Finance news. My opinion.

July 21, 2014

World stocks weak as pressure on Russia grows

Filed under: finance, loans — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 2:08 pm

BEIJING (AP) — World stock markets remained on the back foot Monday as tensions grew between Russia and the West over the downing of an airliner in eastern Ukraine.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX was off 0.7 percent at 9,654.54 and France’s CAC-40 shed 0.4 percent to 4,315.92. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 0.3 percent to 6,732.16.

Futures pointed to losses on Wall Street. Dow futures were down 0.1 percent at 17,009 and S&P 500 futures shed 0.1 percent to 1,969.

The shooting down last week of the Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people aboard has rattled markets, which worried about how Western governments, already alarmed by Russia’s support for rebels in Ukraine’s east, would react.

The disaster, in an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists, has sparked international condemnation and increased pressure on Russia to stop meddling in Ukraine. Russian officials have blamed Ukraine’s government for creating the situation and atmosphere in which the plane was downed.

“The more pressure that builds on Russia the more volatile European indices will be,” said strategist Evan Lucas at IG Markets in a report. “With the strong trade links between the continent and Russia, any disruptions to this through sanctions will cause profit taking on European indices payday loan.”

China’s Shanghai Composite Index declined 0.2 percent to 2,054.48 points and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was off 0.3 percent at 23,387.14. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.1 percent to 5,539.90.

Seoul’s Kospi fell 0.1 percent to 2,018.50 ahead of this week’s release of quarterly economic growth data. Tokyo was closed for a holiday.

Markets in Southeast Asia were mostly higher. Jakarta rose 0.8 percent despite tensions over presidential election results due out Tuesday, with both candidates claiming victory.

Investors were looking ahead to U.S. earnings reports amid hopes American economic growth is recovering. Results from Apple, Microsoft and Coca Cola were due out Tuesday and Caterpillar on Thursday.

In energy markets, U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery was down 1 cent to $103.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract shed 6 cents on Friday to close at $103.13.

The euro rose to $1.3537 from $1.3525 late Friday. The dollar fell to 101.31 yen from 101.36 yen.

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July 16, 2014

Minimum wage in 2013 same as 1975 in constant dollars: Statistics Canada

Filed under: legal, lenders — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 5:12 pm

Statistics Canada says the average minimum wage in 2013 was almost identical to the 1975 minimum wage, in constant dollars.

The agency says the average minimum wage was $10.14 in 2013 and the 1975 wage, expressed in 2013 dollars, was $10.13.

Between 1975 and 2013, however, the minimum wage in 2013 dollars, varied, slipping to $7.53 in 1986 before rising to $8.81 in 1996.

Up to 2003, the real minimum wage remained stable at around $8.50.

The report says 6.7 per cent of all paid employees earned the minimum wage in 2013, up from 5.0 per cent in 1997.

It says young employees, less-educated employees, part-timers and people in service industries were most likely to be paid minimum wage

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July 6, 2014

Oscar Pistorius re-enacts Steenkamp shooting in leaked video

Filed under: legal, uk — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 11:21 pm

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA — A haunting video of Oscar Pistorius reenacting the night he shot his girlfriend emerged Sunday, showing the Paralympic gold medalist walking on his bare stumps, with his hand clenched as if aiming a pistol.

In the video aired by Australian broadcaster Channel 7, the 27-year-old demonstrates how he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder, walking through a room as if carrying a gun. In another clip, an impassive Pistorius, wearing a blue Nike tank top and tight black shorts, walks backwards on his stumps.

“I wasn’t sure if someone was going to come up and point a firearm at me,” said Pistorius in the video.

Later, he struggles to pick up his younger sister Aimee up off a tiled bathroom floor, recreating the moment he carried his dying girlfriend in his arms after shooting her four times with a 9mm pistol through a locked toilet door early Valentine’s Day in 2013.

MORE ON THESTAR.COM

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The video was made by the Evidence Room, an American forensic animation firm based in Cleveland, Ohio, that was commissioned by the Pistorius defence team in October 2013 to make a digital video of the crime scene.

In the same way that real life actors have to model for computer animated characters in blockbuster films like Avatar, the Evidence Room filmed Pistorius in order to accurately replicate the athlete’s movements.

“When he’s on his prosthetics, you know he’s a very tall broad-shouldered athletic guy, he looks like he can really handle himself,” said Scott Roder, head of the Evidence Room, in the video. “But when he takes his prosthetics off and he’s on his stumps, he’s short, the confidence washes away from his face.”

Lawyers representing Pistorius said the footage was obtained unlawfully.

“We wish to make it very clear that the material that has been aired was obtained illegally and in breach of the non-disclosure agreement with the Evidence Room,” said Brian Webber, a lawyer representing Pistorius, in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

“It has come to our attention that Channel 7 purchased this footage unlawfully,” said Webber. “In addition, during our engagement with Channel 7, we received an undertaking that they would not air any of the material before the end of the trial easy payday loans.”

The video highlights the impact of the intense media interest in the Pistorius trial, where videos obtained by major media houses have been introduced in court, including one where the athlete is shooting at watermelons saying “It’s a lot softer than brain but…it’s like a zombie stopper.”

When news of the reenactment video broke, South African journalist Mandy Wiener tweeted “Difficult ethical dilemma for local journalists covering #OscarPistorius story—many exclusives appear to have gone to the highest bidder.”

#OscarPistorius story - many exclusives appear to have gone to the highest bidder.

July 5, 2014

Jokowi to Ease Foreign-Ownership Ban on Indonesia Apartments - Bloomberg

Filed under: mortgage, technology — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:49 am

Indonesian presidential hopeful Joko Widodo plans to allow foreign investment in apartments to boost tax revenue, a move that could spur demand for property in the country

June 28, 2014

Li Ka-Shing Says Wealth Gap Is Making Him Sleepless in Hong Hong - Bloomberg

Filed under: business, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:57 pm

The widening wealth gap is keeping Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing up at night and Asia

June 20, 2014

Congress probes how IRS emails could go missing

Filed under: Uncategorized, news — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 6:17 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight federal employees connected to the tea party investigation experienced hard drive crashes, resulting in an unknown number of lost emails, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen told lawmakers Friday in an unusually tense congressional hearing.

A week ago the IRS acknowledged it could not produce some of the emails of the IRS executive at the center of the probe because her computer crashed in 2011. Koskinen acknowledged to lawmakers that the hard drive was recycled and presumably destroyed.

“I want that hard drive and I want the hard drive of every computer that crashed,” said the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich.

Koskinen said the IRS took extra measures to try to retrieve the lost emails. But he was unapologetic about the computer crashes or the period when the IRS advised Congress that emails it had sought were lost.

“I don’t think an apology is owed,” Koskinen said.

Koskinen says it’s not clear whether all eight of the hard drive crashes resulted in lost emails.

Koskinen also said appointment of a special federal prosecutor to investigate the IRS handling of tax-exempt applications would be a “monumental waste of taxpayer funds.”

The congressional investigation has been highly politicized because of allegations that the IRS improperly singled out tea party groups seeking tax-exempt status. Friday’s hearing was unusually tense, as Camp and other Republicans occasionally interrupted Koskinen and continued to ask other questions before Koskinen had an opportunity to answer.

The senior Democrat on the committee, Rep. Sander Levin of Mich., chided his colleagues that, “Witnesses deserve some respect.”

An FBI investigation is ongoing.

The former IRS official at the center of the investigation, Lois Lerner, has invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers’ questions. Lerner did not learn that IRS staffers were improperly reviewing applications of tea party and other conservative groups for tax-exempt status until weeks after her computer crashed, according to an earlier audit by the Treasury Department inspector general for tax administration.

Lerner’s computer crashed sometime around June 13, 2011, according to emails provided to Congress. She first learned about the tea party reviews on June 29, according to the inspector general.

Koskinen told Congress that Lerner’s hard drive was unavailable to them because it had been recycled.

The IRS said last week it became aware of the missing emails in February of this year. The IRS did not know whether the other computer crashes have resulted in lost emails as well. It will also not say how often its computers fail and lose data.

The lost emails are raising questions even by the government’s records officer. In a June 17 letter to the IRS, Paul Wester Jr. asked the agency to investigate the loss of records and whether any disposal of data was authorized. Wester, the chief records officer at the National Archives and Records Administration, was responding to the IRS’ June 13 disclosure of Lerner’s lost emails.

Wester’s letter did not address the lost records of six other employees that the IRS disclosed that day. Wester said the IRS is required to report its finding within 30 days. Federal agencies are supposed to report destruction of records — whether accidental or intentional — to the National Archives “promptly” after an incident.

The IRS said that after Lerner’s computer crashed in June 2011, technicians were not able to retrieve data from her hard drive.

In May, more than two months after the IRS discovered the emails were missing, the IRS assured Camp that it would provide all applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status in 2010 and 2011, including all files, correspondence and internal IRS records related to them. Camp had asked for the records in May 2012.

It’s similarly unclear why the IRS didn’t attempt to recover the emails from backup servers in June 2011, especially since Lerner told an IRS computer technician in a July 2011 email, “There were some documents in the files that are irreplaceable.”

Shawn Henry, the FBI’s former cyber director, said technicians should have been able to retrieve data from the servers around the times the computers crashed.

“If they knew there was a problem in 2011,” said Henry, now president of CrowdStrike, a security technology company, “they could have or should have been able to recover it.”

The IRS told Congress last week that recovering emails has been a challenge because doing so is “a more complex process for the IRS than it is for many private or public organizations.”

The IRS was able to find copies of 24,000 Lerner emails from between 2009 and 2011 because Lerner had sent copies to other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it was producing 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering 2009 to 2013. The agency said it searched for emails of 83 people and spent nearly $10 million to produce hundreds of thousands of documents.

At the time that Lerner’s computer crashed, IRS policy had been to make copies of all IRS employees’ email inboxes every day and hold them for six months. The agency changed the policy in May 2013 to keep these snapshots for a longer, unspecified amount of time. Had this been the policy in 2011, when at least two of the computer crashes occurred, there likely could have been backups of the lost emails today.

The chief executive for an email-archiving company, Pierre Villeneuve of Jatheon Technologies, said most public and private sector organizations keep emails for several years, not six months, because of financial regulations and inexpensive computer storage.

“To have a large agency like the IRS have a very weak policy for email archiving and retention is quite shocking,” Villeneuve said. “If this were a private enterprise and they couldn’t produce this information on demand, they’d be in trouble. They’d either be fined or accused of hiding information.”

The IRS has said technicians sent Lerner’s hard drive to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But the information was not recoverable, a technician told her in an Aug. 5, 2011, email.

Source

May 1, 2014

Energizer to split into 2 companies to hone focus

Filed under: loans, management — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:48 pm

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Energizer Holdings plans to split into two separate and publicly traded companies, one selling batteries and household items, the other selling personal care brands such as Schick razors and Edge shaving gel.

Shares jumped 16 percent in midday trading Wednesday to reach a six-year high.

The St. Louis company believes the split will give each company a clearer focus and let them make a more transparent case to investors.

Reusable batteries have cut into traditional battery sales in recent years, thought the company does have its own line of rechargeable batteries.

The split will be structured as a tax-free spinoff to existing Energizer shareholders, the company said. Energizer did not say what names the companies would operate under auto warranty.

The household company will sell Energizer and Eveready batteries, flashlights and portable lamps. It accounted for $1.9 billion in revenue in the year that ended March 31.

The personal care company’s other brands will include Playtex and Stayfree feminine-care products and Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion. It had $2.6 billion in revenue in the same period.

“Since becoming an independent company in 2000, Energizer has built two successful divisions and each is now well-suited to realize its full potential on a stand-alone basis,” said CEO Ward Klein.

Energizer expects the split to take place in the second half of fiscal 2015, which ends in September 2015.

After the split, Energizer CEO Ward Klein is expected to serve as executive chairman of the personal care company. David Hatfield, current head of the personal care unit, will be CEO of the stand-alone company, Energizer said.

Current Energizer Chairman J. Patrick Mulcahy would be chairman of the stand-alone household products company and that unit’s current chief, Alan Hoskins, would be CEO.

Citigroup analyst Wendy Nicholson said the split likely surprised most investors since the company has repeatedly said that it has more value as a single entity. The change in heart at Energizer, which Nicholson rates as a ‘buy,” will boost company shares, she said.

Shares of Energizer Holdings Inc. rose $15.65 to $113 auto warranty cost.36, erasing declines in the stock seen throughout this year.

Separately, Energizer reported second-quarter net income for the three months ended March 31 rose 16 percent to $98.5 million, or $1.57 per share. That compares with $84.9 million or $1.35 per share last year. Excluding restructuring and other costs, net income totaled $1.88 per share. Analysts had expected $1.73 per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $1.06 billion from $1.1 billion last year. Analysts expected $1.07 billion.

Source

April 25, 2014

Minding the tax bite in fund investing

Filed under: Uncategorized, uk — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:29 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — How painful was tax season for you?

For many investors with mutual funds in a taxable account, it was tougher this year than last. That’s because the best year for stocks since 1997 pushed many funds to make capital gains distributions to their shareholders, and those got taxed even if the shareholder didn’t sell any shares. Investors who make the biggest incomes got a double whammy: They paid a higher percentage of their capital gains distributions in taxes than a year before.

Now that April 15 has passed, investors have a chance to reflect on what drove their tax bills and rejigger their portfolios. For most retirement investors, the answer is simple: Keep your mutual funds in a tax-advantaged account, whether that’s a 401(k), individual retirement account or Roth IRA. For those with funds in taxable accounts, other avenues are available for tax-smart investing, and experts say they’re growing in importance.

During the ’80s and ’90s, when markets were booming, many investors were making so much money that they didn’t mind paying big tax bills, says Fran Kinniry, a principal in the investment strategy group at Vanguard. Now that many don’t expect the returns they got during the boom years, there’s more interest in keeping costs and taxes low.

“Investors are taking 100 percent of the risk of their investments, and the goal should be to capture as much as 100 percent of that return,” Kinniry says.

First, a reminder on the taxes mutual-fund investors can incur: Funds that own dividend-paying stocks distribute those payments to shareholders, which can be taxable. Each year, funds also tally the gains booked from selling stocks and bonds. From that, funds subtract the losses they incurred from trading and pass along the remainder to shareholders. These are called capital gains distributions, and the tax rate on long-term gains for the very top earners rose to 23.8 percent last year from 15 percent.

Here’s a look at what investors can do to minimize those payments:

—REMEMBER THE POWER OF TAX-ADVANTAGED ACCOUNTS. If you own a mutual fund in a 401(k) or IRA, you also get dividend and capital-gains distributions. But you don’t need to worry about taxes until you withdraw money. Investors with funds in a Roth IRA don’t need to worry about taxes on those distributions at all, under some conditions.

Tax-advantaged accounts are particularly useful for mutual funds that produce more distributions than others, such as ones focused on bonds, dividend-paying stocks or real-estate investment trusts used car warranty. Actively managed stock mutual funds - ones run by stock pickers looking to beat an index - also can have bigger gains distributions because they do more buying and selling than index funds.

— SOME MUTUAL FUNDS ARE BUILT TO MINIMIZE TAXES. Tax-managed mutual funds use several methods to limit their shareholders’ tax bills. They can be biased toward stocks with lower dividend yields, looking to limit dividend payments, for example. They also try to hold off on selling stocks to minimize potential capital gains distributions.

Generally, only investors who have already maxed out their annual contributions to tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs would consider tax-managed funds. Because their audience is so narrow, they tend to have fewer assets under management, says Michael Rawson, a fund analyst at Morningstar.

Their smaller size means tax-managed funds don’t benefit from the economies of scale that large mutual funds do, which can mean higher expense ratios, Rawson says.

— INDEX FUNDS AND ETFs CAN MEAN SMALLER TAX BILLS. The capital-gains distributions that funds make are a result of buying and selling stocks. So one way to limit those distributions is to limit buying and selling.

Big index mutual funds and ETFs do just that. Unlike actively managed funds looking to beat the market, index funds are merely trying to match an index’s performance. That means they’re content to own the same stock as long as it stays in the index. Index funds also tend to have lower expenses than actively managed funds.

But “just because a fund is an index fund doesn’t mean that it’s tax efficient,” says Vanguard’s Kinniry. Indexes that cover smaller swaths of the market tend to change more often than large, broad-market indexes. So a small-cap value index fund will likely see more turnover than a broad-market index fund, which can trigger more gains distributions.

— MUNICIPAL BONDS OFFER TAX-FREE INCOME. The interest paid by bonds issued by cities, water and sewer authorities and other local governments is generally free from federal income taxes. That means investors can more comfortably keep muni-bond funds in a taxable account.

They come with their own risks, of course: Worries flare periodically about the financial strength of local governments, which can cause their prices to swing sharply.

Source

April 18, 2014

Brewers seeks to rekindle Belgium’s love of beer

Filed under: Uncategorized, house — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 3:18 pm

DWORP, Belgium (AP) — The ruby lettering on the front of the old corner pub “In de Welkom” has peeled almost beyond recognition. Owner Leza Wauters, a tough 87-year-old, is holding on to her business but can’t say how much longer. Sooner or later, yet another bar with a warm “Welcome” will be gone.

Serving local geuze, triples and pils beers for generations, the pub has embodied what the drink means to Belgians — bringing together families and friends with cheers of “sante” and “gezondheid,” gulping down tasty suds before ordering more.

Now, the tables are often empty, a sign of the hard times many pubs like these have fallen upon as Belgians have stopped drinking beer like they used to. The beer industry, meanwhile, has increasingly relied on exporting the world-class beers to far-flung markets.

Not good, they say here.

The Belgian beer federation is trying to rekindle local interest in the drink with a “Proud of our Beers” public awareness campaign, including a tricolor national flag with the middle yellow turned into a glass of beer.

“Belgian beer made in Belgium but not drunk in Belgium is not really Belgian beer anymore,” said Gert Christiaens, the owner of the Oud Beersel brewery, which won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup last week with his geuze, a sour beer made through natural fermentation.

“If it is not in their roots anymore and they cannot pass it on to the next couple of generations, then we’ve lost. We cannot claim the heritage of Belgian beer if nobody knows about it,” he said.

Beer consumption in Belgium is still relatively high — at 74 liters (16 criminal records.2 gallons) a head annually. But that is a 27 percent drop since 1992.

In just about any town or village, pensioners can point out the places were bars used to be, and are now gone. Guidea, the research institute of the industry, says the number of drinking establishments has declined from 38,128 in 1983 to 17,512 in 2012, the last year on record in this nation of 10.5 million.

Exports, meanwhile, have risen, from 5.47 million hectoliters in 2000 to 11.69 million a dozen years later to account for roughly two-thirds of production now.

Sven Gatz, the head of the Belgian Brewers federation, says the overall trend is not good for the local industry.

“You cannot be a strong beer country only exporting beer,” he said at his gilded, baroque headquarters on one of Europe’s finest squares, the Brussels Grand Place, proof of the exalted status beer has in this country.

It’s not only about boosting current sales but about preserving for the future the identity and national heritage that had made the Belgian beers famous in the first place, he argued. In a globalized market, that identity is valuable.

Leza Wauters remembers the good times well. “Oh, we had more than 50 cafes in Dworp,” she said of the bucolic village 15 kilometers (10 miles) south of Brussels, part of a hilly area of pastures whose landscapes, and beers, figured in the paintings of the famous artist Breughel. “It was incredible - it was almost like everyone had a cafe.”

Now the village’s pubs can be counted on two hands, she said.

Her granddaughter Barbara Danis fondly remembers time spent at the “In de Welkom” but recognizes its days may be numbered. Most clients are of an older generation that used to congregate daily in the pubs but that is now fading away.

“You used to have card players who came here every day,” she said. Now, her grandmother complains, those games are over.

Younger clients are tough to attract because they prefer to enjoy drinks at home. They move around mainly by car — and have to heed modern drunk driving laws — whereas clients in older times would walk to their local pub. Laws prohibiting smoking in pubs have also hurt business.

Siene Verhelst, who ducked into the “In de Welkom” after a walk in the surrounding woods to order an amber Westmalle trappist beer, pondered: “You are lucky to be here, because this can be over next week.”

Part of the decline in interest in beer was also due to the growing industrialization of beer production that often alienated locals.

“In the 1960s to the eighties, the bigger breweries took over the midsized breweries, the midsized breweries took over the small brewers and there was consolidation,” said Gatz. That has reduced the amount of choice and severed the sense of identification a local population had with their local brew.

The world’s largest brewer, AB Inbev, is an extreme example. Part of the Belgium-based conglomerate originated in the country but it has become so large that most of its brands are foreign — Budweiser, Corona, Beck’s criminal record search.

There is some hope, however, that the beer culture might be revitalized by what is, ironically, a global trend — the surge in microbreweries.

Next door to Dworp is Buizingen, where Kloris Deville and his dad Bart have turned Den Herberg — “The Inn” — into a thriving little pub over a half dozen years with heaving weekend clientele, partly because they started their own microbrewery in the back.

Bart Deville says he’s produced up to a dozen new beers and is finding huge demand — he has a huge storage room full of a new brew for which he still has to find a fitting name.

Microbreweries have found success across the globe, but Belgians are inspired by their particularly rich and long tradition.

It is what moved Gert Christiaens to drop a career in the telecoms services and become a brewer. Twelve years ago, at the age of 25, he was shocked to hear a bartender tell him that his favorite geuze would soon be extinct, as the brewery had closed down.

“A couple of days later I rang the brewery,” he said, and now Christiaens brews the Oud Beersel gueze himself, winning global prizes along the way and expanding his business to make it sustainable.

“I did not want this heritage of Belgium to disappear,” he said.

___

AP Video journalist Mark D. Carlson contributed to this story

Source

April 9, 2014

Durham police officers face discipline over YouTube video

Filed under: news, prices — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 10:40 pm

Two Durham Regional Police officers have been charged under the Police Services Act for their alleged involvement in a satirical video posted to YouTube in January.

The sworn police officers depicted in the video are both facing a charge of discreditable conduct.

Sgt. Mike Glennie’s disciplinary hearing has already started, according to a statement from the police service released Wednesday.

A second officer — referred to only as a Detective Constable in the news release — will face a hearing on April 15.

“At the commencement of the public hearing, his name can legally be released,” the statement said.

The police force’s longstanding policy has been to keep secret the names of officers charged under the act until they appear at a public hearing. In the event that the charged officer resigns, the defence is granted a publication ban, or an informal settlement is reached, the officer’s name would never be released.

The third is a civilian special constable, to whom the Police Services Act does not apply. “His discipline is being managed by internal policy and his name will not be released as he is not subject to the PSA,” the statement said.

Police officer Paul Grigoriou and special constable Harold Tasson appeared in the video alongside Glennie. The Durham force said at the time that the three officers in the video were the only members under investigation.

Durham Police Chief Mike Ewles triggered an internal investigation into the video after it showed up on YouTube, calling it “disrespectful” and “embarrassing.”

But Glennie, in an interview with Oshawa Express, said the video was meant to stay “in house.”

“It was designed to uplift and create humour to the employees of that unit,” Glennie told the Oshawa paper cash advance loans.

The goofy 64-second video, fashioned after a high-drama Hollywood trailer, depicted three officers stopping at nothing to get out of cellblock duty. They apply for transfers, only to have them denied, after which words flash across the screen: “3 officers on a quest for freedom/ Will discover there is no escape/ From cellblock.”

Toilet paper is meted out at a jail cell; a mask-wearing constable mops up what appears to be a blood-smeared bathroom.

“Forced to serve prisoners/ This summer/ How far will they go for freedom?” the text reads.

One officer runs down a hallway with what appears to be a Taser pointed at the camera. Another does snow angels on the hood of a car. They mimic Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s now-infamous imitation of a drunk driver. They appear to wave happily to a departing U.S. President Barack Obama.

The end credits list more than half a dozen Durham police officers as well as the force’s chief administrative officer and Ford in the “Rob Ford film” dubbed “Central Cells.” It also notes: “Not made on company time.”

It’s another in a series of high-profile public embarrassments for the Durham Regional Police Service, which Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin likened to National Lampoon’s Animal House last year after receiving obnoxious, anonymous tweets in the wake of the deadly police shooting of Sammy Yatim on a Toronto streetcar in July 2013.

It turned out those tweets were sent by a veteran Durham fraud investigator, then-detective Jeff Caplan, who used a parody account created for practical jokes within his unit.

Source

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