publishedmedium:the globe and mail

  • She Fled China’s Camps—but She’s Still Not Free – Foreign Policy
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/02/06/she-fled-chinas-camps-but-shes-still-not-free


    Sayragul Sauytbay sits inside a defendants’ cage during a hearing at a court in Zharkent, Kazakhstan, on July 13, 2018.
    Ruslan Pryanikov/AFP/Getty Images

    Sayragul Sauytbay, the only person to have worked inside an internment camp in Xinjiang and spoken publicly about it, now faces an uncertain future in Kazakhstan.

    ALMATY, Kazakhstan—Speaking to a packed courthouse in eastern Kazakhstan in August 2018, Sayragul Sauytbay—an ethnic Kazakh Chinese national—provided some of the earliest testimony about Beijing’s vast internment camp system for Muslim minorities in its western Xinjiang region. As a former instructor at a camp, Sauytbay had crossed the border illegally into Kazakhstan four months earlier, as she feared internment herself, and now stood on trial with prosecutors in the Central Asian country vying for her deportation back to China.

    Sauytbay’s lawyers argued that she would be arrested or even killed for having shared knowledge of the camps, where between 800,000 and 2 million members of traditionally Muslim ethnic groups have been detained since 2017, according to U.S. State Department estimates. Despite Kazakhstan’s strong ties to Beijing, the court declined to send Sauytbay back to China. The ruling was seen as a rebuke of Kazakhstan’s powerful neighbor, and as Sauytbay was ushered out of the courtroom, she was greeted by a mob of supporters, who chanted, “Long live Kazakhstan!

    Then the previously outspoken Sauytbay went silent, engaging in a media blackout shortly after her trial. Now, six months later, the summer celebrations atop the courtroom steps look premature, with her future in Kazakhstan uncertain and pressure from China for her extradition growing.

    In an interview with Foreign Policy, Sauytbay, 42, said she fears that she may be sent back to China and that despite the August court ruling, her status in the country remains in limbo. Facing a growing set of obstacles—from attempts to ensure her silence to absent legal representation to having been repeatedly denied asylum status by the government—she said her time in Kazakhstan, where her husband and two children are both citizens, could be coming to an end.

    I am an inconvenient witness. I saw everything [in the camps],” Sauytbay said in a late January interview. “I can’t say that [China is] afraid of me, but they want me to keep silent.

    As the only person to have worked inside an internment camp in Xinjiang and spoken publicly about it, Sauytbay remains a particular liability for Beijing as it seeks to curb the mounting international criticism around its mass internment system.

    I’d love nothing more than to get asylum in Kazakhstan and be a happy mom with my children,” Sauytbay said. “But I don’t know if that is possible anymore. I can’t exclude pressure from the Chinese side on the government of Kazakhstan.

    Sauytbay said she remains conflicted about what to do. She is still committed to finding a way to have her status formalized in Kazakhstan, but she also feels a sense of duty to keep speaking out about the abuses she witnessed. Sauytbay reiterated claims she made during her hearing in August that she was granted access to classified documents that offered new insights about the inner workings of the network of camps in Xinjiang but refused to disclose any details.

    I don’t want to talk about that until I have some kind of protection,” she said. “I’d prefer that protection to come from Kazakhstan, but I might need help from other countries.

    Beijing made efforts to ensure Sauytbay’s silence. As first reported by the Globe and Mail, she received news that members of her family still in Xinjiang had been arrested and possibly sent to a camp by Chinese authorities during her trial in Kazakhstan. Sauytbay said she believes the arrests were in retaliation for her releasing information about the internment system in China and that a few months after her post-trial silence, she received word from contacts in Xinjiang that her family had been released and were now back home.

    Sauytbay also said a small group of people, unknown to her, came to her house after the trial and told her to keep silent. The small group of Kazakh-speaking men spoke in vague terms about the Chinese government’s policies in Xinjiang and said there would be consequences for her and her family if she spoke out again.

  • When the gig economy become a public health issue - The Globe and Mail
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-when-the-gig-economy-become-a-public-health-issue

    data for nearly 4,000 individuals in the United States starting from the age of 23 through to 35. Looking at income levels five times over that span, they also monitored individuals’ medical records during the same period. Their findings showed that individuals with the biggest fluctuations in personal income had nearly twice the risk of death and more than twice the risk of heart problems such as strokes and cardiac arrest as compared with those with more stable incomes. Their conclusion: The trend toward fluctuating incomes poses a threat to public health.

    #travail #revenu #précarité #santé_publique #uberisation

  • Why is Canada denying its indigenous peoples clean water? - The Globe and Mail
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/why-is-canada-denying-its-indigenous-peoples-clean-water/article31599791

    Amanda Klasing, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, specializes in the right to clean water.

    “She likes to take a bath, but [the water] irritates her skin,” Susan said of her active two-year-old daughter. When the little girl was 18 months old, Susan started to notice rashes all over her daughter’s legs. “I thought it was something from the grass,” she said. Instead, a doctor informed her that the baby’s rash was probably from her water. Susan can’t bathe her daughter at home now; she takes her to a daycare centre or relative’s house.

    Susan lives in Grassy Narrows First Nation in Ontario, where I spoke to her and other families in February to learn about living under a “do not consume” water advisory.

    #canada #eau #premières_nations

  • Shadowy Black Axe group leaves trail of tattered lives - The Globe and Mail
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/shadowy-black-axe-group-leaves-trail-of-tattered-lives/article27244946

    Canadian police say they are fighting a new kind of criminal organization.

    The signs began to appear two years ago: photos on Facebook of men wearing odd, matching outfits.

    Then there were stories, even old police files, attached to the people in the photos: a kidnapping, a man run over by a car, brutal beatings over what seemed to be a small slight.

    Mapping a secret criminal hierarchy for the first time is a rare kind of detective work. So when two Toronto police officers and an RCMP analyst in British Columbia started documenting the existence of something called the “Black Axe, Canada Zone,” they could not have predicted it would take them to funerals, suburban barbecue joints and deep into African history before they understood what they were seeing.

    The Black Axe is feared in Nigeria, where it originated. It is a “death cult,” one expert said. Once an idealistic university fraternity, the group has been linked to decades of murders and rapes, and its members are said to swear a blood oath.

    Most often, the group is likened to the Mob or to biker gangs, especially as it spreads outside Nigeria.

    An investigation by The Globe and Mail that included interviews with about 20 people found that “Axemen,” as they call themselves, are setting up chapters around the world, including in Canada.

    Like any criminal organization, it focuses on profit, police say. But instead of drug or sex trafficking, it specializes in a crime many consider minor and non-violent: scamming.

    What police have also learned is that, when done on an “industrial” level as part of a professional global network, scams ruin lives on a scale they have rarely seen.

    Two weeks ago, at a news conference attended by FBI officers, Toronto police announced they had taken part in an international crackdown on a money-laundering network through which more than $5-billion flowed in just over a year. Two local men charged with defrauding a Toronto widow of her life’s savings will eventually face extradition to the United States on money-laundering charges, they said.

    Online fraud is fluid, global and hard-to-track, but it often requires local operatives. Several Toronto-area residents have been defrauded of at least $1-million each in the past two years, and police allege the money was wired with the help of Canadian residents linked to the Black Axe, and sometimes it was handed to the group’s associates in person. The recipients then sent the money ricocheting through bank accounts around the globe, with trusted members in countries on every continent helping with the transfers before it disappeared.

    The sophistication of the money-laundering scheme reflects the efficiency of the scams, in which several people assume false identities and mix reality – bank accounts, real names and real websites – with fake documents.

    The police added an extra charge for one of the men they arrested, Akohomen Ighedoise, 41: “participating in a criminal organization.”

    Officers said in an interview they seized documents that will prove in court that Mr. Ighedoise separately helped a network of fraudsters launder money, that the fraudsters are members of the Black Axe and that he is their bookkeeper. The charge is the first time a Canadian has been publicly linked to the group.

    Interviews with police, gang experts and Nigerian academics paint a picture of an organization both public and enigmatic, with an ostensible charitable purpose as well as secret codes and a strict hierarchy. Police say it has grown to 200 people across Canada.

    Officers in Canada first heard the name “Black Axe” less than two years ago, said Tim Trotter, a detective constable with the Toronto Police Service. They are working quickly, trying to stop the group from becoming entrenched.

    “I mean, 100 years ago, law enforcement dealt with the same thing, the Sicilian black hand, right? It meant nothing to anybody except the Sicilian community,” Det. Constable Trotter said. “And that’s what we have here – that’s what we believe we have here.”

    **

    Many scam victims lose a few thousand dollars. Soraya Emami, one of Toronto’s most recent victims, lost everything, including many friends.

    In 1988, Ms. Emami fled her native Iran with her four sons. Her husband was jailed by the regime and his passport was held for years. Ms. Emami flew to Canada and became a real estate agent in North York.

    It took 30 years to save for a nice house in quiet Stouffville, Ont. The rest of her earnings went to her boys, who grew up to be a doctor, an engineer, a computer engineer and a bank manager. Last year, the youngest – a fifth son, born in Canada – began university. She and her husband had never reunited, and for the first time in decades, Ms. Emami thought about dating.

    “My kids grow up, and I feel lonely,” said the 63-year-old, who has long, wavy black hair. “I didn’t know how, and because I’m not [used to] any relationship, I feel shy.”

    Ms. Emami saw a TV commercial for Match.com and joined, hesitantly. A few days later, she told a friend she had heard from a tanned, white-haired, very nice geologist. Fredrick Franklin said he lived just 45 minutes away, in Toronto’s wealthy Bridle Path neighbourhood.

    He had spent years in Australia, and when they talked on the phone, she could not always understand his thick accent at first. He called her several times a day from Vancouver, where he was on a business trip, then from Turkey, where he travelled on a short contract. He was to fly home via Delta airlines on May 5. She would pick him up from the airport, and they would finally meet.

    “I am a simple man in nature, very easy going,” he wrote in an e-mail, telling her about his son and granddaughters. “I have done the Heart and Stroke ride in Toronto for the past 2 years, have also done the MS ride from London to Grand Bend.”

    A few days before his return date, Mr. Franklin called Ms. Emami in a panic. His bank had told him someone had tried to gain access to his account, he said. He could not clear it up from rural Turkey, so would she mind calling the bank and reporting back with his balance? He e-mailed the phone number for SunTrust bank, a 10-digit account number and a nine-digit tax ID number.

    She spoke to a bank teller. The balance, she was told, was $18-million.

    A few days later, Mr. Franklin asked for a small favour – could she send him a new phone and laptop – saying he would repay her upon his return. She acquiesced, believing he could pay her back.

    Within a few weeks, she lost half a million dollars, and the scam would cost her the home in Stouffville.

    What perplexes police about some of the Toronto romance frauds is not how the victims could be so naive, but how the fraudsters could be so convincing.

    The SunTrust account appears to be real, The Globe determined after retracing the steps Ms. Emami took to access it. The bank said it could not verify the account’s existence, as that was client-related information.

    In the course of the scam, Ms. Emami spoke to at least five people other than the Aussie geologist, including two in person.

    In June, in what they called Project Unromantic, York Regional Police charged nine local people in several cases, including that of Ms. Emami, that added up to $1.5-million. They considered the criminals to be internationally connected. “We don’t know who’s at the top, but there seems to be a hierarchy,” Detective Courtney Chang said.

    The Toronto police believe the crimes that led to their charges against Mr. Ighedoise are linked to the ones in York Region.

    *

    Canadian police came across the Black Axe by happenstance. In 2013, an RCMP analyst in Vancouver was investigating a West Coast fraud suspect and found a photo of him on Facebook with another man, said Det. Constable Trotter (the analyst would not speak to The Globe). Both were wearing unusual clothes and seemed to be at a meeting in Toronto.

    The analyst discovered the second man was under investigation by Toronto financial crimes detective Mike Kelly, an old partner of Det. Constable Trotter. The analyst e-mailed Det. Constable Kelly to ask if he knew the significance of what the two men in the photo were wearing.

    The uniform of the Black Axe is a black beret, a yellow soccer scarf and high yellow socks. These items often have a patch or insignia showing two manacled hands with an axe separating the chain between them, which sometimes also says “Black Axe” or “NBM,” standing for “Neo-Black Movement,” another name for the group. They often incorporate the numbers seven or 147.

    The group tries to maintain a public image of volunteerism. It has been registered as a corporation in Ontario since 2012 under the name “Neo-Black Movement of Africa North America,” with Mr. Ighedoise among several people listed as administrators. In the United Kingdom, said Det. Constable Trotter, it has been known to make small donations – to a local hospital, for example – and then claim to be in a “partnership” with the legitimate organization.

    In the GTA, the group got itself listed publicly in 2013 as a member of Volunteer MBC, a volunteer centre serving Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. But after expressing an interest in recruiting volunteers, the group involved never posted an ad, and staff at the centre said when they tried to follow up, they found the three yahoo.com addresses on file were no longer working.

    Police found plenty of photos on social media of men in Axemen uniforms at what were said to be conferences or events.

    Det. Constable Kelly and Det. Constable Trotter compiled a list of people in Canada photographed wearing Axemen outfits. From a car, they watched some of them attend a funeral. One mourner had yellow socks and a yellow cummerbund with NBM on it, Det. Constable Trotter said. The rest were dressed normally. Near the end of the ceremony, “all of a sudden the berets and everything came out, and then they put the coffin into the earth,” he said.

    As they added names to their list, the investigators checked each one for connections to previous cases.

    What they found were 10 to 20 episodes of serious violence over the past few years clearly linked to members of the group, many of them at a Nigerian restaurant in northwest Toronto, Det. Constable Trotter said. One man had been run over by a car; another was allegedly kidnapped and beaten with a liquor bottle for a day in an abandoned building; a man was knocked to the ground for refusing to fetch another man a beer. Witnesses generally refused to talk.

    In one incident, a group of men had insulted another man’s girlfriend, and when he objected, they “beat the living hell” out of him, leaving him with cranial fractures, Det. Constable Trotter said.

    “Without the understanding of the context, it’s just a bar fight,” he said. “But when we understand who those people were, and we realize, oh, they’re all affiliated to the group … that’s why no one called [911]. And that’s why, when the police came, suddenly, oh no, those cameras don’t work. And that’s why, out of a bar full of people, the only witness was his girlfriend.”

    That case and the kidnapping case are before the courts, Det. Constable Trotter said. The Globe tried to search for all court records linked to the bar’s address over the past few years, but was told such a search is impossible.

    Police have six criteria to identify members of the group, Det. Constable Trotter said. If a person meets three of the six, he is considered a likely member.

    Police have documents that show when certain people were “blended” or initiated into the group, including some in Toronto, he said. Members live mostly in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

    “There’s evidence that they’ve been active since 2005, so that’s a decade’s worth of ability to lay under the radar and become ensconced in the criminal community,” he said.

    To set up scams, they work from cafés or home and are “fastidious” about deleting their online history, Det. Constable Kelly said.

    “They have names, titles, they show respect,” Det. Constable Trotter said. “They pay dues to each other. Individuals are detailed by higher-ranking individuals to do things.”

    As they learned of the group’s fearsome reputation in Nigeria, the officers began to equate it more with established Canadian organized crime. At Afrofest in Woodbine Park one summer, a group of Axemen walked through in full uniform – not something anyone from the Nigerian community would do lightly, Det. Constable Trotter said. “I wouldn’t wear a Hells Angels vest if I wasn’t a Hells Angel.”

    He began to worry the group’s brazenness would signify to the community that “Axemen are here. And they’re open about it, and the police are doing nothing.”

    *

    Fraternities such as the Black Axe were born during an optimistic time in Nigeria’s recent history, and at first they reflected it. In the postcolonial 1970s, they were modelled after U.S. fraternities. They attracted top students and were meant to foster pan-African unity and Nigeria’s future leaders.

    When the country descended into widespread corruption after its oil boom, the fraternities split into factions and violently sought power on campuses, trying to control grades and student politics and gain the loyalty of the richest, best-connected students.

    Through the 1990s and 2000s, the groups inspired terror: Students were hacked to death or shot in their sleep, and professors were murdered in their offices in what seemed to be random attacks. Researchers say such crimes were often assigned to new members in their late teens to prove their allegiance after a painful hazing in an isolated cemetery or forest.

    “Sometimes, they are given some tough assignments like raping a very popular female student or a female member of the university staff,” Adewale Rotimi wrote in a 2005 scholarly article.

    Raping the daughters of rich and powerful families, or the girlfriends of enemies, was another tactic of the groups to prove their dominance, Ifeanyi Ezeonu wrote in 2013.

    In addition to innocent victims, one West African organization fighting cult violence says more than 1,700 fraternity members died in inter-group wars in a 10-year span. The groups were outlawed, and much of their ritualistic element – night-time ceremonies, code words – seemed to evolve to avoid detection, said Ogaga Ifowodo, who was a student in Nigeria during the 1980s and later taught at Cornell and Texas State universities.

    “Early on … you could distinguish them by their costume,” he said. “The Black Axe, they tended to wear black berets, black shirt and jeans.”

    The transformation was not a coincidence, Mr. Ifowodo said.

    “At that time, we were under military dictatorships, and they had actually propped up the now-secret cults as a way of weakening the students’ movements,” he said. “It violates something that I think is sacred to an academic community, which is bringing into campus a kind of Mafia ethos.”

    But this does not explain whether, or how, the fraternities could morph into a sophisticated global crime syndicate.

    In Nigeria, the groups are not associated with fraud, said Etannibi Alemika, who teaches at Nigeria’s University of Jos. Mr. Ifowodo agreed. However, he also backed Toronto Police’s conclusion that Black Axe is one and the same as the Neo-Black Movement. In a briefing document posted online, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board says the two are closely linked, but speculates that the Black Axe is a “splinter group” of the NBM.

    The NBM is known to carry out fraud, said Jonathan Matusitz, a professor at the University of Central Florida who has studied Nigerian fraternities. He said the group’s members have also been linked, mostly in Nigeria, to drug trafficking, pimping, extortion, and the falsification or copying of passports and credit cards.

    “I think that the NBM movement is more about scamming people, and it has some associations with the Black Axe, which kills people,” he said. “Have they joined forces to have like a super-group? I hope not.”

    Despite police fears, several people interviewed by The Globe, mostly business owners, said they had never heard of the Black Axe before the police news conference last week.

    Kingsley Jesuorobo, a Toronto lawyer who has many Nigerian-Canadian clients, said he has never heard of anyone being intimidated by the group.

    Mr. Jesuorobo said he is familiar with the Black Axe in the Nigerian context, but cannot imagine it posing a real threat in Canada. It is more likely that former members gravitate to each other for social reasons, he said.

    “It would be a case of comparing apples and oranges to look at how these guys operate – the impunity that characterizes their actions – in Nigeria, and then sort of come to the conclusion that they can do the same thing here,” he said.

    For Nigerian-Canadians, a cultural minority working hard to establish themselves, the idea is very troubling, he said.

    “If these things are true, it would be a bad omen for our community,” he said.

    *

    After confirming her love interest’s $18-million bank balance, Ms. Emami did not hear from him for a few days. When they spoke again, she told him she had worried. He responded that it was a sign of how close they had become; she had sensed something had happened.

    The geologist said that during his contract in Turkey, he had been in a mining accident. He was injured and could not get to Istanbul to replace his phone and laptop, which had been destroyed, so would she buy new ones and send them by courier? Ms. Emami went to the Apple Store at Fairview Mall and called him, asking if he could pay with his credit card over the phone. He said the store would not allow it, and the employee agreed. So she bought the $4,000 laptop and phone and shipped them.

    A few days later, he called again: He needed $80,000 to pay the salary of an employee, promising to repay with interest. She told him she would have to borrow from her son, but he reassured her, and she wired the money in several instalments.

    The day of his flight, a man called and said he was Mr. Franklin’s lawyer and was with him at the Istanbul airport. Someone injured in the mining accident had died, he said, and Mr. Franklin owed $130,000 to his family or he would go to jail.

    “He’s calling me, he’s crying to me,” she said. “I didn’t have any choice. I go to friends and everybody I know. Because you know, when you’re trying to be a good person, everybody trusts you. …Whatever I asked, they give me.”

    Even a friend of a friend, a cab driver, lent her thousands. “He told me, you know, dollar by dollar I collected this money,” she recalled.

    Mr. Franklin sent her details of his rebooked flight, and she promised to pick him up and cook a meal. He would love that, he said; he liked chicken.

    “You don’t believe how much food I make for him,” she said.

    She was waiting with the packed-up meal the morning of his flight when the phone rang again. It was another lawyer, this time at the Frankfurt airport, he said. Mr. Franklin owed $250,000 in tax before he could leave the country with a valuable stone.

    “My heart is just – crash,” she said. “I was crying on the phone. I said, ’Please don’t do this to me. … Why are you doing this to me? I told you from the first day, I’m borrowing this money from people.’”

    A man saying he was Mr. Franklin’s son, who also had an Australian accent, called and told her he had remortgaged his house to save his father and might lose custody of his children because of it. Ms. Emami pulled together $158,000. When her bank would not let her transfer the money, she was instructed to meet a man and a woman in person who deposited it into their accounts.

    Ms. Emami’s son and her manager at work persuaded her to go to police. When officers told her Mr. Franklin was not real and the money was likely gone for good, they called a psychiatrist to help her grasp the news.

    She cannot pay her bills or afford groceries, her credit rating is destroyed and she is hunting for work despite crippling headaches. On Oct. 27, she was served with notice that she will lose her house in Stouffville in 20 days.

    “I can’t sleep,” she said recently, crying.

    She had always considered it her “duty” to help people in need, she said. Now her friends, even her sons, are angry that the scam impoverished them as well.

    “It’s my life, it’s my relationships,” she said. “And after 30 years living here with five kids, you know, I can’t live in the street. I can’t go to the shelter.”

    *

    Other local women describe the lengths fraudsters went to to blend truth and fiction. One received a forged Ontario provincial contract. Two victims in York said the scammers impersonated an Edmonton mining executive. The fraudsters build Facebook and LinkedIn accounts that seem to be populated by friends and family.

    “When we Google them, they do seem real,” one woman said.

    Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, a federal intelligence-gathering agency on fraud, said the scammers profit from economies of scale. “What they did to you, they were doing to 8,000 people that day,” he said.

    The agency gets more calls from fraud victims a day than it can answer, sometimes exceeding 2,000. Staff look for waves of calls complaining of the same methods.

    Authorities estimate they are only ever aware of about 1 per cent to 5 per cent of fraud committed globally, Mr. Williams said. Many victims do not believe they have been scammed or will not report it out of embarrassment.

    Fraudsters, sometimes using credit checks, also home in on well-off victims for special treatment, Det. Constable Kelly said.

    “It’s just like, oh, we’ve got somebody on $100,000 level, let’s steer this to this person,” he said.

    The amount taken from Toronto victims alone is “absolutely astonishing,” he said.

    “If you were going to distribute cocaine, for example, you have to buy that cocaine from another smuggler somewhere, and you have to put up money for that,” he said.

    “In fraud, what is your put-up? What is your overhead? Your commodity that you’re trading in, that you’re selling, is BS. BS is cheap, it’s abundant, it’s infinite. You know, it can be replicated again and again and again and again. … And that’s why it’s a better business.”

    Fraudsters based in Canada work with people in Kuala Lumpur, in Tokyo, in Lagos, Det. Constable Kelly said.

    At the turn of the 20th century in New York, Italian-owned banks started suffering bombings, and homes were mysteriously burned down. Police heard the incidents happened after warnings from something called the “black hand.” But no officers spoke Italian, and investigations were stymied.

    It was not until the 1950s that widespread police crackdowns began. By that time, the group now known as the Mafia had spread around the world and made new alliances. The FBI estimates the organization has about 25,000 members and a quarter-million affiliates worldwide, including about 3,000 in the United States.

    Police hope the charge against Mr. Ighedoise will send an early message to Canada’s Axemen. York and Toronto officers are working to confirm connections between the fraud ring that impoverished Ms. Emami and the ring that Mr. Ighedoise is alleged to help lead.

    At their recent press conference, they appealed to the Nigerian community to report instances where the Black Axe has “intimidated” others.

    They want to know how ambitious the group really is, Det. Constable Trotter said, and how much it is feared.

    If Axemen rely on selling stories, he said, the most important one is for their own community: “That [they] have all the power and authority and the propensity for violence that [they] have back home, here in Canada.”

    #Canada #scam #Nigeria #Black_Axe

  • Amid overdose crisis, China’s opioid producers embrace the Dark Web - The Globe and Mail
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/amid-overdose-crisis-chinas-opioid-producers-embrace-the-dark-web/article35355090

    most of the opioids such as fentanyl and its chemical precursors arrive in small packages through the mail from China, predominantly in the Vancouver area.

    (…) a formal intelligence-sharing agreement between the RCMP and Ministry of Public Security.

    In exchange for Chinese co-operation to stop the flow of illicit synthetic opioids, Beijing expects the RCMP to provide intelligence and help track down Chinese nationals living in Canada who are accused of economic crimes such as money laundering, bribery and theft.

    Chief Supt. Doran said Chinese authorities are just as frustrated as the Mounties in trying to arrest the opioid dealers who are embracing the Dark Web and sending the deadly drugs to Canada.

    #dark_web #canada #chine #drogue #fentanyl #carfentanil

  • Alberta wants changes to ‘women studies’ course focused on hairstyling, cooking - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/alberta/alberta-wants-changes-to-women-studies-course-focused-on-hairstyling-cooking/article34383342

    Students will learn how to “enhance their natural beauty and express confidence” by “analyzing the shape of their faces to determine which hairstyle is most flattering (and) assessing their body shape to choose clothing styles that are the most complimentary,” the post said.

    The girls are expected to do a report on a woman they admire, as well as complete a personality test to help determine what career might suit them. Students are also to look at a history of women’s beauty in North America.

    The course includes a field trip to a food and cosmetology high school classroom where they will “plan recipes, table settings, dinner music and review dinner party etiquette and polite conversation.

    #sexisme #beauté #éducation

  • Enlisting Beijing to help stop fentanyl exports won’t be easy - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/enlisting-beijing-to-help-stop-fentanyl-exports-wont-be-easy/article33207872

    For students of Chinese history, there’s irony in Canada’s demand on moral grounds that China suppress the export of a synthetic opioid.

    (…) This history could explain the reported lack of enthusiasm by Chinese police to respond vigorously to Canada’s request that Beijing close down fentanyl production and export. China doesn’t have a significant fentanyl problem domestically. It deals with the problem by executing drug smugglers and dealers and by imprisoning illegal-drug users for a program of forced rehabilitation that they or their families pay for. In a police state that keeps close tabs on all citizens, this policy is relatively effective (although amphetamine abuse is increasing in Chinese cities, and heroin injection in the mountainous Golden Triangle border regions has led to something of a rural crisis of largely untreated HIV/AIDS cases).

    Beijing is unlikely to aggressively suppress this lucrative export for the sake of international public interest alone. Undoubtedly China’s fentanyl manufacturers are already issuing the necessary bribes to keep their operations free from government harassment. Moreover, Chinese culture suggests police there are only likely to actively suppress fentanyl exports if Ottawa offers an incentive to do so. (...)

    But another condition of this pact could be more co-operation with Chinese authorities tracking down Chinese nationals in Canada who Beijing wants to see returned to China.

    #Chine #canada #drogue #santé_publique #fentanyl #carfentanil #guerres_de_l'opium

  • Basic income is not just about work, it’s about health - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/basic-income-is-not-just-about-work-its-about-health/article32709632

    Mr. Segal answers some of those questions – at least for the pilot project and, in his 101-page report, sets out some all-important parameters for testing the concept. He recommends that the #basic_income be set at a minimum of $1,320 a month (plus an additional $500 if the recipient has a disability), non-taxable and that it replace two large programs, Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program. Those two cornerstone social-welfare programs cost the Ontario treasury about $9-billion a year. That’s because almost 16 per cent of Ontarians between the ages of 18 and 64 live in poverty.

    (...) But basic income is not just an employment issue, it’s about health. Will a guaranteed income improve the health of the poor or lessen use of the health-care system? To answer these questions, you need pretty sophisticated research and it has to be done over a long period – and Mr. Segal recommends a minimum of three years.

    There are also some really important and thoughtful cautions in the report. A “Big Bang” approach, in which you replace all social supports with a single cheque, is not the way to go. While a basic income will likely be helpful, it does not obviate the need for housing support, job training, education, subsidies for prescription drugs and so on.

    #santé #revenu_de_base ou inverser la #guerre_aux_pauvres

  • TIFF series of Syrian films shows a horrific conflict from the inside - The Globe and Mail

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/tiff-series-of-syrian-films-shows-a-horrific-conflict-from-the-inside/article31530517

    Recommandé par Rasha Salti

    There must be a dozen stories about what happened in 1988 when Syrian dictator Hafez al-Assad watched Stars in Broad Daylight in a private screening at the presidential palace in Damascus. Some say he was initially amused by the farcical plot about a double wedding that goes disastrously wrong when one bride runs off with a bus driver and the other simply refuses to proceed. Others say he was angered from the start by a film in which the actor playing the family despot who is trying to marry off his brother and his sister bore a striking resemblance to himself.

  • In Fort McMurray, let’s build resilience, rather than a repeat disaster - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/in-fort-mcmurray-lets-build-resilience-rather-than-a-repeat-disaster/article30335551

    The size of the event and the amount of insured damage caused may put it up there with some of the large flood and moderate hurricane and earthquake losses in the international re-insurance industry’s top 50 costliest natural catastrophes. The event will likely be greater than the current costliest and second costliest insured losses in Canadian history combined: the 2013 Alberta flood and the 1998 Eastern Canada ice storm. Indeed, Fort McMurray appears certain to go dow

    fortmcmoney.com #fortmcmoney #feu #petrole #sablesbitumineux #climat #pollution #environnement

  • Fort McMurray residents ponder their future in the fire-damaged city - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/fort-mcmurray-residents-ponder-their-future-in-the-fire-damaged-city/article30400509

    About 10 per cent of buildings, or 2,400 structures, have been destroyed. Many other homes are damaged or need extensive cleaning. Some homeowners are pledging to rebuild, but others – unsettled by the trauma of the evacuation or looking for an exit from an oil economy in the doldrums – want to leave permanently.

    There are predictions that the cost of rental accommodation will jump. Workers are streaming in for the rebuilding of the community, and the owners of oil sands work camps and modular structure services are looking to add capacity as activity ramps up.

    But when it comes to the longer-term outlook for housing and real estate, there is widespread uncertainty about what is going to happen. Many people have returned to take a look at their house this month but haven’t permanently returned to the city. Many major questions remain, including: How much of the fire-ravaged neighbourhoods of Beacon Hill, Waterways and Abasand will be rebuilt? How many empty lots will be left for sale? What will the population of Fort McMurray be a year from now?

    Most predictions about the future are based on other fire-hit communities that are smaller, such as northern Alberta’s Slave Lake (with a population of 7,000). But Fort McMurray is singular for being largely dependent on the fortunes of the oil industry. Oil sands operators are trying to get operations up to normal speed again but it will still take weeks. Because of the oil price drop that began in the summer of 2014, a number of industry jobs have been lost and construction of new oil sands projects slowed dramatically. Construction on new projects is set to wrap up in 2017.

    Even before the wildfire hit, Fort McMurray’s residential vacancy rate had been about 30 per cent. Housing sales prices had dropped by more than 20 per cent between late 2014 and late 2015, and continued to decline early this year.

    Un petit point immobilier

    fortmcmoney.com #fortmcmoney #feu #petrole #sablesbitumineux #climat #pollution #environnement

  • Fort McMurray fire victims feel insurance squeeze - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/fort-mcmurray-fire-victims-feel-insurance-squeeze/article30363823

    Although evacuees only started returning to the city last week, the insurance claims process is already deepening a sense of misery for many homeowners and businesspeople starting to rebuild their lives. This comes on top of the financial hardship that many have suffered in this oil-producing region as prices have remained in a slump.

    “It’s wrong, it’s just terribly wrong,” said Thompson, a 57-year-old heavy equipment operator. “They are trying to cut me a check and I am not taking it, I am getting legal advice.”

    Many residents cited insurance representatives who shocked them with lower-than-expected property appraisals, or long wait times for damage inspections by company claims adjusters.

    Et maintenant, les assurances qui veulent payer le moins possible...

    fortmcmoney.com #fortmcmoney #feu #petrole #sablesbitumineux #climat #pollution #environnement

  • Fort McMurray wildfire ‘most likely human caused,’ Alberta senior wildfire manager says - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/fort-mcmurray-wildfire-most-likely-human-caused-alberta-senior-wildfire-manager-says/article30279836

    The raging wildfire that has laid waste to an area larger than Prince Edward Island and wrecked one-tenth of Fort McMurray was most likely human caused, according to Alberta’s senior wildfire manager.

    While the investigation continues into the inferno known informally as ’The Beast,’ Chad Morrison told the Globe and Mail on Saturday that the fire was probably the result of human action–a broad category that includes everything from careless ATV drivers to issues with power lines.

    #fortmcmoney #feu #petrole #sablesbitumineux #climat #pollution

  • Contractors say co-ordination needed to rebuild Fort McMurray - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/alberta/contractors-say-co-ordination-needed-to-rebuild-fort-mcmurray/article30025146

    The Alberta Emergency Management Agency says 550 staff with utility company Atco have been dispatched to Fort McMurray to restore the critical natural gas, electricity and water infrastructure needed to get the city ready for the bigger cleanup efforts. It’s not clear how long it will be before those services are back online.

    Spirit Staffing & Consulting is filling about 500 job openings on behalf of a major disaster recovery firm that is getting ready to enter Fort McMurray.

    The company hosted a hiring fair in Edmonton this week and about 1,300 people applied for the positions, with another 600 applications coming into their Calgary office, Spirit co-owner Beatrice Floch said.

    #FortMcMoney

  • Behind the largest response to a disaster in Canadian history - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/red-cross-working-fast-to-distribute-funds-to-fort-mcmurray-to-residents/article30025068

    It is the largest response to a disaster in Canadian history: $86-million in 10 days has poured into the Canadian Red Cross for relief in Fort McMurray, a figure that will skyrocket once government matching contributions are included.

    As the money continues to roll in, the unprecedented deluge puts a spotlight on the Red Cross as the agency in control of the lion’s share of the public giving to help the victims of the wildfires in the northern Alberta city. The organization has already moved more quickly than ever before to distribute large up-front sums to help residents cover some of their evacuation costs, but the majority of the Red Cross’s spending is yet to come.

    #FortMcMoney

  • No end in sight to oil-sands shutdowns - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/no-end-in-sight-to-oil-sands-shutdown-amid-fort-mcmurray-fire/article29934120

    Alberta’s oil sands have been spared a direct hit from the devastating wildfire that forced the shutdown of more than one million barrels a day of production, but it remains unclear when companies can restart operations.

    #FortMcMoney

  • First images emerge from devastated Beacon Hill area of Fort McMurray - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/multimedia/photos-show-the-devastation-of-beacon-hill-area-of-fort-mcmurray/article29920262

    The first images from inside the Fort McMurray neighbourhood of Beacon Hill show the damage and devastation from wildfires that rolled through the city earlier this week. .

    #FortMcMoney

  • A week in Hell: How Fort McMurray burned - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/a-week-in-hell-how-fort-mcmurrayburned/article29932799

    Comment le feu s’est propagé #FortMcMoney

    At first, wildfire MWF-009 burning to the southwest of Fort McMurray seemed like many others that residents had experienced – smoke and haze, but no real danger. That all changed in a flash, Jana G. Pruden reports, as the winds shifted, prompting a mass evacuation, panic and devastation

  • The Trafficked: Sexual exploitation is costing Canadian women their lives - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/the-trafficked-sexual-exploitation-is-costing-canadian-women-their-lives/article28700849

    Human trafficking is not a new problem in Canada, but its classification as a crime is: The legislation was introduced in 2005. As of last August, the RCMP says, charges under the act have led to just 34 convictions specifically for human trafficking (another 56 were for related crimes).

    Of the 531 victims in these cases, about 30 per cent were under 18 at the time of the alleged offence.

    Unlike the United States, Canada has neither a broad national co-ordinating body on the issue, nor any detailed annual report on trafficking. There is no central data-collection mechanism, and the information that is gathered rarely includes the victim’s ethnicity – partly for the sake of privacy. But the RCMP is well aware of the problem: Domestic trafficking for sexual exploitation “exists and is widespread,” notes a 2013 study by the force that makes special mention of the higher proportion of indigenous women.

  • Human-rights groups sound alarm about Canada selling arms to Ukraine - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/human-rights-groups-sound-alarm-about-canada-selling-arms-to-ukraine/article27068830

    Two human-rights groups have teamed up to oppose a plan by the outgoing Conservative government to allow the sale of so-called prohibited weapons to Ukraine, including automatic assault rifles and armoured vehicles.

    Amnesty International Canada and Project Ploughshares have written to the Department of Foreign Affairs expressing concern about the potential consequences of adding the embattled eastern European government to the list of countries to which Canada can sell automatic firearms.

    There are 39 countries on Canada’s automatic firearms country control list, including Saudi Arabia, to whom General Dynamics Land Systems in London, Ont., recently sold $13-billion in armoured vehicles despite the opposition of human rights groups.

  • Federal scientists push for protection from political interference - The Globe and Mail
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/federal-scientists-push-for-protection-from-political-interference/article24473222

    Government scientists have always been vulnerable to those who hold the reins of power, but tensions have grown under the Conservatives. After the Tories enacted a wave of research program and facility cancellations in 2012, stories began to emerge of researchers who were blocked from responding to media requests about their work.

    • A global fight to fortify democracy and security after deadly French attacks - The Globe and Mail
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/a-global-fight-to-fortify-democracy-security/article22390683

      Even as gunfire echoed through Dammartin-en-Goële and in the eastern fringe of Paris where a second, linked shootout took place, experts here were bemoaning the security services’ heavy focus on surveillance powers, and the seeming absence of old-fashioned good relations between police and the Muslim communities in the suburbs, or banlieues, which surround the French capital. While “counter-terrorism” will be the talk of the days ahead, stepped up efforts to integrate and deradicalize young Muslims must follow.

      “These people, they don’t drop from the sky,” said Daniel Koehler, an expert on deradicalization in Berlin who has spent years counselling families how to dissuade relatives from the path of extremism. “Even if they are lone actors, they leave tracks, they interact with other people.”

      A reconstruction of the lives of Saïd and Chérif Kouachi makes it clear, in hindsight, that better co-operation – and trust – between police and the Muslim community in the middle-class Paris suburb of Gennevilliers would have gone further in revealing what the brothers were planning than any additional surveillance measures.