09/29/2014 (2:52 am)

Luka Rocco Magnotta trial starts Monday

Filed under: online, technology |

MONTREAL—The trial in one of Canada’s most publicized and shocking criminal cases is set to begin Monday with evidence being heard in the proceedings against alleged murderer Luka Rocco Magnotta.

Magnotta, 32, has pleaded not guilty to five charges in connection with the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin in May 2012.

The charges are first-degree murder; committing an indignity to a body; publishing obscene material; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; and mailing obscene and indecent material.

Trial Judge Guy Cournoyer questioned potential jurors earlier this month about whether they could stomach evidence that could be considered gruesome, graphic and possibly upsetting.

The 14 bilingual jurors who will hear the case will receive instructions from Cournoyer before prosecutor Louis Bouthillier begins presenting the Crown’s arguments.

The investigation was launched after the discovery of a human torso stuffed in trash behind a Montreal apartment building in May 2012. Body parts then began surfacing in different parts of Canada — first at a federal political office in Ottawa and, later, at two British Columbia schools.

A video that purportedly depicted a slaying was posted online around the same time and was linked by Montreal police to the discovery of the body parts.

As the investigation progressed, Magnotta was discovered to have left the country, triggering an international police manhunt that Montreal police said was the largest in which they had taken part.

Interpol became involved and Magnotta was arrested without incident at a Berlin Internet cafe on June 4, several days after Lin’s slaying.

He returned to Canada a few weeks later, escorted by several Montreal police major-crimes detectives aboard a Canadian government plane.

Bouthillier has said up to 60 Crown witnesses could be heard at the trial, which is expected to last between six and eight weeks. Some Europeans could be called to testify.

The process of selecting the jury took eight days, with the court vetting about 1,600 people called to serve. That group was narrowed down to 16 people. Two will be dismissed when the trial begins and two of the remaining 14 will be discharged before deliberations.

The trial will take place primarily in English, although some parts are expected to be in French.

Magnotta will be represented by Toronto-based attorney Luc Leclair low interest rate personal loans. The lawyer told reporters he was seeking jurors who were open-minded and intelligent and willing to listen to the case.

“He’s (Magnotta) been waiting a long time, I’ve been waiting a long time, we’ve been waiting a long time,” Leclair said on the first day of the jury selection process.

“There was a time that we never thought this day would come.”

Magnotta is a native of Scarborough, Ont., who, according to police, set up dozens of Internet usernames and maintained 70 Facebook pages and 20 websites.

The trial is likely to lure plenty of curious onlookers. During the preliminary hearing, the case attracted criminology students, legal junkies and even a handful of people who appeared to support Magnotta.

Proceedings will be heard in a special courtroom equipped with numerous screens and a large metal-and-glass enclosure behind which Magnotta will sit.

But seating is limited: five spots will be set aside for media and five others for the public. A few other seats are reserved for Lin’s family, including his father Diran, who is in Canada for the trial.

The trial will otherwise be broadcast to an overflow room on a different floor.

Diran Lin has attended several days of proceedings since the case began and has said he hopes to see justice for his son.

Jun Lin, 33, was born in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. He had only been living in Canada since 2011, realizing a long-standing dream by coming to Montreal.

His family said in April 2013 that Lin had a comfortable life working in IT at Microsoft’s Beijing office, but had sought a move to Canada to study and to improve his life.

At the time of his death, Lin was enrolled as a computer engineering student at Concordia University and worked as a part-time convenience store clerk in south-central Montreal.

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09/20/2014 (9:44 pm)

Julio Suarez Picked to Lead Guatemala

Filed under: loans, online |

Guatemalan economist Julio Suarez was tapped to lead the country

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09/19/2014 (6:52 am)

Key Eyes N.Z. Election Win After Snowden, Eminem Battering - Bloomberg

Filed under: money, term |

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key could win a third term in elections tomorrow after surviving a political scandal, Edward Snowden

09/14/2014 (12:28 pm)

Scottish independence could mean messy divorce

Filed under: USA, stocks |

LONDON (AP) — How do you divorce after a 300-year union? It’s complicated, and there is a deadline.

If Scots vote yes to separation on Thursday, a clock starts ticking down to March 24, 2016 — the independence day declared by the Scottish government.

The British and Scottish administrations have agreed that they will recognize the outcome of the referendum and appoint negotiators to work out the details of separation “in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.”

But there is disagreement on many issues, and only 18 months to redraft laws, establish international agreements and work out relationships with international organizations.

Robert Hazell, head of the Constitution Unit at University College London, says that is an “impossible timetable,” and estimates it could take up to three years to hammer out the details.

Some of the key issues:

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DIVIDING THE ASSETS

The Yes and No campaigns have very different assessments of Scotland’s financial picture, including its share of Britain’s national debt and North Sea oil reserves.

The pro-independence Scottish government says Scotland would be entitled to 90 percent of Britain’s oil wealth — based on divvying up the two countries’ waters — but only liable for about 8 percent of its 1.3 trillion pound ($2.1 trillion) national debt, based on its share of the U.K. population.

The British government disputes this, pointing out that Scotland has higher per capita public-sector spending than England and so is more indebted.

Scottish independence leader Alex Salmond has signaled he could play hardball.

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COUNTRY CLUBS

Salmond says that Scotland wants to remain in the United Nations, the European Union and NATO, and he anticipates little difficulty in keeping those seats.

Opponents say re-admission cannot be guaranteed. NATO, in particular, may be perturbed by Salmond’s promise to remove nuclear weapons from Scottish territory.

That’s not so much a problem for Scotland — nuclear weapons are not a membership requirement — as for Britain, whose entire nuclear arsenal is based aboard submarines at the Faslane naval base in western Scotland.

Adm. Mark Stanhope, a former head of the Royal Navy, has said that moving the weapons “would add a dangerous period of destabilization in our nuclear defense posture at a time when the international picture is clearly deteriorating.”

The Royal United Services Institute, a military think-tank, estimates that moving the weapons could cost several billion pounds (dollars) and take until 2028. In the shorter term, Salmond may seek to use the base as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Britain.

Opponents of independence also say the loss of Scotland would sharply reduce Britain’s clout on the world stage. It could endanger its place in the G-7 group of wealthy industrialized nations and its seat on the United Nations Security Council, although Salmond says Scotland would support Britain in efforts to keep the security council seat.

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THE CURRENCY QUESTION

The day after an independence vote, the pound sterling will remain Scotland’s official currency. The Scottish government wants to keep it in the long term as well — as a key prop of stability amid the uncertainty independence would bring.

British officials and bankers say it’s not that simple. Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said that “a currency union is incompatible with sovereignty.”

Salmond thinks the British government is bluffing. He says “a common-sense agreement on a common currency” is in everyone’s best interest.

Another unknown is whether businesses will pull out of Scotland. Financial institutions including the Royal Bank of Scotland and insurance giant Standard Life have announced plans to transfer some operations south of the border to ensure they remain part of British tax and currency systems.

Salmond says these are administrative measures and that the firms will keep most of their thousands of jobs in Scotland — but only time will tell.

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DRAWING A BORDER

At the moment only a blue-and-white billboard informs motorists and train passengers that they have passed from England into Scotland, and border checks will not be set up the day after an independence vote.

Salmond said there is “no danger” of such border formalities, saying Scotland would become part of the passport-free Common Travel Area Britain operates with the Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland.

He says Scotland, like Britain, will be a member of the EU. But opponents say membership cannot be guaranteed; countries such as Spain, that face strong secessionist movements, may be uneasy about quick recognition.

If Scotland remains outside the EU — or if Britain leaves, as some London politicians wish — there may be no alternative to border checks. Britain could also take umbrage if Scotland adopts much more liberal immigration policies.

Scots will be getting different passports if they opt for independence, even if they don’t need them to cross the border. The Scottish government says all British citizens living in Scotland will automatically be considered Scottish citizens, as will Scotland-born Britons who live elsewhere. They will be able to apply for Scottish passports from independence day in 2016, and would be allowed to retain dual Scottish and British nationality.

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KEEPING THE QUEEN

One thing both sides agree on — Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be the Scottish monarch after independence.

Scotland and England shared a monarch for a century before they united politically in 1707, and the queen remains head of state in Canada, Australia and several other former British colonies.

The queen will keep her Balmoral estate in Scotland, the royal family’s traditional summer-vacation destination.

Many other symbols of state are up for grabs. Scotland will likely adopt the Saltire, a blue-and-white flag that already flies alongside the Union Jack over government buildings in Edinburgh.

The red, white and blue British flag combines the emblems of its member regions, including England’s red-and-white Cross of St. George and Scotland’s blue. A redesign of the iconic banner may be in order.

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09/09/2014 (4:48 pm)

Morocco Mojo Building From Moody

Filed under: legal, marketing |

Moroccan bond yields are tumbling to records as an increase in issuance boosts liquidity amid a stable political backdrop, according to Standard Chartered Plc.

The yield on the North African nation

09/06/2014 (10:56 am)

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Toronto

Filed under: marketing, mortgage |

Environment Canada has upgraded a severe thunderstorm watch to a warning for Toronto Friday evening.

The national weather agency is advising people to take shelter when a thunderstorm strikes, noting that “damaging wind gusts, large hail and torrential rainfall are all threats”.

Other southern Ontario regions are currently under severe thunderstorm warning, including Haliburton, Halton-Peel, and York-Durham.

Lightning kills up to 10 people a year in Canada, according to Environment Canada statistics.

The severe heat warning for Toronto has ended.

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09/04/2014 (7:04 pm)

U.S. stocks rise on European Central Bank stimulus

Filed under: Uncategorized, technology |

NEW YORK • U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday after the European Central Bank surprised traders by trimming its main interest rate to a record low and announcing that it would purchase asset-backed securities in an effort to stimulate that region’s ailing economy.

The prospect of improving global growth is underpinning demand for stocks in the U.S.

KEEPING SCORE: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose eight points, to 0.4 percent, to 2,008 in morning trading. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69 points, or 0.4 percent, to 17,149. The Nasdaq composite added 24 points, or 0.5 percent, to 4,596.

MORE CUTS: The ECB said it had trimmed its benchmark interest rate to 0.05 percent from a previous record low of 0.15 percent. In a news conference, ECB President Mario Draghi also said the bank would also start purchases of private sector financial assets in October. The program aims to make credit cheaper, helping investment and growth at a time when the economy of the 18-country eurozone has stalled.

DOLLAR RISES, EURO SLUMPS: Europe’s single currency, which has been in retreat over the past few weeks on expectations that the ECB may pursue further stimulus measures, fell 1 percent to $1 need a personal loan with bad credit.3008 following the ECB’s announcement. The currency is trading at its lowest level since July 2013.

UKRAINE: Amid the economic developments, geopolitical issues remain. Russia and Ukraine have said they are working on a deal to halt months of fighting in eastern Ukraine, but Western leaders expressed skepticism, noting it wasn’t the first attempt to end the deadly conflict.

BONDS, METALS: U.S. government bond prices slipped. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, climbed to 2.43 percent, down from 2.40 percent late Wednesday. In metals trading, rose $2.40, or 0.2 percent, to $1,272.90 an ounce.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude for October delivery was down 46 cents to $95.08 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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09/03/2014 (3:52 am)

Video purporting to show beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff released online

Filed under: money, news |

BEIRUT— An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. reporter Steven Sotloff by Islamic State group.

The gruesome video comes two weeks after a video was released that shows the execution of American journalist James Foley by the same group.

The latest video also threatens the life of British hostage David Cawthorne Haines.

In the new video, Sotloff says he is “paying the price” for American intervention in Iraq.

Sotloff disappeared while reporting in Syria a year ago.

His mother issued a video plea to Abu Bakr al-Baghadadi, calling for his return.

In his plea, Sotloff chastises American President Barack Obama for his foreign police.

In the video, Sotloff says: “Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for the preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life. Am I not an American citizen?”

“From what little I know about foreign policy, I remember a time you could not win an election without promising to bring our troops back home from Iraq and Afghanistan and to close down Guantanamo. Here you are now, Obama, nearing the end of your term, and having achieving none of the above, and deceivingly marching the American people in the blazing fire.”

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08/30/2014 (10:04 pm)

Three pedestrians

Filed under: business, legal |

It was a dangerous night on Toronto’s roads: Three pedestrians are in critical condition at Sunnybrook Hospital after three separate accidents early Saturday morning.

A man believed to be in his thirties or forties lost his life after he was struck by a van in the St. Clair Ave. W. and Keele St. area.

EMS said the man was found with no vital signs around 5 a.m. He was revived and rushed to Sunnybrook Hospital, but passed away later that morning.

Toronto Police said the driver of the van did not remain at the scene.

A teenager was hit by a car shortly after 1 a.m. in the Bathurst St. and St. Clair Ave. W. area. EMS said the young woman, 16, was thrown by the force of the impact and suffered life-threatening head injuries savings account payday advance.

Paramedics rushed the teenager to the hospital where she underwent emergency surgery and remains in critical condition, police said.

Another serious accident occurred earlier in the morning. A man in his sixties was struck by a car in the area of Lawrence Ave. and Warden Ave. E. He was taken to Sunnybrook Hospital with serious injuries, police confirmed.

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08/22/2014 (3:48 pm)

Emerging-Market Shares, Copper Rise as Europe Stocks Slip - Bloomberg

Filed under: economics, stocks |

Emerging-market stocks climbed and European equities pared their biggest weekly advance since February before a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. Copper rose for a third day, Italian bonds gained, and corporate bond risk in Europe slid for a second week.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index advanced 0.3 percent at 10:13 a.m. in London. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.2 percent, trimming its gain to 2.2 percent this week, while Standard & Poor

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