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  1. How the ‘jack-in-the-box’ flaw dooms some Russian tanks Mon May 02, 2022 - The Washington Post By Sammy Westfall and William Neff The sight of Russian tank turrets, blown off and lying in ruin along Ukrainian roads, points to a tank design issue known as the “jack-in-the-box” flaw. The fault is related to the way many Russian tanks hold and load ammunition. In these tanks, including the T-72, the Soviet-designed vehicle that has seen wide use in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, shells are all placed in a ring within the turret. When an enemy shot hits the right spot, the ring of ammunition can quickly “cook off” and ignite a chain reaction, blasting the turret off the tank’s hull in a lethal blow. Other tanks on the modern battlefield generally store their ammunition away from the crew, behind armored walls. The Russian T-72 main battle tank’s ammunition sits in a carousel-style automatic loader directly beneath the main turret and members of the crew. If a penetrating hit on the tank’s relatively thin side armor detonates one of these rounds, the explosion can set off a chain reaction, killing the crew and destroying the tank. “For a Russian crew, if the ammo storage compartment is hit, everyone is dead,” said Robert E. Hamilton, a professor at the U.S. Army War College, adding that the force of the explosion can “instantaneously vaporize” the crew. “All those rounds — around 40 depending on if they’re carrying a full load or not — are all going to cook off, and everyone is going to be dead.” British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace this week estimated that Russia has lost at least 530 tanks — destroyed or captured — since it invaded Ukraine in February. “What we are witnessing now is Ukrainians taking advantage of the tank flaw,” said Samuel Bendett, an adviser at the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded nonprofit research institute. Ukraine’s Western allies have provided antitank weapons at high volume. Ukraine, too, has been using Russian-made T-72 variants, which face the same issue. But Russia’s invasion has relied on the large-scale deployment of tanks, and Ukraine has been able to fight back better than expected. The flaw speaks to a broader difference in approaches between Western militaries and Russia’s, analysts say. Why Russia gave up on urban war in Kyiv and turned to big battles in the east “American tanks for a long time have prioritized crew survivability in a way that Russian tanks just haven’t,” said Hamilton. “It’s really just a difference in the design of the ammo storage compartment and a difference in prioritization.” Ammunition in most Western tanks can be kept under the turret floor, protected by the heavy hull — or in the back of the turret, said Hamilton. While a turret-placed ammunition storage compartment is potentially vulnerable to a hit, built-in features can prevent the same level of decapitating devastation seen in the case of the T-72. Even the early versions of the American M1 Abrams tanks in the 1980s were fitted with tough blast doors separating the crew inside from the stored ammunition. These tanks have a crew of four, including a loader who opens the ballistic door manually. These were designed to be stronger than the top armor, so that if ammunition is cooked off, the explosion would be channeled upward through blowout panels, rather than into the crew compartment, Hamilton said. On the battlefield, Ukraine uses Soviet-era weapons against Russia On the other hand, Russian tanks rely on mechanical automatic loaders, allowing them to be manned by a team of three. The design of Russian tanks prioritizes rate of fire, firepower, a low profile, speed and maneuverability vs. overall survivability, said Hamilton. Russian tanks tend to be lighter and simpler, and have thinner, less-advanced armor than Western tanks. The design vulnerability was probably “just cheaper and lighter,” Hamilton said. Newer Russian models have come out since the T-72, which was produced in the 1970s by the Soviet Union. One of them, the T-14 Armata, has been described as a sophisticated battlefield game-changer since it debuted at a 2015 military parade. But the Armatas have not yet seen much use outside parades. Newer variants of the T-72 have come with greater tank protections, Bendett said, but the prevailing principle has been the same: a three-person crew with a lower profile, and shells in a circle within the turret. For the U.S. military, Hamilton said, “if the tank is destroyed and the crew survives, you can make another tank more quickly than you can train another crew.” For Russia, “the people are as expendable as the machine,” he said. “The Russians have known about this for 31 years — you have to say they’ve just chosen not to deal with it.”
  2. All of which brings us to the helicopter. The helicopter is not the kind of thing that the RCMP or the commission appear to be eager to discuss in public. According to the GC Surplus documents, on January 20, 2015 Wortman - operating as buyer 1122342 — offered $235,000 for a 1979 Sikorsky S76A helicopter. The twin-engine medium helicopter is like those used by the coast guard, police in provinces outside Nova Scotia, air ambulances or by executives. It can seat up to 12 passengers. The helicopter can fly 740 kilometres on a tank of fuel. Wortman didn't win the bid for the helicopter, but the very fact that he had tried to get it raises obvious questions, like why would a Dartmouth denturist be interested in such an exotic machine? To attempt to answer that question would cause the MCC to veer into a territory it appears determined to assiduously avoid - Wortman's criminal operations and what the police knew and didn't know about them. Just about everyone who knew Wortman in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were keenly aware that he had long been involved in smuggling cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and guns, among other things, across the border with Maine. The only ones who didn't seem to know about all this, if you believe their story, are the police, especially the Mounties.
  3. As allies visit Ukraine's capital, Canada's absence is being noticed Canadian Embassy should not be among first out, last back in: former Ukrainian ambassador to Canada Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi shake hands during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. Canada has not sent any high-profiles to meet Zelensky since Russia invaded his country earlier this year. Sun May 01, 2022 - CBC News by David Common In the month since Russia's retreat from Ukraine's north, the capital Kyiv has seen a frenzy of high-profile visitors: 11 prime ministers, Austria's chancellor, the U.S. secretaries of state and defence, its House speaker, the UN secretary-general — even Hollywood star Angelina Jolie. Canada has not sent even a cabinet minister. Ukraine has noticed. "When you physically see a friend, an ally … present in the capital, that would mean a lot," said Andriy Shevchenko, who was until recently Ukraine's ambassador to Canada. It's not just the question of a visit. Twenty seven nations have reopened diplomatic posts in Kyiv — but Canada's embassy in Kyiv remains locked up, vacated prior to the start of the war. "Canada was one of the first countries to move the embassy out. We do not want Canada to be the last one to return," said Shevchenko. Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly has said plans are in the works to reopen. "We need to make sure the security situation on the ground allows for it," her office said in a statement. Others have moved faster. Poland and Georgia never left. Italy and The Netherlands reopened their mission, as did the United Kingdom. Kyiv is "the right place to be," Britain's ambassador told The Guardian newspaper. With the largest Ukrainian diaspora outside former Soviet states, Canada has claimed to be one of Kyiv's biggest supporters, making the absence of a high profile visit and an open embassy all the more puzzling for some. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office did not directly respond to a question about a possible visit, but said in a statement that he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "remain in frequent contact, in addition to regular contact across the federal government with their Ukrainian counterparts." Why a visit is important Many VIP visits to Ukraine's capital include stops north of the city where Russia left a trail of destruction in its aborted northern front. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Bucha, scene of mass graves, and Irpin, a leafy suburb outside the capital where half the buildings were razed in Russia's initial invasion. Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov visited the smoldering ruins of Irpin, and told a CBC News crew it is imperative that world leaders visit because "it's very different when you make public statements from the comfort of your office. It's very different to see it first hand." Canada's contributions to Ukraine Since the outbreak of the latest chapter in nearly a decade of on-and-off conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the federal government has pledged support. That process went into overdrive after February's invasion. But some countries have been far more generous, relative to the size of their economies. Poland, for instance, is approaching 1 per cent of its total GDP in contributions of both financial and military support. Canada did not rank in the top 12 of donors in a tracker established by Kiel University in Germany at the end of March. Since then, Canada has committed an additional $500 million in support. The Biden Administration has requested an additional $33 billion US in aid for Ukraine, the majority for purchases or transfers of military equipment. American and Canadian soldiers are training Ukrainian soldiers — outside Ukraine — on the use of sophisticated M777 howitzers, which have a range of 30 kilometres. When equipped with high precision Excalibur shells, they are accurate to within 10 meters. "We greatly appreciate all the Canadian help, the weapons and the military training and the financial support," said former ambassador Shevchenko. Canada gave Ukraine four of these big guns. Australia, with a smaller population, offered six. The U.S. transferred 90. European nations have also purchased or dispatched military equipment from their own stocks, though they are more at risk of Russian retaliation. Many remain reliant on Russian gas to power their economies. Poland and Bulgaria were cut off last week. Others may follow. Canada, however, does not depend on Russian gas and, by virtue of its geography, is less vulnerable to Russia's orbit.
  4. Millions of bees that were transported on a Delta flight died in extreme heat after being left on the tarmac in Atlanta Sat Apr 30, 2022 - Business Insider by Ryan Hogg Millions of bees bound for Alaska died on a Delta Air Lines flight after the plane was left on the tarmac in Atlanta, Georgia, following a diversion. Alaska Public Media (APM) reported on Wednesday that a Delta plane carrying a shipment of around 5 million bees bound for Anchorage, Alaska, was forced to reroute to Atlanta. Most of the bees died in the Georgia city. The shipment of 200 crates, ordered by Sarah McElrea of Sarah's Alaska Honey on behalf of 300 Alaskan beekeepers, carried 800 pounds of bees and was worth an estimated $48,000. The crates had been due to travel from Sacramento, California, to Anchorage Airport via Seattle, Washington. But the bees did not fit on the Seattle-bound flight and were instead rerouted through the Delta hub in Atlanta. Delta told McElrea the bees would have to wait in a cooler last Saturday but they were transferred to the tarmac the next day over fears the bees were escaping. McElrea told APM the temperature in Atlanta was 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the day they were left there. "I really panicked when they found they had moved them outside because the pheromones that those honeybees emit are attractive to other honeybees that are native to the area," she told APM. Because the bees were outside, it made it harder to rescue those in the crates. MacElrea told APM that she connected on Facebook to "a page that is based in Georgia." She got through to Edward Morgan, a beekeeper in Georgia, Atlanta, who told Atlanta radio station WABE he and more than 20 others from Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association rushed to the airport to try and save the bees. "It's devastating to see that many dead," Julia Mahood, a Georgia master beekeeper, told WABE. "Just clumps of dead bees that had no chance because they were left outside with no food and basically got lost in Delta's machinery." In an emailed statement, Delta spokeswoman Catherine Morrow told The Associated Press on Friday the airline "was made aware of the shipment situation ... and quickly engaged the appropriate internal teams to assess the situation. We have taken immediate action to implement new measures to ensure events of this nature do not occur in the future." Catherine Salm, another spokesperson for Delta, told APM: "We have been in contact with the customer directly to apologize for the unfortunate situation." McElrea and Delta did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment outside normal working hours. McElrea told The New York Times in an interview that Alaskans increasingly rely on imports for bees to pollinate crops for spring and autumn harvests. "People don't grasp just how dependent we as a species are on honeybees for pollination," MacElrea told the New York Times. "And this is just a waste, an absolute tragedy."
  5. BC court tosses 'WestJet travel credits are gift cards with no expiry' argument High court says travel credits aren't covered by laws banning expiry dates on gift cards Fri Apr 29, 2022 - CBC News by Bethany Lindsay B.C.'s highest court has reversed a decision to certify a class-action lawsuit over WestJet's one-year expiry policy for "travel bank credits," saying they're not equivalent to gift cards and don't fall under the same consumer protection laws. In a unanimous decision this week, a panel of three judges of the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed a lawsuit filed by a Vancouver woman on behalf of WestJet passengers who've received expiring travel credits because of things like cancelled flights and lost luggage. A B.C. Supreme Court judge had certified the suit as a class action in 2020, finding there was a reasonable argument to be made that these credits fall under legislation prohibiting expiry dates on gift cards or prepaid credit cards. But Appeal Court Justice Patrice Abrioux wrote in his reasons Wednesday that the lower court judge had erred in her approach, and it was clear WestJet's credits aren't covered by the same laws. Abrioux said his reading of provincial consumer protection legislation suggests that, by definition, gift cards and prepaid credit cards must have "a prepaid fixed amount which the purchaser or gift card holder may use up to the amount that has been prepaid, or 'topped up.'" In the case of plaintiff Tiana Sharifi, who lost $421.80 when her credits for a cancelled trip expired, the justice said she had not directly prepaid for a fixed amount of travel credits. "Or to state the matter this way: Ms. Sharifi purchased a prepaid flight. She did not purchase a prepaid purchase card, gift card, gift certificate or otherwise, for WTB [WestJet travel bank] credits," Abrioux wrote. "Indeed, it is clear that Ms. Sharifi's entitlement to receive WTB credits was entirely contingent on future events and she may never, in fact, receive the credits in question." 'Prerogative of the legislatures' to change laws The decision goes on to say that the "entirely contingent nature" of WestJet's credits means that they are "an entirely different form of financial product or device" than those covered in B.C.'s Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act and similar legislation in other provinces. "If contingent credits are to be subject to the provisions of consumer protection legislation either in this or the other provinces in question, then that is the prerogative of the legislatures, not the courts," Abrioux said. According to Sharifi's original notice of civil claim, she had booked round-trip flights for two people from Vancouver to Paris in January 2018. She cancelled the trip in May 2018 and was issued a $993.23 credit. WestJet imposed a one-year expiry date on the credit, which was issued to her travel bank account. Though she used $571.46 of her credit on another flight to Calgary, the rest expired. Sharifi's credits were what WestJet calls "hard" credits, which are issued for flight changes or cancellations and can be extended for another year for a fee of about $20. "Soft" credits are issued for reasons like lost luggage, customer complaints or airline promotions and cannot be extended. Sharifi had argued that tens of thousands of people have unjustly had their WestJet credits expire or been forced to pay fees to extend them.
  6. In 'shocking move,' Dominican prosecutors appeal bail decision for Canadians from cocaine-carrying plane Pivot Airlines said it is 'deeply concerned' for its employees’ safety and that the federal government must do more Fri Apr 29, 2022 - National Post by Tom Blackwell Prosecutors in the Dominican Republic have appealed a decision to free on bail the crew and passengers of a Canadian charter airliner where a 210-kilogram stash of cocaine was found, a legal move the plane’s owner calls “shocking.” Pivot Airlines said in a statement Friday it is “deeply concerned” for its employees’ safety and that the federal government must do more to try to secure their safe return. The five Pivot crew members and six passengers were ordered released from jail earlier this month on $23,000 bail and a requirement that they stay in the country until the investigation of the drug find is completed. The airline has complained about that stipulation preventing the Canadians from leaving the Dominican Republic, noting that it was members of the crew who discovered the contraband secreted in the plane’s “aviation bay” and then reported it to authorities. The judge who ordered them released noted that prosecutors had presented no evidence tying the crew or passengers to the cocaine. They had already spent several days in jail by the time they won bail, some of them in communal cells alongside accused drug traffickers. Even after being released, they were subject to credible death threats, the airline said. “In a shocking move, the prosecutor has recently filed an appeal of the court’s decision to grant our crew bail, despite having no evidence tying them to a crime,” Pivot said in the statement. It’s now well known in the Dominican Republic that the crew stymied the attempted smuggling of drugs worth as much as $25 million on the street in Canada, the company says. If they’re sent back to prison alongside narcotics criminals, they will be in serious danger, without the protection of the private security they had on the outside, said Pivot. “It is entirely unacceptable that Canadian citizens could be arbitrarily detained for dutifully reporting criminal activity,” it said. “Together with international unions representing the crew, we are cautioning Canadian travellers and more than 70,000 airline employees to seriously consider the risks of travel to the Dominican Republic.” “If reporting a crime in the Dominican Republic could result in arbitrary detention, the government must seriously consider issuing a similar travel advisory.” Pivot said it was grateful for what help the federal government has offered so far. It’s providing consular support and Maninder Sidhu, parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, raised the issue on a pre-planned visit to the country last week, according to Joly’s press secretary. But “the simple fact is” that Ottawa has not done enough to get the Canadians back safely, said the statement. “They miss their families. They fear for the lives, as well their mental and physical well-being. And they want to come home.” The CRJ-100 regional jet landed in the Dominican Republic March 31, carrying potential investors being entertained by an Alberta company, says Pivot. They were supposed to leave April 5, but just before departing a mechanic travelling with the plane discovered a black bag inside the avionics bay, which holds electronic equipment. Pivot alerted authorities in Canada and the Dominican Republic. Police there then discovered another seven bags, all stuffed with cocaine. Prosecutors alleged at the bail hearing that the plane and its passengers were a “façade” designed to hide the flight’s true purpose — smuggling drugs into Canada. But they said they were not alleging any of the group placed the cocaine in the plane, only that an unnamed additional person accompanied the crew and boarded the aircraft the day before it left. Judge Francis Yojary Reyes Dilone said the fact the crew reported the contraband and that there was no evidence linking them or the passengers to the cocaine meant he had to impose less severe restrictions on the group than the prosecution had demanded.
  7. I'll see your dental plan and raise you one..... Canadian tech firms offer employees egg freezing in bid to win talent and improve equity Egg freezing is a costly procedure that can delay a woman’s childbearing years and some workplaces now offer money to help cover the procedure Wed Apr 27, 2020 VANCOUVER - Alyssa Atkins froze her eggs when she was 29 years old. An executive at a fast-growing startup dating someone four years her junior, she felt rushed into thinking about motherhood. She paid $15,000 for what felt to her like a freedom that biology only affords men. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, is this how dudes feel just walking around on the Earth?’” she said. “They get to just do whatever they want.” Atkins, now 31, has since founded Toronto-based Lilia, a concierge service that walks women through the sometimes convoluted egg-freezing process. With a recent bump in demand for egg-freezing procedures, she said Lilia is fielding inquiries from a host of North American companies looking to add the firm’s concierge egg-freezing services as an employee benefit. The changes come in an effort to increase workplace equity. Egg freezing attempts to circumvent a woman’s biological clock. Some women use it as a means of delaying motherhood until an opportune time in their life, like after accomplishing a career goal or finishing a degree. Others turn to it for medical reasons, as might someone with cancer whose treatment plan may impact their fertility. The procedure sees a doctor retrieve eggs from a woman’s body, which are cooled and preserved for future impregnation. It’s an expensive pursuit. One Western Canadian chain of fertility clinics estimates costs between $10,000 and $14,000 for an egg-freezing cycle and medications. It charges an additional $500 annual storage fee after the first year and between $6,250 and $7,300 to thaw an egg and inject it with sperm in the hopes of a successful pregnancy. In 2014 Facebook and Apple made headlines when they became among the first major U.S. employers to offer staff money for egg freezing. After two years of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, Atkins found women are now “really interested” in the procedure. She suggests some women feel they lost two reproductive years due to the pandemic, which may have ended their relationships or paused dating altogether. They now feel a sense of urgency to preserve their eggs and buy more time. While Atkins said the U.S. is the source of most of Lilia’s current business-employers there have realized that women want their workplaces to “care about their reproductive autonomy and family building on their own timeline,” she said-Canadian tech companies are increasingly starting to cover some of the costs of egg freezing for their workers. “I’m pretty sure a few of [our employees] cried … because they were so excited,” said Amanda Nagy, director of people operations at Thinkific. The Vancouver-based online-learning company significantly increased its fertility coverage this year, upping the lifetime maximum support available for employees from $2,400 to $15,000. That can cover fertility treatments to aid pregnancy, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), or those that put it off, such as egg or sperm freezing. In quarterly surveys where Thinkific staff can weigh in on perks and benefits, they told the company they wanted more funding for fertility treatments. Some employees also approached human resources directly, said Nagy, with questions on what coverage existed for family planning. “We did see a greater need to provide a more comprehensive plan,” she said. Hootsuite, a Vancouver-based social-media management company, started to offer fertility treatments for Canadian employees in 2021 with a lifetime maximum of $12,000 available for procedures including egg freezing. Twenty-six employees have dipped into these fertility-treatment funds so far, said Paul Dhillon, the company’s director of total rewards. Hootsuite made the change after engaging consultants to revamp its benefits package with an eye toward diversity, equity and inclusion. “We want to be inclusive of all different types of families,” Dhillon said.The consultants told Hootsuite that many companies were considering egg-freezing benefits, and that offering them would make it a market leader. Alida, a Toronto-based customer-experience management and insights company, has since 2018 offered Canadian employees $10,000 toward fertility treatments, including egg freezing, and $5,000 toward fertility drugs in one of its benefits plans for employees. The goal is inclusivity. “Most women at a certain age group are working hard in their careers and so they put off having children,” said Hermina Khara, Alida’s senior vice-president of people and culture. In Canada, the average age women gave birth started to edge up in the mid-1970s, according to Statistics Canada; in 2011, it surpassed 30 years old. Alida wanted to make starting a family accessible to workers choosing to delay parenthood, said Khara. Share the full article! Send to a friend When Silicon Valley first popularized egg freezing as a workplace benefit, it led to backlash. Critics argued it wasn’t actually a family-friendly policy but just another way to keep employees tied to work. The Canadian employers said it’s not about forcing women into a particular choice, but offering a range of options so they can decide what is right for them and when. “We’re not here to determine whether it’s the right time for somebody or what process that they want to go through,” said Dhillon. “We just want to understand: what [are] the best benefits we can put in place that gives flexibility of choice for the individual? At Thinkific, Nagy said the company didn’t focus on providing benefits that only delay parenthood, but opted for broader fertility coverage. “We want to just really support and facilitate whatever those decisions may be.” While it may be unusual today for an employer to pay for egg freezing, at least some of the companies offering such benefits believe the trend is here to stay. “I think it’s something that’ll become pretty standard,” said Dhillon. “It just takes time for us to get there.” He compared it to more employers offering employee-assistance programs or other mental-health benefits today than five years ago. “It’s something that starts as a trend … and then it becomes table stakes.”
  8. Man dies after Cargojet crew van crashes at Hamilton airport Sat Apr 23, 2022 - The Canadian Press Hamilton police say a 52-year-old man has died after a crew van crashed at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. In a statement, the airport says a Cargojet crew van, which had five Cargojet employees on board, was involved in a single-vehicle collision just after 2:15 a.m. on Saturday. Staff Sgt. John Pauls with the Hamilton Police Service says the five people were all sent to hospital after the incident. Pauls says a 52-year-old man, who was driving the van, was pronounced dead a short time later, while the four passengers suffered minor injuries. He says an investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing. Police say operations at the airport have not been affected by the collision investigation.
  9. Flair Airlines flap should prompt Ottawa to relax foreign ownership rules Thu Apr 21, 2022 - Toronto Star by Rita Trichur The fate of Flair Airlines is caught up in stifling and outmoded federal airline regulations, and Canadians should be outraged at the prospect of losing yet another discount carrier. At issue is whether Edmonton-based Flair is actually controlled by foreigners, in contravention of federal law, despite the airline’s claim of being 58 per cent Canadian owned. Specifically, the Canadian Transportation Agency suspects U.S. investment firm 777 Partners is actually calling the shots at Flair, even though it only owns a 25-per-cent stake. It seems three of Flair’s five directors are – gasp – U.S. citizens who have connections to 777 Partners. What’s more, Flair apparently leases a number of planes from the Miami-based investment firm and owes it a whole whack of money. Oh my swirls! An American private equity firm is investing in our airline industry and providing us with a lower-cost choice for air travel to Canadian, U.S. and Mexican destinations. Predictably, rival airlines are kicking up a fuss. But good luck trying to find a Canadian who thinks this is an actual problem. This regulatory fiasco involving Flair is the latest example of how Canada’s outdated laws and regressive attitude toward foreign investment doom discount airlines, limit competition and harm ordinary Canadians who are fed up with overpriced air fares. The blame for this mess lies squarely with Ottawa. Instead of opening up Canadian skies to real competition from foreign-controlled airlines when it had the chance, the Trudeau government opted to merely tinker with our foreign investment rules. Back in 2018, the government raised the foreign investment limit for airlines to 49 per cent from 25 per cent. But it also ensured that international investors had no path to gaining control of a Canadian carrier. Under federal law, no single foreign investor is allowed to own more than a 25 per cent stake in a domestic airline. Moreover, the law prohibits foreigners from effectively controlling a domestic airline in other ways (such as exerting undue influence over its decision making or by running its daily operations). In the CTA’s regulatory parlance, such scenarios are known as “control in fact.” Therein lies the rub with the Flair case. The CTA is giving Flair until May 3 to straighten up and fly right, or risk losing its operating licence. Flair, meanwhile, is asking Transport Canada for an 18-month exemption to address the regulator’s concerns. Obviously, Ottawa should grant an exemption. It’s a reasonable request. Jobs are on the line and customers could be stranded by an abrupt shutdown. Moreover, Flair needs enough time to shuffle its board, tidy up its debt and resolve any other lingering concerns. But this farcical flap over who controls Flair should also prompt Canadians to question why our country maintains such antiquated laws in this day and age. It’s clear our government’s aversion to foreign investors makes no sense. So, if Ottawa is serious about increasing competition in the airline sector, it must relax the remaining foreign ownership restrictions for airlines that fly domestic routes. No Canadian cares if Americans, or other foreigners for that matter, control airlines that service destinations within Canada. We just want to pay the lowest possible price for a ticket. Australia and New Zealand have a 49-per-cent foreign-ownership limit for domestic airlines that fly internationally, but foreign investors are allowed to own up to 100 per cent of carriers that only operate on domestic routes. The Competition Bureau has previously advocated replicating that model in Canada for domestic air service. And, of course, the 2008 Competition Policy Review Panel argued there’s “no evidence that foreign-controlled airlines would be any more or less inclined than Canadian firms in servicing Canadian routes.” So why do our legislators still look askance at deep-pocketed foreign investors? Canada should pursue a variation of the Australian and New Zealand policies – one that would allow smaller airlines such as Flair that fly within Canada, and to U.S. and international destinations, to be 100-per-cent foreign owned and controlled. Really, the only airline that should be majority Canadian-owned is Air Canada. That’s still a point of patriotic pride for some – even if our flag carrier showed Canadians little loyalty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember Canada 3000, Royal Airlines and Jetsgo? How many money discount airlines need to fail before Ottawa pursues policies that create real competition? Canadians shouldn’t have to pay through the nose for air travel. We’ve suffered long enough. And after being stuck at home for the past two years, now is the time to demand change.
  10. Dominican judge grants bail for Canadian crew jailed after reporting cocaine on airliner The court ruling is the latest twist in an unusual tale that Pivot Airlines says turned the heroes of the day into criminal suspects Thu Apr 14, 2022 - National Post by Tom Blackwell A judge in the Dominican Republic has ordered the release of a Canadian airline crew who are said to have reported a large stash of cocaine hidden inside their plane — then were jailed in precarious conditions next to alleged drug traffickers. The judge said they could be freed at an undetermined time on payment of one-million pesos — about $23,000 — bail each, according to a local news report and a source familiar with the situation. The six passengers on the plane, a charter flight due to return to Toronto last week, were to be freed from prison under similar conditions, the judge ruled. Four are Canadian, one an Indian national and one Dominican. Pivot Airlines, which owns the Bombardier-built CRJ-100 jet, had earlier expressed grave concerns for the safety of their employees, calling it unacceptable that they would be imprisoned in the first place. According to a report in the country’s El Nacional newspaper, though, prosecutors are reviewing the decision and whether to appeal it. It is the latest twist in an unusual tale that Pivot says turned the heroes of the day into criminal suspects. The plane had until two years ago been part of a predecessor company that operated Air Canada Express flights under contract. It flew to Punta Cana on March 31, chartered by an Alberta company that was entertaining potential investors, said the source, who asked not to be named because of the sensitive situation. According to Pivot, a maintenance technician who was travelling with the two pilots and two flight attendants discovered a black bag inside an “avionics bay,” a crawl space beneath the cockpit that contains computer hardware and wiring. The crew reported the find to both local authorities and the RCMP, the airline says. (cont'd)
  11. Hamilton man arrested following drug seizure Airline says their staff discovered and reported 210 kilograms of cocaine to authorities Aatif Safdar was detained after a drug bust on April 05. Tue Apr 12, 2020 - The Hamilton Spectator by Susan Clairmont A Hamilton man acquitted in a notorious domestic violence case which sent his brother to prison, is jailed in the Dominican Republic after 210 kilograms of cocaine was found on the airplane he crewed. Aatif Safdar was arrested in a major international drug bust April 5 when a Pivot Airlines jet was searched by drug control agents at the Punta Cana International Airport before it could depart on a private flight for Toronto. Safdar, a licensed pilot, is one of five crew members arrested. A statement sent to The Spectator by Pivot, based at Pearson Airport, says it was the crew who discovered the cache and contacted authorities. Aatif 's brother Adeel Safdar, a now disgraced scientist once held up as a superstar by McMaster University, is serving a four-year prison sentence for breaking his former wife's jaw in two places and permanently disfiguring her ear. In the longest domestic violence trial in Hamilton history, court heard how Dr. Sara Salim, a medical doctor, was wed to Adeel in an arranged marriage. She moved in with him and his extended family — including Aatif — in Hamilton and allegedly endured psychological and physical abuse and torture. The brothers and their mother were charged and their defence at trial was that Sara was mentally ill and inflicted her injuries on herself. While Adeel was found guilty of aggravated assault. Aatif was found not guilty of assault bodily harm, assault with a weapon, assault and threatening death. Their mother, Shaheen Safdar, faced the same charges at Aatif and was also found not guilty on all counts. Aatif's wife, Sehrish Hassan, provided unexpected drama in the trial when she was caught lying on the witness stand. She was a law school graduate at the time, but was fired from a local firm after her stunt. Defence lawyers Dean Paquette and Nader Hasan represented the Safdars in the domestic violence case. Paquette did not know of Aatif's new legal troubles until contacted by The Spectator. Emails, phone calls and texts to Hasan have gone unanswered. Aatif worked part-time at the Brampton Flight Centre before COVID. His profile photo on LinkedIn shows him in a cockpit, wearing an airline uniform and he identifies himself as a pilot at Pivot Airlines, which specializes in chartered flights. He also lists himself as a life coach. His profile says he lives in Hannon, Ont., which is the location of his home on the East Mountain. Aatif also said on LinkedIn that his "dynamic air operations team" provides services to the Ministry of Forestry, Ministry of Health, the Coast Guard, RCMP and Department of National Defence. His last post was on the day of the drug seizure. It said "Masha'Allah, a true character of resilience!" in reference to Email Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan. The post came just days before Khan lost a no-confidence vote and was ousted from power. Shaheen Safdar and her husband were from Pakistan. She and her sons became Canadian citizens after moving here from Saudi Arabia. Reports say 11 people on the Pivot flight are detained for questioning. It appears most, if not all, are Canadian, including: Syed Aatif Safdar, Sheldon Gaspard Poirier, Younane Hadare, Briscoe Kash Everett, Aldayeh Ranya, Leblond Francheska, Mckenna Liam Patrick, DiVenanzo Robert Lee, Dubey Bal Krishna, Carello Christina, Wojcik-Harrison Brittney Lynn and Alexander Rozov. Media reports from Dominican Republic citing the National Direct-orate for Drug Control as the source, say authorities searched the plane and found eight black bags filled with hundreds of bricks of cocaine hidden in compartments within the twin-engine jet. Pivot says the crew "discovered suspected contraband in the compartment of the aircraft during the course of their normal duties." "In keeping with our policies and procedures, as well as local and international laws and regulations, the crew immediately reported the discovery to local authorities. In addition, our Canadian dispatch office immediately contacted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to report the incident and seek procedural advice in parallel with local authorities." The Spectator reached out to the RCMP last week. The only response from the media relations office in Ottawa is that it received The Spec's request for information. The RCMP's media desk for Ontario responded by saying: "The RCMP generally does not confirm or deny if an investigation is underway unless criminal charges are laid. We therefore cannot provide further information on this matter." Pivot says "our primary concern is our crew's safety, security, ethical and humane treatment as we seek to ensure their safe return to Canada." It says the airline, along with the three national unions representing the crew members and the Canadian embassy in Dominican Republic are co-operating with authorities that are investigating. Pivot says it has retained lawyers in the Dominican Republic and Canada to represent its crew. On Monday, Pivot told The Spectator those detained in the Caribbean country "in unsafe conditions" include all five crew members who reported the discovery of the drugs to authorities. The airline says the crew members are being held in two jails — men's and women's and "the circumstances for our crew in these facilities is dangerous and highly volatile." "Our male crew members in particular have been held in communal cells with individuals accused of involvement in drug related crimes," Pivot says. "They do not speak the language, have been identified as reporting the contraband to authorities and fear for their safety." The airline also said in an email that by immediately reporting suspected contraband, the crew "likely prevented an air disaster, fire and controllability issues that would have likely occurred if the contraband remained on board." It explained the "unaccounted weight" of 210 kilograms of drugs in that aircraft "poses an extreme risk to safety ... given the fuel load." "Additionally, the contraband was located in a maintenance compartment containing several critical electrical systems and packaged in flammable bags," the company says. Pivot says lawyers have advised the company the investigation by Dominican authorities could take more than a year. It is unclear why Pivot believes its crew will be detained for a yearlong investigation. Attempts to have that explained went unanswered. Punta Cana media reports the remainder of the detainees are passengers and that none of those detained are from the Dominican Republic. Pivot describes itself as being committed to "the highest operating and business standards" and says during the pandemic it has conducted over 200 "essential service flights providing critical public health and public safety flights to various government agencies and critical supply chain providers." The airline has previously delayed plans to offer flights out of Waterloo Region to Ottawa and Montreal. The street value of 210 kilos of cocaine in Canada will vary, depending on its purity. But a case in Windsor in February, in which a Quebec truck driver was arrested with 80 kilograms of cocaine, put its value at $8.8 million.
  12. Big oil can get a little greasy.... The Backdoor That Keeps Russian Oil Flowing Into Europe European energy companies are finding workarounds to keep Russian crude flowing while placating public opinion Sat Apr 9, 2022 - Bloomberg News When is a cargo of Russian diesel not a cargo of Russian diesel? The answer is when Shell Plc, the largest European oil company, turns it into what traders refer to as a Latvian blend. The point is to market a barrel in which only 49.99% comes from Russia; in Shell’s eyes, as long as the other 50.01 percent is sourced elsewhere, the oil cargo isn’t technically of Russian origin. The maneuver underpins a burgeoning and opaque market for blended Russian diesel and other refined petroleum products, one of the many that oil companies and commodity traders are using to keep Russian energy flowing into Europe while at the same time satisfying public opinion that demands an end to subsidizing Vladimir Putin’s war machine. As Europe has stopped short of applying any limits or penalties to the purchase of Russian oil, gas or coal, selling the novel blend is perfectly legal. If Shell and others followed European rules to the letter, they could buy cargoes of 100 percent Russian origin. But blending is a convenient tool for companies to publicly say one thing (phase out Russian molecules) and do another (buy lots of Russian molecules). In the case of Shell, the company has amended the so-called general terms and conditions of its contracts to allow for Russian blending. The new terms say (my emphasis): “It is a condition of this bid and shall be a condition of any resulting contract that the goods sold and delivered by Seller shall not be of Russian Federation ('RF') origin and shall not have been loaded in or transported from RF. Goods shall be deemed of 'RF origin' if produced in RF or if 50% or more of their content (by volume) consists of material that was produced in RF.” In the oil market, traders whisper about a “Latvian blend” – a new origin for diesel that looks like a workaround to supply Russian product mixed with something else. The typical trade goes from Primorsk, a Russian oil export town near St Petersburg, into Ventspils, a port in Latvia that has a large oil terminal and tanking capacity. That’s where the blending takes place. There are many other locations where blending is happening, including in the Netherlands, and on the high seas, in what traders call ship-to-ship transfers. For many in the market, the Latvian blend is simply shorthand for any blend that contains Russian molecules, regardless of where the mixing took place. The Latvian blend is a reminder of similar backdoors to trade in sanctioned Iranian and Venezuelan crude, which for years had been offered in the Far East as “Malaysian blend” or “Singapore blend.” For Shell, the strategy is not risk free. The company was forced to issue a rare apology last month after its traders bought a single cargo of deeply discounted Russian Urals crude, triggering an outcry that included the Ukrainian foreign affairs minister accusing the company of profiting from Ukrainian blood. In a subsequent statement, Shell said it had started a “phased withdrawal from Russian petroleum products” and announced it "immediately stopped buying Russian crude on the spot market." While Shell has taken the route of accepting shipments containing up to 49.99% of Russian diesel, others haven’t. France’s TotalEnergies SE stipulates that no cargo “in all or in part” shall originate in Russia, according to the company’s updated general terms and conditions. Repsol SA of Spain has similar rules banning any Russian molecules, according to its general terms and conditions. There are other loopholes – again, all legal. For example, the Intercontinental Exchange Inc. allows traders to deliver Russian diesel against its popular European gas-oil contract. In a circular on Wednesday, the exchange reminded traders that “product of any origin shall be deliverable” in the region of Antwerp, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. So a trader can take a position on the contract, and be able to deliver Russian diesel, all while remaining in compliance with EU rules. The loopholes and backdoors are a reminder of why sanctions are hard to implement. And when sanctions aren’t imposed but actually self-sanctions, it opens the door for companies to do as they see fit. The result? Russia keeps selling its fossil fuels, and making money. Europe, too, benefits from higher diesel supply, and lower energy prices. The moral question awaits its reckoning.
  13. Surge in Car-Crash Deaths Could Be Magnified by New Breed of EVs With their greater size and power, several new battery-powered SUVs and trucks are heightening pedestrian and traffic safety concerns Fri Apr 08, 2022 - Bloomberg News By Kyle Stock All things being equal, choosing an electric vehicle over one with an internal combustion engine is likely to be a better move for the planet, thanks to motors that don’t spew greenhouse gases while underway. But all things aren’t always equal: Battery-powered cars and trucks tend to be far heavier than their gas-burning counterparts. That extra bulk translates into a mixed bag of benefits and concerns, especially when it comes to safety. The occupants of heavy vehicles tend to fare better in an accident, explained Michael Anderson, the University of California professor who co-wrote the study “Pounds That Kill: The External Costs of Vehicle Weight.” “Really what it’s doing is essentially pushing the other vehicle that you crash into out of the way and subjecting you to gentler deceleration forces,” he said. At the time of his study, 2011, Anderson was concerned about what a tide of SUVs and super-sized trucks would mean for road fatalities. And he was prescient; in the years since, U.S. road deaths have surged in step with the average weight of the American vehicle. Anderson was less concerned with electric vehicles, because he figured the batteries would show up first in hatchbacks and sedans like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla Model S, another thesis that panned out. In the next few months, however, the safety landscape will change drastically, as several huge and heavy electric vehicles hit the streets. By the end of the year, about 18 new battery-powered SUVs and pickup trucks will be available for U.S. buyers to choose from. “What matters is less the average weight than the heterogeneity,” Anderson says. “There could be a window where it’s pretty unsafe to be driving (small, gas-powered vehicles) and getting into multi-vehicle accidents.” Consider the GMC Hummer EV, which tips the scales at almost 9,100 pounds, roughly the equivalent of two Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. It’s hard to imagine any collision it might be involved in as minor. Ironically, as more drivers choose massive trucks over family cars, some consumers who prefer smaller cars are turning to trucks as a form of defense. Despite the extra pounds, most of the current crop of electric vehicles decelerate at distances in line with — and sometimes better than — similarly sized gas vehicles, according to data compiled by Consumer Reports. There are a few reasons for this. Carmakers are fitting many of these vehicles with larger brakes, for one. Secondly, electric vehicles have regenerative braking systems in which the electric motors slow the machine slightly while generating power. Brembo, which supplies many of the brakes to carmakers, says the regenerative systems often entirely compensate for the additional weight, which is typically at least 10% more than that of a similar combustion vehicle. Finally, electric cars tend to have better weight distribution and lower centers of gravity than gas-powered cars, thanks to the ponderous battery sealed under the floor of the machine, so braking power is spread more evenly among the four wheels and the tires have more friction with the road. “It all counteracts the additional momentum,” says Jake Fisher, an engineer who leads auto testing at Consumer Reports. “In a physics equation, it cancels out." On Polestar vehicles, regenerative braking via the motor handles much of the deceleration, including in relatively sudden stopping situations, Christian Samson, head of product attributes, said in an e-mail. Even so, its engineers did not factor that into their equations when deciding how big the brake pads should be. “Friction brakes are dimensioned and capable of handling all of the vehicle’s braking despite having the regen system, which, in reality, handles the bulk of the deceleration,” Samson explained. Audi engineers say the regenerative systems on its current electric vehicles handle up to 95% of slowing and stopping, including about 30% of the deceleration in an emergency situation. The Audi e-tron, for example, stops more quickly than the company’s Q7 SUV, according to Consumer Reports, despite being 14% heavier. In fact, the e-tron brakes are used so little that Audi had to design a special protocol to keep the pads from getting corroded. Of course, stopping distance is only pertinent when brakes are engaged. If the pilot of a mammoth EV accidentally steps on the accelerator, isn’t paying attention or can’t see the vehicle’s path very well, its full mass will come to bear, situations that may be exacerbated by the violently quick acceleration most electric motors are capable of. There are about four pedestrians killed by pickup trucks making a left turn for every fatality caused by a conventional car in the same situation. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety blames poor visibility and links the decade-long surge in pedestrian fatalities to steadily bulked-up vehicles. The problem has caught the attention of federal regulators. In March, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed updating its five-star safety ratings program for new cars. If the change is made, automakers, for the first time, would have to build with pedestrians in mind to get high marks. What’s more, researchers have found a direct correlation between pedestrian fatalities and the weight of the offending vehicle. Equally troubling, the blind spot in front of hulking pickup truck hoods can be up to 11 feet longer than that of sedans, according to a recent Consumer Reports study. The insurance industry, however, is sanguine about the mass market transition to EVs. Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communications for the Insurance Information Institute, said EV pilots tend to have cleaner driving records than their petrol-powered peers; specifically they speed less and log fewer miles. A 2020 study from the Highway Loss Data Institute found that electric vehicles were tied to roughly 20% fewer claims than similar vehicles running on gas, although the severity of their claims were slightly higher. As for the Hummer, its stopping hardware was considered just as carefully as its 0-60 acceleration. General Motors Co. spokesman Chris Bonelli said the truck has an “upsized, robust” brake system, a full suite of active safety features like reverse automatic emergency braking and torque vectoring, a technology developed in sports cars that, at least in some cases. could help the 1,000-horsepower truck steer around potential collisions.
  14. Air Canada suspends flights between Vancouver and Delhi Airline says flight path avoiding Russian, Ukraine airspace 'unviable' during windy summer months Wed Apr 06, 2022 - CBC News Air Canada is suspending flights between Vancouver and Delhi, India, due to the extended flight times and stops to refuel as planes manoeuvre around Russian and Ukraine airspace. Flights will pause on June 2. Flights leaving from Vancouver will return on Sept. 6, and those leaving from Delhi will begin again on Sept. 8. Anyone already scheduled to fly during those months will be automatically rescheduled on another flight. The airline says weather conditions, in particular strong winds, are expected to make the route "unviable" during the summer months. Jatinder Dadrao, who owns a travel agency in Surrey, B.C., says this route is typically very busy. "It's almost always a sold out flight because the traffic from Delhi to Vancouver is crazy," he said. He said the flight is the shortest available at about 14 hours, direct, when they can fly through Russian airspace. Before Russia invaded Ukraine, it ran about five times per week. Air Canada will continue to operate up to 11 weekly flights between Canada and India from Toronto and Montreal, both of which take different flight paths. But Dadrao says those flights are much longer, up to 24 hours total, and can be uncomfortable for passengers. "This is the shortest flight ... and they lose it for summer break," he said. Air Canada says it will continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine and could reinstate the Vancouver to Delhi route earlier if conditions permit.
  15. He's baaack... maverickII.mp4
  16. World’s Longest Passenger Flight Plans to Avoid Russian Skies Flight would surpass Singapore Air’s to JFK on distance taken Tue Mar 29, 2022 - Bloomberg News By Danny Lee Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. plans to reroute its New York-Hong Kong service to avoid Russian airspace, in what would be the world’s longest commercial passenger flight by distance. The airline plans to fly from John F. Kennedy International Airport over the Atlantic Ocean, the U.K., southern Europe and central Asia, according to a memo to Cathay flight staff seen by Bloomberg News. The distance of 16,618 kilometers (10,326 miles) would surpass Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s New York service, which takes about 17-and-a-half hours to cover 15,349 kilometers, FlightRadar24 data show. The Cathay new flight will take about 17 hours. A spokeswoman for Cathay said Airbus SE’s A350-1000 is capable of operating the route, which would typically fly over the Arctic and through Russian airspace. Many Asian airlines are avoiding Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine. “We are always running contingency routings for potential events or scenarios,” the spokeswoman said. “The Transatlantic option relies on the facilitation of strong seasonal tailwinds at this time of the year in order for the flight time to be between 16 and 17 hours, thereby making it more favorable than the Transpacific route.” The airline said it is monitoring tailwinds every day, and that their benefits are diminishing. Jet streams tend to be stronger in the winter months. Cathay is seeking overflight permits to operate the service, which it said was normal for a new route. Before the pandemic, which has severely reduced its schedule, the carrier operated up to three round-trips between Hong Kong and JFK daily. Cathay’s most recent New York-Hong Kong flight stopped in Los Angeles before continuing over the Pacific and into the Asian financial hub without entering Russian airspace. The new, extended route would remove the need for a stopover, making it more cost-effective and competitive. Several airlines have plotted routes to avoid Russia, mostly between Asia and Europe. Japan Airlines Co Ltd rerouted its service from Tokyo’s Haneda airport to London’s Heathrow via Alaska and Canada rather than flying over Siberia. That added four-and-a-half hours to the 11-hour 55-minute journey. Such flight changes are likely to only be temporary given the costs carriers face from high oil prices, as well as uncertainty over the accessibility of Russian airspace. Qantas Airways Ltd.’s 20-hour trips connecting Sydney with London and New York using an ultra-long range Airbus widebody jet are still being planned after the pandemic delayed their launch. The airline did a test of the so-called Project Sunrise service in 2019, flying New York to Sydney with 40 passengers. Air New Zealand Ltd. last week unveiled a new ultra-long service from Auckland to New York JFK, while Qantas announced a Melbourne-Dallas route on Monday, both of which are due to start later this year. Qatar Airways QCSC and Emirates Airline flights to Auckland were among the world’s longest until they were suspended due to Covid-19.
  17. This should be rich... After years of missed targets, Liberals table their climate plan this week The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent within ten years The government hopes this week's plan changes that trajectory of failure
  18. China Says It Has Found Second Black Box From Crashed Jet Sat Mar 26, 2022 - Bloomberg News China has retrieved the second black box from a jet that crashed March 21 after days of searching, as investigators try to work out what happened to the China Eastern Airlines flight carrying 132 people that plummeted from a cruise altitude. The flight data recorder was found 1.5 meters (5 feet) beneath the soil at 9:20 a.m. on Sunday, state broadcaster CCTV reported. Investigators made the discovery on the east hill side of the crash site in rural southern China near the city of Wuzhou, it added. The official Xinhua News Agency also confirmed the box had been found. Investigators found the Boeing Co. 737-800 NG’s cockpit voice recorder on Wednesday and hope to use data from the two boxes to understand what went wrong on the flight. There are concerns about the state of the devices, given the plane appears to have plunged into the ground at high speed. Officials haven’t ruled out the possibility that the first box, which has been sent to Beijing for decoding, was badly damaged upon impact. Flight MU5735 from Kunming was cruising at about 29,000 feet (8,839 meters) and some 100 miles from its destination in Guangzhou, southern China, when it suddenly went into a steep descent. Over the next 1 minute and 35 seconds the plane lost altitude in a near vertical dive, which took it almost to the speed of sound. The plane briefly halted its descent for some 10 seconds, and even climbed a little, before plummeting again and slamming into a hillside. All 132 people on board, including nine crew members, were killed. China said Saturday it hadn’t found any evidence of explosive materials in the wreckage of the plane. Some 24,000 pieces of wreckage have been retrieved, officials said, and remains of 120 people had been identified.
  19. Unifor whistleblower reported Jerry Dias after being offered $25K Dias, who was under “significant stress” after being forced to choose between two “close friends” to endorse as his successor, gave $25,000 to national assistant Chris MacDonald, who reported the breach, union says Thu Mar 24, 2022 - Toronto Star by Sara Mojtehedzadeh - Work and Wealth Reporter
  20. Penny's dropped in number of jurisdictions including Sask ($150/yr). Detailed US breakdown
  21. Ivermectin Didn’t Reduce Covid-19 Hospitalizations in Largest Trial to Date Patients who got the antiparasitic drug didn’t fare better than those who received a placebo Mon Mar 21, 2022 - WSJ 'Patients who got the antiparasitic drug didn’t fare better than those who received a placebo'
  22. Passenger plane crashes in southern China China Eastern Airlines flight with 132 people on board crashes in mountain range in Guangxi Mon Mar 21, 2022 - Financial Times A passenger flight with 132 people on board has crashed in southern China, in what threatens to be the country’s worst air disasters in recent years. China Eastern Airlines’ flight MU5735 crashed in a mountain range in Guangxi an hour after take-off, according to multiple state media reports. The flight was travelling from Kunming to Guangzhou. No information on casualties or the cause of the crash was immediately available. Data from Flightradar24 showed the six-year-old plane travelling at 29,100 feet before it began to rapidly lose speed and altitude. The flight was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The aviation regulator said it had activated its emergency response measures and was sending a team to the crash site. The fire department in Wuzhou, where the plane went down, said the plane crashed in a remote mountainous area and 450 firefighters were heading to the scene of the accident, according to state media. Videos on social media showed smoke billowing from a mountain in the area. The images could not be verified by the Financial Times. Flight tracking websites show the route was being flown by a Boeing 737-800. Boeing and China Eastern did not immediately respond to questions. The crash could be one of China’s worst aviation disasters in two decades after a succession of accidents in the 1990s, which officials blamed on the rapid growth of the aviation industry without strict regulatory oversight. Over the past two decades, China has suffered fewer accidents after the country upgraded its fleet and introduced tighter government controls and regulatory scrutiny. The Boeing 737-800 plane that crashed in China differs from the larger Max series which crashed in Indonesia and Ethiopia within six months, killing a combined 346 people.
  23. Retired union leader Jerry Dias under investigation by Unifor
  24. Repo man’s biggest fear: ‘These aeroplanes are gone forever’ after Russia shields them from seizure Lessors have retrieved only a couple dozen of 500 aircraft Wed Mar 9, 2022 - Bloomberg News ByJulie Johnsson and Danny Lee Aircraft owners are coming to grips with the loss of hundreds of Airbus SE and Boeing Co. jets that Russian carriers have effectively shielded from seizure behind a new incarnation of the Iron Curtain. With the window just about closed, foreign leasing firms have succeeded in repossessing only about two dozen of the more than 500 aircraft rented to Russian carriers, according to Dean Gerber, general counsel for Valkyrie BTO Aviation. The planes in limbo have a market value of about $10.3 billion, aviation analytics firm Ishka estimates. Technically, lessors have until March 28 to retrieve the planes under European Union sanctions. But state-owned Aeroflot PJSC and other Russian airlines have already gathered the vast bulk of them back inside the country, out of reach of their owners. The government aided the effort by instructing carriers to stop flying internationally and return the jets to Russia by Tuesday. “The number one fear right now is that these aeroplanes are gone forever,” said Steve Giordano, managing director of Dover, Delaware-based Nomadic Aviation Group, one of a handful of firms specializing in aircraft repossessions. Desperate Hunt The shock from the rapid turn of events rippled through the roughly 2,000 attendees gathered at the annual ISTAT Americas convention in San Diego, where Valkyrie BTO’s Gerber spoke on Monday. There, elation over the fading omicron wave of coronavirus -- the bane of aviation for the past two years -- gave way to talk of spiking oil prices and doomsday scenarios for the stranded jets. “The more we talk with insurers and other people at this conference, the clearer it’s becoming that these aircraft aren’t coming back,” said George Dimitroff, head of valuations for consultant Ascend by Cirium. The Russian government’s response to the economic restrictions has stunned the leasing industry by flouting decades-old international treaties that had helped spur a boom in global travel. Conventions guaranteeing lessors the right to cross borders to claim aircraft from defaulting customers helped attract a gush of money as other investors came to view aircraft as a safe investment. In telexes over the weekend, Russian authorities urged the nation’s airlines to restrict flying to domestic routes and friendly Belarus to prevent their jets being grabbed by repossession crews lying in wait, Emily Wicker, a partner with law firm Clifford Chance, told the lessor conference. The Russian government also advised operators to re-register foreign-owned aircraft in Russia from their traditional base of Bermuda, another move that could thwart efforts to revoke an aircraft’s certification -- or track its maintenance and upkeep. Next Steps Lessors are now weighing their next steps. While it’s possible the war ends quickly, or that Russian airlines cooperate with repossession efforts, they’ve hired lawyers to parse insurance and re-insurance policies as they gird for long, costly fights and try to recover their losses. They’re also poring over complex financings to avoid running afoul of trade restrictions. Those able to react quickly have been able to salvage a handful of planes whose insurance and airworthiness certifications are being revoked one by one. Aircastle Ltd., a Stamford, Connecticut-based lessor, used the confusion over the insurance status of one of its jets to take possession as it made a stopover in Mexico City. “These are really small victories,” Christopher Beers, Aircastle’s chief legal officer, said in San Diego. “The doors are closing.” Slipping Away In another case reported by The Air Current, an Airbus A321neo on its way to Cairo had its airworthiness certificate revoked by authorities in Bermuda mid-flight after it lost its insurance. Its owner, lessor SMBC Aviation Capital, attempted to repossess the plane after it landed but it was able to return to Moscow, the outlet said. Dublin-based AerCap Holdings NV has the most planes leased to Russia at 152, with a market value approaching $2.5 billion, according to aviation consultancy IBA. Carlyle Aviation is among others with exposure, IBA said. Aercap shares have lost about a quarter of their value since the EU banned companies from supplying Russia with aircraft, parts or services in response to the invasion of Ukraine. Kroll Bond Ratings said it may downgrade nine aviation asset-backed securitizations exposed to planes in Russia and Ukraine. The crisis has shone a spotlight on the small staff running Bermuda’s Civil Aviation Authority. The tiny island has oversight of almost 800 aircraft -- some 777 of those Russian, according to the agency’s 2020 annual report. Russia’s recent actions raise questions about another aviation staple: records documenting every detail of a jet’s upkeep, from maintenance visits to the remaining life for key parts. Without such paperwork, a jet’s value rapidly diminishes, said Chris Sponenberg, a vice president at Wilmington Trust. “You can’t prove anything was done to it, can’t prove it’s safe,” he said. “Civil aircraft authorities may not register it as airworthy.” That’s just one of the side-effects of the sanctions, whose full impact could take years to play out.
  25. Freedom Convoy protest organizer Tamara Lich granted bail after review Lich will be released on a total of $25,000 in bond with conditions not to protest COVID mandates Mon Mar 07, 2022 - National Post Tamara Lich, one of the principal organizers of the Freedom Convoy protest, has been granted bail after being held for two-and-a-half weeks on mischief charges. Superior Court Justice John Johnston said an earlier judge made “errors in law” in her Feb. 22 decision to deny Lich bail — he said that the charges she faces are at a “lower scale” than other offences where bail was granted. “I find that Ms. Lich does require a level of supervision if released,” Johnston said, but that can be “managed” by the surety supervising her bail. John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which has provided representation to some convoy participants, said Lich’s custody was “highly unusual,” and noted she has no criminal record and is not charged with a violent crime. “People accused of drug trafficking, illegal firearms possession and violent offences are routinely granted freedom prior to trial,” said Carpay. A Justice Centre news release describes Lich as a “political prisoner.” Lich will be released on a total of $25,000 in bond with conditions not to protest COVID mandates or use any form of social media, and she must return to her home in Medicine Hat, Alta. Lich was arrested Feb. 17 and charged with counselling mischief, the day before police moved in to disperse crowds that had gridlocked downtown Ottawa for three weeks using powers invoked under the federal Emergencies Act. Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois had ordered Lich detained, prompting her lawyer, Diane Magas, to make allegations of bias. Bourgeois ran as a Liberal candidate in 2011, before she was appointed as a judge, and Lich’s lawyer produced a video of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lavishing praise upon Bourgeois as a federal candidate. That video clip referenced in court predated Trudeau’s time as party leader and as prime minister. That “reasonable apprehension of bias” was rejected by the reviewing judge on Monday, as Johnston found there was no evidence of bias in Bourgeois’s original ruling. In his decision, Johnston released Lich on bail with a list of strict conditions, including an order that she leave Ottawa within 24 hours, and Ontario within 72 hours. She must must reside at her home address, and cannot log in or post messages on a variety of social media platforms. She was also ordered not to allow anyone to post messages to social media on her behalf. Lich’s husband was rejected at her initial bail review hearing as her surety — a person who comes to court and promises to supervise an accused person while they are out on bail. The defence proposed a new surety during the bail-review, but their identity is shielded by a publication ban. The Crown prosecutor says Lich will have to give the surety access to her electronic devices, and she will not be allowed to enter Ontario except for court hearing or to meet with counsel.
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