• A look inside Le Parc banquet hall in Markham, Ont., where police broke up what they say was an illegal Super Bowl gambling party run by organized crime.In a bid to have gambling laws relaxed in Canada, a gaming advocacy group is claiming the existence of organized crime is all the proof it needs that single-game sports betting should be legalized.

    The Canadian Gaming Association released a statement on Tuesday saying a massive gambling ring bust that took place in Markham, Ont., during the Super Bowl underlines the need for the Senate to pass Bill C290 — which would legalize single-game sports betting.

    "What we now have learned is that this party was just one part of a sophisticated organized crime operation taking millions of dollars in sports wagers, the proceeds of which are used to fund other illegal operations of organized crime" CEO Bill Rutsey said in the statement.

    [ Related: B.C. gambling addicts to sue lottery after being denied winnings ]

    Super Bowl gambling bust6 people are facing charges in connection with an alleged gambling ring.

    Bill C290, currently before the Senate, would legalize single-game betting in Canada. At the

    Read More »from Gambling advocates point to Super Bowl bust in argument for lax laws
  • A facial reconstruction of King Richard III is displayed at a news conference in central London February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Andrew Winning
    The tyrant King Richard III is seeing a bit of a resurgence lately after a skeleton found under and English car park was confirmed to be that of the 500-year-old monarch, killed brutally in battle and remembered in history as kind of a jerk.

    It turns out Richard, viewed as a miserable man who suffered from contorted body and facial features, might have been one handsome dude.

    Richard III was killed in battle in 1485 and left in a humble, shallow grave. His depiction of a tyrant, notably in the damning Shakespearean play Richard III, led many to believe that his body may have later been desecrated and possibly thrown in the river.

    [ Related: Remains of King Richard III confirmed by Canadian DNA ]

    The discovery of his remains suggests to some he was not loathed in his time, and lend credence to a group of supporters known as Ricardians.

    The Richard III Society, a group of Ricardians who feel the king has been depicted harshly, have released a facial reconstruction of Richard put together

    Read More »from Facial reconstruction of King Richard III looks like Prince Charming
  • Two days before President Barack Obama's first trip outside Washington to promote his gun-control proposals, the White House tried to settle a brewing mystery when it released a photo to back his claim to be a skeet shooter. (Feb 2)The latest Barack Obama conspiracy theory reached the point on Monday where a White House official was asked to address it ahead of the U.S. president’s appearance in Minnesota to promote gun control.

    Obama has already faced his fair share of conspiracists, from those who don't believe he was born in America to Donald Trump, who doesn't seem to believe anything. This time, the conspiracy is that Obama lied about his history as a skeet shooter, based on a photo released by the White House over the weekend.

    En route to an appearance with Minneapolis police on Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about the photo's release. He said the photo was released because Obama's history with skeet shooting was being questioned.

    The photo, dated Aug. 4, 2012, was released by the White House following an interview with the New Republic, in which Obama was asked if he had ever fired a gun.

    Obama replied, "Yes, in fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time."


    Read More »from ‘Skeet truthers’ say picture of Obama shooting a gun was staged and photoshopped
  • As Canadian shoppers prepare to embark on "The Great Rounding," of the soon-to-be-penniless retail market, charities are figuring ways to get them disgorge millions of remaining pennies from their coin jars.

    Charities are still trying to determine the long-term implications of the loss of the one-cent coin, officially withdrawn from distribution this week because the goernment says it costs more to make than it's face value.

    CBC News reports Toronto-based charity Free the Children has already accumulated 70 million pennies in a nationwide drive, with the proceeds going to provide safe drinking water in developing countries.

    Goodbye, penny: Changes at the tillAs the phasing-out of the penny begins, the government is urging Canadians to give their remaining one-cent coins to charity. The Retail Council of Canada says some consumers may not yet be educated on rounding methods.

    Tim Hortons has also promoted the longstanding penny drive for its Children's Foundation, which raises almost $1

    Read More »from Canadian charities rush to cash in on penny’s demise
  • Cyndy Vanier made a final declaration to Mexico's Federal Court, in defence against allegations she masterminded a plot of trying to smuggle members of Libya's Gadhafi family into a life in hiding.There's a kind of Mission Impossible vibe to the relationship between Cyndy Vanier and SNC-Lavalin, the Montreal-based international engineering giant enmeshed in allegations of corruption and consorting with dictators.

    Vanier, a Canadian consultant who worked for SNC-Lavalin, has been languishing in a Mexican prison for more than a year while a judge there decides if she was part of a plot to spirit Saadi Gadhafi out of Libya as his father's dictatorship crumbled under a rebel onslaught in 2011.

    According to CBC News, Vanier insists she was hired by SNC-Lavalin controller Stephane Roy, under orders from executive vice-president Riadh Ben Alissa, for a legitimate "fact-finding" trip to Libya.

    Mexican authorities allege she was helping set up an exit route for Gadhafi, a senior commander in father Muammar Gadhafi's regime, and smuggle him and his family into Mexico under false identities. Gadhafi eventually escaped to Niger, Libya's neighbour, and has been given asylum.

    [ Related: Saadi

    Read More »from Jailed Canadian in Gadhafi rescue plot wants former employer to pay up
  • Premier David Alward and Energy Minister Craig Leonard are in Alberta to rally support behind the idea of building a west-to-east oil pipeline. It's a scenario you could hardly have imagined just a few years ago: Alberta sitting on a wealth of oil riches but potentially no way to get it to customers.

    With the proposed Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline to the West Coast getting a negative reception in British Columbia and the planned Keystone XL pipeline through the United States still in limbo, that's exactly what's happening.

    Alberta's been forced to sell its oil sands production at a discount because of a lack of shipping capacity and reduced American demand due to increasing use of homegrown natural gas. That has blown a $6-billion hole in the province's revenue expectations. Albertans have been warned to brace for budget cuts.

    The only alternative to pipelines has been costly rail shipment of crude. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. can ship more than 70,000 carloads a year, chief marketing officer Jane O'Hagen told analysts last week, The Canadian Press reported.

    [ Related: Pipeline proposal is a 'realistic' option, expert

    Read More »from Alberta looks to woo New Brunswick to create west-east oil pipeline
  • A report obtained by CBC News in Thunder Bay says the satellite phone on the Ornge aircraft was “not functional” and medics were unable to contact the hospital, or the doctor overseeing the patient's treatment until about 10 minutes before they landed in Sioux Lookout.The former head of Ontario’s air ambulance service is making headlines again over spending irregularities and questionable expenses he charged to ORNGE during his tenure.

    The Toronto Star reports that Ontario's health-care system paid for ex-ORNGE head Chris Mazza to go on two ski trips in 2010.

    The vacations reportedly cost the taxpayer a total of $15,000, which included air fare, lift tickets, and hotel. Frankly, it sounds like this whole mess could have been avoided if he just checked Groupon first.

    The Star report points out that Mazza was attending "continuing medical education" conferences and arrived at one in Whistler, B.C., five days before the conference began and left one day after.

    His expenses suggest Mazza took that time to hit the slopes on the taxpayers’ dime.

    [ Related: No expense too small for Mazza to bill to Ornge, documents show ]

    Mazza's lawyer told the Star that he would not answer questions because "it is apparent to him that The Star [sic] is only interested in

    Read More »from Former Ontario air ambulance chief accused of charging taxpayers for lavish ski trips
  • How the pennies’ disappearance will change Canadian lives

    CBC photoNow that the penny's days are officially over, Canadians can start looking forward to a time when the coppery discs will no longer weigh down their pockets and change purses.

    [ Related: The penny is gone, should we get rid of nickels too? ]

    Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced last March that pennies will be phased out of existence due to low purchasing power and rising production costs. The mounds of one-cent coins currently nestled between your couch cushions will eventually become a collector's item since the Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing pennies to financial institutions this Monday. In a pamphlet outlining reasons for the change, Ottawa labeled the coin a "burden to the economy," citing an $11-million-per-year loss due to rising metal costs and decreasing purchasing value.

    Retailers say goodbye to the penny

    To offset the confusion and to ostensibly avoid the need to start drilling nickels into slivers for the appropriate amount of change, prices at cash

    Read More »from How the pennies’ disappearance will change Canadian lives
  • Canadian penny distribution ends: what you can do with the copper coin

    CBC photo
    The Royal Canadian Mint stopped distributing pennies today.

    [ Related: The penny is gone, should we get rid of nickels too? ]

    The last Canadian penny was stamped out at the Royal Canadian Mint last May, the National Post reports. The historic penny was struck ceremoniously at the Winnipeg mint for Canada's currency museum in Ottawa, CTV News reported.

    Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced the demise of the copper (which these days is only copper-plated metal) in last March's budget as a cost-saving measure. Making a penny actually costs 1.6 cents.

    Retailers say goodbye to the penny

    The penny was first introduced in Canada in 1858 but it's been at least a generation since the penny had any purchasing power. In the 1960s, you could still buy candy for a penny, though the good stuff cost a nickel. But for most people, the penny became a nuisance years ago, weighing down pockets, accumulating in jars and spare-change trays. Most people won't even stoop to to pick up one off

    Read More »from Canadian penny distribution ends: what you can do with the copper coin
  • Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti said Monday he is stepping down from the mayor's executive committee.Here is a quick reminder that it is not just Toronto Mayor Rob Ford who faces complaints and accusations of impropriety, even as the embattled mayor stares down charges stemming from a damning campaign spending audit.

    Frequent watchers of Toronto City Hall likely know that Ford was found to have exceeded campaign spending during his 2010 campaign by more than $40,000 and could face charges, even an unlikely ruling that he be removed from office.

    What some might not recall is that he is not the first member of city council to face such charges. Several councillors have already had overspending complaints against them rejected, and another councillor has dismissed his unfavourable audit as a matter of opinion.

    Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti learned on Monday that he will face charges after a forensic audit found that he exceeded his 2010 campaign spending limit by some $12,000. Considering the limit one can spend on a run for city council is $27,464.65, that is a fairly sizable overshare.


    Read More »from Toronto Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti to face charges in 2010 election spending


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