- Needle in banana found in child’s lunchbox at St Paul’s Gateshead, parents told to cut up fruit
- Ciraldo set to coach Panthers in 2019 NRL
- Circa 1876 and Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley win major regional awards
- It’s time the public claimed National Park as green, open space
- TiNA’s into its third decade, but it’s lost none of its edge
Monthly Archives: January 2019
SASKATOON – Identity fraud thieves will steal information from anyone, no matter what financial situation they’re in.
Fraud investigators are raising public awareness this month on current trends that will help minimize the risk and expose today’s identity thieves.
Acquiring someone’s personal information allows thieves to take over financial accounts, transfer money, apply for loans, credit cards and purchase goods and services in the victim’s name.
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Thieves are looking for such information as a name, address, date of birth, social insurance number (SIN), mom’s maiden name, passwords and drivers’ license numbers.
Investigators are noticing identity frauds more frequently use the internet and cellphones.
Criminals are now using cellphone text messages to “bait” victims into clicking on website links that can inadvertently upload computer viruses.
Uploading these viruses or ‘Trojan horses’ allows suspects to gain access to personal data on cellphones and computers. Viruses are designed to acquire personal information without the user even noticing they’ve been hacked.
To fend off these attacks, ensure computer anti-virus software and firewall programs are up-to-date, turned on and working properly. Destroy computer hard drives before discarding as information is left behind even after it is deleted.
Never use public internet to access personal or financial information.
If the site appears suspicious contact the company directly by phone or enter the website address manually.
It’s important not forget about the less sophisticated, yet effective, ways identity fraud methods like:
stealing walletspicking through garbagepeaking over shoulders to observe pin number entriesstealing mailsending fraudulent requests by mail or email
Leave passports, birth certificates and SIN cards in a safe place. SINs are confidential and only required by law for tax reporting purposes.
Cancel credit cards that are lost or not in use and always sign them when they are received.
Review on-line banking or paper statements regularly and inquire about any questionable charges. Shred paper mail, statements, credit card offers, bills and receipts before recycling.
If personal information has been compromised contact the local police and involved financial institutions. Finally, contact the Better Business Bureau at 1-888-352-7601 to request a fraud alert be placed on any account.
Imagine if Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty could erase the deficit without cutting programs or jobs.
Theoretically, he could if the government recovered billions of dollars in taxes owed that are stashed by millionaires and corporations in havens overseas.
Liberal Senator Percy Downe has been lobbying for the federal government to provide the Canadian Revenue Agency with the resources needed to fight the problem.
Flaherty has hinted that Downe’s efforts to get this issue on the Tory agenda may pay off in Thursday’s budget.
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Downe points to two specific offshore locations where tax cheats have been caught with little consequences.
In Liechtenstein, a whistleblower reported 106 Canadians with over $100 million in assets. In Switzerland, there are 1,785 Canadians who keep an unknown amount of money. The CRA doesn’t even know how much revenue it loses each year, although other countries do.
“I think it’s $30 trillion, at least, in bank accounts in 50 tax havens all over the world, so there has to be that political will,” said Gail Dugas from Canadians for Tax Fairness.
Political will is building internationally. Public outrage in the UK over multinational giants Starbucks, Amazon and Google paying very little tax resulted in a grilling before a parliamentary committee.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has put the issue of tax havens on the agenda at the next G8 meeting.
In Canada, some groups already have some ideas about how to get around expensive lawyers and accountants who help tax evaders.
“If you want to hold money there and bypass the system, which is technically legal… you’re going to have to pay one per cent withholding tax,” said David MacDonald from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The revenue agency says 44 tax cheaters were convicted between 2006 and 2012, resulting in $7 million in fines. But without enough resources to go after the big money, an internal audit found the CRA is more likely to go after the smaller cases.
NICOSIA, Cyprus – Searching for a way out of a crippling financial crisis, officials in Cyprus on Wednesday pursued a new bailout strategy that could include a loan from Russia in exchange for natural gas leases and selling off assets from its most troubled banks.
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Cyprus needs to come up with 5.8 billion euros (US $7.5 billion) on its own in order to secure 10 billion euros in rescue loans from international creditors. But the country’s first plan to seize up to 10 per cent of people’s bank accounts failed miserably. Now officials are trying to limit the amount of money they need to take from customer’s deposits.
The new “Plan B” could be voted on as early as Thursday, three top government officials said.
The latest move came a day after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against the earlier plan – a rejection that threw Cyprus’ entire bailout into question. That raised the possibility the country’s banks could collapse, the government would be unable to pay its bills and Cyprus could be forced out of the euro.
That could roil global financial markets as well as endanger deposits in the country even further.
The new “Plan B” was described by three top government officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the proposal were not being released until party officials had a chance to review them at a meeting Thursday morning.
The package includes a proposal to restructure Cyprus’ heavily indebted second-largest lender, Laiki. The idea would be to isolate the bank’s bad assets, which would be taken over by the government, from its good assets, which could be sold off to raise money. That strategy could also be applied to the country’s biggest lender, Bank of Cyprus.
To avoid bank runs and give officials time to push the package through, the country’s banks, which have been shuttered since Saturday, will remain closed for the rest of the week, said the central bank spokeswoman, Aliki Stylianou. Monday is a bank holiday, so banks will not reopen before Tuesday.
Cyprus has turned to long-time ally Russia for help, and Finance Minister Michalis Sarris was in Moscow on Wednesday to discuss a range of aid options and vowed to remain there until he secured a pledge of support. “We will be here until some kind of agreement is reached,” Sarris said.
Nearly a third of the total amount of deposits in Cyprus’ banks is believed to be held by Russians. The idea that authorities could dip directly into people’s bank accounts had outraged Cypriots and Russians alike.
A Cypriot government official said the new proposal still includes some tax on deposits, but at a percentage far lower than those originally proposed. The official said the EU had given Cyprus until Monday to come up with an alternative, so speed was of the essence.
The European Union and Germany in particular, have long argued that they should not have to ask their own taxpayers to contribute to bailing out a country when it was Russian oligarchs who would benefit.
While the economy of Cyprus is tiny – a mere 0.2 per cent of the eurozone – its exit from the shared currency could raise speculation that other, larger countries could leave, roiling global financial markets.
Cypriot political leaders held emergency meetings throughout the day Wednesday to try to find an alternative plan and seemed inclined to rely on Russia to help them out.
Russia is a longtime ally and also has skin in the game – Russians own about a third of the 68 billion euros in deposits with Cypriot banks. It was unclear however, how much it would help and the Russians appeared to be balking at pouring any more money into the country.
Russia could extend a 2.5 billion euro loan that it gave Cyprus in 2011 and lower repayment rates. It could also provide a fresh loan, have one of its banks take over one of Cyprus’ ailing lenders, or demand an interest in natural gas fields that Cyprus has discovered in the Mediterranean.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev criticized the eurozone and Cypriot officials for their plan to seize deposits, comparing them to Soviet-style autocrats.
“So far, the actions of the European Union, the European Commission and the government of Cyprus have resembled that of an elephant in a china shop,” Medvedev said in remarks carried Wednesday by the Interfax news agency.
Scrambling to avert a financial meltdown, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades held talks Wednesday with European and IMF officials. The eurozone and IMF must sign off on any Plan B the Cypriots come up with if it is to be approved as part of the bailout.
Some sort of deal must be approved within days because Cyprus is running on borrowed time – literally.
The European Central Bank is keeping the Cypriot banks alive by allowing them to draw on emergency support from the local central bank. But the ECB has said it would cut off that aid if there was no bailout deal soon and it became clear the banks had no hope of becoming solvent again.
Whatever they do, they have to do it quickly because this uncertainty is hurting business
In Nicosia, residents waited anxiously to see what lay in store for them.
Avetis Bahcecian has been running his Armenian restaurant in Nicosia for years. Now, with the uncertainty swirling around Cyprus, he’s worried about his business.
“Whatever they do, they have to do it quickly because this uncertainty is hurting business,” the 41-year-old said as he kneaded dough to make lahmacun, a traditional Armenian pizza-style food. “Our business is down by 40 per cent in the last couple days.”
ATMs have been dispensing cash and debit and credit cards have been working, so Cypriots have not faced any immediate cash shortage for day-to-day living.
Tensions remained high as Cypriots wondered whether the country’s final rescue deal would include the hated bank deposit seizures.
Under the initial bailout plan conceived in Brussels last weekend, Cyprus was to have funded its part of the bailout by seizing 6.75 per cent of all deposits up to 100,000 euros and 9.9 per cent of those above that threshold. That caused outrage, leading the government to propose an amended version that would have spared deposits up to 20,000 euros. That plan was rejected by lawmakers on Tuesday.
As uncertainty grew over the country’s future, even the country’s influential Orthodox church offered to help.
Its head, Archbishop Chrysostomos II, said the church was willing to mortgage its assets to invest in government bonds. The church has considerable wealth, including property, stakes in a bank and a brewery.
“The wealth of the church is at the disposal of the country,” Chrysostomos said.
Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow and David McHugh in Frankfurt, Germany, contributed to this report.
EDMONTON – Various sources are telling Global News that former premier Ralph Klein’s health is deteriorating and the former premier is seriously ill.
Rod Love, the former chief of staff to Klein who has served as spokesman for the family, has declined to comment on the 70-year-old’s condition.
“Klein is resting comfortably. There are no plans to move him,” Love has told Global News.
“There are no further updates until a change in his condition.”
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Ralph Klein appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada
Klein has been suffering from frontal lobe dementia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. The former Alberta premier was moved into a Calgary continuing care facility in October of 2011 and that’s where he continues to rest.
The Calgary Herald ran a story Wednesday morning in which they quoted two of Klein’s friends who say his condition is worsening.
“I know he is not well, and his condition, of course, is progressing,” said Klein’s former press secretary and longtime friend, Marisa Etmanski.
“He’s not in very good shape as it is,” said Klein’s longtime friend Ross Glen who saw the former premier about a week ago.
“It’s hard to see him like that because he’s such a good guy.”
Ralph Klein was Calgary’s mayor from 1980 to 1989 and Alberta’s premier from 1992 to 2006.
He led the Progressive Conservatives to majority victories in 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2004.
“King Ralph” oversaw sweeping changes to the province, notably the elimination of Alberta’s debt and deficit.
He was named an officer of the Order of Canada last year. In a rare gesture, the Governor General of Canada travelled to Calgary to present the honour to Klein’s wife Colleen.
Klein was unable to attend.
With files from the Calgary Herald
I should have written this last week right after the Telethon. Sorry.
This is to the nice person who gave me something to give to Jeneece. It was a $100 bill.
I don’t know who you are. You sent it anonymously. I held onto it for almost a month and then on the morning of the Variety fund raiser I waited, and waited and then I was worried that she was not going to come.
I took my turn in front of the cameras, then went back stage to wait. Then took another turn. And waited.
And you know what happened, because I would not be writing this if it didn’t happen. I just wanted you to go through some of the anxiety that I had.
Suddenly there she was. She was so big, I mean tall. I had always seen her as small. She was so grown up. I had always seen her as a child.
She was 19 years old, for heaven’s sake. She was not expected to live nearly that long.
Variety helped save her life, she said.
Then she started raising money for Variety, all through pennies. She raised a million dollars by asking people to give pennies. That’s still unbelievable, but she did it.
All the while she was doing good there were tumors growing inside her body. They were painful and crippling and just plain miserable. She complained very little, and went on raising money to help other kids.
I told her someone had sent a gift to her.
“Who?” she asked.
“Don’t know,” I said. “Just someone very nice.”
I gave her the money. She looked surprised.
“She wanted you to have it. That’s all,” I said. I assumed it was a she. She’s are often nice.
“Thank you, thank her,” Jeneece said.
I will, I said.
Thank you, whoever you are. That was very nice of you.