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Gun manufacturer faces lawsuit from Danforth shooting victims – Toronto Star

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Victims of the Danforth Ave. shooting have filed a $150-million lawsuit against the manufacturer of the stolen weapon used by the lone gunman Faisal Hussain, who killed two people and injured 13 others during the July 22, 2018 attack.

In a statement of claim from the proposed class action served on Monday, six representative plaintiffs claimed the Massachusetts-based Smith & Wesson Corp. was negligent in the design and manufacture of the M&P (Military and Police) 40 series, a .40-calibre semi-automatic pistol, failing to install the “smart gun technology” that would allow the weapon to fire only when activiated by an authorized user.

“(The) Defendant breached its duty to the Class because it was aware, long before making the Handgun available for sale in Canada, that handguns designed and manufactured without smart gun technology were: deficient; unsafe; inherently and unnecessarily dangerous; and a significant risk to members of the public,” said the statement of claim filed by Samantha Price, Skye McLeod, Kenneth Price, Claire Smith, Patrick McLeod and Jane McLeod.

Representatives of Smith & Wesson could not be reached for comment Monday night. The allegations in the statement of claim have not been tested in court. The class action has not be certified.

The plaintiffs asked the court to certify three classes: persons shot and injured or killed; other injuried persons; and family members.

Samantha Price, then 18, daughter of Kenneth Price and Clare Smith, survived a bullet wound to the hip while celebrating her birthday near the scene. Skye McLeod, then also 18, was injured while fleeing the gunman. Patrick and Jane McLeod are Skye’s parents.

Patrick McLeod said victims have formed the group Danforth Families for Safe Communities to advocate to get handguns off the street and were approached this summer by the Bay St. law firm Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP.

“The way they presented (the argument) to us made a lot of sense,” McLeod, a retired Toronto Police officer, told the Star in an interview Monday night. “If there’s smart gun technology installed, that incident would not have occurred.”

According to the claim, Smith & Wesson told the United States government it would incorporate smart gun technology in new firearms designs by March 2003.

In 2005, President George W. Bush signed a law to protect firearms manufacturers and dealers from being held liable when crimes have been committed with their products, according to American media reports.

That same year, the company launched the M&P 40 series without the use of safety technology and this particular model was sold in Canada in 2013, said the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit says smart handguns have one or more systems that include biometric technologies like fingerprint or palm-print recogntion, dynamic grip recognition, electronic signature authentication, vascular biometrics and voice identification; automated identification technologies like radio-frequency identification, proximity tokens or magnetic rings to allow the weapon to fire only when activated by an authorized person.

On July 22, 2018, around 10 p.m., gunman Hussain walked along Danforth Avenue in the Greektown, shooting pedestrians before opening fire on crowded restaurants, killing 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis, injuring dozens of others who were fleeing from the shooter.

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Images from security cameras showing movements of Danforth shooter Faisal Hussain on July 22, 2018, from the Toronto Police Service report into the Danforth shootings.

Hussain, 29, fatally shot himself in the right temple in front of the Danforth Church with the Smith & Wesson .40 calibre handgun he used in the attack — a weapon police have since said was reported stolen in 2016 after being legally acquired by a Saskatchewan gun shop.

Citing Statistics Canada data, the plaintiffs said the rate of gun thefts in “break and enter” crimes had more than tripled between 2009 and 2017, with 309 incidents reported in 2009 and 1,175 thefts in 2017. Firearm related violent crime in Canada rose by 42 per cent between 2013 and 2017, when 145 homicides were committeed in Canada with handguns, the lawsuit said.

“(The) Defendant should be condemned to pay punitive damages for its callous disregard of the safety and security of ordinary Canadians harmed by Defendant’s ultra-hazardous products,” said their statement of claim.

Nicholas Keung

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Global banks hit by new corruption allegations. Why authorities are unlikely to act this time – MarketWatch

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Shares of European banks fell sharply on Monday, after the release by BuzzFeed and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists of thousands of documents seemingly showing that some $2,000 billion worth of illicit funds were moved and laundered through the U.S. financial system over two decades.

– The papers show that five global banks — JPMorgan
JPM,
-4.29%
,
 HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank
DBK,
-7.96%
,
and Bank of New York Mellon — kept doing business with “oligarchs, criminals and terrorists” even after being fined by U.S. authorities for earlier failures to clamp down on dirty money. The banks themselves said they could not comment on specific transactions due to bank secrecy laws. Their statements can be found here.

– The reports are based on leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the U.S. Department of Treasury.

– Shares in British-Asian giant lender HSBC
HSBA,
-4.98%

 and the U.K.’s Standard Chartered
STAN,
-5.09%

 fell 6% and 5%, respectively, marking 20-year lows in London mid trading. HSBC said in a statement that “all of the information provided (…) is historical.”

The outlook: The report, based mostly on past behavior already fined and sanctioned by U.S. authorities, is unlikely to trigger new punishments by governments or regulators. Especially not in a moment in the deepest of the coronavirus recession, when authorities are trying to convince and subsidize banks so they can keep lending to businesses and households. And even if legal grounds did exist in a few cases for authorities to act, regulators everywhere are likely to decide that punishment by markets is enough for now.

Read: U.K. edges closer to second national lockdown to help contain second coronavirus wave

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HSBC shares plunge to 25-year low on banks report, China fears – Aljazeera.com

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HSBC Holdings Plc slumped below its financial crisis low set more than a decade ago as pressures mount on several fronts including a potential threat to its expansion plans in China.

The London-based bank’s Hong Kong shares on Monday slid below their closing low for March 2009, hitting as low as HK$29.60, as they extended this year’s plunge to about 50%. Echoing a decline in London on Friday, its Hong Kong shares are trading at the lowest since 1995.

Europe’s largest bank is a possible candidate for China’s “unreliable entity list” that aims to punish firms, organizations or individuals that damage national security, the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper reported Saturday. A day later, HSBC was among global banks named in a report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on lenders that “kept profiting from powerful and dangerous players” in the past two decades even after the U.S. imposed penalties on the institutions.

“If the company is listed as a unreliable company by China, which looks certain since it’s a Global Times article, the bank will be facing lots of difficulties to do business in China,” Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment Corp., said by phone Monday. “They may have trouble expanding the mainland business, after investing so much there over the past few years.”

The bank has rankled China over its participation in the American investigation of Huawei Technologies Co. Penalties include restrictions on trade, investments and visas on companies, countries, groups or persons that appear on the list.

HSBC declined to comment on the Global Times article. In a statement Monday in response to the ICIJ report it said that “starting in 2012, HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions. HSBC is a much safer institution than it was in 2012.”

[Bloomberg]

Standard Chartered Plc, which was also mentioned in the ICIJ report, declined as much as 3.8% in Hong Kong. “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programs,” the bank said Monday in a statement.

HSBC now risks being caught in deepening turmoil after a swirl of trouble over the past year amid political unrest and an economic slump in its biggest market, Hong Kong. It also faces difficulties in navigating low interest rates and surging loan losses sparked by the global pandemic.

HSBC Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn, who took over as the bank’s permanent head in March, last month issued a stark warning about tough times ahead while reporting that first-half profit halved and predicting loan losses could swell to $13 billion this year. Quinn said the bank would attempt to hasten a shakeup of its global operations, accelerating a further pivot into Asia as its European operations lose money.

Struggling to boost returns, the lender has come under fire both in the West and in China as it attempts to steer through political tension. HSBC was lambasted in the U.S. and the U.K. over its support for China’s new security legislation on Hong Kong.

A jump in income from its markets business has failed to make up for broader shortcomings, unlike at some Wall Street and European competitors. HSBC stock has fallen more steeply than most big rivals this year, with Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. posting declines of 44% and 29%, respectively.

To make matters worse, HSBC sparked anger in Hong Kong earlier this year, alienating some of its most loyal investors, after scrapping its dividend in response to the pandemic. The bank is the worst performer on the benchmark Hang Seng index so far this year.

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Alberta could lead Canada in wind and solar power by 2025 – CBC.ca

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Growth in Alberta’s renewable energy sector should continue its upward trend, experts say, with one forecast anticipating a surge of projects that could have the province poised to be the Canadian leader in utility-scale wind and solar capacity as soon as 2025.

Rystad Energy tracks utility-scale wind and solar assets with at least one MWac (megawatt alternating current) in capacity. It forecasts that 83 percent of the combined, utility-scale wind and solar capacity built in Canada over the next five years will be in Alberta. That wouldn’t include smaller renewable development, like residential rooftop solar.

With the forecast growth, Rystad analyst Felix Tan expects Alberta will have the largest combined total of utility-scale wind and solar capacity in the country by the middle of the decade, overtaking Ontario.

“Alberta is sort of playing catch up,” Tan said in an interview from New York.

“We have seen a lot of capacity build out over the past two, three, four years in places like Ontario, in B.C. and Quebec.”

According to the data Rystad tracks, Alberta’s current renewable capacity includes 0.1 gigawatt (GW) of solar and 1.8 GW of wind. By 2025, it expects that to grow to 1.8 GW of solar and 6.5 GW of wind. 

Rystad forecasts Ontario will have about 1.8 GW solar, 5.8 GW wind in 2025.   

Tan said Alberta’s commitment to stop burning coal to generate electricity by 2030 “opens the door” for wind and solar to play a larger role. 

In this file photo, a solar field can be seen situated directly adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway near Brooks. Alberta is said to have some of the best sunlight in the country for solar electricity. (Kyle Bakx/CBC)

He also said the province’s deregulated electricity market creates a favourable environment for solar and wind development.

The market allows corporate buyers to enter into contracts with wind and solar generators directly — something a growing number of companies are expected to seek as they look to green their operations.

Blake Shaffer, an assistant professor in the department of economics and school of public policy at the University of Calgary, isn’t anticipating as much growth as Rystad projects, but he agrees with the forecast’s direction.

“We’re going to continue to add renewables in this province,” said Shaffer, whose work focuses on electricity markets, climate policy and energy transitions.

“Whether or not we surpass Ontario in that timeframe, I can’t say definitively right now. But certainly it’s going to grow. And it’s simply a function that the cost of building renewables has just gotten so cheap.”

Like Tan, he also sees the benefit of Alberta’s competitive market structure for electricity. 

Shaffer said Texas, a place with a long history in oil and gas, has become a growth centre for renewables in the United States. He believes Alberta will also become a growth leader in renewable energy.

“That’s not because of an intrinsic love for renewables,” he said. 

“It’s simply that we have the best resource in terms of what we call capacity factor — so the frequency with which the wind blows here is high, which makes the unit cost low.”

He said Alberta’s solar resources are second only to Saskatchewan.

A number of multimillion-dollar wind and solar projects are planned for Alberta in the next few years.

Edmonton International Airport and Alpin Sun announced this summer they are working on an agreement that will see the company develop Airport City Solar, a 254-hectare solar farm on the west side of the airport lands.

The massive Travers Solar project in Vulcan County is also in works.

The $750-million project, led by Calgary’s Greengate Power, will consist of 1.5 million solar panels and generate about 800 million kWh a year, enough to power more than 100,000 homes.

CEO Dan Balaban said if things go to plan, they hope to begin construction later this year.

“It’ll be by far the largest [solar project] in Canada,” he said.  “And I think there’s certainly the potential for more mega renewable energy projects in this country and in this province as time goes on.”

Balaban said the discussion around energy shouldn’t be framed as oil and gas versus renewable energy.

“I think we should be developing our oil and gas resources and our renewable energy resources,” he said. “We have a phenomenal opportunity in this province if we can all work together.”

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