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China’s ex deputy intelligence chief jailed for life over graft | News

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A Chinese court has jailed for life a former high-ranking intelligence official for taking bribes, coercive business deals and insider trading. 

Ma Jian, previously the vice minister of the state security bureau, is one of the most senior security officials to be jailed since the former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang was ensnared in a corruption scandal and jailed for life in 2015.

“Ma Jian’s behaviour constituted the crime of accepting bribes, forcing others to trade and insider trading,” the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in Liaoning province announced in a statement on Thursday. 

He was also ordered to pay more than $7.26m in penalties.

The court said Ma, who was tried behind closed doors, used his political power to aid the business operations of Guo Wengui, a real estate billionaire wanted by Chinese authorities.

The New York-based Guo has published a slew of online videos in which he makes sensational allegations of corruption in the upper echelons of China’s ruling Communist Party.

The court said it reached the verdict on the grounds that Ma had taken a “particularly enormous” amount of bribes, and that his collaboration with Guo’s company was “particularly serious”.

Ma had used his position to conspire with Guo and to help businesses Guo controlled by using threats to bring about illegal transactions such as compelling individuals to transfer company shares, the court said.

Ma had received more than 100m yuan ($14.56m) in property for his work and earned nearly 5m yuan ($728,248) from trading stocks based on insider information, it added. 

Ma pleaded guilty and has decided not to appeal, the court said in its statement, adding that his political rights have been revoked for life and all his personal assets confiscated.

It was not possible to contact Ma for comment. Guo could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the South China Morning Post, Ma worked at the spy agency for more than 30 years and was promoted to deputy minister of counter-intelligence operations in 2006.

Ma was put under investigation for corruption in 2015 and expelled from the Communist Party the following year after prosecutors accused him of interfering in unspecified law enforcement activities

Dozens of senior officials have been investigated or jailed since President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012, vowing to root out corruption and warning that the problem threatens the Communist Party’s grip on power.

The initiative has won Xi broad popularity among the general public, but his critics – Guo included – have called the crackdown a convenient way to eliminate political enemies.

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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision

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One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada

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An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care

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With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawa-covid-19-hospitalization-data-of-severe-illness-shows-half-of-cases-coming-from-community-not-just-long-term-care-homes-3136152

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