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These are the most-stolen vehicles in Canada in 2020 – CTV News

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TORONTO —
While Ford pickup trucks usually top the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s annual ranking of the most-stolen vehicles in Canada, this year high-end SUVs have become the most desirable targets for thieves.

According to the IBC, which works with law enforcement agencies and the Canada Border Services Agency to identify stolen vehicles, the 2018 Honda CR-V SUV is the most stolen vehicle in Canada thus far in 2020.

It was followed by the 2017 Lexus RX350, the 2017 Honda CR-V, and the 2018 Lexus RX350. Rounding out the top five was Ford’s 2018 F150 pickup truck.

Bryan Gast, the national director of investigative services at IBC, said high-end SUVs have surpassed older model Ford pickup trucks as the most targeted vehicles because thieves have developed new ways to get around their security systems and gain access to them.

“As technology advances, these vehicles, especially the SUVs, are really well sought after,” he told CTVNews.ca during a telephone interview on Tuesday. “Overseas organized crime groups are targeting these vehicles and they’re finding ways to bypass the security systems.”

For example, Gast said thieves have been able to capture radio signals from a key fob and replicate it in order to gain electronic access to a vehicle.

“There are devices that are able to trigger that device to capture the signal and clone it and start your vehicle without ever touching that original key,” he explained.

And while there are many motives for vehicle theft, Gast said the findings by the IBC show a distinct increase in thefts related to organized crime and street racing.

According to the IBC, many high-end SUVs are stolen by organized crime groups to be sold to unsuspecting consumers in Canada or abroad to be stripped down for parts.

In many of these cases, Gast said the stolen vehicle’s vehicle identification number is changed before it’s sold.

In addition to organized crime operations, the IBC said street racing also led to an increase in certain vehicle thefts.

“There’s a growing trend, especially during the pandemic, in dangerous activities such as street racing and illegal gatherings for drifting events, providing a market for stolen small, speedy vehicles,” the IBC said in a press release.

Gast said these street racing events are “very concerning” to law enforcement, the insurance industry, and for the greater population because they can put public safety at risk.

“These are staged events. They’re very serious. These vehicles are being modified in significant ways,” he said. “Our concern is that there are stolen vehicles, stolen parts contributing to these events.”

THE TOP 10 MOST STOLEN VEHICLES IN CANADA IN 2020

  • 2018 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Lexus RX350/RX450H 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Ford F150 4WD PU
  • 2019 Honda CR-V 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2018 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
  • 2017 Toyota Highlander 4DR 4WD SUV
  • 2019 Lexus RX350/RX350L/RX450H/RX450HL 4DR AWD SUV
  • 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD PU

Although high-end SUVs were the most desirable targets for thieves overall, Gast said the IBC did take note of some regional variations across the country.

For example, pickup trucks were still the most popular type of vehicles to steal out West. In Alberta, the IBC said, Ford F-series and Dodge Ram trucks were the most stolen vehicles in the province.

“These trucks are attractive to thieves, and oil and gas companies have used them almost exclusively, which has brought a disproportionately high amount of them to the province,” the IBC said.

Gast added that pre-2008 models of these pickup trucks are particularly attractive to thieves because they aren’t equipped with ignition immobilizers, which are devices that can prevent people from hot-wiring them.

“This list is different from region to region,” he said. “Those large pickup trucks are still a very hot commodity.”

In Ontario, the IBC found that Lexus and Honda vehicles were stolen most often, with many of them headed for export by organized crime groups or used in street racing rings.

In the police operation “Project Seagull” in Hamilton, for example, the IBC said high-end vehicles were being stolen and chopped for parts that were then sold on the black market.

Finally, in Atlantic Canada, the IBC found the Chevrolet Silverado was the most stolen vehicle in the region.

TIPS TO PREVENT VEHICLE THEFT

While Canadians who own one of the vehicles on the IBC’s annual list should take extra care to protect it from being stolen, Gast said all owners should be aware of the precautions they can take to avoid being the victims of theft.

“I think it’s really important to understand the different ways to protect the consumer,” he said. “Some of those can be as simple as just common sense.”

Here are some tips from the IBC to protect your vehicle.

  • Don’t leave a keyless entry fob inside of a vehicle or unprotected at the front entrance of your home.
  • Put a keyless fob in a protective box or bag that will block the radio frequency identification signal.
  • Never leave a vehicle running while it’s unattended.
  • Park your vehicle in well-lit areas.
  • Lock all of the doors and windows when it’s parked.
  • Use a visible or audible device to alert thieves that the vehicle is protected.
  • Install a tracking device that emits a signal to police or a monitoring station if it’s stolen.
  • If it doesn’t have one already, install an immobilizing device in your vehicle to prevent thieves from hot-wiring it. These can include devices that require wireless ignition authentication or starter, ignition, and fuel pump disablers.
  • Consider using a steering-wheel or brake-pedal lock to ward off would-be thieves.
  • Don’t leave personal information, such as insurance or ownership details, in the glove box when the vehicle is parked.

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Man with 39 wive dies in India

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A 76-year-old man who had 39 wives and 94 children and was said to be the head of the world’s largest family has died in north east India, the chief minister of his home state said.

Ziona Chana, the head of a local Christian sect that allows polygamy, died on Sunday, Zoramthanga, the chief minister of Mizoram and who goes by one name, said in a tweet.

With a total of 167 members, the family is the world’s largest, according to local media, although this depends on whether you count the grandchildren, of whom Ziona has 33.

Winston Blackmore, the head of a polygamous Mormon sect in Canada, has around 150 children from 27 wives – 178 people in total.

Ziona lived with his family in a vast, four-story pink structure with around 100 rooms in Baktawng, a remote village in Mizoram that became a tourist attraction as a result, according to Zoramthanga.

The sect, named “Chana”, was founded by Ziona’s father in 1942 and has a membership of hundreds of families. Ziona married his first wife when he was 17, and claimed he once married ten wives in a single year.

They shared a dormitory near his private bedroom, and locals said he liked to have seven or eight of them by his side at all times.

Despite his family’s huge size, Ziona told Reuters in a 2011 interview he wanted to grow it even further.

“I am ready to expand my family and willing to go to any extent to marry,” he said.

“I have so many people to care for and look after, and I consider myself a lucky man.”

 

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal and Adnan Abidi in New Delhi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Huawei CFO seeks publication ban on HSBC documents in U.S. extradition case

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Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on Monday will seek to bar publication of documents her legal team received from HSBC, a request opposed by Canadian prosecutors in her U.S. extradition case who say it violates the principles of open court.

Meng’s legal team will present arguments in support of the ban in the British Columbia Supreme Court.

Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a warrant from the United States, where she faces charges of bank fraud for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s business dealings in Iran and potentially causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions on business in Iran.

She has been under house arrest in Vancouver for more than two years and fighting her extradition to the United States. Meng has said she is innocent.

Lawyers for Huawei and HSBC in Hong Kong agreed to a release of the documents in April to Meng’s legal team on the condition that they “use reasonable effort” to keep confidential information concealed from the public, according to submissions filed by the defense on Friday.

Prosecutors representing the Canadian government argued against the ban, saying in submissions filed the same day that “to be consistent with the open court principle, a ban must be tailored” and details should be selectively redacted from the public, rather than the whole documents.

A consortium of media outlets, including Reuters News, also opposes the ban.

The open court principle requires that court proceedings be open and accessible to the public and to the media.

It is unclear what documents Huawei obtained from HSBC, but defense lawyers argue they are relevant to Meng’s case.

Meng’s hearing was initially set to wrap up in May but Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes granted an extension to allow the defense to read through the new documents.

Hearings in the extradition case are scheduled to finish in late August.

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Howard Goller)

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NATO takes tough line on China at first summit with Biden

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NATO leaders designated China as presenting “systemic challenges” in a summit communique on Monday, taking a forceful stance towards Beijing at Joe Biden‘s first summit with an alliance that Donald Trump openly disparaged and ridiculed.

The new U.S. president has urged his fellow NATO leaders to stand up to China’s authoritarianism and growing military might, a change of focus for an alliance created to defend Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The language in the summit’s final communique, which will now set the path for alliance policy, comes a day after the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations issued a statement on human rights in China and Taiwan that Beijing said slandered its reputation.

“China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security,” NATO leaders said in a communique after their summit.

Biden also told European allies the alliance’s mutual defence pact was a “sacred obligation” for the United States – a marked shift in tone from his predecessor Trump, who had threatened to withdraw from the alliance and accused Europeans of contributing too little to their own defence.

“I want all Europe to know that the United States is there,” said Biden. “NATO is critically important to us.”

BALANCING THREAT

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, at her last summit of the alliance before she steps down in September, described Biden’s arrival as the opening of a new chapter. She also said it was important to deal with China as a potential threat, while keeping it in perspective.

“If you look at the cyber threats and the hybrid threats, if you look at the cooperation between Russia and China, you cannot simply ignore China,” Merkel told reporters. “But one must not overrate it, either – we need to find the right balance.”

Biden said both Russia and China were not acting “in a way that is consistent with what we had hoped”.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said China’s growing military presence from the Baltics to Africa meant nuclear-armed NATO had to be prepared.

“China is coming closer to us. We see them in cyberspace, we see China in Africa, but we also see China investing heavily in our own critical infrastructure,” he said, a reference to ports and telecoms networks. “We need to respond together as an alliance.”

Stoltenberg also said the leaders had agreed to increase their contributions to the alliance’s small common budget. The vast bulk of military spending in NATO is handled separately by member countries.

G7 nations meeting in Britain over the weekend scolded China over human rights in its Xinjiang region, called for Hong Kong to keep a high degree of autonomy and demanded a full investigation of the origins of the coronavirus in China.

China’s embassy in London said it was resolutely opposed to mentions of Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, which it said distorted the facts and exposed the “sinister intentions of a few countries such as the United States”.

“China’s reputation must not be slandered,” the embassy said on Monday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, arriving at the summit, said there were both risks and rewards with Beijing.

“I don’t think anybody around the table wants to descend into a new Cold War with China,” he said.

DEEP ECONOMIC TIES

From China’s investments in European ports and plans to set up military bases in Africa to joint military exercises with Russia, NATO is now agreed that Beijing’s rise deserves a strong response, although envoys said that would be multi-faceted.

Allies are mindful of their economic links with China. Total German trade with China in 2020 was more than 212 billion euros ($257 billion), according to German government data. Total Chinese holdings of U.S. Treasuries as of March 2021 stood at $1.1 trillion, according to U.S. data, and total U.S. trade with China in 2020 was $559 billion.

Biden will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Geneva.

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said that Russia was trying to “swallow” Belarus and that NATO needed to be united in deterring Moscow. Nauseda also said the Baltic nations would push for more U.S. forces in their region to deter Russia.

($1 = 0.8255 euros)

(Additional reporting by Mark John, Sarah Young and Elizabeth Piper in London, Andrius Sytas in Vilnius, and Kate Abnett, Gabriela Baczynska, Marine Strauss and John Chalmers in Brussels; Editing by Catherine Evans, Peter Graff, Bernadette Baum and Alex Richardson)

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