7 habits to help you get fit this summer

Bathing suit season is upon us – which means it’s time to begin taking your fitness routine seriously.

General Manager at Fitness Connection, Mike Mak, stresses the importance of taking care of yourself and being realistic with what we can achieve over the summer months. He often has clients who dedicate all of their time to getting in the best summer shape, then neglect their fitness regime and end up failing to achieve the fitness level they want.

Naturopathic doctor Carol Morley adds it’s important to feed and nurture yourself properly when trying to achieve a toned body.

“If people are embarking on anything new, I usually suggest they try and do some good baseline stuff and [take] a quick look at dietary [nutrition].”

She said many of her clients complain of low energy levels, so she suggests people have their iron and protein levels checked before embarking on an exercise regime.

READ MORE: Breaking down the top fitness trends for 2016

Mak and Morley offer these tips for those looking to follow a fit and healthy lifestyle this summer.

1. Set realistic goals

“I see people often have high expectations, and [they’re] often unrealistic,” Mak said. Make sure to set goals that are both short- and long-term. It’s great if you want to lose 20 pounds in two months, but is that realistic according to your schedule?

2. Get into a routine

In addition to scheduling your workout, you must plan your meals and sleep. “You want to make sure you are trying to eat at the same time every day, and also sleep at more or less the same time, making sure you get that seven to eight hours to make sure that your body is fully restored,” Mak said.

Morley agrees and warns the summer is a popular time of year to fall off track. “On the weekends, people are out and about a little more, so make sure [you] try to stick to a routine as much as possible.”

3. Prep your meals

People rush out of a workout hungry and grab a bite of whatever is convenient — and that may not necessarily be healthy. In order to avoid temptation, prepare your meals ahead of time. Mak dedicates Sundays for his meal preparation. “I cook all my meat, I make a big pot of quinoa or pasta, and I sort everything,” he said. “Then I put it into containers and have it in the fridge and it’s ready to go.”

4. Have a balanced diet

It can be impossible to eat healthy all of the time, so rather than drive yourself crazy about it, get in the habit of having a balanced diet. It’s OK to indulge once in a while at a barbecue or have a beer on a patio, but it’s important to limit yourself.

“You want to cheat, but you don’t want to de-rail yourself,” said Mak, adding it’s a good idea to give yourself a break once a week. “You want to allow yourself to eat what you want to keep your sanity.”

READ MORE: Fitbit report reveals Canadians’ exercise habits and top workouts

5. Enjoy what you do

Make sure you enjoy the workouts you do. Trends like yoga, Zumba and crossfit might work for a little while, but if you don’t like what you’re doing, the routine’s not going to last very long. Mak compares working out to your job. “If you don’t like going to work every morning, you won’t stay there very long!”

6. Stay hydrated

If you often take your workouts outside, Morley said it’s important to drink water. Your body requires more water while it’s in the sun, so keep a bottle of water close by. You want to help your muscles work and avoid getting any life-threatening illnesses such as heat stroke.

7. Sun safety

Soaking in the sun while exercising outdoors is always fun, but you must protect yourself. The Canadian Cancer Care society has released new sun safety guidelines that say Canadians must be extra careful in the sun from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. In addition, SPF 30 is now the minimum protection you should be using.

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16X9 cancelled, Liza Fromer contract not renewed amid changes at Global News

The award-winning investigative news program 16X9 has not been renewed for another season, Global News announced Tuesday.

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The program has won and been nominated for dozens of prestigious awards since its debut in 2008. That long list includes dozens of RTDNA awards, a Bronze World Medal at the 2015 New York Festivals awards, and the prestigious Beyond Borders award among countless others.

One of those nominations was for 16X9 groundbreaking investigation into the RCMP’s readiness to deal with active shooter investigations.  16X9’s explosive investigation Under Fire explored the Moncton RCMP shootings and whether officers were ready for the call.

The RCMP pleaded not guilty to four Labour Code charges stemming from the June 2014 shooting rampage last month.  The charges followed an investigation into whether the Mounties had the proper equipment and training to deal with active shooter situations.

16X9 also explored the world of dementia and how every hour approximately 900 people are diagnosed with the disease.

“Over its eight seasons, 16X9, broke ground editorially and visually – winning countless awards and international recognition,” Troy Reeb, the senior vice president of News, Radio and Station Operations for Corus Entertainment said.

Reeb described the cancellation of the show as “difficult.”

“The program, and its team, has made lasting contributions to the field of investigative journalism, and we are committed to continuing to invest in this area by establishing a new, network investigations unit to work with local teams across all platforms, including radio,” Reeb said.

The new multi-platform unit will focus on original, enterprise investigations. It will be closely integrated with the network’s flagship newscast, Global National with Dawna Friesen, as well as local newscasts, Globalnews长沙夜网 and Corus radio stations.

Carolyn Jarvis, the current host of 16X9, will join the new team as its Chief Investigative Correspondent. Jarvis is currently on maternity leave.

Liza Fromer’s The Morning Show contract won’t be renewed

Global News also announced that The Morning Show host Liza Fromer’s contract would not be renewed after it expires at the end of June.  Fromer was a key figure on The Morning Show since its inception in 2011 and her role, along with a number of others across the Global News network, has been impacted as a result of the changing and highly competitive media landscape in Canada.

Global News was a part of , which was acquired by Corus Entertainment in January in a $2.65 billion deal. The combined company oversees 45 specialty television channels, 15 local television stations, 39 radio stations, and a host of digital properties including Globalnews长沙夜网.

Saskatoon police launch #GetMyBikeBack campaign

Bike thefts continue to be a problem in Saskatoon and police are hoping a new campaign, #GetMyBikeBack, will help investigators return stolen bicycles to their owners.

So far in 2016, 290 bikes have been reported stolen and often end up for sale on the internet.

READ MORE: Busy weekend for Saskatoon police with almost 1,000 calls

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    In a recent case, a $2,500 bike was stolen from a detached garage. The owner did not have the serial number. Luckily, police were able to find out the serial number through other ways and recovered the bike, in this case a pawn shop.

    Police say their investigations are difficult without identifying serial numbers.

    READ MORE: Prince Albert Fire Department lifts minivan off trapped senior

    The idea behind #GetMyBikeBack is to have bike owners take a picture of the serial number for future reference.

    “These days, everyone has their phone either on them or within reach so we’re encouraging people to snap a quick photo of the bike’s serial number,” said Insp. Patrick Nogier.

    “It’s an easy and convenient way to keep a record so that in the event your bike is stolen, the serial number is easily accessible to provide to police.”

    Police are also working with local businesses to encourage people buying a bike to take a picture of the serial number before leaving the store with their purchase.

    Any bikes that are recovered by police but go unclaimed are put up for auction. In 2015, over 550 bicycles went to auction.

Reality check: Could Donald Trump pull the plug on NAFTA? It’s not as easy as he says

Fuelled by Britain’s vote to leave the European Union — the Brexit — presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is on the warpath against trade agreements he sees as holding America back.

“Our friends in Britain recently voted to take back control of their economy, politics and borders,” Trump said Tuesday during a campaign stop at a metal recycling plant in Monessen, Pennsylvania.

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    “Now it’s time for the American people to take back their future. We are going to take it back.”

    READ MORE: Canada to lift visa requirement for Mexico as of December 2016

    And topping his enemy list is the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). If elected, he’s saying it’s his way or no way when it comes to NAFTA.

    “I’m going to tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers,” The Hill reported him saying.

    “If they do not agree to a renegotiation, then I will submit notice under Article 2205 of the NAFTA agreement that America intends to withdraw from the deal.”

    He makes that sound simple but, obviously, that’s not the case.

    “This is just another example of Donald Trump not knowing what he’s talking about,” said Carlo Dade, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Social Sciences and director of the Centre for Trade and Investment Policy, Canada West Foundation.

    WATCH: Trudeau says Canada, Mexico ready to work with next U.S. president

    Dade said you can theoretically say you want the 22-year-old treaty renegotiated, or you’re going to walk, but the reality is much more complex.

    “It’s a deep web of not just what’s been negotiated in NAFTA, but what’s been done outside NAFTA,” he explained,” referencing agreements like Beyond the Border Action Plan, the Regulatory Cooperation Council and other bilateral agreements.

    NAFTA, Dade said, may actually be more difficult to disassemble than it was to put it together in the first place, as Trump would have to undo all the regulations that have been put into place over the past two decades.

    “Twenty years of working together. Twenty years of building businesses that are predicated on having NAFTA in place. It’s a hell of a lot to do that’s not readily apparent,” Dade said.

    READ MORE: Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton: which president would be better for Canada’s economy?

    Trump would also have to go to great lengths to actually pull the U.S. out of NAFTA.

    “Presidential powers are limited but a president with this kind of a trade agenda could easily make life difficult for trading partners by pushing presidential executive powers to the limit,” Toronto lawyer Mark Warner told the Canadian Press.

    He described Trump as the most protectionist presidential candidate” in nearly a century. But he warns the protectionist rhetoric could have a negative side effect — one that might affect Canada.

    “The worst case for Canada is that he might push (Hillary) Clinton to be more protectionist in border states if the contest narrows,” Warner said.

    READ MORE: Trump, Clinton’s tough talk on trade more bark than bite: report

    Trump’s comments come as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosts U.S. President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto for discussions about NAFTA, in what’s become known as the Three Amigos Summit. All three leaders are aiming to strengthen their trade relationships, not break them apart.

    WATCH: PM Trudeau, Mexican president make agreements on beef, visas ahead of Three Amigos summit

    But, there may actually be some support for some of Trump’s anti-NAFTA sentiment here in Canada — at least when it comes to renegotiating the agreement.

    A recent Angus Reid poll found Canadians were divided on whether the treaty benefitted them: 26 per cent of respondents believed the deal was bad for them, while 25 per cent though it was a good thing.

    READ MORE: Ahead of 3 Amigos Summit, only 1 in 4 Canadians believe NAFTA is beneficial: poll

    And much like the generational divide in the U.K. during the Brexit vote, the outcome of which Trump is trying to capitalize on, older respondents view NAFTA more negatively than younger respondents.

    But, unlike the support for the Brexit, only nine per cent of Canadians want to nix NAFTA, while more than three times as many people, 34 per cent of respondents, would like to see the deal renegotiated.

    South of the border, a Gallup poll in April found 28 per cent of Americans favoured pulling out of free trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership and an equal number of people preferred the U.S. to continue their participation in such deals.

    — With files from Global’s Rebecca Joseph and the Canadian Press

‘Please! Forgive me!’: 911 calls capture moments before Texas mother killed 2 daughters

FULSHEAR, Texas -Authorities say a Texas mother who fatally shot her daughters before being killed by police had called them and her husband to a family meeting.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office says Christy Sheats’ husband and two daughters, 22-year-old Taylor and 17-year-old Madison, joined her in the living room Friday. Authorities say during the meeting, Sheats shot both girls.

An officer who responded to the shooting saw the daughters lying in the street and Sheats with a gun in her hand. Sheats refused orders to drop the gun and the officer fired one shot, killing Sheats.

The sheriff’s office says it has responded to 14 calls at the house since January 2012. Some of the calls were over alarms, but the sheriff’s office wouldn’t describe the reasons for the other calls.

Texas police detail injuries to Texas sisters killed by their mother

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Texas police detail injuries to Texas sisters killed by their mother

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911 call details Texas mother fatally shooting her two daughters



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On Tuesday, authorities released 911 calls that capture the panic in the home of a Houston-area mother before she killed her two daughters, as well as in the home of a neighbour after the shootings.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office released recordings of two 911 calls from Christy Sheats’ home and one from a neighbour’s home. Sheats fatally shot her two daughters before an officer killed her.

In the first call, a woman is heard crying, “Please! Forgive me! Please! Don’t shoot!” After a scream, she cries, “Please! I’m sorry!” and “Please! Don’t point that gun at her!” Another woman is heard saying, “I promise you, whatever you want,” before the call is disconnected.

READ MORE: Texas mother fatally shoots 2 daughters; police kill her

In the second call, a woman is heard saying, weakly, “She shot ’em.”

In the third call, a neighbour describes 17-year-old Madison Sheats and 22-year-old Taylor Sheats, apparently still alive, lying in the street in front of their house. The neighbour describes Christy Sheats kneeling over her eldest daughter and shooting her dead. Madison Sheats later died at a hospital.

An officer killed Christy Sheats after she refused demands to drop her gun.

A Facebook profile consistent with Sheats’ biographical details included a pro-gun post, alongside posts about how much she loved members of her family.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s neighbours grumble about new wall

HONOLULU – Some of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s neighbours are grumbling about a rock wall he’s having built on his property on the north shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Retiree Moku Crain said Tuesday the wall looks daunting and forbidding. Crain hopes and expects Zuckerberg will soften the wall’s look by planting foliage around it.

The wall began going up about four to six weeks ago. It runs along the property next to a road in the semi-rural community of Kilauea.

“Whereas before when we drove along the road we could see the ocean and see through the property, it’s closing off that view,” Crain said. “So I think that’s part of it. Nobody likes change.”

Crain estimated the wall was about 6 feet tall and that another existing wall on the property was only about 4 feet. Few would complain if the new wall was built at the same height, Crain predicted.

WATCH: 2005 interview with Mark Zuckerberg shows Facebook’s early days

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Lindsay Andrews, a spokeswoman for the billionaire’s Kauai property operations, says the rock wall is designed to reduce highway and road noise. Similar walls are routinely used for this purpose, she said. The wall follows all rules and regulations, she said.

“Our entire team remains committed to ensuring that any development respects the local landscape and environment and is considerate of neighbours,” she said in a statement.

Other neighbours told The Garden Island newspaper on Kauai that the wall was oppressive, blocks breezes and views and “doesn’t feel neighbourly.”

But software engineer Brian Catlin said the fence looks nice. He said it’s an improvement on the barbed wire fence that was there. He said the complaining was limited to “just a few crybabies” and “nobody else cares.”

“If they wanted to protect the view, they should have bought that land,” Catlin said. “He paid a lot of money for that so he can do what he wants with it.”

WATCH: Facebook founder denies social media giant censors conservative news from ‘trending’ feeds

Catlin insisted the rock wall was less than 6 feet tall because that’s how tall he is and he can see over it.

Forbes reported Zuckerberg paid over $100 million for the property, which spans more than 700 acres on the coast, in 2014.

Catlin said it was a good thing Zuckerberg bought the property because a previous landowner had plans to build a housing development on part of it, which would have increased cars and traffic. The Garden Island newspaper reported in 2014 that a 357-acre section of the property called the Kahuaina plantation had been subdivided for 80 luxury homes of up to seven acres a piece.

Justin Trudeau condemns Istanbul airport attack that killed 36

OTTAWA – Canada is condemning the suicide bombing attack on Istanbul’s Ataturk airport that killed at least 36 people and wounded many others.

Officials in Turkey are blaming the attack on three suspected Islamic State bombers.

READ MORE: Istanbul airport attack: Suspected ISIS bombers kill dozens

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on 桑拿会所 that Canada “strongly condemns tonight’s deadly attack in Turkey,” adding that his “thoughts and prayers” are with the victims as “we stand with our allies against terrorism.”

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A spokesperson at Global Affairs Canada said Canadian officials based in Ankara and Istanbul were closely monitoring the situation and working to determine if any Canadian citizens had been affected.

Austin Jean said that so far, the department had no reports of any Canadians being injured in the attack.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion also issued a statement strongly condemning what he called an “appalling” attack.

READ MORE:Istanbul airport attack: Air Canada halts service to Ataturk Airport

Dion offered condolences to the family and friends of the victims and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded.

“We stand with the Turkish people as they deal with this most recent and appalling terror attack,” Dion said. “We reaffirm our commitment to work tirelessly in the fight against terrorism.”

‘He did something terrible’: Bolsa shooting victim relieved after sentencing decision

A notorious Calgary gangster was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 16 years Tuesday for the high profile shooting and killing of an innocent man.

43-year-old Keni Su’a died New Year’s Day 2009. He was shot as he tried to escape from gunfire at the Bolsa Restaurant.

The target of the shooting was gang member Sanjeev Mann and his associate Aaron Bendle.

Real Honorio pleaded guilty to the second degree murder of Su’a and more than seven years after the shooting was given his sentence in a Calgary courtroom.

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    “It does bring some closure, however I don’t think there will ever be full closure. It won’t bring Keni back, he’s still gone,” Su’as former wife Lenni Folden-Su’a said.

    In a written decision, Justice W.A. Tilleman noted Honorio had “a ruthless disregard for life” and shot an innocent man. But he also noted that Honorio is remorseful about his actions.

    “This justice gave a thoughtful decision. It wasn’t what we were hoping for however the Crown was seeking a 20-year sentence,” defence lawyer Tonii Roulston said.

    Co-counsel Andrea Urquhart added, “He’s looking forward to focusing on his future now, putting this behind him. He’s taken responsibility for his actions and he’s just happy to have this chapter of his life over.”

    Folden-Su’a said she was hoping Honorio wouldn’t be eligible for parole for 20 years but says she’s satisfied with the decision.

    “Real [Honorio] does seem remorseful and I do hope that he does turn his life around and does made a difference in his life but at the same time I still feel he did something terrible, he took somebody’s life and a person should pay for that,” Folden-Su’a said.

    Honorio’s sentence will be considered to have begun the day he was arrested and taken into custody June 8, 2009. That means he will be eligible to apply for parole in another nine years.

    Folden Su’a said she’ll never fully heal from the senseless tragedy but she holds onto her former husband’s memory tightly.

    “Keni was a really kind generous person, was everybody’s best friend people could depend on him. He looked after his family,” she said.

    With files from Paul Rodgers

New buoy in New York Harbour to allow scientists to listen to singing whales in real time

MINEOLA, N.Y. — Scientists have deployed a buoy 22 miles off the coast of New York’s Fire Island to monitor several species of great whales in “near real-time.” The high-tech acoustic device will eavesdrop on the songs of the whales to better understand and safeguard their movements near two busy shipping lanes entering New York Harbour.

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“We know they’re there, but we know very little about them,” said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, director of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Ocean Giants Program. His New York-based organization, in collaboration with the New York Aquarium, has teamed with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts on the research project.

Scientists last week deployed the buoy, which is four feet in diameter with a mast standing six feet above the sea surface south of Long Island. The buoy is connected by “stretch hoses” to a weighted frame that sits 125 feet below on the sea floor. The frame features high-tech listening devices connected to an underwater microphone.

READ MORE: ‘Captivity is degrading’: Buenos Aires Zoo, Georgia Aquarium take steps to end animal captivity

The devices will focus on obtaining data on the sounds of several species of baleen whales because they are endangered, said Dr. Mark Baumgartner of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The data will be transmitted back to scientists in near real-time, for analysis within about two hours, Rosenbaum said.

The buoy also will collect the sounds of other whales, but that information will be archived in the listening devices at the bottom of the sea and analyzed when the buoy is retrieved after a year, Baumgartner said.

WATCH: Caught on Camera: Rangers rescue stranded pygmy whales in New Zealand

The scientists noted that all whales rely on their acoustic environment to socialize and navigate, and they are vulnerable to underwater noise, ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements.

The research collected could help prevent ship strikes, and may be helpful as the federal government and New York state consider placing a massive wind energy farm offshore in the coming years.

The buoy has been placed inside what is called the New York Bight, which features busy shipping lanes and lucrative fishing grounds. The Bight is home to seven species of great whales, including the humpback whale — known for its acrobatics and long, haunting songs — and the blue whale. The highly endangered North Atlantic right whale — one of the world’s rarest whale species — migrates through New York waters, and fin, sei, minke and sperm whales also have been seen or heard, the scientists said.

READ MORE:10 whales dead, dozens stranded on Indonesia’s Java island

Similar buoys were deployed off the coasts of Massachusetts and Maine earlier this year, and a Cornell University project has deployed near real-time buoys in shipping lanes near Boston to help protect the animals from ship strikes in that area, Baumgartner said.

Scientists around the world deploy listening devices to study whales, but the projects off New York and New England are the only known projects that relay information in near real-time, he added.

Alleged partnership of Canadian casino company with gambling tycoon could trigger new investigation

A Hong Kong tycoon suspected of links to organized crime in Macau casinos was allegedly a partner with B.C.-based Great Canadian Gaming in a casino ship venture in the South China Sea, a Global News investigation shows.

This new information could lead to an investigation by B.C.’s gaming enforcement branch, Attorney General David Eby said.

WATCH: Global investigation raises more money laundering concerns

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Global’s investigation — based on extensive interviews with former Great Canadian employees and review of hundreds of pages of legal and corporate documents — reveals that Cheng Yu Tung, who was Hong Kong’s third-richest man before his death in 2016, was allegedly a key backer for the casino ship known as the China Sea Discovery.

READ MORE:
Poll shows voters support public inquiry into B.C. casino money laundering

Great Canadian’s casino cruise only lasted for about a year, ending in 2001, and was plagued by problems with Chinese gangsters and armed junket operators, according to documents and witness interviews. It ended in a number of law suits.

A statement from Eby, says that even for casino ventures that take place outside Canada, significant investors involved with B.C. registered casino companies must be vetted for suitability and integrity by B.C.’s government. And B.C. casino companies must operate with integrity, the statement says, wherever they do business.

Eby’s ministry confirmed that Cheng Yu Tung has not been registered to participate in B.C.-based gambling businesses.

“Allegations of unregistered individuals participating in companies that deliver gaming services in British Columbia are serious,” Eby said in a statement.

“Any credible information about such individuals should be forwarded to British Columbia’s Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch so that appropriate investigations can be initiated.”

Sandy Garossino, a former Crown prosecutor who has been critical of organized crime influence in B.C. casinos, called the revelation of Cheng Yu Tung’s alleged partnership with Great Canadian a “bombshell” that “blows open the necessity of a public inquiry, into what happened in B.C.”

WATCH: Global investigation raises more money laundering concerns

Reviewer Peter German, a former high-ranking RCMP officer, filed a scathing report confirming that Chinese organized crime networks with roots in Guangdong, Macau and Hong Kong, laundered at least $100 million through loan sharks and VIP gamblers in B.C. Lottery casinos.

German concluded casinos “unwittingly” allowed organized crime to launder money. And German called River Rock Casino the “epi-centre” of the activity.

Great Canadian, which has become the dominant casino operator in Canada after being awarded new contracts in the Toronto area, continues to be reviewed for management integrity by Ontario’s regulator, due to allegations made public last year by Eby’s ministry.

WATCH: David Eby blames BC Liberals for money laundering issues

READ MORE:
Calls mount for probe of Wynne government casino contracts that ‘smelled of backroom deals’

German’s report does not probe Great Canadian’s troubled venture into Asian cruise ship gambling in 2001.

But a former Great Canadian security supervisor who was aboard the China Sea Discovery, Proka Avramovic, says he believes Great Canadian’s Hong Kong-based venture was an important introduction to the model of Chinese VIP gambling.

In a court case involving China Sea Discovery investors, Avramovic testified about terrifying incidents aboard the casino ship, including the time a powerfully connected Chinese businessman allegedly held Great Canadian employees captive in a port of the Chinese island of Hainan, until he was repaid for an investment.

The businessman, only referred to as “Mr. Y” in court, controlled armed forces in Hainan and had real estate assets in Richmond, according to Great Canadian employees.

Avramovic testified that his complaints to B.C.’s government after he returned from the China Sea Discovery were dismissed, and he was informed regulators didn’t want to handle his allegations about loan sharking in B.C. Lottery casinos, because the industry was expanding.

“The China Sea casino was the template of how things would work in Canada,” Avramovic said in an interview. “These red flags were raised 15 years ago, and it has to be connected to what is happening now.”

Garossino agreed, saying new information about Cheng Yu Tung could help explain how the Macau gambling model took root in B.C.

READ MORE:
How Chinese gangs are laundering drug money through Vancouver real estate

“If Cheng Yu Tung was involved in a partnership with Great Canadian in any way, at any time, it would be a bombshell, in my opinion,” Garossino said in an interview. “Cheng would be an unsuitable partner, in any jurisdiction in North America. And what is really striking about this revelation, is that everything about the River Rock Casino model has had outward manifestations of the Macau model, almost from the beginning.”

In a prepared response for this story, Great Canadian’s chief operating officer Terrance Doyle did not answer specific questions about Cheng Yu Tung’s alleged involvement with Great Canadian, or other allegations in this story. Doyle said the China Sea Discovery only operated for a limited time in 2001, offering casino cruises out of Hong Kong, and Great Canadian was a minority partner in the joint-venture.

“Any attempt to extrapolate from this business venture, while relying on the comments of former Great Canadian employees or innuendo, significantly risks doing a disservice to your readers,” Doyle stated.

“Dr. (Peter) German found that casino service providers in B.C. were operating in accordance with AML (anti-money laundering) policies, practices and statutes,” Doyle stated. “And in the case of Great Canadian, we undertook detailed efforts to report all suspicious activity that led to certain law enforcement action, as well as taking proactive measures to combat loan sharking efforts in 2016.”

Notorious for Triad activities

Cheng Yu Tung was famed for building a multi-billion dollar empire through his private jewellery conglomerate, and gambling, real estate, and banking interests in Hong Kong, Macau and China. His family’s empire is now estimated at over $20-billion, according to Forbes.

A Guangdong native, Cheng once bested Donald Trump in a New York real estate deal, and also had ties with a Chinese leader whose family secretly amassed billions as Cheng’s businesses expanded in China, the New York Times has reported. Cheng’s real estate wealth extends into Canada, too. Along with a consortium of Hong Kong tycoons, in the 1990s, Cheng was an early investor in major Vancouver condominium and hotel developments.

But Cheng is also known to police and gambling regulators around the world for alleged associations to organized crime figures in Hong Kong, and because for decades he and Hong Kong tycoon Stanley Ho controlled a Macau casino monopoly, run through a byzantine network of private and public companies. Ho was also a major investor in Vancouver real estate, the Washington Post reported in 1991.

U.S. gambling regulators have concluded, documents show, it is almost impossible to be involved in Macau VIP room gambling, without connections to Chinese organized crime. A 2009 report by the New Jersey attorney general’s division of gaming enforcement, alleged Cheng Yu Tung was directly involved in operating three VIP rooms “that are notorious for triad activities” in Stanley Ho’s Macau casinos.

In an interview Garry Clement, a former director of the RCMP’s proceeds of crime program and the former Hong Kong Liaison Officer from 1991 to 1994, said that in his Hong Kong duties he “learned of Cheng Yu Tung’s ties to Stanley Ho, at a time when Ho controlled the Macau casinos and enabled Triads to establish gambling rooms.”

Clement said he forwarded “significant” reports to RCMP headquarters about Cheng, Ho and Triads, “detailing connections,” and his concerns.

Cheng’s business partner Stanley Ho, and Ho’s family, have twice been rejected as suitable investors in B.C. casino companies, due to background investigations, B.C.’s Ministry of Attorney General confirmed. But Cheng Yu Tung’s alleged partnership with Great Canadian appears to have been undetected.

Stanley Ho, who is now 96, has repeatedly denied any links to Triads, and has never been arrested or convicted.

“Cheng was an original partner, all the way through”

In 2000 Great Canadian was looking for a way to tap into the high-end market of Asian high-rollers.

Gambling is illegal in China. But in Macau, and in casino ships cruising international waters near Hong Kong, Chinese VIPs can get money offshore through junket operators, and lay massive bets.

Great Canadian executives including Walter Soo, the company’s current head of international VIP gaming, saw an opportunity in floating casinos.

“We had $500 limits in B.C. and we wanted to do $10,000 bets,” one former Great Canadian employee involved in the China Sea Discovery venture said.

READ MORE:
VIP linked to top Chinese officials, real estate, corruption allegations, gambling

According to legal filings, Great Canadian, Allegiance Capital, an investment bank from Texas, and a Hong Kong real estate tycoon named Charles Ming, invested about $15 million in an aging cruise ship, named it the China Sea Discovery, and turned it into a gambling vessel. Ming planned to attract investors in Hong Kong, court documents say.

Walter Soo ran the casino for Great Canadian, according to court testimony.

The business plan was also detailed in a Wall Street Journal story in 2001, which said Ming and his Hong Kong travel company, Kamhon, would run the venture for a subsidiary of Great Canadian Gaming. The story mentions Kamhon’s connection to New World Development Co., the multi-billion dollar Hong Kong corporation directed by Cheng Yu Tung. But there is no mention of Cheng’s involvement.

A review of emerging market corporate records indicates that Kamhon is a subsidiary of New World Development Co.

Ming, who died in 2008, was a director and major shareholder of Great Canadian Gaming, according to Washington State gaming records.

If Cheng’s alleged partnership with Great Canadian is investigated by B.C.’s government, this information could be relevant. In a response, B.C.’s Ministry of Attorney General informed Global that its staff could find no B.C. gaming records for Ming, Cheng, or Kamhon.

All government documents related to the China Sea Discovery case have been destroyed due to passage of time, a response to a Global News freedom of information request says.

Some former Great Canadian employees said there was excitement that Cheng Yu Tung, who was seen as “royalty” in Hong Kong, would provide the China Sea Discovery access to port infrastructure in Hong Kong.

But it didn’t work out that way.

“Cheng was an original partner, all the way through,” one former Great Canadian employee, who asked not to be named for fear of being sued, said. “But there was no access to any of Cheng’s infrastructure, and that was kind of disappointing to Great Canadian. Because you think you are partnering with a substantial player in Asia, and then you get there, and it is almost like they didn’t really want to be seen, being in the gambling business.”

Accounts of Cheng’s involvement with Charles Ming in a South China Sea cruise are supported by a 2002 Hong Kong media report, from the widely read Apple Daily.

The report says that Ming was accused by an Asian bank of an unpaid debt in the 2001 venture, and that posters announcing the claim, including pictures of Ming and Cheng, were pasted to the walls of New World Development headquarters.

Gamblers playing slot machines at the River Rock Casino in Richmond B.C.

Sharon Doucette/CP

Walter Soo threatened

Avramovic, a security manager with Great Canadian until 2003, testified about his experiences on the China Sea Discovery and in B.C. casinos, in the Texas court case.

Avramovic testified about a scenario allegedly involving Soo that was reported to Great Canadian’s head office. When the China Sea Discovery made arrangements to cruise with VIPs from the Chinese island of Hainan, a figure only referred to in transcripts as “Mr. Y” allegedly attempted to take control.

“We had real trouble with Mr. Y, that mob guy,” Avramovic testified.

“Mr. Y was making some demands about the money that he invest, and Walter Soo tried to resolve the issues. Then Walter Soo’s being threatened by him. Mr. Y wanted money back in order to free the ship from China.”

Global News could not reach Walter Soo to ask questions about his involvement in the China Sea Discovery.

Avramovic testified about receiving a $900,000 cheque from a Great Canadian executive at Vancouver’s YVR airport, and hand-delivering the cheque to Great Canadian executives in Hong Kong.

Great Canadian executive Boki Sikimic, who was Avramovic’s boss, also testified in the Texas court case, and reported the same transaction.

“I know that’s in Hainan when we have to send money to pay. Somebody took the ship,” Sikimic testified. “The reports that I receive, they’re running away. They owe money to China. They been paid some Mr. Y. He wants to take the ship.  I remember guys sending reports there was guns on the ship.  Everybody is, you know, running scared for their lives, from operation.”

None of the allegations in the case between Allegiance and Great Canadian were proven in court. And in cross-examination, Great Canadian’s lawyer challenged Avramovic’s testimony that Mr. Y’s entourage was armed, and that Walter Soo was threatened by Mr. Y, and that a deal was made with Mr. Y to free the ship. Great Canadian eventually settled with Allegiance out of court, a corporate statement from Great Canadian says.

The testimony of Avramovic and Sikimic, is supported by an account of the China Sea Discovery voyage filed on a shipping news website. The account says armed officials operating a travel charter in Hainan made ‘severe’ threats to casino and ship employees.

A number of former employees, including Avramovic, said Great Canadian’s casino ship could not obtain fuel to leave Hainan, until Mr. Y was satisfied.

Some former Great Canadian employees said they were aware that Mr. Y owned real estate assets in Richmond, B.C., and in addition to running a travel agency in Hainan, he ran spas and karaoke lounges in Hong Kong. They said some Great Canadian managers, including Walter Soo, continued to visit Mr. Y in Richmond, after the alleged difficulties in Hainan were resolved.

One employee explained that there was nothing “nefarious” in Great Canadian’s actions. But from Hong Kong to Hainan, Great Canadian was beset with the problem of Triads that controlled Asia’s VIP market.

“There were bad people, trying to control what we did, and they could control immigration in China,” one employee said. “Mr. Y wanted a stake in the casino because he could bring on the players, and he knew there was a lot of money to be made … He was the king of that island, and what he said went.”

WATCH: John Hua spoke exclusively with Fred Pinnock about what the BC Liberals knew about the problem of money laundering in B.C. casinos.

Junket agents

In testimony in the Texas court case, Avramovic and Sikimic pointed to junket agents, and what Sikimic viewed as suspicious activity at the China Sea Discovery cash cage. Sikimic said he received numerous reports from ship security staff, of unknown junket agents taking stacks of money from the cash cage, that they did not gamble with.

According to Sikimic’s testimony, junket agents aboard the China Sea Discovery were paid a commission related to the amount of money a VIP gambled.

“Agents are paid and junkets are paid,” Sikimic testified. “Somebody come (to the cash cage) and the guy says give him $200,000. He is one of the agents. He’s the one that represents somebody. He says give him 200. Now, from those 200, I’ve been told they get commission. They get five percent.”

Great Canadian’s lawyer objected to Sikimic’s testimony on junkets, claiming it was irrelevant to the case.

In the language of Fintrac, Canada’s anti-money laundering agency, Sikimic’s testimony about player agents could provide examples of “third-party” transactions. Sikimic testified that he questioned these alleged junket transactions to his superiors at Great Canadian. But he was repeatedly told “that’s the way they do things,” in Chinese gambling, Sikimic testified.

If B.C.’s government were to investigate the China Sea Discovery case, this could be an example of an operations “integrity” issue, as referred to in Eby’s response for this story.

Reports on junket gambling in Macau, explain that junket agents arrange deals with Chinese border officials in which Chinese VIPs can transfer cash out of China, avoiding capital export controls, and receive the cash or chips in private casino rooms. Or, VIPs can take cash loans from junket agents in order to buy casino chips, and pay back the loans in China.

German’s report concludes that the second type of transaction — VIPs taking criminal cash loans in B.C. and repaying debts in China, just as “it happens in Hong Kong and Macau” — eventually became common in Metro Vancouver casinos.

READ MORE:
Money laundering report recommends new police unit to oversee casinos

Avramovic also testified that when he took over security on the China Sea Discovery, he was briefed that some high-rollers involved with junkets would not be checked for weapons.

“That was Hainan,” Avramovic testified.

“So of course, I didn’t want to interfere. I didn’t want to jeopardize, you know, anyone’s safety on the ship because, obviously the Chinese custom officer will let them go.”

In cross-examination, Great Canadian’s lawyer said Avramovic couldn’t prove he saw actual weapons onboard the China Sea Discovery.

00:43

Anti-laundering Report

David Eby shows video of money laundering in action

00:30

BC1

David Eby discusses money laundering report recommendations

01:03

BC1

David Eby speaks about money laundering at casinos in BC

02:42

Global News Hour at 6

Loan shark at work in casino?

02:14

Global News Morning BC

New allegations surfacing about the extent of BC’s casino money laundering problems

01:50

Global National

Money laundering at B.C. casinos linked to housing, opioid crises



Explaining his allegation in an interview, Avramovic said: “I was briefed that some important people will come through the security and we shouldn’t really check them, because they are junket players. I was instructed those players and their entourage are probably armed and have lots of cash, so they won’t be going through the metal detectors.”

Another former Great Canadian employee claimed to have witnessed a feared alleged Macau casino junket operator and her entourage skirt metal detectors, while boarding the China Sea Discovery, in Hong Kong.

Peter German’s report does not question whether VIP-delivering companies allegedly involved on the China Sea Discovery, could have followed Great Canadian back to B.C., after 2001.

Global News asked Sandy Garossino and Garry Clement, if based on the evidence in this story, that could have been the case.

“The danger is obvious,” Garossino said. “The thing about organized crime is, you can’t run away from these relationships, even if you want to.”

“I believe this is just a continuation of what was started overseas, and the China Sea Discovery, only being one outlet,” Clement said.

Whatever the case, in the time period covered by German’s report — when Walter Soo was responsible for developing Great Canadian’s massively profitable VIP program at River Rock Casino — B.C. Lottery Corp., Gaming Enforcement Branch, and RCMP investigators noted serious concerns with Chinese VIPs and suspicious cash transactions.

According to German’s report, a B.C. Lottery Corp. investigator claimed that “the River Rock VIP room was ‘full of facilitators.’ Some members of senior management within River Rock appeared to have developed friendships with these players.”

“The investigator sensed that high-limit gamblers, referred to as ‘whales,’ were untouchable,” German’s report states.

German’s report specifically noted a suspected “third-party” transaction at River Rock — a potentially illegal transaction according to Fintrac’s anti-money laundering regulations — which resembles the “agent” transactions described in Sikimic’s testimony.

At River Rock, a “VIP host allegedly arranged a buy-in of $200,000 in $100 bills for a person who was representing a high-limit player,” German’s report states. “Apparently, the intent of the buy-in was to obtain chips in advance of a visit from China, by four friends of the banned player.”

In a media release welcoming the conclusions in German’s report, Great Canadian said German recognized the role casinos have in combatting illegal activity, and German “has acknowledged the proactive measures that Great Canadian has implemented beyond what was required by regulation.”

Loan sharks

In his testimony, Sikimic claimed that he resigned from Great Canadian partly because he was tired of dealing with loan sharks in B.C. casinos, and “I was afraid for my life, and life of my family, if I go further.”

“Everything dealing with loan sharks … it’s the biggest problem.  Government — they know what’s going on. Even police knows (and the B.C.) Gaming Policy Enforcement Branch,” Sikimic testified, in 2004. “There was shooting, there was people found dead in the car … everything was connected to the loan sharks. So it’s not a group of, you know, people that you would mess with.”

Great Canadian’s lawyer objected to Sikmic’s testimony on loan sharks, saying it wasn’t relevant to the case.

But German’s report confirmed a number of murders and disappearances related to loan sharking in B.C. Lottery casinos, in the 2000s.

“Loan sharks were a staple of casino life … staff and players at many casinos paid little attention to these people,” German’s report states. “They typically carry illegal or undeclared cash given to them by their bosses. The money is to be repaid with interest, secured by the borrower’s personal safety or possessions.”

In an interview, Clement noted “this is exactly the same modus operandi that occurred in Macau casinos, in the 1990s.”

Garossino also said German’s description of loan sharking in B.C. casinos matches the Macau model, and River Rock Casino showed “outward manifestations” of this, in early cases of loan shark related violence. Garossino pointed to the murder of female loan shark Rong Li in 2006 near River Rock, just two years after the casino opened. Rong Li was part of a 24/7 criminal lending operation at River Rock, according to court testimony.

German’s report says that a “decade of dirty money” started after 2002 in B.C. casinos, when the minister then responsible for B.C. Lottery Corp., Rich Coleman, decided to streamline gambling regulations.

Minister of Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman speaks to media during a press conference in the Legislative Library on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 in Victoria, B.C.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito

In an interview, Proka Avramovic said that he believes Coleman attempted to discredit him, when CBC broadcast Avramovic’s allegations about loan sharks, in a 2004 TV interview. Avramovic believes if Coleman would have seriously considered his allegations about loan sharks, when Coleman was solicitor-general, the casino money laundering scandal that has shamed B.C., may have been avoided.

READ MORE:
Former head of B.C.’s illegal gambling enforcement team blames RCMP, B.C. Liberals for inaction against money laundering

“Upon my arrival back from China, (from the China Sea Discovery) I felt that I had to do something more, regarding loan sharks in Lower Mainland casinos,” Avramovic said. “Because I saw some of the familiar faces, from the time sailing on the casino ship in the China Sea.”

In a prepared response, Coleman said he acknowledges more could have been done to combat money laundering in B.C. But Coleman said “there is a strict divide” in B.C. between politicians and “those charged with administering” criminal justice.

“Decisions on which cases to investigate and prosecute are made without any influence at all from elected officials,” Coleman said. “I could not, and would not, provide direction to police on what or how they should be investigating. It is simply nonsense to suggest otherwise.”

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Executive Committee pushes ahead transit plan for next 15 years

Despite a torrent of criticism on costs and level of access, Mayor John Tory defended his plan for a single-stop subway extension, costing $3.2 billion, from Kennedy Station to Scarborough Town Centre.

“Get transit built. Stop being world champion debaters and start being world champion builders, that is what I think people want in this city,” said Tory, who balked at the idea of going back to an LRT plan for the city’s neglected east end.

“Build it and they will come.”

ChangSha Night Net

But at least two left-leaning councilors argued residents would get more value for money from an LRT network.

“For the same amount of money we could build 25 LRT stops to serve more people in Scarborough,” Coun. Joe Cressy said.

“What we just saw today is that all the money is now going to the Scarborough Subway Extension. Because the cost went up so much, there’s nothing left for the light rail program that we were told was part of the original package,” added Coun. Gord Perks.

“It was a bait and switch.”

But Scarborough Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker defended the mayor’s plan as part of a vital transit network that he says his constituents want.

“It’s money very well spent,” he said. “Subways, whether they be in downtown Toronto or York University, they’re all expensive; but the Scarborough subway at $3 billion is the same as everyone else’s or cheaper.”

But residents and students at Scarborough’s University of Toronto campus just want progress in whatever form.

“Our frustration is that there has been a lot of talking and debating and nothing that’s actually being done,” said student Sitharsana Srithas who added that it takes 90 minutes to commute from the university’s Scarborough campus to the downtown campus.

Another concern for residents is the recommended alignment for the Downtown Relief Line. A staff report recommends the line cut along Queen Street to Eastern Avenue and then up Pape – a narrow residential street.

“It’s incredibly narrow, it’s 18-metres wide and the right of way would mean the subway is almost literally being built under people’s homes and that’s a big concern for residents,” said Simon Cohen, who lives on Pape Avenue.

Coun. Paula Fletcher successful passed an amendment asking the city to explore an alternate alignment.

Victims of shooting file lawsuit against Regina’s Pump Roadhouse

Two men have filed lawsuits against the Pump Roadhouse nightclub in Regina after they were the victims of a brazen shooting.

According to new court documents, Sarain Stoney and Jordan Burns were wounded when a gunman opened fire in the early morning hours of April 29.

WATCH: Two men shot at Regina’s Pump Roadhouse suffer serious injuries

ChangSha Night Net

The statements of claim offer new details of what transpired at Pump Roadhouse from the perspective of the victims.

In the documents, Stoney said he was let in the back door by a Pump employee and allowed to enter without being searched.

He goes on to state that around 1:30 a.m., he saw a man with a gun and turned to run in the opposite direction. Stoney claimed he was shot twice as he ran away.

The first bullet entered below his right ear and exited his left cheek, according to Stoney. He stated that he “suffered a broken jaw, injured his tongue, lost two teeth, tissue damage to his face and mouth, nerve damage and permanent scarring.”

Stoney stated the second bullet hit his right shoulder.

The statement claimed that the injuries Stoney sustained will likely require further surgeries and treatment, plus psychological counseling to help with “mental anguish and anxiety.”

READ MORE: Canada-wide warrant issued for Regina man wanted in nightclub shooting investigation

On Tuesday, another statement of claim was filed by Jordan Burns.

Burns stated that he was waiting to order food when the gunman collided with him, turned around and shot him twice in the left arm.

He stated that “there are bullet fragments in his left forearm” and he isn’t able to bear “any significant weight on his left arm.”

In both statements, Stoney and Burns claim that Pump Roadhouse showed “wilful disregard for the safety of the public generally…by having the opportunity to act and either neglecting or choosing not to do so.”

The nightclub’s owner, Mark Smith, said additional security measures have been applied since the shooting.

“We implemented the wand and the metal detection and a very vigorous, vigorous search. We really scrutinize people when they come through the door,” Smith said.

READ MORE: Owner of Pump RoadHouse says Regina club will be enhancing security

Smith said he hopes the victims fully recover and will let the nightclub’s insurance company deal with the claims.

None of the allegations against Pump Roadhouse have been proven in court.

‘We can basically consider ourselves a world leader’: Researcher excited by Lethbridge’s new neuroscience lab

A state-of-the-art optical imaging lab in the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience is providing the University of Lethbridge with new insight into neurological disorders, such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

The University of Lethbridge unveiled its new neuroscience facility on Thursday.

The lab includes modern developments in technology, along with a group of genetically-modified mice – known as transgenic mice – that allow scientists to study the brain in action.

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    Dr. Majid Mohajerani, one of the doctors leading the project, said the new lab will give the university an edge in science.

    “I invested a lot of effort in order to bring our infrastructure to acceptable levels,” Mohajerani said. “We can basically consider ourselves a world leader.”

    Since human subjects cannot be used, researchers isolate the genes of a particular disease, transfer them into mice, then simulate potential situations. A mouse brain carries many of the same genes as a human, and therefore are extremely beneficial in the study of human illnesses, like neurological diseases.

    READ MORE: Of mice and men: Lab rodents react differently to male researchers

    “When the mouse grows up, it looks like the gene that affects humans also does something similar in a mouse brain,” Mohajerani said.

    “Now we can use the mouse as a model to study that type of disease.”

    With the new developments, researchers will now be able to solve many unanswered questions about the complex nature of a brain suffering from neurological diseases, including stroke and dementia.

    “One of the questions we are currently addressing in the lab, is how a very small stroke that we don’t notice can work towards the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Mohajerani said.

    “The problem happens when we get many of them accumulating and they prevent network activity in our brains.”

    The lab equipment gives scientists an opportunity to shine light on specific areas of the brain in a transgenic mouse and activate neurons in brain activity, such as recalling a memory.

    Mohajerani’s research enables the university to attain new information about how the brain functions, and could also lead to identifying the best treatment for human patients suffering from disorders.

    “We don’t know whether the findings we make with mice are necessarily translatable to humans, but we don’t have any other choice,” he said. “We have to try different things and hope to see one of them get translated into actual use in humans.”

    Mohajerani said after two and a half years of hard work, he’s excited to finally begin.

    “This would not be possible without the talented people who work with me in this department,” he said. “This is a collective effort of many people. I’m very glad that the senior members of this department had this vision.”