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Penny stock craze at boiling point with SEC eyeing social media – BNN

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GameStop mania is off the front page, but the spirit that fed it it still rules many corners of the market. Penny stocks are an area where sentiment remains boiling hot, earning the scrutiny of federal regulators.

Way-off-exchange venues where lightly regulated companies have repeatedly been drawn into social media-fueled trading vortexes saw more than 1 trillion shares change hands in December for the first time in a decade. It happened again in January. This month, daily average volume is tracking 64 per cent above those levels, a pace that could push the monthly total toward 2 trillion.

The mayhem has caught the eye of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which last week suspended trading in SpectraScience Inc. — a firm that had surged 633 per cent in 2021 to just over two-tenths of a cent before the halt. The SEC’s order noted that while the company hadn’t filed reports in years and its phone number doesn’t work, “social media accounts may be engaged in a coordinated attempt to artificially influence” its share price.

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“Regulatory halts in some of these stocks that are traded over-the-counter, which is the case for a lot of these penny stocks, isn’t entirely unusual or unheard of,” said Shawn Cruz, senior market strategist at TD Ameritrade Inc. “The SEC is now looking at that because they’re questioning what’s driving some of the behavior.”

SpectraScience is just one penny stock that vaulted from obscurity to viral sensation this year. In 2021, on any given day, there have been a dozen or more similar stories. Oftentimes, chatter on social media sites like Stocktwits and Twitter and other online chatrooms presages takeoff. It’s happening as retail traders equipped with zero commissions at brokers have swelled to 23 per cent of stock trading volume, up from 20 per cent last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

So far this month, an average of 99 billion shares in companies that don’t trade on classic exchanges — often called “over-the-counter” securities — have changed hands each day. Should that pace continue, February would see total penny stock trading volume of roughly 1.9 trillion, data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence show.

Sundial Capital Research called the pickup “a speculative surge like no other,” in a recent research report, noting that “over-the-counter activity has continued to rocket higher in recent weeks.”

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In the case of SpectraScience, volume surpassed 3.5 billion shares on a single day in late January as the stock surged 167 per cent. Over the last month, an average of more than 500 million shares changed hands each day, about 12 times what was normal in 2020. The SEC suspended trading on Feb. 10 due to “questions regarding the accuracy and adequacy of information about the company in the marketplace and potentially manipulative trading activity,” the suspension order says.

To some, it’s hard not to note the similarity to the penny-stock crazes of the past, when schemes like “pump-and-dump” were the rage.

“It is very markedly similar to what we saw in 1999 with these day traders and novice investors coming in and treating the market as a get-rich-quick type of scheme, and of course that didn’t end too well 20 years ago,” said Marc Odo, client portfolio manager at Swan Global Investments. “As long as people don’t lose too much, they can continue to be a force — it’s only when people start losing more than they can afford that they’re going to start exiting the market.”

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Mother of rotational worker says family harassed because of false social media posts – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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GLACE BAY – Venice Vance hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since Wednesday.

That was the day her son Nick Kelly returned to their Glace Bay home at 2:30 a.m. where he started his 14-day isolation, separated from the rest of the family in the basement.

A pipe fitter, 19-year-old Kelly and two other rotational workers from Cape Breton arrived early morning on Feb. 24 after driving home from Alberta where they were working.

By Thursday, the three young men were being targeted on social media with posts and rants about them breaking provincial public health protocols after one of them had their first required COVID-19 test results come back positive. Kelly’s test result came back negative.

“I hate that there was fiction put out there instead of facts. People just assume. The kids were targeted because of lies instead of the truth. They aren’t doing what everybody is saying,” said Vance during a phone interview from her Glace Bay home.

“And that poor boy that has COVID … he has a (respiratory condition). That boy is home. He hasn’t left his home and no one is concerned about how he’s doing.”

RUMOUR MILL CHURNS

Along with the social media posts, rants in group threads and chat rooms resulted in threatening private messages to the three rotational workers. Vance also got those messages and is diligently trying to fight misinformation about her son online.

“(It feels horrible) because you have to explain yourself and put out information the public shouldn’t even know,” she said.

Posts were being shared saying Kelly was the one with the virus. Vance posted his test results from Nova Scotia Health to prove it was negative.

Screengrabs of Kelly’s location through multimedia messaging app, Snapchat, were posted and shared as proof he wasn’t obeying isolation orders. These screengrabs show Kelly’s Snapchat image on the road; in one screengrab his character, or avatar, is seen in a car.

Alleged sightings of the men at public places were popping up. Vance said a woman alleged she saw Kelly and his stepfather at a restaurant.

When Vance questioned her in the social media thread it became apparent the woman saw Vance’s husband and his friend at the restaurant a week before Kelly was in Nova Scotia.

People also claimed the men were at a party in Glace Bay on Saturday – three days before the men arrived in Cape Breton.

At some point the rumour about the young men being at the party, which happened on Feb. 20, the Saturday before they returned to Cape Breton, turned into Kelly throwing the party.

“There was no party. Nick got in at 2:30 in the morning. Who throws a party at 2:30,” Vance said during the phone interview.

“The party they are saying they saw the boys at was on Saturday. They weren’t even home on Saturday. People can check this out. Call the Nova Scotia border and see when they did their check-in.”

Rumours swirled around the men having girlfriends at Glace Bay High School. Vance said her son’s girlfriend is in second year of college and she hasn’t seen him because, like the other two workers, he’s been in self-isolation.

“There’s one guy who posted that these three boys planned this,” Vance said. “That they came home here to spread COVID. Like, it was unreal what was being posted and what was being said.”

Kelly’s family has also been affected even though they are doing more than what public health directives require.

Vance said a business called to inquire when her husband, who hasn’t travelled, had returned to Canada indicating they heard the family had COVID-19.

She also saw posts saying the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. store in Glace Bay was closed because she had been in there. Having not been in there for a week, Vance called the store who told her they hadn’t closed.

Even Vance’s daughter who doesn’t live with them has been affected.

“My daughter goes to Glace Bay High. She lives with her father,” said Vance. “She has people not going near her, shunning her and her step-sister. They were nowhere near their brother.”

DIFFERENT REQUIREMENTS

One of the 10 cases of COVID-19 announced on Friday was located in the eastern zone. Another case in the zone was announced on Saturday.

After cases are detected, public health officials do contact tracing and alerts are issued indicating locations of possible exposure to the virus.

There have been no new possible exposure locations announced for anywhere in Cape Breton and on the two pages of listings online, none are located in the eastern zone, which includes the geographic region of Cape Breton Island as well as Antigonish and Guysborough counties on the mainland.

During Friday’s COVID-19 update, the province’s medical officer of health Dr. Robert Strang said domestic workers have different requirements during isolation directives when they return from working out-of-province and people need to remember this.

Instead of isolating alone or having to isolate with the other residents of the home, rotational workers can isolate with family members who are allowed to leave the home at will.

Isolating rotational workers can also drive family members to work or school and get take-out, as well as pick up contactless retail orders.

“People need to understand what the requirements are for different groups,” Strang said during Friday’s briefing with reporters.

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Western Hockey League unveils Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence – CHL – Canadian Hockey League

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The Western Hockey League announced today the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence, a new WHL Award which will be presented annually to a distinguished member of the radio, television, and print journalism industry in recognition of their outstanding contributions to sports journalism and the WHL.

Bob Ridley, the longtime radio play-by-play voice of the Medicine Hat Tigers, is the first recipient and the namesake for this prestigious honour. Bob Ridley was recognized by WHL Commissioner Ron Robison and the Medicine Hat Tigers during a special ceremony at Co-op Place in Medicine Hat on Saturday, the day of Ridley’s 4,000th career WHL game.

“The WHL and our member Clubs are honoured to pay tribute to Bob’s remarkable career with the Medicine Hat Tigers by establishing the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Bob has made an incredible contribution to the WHL and the Tigers over the past 50 years and as he gets ready to call his 4,000th WHL game it is only fitting we recognize his legacy with this new league-wide award named in his honour.”

Since the Tigers began play during the 1970-71 WHL Regular Season, Ridley has been the only play-by-play voice in team history, calling every single game the Tigers have ever played, with the exception of one. In 1972, Ridley missed one Tigers game after he was sent out on assignment to attend the Women’s National Curling Championship in Saskatoon, Sask.

Ridley has been synonymous with Medicine Hat Tigers hockey for 50 seasons, with the 2020-21 WHL Regular Season representing his 51st campaign at the mic. Ridley called the Tigers WHL Championship victories in 1973, 1987, 1988, 2004, and 2007, and was there to tell the story of the Club’s two national titles at the Memorial Cup in 1987 and 1988.

In addition to his work as the Tigers play-by-play voice, Ridley also served as the Club’s bus driver for 45 seasons. His unique role helped forge everlasting bonds with players across more than five decades.

Ridley’s contributions to Major Junior hockey in Western Canada have been recognized on a number of previous occasions:

  • 1995 – Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Sports Award
  • 2005 – Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Bell Memorial Award
  • 2005 – Alberta Centennial Award
  • 2006 – WHL Distinguished Service Award
  • 2007 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Radio Television Directors News Awards
  • 2011 – Inducted into the Alberta Hockey Hall of Fame
  • 2019 – Inducted into the Western Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame

In 1995, he was the recipient of the Medicine Hat Civic Recognition Sports Award. In 2005, Ridley was named the recipient of the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Bell Memorial Award, and he was also presented with the Alberta Centennial Award by the Government of Alberta. In 2006, Ridley was recognized with the WHL Distinguished Service Award.

A 76-year-old native of Vulcan, Alta., Ridley began his pursuit of broadcasting working weekends at CJDV Drumheller while attending Mount Royal College in Calgary. From there, he moved on to CKSW Swift Current, working as a rock disc jockey and calling play-by-play for an intermediate baseball team in Swift Current, Sask. Ridley then spent two years at CKKR Rosetown before joining CHAT Radio and settling in Medicine Hat.

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Saturday Feb 27th Media Release – Brandon Police Service – Brandon Police Service

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February 27th, 2021

Brandon Police Service Media Release for the Past 24 Hours.

Breach of Undertaking

Two women were arrested for Breaching conditions of an undertaking. At 2:00 am, officers responded to a disturbance at a residence in the 1100 block of 6th St. The two women were involved in an argument with others in the apartment. Both are on undertakings with conditions to abstain from consumption of alcohol. A 22 year old woman and a 27 year old woman, both from Brandon were lodged and later released for court in May.

Other Arrests

Two people were lodged for Breach of Peace.

V.W. (Bill) Brown #114, Staff Sergeant

NCO i/c D Platoon

204 729 2319

 

Anyone with information on any unsolved crime is asked to call Brandon Crime Stoppers at 204-727-(TIPS) 8477, or by texting BCSTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637).  Crime Stoppers pays up to $2000.00 cash for information that leads to the solution of a crime.

CRIME STOPPERS 204-727-TIPS

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