Canadian bank revealed as Manulife fined $1.15M for violation of reporting rules

Photographer: Markus Spiske

Photographer: Markus Spiske

“The head of Canada’s financial crime watchdog agency is second-guessing his decision last year to withhold the name of a bank — which CBC Investigates has identified as Manulife Bank of Canada — fined $1.15 million for not reporting hundreds of transactions it was obligated to report under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.  

The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) received an earful from angry Canadians upset that it wouldn’t share the name of the bank — the first in Canada to be penalized under the country’s expanded money laundering rules, which were amended in 2002 to include terrorist financing,” wrote John Nicol, Dave Seglins and Steve Niles for CBC News on Monday February 27, 2017.

Nicol, Seglins and Niles continued, “CBC News sources confirmed the case involves Manulife Bank and its failure to report 1,174 international electronic money transfers, 45 cash transactions involving at least $10,000 each, as well as one suspicious transaction.

Manulife Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Manulife Financial Corporation, a $47-billion insurance and financial services company. The bank doesn’t have physical branches and sells its products primarily through financial advisors.

Manulife Financial issued a brief written statement Monday afternoon calling the infractions “administrative lapses.”

Read the full article here.

Canadian labour leader Bob White dies at age 81

Photographer: Leeroy

Photographer: Leeroy

“Bob White, the Canadian labour leader who led the Canadian Auto Workers union’s split from its American counterpart and later became that union’s founding president and the president of the Canadian Labour Congress, has died at age 81.

White died in Kincardine, Ont., on Sunday, according to his family,” wrote Solomon Isreal for CBC News on Monday February 20, 2017.

Isreal continued, “White was “a wonderful father” who was always patient, supportive, and proud of his children, his youngest child Robyn White told CBC News.

White left school when he was 15 years old to start working in the same factory as his father, said his daughter, and got involved with the union even though his father warned him not to.

“And very shortly after, he went to a union meeting, and was elected shop steward, and that was that,” she said.

“It spoke to him … there was just this invigorating passion, this cause, this fight there, and he was hooked.”

Despite leaving school at a young age, White’s daughter said he was “a voracious reader” who was highly motivated to learn throughout his career. Inspired by his wife, Marilyne, White also developed a passion for women’s rights, and later focused on child labour issues.” 

Read the full article here.


Janet Yellen fights Trump administration on central bank

Photographer: Nicolai Berntsen

Photographer: Nicolai Berntsen

“Suspicion of central banking has a long history in the United States.

When the Federal Reserve was founded in 1913, more than 200 years after its British equivalent the Bank of England, strident voices said it was a bad idea.

After the Second World War, the Fed established its reputation as the world`s most powerful central bank with the globe`s most tradeable currency. Voices of opposition were relegated to the fringe”, wrote Don Pittis for CBC News on February 15, 2017.

Pittis continued, “It’s unclear if her words will be effective.

More than once Yellen was asked about Trump’s recent statement connecting banking regulation with reduced lending.

He said he had personal experience.”

Read the full article here.

More commuters take to the roads as house prices soar

Photographer: Khara Woods

Photographer: Khara Woods

“Frank Quinto wakes each work day at 5:30 a.m. He’s “suited and booted” by 6 a.m. and at the VIA station near his Brantford home by 7 a.m. By the time his train arrives at Union Station at 8:40 a.m. he’s read his e-mail, prepped for meetings and put on his self-titled professional “game face.” He transfers to the TTC for the 10-minute trip to his government office at Yonge and Bloor and arrives at his desk just before 9 a.m”, wrote Oliver Moore for the Globe and Mail on February 3, 2017.

Moore continued, “He leaves at 4:55 p.m. to catch the 5:30 VIA train home. There’s no GO train to Brantford, just the option of a bus from the Aldershot station in Burlington. He’s back home by 7 p.m.

Four hours a day commuting, five days a week. “Rinse and repeat for nearly seven years,” he says. It’s a daily grind, but one that lets him keep his downtown-based job while staying in the community in which he grew up, where the average price of a home sold in December was barely $300,000.

Toronto’s escalating housing market – up 22.3 per cent in January from a year earlier – is challenging not only buyers, but also the region’s infrastructure. Growth is being forced farther afield and lengthy commutes seem increasingly the norm. Where Hamilton used to seem far, communities even farther away are seeing new interest from buyers.

It’s no longer unthinkable that masses of workers will be travelling daily from Niagara Falls or Cobourg. And predicting if and when that will happen is the challenge for transportation and city planners trying to calculate how the Golden Horseshoe will grow and move in the coming decades.”


Read the full article here.



Insight into Artificial Intelligence & Neural Networks

Photographer: Jesse Orrico

Photographer: Jesse Orrico

“NEURAL NETWORKS ARE all the rage in Silicon Valley, infusing so many internet services with so many forms of artificial intelligence. But as good as they may be at recognizing cats in your online photos, AI researchers know that neural networks are still quite flawed, so much so that some wonder whether these pattern recognition systems are a viable path to more advanced—and more reliable—forms of AI,” wrote Cade Metz for on February 3, 2017.

Metz continued, “Able to learn tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data, neural networks power everything from face recognition at Facebook to translation at Microsoft to internet search at Google. They’re beginning to help chatbots learn the art of conversation. And they’re part of the movement toward driverless cars and other autonomous machines. But because they can’t make sense of the world without help from such large amounts of carefully labelled data, they aren’t suited to everything. And AI researchers have limited insight into why neural networks make particular decisions. They are, in many ways, black boxes. This opacity could cause serious problems: What if a self-driving car runs someone down and the world wants to know why?”

Read the full article here.

Cade Metz is a WIRED senior staff writer covering Google, Facebook, artificial intelligence, bitcoin, data centers, computer chips, programming languages, and other ways the world is changing.


“1984”, George Orwell’s novel feels more relevant then ever


Photographer: Alejandro Escamilla

“President Trump may not be a big reader, but he’s been a boon for sales of dystopian literature. Amid our thirst for adult coloring books and stories about missing girls and reincarnated puppies, some grim old classics are speaking to us with new urgency. Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451 ,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World ” and Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale ” have all risen up the latest paperback bestseller list,” wrote Ron Charles for The Washington Post on January 25, 2017.

Charles continued, “But by far the greatest beneficiary of our newly piqued national anxiety is George Orwell’s “1984.” 

Soon after senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said on Sunday that the administration was issuing “alternative facts,” Orwell’s classic novel spiked to No. 1 on Amazon. Like officials from the Ministry of Truth, Conway and White House press secretary Sean Spicer doubled down on Trump’s fanciful contention that his inauguration drew the “largest audience ever,” despite a Web-full of photographic evidence to the contrary. The Twittersphere responded with allusions to “1984,” and Penguin announced plans for a special 75,000-copy reprint , noting that since the inauguration, sales for the novel have increased by 9,500 percent.”

Read the full article here.


Ron Charles is the editor of The Washington Post’s Book World. For a dozen years, he enjoyed teaching American literature and critical theory in the Midwest, but finally switched to journalism when he realized that if he graded one more paper, he’d go crazy.

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