Alberta man faces fraud charges over fracking product

first_imgRED DEER, A.B. – A central Alberta man faces fraud charges over an oilfield product that was supposed to have resulted in big profits.RCMP say investors instead lost $2.6 million.“It was one of the larger fraud files we’ve had in the area,” Const. William Lewadniuk of the Red Deer Financial Crimes Unit said Friday. After several years passed with no buyout or payout, investors starting asking questions. The man then cut refund cheques.“All of the cheques bounced,” said Lewadniuk.The matter was referred to Blackfalds RCMP in 2013. Eventually, Lewadniuk’s office became involved in a complex investigation that had to unravel a money trail through several numbered companies.Dane Skinner of Sylvan Lake was arrested Wednesday. Lewadniuk said the man was selling a product he said would make fracking operations at oilwells cheaper and more environmentally friendly. He said, for example, he could cut the number of trucks needed on a fracking site to one from five.“He was offering investors the chance to get in on the ground floor for a revolutionary new fracking product,” Lewadniuk said.“He represented the product as if it was going to be sold to another company. If a company’s going to be bought out by another company, typically the stock goes up.”Lewadniuk said the product had never been tested in a commercial setting or at a real oil well. Nor, he said, can police guarantee the seller developed the product himself.Still, at least 16 investors bit.“It’s entirely possible there are additional victims,” Lewadniuk said.center_img He has been released from custody and is to appear in Red Deer provincial court Aug. 8.He faces charges of fraud, money laundering and uttering threats.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

Moroccan national killed in road accident in Spain

Madrid – A Moroccan female immigrant was killed in a road accident on Saturday in Burgos (north of Spain), sources from the Spanish relief services and civil guard said on Monday.The accident took place at 5.30 p.m. when a car carrying the victim (aged 28), her husband and a little girl, skidded on the roadway for no known reasons, they said.The spouse (aged 40), who was badly wounded, was airlifted to the hospital of Burgos, while the five-year old girl was unharmed.

Sri Lanka hopes India will vote for it

“We expect India will consider (the issue) differently,” he said. “India is one of the major exporters to Sri Lanka and in the last year trade between the two countries crossed $5 million. Besides, India is helping to build a power plant in our country,” he said.He said Sri Lanka and Kerala had a lot of similarities in culture and food.The minister spoke hours after President Mahinda Rajapaksa ended a two-day pilgrimage tour of India. “Today citizens in (the northern and eastern) provinces can freely approach the civil administration to sort out their issues,” he said, referring to the former war zone.The minister said bonds between India and Sri Lanka were growing from strength to strength. Sri Lanka Saturday said it hoped India will vote for it in the upcoming UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, the Indo Asian News Service (IANS) reported.India had voted for a US-sponsored resolution last year that pulled up Colombo on issues related to human rights and the re-settlement of Tamils displaced by the military conflict. Sri Lankan Minister for Public Administration W.D.J. Seneviratne told reporters in India that there had been “a remarkable improvement in the human rights situation” in his country. read more

Protest ban near Muneshwaram

The Chilaw court today imposed a ban on protests between August 13 – 22 near the Muneshwaram temple.The ban was imposed following a request put forward by the Chilaw police in order to maintain peace in the area. Animal sacrifices take place at the Temple annually but last year it was disrupted by protests.Eventually the Munneshwaram Bhadrakali Amman Hindu temple in Chilaw had last year decided to cancel the animal sacrifice. This year the animal sacrifice is scheduled to take place next week. (Colombo Gazette)

Rodman Hall to host guided exhibit tour

If you want to learn the language of visual poetry, Rodman Hall wants to help you become well-versed.Rodman Hall is hosting a guided exhibition tour of current exhibits, including Dennis Tourbin’s ‘The Language of Visual Poetry’ and Mary Anne Barkhouse’ ‘Settlement.’Director and curator Stuart Reid will lead the tour on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. and discuss the retrospective of St. Catharines-born artist Dennis Tourbin and the outdoor sculpture installation by Mary Anne Barkhouse.Please register by Tuesday, Oct. 23 at noon by calling 905.684.2925 or email Admission is by donation or free for gallery members.

Markets go higher on energy metals sectors after weak US jobs report

Markets go higher on energy, metals sectors after weak U.S. jobs report by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 2, 2015 7:00 am MDT Last Updated Oct 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – The Toronto stock market got a bump on Friday as strength in the metals and mining and energy sectors helped overshadow a weak U.S. jobs report.The S&P/TSX composite index reversed an early decline to rise 97.85 points to 13,339.74, closing out a volatile week that remained locked on concerns about the ripple effects of China’s struggling economy.But traders shifted their attention on Friday morning to a surprisingly bad report from the U.S. Labor Department. Employers added 142,000 workers in September, a much lower figure than the 200,000 anticipated on Wall Street.The unemployment rate stayed at 5.1 per cent, but that was only because many Americans stopped looking for work.The data was immediately regarded as dismal and it sent U.S. government bond prices higher, driving down the American dollar against most other major currencies. That included the loonie, which rose 0.52 of a U.S. cent to 75.96 cents.Throughout the day that pessimistic sentiment appeared to fade, helped by a climb in commodities stocks.“There were some people who thought the jobs number was going to create more uncertainty about timing — and the market would react negatively,” said Norman Raschkowan, senior partner at Sage Road Advisors.“But the negative initial response didn’t last.”The TSX energy sector gained 2.6 per cent as the November contract for benchmark crude oil advanced 80 cents to settle at US$45.54 a barrel. The November contract for natural gas added two cents to US$2.45 per thousand cubic feet.December gold futures gained two per cent, or $22.90, to US$1,136.60 an ounce.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 200.36 points to 16,472.37, while the broader S&P 500 added 27.54 points to 1,951.36 and the Nasdaq gained 80.70 points to 4,707.78.Meanwhile, sentiment also turned positive among some investors who reasoned that the U.S. Federal Reserves was unlikely to raise interest rates any time soon as a result of the weak American jobs numbers. Among other things, Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen has said the U.S. central bank wants to ensure the employment market is on a solid footing before raising rates.The Fed has kept its trend-setting policy rate at historical lows near zero since the Great Recession, a move that is credited with helping provide some of the liquidity that has fuelled the recovery on equity markets.In corporate news, layoffs were taking place on both sides of the border with the National Bank of Canada (TSX:NB) saying it would cut several hundred jobs as part of a restructuring resulting from the economic slowdown.In the U.S., Wal-Mart laid off 450 workers at its Bentonville, Ark. headquarters as the retailer looks for ways to compete, particularly with e-commerce retailers like— With files from The Associated PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story: A previous version had an incorrect figure for the natural gas contract. read more

New central contracts guarantee earnings boost for Pakistan players

Mickey Arthur addresses the Pakistan huddle Getty ImagesESPNcricinfo– Pakistan’s international players are set for a significant earnings rise after a fresh three-year remuneration agreement saw salary increases between 25% and 30% for players across the central contract spectrum. The earnings ratio will apply to centrally-contracted players in each of the four traditional categories, A to D. Players’ match fees will also go up by 20%.In addition, a new category ‘E’ has also been introduced, which a PCB media release said was to “recognise performers on the domestic circuit as well as to encourage the continuing development of emerging cricketers from the junior cricket level”.The PCB also announced the list of 33 players who had been awarded central contracts – down from 35 last year. It sees very little change in terms of personnel from 2017’s list of the players with category A contracts. Babar Azam, who was in category B last year, has been promoted to the top bracket, while Mohammad Hafeez, who didn’t feature in any of Pakistan’s five ODIs against Zimbabwe despite being part of a much-rotated squad, drops down to category B. Azhar Ali, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Yasir Shah and Mohammad Amir retain their places as category A players.Most of Pakistan’s young crop of players, arguably pivotal to their resurgence in the shorter formats over the past year or so, find themselves in category B. Fakhar Zaman and Shadab Khan were both promoted from category C, while Faheem Ashraf jumped two places, getting into category B after being in the category D list last year. Hasan Ali retained his category B slot, with Asad Shafiq and Hafeez rounding off the category for 2018.Three players who were in category C the previous year were omitted from the centrally-contracted list of players altogether. The biggest casualty was Ahmed Shehzad, who is currently suspended for a doping violation and awaits a hearing. Sami Aslam, who found his Test place usurped by Imam-ul-Haq in Ireland and England earlier this year, is also out of a central contract. The same fate befell Sohail Khan, who has dropped significantly down the pecking order over the past year or so.Mohammad Rizwan, who was named in category D last year as Sarfraz’s deputy behind the stumps, drops down to the newly-introduced category E. He is the only wicketkeeper in the list of 33 players besides the captain. It serves to reinforce Pakistan’s lack of options in that department; Sarfraz has played every single Pakistan game in all formats since being rested for the limited-overs leg of Pakistan’s tour of Australia over 18 months ago. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCWI offering players ‘US$25,000 to tour Pakistan’March 19, 2018In “latest news”White-ball contracts for West Indies playersDecember 14, 2017In “Sports”Guyana’s Shimron Hetmeyer, Keemo Paul among 7 new players offered contracts by CWIJuly 9, 2019In “latest news” read more

New additions to Rockmores ROK Series of DTH hammers for mining

first_imgThe latest additions to Rockmore International’s (global manufacturer of rock drilling tools) ROK Series DTH Hammer product line are the ROK 500 and 500Q. These new patented 127 mm diameter class hammers will be officially released at CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas on March 22, 2011. International Mining is attending that event.“Our mission is to provide our customers with the finest quality equipment possible, and ensure it integrates fully with their drilling operations,” said Pejman Eghdami, Executive Vice President of Rockmore International. “The release of the ROK 500 and 500Q expands the full range of our DTH hammer line from 3″ to 8″ (76 – 203 mm) diameters.” Designed to increase drilling efficiency, the ROK 500 accommodates two different air packages, to match any working conditions. The ROK 500 hammer is rated for use with large compressors: 24.1 bar (350 psi) at 28.6 m3/min. The ROK 500Q hammer is designed for smaller compressors: 24.1bar at 23.4 m3/min.As with all of Rockmore’s DTH hammers, the 500 and 500Q take full advantage of Rockmore’s patented SonicFlow technology, which optimises airflow by simplifying and streamlining the air path to minimise backflow and turbulence, thus delivering more energy to the piston. Optional back reaming buttons on the Top Sub offer increased drill life. Field testing of the SonicFlow design was found to result in faster penetration rates and greater overall efficiency.The ROK 500 and 500Q have been built to withstand the toughest rock drilling conditions. The solid piston design is made from an advanced material that is case hardened, combining high strength with supreme wear resistance. The high frequency, reciprocating piston is designed to strike the bit with maximum force. An innovative new design, unique to Rockmore hammers, reduces the number of hammer components, thus reducing the amount of component wear points, making hammer service simpler and less expensive.Unique lead threads on the Top Sub and Driver Sub ensure easy coupling and uncoupling of the hammer.The ROK 500 and 500Q are 127 mm diameter class hammers which accept industry standard drill bits with 12 spline Ingersoll Rand QL5 / QL50 shanks. Recommended bit sizes range from 140 to 152 mm.  These new hammers are offered with multiple pin connection options: 2 ⅜” API Reg Pin, 3 ½” API Reg Pin and CUBEX® #28 pin with splines.last_img read more

Googles Upcoming Music Service Gets Accidental Preview

first_imgRoughly a week after Amazon debuted its Cloud Drive/Cloud Player streaming music service, a new Android cloud music app has apparently leaked out, for all the world to see. The app, which is currently making the bloggy rounds, was acquired through a developer version of the Android Market. Engadget has a quick preview of the app, Android Music 3.0, noting that it doesn’t look all that different from past versions, save for added steaming features. The Market itself, interestingly, has also been updated a bit, featuring some minor excitement like new clock and camera apps. Interesting too that all of this comes as Google pulls Grooveshark from the Android Market, citing a violation of terms.last_img

Le Mali dit non aux sacs plastiques

first_imgLe Mali dit non aux sacs plastiquesL’Assemblée Nationale du Mali vient de voter, en ce début d’année, une nouvelle loi interdisant la production, l’importation, la commercialisation, la détention et l’utilisation des sachets plastiques. Reste à trouver une alternative au sac avant la mise en application l’année prochaine.Le Mali a pris une nouvelle résolution : le boycott des sacs plastiques. Considérés comme trop polluants, l’Etat entend prendre ainsi ses responsabilités pour préserver la planète. Mais la loi ne sera mise en application qu’à partir du 1er avril 2013. Cette échéance laisse le temps aux commerçants et aux consommateurs de trouver une alternative non polluante aux sachets en plastique L’initiative annonce donc un retour aux méthodes traditionnelles comme de se rendre au marché avec des paniers tressés ou un seau. Depuis quelques années, de nombreux pays africains travaillent dans ce sens écologique. Le Congo a déjà interdit les sacs plastiques, le Togo y songe sérieusement et le Rwanda représente un exemple parmi eux. À lire aussiLes images choc d’une rivière de déchets en Roumanie (Vidéo)Cependant, la nouvelle loi annonce également des difficultés du côté des petits marchands de sachets de boissons glacées. Simple à faire, il suffit d’avoir sous la main un sachet de plastique, de l’eau, du dabléni ou du jus de gingembre et le tout est ensuite à conserver au congélateur pour quelques heures. Ce type d’achat est fréquent dans ce pays où les températures peuvent atteindre 45 degrés Celsius à l’ombre. De plus, ses boissons fraiches représentent des revenus complémentaires pour les familles en difficultés. D’autre part, Thierry Helsens, un hydrogéologue installé au Mali depuis 2002, souligne le fait que l’Etat a préféré avec cette initiative, interdire définitivement le sac plastique au lieu de prendre le temps et de trouver les moyens d’éduquer la population à la préservation de la planète. Selon lui, il est plus rapide de créer une nouvelle loi plutôt que de prendre le problème à bras le corps. Néanmoins, l’interdiction apparait comme un réel bénéfice au vu des dégâts que causent les sacs sur la faune. Comme il en témoigne sur son blog, “il n’est pas rare de trouver des ruminants morts d’avoir ingéré ces sacs plastiques dans lesquels il restait de la nourriture”.Le 9 janvier 2012 à 20:07 • Maxime Lambertlast_img read more

Uber testing PIN feature to speed up airport rides

first_imgUber and Lyft want to make themselves more traveler-friendly. Uber Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft are both testing out features that help take the hassle out of getting a ride from the airport.Uber will start testing the use of its PIN feature at Portland International Airport on Monday, according to TechCrunch. The company previously has used this feature for concerts, festivals and sports events. This is the first time Uber will use PINs for airport rides. rider-pinUber PIN screenshot Uber Here’s how the feature works: When people order an Uber, they’ll get a six-digit PIN and be told to head to a designated pickup spot at the airport. Drivers who receive a ride request from the airport will then begin picking up passengers at the spot. The rider will provide the driver the PIN, and the driver enters the number into their app. The result is a virtual taxi line in lieu of passengers waiting for a specific Uber driver to find them. Uber says the PIN feature can be a positive solution at some locations, but previous tests showed that the current pickup method can be more efficient. It’ll learn more about the effectiveness of this new method over the next several months during testing. Meanwhile, rival Lyft on Monday announced a similar program at PDX, in which you request a ride and are given a unique four-digit code. You proceed to a designated line at the Lyft pickup area and show that code to the next available driver. “We are grateful for the partnership with Portland International Airport and their approach to innovation that allowed us to make this happen,” said Bakari Brock, Lyft’s senior director of city partnerships. “We are excited to partner with additional airports to expand this improved curbside experience.”Uber is in the middle of a busy May. Uber drivers staged protests last week before the company made its debut Friday on the stock market with its multibillion-dollar initial public offering. And Lyft, which has had a bumpy ride since it became a publicly traded company at the end of March, last week said it’s testing out car rental in San Francisco.Originally published May 13,  7:46 a.m. PT. Update, 10:40 a.m. PT: Adds statement from Uber; 3:10 p.m. PT: Adds info on Lyft, which launched a similar program at the Portland International Airport on Monday.  Post a comment Tech Industry Roadshow Share your voice Tags 0 Uberlast_img read more

As US buys more guns state agency has more dough than it

first_imgThe reintroduction of Wood Bison is one of the projects supported by gun tax revenues. Photo: Fish & Game Department.Amid all the budget gloom, one branch of state government actually has more money than it can use. It’s the Department of Fish and Game’s Division of Wildlife Conservation. The division is largely funded by a federal tax on the sale of guns and ammunition, and sales nationwide are booming. But this fall, the division may have to give back a portion of its bounty.Download AudioAn odd chain reaction is at work around the country. A mass shooting can kick it off. So can the inevitable calls for gun control that soon follow. Campaigns for more “stand-your-ground” laws can do the trick, too. For whatever reason, after all three of those occurrences, Americans run out to buy more guns and ammunition. And then, as customers go home with their new handguns and rifles, money pours into state wildlife conservation programs.That last link in the chain is thanks to Pittman-Robertson, a 1937 federal law that levies an 11 percent tax on guns and ammo (or, in the case of handguns, 10 percent) and funnels it to wildlife preservation and habitat acquisition. It has sent billions of dollars to the states and is credited with bringing several species back from the brink.“It’s a great model, because it’s basically the hunters and shooters that are paying the way,” says Steve Klein, who manages the program in Alaska for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “And then that money comes to the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the state writes grants, and they do the management and research, and then that benefits the hunters and shooters with the ranges and healthy resources.”Alaska gets a substantial share of the national pie — the maximum 5 percent, due to its geographic size. Maria Gladziszewski, deputy director of the state Wildlife Division, says the federal gun tax revenue pays for most of the 290 jobs in her division, and most of the research they do.Maria Gladziszewski, deputy director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Photo: Lisa Phu/KTOO“It funds our core mission,” she says. “It is the core of wildlife conservation in the nation.”With the surge in national gun sales, the money the feds send to Alaska has gone up and up. Gladziszewski says the total bounced around $9 million dollars a year in the early 2000s. In 2010, it hit $20 million. Last year, Alaska’s share was almost $35 million, plus another $1.4 million to fund hunter safety courses and three shooting ranges, in each of Alaska’s largest cities.Gladziszewski says her division is not growing at the same rapid pace.“Because we viewed it as a bubble,” she said. “You don’t want to organize your staffing around funding that is probably going to come back down.”The state has two years to spend each year’s allocation. Gladziszewski says the state has made use of its full allocation every year. Until now.“These dollars have continued to go up for more years than we expected,” she says, “so we will likely revert some money for the first time, in September.”That’s right: they’re going to give money back to the feds. Gladziszewski says it will be at least $2 million.“We’re of course facing the same travel restrictions and spending restrictions that other state agencies are. So we might even leave some more on the table, depending on how that goes,” she says.The other problem is that the federal money requires a 3-to-1 match. To receive $30 million, the state has to contribute $10 million.“And at this point we don’t have enough to match all of the federal dollars,” she says.The Wildlife Division gets money from the sales of state hunting licenses and tags, but they amount to only about $8- or $9-million, Gladziszewski says. Alaska’s hunting and outdoors groups are now rallying to increase the license fees, which haven’t gone up since the early 1990s. Juneau resident Ron Somerville, a board member of the Territorial Sportsmen and a former Fish and Game deputy commissioner, says it’d be a shame to leave federal conservation money on the table because the state can’t afford the match.“Resident hunting (license) is $25. We’re recommending $40. In other words, in most cases, rather than argue about a dollar here or a dollar there, we raised everything 85 percent, or something close to that,” Somerville says.A bill to increase the hunting license fees passed the state House last year, but Somerville says it doesn’t raise them high enough.“We’re the only group in Alaska that’s asking the government to allow us to pay more money,” he says.Even if they succeed in raising license fees, the goal posts continue to move. Based on the number of pre-purchase background checks, it looks like national gun sales may have hit an all-time high in December. That would send even more Pittman-Robertson money to Alaska. If the state can cope with the prosperity.As U.S. sales of guns and ammunition have gone up, so has the amount Alaska is allotted in gun tax revenues.last_img read more

Bajaj Finance sees nearterm blip in credit growth

first_imgBajaj Finance, Pune-based non-banking finance company, anticipates slow credit growth in its consumption segment business post Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to demonetise high-value currency notes.In a regulatory filing, the NBFC on Tuesday said that all other segments such as personal, business and commercial categories will not be impacted.”Being discretionary consumption, these businesses (personal category) will have a negative impact in the short-term,” the company said. It, however, pointed out that financing business will see positive uptick in the medium term due to rise in financial penetration.In all other categories such as personal, business and commercial; the non-banking finance company doesn’t see any negative impact due to demonetisation of old high-value currencies.In the personal business category, the NBFC said demonetisation may lead to lowering of interest rates which is likely to spur demand in the medium term.Similarly, for business loans, professional loans, loan against property; Bajaj Finance is seeing an uptrend in the medium term.Taking what some hail as one of the boldest moves of economic reforms, the Modi government on November 8 demonetised Rs 500 and 1,000 notes to check the flow of black money in the system. Though India is the fastest-growing large economy of the world, around 95 percent transactions in India are still cash-based, Rob Reeg, President (operations and technology) at MasterCard had recently said. This has made tax evasion easier, leading to emergence of a parallel economy.Analysts have already predicted a hit on NBFCs’ balance sheet post demonetisation move on a likely slowdown in loan disbursement and repayment pressure.Earlier, credit rating agency India Ratings had said that asset quality of NBFCs would come under pressure in the short term.”Within NBFC’s, asset quality of financers with a large dependence on cash collection remain vulnerable in the short term,” the rating agency had said.The share price of Bajaj Finance at 1.29 pm on Tuesday, November 15, was down around seven percent to trade at Rs 796 at National Stock Exchange (NSE).last_img read more

Aadhaar linking tax filings NPS contribution Things to do before March 31

first_imgAadhaar linking, tax filings, NPS contribution: Things to do before March 31  IANSThe financial year 2017-18 is about to end and it’s time to do all the finance-related filings before it is too late. It is also the time to claim all the exemptions and deductions and reduce your tax burden. Effective tax planning is the stepping stone to saving money.Here is a to-do list to be completed before March 31.1. Submit investment proofsFor availing tax relief under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, the taxpayer has to submit investment proofs to the employer so that the company can consider deduction of the same while computing tax to be deducted from the salary income. This can be receipts of insurance premiums, contributions made towards PPF (Public Provident Fund) account, investments made in equity-linked savings schemes (ELSS), children’s tuition fee receipts, purchase of National Savings Certificates (NCS) and repayment of principal for a housing loan.2. File pending tax returnsMarch 3, 2018, is the deadline for filing income tax returns for the financial year 2016-17.The Income Tax Department of India has already alerted taxpayers in the country to ‘Come Clean’ and file their belated or revised income tax returns latest by that date.If you fail to do it, the tax officer can charge you a penalty. For the financial year, 2017-18 (the Assessment Year 2018-19) the last date for filing the tax return is 31st July 2018 for Individuals and 30th September 2018 for businesses.3. Aadhaar linking deadlinesLinking of 12-digit Aadhaar card number with mobile SIM and bank accounts have to be completed by March 31, 2018.   Things to do before March 31, 2018Reuters file4. Deductions for donationsIndividuals can get the tax deduction for donations made during the Financial year 2016-2017. The person will get the reduction only if the donee trust or institution is registered under Section 80G. One has to make donations before March 31 and collect the receipt for the donation amount to avail the deductions.5. Aadhaar for schemesMarch 31 is the deadline for linking Aadhaar with financial service including DMAT accounts, insurance policies, mutual fund investments, social security schemes, welfare schemes, Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF).6. Submit medical and LTA reimbursement billsIf you are a salaried person, then you should submit your bills for medical reimbursement, leave travel allowance (LTA) and any other tax exemptions before March 31, 2018 to the employer.7. NPS contributionIf you have an NPS (National Pension Scheme) account, then you have to make your NPS active before March 31. The NPS Tier I account holders have to make a minimum the contribution of Rs 1,000 every fiscal. If you failed to make any contributions for 2016-17 before March 31, the account will be frozen.last_img read more

Va Governor Orders Probe of Abuse Claims by Immigrant Children

first_imgBy MICHAEL BIESECKER, JAKE PEARSON and GARANCE BURKE, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia’s governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.Gov. Ralph Northam announced the probe in a tweet hours after The Associated Press reported the allegations. They were included in a federal civil rights lawsuit with a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino youths held for months or years at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center. The AP report also cited an adult who saw bruises and broken bones the children said were caused by guards.This image provided by the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center shows part of the interior of the building in Staunton, Va. Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at the juvenile detention center say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells. The abuse claims are detailed in federal court filings that include a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino teens jailed there for months or years. (Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center via AP)Northam, a Democrat, said the allegations were disturbing and directed the state’s secretary of public safety and homeland security and the Department of Juvenile Justice to report back to him “to ensure the safety of every child being held there.”Children as young as 14 said the guards there stripped them of their clothes and strapped them to chairs with bags placed over their heads.“Whenever they used to restrain me and put me in the chair, they would handcuff me,” said a Honduran immigrant who was sent to the facility when he was 15 years old. “Strapped me down all the way, from your feet all the way to your chest, you couldn’t really move. … They have total control over you. They also put a bag over your head. It has little holes; you can see through it. But you feel suffocated with the bag on.”In addition to the children’s first-hand, translated accounts in court filings, a former child-development specialist who worked inside the facility independently told The AssociatedPress this week that she saw kids there with serious injuries. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to publicly discuss the children’s cases.In court filings, lawyers for the detention facility have denied all the allegations of physical abuse. The incidents described in the lawsuit occurred from 2015 to 2018, during both the Obama and Trump administrations.Many of the children were sent there after U.S. immigration authorities accused them of belonging to violent gangs, including MS-13. President Donald Trump has repeatedly cited gang activity as justification for his crackdown on illegal immigration.Trump said Wednesday that “our Border Patrol agents and our ICE agents have done one great job” cracking down on MS-13 gang members. “We’re throwing them out by the thousands,” he said.But a top manager at the Shenandoah center said during a recent congressional hearing that the children did not appear to be gang members and were suffering from mental health issues resulting from trauma that happened in their home countries — problems the detention facility is ill-equipped to treat.“The youth were being screened as gang-involved individuals. And then when they came into our care, and they were assessed by our clinical and case management staff … they weren’t necessarily identified as gang-involved individuals,” said Kelsey Wong, a program director at the facility. She testified April 26 before a Senate subcommittee reviewing the treatment of immigrant children apprehended by the Homeland Security Department.Most children held in the Shenandoah facility who were the focus of the abuse lawsuit were caught crossing the border illegally alone. They were not the children who have been separated from their families under the Trump administration’s recent policy and are now in the government’s care. But the facility operates under the same program run by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement. It was not immediately clear whether any separated children have been sent to Shenandoah Valley since the Trump administration in April announced its “zero tolerance” policy toward immigrant families, after the lawsuit was filed.It also was not immediately clear when federal authorities first learned of the abuse claims and whether any action was taken. Spokespeople for the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, did not respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday and Thursday.Robert Carey, who served as director of Refugee Resettlement under the Obama administration, said Tuesday he only heard about the complaints at the Shenandoah center after he left office in January 2017. Had he known, Carey said, he “would have been all over that trying to figure out what needed to be done, including termination of contracts.”Following AP’s report about the abuse accusations, Virginia’s two Democratic senators said Thursday they would seek to investigate conditions inside the Shenandoah facility.In a tweet, Sen. Tim Kaine said: “Deeply troubled by this report. We need answers on what happened at this facility, and my staff and I are going to demand them.”Sen. Mark Warner said at a public forum on immigration issues that he will seek to visit the detention center.House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican whose home district includes the Shenandoah facility, said he was unaware of any complaints prior to the AP’s report. An architect of the current effort by GOP conservatives to pass tougher restrictions on legal immigration, Goodlatte called the abuse allegations “alarming” and said they “certainly merit a thorough investigation to uncover the truth.”The Shenandoah lockup is one of only three juvenile detention facilities in the United States with federal contracts to provide “secure placement” for children who had problems at less-restrictive housing. The Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility in California has faced litigation over immigrant children mischaracterized as gang members.  In Alexandria, Virginia, a multi-jurisdiction commission overseeing the Northern Virginia Juvenile Detention Center has said it will end its federal contract to house young immigration detainees when it expires in September.The Shenandoah detention center was built by a coalition of seven nearby towns and counties to lock up local kids charged with serious crimes. Since 2007, about half the 58 beds are occupied by male and female immigrants between the ages of 12 and 17 facing deportation proceedings or awaiting rulings on asylum claims. Though incarcerated in a facility similar to a prison, the children detained on administrative immigration charges have not yet been convicted of any crime.Virginia ranks among the worst states in the nation for wait times in federal immigration courts, with an average of 806 days before a ruling. Nationally, only about half of juveniles facing deportation are represented by a lawyer, according to Justice Department data.On average, 92 immigrant children each year cycle through Shenandoah, most of them from Mexico and Central America.Wong said many of the 30 or so children housed there on any given day have mental health needs that would be better served in a residential treatment unit. But such facilities are often unwilling to accept children with significant behavioral issues, she said.Wong and other managers at the Shenandoah center, including Executive Director Timothy J. Smith, did not respond to phone and email messages seeking comment this week.Financial statements reviewed by AP shows the local government commission that operates the center received nearly $4.2 million in federal funds last year to house the immigrant children — enough to cover about two-thirds of the total operating expenses.The lawsuit filed against Shenandoah alleges that young Latino immigrants held there “are subjected to unconstitutional conditions that shock the conscience, including violence by staff, abusive and excessive use of seclusion and restraints, and the denial of necessary mental health care.”The complaint filed by the nonprofit Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs recounts the story of an unnamed 17-year-old Mexican citizen apprehended at the southern border. The teen fled an abusive father and violence fueled by drug cartels to seek asylum in the United States in 2015.After stops at facilities in Texas and New York, he was transferred to Shenandoah in April 2016 and diagnosed during an initial screening by a psychologist with three mental disorders, including depression. Besides weekly sessions speaking with a counselor, the lawsuit alleges the teen has received no further mental health treatment, such as medications that might help regulate his moods and behavior.The lawsuit recounts multiple alleged violent incidents between Latino children and staff at the Shenandoah center. It describes the guards as mostly White, non-Spanish speakers who are undertrained in dealing with individuals with mental illness. The suit alleges staff members routinely taunt the Latino youths with racially charged epithets, including “wetback,” ”onion head” and “pendejo,” which roughly translates to dumbass in Spanish.A 16-year-old boy who said he had lived in Texas with his mother since he was an infant ended up at Shenandoah in September after a police officer pulled over a car he was riding in and asked for ID, which he couldn’t provide. As one of the few Latino kids who is fluent in English, the teen would translate for other detainees the taunts and names the staff members were calling them. He said that angered the guards, resulting in his losing such modest privileges as attending art classes.“If you are behaving bad, resisting the staff when they try to remove you from the program, they will take everything in your room away — your mattress, blanket, everything,” he said. “They will also take your clothes. Then they will leave you locked in there for a while. This has happened to me, and I know it has happened to other kids, too.”The immigrant detainees said they were largely segregated from the mostly White juveniles being held on criminal charges, but they could see that the other housing units had amenities that included plush chairs and video gaming consoles not available in the Spartan pods housing the Latinos.In their sworn statements, the teens reported spending the bulk of their days locked alone in their cells, with a few hours set aside for classroom instruction, recreation and meals. Some said they had never been allowed outdoors, while the U.S.-born children were afforded a spacious recreation yard.The Latino children reported being fed sparse and often cold meals that left them hungry, though meals of American fast food were occasionally provided. Records show Shenandoah receives nearly $82,000 a year from the Agriculture Department to feed the immigration detainees.The lawsuit said the poor conditions, frequent physical searches and verbal abuse by staff often escalated into confrontations, as the frustrated children acted out. The staff regularly responded “by physically assaulting the youth, applying an excessive amount of force that goes far beyond what is needed to establish or regain control.”In the case of the Mexican 17-year-old, the lawsuit said a staff member who suspected him of possessing contraband threw him to the ground and forcibly tore off his clothes for an impromptu strip search. Though no forbidden items were found, the teenager was transferred to “Alpha Pod,” described in the lawsuit as a unit within the facility designated for children who engage in bad behavior.The lawsuit said Latino children were frequently punished by being restrained for hours in chairs, with handcuffs and cloth shackles on their legs. Often, the lawsuit alleged, the children were beaten by staff while bound.As a result of such “malicious and sadistic applications of force,” the immigrant youths have “sustained significant injuries, both physical and psychological,” the lawsuit said.After an altercation during which the lawsuit alleged the Mexican teenager bit a staff member during a beating, he was restrained in handcuffs and shackles for 10 days, resulting in bruises and cuts. Other teens interviewed as part of the court case also reported being punished for minor infractions with stints in solitary confinement, during which some of the children said they were left nude and shivering in cold concrete cells.Academic studies of prison inmates kept in solitary confinement have found they often experience high anxiety that can cause panic attacks, paranoia and disordered thinking that may trigger angry outbursts. For those with mental health issues, the effects can be exacerbated, often worsening the very behaviors the staff is attempting to discourage.A Guatemalan youth sent to the center when he was 14 years old said he was often locked in his tiny cell for up to 23 hours a day. After resisting the guards, he said he was also restrained for long periods.“When they couldn’t get one of the kids to calm down, the guards would put us in a chair — a safety chair, I don’t know what they call it — but they would just put us in there all day,” the teen said in a sworn statement. “This happened to me, and I saw it happen to others, too. It was excessive.”A 15-year-old boy from Mexico held at Shenandoah for nine months also recounted being restrained with a bag over his head.“They handcuffed me and put a white bag of some kind over my head,” he said, according to his sworn statement. “They took off all of my clothes and put me into a restraint chair, where they attached my hands and feet to the chair. They also put a strap across my chest. They left me naked and attached to that chair for two and a half days, including at night.”After being subjected to such treatment, the 17-year-old Mexican youth said he tried to kill himself in August, only to be punished with further isolation. On other occasions, he said, he has responded to feelings of desperation and hopelessness by cutting his wrists with a piece of glass and banging his head against the wall or floor.“One time I cut myself after I had gotten into a fight with staff,” the teen recounted. “I filled the room with blood. This happened on a Friday, but it wasn’t until Monday that they gave me a bandage or medicine for the pain.”The lawsuit alleges other immigrant youths held at Shenandoah have also engaged in cutting and other self-harming behaviors, including ingesting shampoo and attempting to choke themselves.A hearing in the case is set for July 3 before a federal judge in the Western District of Virginia.Lawyers on both sides in the lawsuit either did not respond to messages or declined to comment, citing strict confidentiality requirements in the case involving children.The child development specialist who previously worked with teens at Shenandoah told AP that many there developed severe psychological problems after experiencing abuse from guards.“The majority of the kids we worked with when we went to visit them were emotionally and verbally abused. I had a kid whose foot was broken by a guard,” she said. “They would get put in isolation for months for things like picking up a pencil when a guard had said not to move.Some of them started hearing voices that were telling them to hurt people or hurt themselves, and I knew when they had gotten to Shenandoah they were not having any violent thoughts.”She said she never witnessed staff abuse teens first-hand, but that teens would complain to her of injuries from being tackled by guards and reveal bruises. The specialist encouraged them to file a formal complaint.Though lawyers for Shenandoah responded with court filings denying all wrongdoing, information contained in a separate 2016 lawsuit appears to support some of the information contained in the recent abuse complaints.In a wrongful termination lawsuit filed against the Shenandoah center, a former staff member said he worked in a unit called “Alpha Pod” where immigrant minors were held, “including those with psychological and mental issues and those who tend to fight more frequently.”The guard, Trenton Farris, who denied claims that he punched two children, sued the justice center alleging he was wrongly targeted for firing because he is Black. Farris said most staff members at the facility are White, and that two White staff members involved in the incident over which he was fired went unpunished.Lawyers for the center denied the former guard’s claims, and the case was settled in January.___Pearson reported from New York and Burke reported from San Francisco.___Follow Biesecker at the lawsuit: the AP’s investigative team with tips about this or other matters: read more

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first_img A 3-D printed model (left) and a model constructed in augmented reality (right), both of a kidney with a tumor. In both models, the kidney is clear; the tumor is visible in purple on the AR model and in white on the 3-D printed model. Photo courtesy of Nicole Wake, Ph.D. News | Medical 3-D Printing | August 08, 2019 RSNA and ACR to Collaborate on Landmark Medical 3D Printing Registry The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) will launch a new medical… read more News | Advanced Visualization | July 03, 2019 TeraRecon Unveils iNtuition AI Data Extractor Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced visualization company TeraRecon announced its new iNtuition AI Data Extractor… read more March 18, 2009 – Cardiologists Edward Tadajweski, M.D., and Jeffrey L. Williams, M.D., MS, FACC, are the first in the U.S. to perform 3D imaging of complex cardiac anatomy using GE’s Innova 3D imaging system. On 26 February 2009, they performed 3D reconstructions on two patients’ hearts at The Good Samaritan Hospital in Lebanon, PA. The first patient underwent 3D angiography of the coronary sinus to guide a biventricular defibrillator implantation with a left ventricular pacemaker lead. The second patient underwent 3D angiography of the left atrium and pulmonary veins to plan an atrial fibrillation arrhythmia ablation.“To perform complex interventions and stent placement, deploy [pacemaker or defibrillator] devices or perform atrial fibrillation ablations successfully, you must know exactly where heart anatomy and devices are in relation to one another. Working in a three-dimensional space is critical to better visualize the anatomy before these complex procedures,” said Dr. Tadajweski. “Our state-of-the-art catheterization laboratory allows us to rapidly acquire and reconstruct 3D cardiac anatomy images. It is designed to enhance, but not replace, traditional 2D fluoroscopic imaging.”The performance of complex cardiac procedures, such as advanced defibrillator placement, structural heart interventions, or atrial fibrillation (arrhythmia) ablation, is facilitated by the visualization of 3D anatomy. Providing 3D views of internal body structures and interventional devices in one image, this state-of-the-art system assists physicians in diagnosis, surgical planning, interventional procedures and treatment follow-up. It permits better management of structural heart disease, streamlines interventional procedures, and minimizes radiation dose to physicians, staff and patients by selecting working views without fluoroscopy.For more information: FacebookTwitterLinkedInPrint分享 Technology | Advanced Visualization | June 13, 2019 Materialise Receives FDA Clearance for Cardiovascular Planning Software Suite Three-dimensional (3-D) printing software and solutions company Materialise has received U.S. Food and Drug… read more News | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 24, 2019 WVU Medicine Installs First Alphenix 4D CT in the U.S. The West Virginia University (WVU) Heart and Vascular Institute is the first hospital in the country to acquire the… read more News | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 11, 2019 Mednax National Cardiac Centers of Excellence Program Highlighted at SCCT 2019 Mednax Inc. and Mednax Radiology Solutions announced that Chief Medical Officer Ricardo C. Cury, M.D., FSCCT, will… read more Technology | Artificial Intelligence | June 20, 2019 TeraRecon Receives First-of-Kind FDA Determination for Northstar AI Results Explorer Advanced visualization and artificial intelligence (AI) technology provider TeraRecon has successfully completed a U.S… read more News | March 18, 2009 First 3D Heart Catheterizations in U.S. Used to Guide Complex Interventions, AF Ablations Feature | Advanced Visualization | July 02, 2019 | By Jeff Zagoudis Augmented Reality Versus 3-D Printing for Radiology Three-dimensional (3-D) printing and… read more Technology | Interventional Radiology | June 24, 2019 Mentice and Siemens Healthineers Integrate VIST Virtual Patient With Artis Icono Angiography System Siemens Healthineers and Mentice AB announced the collaboration to fully integrate Mentice’s VIST Virtual Patient into… read more Feature | Molecular Imaging | July 01, 2019 | By Sharvari Rale Transformations in Molecular Imaging Herald Entry to Novel Applications Diagnostic procedures have always been a cornerstone of early prognosis and patient triaging. read more Image courtesy of Philips Healthcare Technology | Neuro Imaging | August 07, 2019 Synaptive Medical Launches Modus Plan With Automated Tractography Segmentation Synaptive Medical announced the U.S. launch and availability of Modus Plan featuring BrightMatter AutoSeg. This release… read more Related Contentlast_img read more

Clients have until Jan 3 to book Avalons savings bonanza

first_img TORONTO – Avalon Waterways is enticing river cruisers to book their 2017 European voyages now with a savings bonanza that will save them up to $1,500.Select departures are on sale with discounts ranging from $250 to $1,000 per person. Alternatively, clients can simply have Avalon book their airfare on any 2017 European cruise to receive $500 off the price of their air ticket.When clients combine the two offers, they can save up to $1,500 per person off a vacation. Bookings must be made by Jan. 3.Every Avalon cruise includes all meals (wine and beer included at lunch and dinner); daily shore excursions; onboard tastings, talks and entertainment; and the use of Nordic walking poles and bikes ashore. Staterooms are an average 200 square feet, with most featuring window walls that open over two metres wide to create an ‘open-air balcony’.For more information go to Travelweek Group Posted by Clients have until Jan. 3 to book Avalon’s savings bonanza Tags: Avalon Waterwayscenter_img Share Wednesday, December 14, 2016 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Flexible branding for agencies a selling point Flight Centre Associates

first_img Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Flexible branding for agencies a selling point: Flight Centre Associates Wednesday, April 12, 2017 center_img Tags: Flight Centre Associates TORONTO — Flight Centre Associates, Flight Centre’s host-agency solution for Independent Contractors, marked its ninth anniversary with a weekend event in Toronto with more than 50 Flight Centre Associates.Part of the larger Flight Centre Leisure business, FCA now has agents in nearly every province and territory across Canada, said Flight Centre Associates Brand Leader, Lee Zanello. FCA Independent Contractors access to the same support and infrastructure that supports Flight Centre’s over 150 shops nationwide.The event was the largest Canadian gathering of home-based agents the company had ever hosted and showed Flight Centre’s commitment to the Independent Contractor community, said Zanello.“We have a very strong Independent offering with a vibrant culture. To be able to bring so many people together for a weekend like this only helps strengthen the family-feel that we exude in our brand.”It’s been nine years since Flight Centre Associates got its start its own brand within the larger Flight Centre Leisure brand. The Beatles-influenced ‘Come Together’ theme of the weekend was about more than bringing people together from across the country, said Zanello. It was also about bringing agents together with top Flight Centre partners to learn about product, and served as a launch pad for new Flight Centre initiatives designed to provide even more support and inclusion for the Independent brand.More news:  Direct Travel names Smith as Senior VP, Leisure Marketing, North AmericaFlexibility with branding remains one of FCA’s biggest selling points with agents, says Zanello. “Agents are, and always have been, free to keep their own name and their own branding if they choose. What we are doing moving forward is giving them even more Flight Centre infrastructure to lean on to support their business.”Agents at the event learned about opportunities to grow their business through taking on sub-contractors as well as how to work more closely with Flight Centre’s corporate brands to grow their corporate portfolios.The session launching Flight Centre’s Group Centre and Cruise Centre was one of the highlights of the weekend, added Zanello, offering full support to agents for both group and cruise travel, from enquiry through to close. “We have built an offering that is unmatched in the Canadian marketplace. Where else do you get that combination of a global company with a massive infrastructure and consumer recognition mixed with one-on-one attention around your specific business?”More news:  CIE Tours launches first-ever River Cruise CollectionFlight Centre has three Independent offerings. “Our size and strength in the Canadian travel industry gives us the resources to work directly with each agent or agency on an individual basis,” said Zanello. “We aren’t cookie-cutter and we work hard to ensure we have a host solution that is flexible enough to fit pretty much any arrangement.” Sharelast_img read more

Ron Harding Sunquest pioneer celebrates 80th birthday

first_imgRon Harding, Sunquest pioneer, celebrates 80th birthday COLLINGWOOD — Known in the industry as a travel legend and credited with shaping the early booming days of Sunquest, Ron Harding recently got the shock of his life at his surprise 80th birthday party in Collingwood, ON.On July 7, a gathering of 80 of his closest friends celebrated what’s being called “the event of the season”, says Sunquest alum Michelle Pinard, who organized the event along with Thom Vincent and Lorol Nielsen. Harding, who was the Executive Vice President of Marketing for Sunquest Vacations for 25 years, was said to have been emotional during the big surprise.At the back, Janie Leyden, Michelle Pinard, Pat Brigham, Lorol Nielsen, Ron Harding and in front, Vivian Kokorian, Cathy Donaldson, Bob Abrams, Judy Neumann and Michele Van de GriendCathy Donaldson, Vivian Kokorian, Pat Brigham, Yvette Sutherland and Wayne NoseworthyLorol Nielsen and Ron HardingRon and partner FranVivian Kokorian, Bob Abrams and Yvette SutherlandSince retiring, Harding has become passionate about Collingwood and the entire Bay area and is known for taking visitors on personal tours of the area, says Pinard. While at his residence in the Villages in Florida, he writes travel tips and brochures, never taking his finger off the pulse of both travel and marketing.More news:  Can you guess the top Instagrammed wedding locations in the world?His long and illustrious career began at Great Places, the first company to fly charters with Wardair. From there, Pat Brigham, “who could always spot true talent”, says Pinard, lured Ron away to Sunquest where he spent the bulk of his career.Beloved by many in the industry, Harding is considered a true innovator and class act. Happy 80th birthday, Ron! Wednesday, July 12, 2017 Share Travelweek Group center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by Tags: People, Sunquestlast_img read more