Canada gets more visitors – all because of hot PM

Canada’s dashing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is credited with putting the formerly quiet, demure country on the travel map and increasing ticket sales by as much as 65% from one country.

That’s according to the “Expedia Trudeau Travel Effect,” which looked at the increase in bookings between 2015 and 2016 following Trudeau’s 2015 victory in the Canadian election.

With Trudeau, it seems Canada has taken on a particular lustre among travellers in Rome, where bookings increased a whopping 65% in 2016 compared to the previous year.

“The Romans know a strong, handsome leader when they see one,” says Expedia, likening Trudeau’s charisma to that of Julius Caesar. Not far behind, Singaporeans also seem to have fallen under Trudeau’s magnetic charm, who is credited with driving up bookings 55%.

The Canadian leader has a distant family connection to the city-state via his mother Margaret. Her great-great-great-grandmother Esther, was the daughter of British major William Farquhar, who was one of the founders of Singapore.

File pic of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the 2017 Juno awards. Photo: AFP

Bookings were also up from Sydney (35%), London (30%) and Paris (25%).

Canada is capitalising on the momentum created by its swoon-worthy prime minister for its 150th anniversary this year, an event that will culminate in a nation-wide birthday bash on July 1.

The city of Montreal also fetes its 375th birthday this year.

Whether you’re a Trudeau fan or intrigued by Canada as an emerging destination, a few of the country’s crown jewels include the nation’s capital, Ottawa, which will be pulling out all the festivity stops on Canada Day, and Kananaskis Country, Alberta, at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just an hour drive from Calgary – and one of Trudeau’s favourite outdoor retreats. – AFP Relaxnews

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March home sales hit record high in Canada: Canadian Real Estate Association

The number of Canadian home sales hit a record high last month with the sizzling Toronto-area market pulling up the rest of the country, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

“Toronto always swings the biggest bat in Canada, but even more so lately,” said CREA senior economist Shawn Cathcart on Tuesday.

Non-seasonally adjusted Canadian sales were up 6.6 per cent year over year in March, with Toronto climbing 17 per cent in that period.

That offset a 31.5 per cent decline in Vancouver sales, the latest drop since the introduction of a foreign investor tax and vacant homes taxes last year.

The monthly CREA statistics came Tuesday as the provincial and federal finance ministers and Toronto Mayor John Tory met to discuss the imposition of potentially using similar taxes to cool Toronto’s increasingly unaffordable property market.

CREA cautioned politicians, however, against destabilizing other Canadian markets in any attempt to temper Toronto prices.

“If Toronto is the only hot market in Canada, you don’t want to be throwing cold water on everybody,” said Cathcart.

He said the city’s “prices are as tight as they’ve ever been.”

“There’s a lot of interest for every listing that comes on and that’s all the way out basically in 200 kilometres in any direction from downtown Toronto at the moment.”

Cathcart noted that Toronto’s real estate trends now encompass the entire Greater Golden Horseshoe.

“So instead of being 20 per cent of Canada, we’re actually looking at a third of Canada that’s seeing these kinds of trends,” he said.

The average Canadian sale price increased 8.2 per cent year-over-year in March with a 9.3 per cent decline in Greater Vancouver and 33.2 per cent increase in the Toronto area, according to CREA.

“If you take the GTA or Greater Golden Horseshoe out of the numbers, the average price in the rest of Canada is actually down on a year-over-year basis,” he said.

The association said home sales over its Multiple Listings Service system increased by 1.1 per cent in March to top the previous monthly record set in April 2016. On a seasonally adjusted basis, sales totalled 46,353, up from 45,856 in February.

The actual national average price for homes sold in March this year was $548,517, up 8.2 per cent from a year ago. Excluding the Toronto and Vancouver areas, the average price was $389,726.

With files from Canadian Press

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FIJI LABOUR PARTY joins political race for the 2018 elections, calls on suitably qualified Fiji citizens to apply with CV to FLP’s secretary-general

In order to make sense of his controversial and daylight robbery back pay, we need to look at his 2004 Terms of Employment Contract, and his own CV which he provided when he demanded that the then Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase re-appoint him as Commander of the RFMF in 2004.

As I noted in a previous instalment, the above documents are contained in the Cabinet files that were made available to me from inside the Military High Command at Queen Elizabeth Barracks shortly after the coup.

According to the documents, Bainimarama was born on 27 April 1954. He attended Marist Brothers High School in Suva. On 26 July 1975 he joined the Fiji Navy as a midshipman, an officer cadet or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank. He was twenty-one years old when he was put to sea. On 28 November 1977 he passed his Midshipman Fleet Board Certificate, which qualified him to become a commissioned officer.

Let us begin with the RFMF Leave Computation Form (RFMF LCF) in our possession titled “21915 Commodore J. V. Bainimarama PM/COMD RFMF – Last Tour Commenced from Date of Enlistment: 26 July 1975”. We will then compare with the other above-mentioned documents, also in our possession. His backdated leave pay begins in 1978 but there is no mention of the date or month in that year.

According to RFMF LCF, Bainimarama claimed the following for 78/79: Annual Leave: Total, 37 days, Taken, 16 days, Balance, 21 days. But what was this mediocre midshipman up to in the years 1978-79? According to his CV, on 23 January 1978 he was attending a midshipman supplementary course in Australia. And, between January-June 1978 he was attached to HMAS Jervis Bay for Navigation Training. The following year between January and June 1979, he was attached to Le Esmeralda, the Chilean Navy Training Ship.

Esmeralda – The Ship of Death and Bainimarama’s sojourn on Board

As a digression, the above Chilean Navy ship has a brutal and bloody terrifying history. In 1973, in the aftermath of a bloody coup, supported by business leaders and the CIA, against the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende, the Chilean Navy helped the new military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet, to be used as a prison and torture chamber.

According to testimony collected by Amnesty International and the Organization of American States, at least 110 political prisoners – 70 men and 40 women – were interrogated aboard the ship for more than two weeks without charges or trial.

The former Mayor of Valparaiso, where the ship was stationed, described being tied to one of the ship’s masts and subjected repeatedly to electric shock. “I couldn’t sleep for six days because they woke me up every six minutes, night and day,” he said. “We could hear how the others were tortured right where we were.”

According to a Chilean lawyer held on board, military officials stripped and savagely beat the prisoners and shot them with high-pressure jets of water that produced “an unbearable pain in the head, ears, eyes, and lungs”. At least one of those tortured on board La Esmeralda, a British-Chilean priest named Michael Woodward, died as a result. His body was thrown into an unmarked mass grave. The ship was under the Command of Jorge Sabugo Silva and his Eduardo Barrison. In 1979, Bainimarama had a taste of the ship of death.

Meanwhile, according to the RFMF LCF, Bainimarama earned 30 days Long Service Leave in 1980/1981, 56 days in 1983/984 and 56 days in 1987/1988. Amazingly, given that he joined the Navy in July 1975, he had already in thirteen years of service earned 142 days of LSL.

What was the dictator up to during these years? Again, let us turn to his CV. In December 1980 he passed his Second Mate Certificate Pacific Island Vessels; January 1981, Junior Command & Staff Course, RNZAF, NZ, October 1981 NBCD Course, NZ, March 1892, Completed Short Navigation Course, HMAS Watson, September 1983, attached to the United States Coast Guard Training Centre, New York, March 1984, EEZ Surveillance Familiarization, NZ.

As noted elsewhere, according to the RFMF LCF, Bainimarama did not take a single day’s leave in 10 years between 1983 and 1999, and again in the 8 years between 2000 and 2008. What was Bainimarama doing up to 1999 before he took up the Commander’s post, which he did not deserve, according to highly classified Military and Cabinet documents?

Let us, again, allow his CV to guide us.

Bainimarama: Promotions and Appointments, 1976 – 1999

On 9 August 1976, he was promoted Able Seaman, 12 December 1976, Appointed Midshipman, 1 November 1978, promoted Sub-Lieutenant, June-December 1978, Appointed Navigation Officer HMFS KIRO, June 1979 (NB: in 2008 he claimed annual leave at $263.77 per day for 21 days on so-called $96,276 per annum salary and throughout his career until 2008: what was his salary in 1979?), Appointed Executive Officer HMFS KIRO, August 1981, Promoted Temporary Lieutenant, 1 November 1984, Promoted Lieutenant, February 1985, Appointed CO HMFS KIKAU, 17 February 1986, Promoted Temporary Lieutenant Commander, September 1986-September 1987, Served with 2FIR [MFO], Sinai, as Company Second in Command [2IC], October 1987, took delivery of FNS LEVUKA, LAUTOKA from US Navy, 19 April 1988, Appointed Commanding Officer [CO] Fiji Naval Division, 4 October 1988 Promoted Temporary Commander, 1 November 1991 Promoted Substantive Lieutenant-Commander, January 1992, Resumed Command of Fiji Naval Division, 3 October 1994, promoted Acting Captain [Navy, N], 1 September 1995, promoted Temporary Captain[N], 10 November 1997, Appointed Acting Chief of Staff, 18 April 1998, Appointed Chief of Staff, RFMF, 1 March 1999, Appointed Commander, RFMF and promoted Commodore, on the recommendation of a co-kana loto Epeli Ganilau, his predecessor and raider of the RFMF Regimental Funds and the collapsed National Bank of Fiji.

Meanwhile, in 21 December 1990-21 December 1991, Bainimarama was attached to the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College, October-November 1992, Maritime Surveillance Course, Warfare College, Newcastle, Australia, May-June 1993, Disaster Management Course 15, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, June-August 1994, Exclusive Economic Course, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, and January-June 1995, with the Australian Joint Services Staff College.

The Swindler’s Other Payments

The RFMF LCF reveal that Bainimarama collected another $29,139.11 in expense and ration allowance. His service allowance came to $3,832.02, duty allowance was $23,013.92, gratuity for one year was $24,069 and for another 10 months was $20,057.50. The RFMF LCF shows a FNPF deduction of $20,406.71 which went directly into his FNPF account. What the RFMF LCF did not disclose was that the taxpayer had to fork out a similar amount ($20,406.71) to FNPF as the Employer’s contribution to Bainimarama’s account.

Tax Fiddler Chaudhry endorsed his Master Swindler’s Payout

Probably as a favour for protecting him from his own tax fiddling and secret $2million in Australian and New Zealand bank accounts, the then illegal Finance Minister (and in previous incarnation a Government Auditor) Chaudhry claimed that there was nothing sinister about the leave pay. In July 2008, he said he was not aware of any irregularities regarding the payment of $184,740 paid to Bainimarama for leave owed from 1978.

Chaudhry said while some people criticised the payout they could not produce evidence there was some impropriety in the 698 days. “All they are saying is that Commodore Bainimarama is not owed the leave,” he said. Chaudhry said previous governments should be asked why they allowed the leave to accumulate. He omitted to include his own short-lived FLP-NFP Coalition government from 1999-2000. “We are trying to clear all liabilities and that is why we paid it out,” he said. Chaudhry saw nothing sinister about the rate of $263.77 per day based on Bainimarama’s basic salary the payment was made on. “Every day you carry this forward it will be claimed on higher costs,” he said.

2004 Terms and Conditions of Salary and Other Allowances

We wonder if Chaudhry had enquired or had even seen the Terms and Conditions for the post of Commander that was signed between Bainimarama and the Government on 5 February 2004, before signing off the cheque to Bainimarama. As pointed out elsewhere, it is clear that simple arithmetic throws up glaring arithmetical errors in the RFMF LCF, let alone the justification of the entitlements. For instance in 1985/86 the schedule shows that Bainimarama used up all his leave but Degei allocated 8 days of outstanding leave, and Chaudhry turned a blind eye to it.

As noted above, Chaudhry said while some people criticised the payout they could not produce evidence there was some impropriety in the 698 days. Well, did he recall the Terms and Contract of Bainimarama’s appointment? The RFMF LCF of February 2008 states the following calculations: Basic salary, $96,276.000, Daily $263.77, Days 698, Gross $184,441.46; Service Allowance, $2003.05, Daily 549, Days 698, Gross $3,832.02; Duty Allowance, $12,034.50, Daily $32.97, Days 698, Gross $23,013.92; Gratuity (1yr) Annual $24,069.00, 10mths $20,057.50, Gross $44,126.50; Expenses Allowance, $12,5000, Daily $34.25, Days 698, $23,904.11, Ration Allowance, $2,737.50, Daily $7.50, Days 698, $5,235.00. Gross taxable $255,083.90, Tax (31%) $79,076.01, FNFP, $20,406.71 Net $155,601.18, Expenses Allowance 23,904.11 (Non-Taxable), Ration Allowance, $5,235.00 – Net Total: $184,740.29.

Like his own fraudulent tax returns to FIRCA, Chaudhry and other defenders of Bainimarama’s back pay of $263.77 for 678 days can not defend their position. Bainimarama’s basic annual salary is stated as $96,276.00 on 1 February 2008 in the RFMF LCF. And yet, on 5 February 2004, from his Terms and Contract, Bainimarama was hired on a basic fixed salary of $89,352 per annum. In four years, in 2008, his salary has jumped by $7,000. Even setting aside the sum, how on earth was Bainimarama paid a consistent amount of $263.77 per day for 678 days when his salary in 2004 was not $96,276? His CV also reveals his various positions in the navy – are we to believe that the midshipman’s salary in 1978 was $96,276? He was, after all, in that year, a navigation officer on the HMS KIRO.

Again, from the RFMF LCF of February 2008, Bainimarama is cited as being owed annual leave of 29 days each for March 2004, April 2005, and May 2006, before the treasonous December coup. How, on earth, can those defending Bainimarama, including Chaudhry, claim that in March 2004, a month after he was appointed Commander, he was owed $263.77 per day for 29 days on a salary of $92,276 when Bainimarama had, on 5 February 2004, agreed to take command of the RFMF on a basic salary of $89,352.00.

Maybe, it is time those over-paid Sri Lankan lawyers with FICAC should be called in to look into the scandalous back pay, and investiagtive Bainimarama, Chaudhry, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and all others who colluded in robbing the taxpayers of over $185,000. According to foot soldiers at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Officers and Other ranks have been corruptly known to sell back leave owing at HQ RFMF.

They claim that prior to the Dec 2006 coup, Bainimarama gained a lot of officer support by officers cashing in on outstanding leave. The practise has been highlighted by previous audits of RFMF and all ranks have been always told to always take annual leave owing when in the country. It is plain corruption what Bainimarama did – order a low rank in the RFMF pay office to make out his annual leave entitlement, the foot soldiers claim. Did Bainimarama sell his own annual leave and went on to pocket $185,000?

Other Allowances in Bainimarama’s 2004 Contract

For the record, here is what other allowances Bainimarama had agreed to in February 2004. Ration Allowance of $2,737.50 per annum; Housing, a rent-free Government housing from the RFMF Institutional Quarters; Reimbursable Allowance: telecommunication, a telecommunication allowance of $1,200 per annum, Official Expense (An Official Expense Allowance of $1000 per annum), Professional Subscription (Professional Subscription Allowance of $1,000 per annum; Vehicle, a fully maintained vehicle for official purposes; Superannuation (A Superannuation contribution in accordance with the FNFP Act at the rate of 8% by the Employee and 10% by the Employer); Insurance, (1) A 50% Government contribution towards a life or medical insurance cover of the Commander’s choice subject to the insurer’s terms and conditions, (2) In lieu of overseas travel insurance cover the death of the RFMF Medical Scheme will apply to the Commander; Overseas Travel, A Business Class Overseas Travel package with a Per Diem of 10% loading on the United Nations prescribed and applicable rates. Local Travel: Hotel Accommodation, Hotel Meal Allowance and Subsistence Allowance.

As pointed out in an earlier story on Coupfourpointfive, Bainimarama had agreed to retire at the age of 55 when he signed the 2004 Terms of Contract with the Government of Laisenia Qarase. He was, however, reminded in no uncertain terms: “You are aware that in accordance with the Constitution and the RFMF Act, the Commander RFMF is responsible to the Minister in exercising executive command of the RFMF and in the proper management of public funds approved for the RFMF by Parliament.”

The $44,126.50 Gratuity Payment on back of 2006 Coup

On 11 March 2004 Bainimarama acknowledged the letter of his appointment but he touched on the issue of a payment of gratuity and the required age to retire at fifty-five. “A common provision that has been provided to the Chief Executive Officers of Government Departments and Constitutional Office holders is a payment of gratuity, recognising the services of the office holder,” he wrote. “The position of Commander is much different in that, whilst other Constitutional Office holders or Chief Executive Officers are permitted to work until they reach the age of sixty, the Commander is required to retire at the age of five-five. We are of the opinion that it is only appropriate that the Commander be paid a gratuity at the end of his service the sum of two times his annual gross salary,” he stated in his letter.

In other words, he agreed to the terms and conditions regarding the retirement age as well placing himself under the control of the Minister and to properly manage public funds approved for the RFMF by Parliament. But four years later, in 2008, he not only refused to retire under the State Services Decree (exempting himself), but collected nearly $45,000 in Gratuity payments, while providing a park to the 55 plus whom he has thrown to the dogs.

Leave Pay Unlawful

In the end, it took one of the supporters of the Peoples Charter, Akuila Yabaki of the CCF, to call upon Bainimarama and the regime to reverse the “unlawful, flawed decision to award leave pay for 698 days dating back to 1978”. Yabakii said the normal practice was that all outstanding leave had to be used before the end of any contract period. “As far as CCF is aware, Bainimarama’s previous contract as army commander ended in January 2004. Therefore, all leave prior to January 2004 that had not been utilised by Bainimarama would have become null and void,” he said.

Yabaki said Commodore Bainimarama’s new contract as army commander began in February 2004. “As such, he can only claim for leave not utilised after the February 2004 date. Even for the post-February 2004 period, Bainimarama should not claim for leave pay outstanding beyond one year, unless he can provide good reason why he did not utilise his leave,” Yabaki asked. He said if Bainimarama did not want to use his leave since 1978, then he should accept that was his choice. “To claim for that leave now is bad governance and shows poor and non-transparent leadership,” Yabaki said.

But Yabaki’s comments fell on the deaf ears of Bainimarama, the self-appointed Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, National Planning, Public Service, Peoples Charter for Change and Progress, Information, Sugar, iTaukei Affairs, and Multi-Ethnic Affairs and Provincial Development.

RFMF should hang its head in shame on Independence Day

As Fiji celebrates its 40th anniversary of the independence on 10 October, the master “Indian Rope” trickster has come out with a message to the nation: “Our post-Independence history has been dissimilar to some other countries. We have had events which we could have done without. We have had politics which we could have done without. These situations led to regression as opposed to progression. It led to stagnation as opposed to modernization. Today, however, is not a day of condemnation or recrimination. Today is a day of celebration. I wish you all a happy Fiji Independence Day.”

The biggest thief in Fiji’s history will be flying the national flag on the country’s 40th independence anniversary, with other crooks and kana lotos singing his praise. We say, instead of saluting their thieving army chief, the soldiers should be hanging their heads in shame. For they are led by a crook and swindler who, after joining as a midshipman four years after Fiji’s independence in 1970 now, forty years later, has swindled the nation of $205,000 in bogus back pay.

In his 1971 New Year message, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, as Prime Minister of independent Fiji, described 1970 as the “year of hope fulfilled”. The peaceful transition from colony to independence for him was “a pearl of great price which can perhaps be shared with the world at large.”

As we celebrate Fiji Independence Day, we must ask ourselves what price needs to be paid, in sweat, toil and even blood (for there is no easy walk to freedom), to return the country to democracy, to free ourselves from the economic fraudster and his supporters, who have made corruption and oppression their plaything – and giving themselves obscene salaries forty years after independence under various illegal decrees.

Fiji, The Way The World Should Not Be! Independence means FREEDOM.

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Air Canada apologises for bumping boy, 10, from family holiday flight

Airline says it has offered ‘very generous compensation’ after Cole Doyle was not able to join the rest of his family on the plane to Costa Rica

Air Canada said it was trying to find out ‘what went wrong’.

Air Canada said it was trying to find out ‘what went wrong’.
Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Air Canada apologises for bumping boy, 10, from family holiday flight

Airline says it has offered ‘very generous compensation’ after Cole Doyle was not able to join the rest of his family on the plane to Costa Rica

Air Canada has apologised to a Canadian family and offered “very generous compensation” after the airline bumped a 10-year-old boy from a flight.

The boy’s father, Brett Doyle, booked four tickets from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to Costa Rica for his family last August.

A day before the holiday in March this year Doyle says he checked in his family for the flight online, but could not select a seat for his son, Cole.

After hours on the phone with Air Canada, Doyle’s wife, Shanna, drove to the airport and was told the flight was oversold and their son had been bumped.

Kelly Grindrod
(@kgrindrod)

Surely @aircanada should have a policy that kids are never bumped from overbooked flights.https://t.co/BbrryZG2vi pic.twitter.com/xb2t3RfmzC

April 16, 2017

According to the broadcaster CBC, she asked an Air Canada agent if she or another adult they were travelling with could give up their seat for Cole.

“I was told that while yes, we could give up our seat, there would be no guarantee that the seat would go to my son,” she said. It could be given to a more frequent flyer, she was told.

Canada map

The family, from Stratford on Prince Edward Island, instead drove two hours to Moncton airport in New Brunswick to catch a different flight to meet the Costa Rica flight in Montreal. However, that flight was cancelled, and they were forced to drive another two-and-a-half hours to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and stay overnight in a hotel.

An Air Canada spokeswoman, Isabelle Arthur, told the Vancouver Sun by email on Monday: “We are currently following up to understand what went wrong and have apologised to Mr Doyle and his family as well as offered a very generous compensation to the family for their inconvenience.”

The family, who eventually reached Costa Rica, were offered a C$2,500 voucher (US$1,876, £1,495), which expires in one year, and were told Air Canada may cover their expenses.

Their experience follows two recent controversies involving United Airlines in the US.

Last week, the heavy-handed removal of a passenger, David Dao, from an overbooked plane due to fly from Chicago to Louisville caused anger on social media. In March the airline also prompted a storm of criticism when it stopped two young girls from boarding a plane because they were wearing leggings.

Doyle told Reuters that the outcry over the treatment of Dao had resonated with his family.

“People are fed up,” he said of airline overbooking. “You shouldn’t be able to sell something twice.” But he added: “I said things could always be worse. At least we weren’t thrown off the plane.”

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Omar Khadr’s criminal record in Canada shows ’absolute ignorance’:lawyer (0418 Khadr-Criminal-Record, CP, 703 words, National, Justice, Politics, G, 04/17/17 02:34 PM)

TORONTO — Omar Khadr’s official criminal record in Canada contains oddities and errors that are at odds with how the federal government viewed him on his return from the notorious prison on the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The record, obtained by The Canadian Press, makes no reference to the fact that Khadr, 30, was convicted by an internationally condemned U.S. military commission for purported offences he committed as a 15-year-old in Afghanistan.

Instead, the document states only that he was convicted at “Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Youth Court).” It makes no reference anywhere to the United States or the commission.

While it’s not clear when the record was first created, Khadr’s Canadian lawyers call it bizarre. For one thing, they note there’s no such thing as a Guantanamo Bay youth court.

However, despite the document, the Canadian government argued strenuously for years against treating Khadr as a young offender — placing him, for example, in a series of maximum security adult prisons on his return to Canada in September 2012.

Additionally, the lawyers say, the record appears to formalize the fact that Khadr was convicted as a youth for alleged crimes that occurred in a war zone, which would make him a child soldier — a label the government has also always avoided.

Dennis Edney, one of Khadr’s lawyers, who was initially unaware of the document, expressed profound surprise at its contents.

“There’s not such a being as a criminal youth court in Guantanamo,” Edney said from Edmonton. “Why would you do that? Internationally, the place was condemned because it didn’t distinguish between Omar being a child and Omar being an adult.”

The Americans captured the horrifically wounded Khadr in the rubble of a bombed out compound in Afghanistan in July 2002 following a fierce firefight that left an American special forces soldier dead and another partly blinded.

In October 2010, the Canadian citizen pleaded guilty to five war crimes before a military commission at Guantanamo Bay, and was handed an eight-year sentence. The Toronto-born Khadr, who has long maintained the Americans tortured him during his lengthy captivity, later said he only pleaded guilty so he could return to Canada.

Edney said it’s important people understand the context of the convictions — something sorely lacking in the official record.

“It shows absolute ignorance. It misstates itself in a very fundamental way,” Edney said. “It shows no understanding of what Guantanamo is (and) demands an explanation as to why it is so described.”

The RCMP document also erroneously states that Khadr was sentenced to five concurrent eight-year terms for each of his five charges, In fact, Canadian courts have ruled Khadr was handed a single eight-year sentence on all counts.

Co-counsel Nate Whitling, who also had not seen the document, called it unsurprising Khadr has a record in Canada given his transfer here to serve out his sentence. But Whitling still called it “weird.” He noted there’s no such thing as a concurrent sentence at Guantanamo Bay, and suggested Canadian authorities had “tried to fit a square peg into a round hole.”

Khadr’s lawyers say his conviction record should not enjoy legal recognition in Canada given that it has no reference to a legitimate court in a foreign country but arises out of military commissions that were set up to avoid U.S. constitutional scrutiny. Still, the criminal record could have an impact on Khadr, who hopes to study nursing, when he applies in the future for employment.

Barney Brucker, the Justice Department’s lead lawyer on the Khadr file, did not respond to a request for information. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale was not immediately available to comment on Monday.

Khadr was granted bail in Alberta in 2015 pending an ongoing appeal of his U.S. conviction — a process that will likely take several more years at least. The appeal rests on the fact that he was convicted for acts that were not crimes at the time he did them.

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Ottawa moves to strip former Guatemalan soldier of Canadian citizenship

This photo provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, a former Guatemalan soldier, as he is extradited to Los Angeles from Canada in September, 2012. Canada is moving to strip citizenship from Sosa Orantes, who is accused of slaughtering villagers in Guatemala using a grenade, gun and sledgehammer. The federal government says he concealed his past when he obtained Canadian citizenship.

This photo provided by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) shows Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, a former Guatemalan soldier, as he is extradited to Los Angeles from Canada in September, 2012. Canada is moving to strip citizenship from Sosa Orantes, who is accused of slaughtering villagers in Guatemala using a grenade, gun and sledgehammer. The federal government says he concealed his past when he obtained Canadian citizenship.
Photo Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The federal government has filed court documents to strip Canadian citizenship from a former Guatemalan special forces commander accused of slaughtering Guatemalan villagers during a 1982 massacre.

Ottawa says Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes concealed the crimes when he obtained Canadian citizenship 10 years later.

Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, shown in an undated photo provided to CBC News by The Canadian Centre for International Justice, is accused of lying about a 1982 massacre at the Guatemalan village of Las Dos Erres. He is currently serving a prison term in the U.S. and faces the loss of his Canadian citizenship.
Jorge Vinicio Sosa Orantes, shown in an undated photo provided to CBC News by The Canadian Centre for International Justice, is accused of lying about a 1982 massacre at the Guatemalan village of Las Dos Erres. He is currently serving a prison term in the U.S. and faces the loss of his Canadian citizenship. © Canadian Centre for International Justice/CBC News

Sosa Orantes, 59, who was extradited to the U.S. from Canada in 2012, is currently serving a 10-year-sentence for immigration fraud in the U.S.He has consistently denied that he took part in the massacre, in which 162 civilians, including 67 children, were killed, women were raped and children were thrown into an 18-metre dry well in the village of Las Dos Erres.

Sosa first came to Canada in 1985 as a refugee after being denied asylum in the U.S.

He subsequently became a Canadian permanent resident and citizen.

In 2008, he married an American citizen and became a U.S. citizen.

In 2011, after U.S. authorities said he had committed immigration fraud by concealing his past and he was arrested in Lethbridge, Alta,

Following a lengthy legal battle, he was extradited to the U.S. in 2012.

The U.S. says it plans to deport him to Guatemala when he completes his jail term.

With files from CP and BN.

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BRIEF-Iot Group says unit signed an agreement with Synnex Canada Ltd


IoT Group Ltd:

* Unit IoT Group US LLC has signed an agreement with one of
largest distribution companies in canada – Synnex Canada Limited


* Synnex will represent IoT group us LLC within Canada and
through Best Buy Canada

* IoT marketing team currently working with Best Buy –
Canada to finalize roll out programs such as point of sale
Source text for Eikon:
Further company coverage:

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Federation Elections: Guidelines split aspirants, administrators

Sports administrators and aspirants into the boards of the National Sports Federations are sharply divided over the guidelines released for the forthcoming elections.

The guidelines emerged after a stakeholders’ meeting with sports minister, Solomon Dalung, on Thursday where June 9 was also picked as the date for the polls.

The guideline stipulated that people who have served two terms as presidents cannot contest while those who are either presidents or vice presidents of international sports bodies are not eligible to contest for federation presidency.

A former member of the Nigeria Basketball Federation, Colonel Sam Ahmedu, believed to be aspiring for the presidency post of the body said the guideline was a welcome development.

Ahmedu argued that the guidelines were in agreement with the statutes of the Federation of International Basketball Association.

“The Ministry of Sports has been in charge of guidelines over the years and I don’t know why people are making noise this time.

Those who are talking about CAS are also ignorant because CAS will only work on guidelines which we already have,” Ahmedu said.

The President of the Nigeria Wrestling Federation, Daniel Igali, who is expected to run for another term as president cried out over the guidelines. Igali said the guidelines do not conform with the international best practices worldwide and might not start the test of time.

He said: “In global sports politics, longevity is everywhere. Gumel would never be an IOC member if he was not Vice President volleyball for all these years.

Small countries like Canada currently have three IOC members because of the long term investment in international sports politics.

“While some decisions made were a departure from the norm, these two particular clauses do not augur well for the development of sports in the country.

And don’t get me wrong, am also against sit tight autocrats; am also not in support of one person hugging all sports positions, but we have to take these issues as they come and not throw the baby with the bath water.”

The Chairman of the Sports Reform Committee, Godwin Kienka, said the guidelines ware in the right direction. “It is a new dawn for sports in Nigeria.

We must salute the efforts of the minister of sports because the impact of the election guidelines will manifest in the next decades to come,” Kienka said.

Some of the casualties of the election guidelines are ex-sports minister and Nigeria Tennis Federation boss, Sanusi Ndanusa; IOC member, NOC and Nigeria Volleyball Federation president, Habu Gumel; Handball federation boss, Yusuf Dauda, Nigeria Basketball Federation boss, Tijjani Umar; and President, Athletic Federation of Nigeria, Solomon Ogba.

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Yes side wins ‘historic decision’ in Turkish referendum, expanding Erdogan’s power

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a historic referendum Sunday that will greatly expand the powers of his office, although opposition parties questioned the outcome and said they would challenge the results.

With 99 per cent of the ballots counted, the “yes” vote stood at 51.37 per cent, while the “no” vote was 48.63 per cent, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. The head of Turkey’s electoral board confirmed the “yes” victory and said final results will be declared in 11-12 days.

Although the margin fell short of the sweeping victory Erdogan had sought in the landmark referendum, it could nevertheless cement his hold on power in Turkey and is expected to have a huge effect on the country’s long-term political future and its international relations.

The 18 constitutional amendments that will come into effect after the next election, scheduled for 2019, will abolish the office of the prime minister and hand sweeping executive powers to the president.

In his first remarks from Istanbul, Erdogan struck a conciliatory tone, thanking all voters no matter how they cast their ballots and calling the referendum a “historic decision.”

Turkey Referendum

Supporters of the ‘yes’ vote celebrate in Istanbul on Sunday. (Petros Karadjias/Associated Press)

“April 16 is the victory of all who said yes or no, of the whole 80 million, of the whole of Turkey of 780,000-square kilometres,” Erdogan said.

But he quickly reverted to a more abrasive style when addressing thousands of flag-waving supporters in Istanbul.

“There are those who are belittling the result. They shouldn’t try, it will be in vain,” he said. “It’s too late now.”

Responding to chants from the crowd to reinstate the death penalty, Erdogan said he would take up the issue with the country’s political leaders, adding that the question could be put to another referendum if the political leaders could not agree.

​Turkey’s main opposition party vowed to challenge the results reported by Anadolu agency, saying they were skewed.

Erdogan has long sought to broaden his powers, but a previous attempt failed after the governing party that he co-founded fell short of enough votes to pass the reforms without holding a referendum.

Opponents argued the plan concentrates too much power in the hands of a man they allege has shown increasingly autocratic tendencies.

The outcome is expected to have a huge effect on Turkey’s long-term political future and its international relations. Although the result, if officially confirmed, would fall short of the sweeping victory Erdogan had sought, it nevertheless cements his hold on the country’s governance.

APTOPIX Turkey Referendum

Fatma Canpolat, a paralyzed woman who was wheeled into a polling station, casts her ballot in Erzincan, Turkey, on Sunday. (Depo Photo via AP)

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, whose position will be eliminated under the presidential system of government called for in the referendum, also welcomed the results and extended a hand to the opposition.

“We are all equal citizens of the Republic of Turkey,” he said. “Both the ones who said `no’ and the ones who said `yes’ are one and are equally valuable.”

“There are no losers of this referendum. Turkey won, the beloved people won,” Yildirim said, adding that “a new page has opened in our democratic history with this vote. Be sure that we will use this result for our people’s welfare and peace in the best way.”

Erdogan supporters gathered outside the AK Party headquarters in Istanbul to celebrate, sending fireworks into the night sky.

Opposition claims data ‘manipulation’

But the main opposition People’s Democratic Party, or CHP, cast doubt on the results. CHP vice chairman Erdal Aksunger said the party would challenge 37 per cent of the ballot boxes.

“Our data indicates a manipulation in the range of three to four per cent,” the party said on its Twitter account.

The country’s pro-Kurdish opposition party, which also opposed the constitutional changes, said it plans to object to two-thirds of the ballots.

An unprecedented decision by Turkey’s Supreme Election board to accept as valid ballot papers that don’t have the official stamp also drew the ire of the CHP, with the party’s deputy chairman, Bulent Tezcan, saying the decision had left the referendum “with a serious legitimacy problem.”

Turkey Referendum

A supporter stands with a sticker on her head that reads ‘no’ in Kurdish during a rally in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on Saturday. Supporters of the ‘no’ vote have complained of an atmosphere of intimidation. (Emre Tazegul/Associated Press)

The board made the announcement after many voters complained about being given ballot papers without the official stamp, saying ballots would be considered invalid only if proven to have been fraudulently cast.

But electoral board head Sadi Guven defended the decision.

“There is no question of changing the rules in the middle of the game,” he said.

The reforms allow the president to appoint ministers, senior government officials and half the members of Turkey’s highest judicial body, as well as to issue decrees and declare states of emergency. They set a limit of two five-year terms for presidents and also allow the president to remain at the helm of a political party.

Germany Turkey Referendum

A woman reacts while watching a live broadcast of the Turkish referendum results during an event organised by the Turkish Republican People’s Party in Berlin, Germany, on Sunday. (Sebastian Willnow/dpa via AP)

Erdogan and his supporters had argued the “Turkish-style” presidential system would bring stability and prosperity in a country rattled by a failed coup last year that left more than 200 people dead, and a series of devastating attacks by the Islamic State group and Kurdish militants.

But opponents fear the changes will lead to autocratic one-man rule, ensuring that the 63-year-old Erdogan, who has been accused of repressing rights and freedoms, could govern until 2029 with few checks and balances.

The ballots themselves did not include the referendum question — it was assumed to be understood. Voters used an official stamp to select between “yes” and “no.”

Referendum comes amid turmoil

At one Istanbul polling station, eager voters lined up outside before it opened at 8 a.m.

“I don’t want to get on a bus with no brake system. A one-man system is like that,” said Istanbul resident Husnu Yahsi, 61, who said he was voting “no.”

In another Istanbul neighbourhood, a “yes” voter expressed full support for Erdogan.

‘I don’t want to get on a bus with no brake system. A one-man system is like that’
– Istanbul resident Husnu Yahsi

“Yes, yes, yes! Our leader is the gift of God to us,” said Mualla Sengul. “We will always support him. He’s governing so well.”

Erdogan first came to power in 2003 as prime minister and served in that role until becoming Turkey’s first directly elected president in 2014.

The referendum campaign was divisive and heavily one-sided, with the “yes” side dominating the airwaves and billboards across the country. Supporters of the “no” vote have complained of intimidation, including beatings, detentions and threats.

Turkey Referendum

Supporters of the ‘yes’ vote celebrate in Istanbul on Sunday. (Emrah Gurel/Associated Press)

The vote comes as Turkey has been buffeted by problems. Erdogan survived a coup attempt last July, which he has blamed on his former ally and current nemesis Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic cleric living in the United States. Gulen has denied knowledge of the coup attempt.

Still, a widespread government crackdown has targeted followers of Gulen and other government opponents, branding them terrorists and a state of emergency has been imposed.

Roughly 100,000 people — including judges, teachers, academics, doctors, journalists, military officials and police — have lost their jobs in the government crackdown, and more than 40,000 have been arrested. Hundreds of media outlets and non-governmental organizations have been shut down.

Turkey has also suffered renewed violence between Kurdish militants and security forces in the country’s volatile southeast, as well as a string of bombings, some attributed to the Islamic State group, which is active across the border in Syria.

The war in Syria has led to some 3 million refugees crossing the border into Turkey. Turkey has sent troops into Syria to help opposition Syrian forces clear a border area from the threat posed by Islamic State militants.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s relations with Europe have been increasingly tense, particularly after Erdogan branded Germany and the Netherlands as Nazis for not allowing Turkish ministers to campaign for the “yes” vote among expatriate Turks.

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