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Monthly Archives: August 2019

Playmate Dani Mathers could face charges after body-shaming victim allegedly comes forward

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

Playboy model Dani Mathers may be leaving the mansion for the courthouse.

The 29-year-old playmate incited outrage after photographing an unsuspecting nude elderly woman in a gym locker room. The Playmate of the Year in 2015 followed up the photo with a Snapchat selfie, seemingly reacting to the woman with a look of shock.

The photo’s caption reads: “If I can’t unsee this, then you can’t either.”

READ MORE: Police investigating Dani Mathers for body-shaming nude shot of woman at gym

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Since then, a woman in her 70s has stepped forward to say she’s the “previously unidentified” woman and is willing to testify against Mathers, according to TMZ. The alleged victim has spoken to the Los Angeles Police Department,

Playmate Mathers’ attorney, Tom Mesereau, told People that he has not received any official word of impending legal action: “We hope the rumour is not true… Dani Mathers never tried to hurt anyone at any time and certainly never tried to break any law.”

Immediately after posting the photo, Mathers received an immense amount of backlash from people on social media and lost a job on a radio show. Many were outraged that a young Playboy model would body-shame an elderly woman.

The gym where the incident took place, LA Fitness, has since revoked Mathers’s membership and filed a complaint with police.

Mathers took to several social media platforms, including 桑拿会所, to apologize in the aftermath of the controversy.

Canada pushes for U.S. border legislation before new president, Congress sworn in

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

WASHINGTON – Canadian diplomats will be pushing for the adoption of border legislation as the current U.S. Congress convenes for its final few months of business.

The embassy in Washington wants U.S. lawmakers to deal with border reforms before a new president and Congress are sworn in next January.

At issue are pilot projects announced by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, where travellers would clear customs in-land in order to lighten traffic at the actual border.

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Implementing legislation needs to be passed in both countries to begin the experiment, which will seek to replicate for land travel the preclearance system that already exists for travellers to the U.S. in major Canadian airports.

READ MORE: Canada’s new passport requirements come into effect this month

Ambassador David MacNaughton said this is the kind of issue with bipartisan support that could get through Congress in the midst of a heated campaign season. But that’s only if lawmakers remember it – the issue isn’t exactly top of mind in the current U.S. political debate.

Funding for Zika research, the appointment of a Supreme Court justice, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal are some of the high-profile issues facing U.S. lawmakers, who returned from the summer break Tuesday.

“We will be working with the proponents in Congress and in the administration … to get (preclearance) done,” MacNaughton said in a recent interview.

“Because if you don’t bring it up it could just inadvertently not get passed.”

He said there’s no actual opposition to the idea in Congress. The biggest challenge is finding the right place and time to get it passed. In the spring, an attempt to stick the item into an unrelated omnibus bill collapsed when the parties began arguing over other add-ons and, in order to save the core bill, they stripped out all the additions including the part on the Canada-U.S. border.

“The problem is how do you introduce it; where does it go; does it get attached to another bill,” MacNaughton said. “We’re hoping and expecting that they will pass the legislation by the end of the year.”

READ MORE: US-Canada border preclearance bill to be introduced in spring

The overall plan is to extend the early-customs system that has existed for years at large Canadian airports – applying it not only to new airports in downtown Toronto and Quebec City but also to land travel for the first time, starting with the Montreal train station and the Rocky Mountaineer west-coast rail line. It’s part of the long-term goal of achieving faster border-crossing for different types of passenger and commercial transport.

First the countries must pass legislation that would spell out the rights and responsibilities of customs officers operating on their soil.

In Canada, a bill recently passed first reading in Parliament.

Bill C-23 lets U.S. officers bring their guns into Canada for work purposes; sets conditions for questioning and strip-searches; lets people leave a customs line unless they’ve been detained; allows civil claims against the U.S. government but not against individual officers; and sets rules for the extradition of officers in the case of criminal misconduct.

An analyst of Canada-U.S. relations said these bills are a required step toward the next generation of border reforms.

READ MORE: More pre-clearance locations at airports, train stations mean easier travel to US: tourism association

“Airport preclearance has existed for many years but the original setup did not envision land, rail and marine entry – nor the complexities of a post 9-11 world,” said Laura Dawson of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

“The new legislation is essential for establishing a clear legal framework.”

As for its prospects in the U.S. Congress, Dawson said the biggest threat to the legislation is neglect and delay: “It’s not likely that there will be opponents… but with so many things competing for attention, it’s not certain that there will be many champions either,” she said.

“I am concerned that an important initiative will fall through the cracks.”

Most OPEC members support $50-60 oil price: Iran’s oil minister

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s oil minister says his country would support any decision by the oil producing group of nations that seeks to stabilize the oil market, Iranian state TV reported on Tuesday.

The remarks by the minister, Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, came after talks with OPEC chief Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo on Tuesday in Tehran.

READ MORE: Should Canadians be cheering for lower or higher oil prices?

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According to Zangeneh, most OPEC members want to see the price of crude oil at 50 to 60 dollars per barrel.

“This price makes production of oil by OPEC members profitable, economical and useful, while preventing the rivals from raising their output,” he said,

Iran is trying to regain its share of the global petroleum market after the removal of Western sanctions following Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. It has said it will participate in talks on a possible production freeze after it reaches an output of 4 million barrels per day by April 2017.

READ MORE: Canadian dollar hits two-week low amid falling oil prices

In late 2000s, Iran was the second producer in OPEC with a total production of 4.2 million barrels per day, with 2.5 million barrels exported. The current production is at 3.6 million barrels of oil a day, of which Tehran exports 2.2 million barrels a day.

The world’s two largest oil producers, Russia and Saudi Arabia, on Monday agreed to act together to stabilize global oil output, though it’s unclear what that might entail.

Russia, which is not a member of the oil producing nations’ group OPEC, this year supported calls to freeze production, but the efforts fell through after Iran opposed the plan.

Canada’s auto union faces outside pressure from costs it can’t control

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

TORONTO  – Canada’s autoworkers’ union, which steps up pressure in contract talks by naming a strike target on Tuesday, may see its ability to win concessions undermined by outside factors, ranging from high power rates to manufacturers’ increased reliance on more costly imported parts, industry experts say.

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The top priority for the union, named Unifor, is to persuade Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor and General Motors to pledge to produce new vehicle models in Canada. It will also seek a modest pay raise and shorter pay progression for new hires.

READ MORE: Why contract talks with the ‘Detroit Three’ automakers are so critical for Canada

A four-year contract covering some 20,000 Canadian workers at the three companies expires Sept. 19.

“All of those other issues, combined, overwhelm the effect of Unifor,” said Tony Faria, a University of Windsor professor who studies the industry, referring to labor costs.

Unifor estimates that, on average, labor represents about 4 percent of the cost of each vehicle its workers produce, versus 55 percent for parts and supplies.

Approximately 50 percent of the parts in Canadian-made vehicles are produced in the country, said Flavio Volpe, Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association of Canada president.

Many Canadian-based parts suppliers did not survive the 2008 financial crisis and resulting recession, he said.

Volume of Goods & Services Exported in Canada | FindTheData

High electricity rates in the province of Ontario are another thorn.

The Canadian Automotive Partnership Council, an industry group that advises government, cites a 2013 survey from Hydro Quebec that shows large power users in Toronto pay 123 percent more than Chicago customers, 50 percent more than Nashville and 37 percent more than Detroit.

READ MORE: Increased exports are good, but there’s still trouble on the economic front, experts say

Canada’s market size poses another problem. About 10 percent of all vehicles sold in North America are purchased in Canada, versus 80 percent in the United States, said Faria.

New government programs, such as Ontario’s cap-and-trade climate plan, and higher federal pension contribution could add further costs to automakers’ operations.

GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler declined to comment.

READ MORE: Ontario and Michigan sign deal calling for more integration of auto sectors

Unifor says any challenges are outweighed by Canada’s currency advantage, with the Canadian dollar worth just 77 U.S. cents.

“The companies are making money hand-over-fist, including in their Canadian operations, where they’re dealing with hydro costs, they’re dealing with our social programs,” said Unifor President Jerry Dias.

The union and industry are pushing the Canadian government to change how it funds incentives for automative production to grants from loans.

“We have to make sure our incentives are competitive to attract interest,” said Ray Tanguay, appointed auto industry czar last year to advise Ontario and Canadian governments. “If manufacturing of automobiles is important, then we have to commit and play to win.”

Canada should focus on developing skilled labor and advanced manufacturing to distinguish itself, rather than costs, he said.

In 2012, the union came up empty-handed in a push for new vehicle production. Their contract froze wages for existing workers for three out of four years and cut pay and pension benefits for new employees.

Unifor to target General Motors in labour negotiations with Detroit Three

Written on August 24, 2019 at 16:35, by

TORONTO – The union that represents about 23,000 auto workers in Canada has selected General Motors as its target company in the opening round of contract talks.

Unifor says any agreement it strikes with GM will serve as a template for negotiations with the other two automakers, Ford and Fiat Chrysler – a process referred to as “pattern bargaining.”

Unifor president Jerry Dias said the union chose GM as its target because that’s the company that poses the biggest challenge in terms of hammering out a deal.

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Dias said he’s concerned about the possibility that GM may be planning to shut down its operations in Oshawa, Ont., where it currently has two production lines.

The consolidated line, which produces the Chevrolet Equinox, is slated to close next year.

READ MORE: Oshawa, Ont., ground zero for latest talks between Detroit Three, unions

Meanwhile, the flex line – which produces the Chevrolet Impala, the Buick Regal and the Cadillac XTS – has no product scheduled past 2019.

Dias said more investment is also needed in new engines and transmissions at GM’s engine plant in St. Catharines, Ont.

GM has previously said it won’t make any promises about investing in its Canadian facilities or allocating any new products to its Oshawa plant until after an agreement with the union has been ratified.

“I’m here to tell you today that that is not going to happen,” Dias said during a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday.

“We are not going to ratify an agreement with General Motors under any circumstance unless there is a commitment to our facilities. If that may be considered a line in the sand, so be it.”

Unifor’s contract with the so-called Detroit Three automakers expires Sept. 19.

Last month, members of the union voted in favour of strike action to back their contract demands, which include wage increases and securing more work to build vehicles.