Tokyo prosecutors have charged Nissan, former chairman Carlos Ghosn and another executive for allegedly underreporting income.
The charges imposed Monday involve allegations Ghosn’s pay was underreported by about $44 million US over five years. The prosecutors said earlier that the allegations were behind Ghosn’s Nov. 19 arrest.
The arrest of an industry icon admired both in Japan and around the world has stunned many and raised concerns over the Japanese automaker and the future of its alliance with Renault SA of France.
The prosecutors added a new set of allegations Monday against Ghosn and Greg Kelly, of underreporting another $36 million for more recent years. Nissan as a company was not mentioned in the latest allegations.
In Japan, a company can be charged with wrongdoing. A court date is still undecided as the prosecutors continue to question Ghosn and Kelly.
In a statement, Nissan said it takes the situation, “extremely seriously.”
“Making false disclosures in annual securities reports greatly harms the integrity of Nissan’s public disclosures in the securities markets, and the company expresses its deepest regret.”
The statement said Nissan would work to improve its corporate governance and compliance, “including making accurate disclosures of corporate information.”
Some kind of action by the prosecutors had been expected because the detention period allowed for the allegations disclosed earlier was to end on Monday.
The maximum penalty for violating Japan’s financial laws, as the prosecutors allege, is 10 years in prison, a 10-million yen ($89,000) fine, or both.
Ghosn, a veteran of the auto industry, was arrested in Tokyo last month for alleged financial misconduct. (Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Kelly, 62, is suspected of having collaborated with Ghosn. Kelly’s attorney in the U.S. says he is asserting his innocence.
Ghosn has not commented.
Ghosn has been ousted as Nissan chairman and Kelly lost his representative director title, following their arrests, but they both remain on the board.
Ghosn, 64, was sent to Nissan by its partner Renault SA of France in 1999. He led a dramatic turnaround of the near-bankrupt Japanese automaker. But Ghosn’s star-level pay drew attention since executives in Japan tend to be paid far less than their international counterparts.
Only Ghosn’s lawyers and embassy officials from Lebanon, France and Brazil, where he has citizenship, have been allowed to visit him.
Shin Kukimoto, deputy chief prosecutor at the Tokyo District Prosecutor’s Office, declined Monday to say if the suspects were rejecting the allegations. He said Ghosn and Kelly were being detained because they are considered flight risks.
He also denied that the two would be forced to make confessions. Japan’s criminal justice system has been criticized for detaining people for long periods to pressure them to confess. The conviction rate for those charged is more than 99 percent.
“We do not have such a scenario. There is no such thing and we do not force suspects to make confessions to fit the story,” Kukimoto said in response to a reporter’s question.
Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission said it had filed criminal complaints against Ghosn, Nissan and Kelly. A commission official said Monday that Nissan, Ghosn and Kelly were suspected of falsifying reports on millions of dollars worth of Ghosn’s income.
China raised the pressure on the United States and Canada as a bail hearing for a top Chinese technology executive was set to resume Monday in Vancouver.
A headline in a Communist Party newspaper called Canada’s treatment of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, “inhumane.” The Global Times editorial published in Monday’s edition followed formal protests by the Chinese government to both Canada and the United States over the weekend.
Meng was detained on Dec. 1 while changing planes in Vancouver. The U.S. wants her extradited. It alleges Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran.
Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng, summoning U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad on Sunday, called Meng’s detention “extremely egregious.” He demanded the U.S. vacate the arrest warrant, warning that Beijing will take further steps based on Washington’s response, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
A day earlier, the Chinese government gave Canadian Ambassador John McCallum a warning of “grave consequences” if she is not released.
British Columbia said in a statement Sunday it cancelled a trade mission to China because of Meng’s detention. The announcement came amid fears China could detain Canadians in retaliation.
A Canadian prosecutor asked a court Friday to reject Meng’s bail request. The judge said he would think about proposed bail conditions over the weekend.
Meng’s arrest threatens to add to U.S.-China trade tensions at a time when the two sides are seeking to resolve a dispute over Beijing’s technology and industrial planning. Both sides have sought to keep the issues separate, at least so far.
‘Totally separate’ from trade policy
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, speaking Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” downplayed the impact of the arrest.
“This is a criminal justice matter,” he said. “It is totally separate from anything that I work on or anything that the trade policy people in the administration work on. … We have a lot of very big, very important issues. We’ve got serious people working on them, and I don’t think they’ll be affected by this.”
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was detained on the same day that President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed over dinner to a 90-day cease-fire in the trade dispute.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s deputy chairwoman and CFO, is wanted by the U.S. for allegedly violating trade sanctions against Iran. (fensifuwu.com)
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies, but its products have become the target of U.S. security concerns because of its ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.
The hearing on whether to grant her release on bail was due to resume later Monday.
The U.S. alleges that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It also says that Meng and Huawei misled American banks about its business dealings in Iran.
In a brief statement emailed to The Associated Press, Huawei said “We have every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion.”
Canadian officials have declined to comment on Chinese threats of retaliation over the case, instead emphasizing the independence of Canada’s judiciary along with the importance of Ottawa’s relationship with Beijing.
While protesting what it calls Canada’s violation of Meng’s human rights, China’s ruling Communist Party stands accused of mass incarcerations of its Muslim minority without due process, locking up people exercising their right to free speech and refusing to allow foreign citizens to leave the country in order to bring pressure on their relatives accused of financial crimes.
The party also takes the lead in prosecutions of those accused of corruption or other crimes in a highly opaque process, without supervision from the court system or independent bodies.
A top executive of China’s Huawei Technologies argued that she should be let out on bail while awaiting an extradition hearing due to her ties to Vancouver and fears for her health while incarcerated in Canada, court documents released on Sunday showed.
Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is fighting to be released on bail after she was arrested on Dec. 1 in Canada at the request of the United States. Meng was en route from Hong Kong to Mexico.
Meng, 46, faces U.S. accusations that she covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite U.S. sanctions, a Canadian prosecutor said on Friday, arguing against giving her bail while she awaits possible extradition to the United States.
In a sworn affidavit, Meng said she is innocent of the allegations and will contest them at trial in the United States if she is surrendered there.
The documents said the company’s business in Iran was “relatively immaterial.”
The documents said Huawei communicated with U.S. government agencies on a “day-to-day” basis to get professional guidance on trade compliance, according to a presentation the company made in 2013.
China has strongly criticized her detention and has demanded her immediate release. The arrest has roiled global markets amid worries it could torpedo a possible thawing of trade tensions between the U.S. and China.
In this courtroom sketch, Meng Wanzhou, back right, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, sits beside a translator during a bail hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Dec. 7, 2018. She was arrested Saturday after an extradition request from the United States while in transit at the city’s airport. (Jane Wolsak/Canadian Press)
Meng also said she was taken to a hospital for treatment for hypertension after being detained.
The documents said she takes daily medication and has difficulty eating solid foods as a result of jaw and throat surgery for health issues related to sleep apnea.
Owners of Vancouver properties
In a bail application seeking her release pending an extradition hearing, Meng said she has longstanding ties to Vancouver dating back at least 15 years, as well as significant property holdings in the city.
Her family also sought leave to remain in Vancouver if she was granted bail, according to court documents. Her husband said he plans to bring the couple’s daughter to Vancouver to attend school “depending on the length of proceedings.”
The documents reveal that Meng, 46, was once a permanent resident of Canada and show pictures of Canadian government-issued identification, including her social insurance number and B.C. ID.
The family still spends “significant portions of their summers in Vancouver,” the documents said.
Meng Wanzhou’s ties to Vancouver go back 15 years, according to court documents. (Maxim Shipenkov/EPA)
A statement from her husband, 43-year-old venture capitalist Xiaozong Liu, said that the couple primarily lives in Shenzhen, China, but owns two West Side homes in Vancouver — one in Dunbar, and one in Shaughnessy.
The documents said Meng’s children attended school in Vancouver between 2009 and 2012.
A letter from the headmaster of the private school one of her sons attended stated that Meng was “always a supportive parent.” The headmaster goes on to say that the school has kept in touch with the family since his graduation.
Not a flight risk: documents
The documents also argue that the release would be conditional on Meng relinquishing all of her travel documents.
“The applicant cannot board an airplane without a passport, and the only country to which she could flee via car is the very country that seeks to extradite her,” the document said.
Allegations that she would flee are “wholly speculative,” court documents said, adding that her public persona also mitigates against the possibility that she would flee.
Scott Bissell says Air Canada is “trying to get away with paying the least amount of compensation possible,” after the airline lost his luggage on a trip to Florida and initially told him it wouldn’t pay him back for clothes or any other necessities while he waited for his bag.
Under federal law, when an airline loses a passenger’s luggage on an international flight, it can be held liable for damages up to $2,100. But a Go Public investigation has found that’s not the message some inconvenienced passengers are getting from Air Canada.
When Bissell, a member of the Canadian Forces from Vernon, B.C., landed in Orlando for a family vacation on July 11, his bag was nowhere to be found. When he asked an Air Canada baggage claims agent whether the airline would reimburse him for toiletries and clothing he needed to buy, he says he was told there was no compensation available.
“It was just a full on ‘No,'” Bissell says. “I had nothing. I was in a hot city with nothing to wear except the clothes on my back.”
According to airline passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs, Bissell’s experience is common. He says travellers are intentionally kept in the dark about the compensation they’re entitled to when their bags are delayed or lost.
“Airlines are deceiving the travelling public,” says Lukacs, founder of Air Passenger Rights, a Halifax-based organization that fights for better protections for air travellers.
“By lying to passengers, the airline has very little to reimburse, because passengers are afraid to spend money.”
I missed the dolphins completely because I was inside on the phone.– Scott Bissell
Bissell had flown from Kelowna, B.C., to Orlando, but his suitcase didn’t make a connecting flight in Montreal.
He says he spent a lot of his vacation on the phone with various Air Canada call centre agents, trying to track down his lost luggage.
Bissell filed a missing baggage report and says he spent hours on the phone with Air Canada, but still did not receive his suitcase until three days after he returned home from his vacation in Florida. (Curtis Allen/CBC)
“Every day I would take a couple hours out of the morning and go get new clothing and get new stuff that I needed to wear for that particular day,” he says. “From there, I would get on the phone and call the toll-free number and go through the whole process every time.”
On a boat trip with his family to see dolphins, Bissell says he spent much of the time in the cabin, repeating information to a baggage claim agent.
“I missed the dolphins completely because I was inside on the phone.”
It wasn’t until the third day without luggage that a call centre agent mentioned he could claim “up to $300 US in expenses” — much less than $2,100 Cdn, which is the limit for reasonable expenses established by what’s known as the Montreal Convention.
It’s a treaty governing international flights signed by dozens of countries, including Canada in 2003, that sets out the limits of air carrier liability.
Bissell received his luggage three days after he returned home to Vernon.
After he submitted a written complaint and receipts, Air Canada reimbursed him just over $500 Cdn, and offered him a 20 per cent discount on a future flight, to be used within a year.
“Of course I was disappointed and disregarded [the discount],” Bissell says. “I won’t use it.”
Air Canada says it handles about 115,000 bags per day. (John Li/Getty Images)
Air Canada declined Go Public’s request for an interview. In an emailed statement, corporate communications manager Peter Fitzpatrick said, “We approve reasonable interim expenses. The limits of liability are clearly set out in the itinerary receipt each customer receives and the information is on our website.”
Fitzpatrick also wrote that Air Canada handles about 115,000 bags per day and its goal is “always to have bags arrive with the customer, which is what happens the vast majority of the time.”
Though Go Public asked several times, Fitzpatrick declined to address why Bissell was first told he would not be reimbursed for clothes and other necessities and was then told he could only claim up to $300 US.
‘$50 dollars a day’
Another traveller who recently flew on Air Canada says she, too, was misled about how much compensation she could claim after the airline lost her luggage.
Suzanne Hastings-James flew from Halifax to Manzanillo, Mexico, in August, but her bag didn’t make a connection and was never delivered during her 10-day vacation.
She says an Air Canada agent told her she would only be reimbursed $50 a day for five days.
Air Canada lost Suzanne Hastings-James’s luggage and told her it would only reimburse her $50 a day for five days. (Suzanne Hastings-James)
“Air Canada gave false and misleading information to this passenger in order to dissuade her from pursuing her rights,” Lukacs says.
“That is unlawful.”
Lukacs says Air Canada agents need to tell the truth when the airline loses a passenger’s luggage.
“The correct answer,” he says, “is that passengers are entitled to incur reasonable interim expenses — up to $2,100 Canadian dollars, depending on the circumstance and the purpose of their trip.”
Hastings-James submitted receipts, and Air Canada reimbursed her $292 within weeks. In a letter, the airline also offered her a $500 voucher toward a future flight.
“I did not accept it,” Hastings-James says. “I want Air Canada to accept responsibility for their negligence and apologize.”
Go Public asked Air Canada why it offered Hastings-James a maximum compensation of $250, but the airline did not answer the question.
Passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs says Air Canada is able to mislead customers about compensation because the Canadian Transportation Agency hasn’t issued punitive fines. (Patrick Callaghan/CBC)
Lukacs says Air Canada is misleading passengers because the airline regulator, the Canadian Transportation Agency, is “turning a blind eye” to the issue.
“The Canadian Transportation Agency could issue fines… for misleading the public,” Lukacs says. “Yet we don’t see those fines being issued.”
When asked if that’s the case, the CTA sent a statement saying it does issue fines — more than $1.6 million worth over the past five years — but it didn’t specify whether any of those fines were related to misleading consumers about compensation for damages due to delayed or lost baggage.
To test what Air Canada agents tell passengers who have lost their luggage, Lukacs called a baggage claim centre four years ago and recorded the call.
After claiming he had lost his luggage, an agent told him he could only be reimbursed up to $100 US to replace necessities during the first 48 hours of his trip.
Go Public recently repeated that test, calling Air Canada’s central baggage office call centre three different times to inquire about a lost bag in Orlando. Three different agents said we could claim up to $150 US on the first day and another $50 US on Day 2.
Air Canada declined to comment on the results of Go Public’s test.
Go Public has reviewed copies of letters to passengers from Air Canada, in which the airline says it is providing compensation for lost luggage as “a gesture of goodwill.”
In October 2017, an Air Canada representative wrote to a passenger: “As a gesture of goodwill, if a passenger’s bag is delayed more than 24 hours, Air Canada will contribute towards the cost of first necessities, to a maximum of $100 USD, when substantiated with original purchase receipts.”
Paying that compensation is as much of a duty and obligation as paying taxes. It is required by the law.– Gabor Lukacs , founder of Air Passenger Rights
Telling passengers it is a “goodwill gesture” is false and misleading, Lukacs says, because it gives the impression Air Canada is doing the passenger a favour.
“Paying that compensation is as much of a duty and obligation as paying taxes,” he says. “It is required by the law.”
He also says the law does not require that a passenger wait 24 hours before making necessary purchases.
Click here for information on how to file lost/delayed baggage complaint with the airline regulator
Lukacs submitted the passenger’s letter, and others, to the Canadian Transportation Agency last December.
The regulator says it has not responded, pending the appeal of an earlier decision on a similar complaint.
In that case, the CTA ruled that Air Canada had misled a customer. But it did not issue a penalty because the events that led to the finding happened in 2016, so the one-year statutory limitation had passed. Air Canada is appealing the decision.
‘Not a priority’
John Bardawill, an expert on airline customer service with the Toronto consulting firm TMG International, says part of the problem is many air carriers treat luggage handling as an afterthought.
“If you think about how you get updates on your flight schedule, and the time your flight is supposed to take off, and which gate — they don’t do that with luggage,” he says.
“Once you arrive and your luggage is missing, it’s really up to the consumer to do all the work.”
Industry consultant John Bardawill says airlines need to invest more in customer service and technology to improve baggage handling. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)
He suggests airlines spend more money developing technology so luggage can be tracked and recovered faster.
Bardawill has these tips for passengers:
Take a picture of your luggage before you take off.
Make your luggage unique. Add a ribbon or some other trinket to make it stand out.
Attach a tag with your name and phone number.
Don’t pack valuables that aren’t replaceable.
Use public platforms to complain.
And if you do have trouble resolving a luggage issue with an airline, make your complaint public, he says.
“Senior executives of airlines are very sensitive now to social media.”
Airline Compensation for Lost/Delayed Luggage
Up to $2,100 on international flights.
Up to $1,500 – $2,100 on domestic flights within Canada (depending on the airline).
Up to $3,500 US on domestic flights within the U.S.
Must file an airline complaint within 21 days.
Must initiate legal action within 2 years of final trip date
Source: Air Passenger Rights
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Tired of waiting for major construction projects to come to them, a growing coalition of First Nations is instead taking the lead on ventures to better control their economic futures.
“We really are in a place looking to diversify our economies,” said Jasmine Thomas, a councillor of the Saik’uz First Nation in central British Columbia.
“Really moving away from projects proposed and imposed on us, and changing that whole direction to projects that we’re leading, and that make sense to us.”
The Saik’uz are one of four bands working with an initiative called the First Nations Major Projects Coalition to jump-start a hydroelectric enterprise that has been stalled for decades.
The roughly $300-million Kenney Dam Water Release Facility is the first project the coalition has taken on in its mission to create a First Nation-led service providing trusted advice and co-ordination on getting major projects off the ground.
“We are a first-of-its-kind model,” said Niilo Edwards, executive director of the coalition.
“What we do is we respond to the requests that come in and provide the support necessary so that communities can make informed business decisions.”
The coalition, currently funded from provincial and federal grants, is designed to move beyond impact benefit agreements towards greater initiative and ownership of projects with budgets of over $100 million, said Edwards.
“In this day and age, First Nations have the opportunity to become project proponents themselves. Gone are the days of treating First Nations as stakeholders. They are governments, they have interests in their territory, they have economic and social interests that need to be satisfied.”
Building capacity for large projects
To help First Nations get projects going, the coalition provides a forum for discussions and consultations as well as expertise, but it is not a project manager, nor does it negotiate on behalf of First Nations.
The Kenney Dam project is the most advanced for the coalition, but Edwards said he has received requests to look into electricity transmission projects as well as the potential for a provincial loan guarantee fund.
The coalition, which started taking shape in B.C. in 2015 and now counts 47 members as far east as Ontario, is also framed around projects that meet standards of cultural values and environmental stewardship and aims to demonstrate how projects can move forward with free, prior and informed consent.
The model in Canada is evolving very, very quickly, and to the benefit of everybody, including First Nations, project developers, there’s a lot of positive trends– Grant Arnold, BluEarth CEO
The Kenney Dam project looks to have met the criteria of the Saik’uz, Nadleh Whut’en, Stellat’en, and Cheslatta Carrier First Nations involved in moving it forward. The project will direct overflow water from the dam to a generation facility, and restore water flow to a stretch of the Nechako river that was choked off when the dam was built in the 1950s to power the Rio Tinto Kitimat aluminum smelter.
The project has been proposed in various forms for decades, but never got off the ground. The coalition, along with independent power producer BluEarth Renewables Inc., is now advancing it through a new feasibility study with the hope of finally making it a reality, said Edwards.
“This project was on the books for 20 or 30 years, and the First Nations who have an interest in it today, struggled to advance the project until the coalition came along and was able to act as a forum for capacity and technical support to make the project go, or at least as far as we’ve gotten it today, which is a heck of a lot further than it’s ever been.”
Promoting ‘economic reconciliation’
BluEarth CEO Grant Arnold said the project itself fit key criteria for the company, but that the coalition has helped smooth out the process.
“It’s a really impressive way for these groups to build capacity, and to get involved in large projects,” he said.
“The model in Canada is evolving very, very quickly, and to the benefit of everybody, including First Nations, project developers, there’s a lot of positive trends.”
Having First Nations lead these type of projects, major projects, risks are definitely reduced.– JP Gladu, CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
The coalition’s design of First Nation-led projects will help create more certainty for future projects, said JP Gladu, CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
“It creates certainty for investors, it creates certainty for communities, and at the end of the day, this is an opportunity for First Nations to generate new revenue sources through infrastructure. So I think more of this has to happen.”
For Thomas, who acts as a spokeswoman for the four First Nations involved in the Kenney project, the development and the coalition in general are part of a new era for First Nation independence.
“We’re talking about a new political landscape,” she said.
“Having First Nations lead these type of projects, major projects, risks are definitely reduced. There’s a lot of economic certainty and it’s really helping to promote economic reconciliation for communities.”
The detention of an executive of Chinese electronics giant Huawei in Canada is already having repercussions in Canadian-Chinese trade relations.
Bruce Ralston, British Columbia’s minister of jobs, trade and technology, on Sunday issued a statement saying the province has rescheduled the upcoming China meetings of B.C.’s current Forestry Asia Trade Mission.
He said the China leg of the mission, set to take place after talks in Japan wrap on Tuesday, has been suspended “due to the international judicial process underway” relating to a senior official at Huawei Technologies Co.
Ralston said B.C. “values its strong trade relationship with China, one based on mutual respect and close economic and cultural ties that have been established over many decades,” and his government will try to reschedule the talks “at the earliest convenient moment.”
China summoned the U.S. ambassador to Beijing on Sunday to protest the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Canada at Washington’s behest and demanded Washington cancel an order for her arrest.
The official Xinhua News Agency said Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng “lodged solemn representations and strong protests” with Ambassador Terry Branstad against the detention of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.
Meng, who is reportedly suspected of trying to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran, was detained on Dec. 1 while changing planes in Vancouver.
The Xinhua report quoted Le as calling Meng’s detention “extremely egregious” and demanded the U.S. vacate an order for her arrest. It quoted Le as calling for the U.S. to “immediately correct its wrong actions” and said it would take further steps based on Washington’s response.
Le also told Branstad the U.S. had made an “unreasonable demand” on Canada to detain Meng while she was en route to Mexico from Hong Kong.
“The actions of the U.S. seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty,” Le told Branstad, comments similar to those he made to Canada’s ambassador the previous day.
In this courtroom sketch, Meng Wanzhou, right, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, sits beside a translator during a bail hearing at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Friday. Meng was arrested last Saturday while she was travelling through Vancouver airport, after an extradition request from the United States. (Jane Wolsak/Canadian Press)
The move followed the summoning of Canadian Ambassador John McCallum on Saturday over Meng’s detention and a similar protest warning of “grave consequences” if she is not released.
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies and has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns over its ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.
‘No point’ to political pressure
Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said that Chinese pressure on the Canada’s government won’t work.
Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country. There’s no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide. <a href=”https://t.co/rJh4lgPCbe”>https://t.co/rJh4lgPCbe</a>
“Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country. There’s no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide,” Paris tweeted in response to the comments from Beijing.
A Canadian prosecutor urged a Vancouver court to deny bail to Meng, whose case is shaking up U.S.-China relations and spooking global financial markets.
Meng, also the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport on the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, agreed over dinner to a 90-day ceasefire in a trade dispute that threatens to disrupt global commerce.
The U.S. alleges that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. It also says that Meng and Huawei misled American banks about its business dealings in Iran.
The surprise arrest raises doubts about whether the trade truce will hold and whether the world’s two biggest economies can resolve the complicated issues that divide them.
Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said in a court hearing Friday that a warrant had been issued for Meng’s arrest in New York on Aug. 22. He said Meng was aware of the investigation and had been avoiding the United States for months, even though her teenage son goes to school in Boston.
Court urged to reject bail request
Gibb-Carsley alleged that Huawei had done business in Iran through a Hong Kong company called Skycom. Meng, he said, had misled U.S. banks into thinking that Huawei and Skycom were separate when, in fact, “Skycom was Huawei.” Meng has contended that Huawei sold Skycom in 2009.
In urging the court to reject Meng’s bail request, Gibb-Carsley said the Huawei executive had vast resources and a strong incentive to bolt: She’s facing fraud charges in the United States that could put her in prison for 30 years.
The hearing will resume Monday.
Huawei, in a brief statement emailed to The Associated Press, said that “we have every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion.”
Canadian officials have declined to comment on Chinese threats of retaliation over the case, instead emphasizing the independence of Canada’s judiciary along with the importance of Ottawa’s relationship with Beijing.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said Canada “has assured China that due process is absolutely being followed in Canada, that consular access for China to Ms. Meng will absolutely be provided.”
“We are a rule-of-law country and we will be following our laws as we have thus far in this matter and as we will continue to do,” Freeland said Friday.
If you have a wireless key fob for your car, you might actually be helping thieves. That’s according to an automotive security specialist who says thieves can intercept and reroute their signals (even when they’re inside homes). The spike in car thefts in the Toronto area even prompted one dealership to ask Lexus to install tracking systems on all high-end SUVs.
In our April 2016 investigation, we went on the hunt for the mysterious device police believe thieves are using to steal your car.
Expensive veggies, cheaper meat
The latest study of food prices has good news for meat eaters and bad news for veggie lovers. Vegetable prices are projected to rise by 4-6 per cent, while meat prices are predicted to drop by three per cent and seafood prices by two per cent. Experts say a shift away from eating meat to a more plant-based diet is reducing demand, while vegetables are being identified as a “luxury item.”
Vegetable prices are projected to rise by 4-6 per cent, according to the Canada Food Price Report for 2019. (Isaac Olson/CBC)
Seniors restrained in long-term care
Do you know a senior living in a long-term care facility? A report released last week found the number of seniors kept in daily physical restraints in Newfoundland and Labrador (12.1 per cent) is twice the national average. One resident says her father felt he was “being punished” and that he was only freed when he had a visitor. Earlier this year, our hidden camera investigation revealed a spike in nursing home abuse and violence in Ontario.
Beware of talcum powder
If you’re stocking up on baby powder or other talc products, be careful where you use it. Health Canada is warning talcum powder could be a danger to your lungs and ovaries. The advisory focuses on the safety of talc products including cosmetics, baby, body, face and foot powders; diaper and rash creams; and genital antiperspirants and deodorants.
The Canadian government says breathing in talcum powder could lead to potentially serious respiratory effects, while exposure in the vaginal area may be associated with ovarian cancer. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)
What else is going on?
A Montreal restaurant has been ordered to pay $15K in damages to a former hostess who was told she couldn’t wear cornrows at work. The Quebec Human Rights Commission said Lettia McNickle was the subject of racial discrimination by Madisons New York Grill & Bar in downtown Montreal.
Quora says hackers stole information on as many as 100 million users. Users of the question-and-answer website were told they had been logged out and must re-enter a new password. The information hacked included personal information like names and email addresses.
This week in recalls
These packaged salads could be contaminated with Listeria; the aluminum hardware on these shower seats could corrode, posing a fall and laceration hazard; this avalanche airbag may not deploy when activated; this dark cocoa bar contains milk, which is not declared on the label; this coffee maker could overheat during use, posing a burn hazard; this drywall hoist could pose a risk of injury to the user; these pacifier clips could pose a choking hazard to young children; the front legs on this high chair could detach from the seat, posing a fall and injury hazard.
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Rapper 2 Milly’s lawsuit against the makers of the wildly popular video game Fortnite is raising questions about whether unique choreography can be copyrighted.
The New York-based hip-hop artist, whose real name is Terrence Ferguson, is claiming Epic Games ripped off a signature dance move popularized in 2015 called “Milly Rock” and renamed it “Swipe it.”
“If you have the players in the game doing the ‘Milly Rock,’ I would say that’s for promotion — it kind of helps me brand myself,” said 2 Milly in a FaceTime interview from Brooklyn, N.Y. “But when you take this without permission, and you begin to sell it online, that’s when it becomes a problem for me.”
Fortnite, a free, award-winning battle royale game which has become a cultural phenomenon since it was released in 2017, includes the contentious groove as one of its “emotes,” or personalized dances. An emote allows users to individualize their avatars and can be purchased as an upgrade. These add-ons have largely contributed to the company’s massive financial gains.
Watch: Fortnite’s ‘Swipe It’ dance
According to Forbes, the game has made well over $1 billion US since its release. The dances have become a worldwide sensation, seen all over social media.
“We do not comment on ongoing litigation,” Epic Games’ public relations manager Nick Chester told CBC News in an email when asked about the claims.
Watch: 2 Milly performs ‘Milly Rock’
“‘Milly Rock’ is my craft, my everything,” said 2 Milly. “It’s my signature move, it is me. I perform it at every show I’ve ever had, you know what I’m saying? So for them to take that actual move and throw it in the game and rename it the ‘Swipe It,’ it’s like, ‘let’s steal it from him.'”
‘Arguments on both sides’
Whether the resemblance means copyright infringement poses a unique challenge without much legal precedent.
“There are arguments on both sides,” said David Zitzerman, head of the entertainment law division at Goodman’s LLP in Toronto, who’s not involved with the lawsuit.
It’s a very well-known move within the dance industry. If I had created something like that and had known that this multi-billion dollar company is making money off something that I created, I would be furious as well.– Toronto-based choreographer Derick Robinson
He said there could be a case when it comes to what’s called publicity rights in the U.S., or personality rights under Canadian law.
“Can you say that you’ve misappropriated the persona of the rapper by taking dance moves that are very much identified by the public with that particular person?” he said.
Proving copyright infringement alone might be more difficult, however. According to directives on its website, the U.S. Copyright Office “cannot register short dance routines consisting of only a few movements or steps with minor linear or spatial variations, even if a routine is novel or distinctive.”
“That’s the kind of issue that needs to be addressed in this type of a case,” said Zitzerman.
Inspiration versus appropriation
Many of the video game’s emotes draw from famous dance moves, including Carleton’s memorable jig from the 1990s sitcom Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Psy’s Gangnam Style pony-riding dance.
South Korean singer Psy’s record-breaking hit Gangnam Style included a signature pony-riding move that’s also included as an emote in Fortnite. (Tim Wimborne/Reuters)
Still, 2 Milly isn’t the only one calling out the game for copying other people’s choreography. An emote called Tidy has been compared to a dance move from Snoop Dogg’s famous Drop It Like It’s Hot video.
Watch: Side-by-side comparison of Drop It Like It’s Hot vs. Tidy emote
Rapper BlocBoy JB’s Shoot dance, which was also incorporated in his Look Alive collaboration with Canadian superstar Drake, appears to have inspired the game’s Hype emote.
And a routine done on the TV sitcom Scrubs by Donald Faison’s character Dr. Chris Turk known as Fortnite‘s Dance Moves emote had the actor wondering aloud whether he should “talk to a lawyer.”
Dear fortnite… I’m flattered? Though part of me thinks I should talk to a lawyer…
Chance the Rapper has taken it a step further though — calling the likenesses appropriation and imploring the video game makers to start using the rap music accompanying the original moves.
“Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them,” he posted on Twitter in July.
Fortnite should put the actual rap songs behind the dances that make so much money as Emotes. Black creatives created and popularized these dances but never monetized them. Imagine the money people are spending on these Emotes being shared with the artists that made them
Toronto-based choreographer Derick Robinson said he’s had his own experience with what he calls “plagiarism” of dance moves. He said 2 Milly’s “Milly Rock” deserves to at least be credited in the game.
When Beyoncé did the ‘Milly Rock’ in her performance, she actually reached out. When JLo did the ’Milly Rock’ in her recent performance that had it planned, she reached out.”– 2 Milly on being credited for his signature dance move
“It’s a very well-known move within the dance industry,” said Robinson. “If I had created something like that and had known that this multi-billion dollar company is making money off something that I created, I would be furious as well.”
2 Milly said it’s expensive to start a law suit, especially against a major gaming company, and he isn’t seeking money or publicity. He believes creators should have an understanding built around respect.
“When Beyoncé did the ‘Milly Rock’ in her performance, she actually reached out,” said 2 Milly. “When JLo did the ’Milly Rock’ in her recent performance that had it planned, she reached out.”
“It’s like they (Epic Games) robbed me basically.”
The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission has shut down oilfield fracking operations for at least 30 days in northeastern British Columbia while it investigates earthquakes that occurred there on Nov. 29.
The regulator says the seismic events, which measured between 3.4 and 4.5 magnitude, took place near hydraulic fracturing operations being conducted about 20 kilometres southeast of Fort St. John by Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. The practice is also known as fracking.
It says the company immediately suspended work on Nov. 29 and it won’t be allowed to resume without the written consent of the commission. Six companies in or close to the area have also suspended fracking operations.
The area closed off is 11.6 kilometres by 6.4 kilometres in size, says the regulator.
According to Natural Resources Canada, the 4.5 magnitude earthquake was felt in Fort St. John, Taylor, Chetwynd and Dawson Creek but did no damage. It was followed by two smaller aftershocks.
Fracking involves injecting large amounts of water, sand and chemicals into a well to break up tight rock underground and allow trapped oil and gas to flow.
The technology, along with injecting oilfield liquids into disposal wells, have been linked by the B.C. commission to previous incidents of “induced seismicity,” although it notes on its website none of the events in B.C. have resulted in hazards to safety or the environment or property damage.
Earthquakes usually small, shallow
Honn Kao, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada, told CBC’s Daybreak North that most fracking operations don’t produce induced earthquakes, and when they do, they’re relatively small and shallow.
The earthquake last week came close to matching the world’s largest fracking-induced earthquake which occurred a little further north in 2015 and registered magnitude 4.6.
The Fort St. John and District Chamber of Commerce says the shutdown is an attack on the already suffering oil and gas industry.
“We’ve gone through three bad years,” said Ramona McDonald, the chamber’s president.
“We do not need to go through another three years or another month even of shutdowns, because people are finally just starting to get back to work.”
Shutdown hurting business owners
McDonald, who runs a business that serves the oil and gas industry, says the shutdown could cost her upwards of $100,000 in lost contracts.
She says the shutdown is unnecessary and that there’s already scientific evidence backing the link between fracking and earthquakes.
“This has been studied for a number of years … and has been going around and around in circles,” she said.
Gas drilling in northeastern B.C. is expected to ramp up dramatically once the Pacific Northwest LNG project proceeds.
Natural Resources Canada says there’s still not complete certainty the earthquake was caused by fracking, although the two events seem strongly correlated.
“We need to do some more serious investigation to determine the physical mechanism that actually links these two phenomena together,” said Kao, the seismologist.
Injecting oilfield liquids can change the stress field in a location and dissipate in the vicinity, which is what investigators are looking at right now, Kao said.
And although the earthquakes have so far been small, they suggest a greater risk of larger seismic activity, he said.
“The seismic risk associated with the development of shale gas and oil should not be overlooked.”