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Ghosn’s wife slams Japan detention as ‘draconian’ in letter | News

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The wife of Nissan’s former Chairman Carlos Ghosn has written a letter to the global advocacy group Human Rights Watch criticising her husband’s lengthy detention and Japan’s criminal justice system as unfair and harsh.

“My husband’s is a case study in the realities of this draconian system,” Carole Ghosn wrote in a nine-page letter on Monday to the Tokyo branch of the organisation, according to The Associated Press news agency.

Ghosn was arrested on November 19 and has been charged in connection with under-reporting his income, personal investment losses and payments to a Saudi businessman.

The car industry heavyweight, who rescued Nissan from near-bankruptcy, asserted his innocence in a Tokyo court last week. It was his first public appearance since his arrest.

Carole Ghosn’s letter describes how prosecutors interrogate prisoners without a lawyer present in an apparent effort to get a confession – conditions that are routine for suspects in Japan. Japan’s system has come under fire from international human rights groups, as her letter notes.

‘Harsh conditions’

Confined to an unheated cell, her husband has lost almost three kgs in two weeks, eating meals of mainly rice and barley, she wrote. He is denied his medication, given 30 minutes to exercise daily and is allowed to bathe two or three times a week, she said.






Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn ‘arrested for misconduct’

“No human being should be detained under conditions so harsh that their only plausible purpose is to coerce a confession,” said the letter, which cited cases in which people were held for months, but later found to be innocent.

Tokyo Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shin Kukimoto told reporters last week that prosecutors are confident they have a case. Ghosn’s lawyers have complained about the prolonged detention but their appeals have been rejected. Prosecutors say Ghosn is a flight risk and he may tamper with evidence. No trial date has been set.

Carole Ghosn’s letter defended her husband’s character and his record in the car industry.

“My husband is well known as a person of unimpeachable honour, honesty and integrity,” she said in her letter.

Ghosn’s family has not been able to meet him, and so far only lawyers and embassy officials have been allowed visits.

Dutch joint venture 

On Sunday, French financial daily Les Echos reported on its website that Ghosn was paid 7 million euros ($8m) through a Dutch joint venture between Nissan and Mitsubishi.

Les Echos said that Nissan and Mitsubishi in June 2017 set up joint venture Nissan Mitsubishi BV (NMBV) in the Netherlands to pay bonuses to staff and managers of the two carmakers.

The JV’s top directors were not initially supposed to receive bonuses from the unit but in February 2018 – and without the knowledge of other directors – Ghosn was hired as an employee by the unit, which made him eligible for payments, the paper reported.

A Nissan spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request from comment.

Reuters news agency last week reported that one of Ghosn’s senior executives received an additional six-figure salary via the Dutch joint venture overseeing Renault’s alliance with Nissan.

There is nothing to suggest that the payments were illegal, but they highlight governance issues and potential conflicts of interest.

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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

For Masuma, the decision to keep her daughter home was complex: extended family members are immunocompromised and she worried the in-person learning environment would be unpleasant because of precautions. She also felt her daughter might benefit from being supported at home.

“She doesn’t necessarily enjoy school. I also found out during the pandemic that she was being bullied [last year],” said Masuma. “So I thought, why not try from home?”

To help her daughter socialize face-to-face with other kids, Masuma enrolled Hana in Baxter Forest School, an alternative education program where kids spend most of their time outside, one day a week. Hana also attends virtual Arabic classes two days a week after school. 

Masuma’s husband and Hana share the living room work space, and Masuma admits he does the lion’s share of helping their daughter stay on task. There is a possibility that he’ll be required to return to his office in the new year.

“When he goes back to work … it’s probably going to be a little bit more difficult.”

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No school closures after Christmas holiday break, says Ontario education minister

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Ontario elementary and secondary schools will not close for an extended winter break, says Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Closures aren’t needed given Ontario’s “strong safety protocols, low levels of (COVID-19) transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce announced Wednesday afternoon. He said he had consulted with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the province’s public health measures advisory table.

That ended speculation about school buildings remaining closed in January for a period of time after the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, Lecce told reporters the government was considering having students spend “some period out of class” in January, perhaps switching to online learning.

In a statement, Lecce said that even though rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are increasing, “schools have been remarkably successful at minimizing outbreaks to ensure that our kids stay safe and learning in their classrooms.”

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Windy start to the week in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — It’s a blustery Monday in the capital with wind gusts of up to 50 km/hour expected throughout the day.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 4 C with a 60 per cent chance of showers or flurries before the wind dies down later this evening.

There’s a chance of flurries on Tuesday as well with a high of -1 C. The overnight low will dip to an unseasonal -9 C.  

Wednesday’s high will be just -5 C with lots of sunshine.

Seasonal temperatures return for the rest of the week..

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