Algeria. The UN executive body also called for making “efforts in this regard.”The UNSC recalls its endorsement of the recommendation in the report of 14 April 2008 that realism and a spirit of compromise by the parties are essential to achieve progress in negotiations.The Council also calls upon the parties to continue to show political will and work in an atmosphere propitious for dialogue in order to enter into a more intensive and substantive phase of negotiations.