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November 19, 2014

Charles Sousa targets Conservative government in economic update

Filed under: online, uk — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 1:16 am

Queen’s Park is launching a fiscal salvo on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives against the backdrop of a looming federal election.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa used Monday’s fall economic statement to remind Ontarians how much they contribute to the federation — and how relatively little they get back.

“It is critical that the federal government avoid further unilateral actions that hurt the people of Ontario and actions that put the province’s fiscal plan at risk,” Sousa told the legislature, according to a copy of his remarks provided to reporters.

“In many respects, the federal government collects a bucket of water from Ontario and returns a thimble. We need some more of that water to flow back to us,” the treasurer said.

“More of the money collected from Ontario should be invested in Ontario,” he said, stressing the province, which has a $12.5 billion deficit, still plans to balance the books in 2017-18 despite the lack of federal co-operation

“Ontarians contribute to federal coffers $11 billion more than they receive back. That gap amounts to $850 for every person in Ontario — or $3,400 per family of four.”

Mindful that Harper’s Conservatives are headed to the polls within the next 11 months — and must hold scores of Ontario seats to retain their majority — Sousa urged Ottawa “to match Ontario’s ($1-billion) investments in the Ring of Fire,” the massive chromite deposit in the north.

“We also call on the federal government to significantly increase its overall investments in infrastructure, such as public transit,” he said.

As disclosed Monday by the Star, Sousa hopes to find $700 million over four years by targeting tax cheats and clamping down on untaxed contraband tobacco.

“The underground economy will be forced above ground — and brought into the light,” the treasurer said.

“We are making sure that anyone who wants to do business with the Ontario government has paid their taxes before being awarded a government contract,” he said.

“We are improving the way government ministries and agencies share information so there can be better enforcement payday advance low fees. We are taking further measures to address the supply of contraband tobacco. Fair is fair and these steps will help ensure that everyone plays by the rules.”

Sousa emphasized that there would be no tax increases as the Liberals scramble to get into the black.

“We are doing this by reviewing and transforming programs; managing compensation costs; ensuring everyone pays their fair share of taxes; and unlocking the value of provincial assets,” he said.

On that last point, Sousa said the government was embracing former TD Bank chair Ed Clark’s report Thursday that recommended selling off Hydro One’s distribution arm, revamping the Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s retailing operations and wringing more money from the privately owned Beer Store monopoly.

Clark said $2 billion to $3 billion in one-time money can be found from selling the Hydro One distribution assets and that more cash can come from getting The Beer Store, jointly operated owned by AB InBev, MolsonCoors and Sapporo, to pay a new franchise fee.

If the brewers balk — or try to pass along the costs to consumers in the form of higher beer prices — the government could strip them of their long-standing monopoly.

“Unlocking the value of those assets will help our economy grow while creating jobs and sustaining government services,” said Sousa.

“The additional revenue generated from public assets will help fund a new generation of public infrastructure,” he said.

“At the LCBO, we want consumers to have more choice, convenience and enhanced customer experience while providing greater returns for the province,”

Sousa said the government’s revenue projection for 2014-15 is $118.4 billion — $509 million lower than forecast due primarily to declining corporate tax revenues.

But that will not affect the deficit projections.

To find further savings, Treasury Board President Deb Matthews is “leading a careful review of every government program” to determine whether they are relevant, effective, efficient or sustainable.


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November 17, 2014

Australia-China to Sign Free Trade Deal Spurring Economic Shift - Bloomberg

Filed under: finance, money — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 9:56 am

Australia hailed a free-trade deal with China that it says provides unparalleled access to the services market of the world

Payday loans no faxing fall on the less risky side simply because the money loaned to you is a percentage of your next paycheck.

November 15, 2014

College won

Filed under: term, uk — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 7:36 pm

A pediatrician who has worked in Mississauga and Sarnia is still practising after being convicted of sexually assaulting women related to his work.

Dr. Kunwar Raj Singh also has unrelated gender- and age-based restrictions placed on his practice, but the College of Physicians and Surgeons won’t say why.

His case raises questions about why a doctor who has been convicted of sexual assault linked to his work is able to practise at all.

Roz Roach, a psychotherapist who sat on a provincial task force on sexual abuse of patients, says given Singh’s criminal conviction, it’s “scary” that he’s still treating patients.

“He shouldn’t be practising and his licence should have been revoked,” said Roach, who runs a centre for women and children who are victims of domestic violence in Scarborough.

Singh did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

An office manager at a Mississauga walk-in clinic linked to Singh said he hadn’t worked there in years. The clinic is still listed as one of Singh’s practice locations on the college registry.

There are 21 physicians in Ontario who have gender-based restrictions on practising, a Star investigation recently found. Twenty are male doctors restricted from treating female patients. One is a male doctor restricted from seeing male patients.

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins recently ordered a review of the decades-old legislation that governs all 23 of the province’s regulatory colleges.

Singh was convicted of 16 counts of sexual assault and indecent assault in 1991, for which he received two years’ probation.

The college’s disciplinary committee found Singh guilty of professional misconduct over the same incidents related to his criminal convictions, college spokeswoman Kathryn Clarke said. According to the committee’s 1991 decision, the committee dealt with 13 specific incidents involving eight hospital employees and two mothers of Singh’s patients between 1976 and 1990.

The college found Singh made “inappropriate personal and suggestive comments, touched or squeezed the breasts of the victims or kissed the person against her will or grabbed or rubbed their buttocks or legs.”

The committee suspended Singh’s licence for six months, though the college asked that it be revoked. Clarke said the law only calls for mandatory revocation of a licence when “sexual abuse of a current patient is proven.”

In Singh’s case, the victims were hospital employees and patients’ mothers.

In its decision, which was sent to the Star by the college but is not included on Singh’s page in the online registry, the committee wrote: “Although his actions are a clear violation of ordinary social conduct as well as professional behaviour, this case does not fit into the category of sexual violation or exploitation of a patient/doctor relationship and this weighed significantly in the Committee’s decision not to revoke Dr. Singh’s licence as requested by the College.”

Medical malpractice lawyer Paul Harte says Singh’s case is particularly “troubling” not only because of his sexual assault convictions, but because three years later he was found to have falsified a document to register with the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago, according to a disciplinary panel decision document free online credit report. His licence was then suspended for three months.

“Those are two very significant breaches,” said Harte.

A decade after Singh’s criminal convictions, he entered into a secret agreement with the college forcing him to have a female health professional with him if he is interacting with female patients or female caregivers of patients.

The 2003 restriction, unrelated to his criminal convictions, came after allegations were referred to the college’s discipline committee, said Clarke.

The allegations, which Clarke said were related to patients but did not include sexual touching, were withdrawn in October 2003 “as there was no reasonable prospect of a finding.”

She did not respond to followup questions on the nature of the allegations.

The voluntary agreement was updated in 2013, restricting Singh from treating anyone over the age of 18. It is not clear why. Clarke said there were no new allegations, but “the college may conduct investigations based on a variety of information about the physician’s clinical practice.”

A prospective patient searching for Singh on the college’s public registry will only see the two conditions from the updated 2013 agreement.

Singh’s registry history under 2003 simply says: “Transfer of class of certificate to: Restricted certificate.”

There are no other details.

Clarke said keeping the reasons behind the agreement “unavailable to the public” is mandated by law, noting the terms and conditions on a doctor’s certification must be made public, but that the law does not provide for a “summary of details” to be made public.

Roach said having a female health professional supervise doesn’t necessarily make the environment any safer.

“They themselves — they can become victims,” said Roach, who started her career as a nurse.

Clarke said Singh’s chaperones have “voluntarily agreed” to act in the role and are fully aware of Singh’s discipline history.

“It is desirable to have a regulated health professional act in this role as they are aware of the expected standards of practice, and are capable of fulfilling this function appropriately and completely,” she said.

When Singh tried to get back hospital privileges in Sarnia in 1992, nurses successfully rallied to get Singh banned from St. Joseph’s Health Centre, collecting 2,600 signatures on a petition arguing their workplace should be free of harassment.


November 12, 2014

Man charged with impersonating Toronto police officer

Filed under: news, technology — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 1:08 pm

Durham Regional Police have charged a man with impersonating a Toronto police officer in Oshawa.

At about 10:45 a.m. Monday, a Durham police officer driving to court thought he saw a Toronto officer wearing the force’s uniform waiting at a bus stop near Bond St. E. and Wilson Rd., Durham police said Tuesday.

According to police, the officer noticed some differences in the uniform and realized it wasn’t “general practice” for a police officer from a different jurisdiction to use public transit in full uniform.

The Durham officer questioned the man and discovered he had bought much of his outfit, which included a Toronto Police Service uniform shirt, duty belt and memo book, online personal loan for poor credit.

“The shirt was genuine” as was the Toronto police memo book, which isn’t supposed to be available for public use, said Durham police Sgt. Bill Calder.

“He could put himself in a position of advantage, meaning to obtain personal information from somebody, or to exercise some kind of control,” Calder said, noting there was no evidence to suggest that had been the man’s intention.

“We’re still investigating what his motives might have been,” he said.


November 10, 2014

U.S. stocks edge higher, cable companies slump

Filed under: economics, news — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 10:24 pm

Updated at 11:18 a.m.

NEW YORK • U.S. stocks edged higher on Monday, led by gains in health care stocks, keeping the market at record levels. Home builders got a lift after Toll Brothers said that its revenue rose 29 percent in the most recent quarter.

Cable companies slumped after President Barack Obama said regulators should reclassify the Internet as a public utility.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose four points, or 0.2 percent, as of 12:06 p.m. Eastern time. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 31 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,605. The Nasdaq composite climbed 13 points, or 0.3 percent, to 4,645.

NET NEUTRALITY: Cable companies dropped after Obama said Internet providers shouldn’t be allowed to cut deals with online services like Netflix, Amazon or YouTube to prioritize their content. In a statement released by the White House Monday, the president called for an “explicit ban” on such deals. Time Warner Cable fell $5.61, or 3.8 percent, to $137.99. Comcast fell $2.11, or 3.8 percent, to $53.04.

MILKING IT: Dean Foods, a milk distributor, jumped $2.02, or 14 percent, to $16.44, after the company reported a third-quarter loss that wasn’t as bad as investors had anticipated.

RETAIL EARNINGS: This week investors will be taking stock of retail company earnings to gain insight into how much American shoppers are spending ahead of the holiday season. Macy’s, Nordstrom and Wal-Mart will report their earnings. The government will also release its retail sales data for October on Friday.

HOLDING AT THE HIGHS: Stocks are trading at record levels, having rebounded following a sharp slump at the beginning of October. Despite worries about flagging growth overseas, investors are focusing on a strengthening U.S. economy and improving company earnings.

HOME BUILDERS: Toll Brothers reported a 29 percent jump in revenue in for the quarter ending Oct. 29th. The company’s stock climbed $1.20, or 3.7 percent, to $33.42. Other home builders also rose. PulteGroup climbed 65 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $20.62

THE QUOTE: Stocks, though no longer cheap, are still attractive because of lower returns on options elsewhere, said Bill Stone, the chief investment strategist for PNC Wealth Management pay day loans. Bond yields have fallen this year, and rates on cash deposits remain close to zero.

“My base line is that stocks will continue to chug along,” said Stone.

RUBLE FLOATS: The biggest development in Europe was news that Russia’s central bank has decided to allow the ruble to trade freely. The move had been planned for next year. The ruble has come under sustained pressure in the face of Western sanctions over Ukraine and plummeting oil prices. The ruble has lost nearly half its value against the dollar this year. The move appears to have eased the pressure on the ruble, which strengthened sharply on the news, trading up 3.6 percent at around 45 rubles a dollar. Russia’s benchmark RTS stock index rose 3.8 percent.

EUROPEAN STOCKS: European stock markets edged higher. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX rose 0.1 percent. The CAC-40 in France also gained, climbing 0.3 percent.

ENERGY: Oil prices fell back after starting the day higher. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.18 to $77.45 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude fell 89 cents to $82.50 a barrel.

Oil fell amid speculation that member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, are in no rush to cut production to shore up prices following a steep decline this year. Bloomberg reported that Kuwait’s oil minister said he doesn’t expect OPEC to agree a cut in production at the group’s next meeting in Vienna on Nov. 27.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury edged up to 2.33 percent from 2.30 percent.

The dollar edged higher against the Japanese yen, climbing 0.2 percent to 114.78. Against the euro the U.S. currency was little changed at $1.2428.


November 9, 2014

China exports up 11.6 percent, imports 4.6 percent

Filed under: Uncategorized, news — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 7:28 am

BEIJING (AP) — China’s trade growth slowed in October but remained robust, with exports rising 11.6 percent compared to the same period the previous year.

The Customs Administration said Sunday that last month’s exports of $206.9 billion reflected a deceleration from September’s rate of 15.3 percent, which was the fastest growth rate in more than 1 ½ year.

October imports of $161.5 billion were up 4 best payday advance.6 percent from the previous year, a growth rate somewhat less than expected by some economists.

China’s communist leaders are hoping to nurture domestic consumption to fuel growth as an alternative to relying on exports to support employment.


November 6, 2014


Filed under: Canada, money — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 1:36 am

Service industries including retailers, builders and health care providers continued to expand in October, encouraging companies that make up the biggest part of the U.S. economy to boost hiring.

The Institute for Supply Management

October 30, 2014

U.K. Housing Loses Momentum With Price Growth at 9-Month Low - Bloomberg

Filed under: legal, management — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:04 pm

U.K. house price growth slowed to a nine-month low October, adding to evidence that the market for residential property is cooling.

Annual price gains dropped to 9 percent from 9.4 percent in September in a second month of declines, Nationwide Building Society said today in a statement on its website. Still, prices rose 0.5 percent on the month after dropping 0.1 percent.

Mortgage approvals fell to a 14-month low in September, Bank of England data show, and Hometrack Ltd. said London has hit an

October 27, 2014

Hamilton pays tribute to soldier slain in Parliament Hill attack

Filed under: business, loans — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 8:12 am

The famed poem “In Flanders Fields” was printed, fittingly, on the inside of the funeral program. Its exterior featured a black-and-white photo of Corporal Nathan Frank Cirillo, dressed in full Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regalia.

There was no lineup of people waiting outside Markey-Dermody Funeral Home on King Street East during Sunday night’s visitation, largely due to the fact that late Saturday, the regiment announced that it would be private.

Hamilton police were on site nonetheless, to ensure it remained family only. Some directed traffic. Two officers on horseback flanked the entrance.

“It makes you so proud, but you never want to see it again,” said Lee Aghion, 52, who lives in a building across the street from the funeral home. He and a handful of neighbours watched from outside on Sunday evening, just as they did on Friday when Cirillo’s procession came through the city to the funeral home to mark the soldier’s death in Michael Zehaf-Bibeau’s attack on Parliament Hill last week.

“It’s something I hope I don’t ever have to do again,” he said.

His voice cracked and he choked up, apologizing, calling himself a mushball.

Aghion wore a hockey jersey with a maple leaf on it. Behind him, the Canadian flag outside his apartment complex flew at half-staff.

It was at full height on Friday night when people started lining King Street near Kenilworth Avenue — a crowd that stretched for blocks, three to four deep. Aghion called the building’s maintenance man, who didn’t have a key for the flagpole’s lock box.

When people started commenting on it, Aghion jammed his tiny mailbox key in the lockbox and cranked it. He was surprised when it popped open.

He lowered the flag. Across the street, a police officer gave him the thumbs-up.

“It was small, but it meant something,” said Aghion’s neighbour, Dorothy Mitchell, who also watched the visitation from across the street.

Cirillo was her neighbour, she said.

His parents live a few short blocks from her home.

“Rosedale is tight,” said Shelley Goodwin, another neighbour stationed outside sipping a drink. “It helps to get together to talk about it. I can’t put my finger on why, but it helps somehow.”

Don Kennedy, a retired major from the Argylls, attended the visitation with his wife. He didn’t know Cirillo personally, but he knows he served in Afghanistan. He said it was terrible to think that the young reservist survived that — but was killed on home soil Wednesday, while acting as ceremonial guard at Ottawa’s National War Memorial.

Kennedy called Hamiltonians’ support of the Cirillo family outstanding.

“It’s a raw, raw time for them,” he said, acknowledging that the family hasn’t yet spoken about the tragedy. “They can see the outpouring of grief.”

It was palpable across town. City transit buses flashed the message “Lest we forget.” The downtown screen at the Copps Coliseum featured a colour image of Cirillo in uniform.

In Corktown Park, where Cirillo was known to walk his dogs regularly, Dan Page organized a candlelight vigil from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Page lives across from the park and said he met Cirillo there over a year ago. Cirillo was running his dog, Kyah, and started a conversation when he asked about the decal on Page’s truck: Citadel Canine. Page told Cirillo he trains and evaluates rescue and service dogs.

The two immediately made a dog playdate.

“Dan,” Cirillo said the first time he saw Page’s huge Malemute. “That’s a wolf!”

After that, Page said they met up regularly. He said the corporal was on site for last summer’s Paws in the Park — an SPCA fundraiser. And Cirillo always welcomed Page’s grandsons to play with Kyah.

Cirillo was friendly, but private too. Page said they never talked about family — mostly just about dogs, fishing and spending time in the outdoors.

Page said it’s hard to acknowledge they’ll never see him in the park again. He hoped the vigil would help Corktown residents say goodbye.

“This is our park and this was his park,” Page said. “He was a good guy and we’re going to miss him. Now everybody in Canada is going to miss him.”

A public visitation is scheduled to take place at the funeral home on Monday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


October 24, 2014

U.S. girls

Filed under: Canada, loans — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:36 am

PARIS—The teenage sisters told their father they were staying home sick from their suburban Denver school. Instead, they took $2,000 and their passports and headed off for Syria with a 16-year-old friend. They made it as far as Germany before border guards detained them for questioning.

Related: IS militants luring Western women as wives

The fact that adolescent girls could make their way across the Atlantic might come as a surprise to many parents, but a patchwork of laws and rules governing international air travel in many cases makes it easy for teenagers to travel with nobody’s permission but their own.

Airlines have a range of rules governing minors’ travel: Many major carriers including United Airlines and Scandinavian airline SAS place no restrictions on children over 12, while others let even young minors travel as long as they are accompanied by someone over 16. Yet others, including American Airlines, require a parent to accompany travellers under the age of 15 to the gate, while those 15 and over face no restrictions.

Countries have a separate set of laws that is no less haphazard, from a Russian requirement for notarized parental permission to the U.S. system where adolescents with valid passports are free to come and go.

In Spain, both parents must fill out a permission form at a police station before a minor can travel alone. In Germany, where the American teens were stopped, border guards are required to verify that minors have parental permission to travel.

And in France, which is Europe’s single largest source of would-be jihadis, parental authorization had to be received by city hall — until January 2013.

That’s when a small administrative change took effect suspending the requirement for parental approval. The government said it would streamline unnecessary bureaucracy and officials remarked that few runaways went abroad, and even fewer stayed there.

Fast-forward 22 months, and nearly every week new reports emerge of French adolescents leaving for Syria. Teenagers from France can travel within the European Union with a valid ID; outside the EU, they need only a passport.

Under French law, parents can have their children flagged if they fear they will leave the country to join extremists. But for many of those who have left, their families had no warning.

Lawyer Agnes Dufetel-Cordier represents a teenage boy from Toulouse who left in January to join the Al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, before coming back to his family to face criminal charges. She said the teen — now 16 — gave no sign he was about to bolt for Syria, and his departure came as a shock to his parents. He was not stopped at the airport in Marseille, nor on arrival in Turkey or crossing into Syria.

“If you reverse the regulation that lets them travel without their parents’ permission, you will see right away that minors are no longer leaving,” Dufetel-Cordier said. “Today in France, in the case of most minors who go to Syria, the families have absolutely no idea ahead of time.”

At age 17, Sahra Ali Mehenni went so far as to ask her mother to get her a passport, saying she wanted her paperwork in order before she reached adulthood. When she left for Syria on March 11, departing from the Marseille airport just as the teen boy did, she took her burgundy-bound passport and nobody stopped her before she boarded the flight to Istanbul.

“If I go out and I run a red light, they’re going to get me right away,” said her father, Kamel. “But these minors are going to Istanbul — and if they’re going to Istanbul, it’s to go to Syria. They know it. You can’t say they don’t know it. And no one stops it.”

The same concerns apply in the United States, where parental permission is required to obtain a passport — but none is needed for travel.

The teens who flew to Germany were stopped because their parents, part of suburban Denver’s tight-knit East African community, reported them missing quickly, and American authorities contacted German authorities before they landed.


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