Sunday, December 10, 2017

Vatican must strengthen fight against financial crime, says Moneyval

Catholic accountability business corruption crime

The Vatican has earned praise from Council of Europe experts for its updated legislation against money laundering and its vigilance in flagging suspected cases.

But the committee said the effectiveness of the Vatican efforts could not be proven until Vatican courts actually prosecuted someone for a crime.

Moneyval – the Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism – released a progress report on the Vatican’s efforts on December 8.

The experts said the Vatican Financial Information Authority “seemed to be working efficiently”, but although the Vatican court had frozen the assets of several accounts at the Vatican bank, “the Holy See had still not brought a money-laundering case to court.

While considerable amounts of money continued to be frozen, no criminal case had yet produced a confiscation order”, a Moneyval press statement said.  (more...)


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Disney Music Executive Charged with Child Sex Abuse

Jon Heely, the director of music publishing at Disney, has been charged with three felony counts of child sexual abuse.

Heely, 58, of Santa Clarita, is accused of sexually abusing two underage girls approximately a decade ago. He allegedly victimized the first girl when she was 15. According to the charges, he began abusing the second when she was about 11 years old and continued until she was 15.

In a statement, a Disney spokesman said the company suspended Heely late on Friday, after being informed of the charges.

“Immediately upon learning of this situation tonight, he has been suspended without pay until the matter is resolved by the courts,” the spokesman said.

Heely was arrested on Nov. 16 by deputies from the Santa Clarita station of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. Booking records indicate he was later released on $150,000 bail.

On Wednesday, prosecutors charged him with three counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child. Heely pleaded not guilty at his arraignment at the San Fernando courthouse on Thursday. He is due back in court on Jan. 10. If convicted, he faces up to nine years and three months in prison.  (more...)

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Poland will line up against Ireland in Apple tax appeal

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This'll rival the arguments at the Knights of Columbus
Poland will side against Ireland in the court appeal against the ruling that Apple owes the State €13 billion in taxes and that Ireland effectively engaged in state aid to the benefit of the American tech giant.

Poland has sought permission to make representations in support of the European Commission in the court case, according to Department of Finance briefing notes obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Poland is the only country to indicate it will make a representation in court against Ireland. In August 2016 the commission ruled that an Irish tax arrangement with Apple amounted to state aid, and that the US multinational must repay Ireland €13 billion in back tax.

Luxembourg has requested to intervene in support of Ireland’s appeal to overturn the ruling in the General Court of the European Union.

Poland will make a written submission outlining its support of the commission’s case against Ireland to the court, and may be given the opportunity to speak at a hearing in the case. Ireland will be allowed to respond to any points raised by Poland. Any member state can request to make a representation to the EU court in a case.  (more...)

Mueller issued subpoena to Deutsche Bank for documents on Trump and family

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Yep yep yep gotta be the Ruskies
Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens.

Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.

“Deutsche Bank always cooperates with investigating authorities in all countries,” the lender said in a statement to Bloomberg Tuesday, declining to provide additional information.

Deutsche Bank for months has rebuffed calls by Democratic lawmakers to provide more transparency over the roughly $300 million Trump owed to the bank for his real estate dealings prior to becoming president. Rep. Maxine Waters of California and other Democrats have asked whether the bank’s loans to Trump, made years before he ran for president, were in any way connected to Russia. The bank previously rejected those demands, saying sharing client data would be illegal unless it received a formal request to do so. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.  (more...)


Friday, December 8, 2017

Blacklist May Affect Portugal-Macau Relations

accountability business corruption crime politics
Fearsome things come in small packages
Macau’s inclusion on a European Union (EU) tax blacklist of 17 countries and regions has made the front page in the Portuguese financial daily “Jornal de Negócios”, which indicated that bilateral relations between Portugal and the MSAR could be affected.

Deputy secretary of state Ricardo Mourinho Félix was quoted as saying that the Portuguese tax haven list – which does not include Macau – “must be collated with the European list.” According to “Jornal de Negócios”, trade between Portugal and the listed countries and regions could be disrupted and affected by higher taxes.

Reference newspaper “Público” also reported on the list, claiming that “Macau’s image as a place that favors gambling and tourism, and where the casino neons are omnipresent, is going to have the burden of another image, less beneficial to its reputation.”

The EU said that the listed countries and regions could potentially face sanctions for failing to bring their standards in line with the bloc, at a time when the bloc is seeking to step up its fight against opaque practices that facilitate tax avoidance by multinationals and individuals.

The European Commission – the EU’s executive arm – says that the threat of being on the list can itself incentivize countries to bring their tax systems in line with EU standards, for fear of being named and shamed. The countries that make commitments to tax transparency will be subject to monitoring by the EU over the coming year. The bloc plans to update the list at least once a year.

But some countries, including France, have said that listed jurisdictions should also face sanctions. Potential countermeasures applicable at the national or EU level could be introduced, including the freezing of some EU funds.

“We want this list to be complete and effective. No state should escape responsibilities when it doesn’t firmly combat tax evasion,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on his way to the meeting where the blacklist was approved. “This list needs to be effective, meaning that it needs to allow us to impose sanctions so that those who don’t respect rules will change their behavior.”  (more...)

It's not news that Macau (Macao) is the world's money-laundering capital:

Heh... Macau can open many doors. Bet ya didn't know this stuff:

Wow.  Just wow.

Ex-national ski coach Bertrand Charest gets 12-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting teen girls

abuse crime education pedophilia rape sports

SAINT-JEROME, QUE.—A judge sentenced former national ski coach Bertrand Charest to a 12-year prison term Friday for sexually assaulting teenage girls he trained, calling his actions “inexcusable and criminal.”

“This behaviour is not acceptable in 2017, it wasn’t in 1998, just as it wasn’t in 1950 or any other era,” Judge Sylvain Lepine said in his ruling.

“It is criminal in Quebec, in Europe and in every country in the world.

“These young women were at an important stage of their personal development. Their entire adult life has been shaped by the accused’s acts.”

All but one of the victims and alleged victims were under the age of 18 at the time of the offences, with the youngest being 12.

With time already served in detention since his arrest in 2015, Charest has seven years and 10 months left in the sentence.

His lawyer, Antonio Cabral, said he will look at the sentence in detail before deciding whether to appeal, as he is doing for last June’s convictions on 37 of the 57 charges Charest faced.  (more...)

Gymnastics Canada suspends coach amid sexual abuse allegations

abuse crime education pedophilia rape sports

MONTREAL—Gymnastics Canada suspended an Edmonton-based coach on Thursday amid allegations he sexually abused some of his former students.

The decision to suspend Michel Arsenault came after CBC’s French-language network reported he sexually abused at least three gymnasts in Quebec when they were minors in the 1980s and early ’90s.

“Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this situation, in particular the athletes and their families,” said Richard Crepin, the organization’s chair of the board of directors.

CEO Peter Nicol said Gymnastics Canada is committed to providing a safe environment for its athletes.

An Edmonton gym where Arsenault was based has also barred him from its premises and said he will no longer be involved in any of its activities.  (more...)

Columbus Centre project seems rotten

I read with a great deal of interest Andrea Gordon’ s piece on the Toronto Catholic District School Board and its alliance with Villa Charities in a project that envisages the demolition of a historical and cultural icon such as the Columbus Centre.

There is certainly much rotten when two bodies entrusted by the community to preserve and enhance our cultural heritage ally themselves in a project whose ultimate outcome is the development of five hectares of the Columbus Centre campus for private gain.

And it is doubly rotten when a body such as the TCDSB, a creature of the province and sustained by taxpayers’ money, will build a new school on land to be acquired from Villa Charities for more than $20 million. Especially when it already owns two schools and about 6.5 hectares of land immediately south of the CC campus, plus an additional 1.3 hectares it acquired in January for $18 million from Sisters of the Good Shepard.

These forays in land assembly and land speculation should definitely be within the scope of the provincial auditor general.  (more...)


They say they suffered ‘cruel and sadistic’ abuse as kids at Ontario training schools

school education abuse children pedophilia crime Ontario
Little red gulag
The Ontario government has secretly settled hundreds of lawsuits alleging historic sexual, physical and emotional abuse by teachers and staff at provincially run schools for troubled youth, a Star investigation has found.

Staff and teachers were accused of sodomizing students, forcing them to perform oral sex, and pushing them to engage in “scrambles,” a sort of fight club where students were encouraged to beat one another.

The Star’s investigation has uncovered 220 legal settlements in which the province made payouts to victims ranging from several thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. As a condition of settlement, victims had to sign confidentiality agreements, what some former residents, now in their late 50s, referred to as “gag orders.”

“The government doesn’t want people knowing what they did to us,” said Steven Greenwood, a former student at a school in Hagersville.

Each of these young boys and girls had been sent by Ontario court judges and provincial government officials between 1960 and 1984 to “training schools” — residential institutions in places such as Simcoe, Bowmanville and Cobourg. These young people, many from broken families, struggling with poverty, or addicted to drugs, had been deemed “unmanageable” or “incorrigible.”  (more...)

Further coverage:

Is Your Mom a Nazi? #isyourmomanazi

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Eastern Star? Catholic Women's League? Feminists for Hitler? Perpetuating the 1000 Year Reich, by other means

Sick days, salaries taking away from kids, auditor says

accountability Catholic education corruption parents

TORONTO — Funding meant to help kids at increased risk of failing or to learn English is “often” redirected by school boards to expenses like teacher salaries and staff sick days, the Ontario auditor general reports..

Sick leave among school employees has jumped 29% province-wide since 2011-12, forcing boards to look in other funding pockets to pay for substitute teachers.

The Learning Opportunities Grant provided by the provincial government is supposed to be spent on at-risk students, like those from low-income families, but it’s not a legal requirement.

The Toronto District School Board used $61 million of its share of the fund in 2014-15 to cover teacher salaries, special education and supply teachers.

“The boards have discretion on how they can spend much of this funding,” the annual auditor report says. “We noted that Toronto Catholic (District School Board) used only 50% of the $46.5 million it received for at-risk students, while the remaining funds were used to support a shortfall in teacher salaries and special education funding.”

In a province that is a top destination for new immigrants, a special English-as-a-second language grant is also frequently tapped for other expenses, the auditors report says.

For example, the Toronto Catholic board spent only 58% of its $23.9 million ESL grant on ESL programming, the report says.

To help control school board costs, the auditor recommended the implementation of effective attendance support programs.

The four school boards where auditors did a deep dive – Toronto Catholic, Hamilton-Wentworth, Halton Catholic, and Hastings and Prince Edward – paid an extra $52.3 million in 2015/16 for substitute teachers, compared to four years earlier.

Toronto Catholic reported that their employees took an average 12.8 sick days a year, and that it paid $48.8 million to employees who were off sick in 2015/16.

According to an Ontario-wide study, custodians or maintenance staff and educational assistants clocked the highest number of sick days on average – more than 16 days a year.

The plan the provincial government negotiated with teachers in 2012 to replace sick day banking appears to be exacerbating the absentee problem, auditors concluded, although the government says it has seen an overall cost savings.

“One trustee association questioned why the teachers are getting 131 sick days when there are only 194 school days in a year, allowing a teacher to use sick leave benefits for up to two-thirds of each school year,” the report says.  (more...)


Say hello to Ontario's edumafia

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christie Pits: Q&A with Jamie Michael, historical graphic novelist

fascism immigration violence youth nazis

University of Alberta alumnus Jamie Michael is a writer in the Jewish community. Offering accessible insight into Canada’s history, his latest graphic novel project, Christie Pits, tells the true story of when Jewish and Italian immigrants squared off against Nazi-inspired thugs in the streets of Toronto. The Gateway spoke with Jamie to learn more about the project and why its history is relevant today.

Jamie Michael: This is an incredible true story of Jewish and Italian immigrants fighting against Nazi-inspired thugs in a 10,000-person brawl in Christie Pits Park in Toronto, to decide who would be considered genuinely Canadian. It ended up inspiring Canada’s first anti-hate speech legislation.

What inspired you to start Christie Pits?

Believe it or not, I was in a pub, and I heard somebody reference the story as though it was common knowledge. I thought, “I’m a young Jew in Canada and I’ve never heard of it. This is impossible, this has to be made up.” Like any millennial, I checked out Wikipedia, and the story was real. I became obsessed. I thought, “This is such an amazing story and no one knows about it.”

Did the rise of alt-right ideology or “white nationalism” influence your writing?

Christie Pits is depressingly topical. But I actually started this project before the rise of Trump, before the alt-right ideology and white nationalism began to unfold. Seeing the events in Charlottesville, I had to stop and rewrite, and think about how much nuance I want to use. What brings people to these mentalities? At some point you’re a Nazi and you have to say that. Not everyone in these rioting groups is a Nazi, but some of them are. The same holds true in Christie Pits.  (more...)


Toronto music teacher sues after principal, VP call folk song racist

racism education politics liberalism
E. Pauline Johnson
A Toronto music teacher is suing her principal, vice-principal and the public school board for defamation after the administrators sent an email to the school community apologizing that a well-known folk song — “Land of the Silver Birch” — was performed at a school concert, calling it “inappropriate” and “racist.”

In her statement of claim, Violet Shearer, the music teacher at High Park Alternative Public School, said the email effectively suggested that it was her professional judgment and conduct that were “inappropriate and racist.”

Shearer taught the song to her classes at the school and it was performed at a school concert she organized in May 2016, according to her claim.

She is now seeking $75,000 in damages and an “unequivocal apology” from the administrators and the school board.

The school’s principal, Nancy Keenan, vice-principal Edita Tahirovic, and the Toronto District School Board deny in their statement of defence that Shearer suffered any damage to her reputation and said the email was factual and fair comment.  (more...)

When I was a young man, I courted a great-great-grand niece (not sure how many "greats" go in there) of E. Pauline Johnson. She was very proud of her famous relative and her poetic output. I still have my copy of "Flint and Feather" and cherish the memory of this beautiful friend of my youth. I'm sure, if she has read this story, she's rolling over in laughter at these goofy liberal schoolmarms. She certainly doesn't need the likes of them to speak for her.

racism education politics liberalism

Mother to launch complaint after Toronto teacher allegedly compares son to a 'crackhead'

racism education children parents misconduct
Isaiah Francis, left, with his mother Abigail Francis
A Toronto mother says she plans to file a formal complaint after a substitute teacher at an elementary school allegedly made a racist remark to her 11-year-old son.

It's been more than a week since Abigail Francis's son Isaiah, a Grade 6 student, was stunned by the response from the teacher at Norman Cook Public School.

It began like any other English assignment.

Isaiah and his class had been assigned a poetry exercise called, "All the places we love" on Nov. 28.

He didn't quite understand the assignment, and asked the teacher for clarification. The alleged response left him speechless, according to his mother.

"It means like home sweet home. Or maybe for you, in a dark alleyway like a crackhead," Francis says the teacher told her son.

Shocked, Isaiah returned to his seat trying to make sense of what he just heard, his mother says.

That's when Francis says one of his classmates told Isaiah, "Listen dude, that wasn't okay. If I had gone up and asked the same question, he wouldn't have said that to me because I'm white."  (more...)

So, where did Toronto learn its charming ways?

racism education children parents misconduct

TDSB and Hamilton school board officials face fraud and forgery charges

crime corruption education accountability
Patrick Rocco
A former Hamilton school board administrator and a current vice-principal face fraud and forgery charges following a lengthy police investigation.

Patrick Rocco, 57, of Fonthill is charged with three counts of fraud under $5,000 that police say relate to credit card transactions that occurred during his time as human resources superintendent with the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board.

Rocco and Niagara Falls resident Patrick Elliott, 46, are jointly charged with two counts of making, using and transferring a forged document.

Hamilton police Det. Dave Place said it is alleged “falsified documents” were submitted to the U.S. Department of State “relating to citizenship for personal gain.” But Place said he could not reveal what kind of documents were forged, or for what reason.

Rocco voluntarily left the Hamilton school board in 2015 to take a top administration job with the Toronto District School Board.  (more...)

More coverage:
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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The EU flunks the tax haven test

accountability business corruption politics

The Tax Justice Network today expresses its deep frustration at the lack of effective action being taken by the EU following the publication of its so-called tax haven blacklist. Commenting on the publication of the list, Alex Cobham, chief executive of the Tax Justice Network said:
“The EU has today missed a great opportunity to tackle the real issues lying behind the large-scale tax avoidance and tax evasion that is bleeding EU countries dry. 
“Rather than have a list of tax havens based on an objective set of criteria, as originally envisaged, the list appears to be a political fix with EU members picking their least favourite countries to name and shame. The result of the flawed blacklisting process is a politically led list, that includes only the economically weak and politically unconnected. 
“While EU members like the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg are the greatest procurers of global profit shifting but are excluded; and while the UK has sought to frustrate the blacklisting of its Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories at every turn, the list is hard to take seriously.  (more...)

accountability business politics corruption

Three men charged with Maltese journalist's murder

accountability business corruption crime fascism politics violence journalism

Three men were charged Tuesday with the murder of campaigning Maltese journalist and blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in a horrific car bombing on the Mediterranean island on October 16.

Caruana Galizia, 53, was one of Malta's most prominent public figures, thanks to a widely read blog she used to expose crime and corruption on the small but economically booming nation.

Her death -- her vehicle was reduced to a shell of twisted, burned metal in the fatal blast -- led to an outpouring of grief on Malta and an international outcry.

The three men charged with her murder -- brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio, aged 55 and 53 respectively, and Vincent Muscat, 55 -- pleaded not guilty in court in Valletta.

They were charged with manufacturing the bomb, with killing the journalist, with taking part in organised crime, as well as possession of explosives.  (more...)

More coverage:


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Residents call on province to probe Catholic board’s land deal

accountability Catholic education politics seniors

North York residents scrambling to save their cherished Columbus Centre from demolition and redevelopment have stepped up their fight against the $70-million plan and are asking the province to intervene.

They’re angry about the proposed project at Dufferin and Lawrence, which would destroy the current building and a nearby Catholic high school in disrepair, and replace them with a joint facility housing a brand new centre and school.

The Catholic school board and Villa Charities, a non-profit that operates the Columbus Centre, are partners in the venture.

In a letter to Education Minister Mitzie Hunter on Monday, a grassroots group set up earlier this year to oppose the deal asked her to appoint an investigator to review details of the school board’s finances.

“We request that the Minister of Education make a thorough investigation as to whether the Toronto Catholic District School Board is behaving responsibly in their administration of public funds,” said the letter signed by Ian Duncan MacDonald, a co-founder of the group, the Columbus Athletic and Social Association.  (more...)

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Not the first time the school board has been deaf to the community

Canadian man, 71, busted in Thai pedophile ring: Cops

abuse boys crime homosexuality pedophilia pornography rape
Eddy Walsh, a 71-year-old, Canadian pensioner, is suspected of being part of a pedophile ring in Thailand.
Police in Thailand have arrested an elderly Canadian man who media reports say was part of a secret cabal of foreign pedophiles who preyed on young teenage boys in the resort city of Pattaya.

Eddy Walsh, 71, was busted for allegedly molesting a 13-year-old boy. He has denied the charge.

It wasn’t immediately known where Walsh is from in Canada, but sources told Tnews that the pensioner hung around a group of European retirees who engaged in sexually molesting children.

One of the men was allegedly a condo manager.

Walsh was arrested outside the hotel Yen Sabai Mansion in central Pattaya. A warrant for his arrest had been issued Tuesday.

The alleged victim’s mother said her son was taken to a room in the hotel and molested as a video camera recorded.  (more...)

Offshoring our pedophiles?

Two former teachers in Durham admit sexual misconduct with teens

abuse crime education misconduct pedophilia rape

DURHAM—Ontario’s College of Teachers has revoked the licences of two educators who admitted to professional misconduct involving sexual relationships with teenagers.

In decisions rendered earlier this year, the college said both teachers had admitted to the misconduct.

In one instance, a teacher with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board acknowledged having entered into a years-long sexual relationship with a male student. That teacher retired after being charged in 2015.

In the other case a male teacher, who was sentenced to jail time after admitting to luring a child on the internet, did not contest revocation of his licence.

In a decision rendered in May the college found Raymond Hubbard, who had been employed by the Durham District School Board, had acted in a disgraceful and dishonourable fashion when he pursued an online relationship with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl in late 2015 and early 2016.  (more...)

PC policy conference was anything but

abortion accountability education politics prolife

Following the recent PC party convention it was suggested by columnist Martin Regg Cohn that Patrick Brown's "People's Guarantee" had the ring of a Marxist manifesto (Brown Remaking PC Party In His Image - Provincial Affairs, Nov. 28). In fact, there is probably more truth to this statement than this writer realized.

Although Brown and the PC executive called it a "policy conference" last weekend, a little research proves that it wasn't.

The voice of concerned parents and grassroot party members was effectively silenced, with the executive essentially violating its own rules governing policy development and the adoption process.

Party members affiliated with PAFE (Parents As First Educators) wishing a repeal of the Wynne sex education curriculum were initially advised in May 2016 by Mr. Brown to bring forth their policy proposals at the next convention. Worth noting is that on Sept. 19, Brown stated: "I strongly support the updated sex ed. curriculum."

In October 2017 when the Liberals introduced a bill that would prohibit all pro-life activities near Ontario abortion clinics, it was the PC party that put forth a motion for its immediate passage.

Rather interestingly, while a Conservative MP in 2012, Patrick Brown voted in favour of a motion aimed at considering protection for the unborn, while in a recent video release stated: "Let me be very clear. I am pro-choice."  (more...)

Racist cyberattacks at U of T highlight barriers to addressing anti-Blackness

education fascism politics science technology

A series of racist cyberattacks — as evidenced by screen shots — on a Black first-year engineering student at the University of Toronto is throwing light on the continuing legacy of anti-Black racism on campus as well as institutional barriers to redress the issue.

Last week, the university’s Black Students’ Association held a town hall to highlight the latest incident as part of larger systemic structural anti-Blackness.

A senior U of T official acknowledged the existence of anti-Black racism on U of T campuses and that “there is more that we can do to address it.”

In June, an international student from an African nation preparing to come to U of T was invited to a WhatsApp group chat called Chestnut 2017, named after a U of T residence.

She had chosen Canada over the U.S. because after last year’s elections “it became very evident that the States wouldn’t be safe for a Black student.” U of T brochures depicting itself in glowing terms as a draw for international students also helped.

She was introducing herself on the chat, as were others, when a senior year frosh leader who organized and facilitated the chat said, “I’m a trap n-----” spelling out a diminutive form of the N-word. That is the term used for someone who hangs out in a trap, or areas where drugs are sold. The Star has reviewed screen shots of their conversations.

She was taken aback.  (more...)

This puts me in mind of my own experience at this same engineering school. During the Nixon era -- my time at university -- the school and its affiliated colleges were very masonic and very American. My own college don and many professors and students were American. And, thanks to the American president's labors as a Naval Intelligence officer, the campus was rife with the detritus of Operation Paperclip. Much to my puzzlement, I kept running up against closet Nazis. I was encouraged to get a vasectomy and move across campus to the Catholic college, St. Michael's. I couldn't afford the fees and had no financial supports, so I wound up in a crappy Low Anglican college that couldn't fill its rooms otherwise than by accepting refugee Catholics.

Meanwhile, unknown to me, the Catholic college I couldn't afford to attend was a hotbed of Nazi activity. None other than Canada's most infamous Nazi, as a student at St. Mike's, had founded a chapter of the John Birch Society and was hobnobbing with the likes of Ernst Zundel. You can get acquainted with him here:

So, you're not going to get away from American-style lynch mobs at the University of Toronto. You just have to hunker down with a few fellow undesirables like I did and try not to get noticed. And, if you're black, remember that they lynched Jews and Catholics, too. You might find a few understanding friends among the ones that are desperately trying to not look too Jewish or Catholic.

education fascism politics science technology
If only Canada had a wall
More cyberjoy from our southern neighbor:

Malta arrests 10 suspects over car bomb murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

accountability business corruption crime police politics

VALLETTA, MALTA—Ten suspects were arrested Monday for the car bomb slaying of a prominent Maltese journalist who covered corruption, the prime minister and other authorities said.

The arrests came seven weeks to the day after the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. They were the first known break in a crime that shocked Malta and motivated European Union officials to look into the EU island nation’s laws and government.

Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed Oct. 16 when a bomb destroyed her car as she was driving near her home. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who was among the subjects of the late reporter’s investigations, declined to say who the suspects were or why they were arrested.

A little while later, Muscat tweeted that two others had been arrested. They also are Maltese, Home Minister Michael Farrugia said. Authorities did not release the names of any of the 10 suspects.

Explaining the reason for staying tight-lipped, Muscat cited concerns that divulging information could compromise the prosecutions. Farrugia said he wouldn’t disclose anything because “I have been already threatened by legal action by the Caruana Galizia family.”

The journalist’s family alleged last month that Farrugia had put the investigation at risk by sharing confidential information with lawmakers. The minister brushed off the allegation, but the family said it was prepared to take legal action to prevent the government from sabotaging the case.

Caruana Galizia’s family reacted angrily to how the arrests were announced on Monday, saying police should have informed them before the prime minister. They reiterated their skepticism that justice would be carried out, despite Muscat’s public insistence that all would be done to find and punish the killers.  (more...)


Monday, December 4, 2017

Stop teachers from sexually assaulting students

Teacher Richard Knill’s case highlights much that is wrong with Ontario's
legislation on protecting students.
We’re in the midst of a social revolution on what constitutes sexual harassment and assault. There’s been a sea-change in attitudes in just the few weeks since Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men have been toppled for acting in ways that were once condoned.

The law hasn’t caught up with these changes. And nowhere is that so clear as in Ontario, where the law aimed at protecting students from sexual abuse from teachers needs to be made much stronger. Though Bill 37, the Protecting Students Act, became law only 12 months ago it is already dangerously out of date.

Indeed, even when it was passed, the bill was criticized by the Ontario College of Teachers for not being tough enough.

Chief among the concerns the college did not mention in its critique, however, was the one where the bill is most lacking.

As it stands, Bill 37 only protects students from the most heinous and explicit sexual acts. As the Star’s Victoria Gibson and Vjosa Isai reported on the weekend, if the sexual abuse doesn’t involve a very specific series of acts – intercourse, masturbation, child pornography, or contact such as genital-to-genital and genital-to-oral – the law does not require the offender’s teaching licence to be revoked.

That means teachers can engage in various other sexual acts such as kissinig, groping, or even (as in a case reported by the Star) licking a student’s breast, and the college is not required to take away their licence. That doesn’t mean it can’t. It just means it isn’t required to do so.

As a result, as examples reported in the Star show, too often a teacher can be found responsible by the college for sexually assaulting a student and still keep their licence.

With that in hand they become the problem of the school board that employs them. Firing teachers who have managed to hold on to their licence is notoriously difficult, and school boards routinely shy away from even trying to get rid of them. Instead, some boards simply transfer them to another school where they may offend again. So common is the practice that it even goes by a code name: “Pass the trash.”  (more...)


More child porn, luring charges against Toronto teacher

Toronto police have laid more charges against a Toronto Catholic District School Board teacher who was arrested earlier this fall on child porn and luring charges.

Gerard McGilly, 46, was originally arrested in October and charged with luring a child under 18, sexual exploitation, making sexually explicit material available to a person under 18, making child pornography, possessing child pornography, and accessing child pornography.

McGilly was out on bail when he was arrested again on Nov. 30 after two people came forward with allegations that were “sexual in nature,” Det. Paul Krawczyk of the Sex Crimes and Child Exploitation Unit told a news conference Monday.

Police are alleging that McGilly used social media platforms to “inappropriately communicate with a girl,” including sending her pornographic images under the username of “thepirateubuddha,” between September 2015 and June 2017.

They also allege McGilly had inappropriate sexual contact with the girl and, in May 2017, used social media to inappropriately communicate with another girl.

Krawczyk said investigators have received phone calls from more people who identified themselves as victims, but weren’t ready to come forward.

“We will support you regardless of whether you choose to give a statement or not,” Krawczyk said. “We are here when you are ready.”  (more...)


Kids are going through trauma. Staff are getting assaulted. ‘We are all in the trenches together’

The caregivers of Quaker Rd. don’t scare easily. They bear the wounds of their commitment without complaint — a bald spot where hair was ripped out, scars where bites removed chunks of flesh, more punches and kicks to the head than anyone should ever have to count.

The last thing they want is to portray the children they cared for in two group homes, on the same rural property near Lindsay, Ont., as monsters. The cruelty, they say, is in a child protection system that warehouses its most vulnerable kids while giving their caregivers almost no support.

“The perception is we’re glorified babysitters,” says Brandy Perry, “sometimes, prison guards.”

More difficult to explain and overcome is the trauma that haunts Perry and her Quaker Rd. colleagues.

On a recent fall morning, five of them reunited for the first time at their former workplace, where on Feb. 24 a fire in the girls’ home marked their lives forever. It killed their colleague, Andrea Reid, a 43-year-old mother of three, and Kassy Finbow, a 14-year-old resident of the home.

The women gathered amid tears and hugs of comfort.

“This is another step in the healing,” said Sheila Triggs, who was trapped with Reid and Kassy in an upstairs bedroom as the fire raged.

They stood on a dirt driveway in the morning chill, surrounded by fields of brown corn stalks. Nothing is left of the home that was consumed by smoke and flames.   (more...)

The McWynnety legacy on families -- a crisis with no relief in sight.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

German far-right, anti-immigrant party elects leaders amid protests

BERLIN—Members of a rising nationalist party in Germany elected their leadership Saturday at a convention in the city of Hannover that was overshadowed by protests.

Joerg Meuthen was re-elected as chairman at the first full party congress since the Alternative for Germany, known as AfD, won seats in the national parliament for the first time.

Alexander Gauland, one of the party’s parliamentary leaders and a power within AfD, was elected as co-chair.

The position Gauland assumes had been vacant since the day after the September election. Former party co-leader Frauke Petry said AfD was flirting with far-right extremism and quit, saying she would not represent it in the Bundestag.

Both Meuthen and Gauland belong to the more conservative wing of the nationalist party.

Alternative for Germany received almost 13 per cent of the vote in the Sept. 24 federal election, making it the third-strongest party in the Bundestag. The party promoted an anti-migrant message and campaigned aggressively against Chancellor Angela Merkel.  (more...)

Not Vienna, not Berlin are worthy of Polish blood. No son of mine will fight in these evil places till they've been thoroughly chastised and cleansed by the Muslims. God's just plan is unfolding as it has for millennia. May His Kingdom be honored and praised.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

No Philippine law tackles ‘Paradise Papers’ 200 offshore accounts

What do some bankers and fund managers, a few senior government officials, a dozen top taxpayers, and a handful of companies located in the Philippines have in common?

They are among some 200 Filipinos, Philippine residents, and corporations that own or are linked to offshore accounts in tax havens across the world, according to the “Paradise Papers” cache of 13.4 million confidential electronic documents that had been leaked and exposed this month.

While having offshore accounts is not a wrongdoing per se, in some cases, these may be used to avoid or evade tax payments in their host countries, hide unexplained wealth, or move illicit and fraudulent financial flows across borders.

The latest expose by “Paradise Papers,” which has led to stories by media outfits such as the BBC and the UK newspaper The Guardian, covers offshore investments made by the law firm Appleby and corporate service providers Estera and Asiaciti Trust in 19 tax jurisdictions in the world.

About 120,000 people and companies are enrolled in “Paradise Papers,” including Philippine citizens, residents, and business entities.  (more...)


Ireland’s tax deals help fuel global inequality: Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist:
Ireland’s controversial tax deals with companies such as Apple and Google are part of a corrupt global system, which is fuelling inequality and political extremism, including the rise of Donald Trump in the US, according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

The Columbia University professor described Ireland – along with Singapore Panama, the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg – as a “fiscal paradise” where individuals and corporations can “park money” and avoid paying taxes.

“The point is people are seeing globalisation as a venue by which rich corporations like Apple and Google can effectively escape taxation while hard-working citizens in France or Germany continue to pay high taxes,” he said.

“It’s a very ugly picture of a set of rules designed to benefit corporations at the expense of ordinary citizens. Unambiguously, these rules feed into Trumpism,” he told The Irish Times.

In his new book, Globalisation and Its Discontents Revisited, the former chief economist of the World Bank revisits his original 2002 thesis that globalisation has been stage-managed in favour of advanced countries at the expense of developing ones.

In his updated thesis, he argues that the process continues to play a central role in driving inequality and injustice – not only in the developing world, but for the majority of workers in advanced countries.

“Trump took advantage of this discontent, crystallised and amplified it,” Prof Stiglitz said.

He said Ireland’s decision to appeal the European Commission’s €13 billion tax ruling against Apple and the Government’s apparent slowness in retrieving the money have damaged the country’s reputation internationally.  (more...)

University sexual harassment victim kept in dark over whether professor was punished

Véronique Pronovost was sexually harassed by a professor at Université du Québec à
Montréal. Six years later, she still doesn't know if he was disciplined for his actions.
Véronique Pronovost still lacks closure three years after filing a complaint with her university against a professor who sexually harassed her, because the school is keeping her in the dark about how — or even if  — the professor was disciplined.

​"Why would victims go forward and make a complaint if they don't get anything back in terms of closure or anything like that at the end of the process?" Pronovost said to CBC News.

Pronovost was a master's student at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in 2011 when the alleged incidents took place.

Her story points to the challenge facing universities in Quebec and across the country. As post-secondary institutions grapple with how to address sexual violence, victims and advocates say some policies lack transparency.

It began, Pronovost said, with comments about her sex life by a professor at a social event off-campus.

Then, at an off-campus party one night, Pronovost says things got worse.

"He became very much insistent and he was trying to kiss me, and kiss me, and kiss me," she said. "At the end of the evening, he just took my hand and put it into his pants, just like that."

Pronovost said she didn't initially file a complaint because she feared it would have repercussions on her academic career. Although the professor was not her direct teacher, she said he held a lot of influence at the school.  (more...)


Yeah, baby, yeah!

Friday, December 1, 2017

What is your university doing in the Paradise Papers? Help us find out

Princeton University is found in the Offshore Leaks Database
Why do more than 100 universities and colleges have offshore investments? And what are they investing in?

During the Paradise Papers investigation, ICIJ’s reporters found more than 100 universities and colleges from United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Some of these institutions hold tens of billions of dollars in their endowments, but in the eyes of the law, most of those earnings are treated tax-exempt.

Some other types of university investment earnings could be taxable – if not for a system that has been set up to prevent it.

We want your help to investigate what universities and colleges are doing offshore.

We’re creating a small group of journalists for a project dubbed ‘Alma Mater’.

It comes after several of our partners, The New York Times, The Toronto Star and The Guardian, reported on the offshore schemes used by some of these institutions.  (more...)