Think what you will about the payday loans business. Whatever your opinion, you’ve probably thought that being in this business is one of those black and white things — either you’re in it or you’re not.
This might change in Ontario. The province’s Ministry of Consumer Services is contemplating some amendments to the regulations that implement the Payday Loans Act. If adopted as proposed, these changes will broaden the range of activities regulated under that law to include some things that most business people do not associate with payday lending.
While this is a uniquely Ontario story, it should be of interest to small business people in other parts of Canada. Credit activities are usually subject to some form of consumer protection legislation, so business people should always make sure they understand how their lending programs comply with local laws.
Feedback has been blunt. On the industry front, the Canadian Finance & Leasing Association, which represents more than 200 lenders, has filed a submission with the government that comments on the proposed changes. And on the legal front, the Ontario Bar Association, a voluntary group that represents 18,000 lawyers, judges and law students in Ontario, has warned the Ontario government that the proposed changes go too far.
“The OBA is strongly of the view that the proposed amendments are overly broad in their reach and go well beyond the specific mischief that the ministry aims to curb,” the association states in a submission to the government on the proposed changes.
The gist of the proposed changes is to extend the definition of payday lending to cover loans of $5,000 or less, along with some other criteria. The extended legal definition is supposed to capture some payday lending practices that have scooted around previous legal definitions. But more than a few business lawyers are shocked by the degree to which the new rules could impact many typical small business activities.
“The current draft of the proposed regulatory amendments broadens the scope of the act to capture a wide range of loans not typically considered to be payday loans, including the financing of low and medium value items, such as used cars, computers, furniture, and electronics,” write lawyers Jason Arbuck, Sarah McKinnon and Tim Pinos of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP in a note to clients.
The consequences of falling within the scope of the rules are serious and significant. Small businesses subject to the new rules would require a lender’s licence, be subject to inspection, and have to provide certain mandatory information to borrowers, the OBA’s government submission states. “The lender could also be made subject to potential penalties under the act, which can include substantial fines and possible imprisonment.”
The new regulations might even capture the activities of some charities that provide small loans to new Canadians so they can start small, home-based businesses, or that provide micro-financing for small business people in developing countries.
Most lawyers are pretty sure the Ontario government did not set out to make the Payday Loans Act applicable to almost every form of credit financing. “It is highly unlikely that MCS intended for its proposed amendments to capture such a broad range of activities, yet that may well be the import of the proposed amendments if they are not fundamentally changed,” write lawyers Derek Bell and Bruce Barker of Bennett Jones LLP in a note to clients.
Indeed, it’s possible the Ontario government might modify the proposed changes. The ministry accepted open comment on the payday loan amendments until Sept. 30, but an official with the ministry says comments received after that date may be considered.
Meanwhile, the situation offers a larger message for entrepreneurs in any province or territory. Always be careful about how you introduce any credit or pre-sales program. These activities are always subject to a raft of provincial and territorial regulations. As the Ontario experience demonstrates, what you might consider to be an innocuous, normal sales activity might turn out to be something that is captured by some serious regulation.
Drew Hasselback is Legal Editor of the Financial Post. He is a lawyer called to the Bar of Ontario.
NEW YORK (AP) — Defense lawyers in the first criminal trial to result from imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff‘s mammoth fraud described him to jurors as a manipulative, evil genius too shrewd to let his lowly office workers in on his crimes even as he showered them with huge salaries and impressive titles.
The lawyers for five former Madoff employees took their turns Thursday introducing the case to a jury in federal court in Manhattan beginning with attorney Andrew Frisch on behalf of Daniel Bonventre, the onetime director of operations at Madoff’s firm.
“Dan thought he was living the American dream,” Frisch said of his 66-year-old client, who stood as his lawyer introduced him to the jury. “Dan believed Madoff, like so many others.”
“Celebrities, movie stars, Sandy Koufax. They all believed in Bernie Madoff,” said Eric Breslin, an attorney for JoAnn Crupi, 52, an account manager for Madoff for 25 years. “He literally had millionaires eating out of his hand, begging him to invest their money. … The world was taken in. The government will not be able to prove JoAnn Crupi knew any better.”
After a break on Friday, testimony will begin Monday. Breslin said that Madoff, 75, who is serving a 150-year prison sentence, will not appear in court but that “his shadow will be in this courtroom every day.”
Roland Riopelle, attorney for Madoff’s longtime secretary, Annette Bongiorno, 64, said his client, too, was taken in by “a kind of rock star in the securities industry.”
“The government simply cannot prove that she knew there was a fraud and intended to hurt anyone,” he said of a woman who started working for Madoff in the 1960s when she was 19 years old.
The workers all lost their jobs after Madoff revealed in December 2008 that statements he had mailed to thousands of investors just days earlier reporting nearly $68 billion in assets were bogus and that only about $300 million remained. Clients lost their original investment of nearly $20 billion.
A court-appointed trustee has recovered much of the money lost in the fraud by forcing those who received payouts over the years in the Ponzi scheme to return billions of dollars.
The defense openings came a day after a prosecutor accused the former employees of being crucial components of a fraud that remained hidden for decades.
Defense lawyers described Madoff as godlike at his firm, a former NASDAQ chairman who hid his heartless, corrupt and greedy side with extraordinary generosity. They said he was a swaggering Wall Street icon, a control freak, a great liar, a genius manipulator, extremely demanding, eccentric and temperamental, private and secretive, domineering and controlling.
Attorney Gordon Mehler, representing computer programmer Jerome O’Hara, 50, warned jurors to beware of the government’s star witness and Madoff’s former finance chief, Frank DiPascali, saying he was such an architect of the fraud that his blaming other Madoff employees would be like “the Big Bad Wolf getting on the witness stand and condemning Little Red Riding Hood.”
He said Madoff duped O’Hara and another computer programmer on trial, George Perez, 47.
Welcome to Tweet Repeat, your daily dose of the best celeb anecdotes found on Twitter. We’ve scoured the site looking for the funniest, weirdest, goofiest, deepest, craziest, sweetest, most intriguing thoughts of the day, from the most intriguing people on the internet. See what Chrissy Teigen, Cash Warren, Sophia Bush, Olivia Wilde and more were up to in the Twittersphere today.
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There are few figures more legendary in Silicon Valley than Nolan Bushnell, the Atari co-founder who gave Steve Jobs his first tech job and the guy who turned down the offer to buy a third of Apple for $50,000. Bushnell has a new book out called Finding The Next Steve Jobs which, he told me, is designed to help companies find that “quirky” fellow who can do the “strange things” that will change the world.Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/QDaF9cIZv54/
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Pull on your favorite jersey, call up your foodball-fan friends and throw an awesome fall party!
Whether it’s NFL, College or High School games, we women are football crazy at this time of year. Actually, according to data from the ESPN Sports Poll and the U.S. Census, league officials say 44 percent of all football fans are now women. Go girl power! Taking over football too!
So, it’s just natural and a lot of fun to invite the girls over for a football party. Here’s a couple ideas – add yours in the comments!
* GO BACK TO SCHOOL – Remember when we used to cheer on our own high school team? We’d go with our girlfriends and watch the game, or maybe not watch the game but just enjoy spending time together. At your alma mater or your (or a friends’) child’s school, get the girls together for some high school football. Meet at your home before or after for snacks and drinks. Go girlfriends! (Bonus if you all dress or do your hair as you did in high school!)
* TAILGATE!!! – At a live game or even just to gather around a TV, invite your besties for a tailgate party in a stadium parking lot or even your driveway. Especially if it is nice, chilly weather, make up some chili or grill some burgers, have a cooler of beverages and hang out outside with your fun fanatic friends!
* BEST VIEW OF THE GAME – is generally on TV so invite the girls over to your house to watch the game of the week. Make it easy by preparing a tasty dish ahead of time in your crockpot, like this CROCKPOT BUFFALO CHICKEN recipe from our friends at WannaBite.com. (Doesn’t it look great! Can’t wait to have the girls over to try it!) Maybe a game of tag football during halftime?
* LONGEST PLAY OF THE DAY – Does your football friend live in another city, state or even country?! Do you talk football with her? Make wagers? Cheer for each other’s teams? Why not watch a game together? Hopefully you can both watch the same game simultaneously. Then, get your own snacks and drinks, and give her a call on Skype, Facetime or in a Google+ hang-out. It will almost seem like she’s there on the couch with you disputing the ref’s and cheering on your favorite football teams!
Other ideas on a fun, friend-filled football party? Share in the comments below!
And … here’s even more FALL IDEAS FOR GIRLFRIENDS
By the way, we LOVE guest blogs here at Girlfriendology. Have a great girlfriend story to tell? Want to celebrate your fabulous female friends? SHARE! (And, we also have Girlfriend Gurus – check that out to be featured on Girlfriendology!) SIGN UP for our weekly newsletter and get our FREE eBook ‘30 Days / 30 Ways to Be a Better Friend‘ - check it out! Don’t forget to make your girlfriends feel special with perfect birthday gifts for women!
More to check out – Facebook.com/Girlfriendology and Twitter/@Girlfriendology where we’re connecting with over 60,000 women (we block guys!) and Pinterest.com/Girlfriendology where we share visual inspiration and great quotes. More Girlfriend Friendship Quotes & did you see our INFOGRAPHIC on ‘What Women Want‘?
THANKS to our 2013 Sponsor – Biz Stain Fighter and Mean Green Degreaser (check out their coupons!). If you’re a brand, please contact us and check out more for Brands and Businesses who want to be Girlfriend Recommended. And – THANKS to YOU Girlfriend!
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MIAMI (AP) ? Faced with potentially billions of dollars in legal liability, Chiquita Brands International is asking a federal appeals court to block lawsuits filed against it in the U.S. by thousands of Colombians whose relatives were killed in that country’s bloody, decades-long civil war.
The produce giant, which long had huge banana plantations in Colombia, has admitted paying a right-wing Colombian paramilitary group $1.7 million over a seven-year period. The Charlotte, N.C.-based company insists it was blackmailed into paying or risking violence against its own operations and employees, although in 2007 Chiquita pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges that it had supported terrorists. It paid a $25 million fine.
The Colombian lawsuits, consolidated for pretrial action before a federal judge in West Palm Beach, want Chiquita held liable for thousands of deaths at the hands of the AUC, the Spanish acronym for the right-wing United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. The Colombian relatives have won several key pretrial rulings, but now Chiquita is taking its fight for dismissal to a new level.
In essence, Chiquita wants the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the lawsuits because, the company claims, each murder cannot be tied specifically to the company. It’s not enough, Chiquita’s lawyers say in court papers, to assume the company’s payments to the AUC meant Chiquita knew about and supported those individual killings.
Chiquita also says the Colombian cases should be tossed because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last April in a case called Kiobel vs. Royal Dutch Petroleum, which imposed new limits on the ability of foreigners to use American courts to seek accountability and monetary damages for human rights abuses.
Any decision by the 11th Circuit is likely months away, adding to years Colombian family members have already been waiting for the lawsuits to be resolved. The cases were consolidated in Florida in 2008.
Three women who lost relatives to the AUC and are among the plaintiffs in lawsuits against Chiquita agreed to speak by phone recently with The Associated Press from the town of Apartado, Colombia. They spoke on condition that their names not be used because they fear retribution from former paramilitary members, many of whom still live in the area and have powerful political connections.
Human rights groups say many former paramilitary members have reorganized into what are called “emerging criminal bands” involved in extortion and racketeering.
One of the women, a 48-year-old who makes a small income sitting for a neighbor’s baby, said paramilitary troops descended on her home in 2000 while her husband and a friend were working in their garden. The troops requested identification papers and demanded to know whether there were weapons for the leftist guerrillas hidden in the home. She said they ransacked the home and found none, and she fled with the couple’s infant child.
“When he let me go, I ran with my girl and jumped over the (garden) wall. I don’t even know how I did that. I’d never done it before,” the woman said between sobs.
When she returned to her home with neighbors, she found her husband shot dead on their kitchen floor. Now, she said, the Chiquita lawsuit gives her some hope for justice and a better life for herself and her two children.
“I am fighting for my children, so that they can have some help after all this time,” the woman said.
Another woman, a 45-year-old single mother of three, makes a living selling lunches from house to house. She said right-wing paramilitary soldiers initially forced her family off their land in 1997, accusing them of being sympathetic to the leftists. Not long after, she said, her 17-year-old brother was brutally beaten and fatally shot.
“It is still horrible for us. My mother died the next year of sadness,” she said. “The bitterness is never erased.”
Despite these horrific stories and hundreds more, Chiquita’s lawyers say the Colombians “do not allege a single fact that links Chiquita to any of the acts of violence at issue, much less that suggest Chiquita wanted the violence to happen.”
“High levels of generality are all that plaintiffs have offered,” Chiquita says in the filing.
Lawyers for the Colombians say that argument conflicts with U.S. criminal law, which generally makes the high-level decision maker in a conspiracy more liable than someone who was simply following those orders. That should apply in this civil case as well, they say. Chiquita, they argue, knew the AUC was killing civilians even if it didn’t know the specifics.
“It does not make a lot of sense because then the people who gave the orders, but did not know the victims’ names, are not responsible, and only the actual trigger-pullers have done something wrong,” said Paul Wolf, who represents several thousand Colombian plaintiffs.
Still, Chiquita points to a recent 11th Circuit ruling that a former Bolivian defense minister couldn’t be held liable for extrajudicial killings even though he was in a helicopter directing military personnel where to fire weapons. The court ruled there wasn’t a sufficient connection between the minister’s orders and the deaths that resulted.
The payments to the AUC were not the first made by Chiquita against the backdrop of Colombia’s long civil conflict. Previously, the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia ? known by its Spanish FARC acronym ? demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from Chiquita and other companies or their employees and operations would be attacked.
The AUC was formed in 1997 to unite several right-wing militias to battle FARC and its supporters. The resulting campaign, supported by top Colombian political leaders, eventually resulted in 50,000 mostly civilian deaths and several infamous massacres, Colombian prosecutors say.
Chiquita, the largest U.S. banana seller, first had banana operations in Colombia in 1899. The company sold its Colombian subsidiary Banadex in 2004.
Chiquita’s second argument involves the Supreme Court’s recent decision involving the Alien Tort Statute, a law dating to 1789 used by lawyers representing victims of torture, extrajudicial killings and war crimes to seek damages in U.S. courts. That law allows claims for violations of the “laws of nations,” U.S. treaties and the Torture Victims Protection Act.
Chiquita contends that charges in the Colombian lawsuits have no connection to the U.S. under the new Supreme Court decision.
“Instead, they involve allegations that Colombian guerrilla and paramilitary groups tortured and killed Colombians in Colombia,” the company’s court filing says, meaning a U.S. federal judge has no jurisdiction.
The Colombians’ lawyers, however, argue that Chiquita differs from the Dutch oil company in the Kiobel case because it is based in the U.S., decisions about making the AUC payments were made in this country and Chiquita does a robust U.S. business. Wolf said the 11th Circuit could issue a ruling that would bolster human rights cases that suffered a blow in the Supreme Court.
“It is an opportunity to establish and important precedent and preserve this area of human rights law,” Wolf said.
Associated Press writer Laura Wides-Munoz contributed to this story.
Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt
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Acer Ultrabook Silver 13.3″ S3-391-6046 PC with Intel Core i3-2367M processor and Windows 8 Operating System
Rated 4.2 out of 5??by 20reviewers.
Rated 4 out of 5??by soccer30atl Great computer; quick, and very funcitonal This computer is fantastic. It is quick, light, and mobile. I’ve only had it for about 2 weeks now, but have not been let down. Processing speeds are very quick; boots up from both hibernation and completely shutoff state very quickly. I don’t run too many memory intese programs, Microsoft Office Suite and Quickbooks online run very quickly for me. Don’t play any games on the computer either. I do watch Netflix and Hulu; both stream in HD and I’ve never had any hangups or had to wait for a movie/show to reload.The cons I have encountered are below. The speaker quality while watching a movie leaves a little to be desired. Not bad for a mobile unit, but definitely could be better for movies. If using headphones, then it’s a non-issue. I feel like the battery life seems to go pretty quickly. As I was searching for laptops in my price range, it seems this was listed on the lower end of battery life; that is definitely true. I haven’t found myself in any situations where I’ve needed to plug in yet, but I suppose I could see how that may be an issue in the future as battery life shortens. Build quiality seems pretty good and is the reason I gave it a 4 overall rating. Everything seems very well put together and feels nice, strong, and tight; The exception to this would be the keyboard for me. It hasn’t acted up or done anything out of the ordinary, it just doesn’t feel as solid as I would have liked. However, I have not read any other reviews from others complaining about the keyboard, so maybe that’s just me being picky.Overall, this has been a great computer and I got it on a fantastic deal from WalMart. (I believe this unit is usually msrp around $650, I got it for $450 from WalMart). The entire ordering process was fantastic from start to finish, and WalMart was great to buy from. COmputer arrived 3 days after I ordered it and has worked fantastically since then. I would buy from both Acer and WalMart again!! 01/09/2013
Rated 4 out of 5??by jdl9 Great for the price. So far so good with this ACER ultrabook. Pros, are the slim weight of the laptop, great screen display, excellent for portability. Very quiet when in use. Battery life is about 3.5-4 hours with lowest brightness setting which does meet my needs.Cons: wireless kept disconnecting, this is a common problem based on my online research. I’ve addressed the issue by completely uninstalling the Atheros wireless driver software and re-installing the latest version from ACER website. Updating it from the ACER live update software did not resolve the issue.A lot of bloatware comes pre-installed.The laptop does get pretty warm after extended use. 01/04/2013
Rated 4 out of 5??by Azoz1121 Excellent Ultrabook for the price you pay. Core i3 can run HD videos. Has USB 3.0 ports and full sized HDMI port.Viewing angle of LCD is not so great but that’s OK for the price one pays for this ultrabook.Overall, a decent entry level ultrabook.What this laptop is not:A gaming computer.A office replacement laptop.Pros: Good Value for money. Light weight. Excellent keyboard. Decent processor, good build quality.Cons: Limited viewing angle LCD, No backlight for keyboard (But thats fine considering the cost of this product). 12/29/2012
Rated 4 out of 5??by darienhy This ultrabook is light and works OK I had this computer for almost two weeks. It’s very light and works fine to me. But I always feel that the touch pad is loose and sometimes was not responsive for scroll up or down or zoom in or out. 12/29/2012
Rated 3 out of 5??by Cazy5 Not for a beginner Opening screen very confused, difficult to navigate to the basics that you want to reach quickly and easily. Hard to reconfigure to acceptable opening format if you are a beginner. Difficult to find certain icons along right-hand side given lay-out of screen … then screen jumps back to earlier screen before you can click on the icon you want.Dreadful that so much junk is on machine … so many games, travel, news sites, etc. Only benefits the cookies and advertisers. 04/04/2013
Rated 5 out of 5??by dks87111 Excellent Deal The Walmart store was getting “rid” of last season’s laptops, and I spotted this – marked down to $259 – it’s the perfect size and more importantly, weight for home use – to replace my old netbook. It doesn’t come with DVD drive (which I didn’t want – adds bulk & weight) – I’ll be buying an external drive for that. It also boots up faster since it has 8 gig of memory set aside for the operating system – so – it’s on in a few seconds. It took a while to figure out how to make the mouse pad less “friendly” – it kept on switching to Win8 if the mouse pointer came close to the border or if you moved the mouse too fast – adjusting the controls took care of that issue. I do wish MS had left the start menu in the lower left corner – it’s hard to find the control panel. Nice to have USB3 for higher speed connections.Summary – for the price – very sweeet deal! 03/09/2013
Rated 4 out of 5??by PinkLadyIsabelle Internet is very fast with this computer. I love it works great for what I need it for. The only thing it’s very touchy so I have to be extra careful while typing because it suddenly will star opening pages that I didn’t even press.Now I got use to it and I’m keeping it because I love how fast I can get into the internet. I can get WIFI everywhere no problem still work as good outdoors better than my old heavy laptop. I like the fact this laptop is so light weight and it easy to place it into my backpack when I’m outdoors. I do recommend this product to people who needs a light weight laptop with high speed internet on. I would it give it a five stars but yeah it is very touchy so you will have to get use to the cursor because will open stuff you didn’t press. 03/12/2013
Rated 4 out of 5??by melis233 The computer itself was great! Small (but not too small), very light and sleek. I wanted to like it very much – but once I started it up and discovered that I do not like Windows 8 at all – I had to take it back. For the price I paid, this computer is definitely worth it. If you like Windows 8 – then it’s a great buy. 03/14/2013
The death toll from destructive storms that have battered Mexico has jumped to 97.
Luis Felipe Puente, the national civil protection coordinator, said 65 of the fatalities were registered in the southwestern state of Guerrero.
The new figure, rising from a previous toll of 81, did not include reports of deaths in a major mudslides in a mountain village of Guerrero, where 58 people are missing.
The country was battered by two storms on opposite coasts this week, with Manuel regenerating as a hurricane and hitting the northwestern coast on Thursday before weakening to tropical storm force.
“For the moment, there are 97 deaths from these two weather phenomena,” Puente told Foro television.
Glasgow University Sports & Recreation services have entered into a partnership with Nike and Kitlocker to reduce waiting times and improve the quality of kit used by clubs and individuals affiliated with GUSA.
Previously there have been several issues with many students not receiving kit they ordered at the start of the first semester until the end of the academic year. The new deal is expected to heavily reduce these waiting times.
GUSA President Stuart Law hopes the improved clothing will instil a sense of community at Glasgow. He explained: ?Not only will our athletes benefit from the innovative sports clothing provided by Nike, the unique branding and colours will mean everyone can be a part of the sporting community at Glasgow University and feel proud of the success we enjoy.?
The partnership is the first of its kind in Scotland. The new website will be run by Kitlocker, offering an option of personalised clothing for students and staff. A new retail space has also been opened in the Stevenson building.
The Director of Kitlocker, Tom Ward, is looking forward to working alongside Nike and the Sports & Recreation Services. He commented: ?We are excited about providing high quality Nike products to all the different user groups at the University. The branding, colours and design will create a strong look and identity for the university going forward.?
The new kit deal comes alongside the University?s continuing ?9 million investment in sport infrastructure, including the much anticipated extension to the Stevenson Building scheduled for completion by summer 2014.
Chris Donachie, Nike UK Team Manager, expressed excitement about this partnership. He said: ?It?s an exciting time for everyone who loves sport at Glasgow given the investment into facilities here.? Hopefully, the introduction of the Nike brand and our innovative products will help give all those who represent the University a competitive edge and the wider sports community at greater sense of identity.?
Glasgow University?s provision of sport continues to go from strength to strength and this new partnership is a sign of the exciting future ahead for sport at every level within the University.