Showing posts from January, 2016

Canadian businessman of Libyan origin to be tried finally in UAE

Salim Alaradi, a Canadian of Libyan origin, was one of 10 Libya-connected businessmen who were arrested back in the summer of 2014. He has been detained in Abu Dhabi prison ever since.
It is still not clear what the charges will be but the case will be heardbehind closed doorson January 18, so the charges should be known soon. The UAE is a strong supporter of CIA-linked Khalifa Haftar, the commander in chief of the Libyan National Army associated with the internationally-recognized House of Representatives (HoR) based in Tobruk. However, it also expresses support for the UN-sponsored Government of National Accord that should soon take over as the sole legitimate government. The role of Haftar in the new government is not yet clear. The UAE shares the anti-Islamist views of Haftar especially concerning the Muslim Brotherhood. The arrest of the 10 business men was probably designed to gain intelligence on the operation of Islamist groups in Libya especially in the areas controlled by th…

Goodwill suddenly shutters 16 Toronto area stores amid employee protests

Workers at Goodwill in the Toronto area are furious after the abrupt closure of 16 stores, 10 donation centers and two offices this Sunday.
David Williams is an example of an employee who chose to work for Goodwill when he could have stayed on disability due to suffering from scoliosis since the age of 12. He could just have stayed home and watched TV as he put. Instead, he has worked at Goodwill for the last 19 years. Just as the 80-year old charity intended, it provided him with an identity and purpose.He saidof his colleagues at Goodwill Scarborough: "We're a family." Dozens of employees gathered at the Scarborough site demanding that the CEO of Goodwill Industries Toronto Keiko Nakamura resign. Closure of the stores left more than 430 workers without a job. Among them was Len Trumble, who after 26 years with Goodwill earns $13.90 an hour. Older workers such as Raymond Chalmers, who worked at Goodwill for 30 years, doesn't know how he will find another job at 66. …

Canadian stock market indices and loonie both take a dive

Stock markets declined around the globe on concerns about China and slumping oil prices. At close Friday, the Dow Jones dropped 390.97 points, the S&P 500 fell 41.55 and the Nasdaq slid 126.58 points.
The Toronto Stock ExchangeS&P/TSX dropped 263 points or a full 2.13 percent to 12,073.46. This is the TSX's lowest level since June 2013. Over the week, the drop will be over 3 percent. The TSX decline was partly due to the sustained drop in oil prices, which made conditions worse for Canada's already depressed energy sector. The price of crude dropped below the crucial $30 level. Canadian oil sands oil,Western Canada Select(WCS)is at its lowest level ever at just under $17 per barrel. As often happens, the Canadian dollar, the loonie, dropped in tandem with the price of oil. The loonie dropped below 70 cents, to 68.8 cents, its lowest level since 2003. While this may help some exporters, it will increase Canadian prices for imported fruit and vegetables and other items f…

Canadian military aspires to be global Orwellian Big Brother

Canada's military wants to monitor social media streams 24/7 on popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, but not in Canada — only from "non-democratic" states outside of Canada.
While the military wants to monitor these social media, it does not want anyone knowing that it is doing so.Kamran Bokhari, a lecturer on national security and intelligence at the University of Ottawa, sees the new Internet-monitoring platform of the military as part of a larger push by the military to enlarge its intelligence gathering capacities. The Canadian Department of National Defence research wing, Defence Research and Development Canada, are looking for a new Internet-monitoring platform that can analyze and also filter material from social media posts. Part of a document posted on line reads: “At an operational and tactical level, social data can provide information on events as they unfold, key influencers, sentiment of local populations, and even help to geo-lo…

Canada ignores Saudi executions in favor of $15 billion military contract

Although Canada has strongly condemned the mass execution of 47 people by Saudi Arabia, the Liberal government has no intention of canceling a $15 billion contract to supply armored fighting vehicles to the kingdom.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion issued a statement condemning the mass execution on January 2nd and urged the Saudis to respect peaceful dissent and human rights. A prominent Shi'ite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, was one of those executed. His execution sparked protests in many places and the Saudi embassy in Tehran was attacked and burned causing the Saudis to break off relations with Iran. The contract for the armored vehicles is expected to create about 3,000 jobs for up to 14 years. Adam Barratt, director of communications for Dion said: "A private company is delivering the goods according to a signed contract with the government of Saudi Arabia. The government of Canada has no intention of cancelling that contract."Given the unwillingness …

Canadian imprisoned in UAE since 2014 appears to have been tortured

A Canadian businessman Salim Alaradi imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since August of 2014 appears to have been tortured. Canadian officials saw the evidence of the torture during a consular visit in January of 2015.
Alaradi has been imprisoned without charge in the UAE since being arrested in August of 2014. The family shared the evidence that Alaradi was tortured with Amnesty International. The evidence viewed by The Globe and Mail showed torture marks on Alaradi's body that were apparently observed and documented during the January 2014 Canadian consular visit.Alex Neveof Amnesty International said:  “We’ve now seen evidence that makes it very clear that Salim has indeed been subjected to torture. It gives rise to a very strong indication that Canadian officials have been aware of the torture and ill treatment he’s been through since [last] January.” The Alaradi family said consular officials did inform them about general health concerns they had about Alaradi but th…

Six-year old Markham Ontario boy on Canadian no-fly list

Syed Adam Ahmed is a six-year old boy from Markham near Toronto, Ontario. Since he was a toddler he has been flagged as a travel risk.
Canada has it very own no-fly list. Of course this title is too crass and unfriendly to describe the list which has the comforting name ofPassenger Protect Program. The program has been criticized since it was first proposed and implemented in 2007 notably by Lawyer Faisal Kutty.Although the actual numbers of names on the Canadian no-fly list remain secret,Wikipedialists the number as between 500 and 2,000. Canadian Information Commissioner,Suzanne Legault,is challenging the government's refusal to disclose the information to a Montreal journalist who asked for it under the Access to Information Act. The government claims releasing the information could help plot a catastrophic attack on an airliner. How this could be is not explained. The government also warns that divulging the numbers could hurt relations with allies such as the United States. A…

2015 was a dismal year for oil prices, the loonie, and Canadian stock markets

On the final trading day of the 2015 on Thursday, the S&P/TSX composite in Toronto was at 13,009, a loss of 132 on the day and off 11 percent from a year ago. This is the worst performance since 2011.
The TSX peaked on April 15 at 15,524 but since then has dropped 16 percent. The Canadian economy has struggled with output flat or even down some months. In the U.S. stock markets performed better than in Canada but turned in a mixed performance. The Dow Jones dropped 2.2 percent over the year, and the S&P 500 less than one percent. The Nasdaq actually gained 5.7 percent. Oil has suffered an even more dramatic decline in price. A barrel of West Texas intermediate dropped by 38.6 percent during 2015. This is the worst performance since the financial crisis back in 2009. At the close, the price was up marginally at $37.05. For some producers, oil prices are already below the "marginal cost of supply." With producing giants such as Saudi Arabia refusing to cut back product…