The province will soon require gas companies to share their wholesale prices in an effort to create more transparency surrounding fuel prices.
Any company that imports, purchases, stores or distributes gas and diesel at gas stations will need to regularly report information like storage capacity and wholesale prices to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC).
The new regulation is part of the Fuel Price Transparency Act passed last year and goes into effect Aug. 14, but the reports have to be made regularly starting in October.
The move is intended to ensure the industry is held accountable for unexplained markups and price increases, said Bruce Ralston, the minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources.
“What we expect is that scrutiny, that is the public access to the way in which prices are set, the data that is being used by the companies, will moderate and have an effect on prices,” Ralston said Friday.
“I certainly think when a company feels people are looking over your shoulder, they’re much more likely to be cautious in advancing unexplained spurts in prices that they were not obliged to explain in the past.”
This is a process that has been used in New Zealand, Australia, and in Washington and Oregon, Ralston said.
The utilities commission has also started a website to provide the public with information about factors that influence the price of fuel.
Four companies control about 90 per cent of the wholesale market in southern B.C., he added.
A months-long inquiry from the BCUC into gas prices last year found a lack of competition in B.C.’s fuel market, and that there was an unexplained difference of about 13 cent per litre in gas prices in southern B.C. compared to other parts of the Pacific northwest.
According to the province, this results in drivers paying an extra $490 million each year.
Ralston said he is not looking at imposing penalties and fines to lower gas prices, but the province says it is developing more regulations for other parts of the fuel supply chain, including the retail market.
“The step to regulate prices directly is a big step,” Ralston said.
“We have not taken that step at this time. What I’d like to do is to see how the requirement to publish the wholesale prices works out and what effect it may have on prices.”
Banks moved alleged dirty money despite red flags: Reports – Aljazeera.com
Several global banks moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds over a period of nearly two decades, despite red flags about the origins of the money, BuzzFeed and other media have reported, citing confidential documents submitted by banks to the United States government.
The series of news reports on Sunday was partly based on documents, called suspicious activity reports (SARs), filed by banks and other financial firms with the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The SARs, which the reports said numbered more than 2,100, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organisations.
In all, the ICIJ reported that the files contained information about more than $2 trillion worth of transactions between 1999 and 2017, which were flagged by internal compliance departments of financial institutions as suspicious. The SARs are in themselves not necessarily proof of wrongdoing.
The unchecked movement of dirty money may not register as an immediate threat – especially given the coronavirus pandemic and all that 2020 has delivered.
— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) September 20, 2020
Five global banks appeared most often in the documents – HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), the ICIJ reported.
A bank has a maximum of 60 days to file SARs after the date of the initial detection of a reportable transaction, according to the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Delay in reporting
The ICIJ report said that in some cases, the banks failed to report suspect transactions until years after they had processed them.
The SARs also showed that banks often moved funds for companies that were registered in offshore havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, and did not know the ultimate owner of the account, the report said.
Among the types of transactions highlighted by the report: funds processed by JPMorgan for potentially corrupt individuals and companies in Venezuela, Ukraine and Malaysia; money from a Ponzi scheme moving through HSBC; and money linked to a Ukrainian billionaire processed by Deutsche Bank.
In a statement to Reuters news agency, HSBC said “all of the information provided by the ICIJ is historical”.
The bank said that as of 2012, “HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions.”
Standard Chartered said in a statement to Reuters, “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes.”
‘Kleptocracy tour’ highlights London money-laundering
BNY Mellon told Reuters it could not comment on specific SARs.
“We fully comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and assist authorities in the important work they do,” the bank said.
JPMorgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment but said in a statement to BuzzFeed that “thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars are devoted to helping support law enforcement and national security efforts”.
Deutsche Bank said in a statement on Sunday that to the “extent that information referenced by the ICIJ is derived from SARs, it should be noted that this is information that is pro-actively identified and submitted by banks to governments pursuant to the law.”
FinCEN said in a statement on its website on September 1 that it was aware that various media outlets intended to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed SARs, as well as other documents, and said that the “unauthorized disclosure of SARs is a crime that can impact the national security of the United States”.
Representatives for the US Treasury did not immediately respond to an email for comment on Sunday.
Reuters news agency
Second AstraZeneca volunteer reportedly suffers rare neurological condition, but UK company says it’s not related to vaccine – RT
Two people have fallen ill during the trials of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in the UK, the company’s internal papers revealed, and a source said they had both suffered from the same serious neurological disorder.
The company published details of the trials on Saturday, after facing criticism over the lack of transparency surrounding the testing of the much-anticipated vaccine against the virus, which has so far infected more than 30.8 million people and caused over 958,000 fatalities worldwide.
The first participant of the British trials – which are being conducted in conjunction with Oxford University – fell ill after receiving one dose of the experimental vaccine in July.
The female volunteer was later diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammatory disease that affects the spinal cord, causing weakness, sensory alterations, and autonomic nervous-system dysfunction. The company’s spokeswoman later told the media the volunteer had undiagnosed multiple sclerosis, and the trials resumed.
The second female recipient of the vaccine suffered complications after the follow-up dose in September. AstraZeneca didn’t confirm her diagnosis, but a source told the New York Times it was also transverse myelitis.
On September 6, trials of the drug were paused again, after the second woman felt ill, but they resumed in Britain, Brazil, India, and South Africa less than a week later. The US hasn’t yet green-lighted the continuation of the test, however.
AstraZeneca, which has administered its vaccine to some 18,000 people worldwide, said in internal documents that the two cases of the illness were “unlikely to be associated with the vaccine, or there was insufficient evidence to say for certain that the illnesses were or were not related to the vaccine.”
Transverse myelitis is a serious and rare disease, and its repeated cases among the participants of the trials may well see AstraZeneca losing its vaccine bid all together.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine uses a monkey adenovirus that shares a gene with the Covid-19 coronavirus. It’s an untested method of vaccine development, according to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the Russian vaccine development.
Unlike AstraZeneca’s jab, Russia’s Sputnik V, the world’s first registered vaccine, uses human adenoviruses as a vector – an extensively studied approach.
Earlier this month, respected British medical journal The Lancet published the Russian Ministry of Health’s Sputnik V study, showing the vaccine to be 100 percent effective, producing antibodies in all 76 participants of early-stage trials.
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Tesla Driver Caught Going 100 MPH While Fast Asleep – CarBuzz
“Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” RCMP Sgt. Darrin Turnbull told CBC News. “I’ve been in policing for over 23 years and the majority of that in traffic law enforcement, and I’m speechless. I’ve never, ever seen anything like this before, but of course the technology wasn’t there.”
When the officer tried to pull the Model S driver over, traffic cleared out of its lane, causing the car to automatically accelerate up to 150 kph (93 mph). Needless to say, pulling him over was an uphill battle.
Eventually, though, the officer managed to issue a ticket for speeding and suspend the driver’s license for 24 hours for fatigue. Further investigation led to the driver being charged with dangerous driving and being summoned to court in December.
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