Terror fight sparks jump in anti money laundering disclosures to police, spies

Efforts by Canada’s anti-money laundering agency to pinpoint illicit dealings of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other extremist organizations helped spark an increase in intelligence disclosures to police and spies last year.

The Ottawa-based Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, passed along 483 pieces of intelligence related to terrorist financing in 2015-16, a 43 per cent increase over the previous year.

The centre tries to zero in on cash linked to terrorism, money laundering and other crimes by sifting through millions of pieces of information annually from banks, insurance companies, securities dealers, money service businesses, real estate brokers, casinos and others.

The centre’s annual report, tabled today in Parliament, says Fintrac contributed to international efforts to weaken ISIL’s financing capabilities.

The financial sleuthing agency also focused on ISIL’s affiliates, particularly in relation to how these groups may be attempting to exploit Canada’s financial system.

Overall, Fintrac disclosed 1,655 pieces of intelligence to police and security agencies last year, up from 1,260 in 2014-15.

 

Drugmakers soar, gun companies sink: Stocks react to Trump

Donald Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton caught many investors off guard. While it didn’t cause a broad market decline as many had feared, it did send some stocks sharply higher and others sharply lower. Here’s how some industries shook out as investors try to anticipate how Trump’s talk on the campaign trail might translate into policies that affect U.S. companies.

WINNERS:

_Drugmakers. Pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefits managers rose sharply on the expectation that Trump and a Republican-controlled congress are less likely to crack down on rising drug prices. Pfizer jumped 7 per cent, Celgene rose 9 per cent and Express Scripts gained 7 per cent.

_ Defence contractors and infrastructure companies. Hopes that Trump will spend more on defence and follow through on campaign promises to boost spending on infrastructure benefited several companies. Raytheon jumped 7 per cent. So did Caterpillar, a heavy machinery maker.

_ Private prison operators. Clinton had said she wanted states to stop using privately operated prisons. That threat is now diminished. Corrections Corp. of American jumped 50 per cent, and Geo Group rose 21 per cent.

LOSERS:

_Gun companies. With his endorsement from the National Rifle Association, Trump is seen as far less likely to push for stricter gun control measures than Clinton would have been. That means investors are no longer expecting a rush of gun sales due to nervous customers looking to stay ahead of government restrictions. Smith & Wesson dropped 15 per cent and Sturm, Ruger & Co. plunged 14 per cent.

_ Hospital chains and certain insurers. Companies that benefited from President Obama’s health care legislation, the Affordable Care Act, took heavy losses. Trump has said he would repeal the law. The nation’s largest hospital chain, HCA Inc., plunged 15 per cent, and Community Health Systems plunged 29 per cent.

_ Clean energy. Trump has advocated for lighter regulation of oil and coal companies, which could hamper demand for clean energy alternatives, such as solar and wind power. SunPower Corp. sank 15 per cent.

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CDN Parents wrestle with how to explain Trump’s win in U.S. election to their kids

By Cassandra Szklarski

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ The incendiary U.S. election is proving to be a challenging teachable moment for some Canadian parents who are struggling to explain the surprising results to their curious children.

But at least they can comfort their youngsters with the fact they live in a country that has embraced much different values than the divisive ones that marked the U.S. campaign, says Oakville, Ont., dad Jason Little.

The morning after America elected Donald Trump as its next president, Little says his nine-year-old daughter stunned him by asking whether Trump would start a world war.

“I only cared about baseball at that age. It’s just really a hard conversation to start,” Little said Wednesday.

He says his daughter had been following Hillary Clinton’s bid to become the country’s first female president, but she didn’t take her loss as a signal that women can’t be leaders.

“For her, it’s more: he’s a bad person, she’s a good person,” he says.

“She was more, I think, mixed in her response disappointed, sad, angry, all at the same time.”

Little says he and his wife tried to emphasize their belief that people are generally good, despite the misogyny, xenophobia and racial hatred that marked Trump’s campaign.

Little stressed that there would be enough people around Trump to prevent anything bad from happening, but admits his kids are exposed to a surprising amount of political hyperbole thanks to chatter at school and the YouTube stars they follow.

“They hear all the bad things magnified about him,” says Little, who also has an 11-year-old son.

In her concession speech, Clinton seemed to acknowledge the potential impact of her defeat on young girls who might be demoralized by the vote.

“To all the little girls how are watching this: Never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

Little says the election results and how they were interpreted by kids dominated chatter with other parents on the walk to school on Wednesday.

“I don’t know why it’s just so front and centre at that young age in the school but all the parents we walk to school with, it was all the same,” says the 42-year-old dad.

“One of the parents said their kid woke up in the middle of the night with a nightmare about the election. And I’m like, ‘Holy cow, this is something.”

Little says they haven’t shielded their kids from the news, even though the U.S. campaign was especially nasty and demeaning. If anything, that helped highlight how different politics are in Canada, he said.

“They know we’re kind of a nice country. We just keep reinforcing the same thing: respect people, people have their opinions, they’re entitled to their opinion.”

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Kim Kardashian West sues online media outlet for libel

By Larry Neumeister

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK _ Kim Kardashian West sued an online media outlet for libel Tuesday, saying she was wrongly portrayed as a liar and thief after she was attacked in Paris.

The lawsuit in Manhattan federal court seeks unspecified damages from MediaTakeOut.com. It said Kardashian West, traumatized by the Oct. 3 armed robbery, was victimized a second time when the website reported hours afterward that she faked the robbery and lied about the assault.

The website’s owner, Fred Mwangaguhunga, didn’t answer his phone when comment was sought Tuesday. A message left with the website wasn’t immediately returned.

Police said armed robbers forced their way into a private residence where the reality TV star was staying, tied her up and stole $10 million worth of jewelry. She was in Paris for fashion week.

No arrests have been made.

The lawsuit said the website lacked any factual support when it published a series of articles referring to her as a liar and a thief and alleged that she faked the robbery, lied about the violent assault and filed a fraudulent claim with her insurance company to cheat her carrier out of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit said the “malicious publication of the articles, which paint the victim of a serious crime as a criminal herself, is libelous.”

The website also ignored her demand that it publish a retraction and apology for calling her a liar and a criminal, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, Kardashian was assaulted and robbed by two masked men who put a gun to her head, duct-taped her hands, legs and mouth, and left her lying helplessly on the bathroom floor while they left with the jewelry.

After the attack, her husband, Kanye West, abruptly ended his New York concert, announcing that he had a family emergency.

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Wells Fargo will pay $190 million to settle customer fraud case

Reuters

Wells Fargo will pay $185 million in penalties and $5 million to customers that regulators say were pushed into fee-generating accounts that they never requested, officials said on Thursday.

“Wells Fargo reached these agreements consistent with our commitment to customers and in the interest of putting this matter behind us,” the bank said of its settlement with California prosecutors and federal regulators.

“We regret and take responsibility for any instances where customers may have received a product that they did not request,” it added.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will receive $100 million of the total penalties — the largest fine ever levied by the agency, which was conceived after the 2008 financial crisis.

“Today’s action should serve notice to the entire industry that financial incentive programs, if not monitored carefully, carry serious risks that can have serious legal consequences,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Los Angeles officials and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency were also party to the settlement.

In a complaint filed in May 2015, California prosecutors alleged that Wells Fargo pushed customers into costly financial products that they did not need or even request.

According to that complaint, Wells Fargo employees pushed checking account customers into savings, credit and online accounts that could generate fees.

Bank employees were told that the average customer tapped six financial tools but that they should push households to use eight products, according to the complaint.

The bank opened more than 2 million deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized, according to the CFPB.

The bank said that the deal this week settles the “allegations that some of its retail customers received products and services that they did not request.”

In recent financial filings, Wells Fargo has changed how it describes and calculates “cross-sell” — a term for bundling multiple products to retail, wealth management and corporate customers.

The bank added new language to its last annual report, stating that its “approach to cross-sell is needs-based as some customers will benefit from more products, and some may need fewer.”

Hurricane Newton slams Mexico’s Los Cabos resorts, 2 dead

CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico (AP) — Hurricane Newton shattered windows, downed trees and knocked out power in parts of the twin resorts of Los Cabos on Tuesday, but residents were spared the kind of extensive damage seen two years ago when they were walloped by a stronger storm.

A shrimp boat capsized in rough seas in the Gulf of California, killing two people and leaving three others missing, authorities said. The boat had set out from the port of Ensenada and was bound for Mazatlan.

Newton made landfall at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula in the morning as a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 90 mph (150 kph), pelting the area with torrential rain as residents hunkered down in their homes and tourists huddled in hotels.

Palm trees were toppled along Cabo San Lucas’ coastal boulevard and some windows were broken. But there was calm in the city as firefighters cleaned refuse from the streets during the day, and there were no reported casualties on land.

“There are only minor damages — fallen branches, some fallen banners, some cables. … In general, no victims,” army Col. Enrique Rangel said.

After passing over the resort area, Newton spur northward up the interior of the peninsula and then moved out over the gulf Tuesday night. Late Tuesday night, its center was about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east of Santa Rosalia, and it was moving north at around 17 mph (28 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm would make landfall in Sonora state still a hurricane Wednesday morning. Newton could reach the U.S. border as a tropical storm at midday Wednesday, and drop 1 to 3 inches of rain over parts of Arizona and New Mexico through Thursday, threatening flash floods and landslides, forecasters said.

About 14,000 tourists had remained in Los Cabos as the storm approached, tourism officials said, and visitors began venturing out some after Newton passed.

“Just trying to make it through the day, with a little help,” Mark Hernandez, a tourist from California, said as he raised a can of beer at one of the few bars open in Cabo San Lucas. “We pray for the city of Cabo San Lucas. It was a rough one as you can see.”

Roberto Dominguez, a customer relations worker at the Fairfield Marriot, said the hotel’s windows and balconies had been sufficiently protected from the storm and guests were fine, although cellphone and internet services had been knocked out.

In 2014, Los Cabos suffered heavy damage to homes, shops and hotels when it was hammered by Hurricane Odile, which hit land as a Category 3 storm.

“You know, it could have been a lot worse and I think we are very fortunate that it wasn’t as bad as Odile,” said Darlene Savord, another tourist from California. “I think that we are very fortunate and blessed.”

Officials evacuated low-lying areas and opened 18 shelters at schools in Los Cabos and 38 more in other parts of the state, while warning people against panic buying. Los Cabos police were stationed at shopping malls to guard against the kind of looting that occurred after Hurricane Odile.

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