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Tracking Amazon returns; a single-use plastic ban: CBC's Marketplace Cheat Sheet – CBC.ca

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Miss something this week? Don’t panic. CBC’s Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

Want this in your inbox? Get the Marketplace newsletter every Friday.

We’re back with an all-new season

Most of us now are online shoppers and with the pandemic, buying remotely has actually doubled in Canada. Nearly half of us do something called “bracketing” — where you buy multiple items with the intent to return at least some of them. So what happens to all those returns? You might figure they simply get resold to someone else. Think again.

We went on an online shopping spree on Amazon, the e-commerce goliath. And then we returned all the items, except with location trackers secretly placed inside. It’s a fascinating journey — and not one that always ends back at Amazon’s fulfillment centres.

You can catch the full investigation — learning what liquidators really do with Amazon returns sold at auction, and seeing where the tracked returns were sent — on CBC Gem.

It makes you think twice about bracketing, and about the claims from Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, that his company is going green and reducing its carbon footprint.

— David Common and the Marketplace team

To find out where online returns are ending up, Marketplace producers hid trackers inside a dozen Amazon items and then returned them to the online giant. (Anu Singh/CBC)

Say goodbye to plastic grocery bags, cutlery and straws

Get ready for some big changes at grocery stores and restaurants across the country starting next year. The Liberal government announced this week that a ban on some single-use plastics will go into effect by the end of 2021.

“Your local stores will be providing you with alternatives to these plastic products, like reusable or paper bags in place of plastic,” said Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. Read more

In 2019, Marketplace went to Malaysia and found that Canadian plastic recycling was being dumped and burned overseas.

The end is coming for plastic grocery bags, straws, cutlery, stir sticks, six-pack rings and takeout food containers made from hard-to-recycle plastics. (CBC Graphics)

Confused about Thanksgiving this year? You’re not alone

The second wave of COVID-19 is hitting Ontario and Quebec with full force. But many people are still confused about what to do for turkey dinner this year. In some parts of the country, gatherings might be possible, but in harder-hit areas, you’ll want to be more careful. “If you are in Ontario and Quebec, I think the most sensible thing to do is to keep to your immediate social circles,” says Dr. Theresa Tam. Read more

Canadians are trying to decipher confusing advice from public health officials about what kind of gathering, if any, is appropriate and safe for Thanksgiving. (wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

It’s been one year since Devan Selvey was killed at his high school. What’s changed? 

The 14-year-old’s stabbing sparked conversations about bullying all across Canada. But are things different now? It remains to be seen.

The Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) responded by setting up a panel to review four areas of bullying — prevention, intervention, reporting and responding. But the final report, which was initially supposed to be delivered by May 31, was delayed by COVID-19. Read more

In 2019, Marketplace investigated school violence and conducted a survey that found that four in 10 boys are physically assaulted at school.

Photos of Devan Selvey sit among stuffed animals, flowers and messages of support at a memorial outside the 14-year-old’s Hamilton home following his death on Oct. 7, 2019. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

She found a broken needle in her spine. How did it get there?

It was a medical error that took more than a decade to discover — after medical staff at the time failed to report it. Now, Giovanna Ippolito wants answers, but experts say with a system that’s stacked against Canadians harmed by medical errors, it’s likely no one will have to take responsibility. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, more than 132,000 patients experienced some kind of medical harm in 2018-19. Read more

An X-ray shows the five-centimetre-long partial needle stuck in Giovanna Ippolito’s spine — a mistake discovered years after she gave birth that medical staff at the time failed to report. (Submitted by Giovanna Ippolito)

What else is going on?

Netflix hikes some subscriber plans in Canada again 
The standard monthly plan is going up by $1 to $14.99, and the premium by $2 to $18.99.

For many workers, reduced hours or pay cuts beat pandemic layoffs
WestJet pilots agreed to take a 50 per cent hit to their compensation to help preserve jobs.

Health Canada recalls eye drops that claimed to contain human placenta from Edmonton business
The eye drops were being sold at the Calgary Trail Vision Centre.

Few provinces still resisting COVID Alert app as new features under consideration
Quebec becomes sixth province to launch exposure notification app, with N.S. and P.E.I. not far behind.

These CB2 tables have been recalled
The table legs could collapse during moving or use, posing an injury hazard.

Marketplace needs your help

CBC Marketplace is looking for people who have experienced racism in real estate. Have you received a low appraisal? Removed cultural objects to stage your home? We want to hear from you. Email us at marketplace@cbc.ca

Catch up on past episodes of Marketplace any time on CBC Gem.

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More than 100 People Gather for COVID-19 Protest in Windsor – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

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The Great Demonstration Against Harmful COVID-19 Measures drew more than 100 people to downtown Windsor Sunday.

Protestors held signs rebelling against mask restrictions, quarantine protocols and what they’re calling “coerced testing” at the foot of Ouellette Avenue beneath The Great Canadian Flag for a rally around 1 p.m. — followed by a march up Ouellette Avenue where they stopped traffic in front of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit on the corner of Erie Street.

Co-organizer Currie Soulliere, who launched a failed attempt to shop at Devonshire Mall without a mask earlier this summer, says protestors don’t want to see another lockdown.

“There’s always a threat that there may be another lockdown and we need a guarantee that there’s something protecting us from that happening again,” she says. 

Medical Director of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed previously said the protest is dangerous, potentially spreading the virus and information with no scientific backing.

That didn’t stop the crowd from chanting outside a likely unstaffed health unit on a Sunday afternoon.

“He didn’t want to speak to us, I’m pretty sure he said that, but we are going to make our presence known in front of the health unit,” Soulliere added.

Parts of Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and the York Region have seen modified Stage 2 restrictions imposed this month as hot spots in record case numbers in Ontario.

Windsor remains in Stage 3 of COVID-19 recovery and has few restrictions outside of phycical distancing rules and mask requirements.

Soulliere says protestors want a guarantee that won’t change.

“Some kind of guarantee that we’re not going to have any more lockdowns or shutdowns over what is amounting to a far less deadly virus than we were initially told, ” says Soulliere. “Honestly, a lot of us are questioning whether [Dr.] Wajid Ahmed should have his position at the health unit.”

There have been 42.5-million cases of COVID-19 documented globally since the pandemic began in April resulting in 1.15-million deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

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Lee Kun-Hee, force behind Samsung's rise, dies at 78 – Business News – Castanet.net

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Lee Kun-Hee, the ailing Samsung Electronics chairman who transformed the small television maker into a global giant of consumer electronics but whose leadership was also marred by corruption convictions, died on Sunday. He was 78.

Lee died with his family members by his side, including his only son and Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the company said in a statement.

Samsung didn’t announce the cause of death, but Lee had been hospitalized since May 2014 after suffering a heart attack and the younger Lee has been running Samsung, South Korea’s biggest company.

“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the Samsung statement said. “His legacy will be everlasting.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent senior presidential officials to pass a condolence message to Lee’s family at a mourning site. In the message, Moon called the late tycoon “a symbol of South Korea’s business world whose leadership would provide courage to our companies” at a time of economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Moon’s office said.

Lee’s family said the funeral would be private but did not immediately release details.

Lee inherited control of the company from his father, and during his nearly 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics Co. became a global brand and the world’s largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips. Samsung sells Galaxy phones while also making the screens and microchips that power its major rivals — Apple’s iPhones and Google Android phones.

Its businesses encompass shipbuilding, life insurance, construction, hotels, amusement parks and more. Samsung Electronics alone accounts for 20% of the market capital on South Korea’s main stock exchange.

Lee leaves behind immense wealth, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $16 billion as of January 2017.

His death comes during a complex time for Samsung.

When he was hospitalized, Samsung’s once-lucrative mobile business faced threats from upstart makers in China and elsewhere. Pressure was high to innovate its traditionally strong hardware business, to reform a stifling hierarchical culture and to improve its corporate governance and transparency.

Like other family-run conglomerates in South Korea, Samsung has been credited with helping propel the country’s economy to one of the world’s largest from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War. But their opaque ownership structure and often-corrupt ties with bureaucrats and government officials have been viewed as a hotbed of corruption in South Korea.

Lee Kun-Hee was convicted in 2008 for illegal share dealings, tax evasion and bribery designed to pass his wealth and corporate control to his three children. In 1996, he was convicted of bribing a former president. But in both cases, he avoided jail after courts suspended his sentences, at the time a common practice that helped make South Korean business tycoons immune from prison despite their bribery convictions.

Most recently, Samsung was ensnared in an explosive 2016-17 scandal that led to South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s ouster and imprisonment.

Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for offering 8.6 billion won ($7 million) in bribes to Park and one of her confidants to help secure the government’s backing for his attempt to solidify control over Samsung. He was freed in early 2018 after an appellate court reduced his term and suspended the sentence. But last month, prosecutors indicted him again on similar charges, setting up yet another protracted legal battle.

Lee Kun-Hee was a stern, terse leader who focused on big-picture strategies, leaving details and daily management to executives.

His near-absolute authority allowed the company to make bold decisions in the fast-changing technology industry, such as shelling out billions to build new production lines for memory chips and display panels even as the 2008 global financial crisis unfolded. Those risky moves fueled Samsung’s rise.

Lee was born on Jan. 9, 1942, in the southeastern city of Daegu during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His father, Lee Byung-chull, had founded an export business there in 1938, and following the Korean War, he rebuilt the company into an electronics and home appliance manufacturer and the country’s first major trading company.

When Lee Kun-Hee inherited control of Samsung from his father in 1987, Samsung was relying on Japanese technology to produce TVs and was taking its first steps toward exporting microwaves and refrigerators.

A decisive moment came in 1993 when Lee Kun-Hee made sweeping changes to Samsung after a two-month trip abroad convinced him that the company needed to improve the quality of its products.

In a speech to Samsung executives, he famously urged, “Let’s change everything except our wives and children.”

Not all his moves succeeded.

A notable failure was the group’s expansion into the auto industry in the 1990s, in part driven by Lee Kun-Hee’s passion for luxury cars. Samsung later sold near-bankrupt Samsung Motor to Renault. The company also was frequently criticized for disrespecting labour rights. Cancer cases among workers at its semiconductor factories were ignored for years.

Earlier this year, Lee Jae-yong declared that heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists questioned his sincerity.

The 52-year-old Lee expressed remorse for causing public concern over the 2016-17 scandal, but did not admit to wrongdoing regarding his alleged involvement.

Lee Kun-Hee resigned as chairman of Samsung Electronics before the 2008 conviction. But he received a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to Samsung’s management in 2010.

“As South Korea’s most successful entrepreneur, (Lee Kun-Hee) received a dazzling spotlight, but he had many vicissitudes full of grace and disgrace,” the ruling Democratic Party said in a statement. “We hope a ‘new Samsung’ will be realized at an early date as Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong promised.”

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Job losses to come in wake of Cenovus-Husky transaction, but scale unknown – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

Business Council of Alberta president Adam Legge acknowledged likely job losses.

“No one likes to see any further job losses than what this province has already been experiencing, and that’s the likely, unfortunate outcome of these kinds of mergers,” he said. “(It will be felt) through everything from real estate to job losses.”

Cenovus said Sunday they had yet to make any decisions on their office space.

In past Alberta oil and gas mergers, including the 2009 deal between Petro-Canada and Suncor, sublease space was added to the market as companies aimed to cut redundancies. The same could happen here, speculated Greg Kwong, the Calgary managing director for real-estate brokerage company CBRE.

“The public can focus on the fact that (Cenovus) is doing this to create efficiencies and come out a stronger, merged company,” Kwong said. “We’re mostly worried that this is a trend we’re going to see more of, maybe not to this magnitude, but with all companies struggling in this environment they’re going to look for efficiencies.”

Legge praised the merger from a business standpoint, saying it should make Cenovus more resilient and diverse and give the company “a new lease on life.”

“This is great news for Cenovus. It expands their footprint, gets them into some of the downstream retail market, which it sounds like they’ve been looking at for quite some time,” he said. “It’s probably a sign of more to come in the sense that as companies look to thrive in a new landscape, the reality is they’ll need to survive through scale.”

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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