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Fisheries officers to deal with seals invading northern Newfoundland town

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The seal saga on the Northern Peninsula continues, with an estimated 40 seals remaining in and around Roddickton and Department of Fisheries and Oceans officers in town trying decide on the best plan of action.

“They’ve been residents here now for one full week and it looks like they’re not going anywhere real fast,” Sheila Fitzgerald, mayor of Roddickton-Bide Arm, told CBC’s Newfoundland Morning about the harp seals that are not only hanging out in two open brooks in town but wiggling their way up into yards and onto roads.

“We’ve seen them in people’s backyards, people’s driveways, along the sides of the roads, in the doorways and entryways to local businesses, parking lots,” Fitzgerald said.

But along with the eventual plan for the seals, the total number of animals in and around Roddickton is still unclear, said Lloyd Slaney, DFO’s director of conservation and protection in N.L. 

Recent reports from people in the area indicate that the number of seals may be lower than believed, Slaney said, closer to 20 or even fewer.

Fisheries officers were expected to return to the area Thursday, he said, but were delayed because of poor weather across Newfoundland.

“We’ll be back in the community when the weather improves,” he said.

Stuck seals kept in town by ice

What is unusual about the situation is not that the seals are staying in the area, Slaney said, but that they are stuck due to ice that goes quite a distance out into the ocean.

“The fact that these are stuck behind such a body of ice is a bit unique, I would suggest,” he said of the seals.

Harp seals migrate south in groups at this time of year, Garry Stenson, head of the DFO’s marine mammals section, told The St. John’s Morning Show.

They’ve been residents here now for one full week and it looks like they’re not going anywhere real fast.– Sheila Fitzgerald

A group of 40 of the animals travelling together is not unusual, Stenson said — he’s seen groups with as few as six seals and as many as a thousand. It is relatively unusual to find a group of that size on shore, he said, but not unheard of.

Seals have been turning up on the roads, and other places they don’t belong, in Roddickton. (Brendon FitzPatrick/Twitter)

“There’s not a lot of ice off the northeast coast this year, so they’ve probably moved up the inlet looking to see what was there for food,” he said.

The seals likely found some small fish in the brook, and then when they went to leave found themselves stuck by ice that had frozen up after their arrival.

‘Nobody wants to see these little seals hit’

Now that the seals are there, the town and the DFO have to decide what to do about them, and whether or not they should be — or can be — moved.

Fisheries officers have been in town and are assessing the situation and investigating their options for the stranded seals, Stenson said.

It’s not unusual for a single stranded seal to be moved, DFO’s Garry Stenson says. This one on the Burin Peninsula was brought back to open water this week. (Provided by Marystown RCMP)

“They’re looking around now to try and determine exactly how many seals are there, both in that area as well as in surrounding areas, and whereabouts they are,” he said.

That work will continue once the weather improves and officers can get back on the ground, Slaney said.

Having the officers in town is a relief, Fitzgerald said, because they can respond much more quickly when a seal ends up by a home or business, or if one gets on a roadway. Previously, she said, an officer had to come in from the office in St. Anthony, 140 kilometres away.

Seals on the town’s roads are a particular concern, she said, after two were found dead yesterday. Stenson said both seals were struck by cars, something Fitzgerald said happened after several days of hearing about near misses from Roddickton residents.

The small Newfoundland town has been swarmed with the animals, but even though two of the mammals have died, DFO says it’s normal. 1:06

The town’s roads are sanded now, to deal with ice and snow at this time of year, and the seals’ light pelts blend in, she said — especially at dusk and dawn.

“It’s difficult for motorists, and nobody wants to see these little seals hit in our community.”

Stenson is reminding people to keep their distance. 

“We understand it is very tempting to interact with these animals, but a seal is a wild animal,” he said.

“It’s kind of neat that Newfoundland is one of the few places where we’re actually able to see these animals.”

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Wedding attack and tech: How OpenText’s investigations service beats the traditional approach

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At its heart, an investigation is a hunt for relevant facts in order to tell a story — a story that drives strategies for organizations, including law firms.

Tracy Drynan, head of OpenText Recon Investigations — a seamless end-to-end service that helps companies and law firms find evidence for all types of investigations including internal investigations, litigation assessments, compliance and regulatory investigations, c-suite vetting and more — says these stories are a more powerful tool than most people think.

The team led by Drynan arms both in-house and external counsel with the information needed to guide their corporate and outside lawyers with the information needed to guide their clients: an investigation empowers them. What differentiates OpenText Recon is the speed with which the team utilizes specialized tools and workflows to efficiently locate evidence. This approach gains insights into patterns, gaps and relationships in a fraction of the cost of a traditional eDiscovery review, and more quickly gathers the relevant facts to create that critical story.

“Whether it be litigation or a regulatory investigation or an internal audit, often time is of the essence,” Drynan says. “Being able to make decisions that affect your bottom line, your liability, your risks which ultimately challenge your resources, even public opinion, is critical.”

Too often, an archaic model is applied to investigations — one derived when we still existed in a paper society — that analyzes all available information but doesn’t actively hunt for relevant facts, and that produces a disconnect. An efficient model does not need to analyze every piece of information.

“It’s flawed for this reason,” Drynan says. “When you review a set of information, even when you apply advanced analytics and information retrieval science, it is still at the end bucketed for a team to analyze it contiguously. In a way, we are still following the pre-electronic paradigm — we are reviewing almost paper documents one by one, and that unfortunately is handicapping both the talent and the technology in the hunt for the facts.”

While lawyers may make a living hunting facts and building narratives, Drynan would argue their approach could be improved and points out that many of the companies hired by firms to help out during an investigation still apply that outdated model. OpenText Recon breaks that pattern and approaches the hunt differently — they don’t compartmentalize anything, which means the team can identify patterns more easily. Those patterns become the clues, which become the facts, that become the story that allow lawyers to make those critical decisions. The result is not a stack of documents, but a more nuanced report outlining the important facts to analyze.

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Canada takes aim at Netflix, Airbnb in $6.5B big-tech tax plan

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Canada’s federal government is planning to force foreign-based technology firms such as Netflix Inc. and Airbnb Inc. to charge their users a sales tax in a move aimed at boosting the government’s coffers by as much as $6.5 billion over the next five years. 

The new taxation plans, outlined in the government’s Fall Economic Statement, attempt to level the playing field between Canadian companies and foreign-based digital corporations that were largely exempt from paying federal sales taxes. Some provinces — such as Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Quebec — introduced taxes on streaming services like Netflix earlier this year. 

The government announced Monday that any foreign-based company selling digital products or services to consumers in Canada will be required to collect and remit the Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax. The new tax changes are proposed to begin on July 1, 2021. 

“Canadians want a tax system that is fair, where everyone pays their fair share, so the government has the resources it needs to invest in people and keep our economy strong. That is why we are moving ahead with implementing GST/HST on multinational digital giants and limiting stock option deductions in the largest companies,” said Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, in prepared remarks. 

“And Canada will act unilaterally, if necessary … to apply a tax on large multinational digital corporations, so they pay their fair share just like any other company operating in Canada.”

Those taxes will include any sales on products or services made through digital marketplace platforms, sales to Canadians of goods that are located in Canadian fulfillment warehouses, as well as any companies whose platforms help to facilitate short-term rental accommodations in Canada. 

However, the new taxation moves wouldn’t see streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video, Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+, and Spotify Technology SA meet certain Canadian-content requirements, something the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission​ recommended be adopted rather than introduce new tax measures in a wide-ranging report released earlier this year. 

The CRTC estimates that those streaming services record annual revenue of roughly $5 billion, according to its most recent financial data. The federal broadcast regulator said in January that Ottawa should require foreign streaming services to invest in local programming rather than “digital taxes” that would likely get passed down to consumers. 

“It is more appropriate to establish a regime that requires such online streaming services that benefit from operating in Canada to invest in Canadian programming that they believe will attract and appeal to Canadians,” the report said. 

Ottawa will also consider new corporate-level taxes for foreign-owned digital corporations and is working with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to develop a framework it expects to provide further details on in the next budget. It expects the new measure will result in $3.4 billion in new tax revenue over the next five years once it is introduced sometime in 2022. 

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RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. RevoluPAY To Pursue Dubai Financial Services Authority PSP License

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — RevoluGROUP Canada Inc. (TSX-V: REVO), (Frankfurt: IJA2) (the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has dispatched Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros to pursue the petition of a Payment Service Provider (“PSP”) Money Service Business License in the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) from the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

Corporate Rational For a PSP License in Dubai

In May 2020, RevoluPAY was granted the European PSD2 license. In September, RevoluPAY received Pan-European passporting approval to operate in 27 E.U. countries. The Company has further expanded its international open banking reach through definitive agreements (“DA”) with BBVA, Flutterwave, and Thunes. Additionally, via direct PSD2 SEPA passporting, the Company added sixty-eight countries and territories to its financial operations roster. In November, the Company submitted petitions for both the analogous United States MSB licenses and the Canadian FINTRAC license. The MEASA region of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia is a significant financial hub that necessitates exposure for both financial operations and a strategic base for the region’s operations. The Company considers the DIFC an excellent regional hub, having introduced robust legislation for payment services providers (“PSP”) like RevoluPAY.

Furthermore, DIFC conveniently fills the timezone gap for a global financial center between London and New York’s leading financial centers in the West and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the East. Company advisor Erik A. Lara Riveros is duly accredited with the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which should aid the Company’s plans to obtain the Dubai PSP license and establish a corporate financial hub in the region. The Company has diligently prepared all required documentation, and Mr. Lara Riveros arrives in Dubai on the 4th of December 2020 to initiate the license petition process. The global operations of RevoluPAY expect to benefit from the multi timezone capability garnered from a supplementary and PSP licensed subsidiary domiciled in the MEASA region.

License Sought in Dubai

The Company intends to pursue the Category 3D license, which covers the following activities, “Providing or Operating a Payment Account, executing Payment Transactions or Issuing Payment Instruments, including creating and maintaining accounts for executing payment transactions, issuance of personalized sets of procedures agreed upon by the users and the provider, for initiation or execution of payment instructions.”

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