Treat, the greeting card service from Shutterfly, Inc., today announced its exclusive Celebrity Birthday Card Collection in collaboration with two very funny and likeable entertainers – actor, producer, writer and director Seth Rogen and television actress Sarah Chalke.Treat Celebrity CardsRogen and Chalke contributed jokes, sentiments and anecdotes for Treat’s customizable cards. With the launch of the new celebrity birthday cards, Treat made a charitable donation in Rogen’s name to Hilarity 4 Charity and in Chalke’s name to Kawasaki Disease Foundation. Treat’s exclusive Celebrity Birthday Card Collection is available online at www.treat.com/celebrity-cards and on Treat’s App for iPhone.“At Treat, we know there are many ways to say “Happy Birthday,” and we adore Seth and Sarah’s signature wit in this exclusive line of birthday cards,” said Melissa Moody, Treat card expert. “With the combination of Seth’s tongue-in-cheek humor and Sarah’s playful sentiments in Treat’s Celebrity Birthday Card Collection, customers can create truly unique birthday cards for friends and family with photos and personal notes that will be cherished.”Celebrate every birthday with a personalized card from Treat. With 700 unique birthday designs to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect card to express your sentiments and style. Treat’s cards are a more personal way to say Happy Birthday to friends and family unlike a generic store-bought greeting card. Plus, you can add a personalized gift or gift card to top retailers for an extra surprise. Also with Treat’s convenient scheduling service customers can create and schedule their cards to be delivered up to a year in advance, so that important occasions are never forgotten. And Treat’s reminder service will remind you of upcoming events like birthdays and other celebrations. Simply create your custom card directly at Treat.comor on Treat’s App for iPhone, and they’ll do the rest!To order one of Treat’s new exclusive Celebrity Birthday Cards, visit www.treat.com/celebrity-cards.Source:BusinessWire.com
Imagine Dragons will perform at the annual Rise Up Gala to benefit the Tyler Robinson Foundation in September.The event, to be held at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, will be hosted by Joel McHale, and will include cocktails, dinner, live auction and a special acoustic performance by Imagine Dragons.The Tyler Robinson Foundation was created by Imagine Dragons in honor of a young fan who lost his battle against cancer, to strengthen families financially and emotionally as they cope with the tragedy of a pediatric cancer diagnosis by offsetting out-of-pocket life expenses.Find out more about the event here.
“I’ve grown up here my entire life,” said Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who plays the lead role of Mr. Kim (also known as Appa, or Daddy in Korean).“I love hockey. I love the Blue Jays. I drink beer, maple syrup. I’m Canadian through and through, but a lot of times I’m not allowed to play a Canadian. I’ve got to be the guy in the background,” Lee said, quipping he’s played a doctor so often he feels he’s fulfilled his parents’ wish for him to study medicine instead of acting. Advertisement “I love that we are part of that [discussion]. That this show — in a positive, proactive way, with a lot of humour, a lot of heart, kind of an essentially Canadian way — we can add to that conversation,” Choi told CBC News.For the show’s stars, the change has been a long time coming after years toiling in theatre and small roles in TV and film. Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement Cast members of the CBC television show Kim’s Convenience: Simu Liu (left to right), Jenn Yoon, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Andrea Bang. Kim’s Convenience, originally an acclaimed stage play, is breaking new ground as Canada’s first TV sitcom led by Asian actors.“I’m really excited to have the show being broadcast at this time in history,” said Ins Choi, the Korean-Canadian actor-playwright who wrote the hit theatre production, about life behind the counter of a corner shop run by Korean immigrants and the family’s intergenerational conflict.The TV show debuts amid discussion about Hollywood’s lack of diversity and dearth of significant roles for minorities. Advertisement Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment
Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Karen Walton: I was born and raised a Cold War Navy Brat in Nova Scotia; my family moved to Alberta when I was a teenager, where I graduated high school and got an Honours Degree in Drama from the University of Alberta. I am also an alum of the Feature Film Writing program of the Canadian Film Centre (CFC). I am an entirely accidental screen and television writer. I did not grow up dreaming of being a screenwriter.As with all things to do with my career, I didn’t ‘get into’ television so much as fall into it. The great talents Adrienne Mitchell and Janis Lundman were on the hunt for young blood for a terrifically unique and wonderfully provocative half-hour drama called Straight Up. They were working with my then script mentor at CFC, Al Magee. Al asked me if he could show them a sample of my work. All I had at the time was a movie treatment in progress, a werewolf movie called Ginger Snaps. They dug it. My first TV job was a single script on assignment, thanks to those women.TTVJ: As you’ve been a part of different writing rooms over the years, how often did you find yourself in a male dominated room and how did you deal with that situation?KW: All of my experience has been in male-dominated rooms, with two exceptions: Straight Up, and Suzette Couture’s The City. Some were awesome experiences, some were not. In hindsight … Login/Register With: Twitter We need to take action in order for change to happen. Sitting idly by and letting things go on as they always have just means that we’re allowing inequalities to continue to exist, says screenwriter Karen Walton, perhaps best known for her cult horror film classic Ginger Snaps. Speaking up and taking action is something Walton has done over the course of her career, which has included writing stops on shows such as Orphan Black, Flashpoint and The Listener.Walton also helps share this message and teach others in the writing community. She just completed a stint as the Executive Producer in Residence at 2016 CFC Bell Media Prime Time TV Program where she mentored seven emerging television writers. She also runs and founded the inkcanada Facebook group which is well known in the Canadian TV industry and serves to bring together “Canadian Screenwriters and their sketchy friends.” She recently spoke about her experience as a woman working in the industry and the joy of teaching others as part of our Women Behind Canadian TV series.The TV Junkies: Can you share a little bit about your background and how you got into writing for television? Advertisement Facebook
Login/Register With: Advertisement Facebook The façade of the Pilkington Glass factory, a heritage building, will be incorporated into the new design by Toronto-based Teeple Architects.“It’s a really lovely building,” said Stephen Teeple, the principal architect on the project. “There aren’t that many pieces of art deco like it around anymore.” Advertisement If you want to be king for a night in Toronto, Robert De Niro could soon make you an offer you can’t refuse.Nobu Hospitality, the luxury restaurant and hotel chain De Niro founded with famed Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood producer Meir Teper, is planning Canada’s first Nobu-branded condo, restaurant and hotel development on Mercer St. in Toronto’s entertainment district.Two 49-storey towers will be built above the current Pilkington Glass factory and will include a hotel, restaurant, ground-floor retail space and an outdoor Zen garden, according to a news release. An artists rendering of the Nobu Toronto hotel, restaurant and condo development planned for Mercer Street in the city’s entertainment district. (COURTESY NOBU HOSPITALITY) Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment A Bento Box for lunch of Matsuhisa’s signature dishes will run you $65 US at the Nobu New York location.Teeple said the idea of De Niro and his fellows frequenting a restaurant he helped design is very exciting for his firm, and for him.“Maybe I’ll get let in. too. when it opens,” he joked.“We really hope it will be an amazing landmark and a powerful addition to the Toronto skyline,” he said.The pre-construction sale for the condo spaces starts this summer.Toronto’s developer Madison Group will undertake to build the project.The Pilkington Glass Factory stood on the site at 15 Mercer St., near King St. W. and John St., since the late 1800s. It was originally a stable built for the horses that ferried people around the city from George Verral’s horse-drawn transport company.BY JESSE WINTER – TORONTO STAR Twitter Teeple said the plan is to incorporate subtle references to the historic building’s past into the new design.There will be a copper and glass cubic volume near the entranceway that hints at the products that Pilkington shipped from its warehouses at the site.The glass towers themselves will be bronze.Nobu restaurants are known as a hot spot for an elite clientele of celebrities and other high rollers.
Advertisement Advertisement The Lucas Brothers – Photo by LINDSEY BYRNES Twitter Advertisement There you go: that ended on a laugh when you thought they were going to get too deep into philosophy-nerd talk. But in conversation, they can get right down into the nitty-gritty. Suffice it to say, there aren’t a lot of comedians dropping terms like Hegelian synthesis, epistemology, Plato’s cave, evidentialism, and utilitarianism, and comparing John Stuart Mill’s conception of liberty with Isaiah Berlin’s, in phone interviews.It’s more of a challenge for the brothers to work the references into their act, but it’s coming.“We’re trying to put more philosophy in there,” says Kenny. “Like, we’ll make utilitarian arguments for really absurd positions: Rupert Murdoch’s racism is bad, but from a utilitarian standpoint, you can make an argument for why it’s okay. You do it that way. You take a pop-culture reference and you apply it to a philosophical concept so it’s kind of fun. Sometimes we underestimate the knowledge and the intellect and the abilities of the audience. I think sometimes we spoon-feed them easy jokes when I think that sometimes they want to be challenged.”Keith adds: “I know it may not seem this way because Trump’s president, but there’s a lot of general curiosity out there because there’s so much information, so I think minds are more open than we think, especially audiences in a comedy club. So if you can write a well-written joke, it shouldn’t matter what the subject is. If the joke is well-written, people will laugh.”Even if they can’t always transform their favourite topic into palatable bits of material, they still employ it in the creation of the rest of their act.“That’s what I love about it the most, that we apply philosophy to how we approach standup,” says Kenny. “So it’s been kinda cool. We’re actually using our degree for something.”“I know!” says Keith, who with his brother created the animated series Lucas Bros. Moving Co. and starred in Netflix’s Lady Dynamite. “We might be the highest-paid philosophers.”But how does it work in practice? While many think of philosophy as mental meanderings, the Lucas Brothers put it to real use.“I mean, just in terms of how we understand logic,” says Keith. “Comedy is more or less a disruption of logic. In philosophy you’re trained in the disruption of logic. You can utilize it in that way. And also just abstract thinking. Jokes can come from anywhere, and if you’re trained at probing your mind, I think you have a better opportunity at probing your mind for jokes as well.”“Other than that, we like to engage in the dialectic, so I’ll put forth a proposition and he’ll offer a counter to it,” continues Kenny. “Just in terms of developing jokes, I’ll say, ‘Maybe we should do it this way’ and he’ll say, ‘No, let’s try it that way.’ Then we usually synthesize. So that’s another way.”Their Netflix special, Lucas Brothers: On Drugs, clues you in to their other love. When asked which is more important to them, there’s a pause before Kenny responds.“Uh… I would say philosophy’s way more important,” he says leading the siblings into more dialectics.“Yeah, philosophy has been more important, but weed has certainly calmed me down,” says Keith.“I don’t think I would have been able to advance as a comedian if I didn’t smoke weed,” Kenny continues.“Yeah, but one could make the argument that you probably wouldn’t have advanced in comedy, either, if you didn’t study philosophy,” counters Keith.“That’s fair,” says Kenny.Philosophy in action.The Lucas Brothers play the Biltmore Cabaret next Friday (March 9) as part of the JFL NorthWest comedy festival.by Guy MacPherson Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Comedians are modern-day philosophers. The best ones offer new and challenging ways to view the world. Or so I thought until I spoke with a couple of identical-twin stoner standups (The Lucas Brothers).“I don’t necessarily agree with that because I think philosophers and comedians serve two very, very different functions,” says Keith Lucas, the more nihilistic of the Lucas Brothers, according to brother Kenny. “I mean, if you look at the history of comedians and philosophers, they actually had a lot of tension. Plato hated Aristophanes and he wrote so many negative things about humour, both him and Aristotle.”“And there was a huge beef between Democritus, who they called the Laughing Philosopher, and Plato, who didn’t laugh much,” pipes in Kenny,, who, like his brother, has a degree in philosophy. “It’s weird that comedy and philosophy are being grouped together now when they were like Crips and Bloods.”
Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment One of the biggest keys to success for women is being supported by other women along the way. That’s exactly what the women of the new CTV drama series The Detail, airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, looks to showcase. Too many times in workplace drama series women are portrayed as competing against one another. That’s definitely not the case for Staff Inspector Fiona Currie (Wendy Crewson) and her detectives, Stevie Hall (Angela Griffin) and Jack Cooper (Shenae Grimes-Beech), as the three women look out for and support one another as they try to get convictions for the Metropolitan Police Service.The new series, which also follows the women’s personal lives, is the latest from Executive Producer Ilana Frank, who has had past hits such as Rookie Blue and Saving Hope. While developing The Detail, Frank brought on board producer and writer Ley Lukins to co-showrun with Adam Pettle. Lukins had previously served as a writer on Rookie Blue and Saving Hope, in addition to work on Lost Girl. She recently spoke with The TV Junkies to expand upon how The Detail looks to showcase women empowering each other, as well as how the show plans to use its platform to address current issues in the news.The TV Junkies: This was your first experience showrunning and you did it alongside Adam Pettle. What was that like for you? The Detail – Photo courtesy of Bell Media Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitter Ley Lukins: It was wonderful. Ilana [Frank, Executive Producer] is an incredible person to work with and has always empowered so many writers, male and female. Being with her and Adam, who I have known for many years, couldn’t have been better. Adam is a good teacher, and I’ve worked with him on Rookie Blue and Saving Hope, so we have a shorthand that made everything easier. I can’t rave about it enough.TTVJ: I really love that the show is giving us women at all different stages of life. What are some of the challenges of writing those three characters?
APTN National NewsJoan Jack is a lawyer from the Berens River First Nation in northern Manitoba.Jack says she’s an expert at taking traditional legal systems and giving them expression in the modern legal environment and it’s something she’s done for a number of First Nations across the country.Jack is considering running for national chief of the AFN.She spoke to APTN in the network’s Winnipeg studio.
APTN National NewsA B.C. Court of Appeal decision on Aboriginal rights for the Tsilhqot’in came down this week.APTN National News reporter Tina House found out the decision is being met with mixed reviews.
(Raw Video: Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence receives support after Sunrise Ceremony)By Jorge Barrera APTN National News OTTAWA–With the crescent moon still gleaming like an icy scar cut into the pre-dawn darkness, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence walked toward the sacred fire on Victoria Island to wait for the sun on her first day of the hunger strike.The small fire burned in an area framed by a tall fence of weather-beaten wooden poles and the Ottawa River. The gate was closed Tuesday morning and the only way in was through gaps in the fence or up from the shore of the river.Dressed in a parka, touque and fur-lined leather mitts, Spence stood by the fire facing east, facing the river and just beyond Parliament Hill, aglow.About a dozen people gathered with Spence around the fire for a Sunrise Ceremony held in her honour. The elder leading the ceremony ordered all recording devices turned off before he lit a bowl of sweetgrass for the cleansing to begin. Then he pressed a clump of tobacco into the bowl of a pipe he passed around, allowing only those of First Nations ancestry to draw on and smoke.Clifford Summers, who lives in Ottawa but is from the Oneida Nation on the Thames, picked up the drum and sang a Sundance pipe song before the elder handed Spence an eagle wing.Spence spoke about the hunger strike, about how the Canadian government was ignoring the treaties and how it was the Queen’s duty to intervene because the Crown had signed all the treaties. She says she wants to force a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Queen Elizabeth II and First Nations chiefs.Spence said she won’t eat another morsel of food until then.It has been a turbulent time for Spence who returned to Attawapiskat in 2000 after spending most of her life in Moosenee, Ont. Her northeastern Ontario First Nation, which sits along the Attawapiskat River and near a diamond mine, has become synonymous with the misery that afflicts many First Nations communities across the country.She has found herself in the national spotlight as a result of this misery which played out on television screens and on social media across the country last fall. The images of babies and children living in shacks and trailers in the teeth of a northern Ontario winter shocked the sensibilities of a nation.Attawapiskat became a cause celebre and the Red Cross swooped in to provide aid, embarrassing the Canadian government.And Spence paid a price. She faced the brunt of the Harper government’s attack machine which blamed her and her band council for the poverty. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan stripped the band council of its authority over finances and imposed a consultant to run Attawapiskat’s affairs. The minister’s move was eventually criticized by the Federal Court as “unreasonable.”The government did send 22 modular homes to the reserve, but Spence said Attawapiskat still faces a housing crisis.And so, on Monday evening, Spence ate her final meal of steak and potatoes.“It was a good meal,” she said.Later, she participated in a private ceremony in a home where she was given dandelion root and bear root to use during her hunger strike.She carried other gifts Tuesday morning including a long braid of sweetgrass she received from a supporter and a cloth-wrapped bundle she received from the wife of Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo. She also received tobacco in a red cloth bag from the RCMP who will be monitoring her hunger strike closely.Her five daughters, who range in age from 13 to 33, will also be watching, she said.“They had tears in their eyes when I talked to them,” said Spence, in an interview after the ceremony. “Once they understood it they gradually accepted what I was doing and the risk.”Spence said she plans to spend most of her time on Victoria Island in a teepee warmed by a fire stoked by volunteers around the clock.She’s also planning to regularly visit Parliament Hill from noon to 1 p.m. to greet people and speak to the press if she has the strength.Spence said she’s healthy and ready for the hardship of hunger. She recently underwent surgery to remove her uterus and Spence said she has also been fighting burnout from her job as chief.“I am pretty healthy right now,” she said.By the time the sun had consumed the last remnants of dawn, Spence, accompanied by two RCMP officers, walked to a waiting idling minivan to warm up.Spence knows hunger will soon settle in next to her, be her closest companion.She said not to worry.“I’ll be okay,” said Spence.firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter:@JorgeBarrera
APTN National NewsRCMP are increasing their efforts to identify the mysterious voice on a disturbing cell phone recording.It’s a conversation that took place in August 2010 between Amber Tuccaro and an unknown man.When Tuccaro hitched a ride into the city and was never seen alive again.APTN’s Keith Laboucan reports.
APTN National NewsThe effects of residential schools can still be felt years after the last school closed its doors.Many Aboriginal adults grew up without a chance to learn proper parenting skills and many also succumbed to addictions.APTN’s Larissa Burnoff speaks with a First Nation man who grew up in a broken home riddled with drugs and alcohol.He tells us about the moment he decided to break free.
Julien Gignac APTN National NewsThe Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations for Quebec and Labrador is asking Prime Minister Stephen Harper to fire his Aboriginal Affairs minister “immediately.”In a letter sent to Harper Friday, Ghislain Picard said “in order to clearly indicate your willingness to work with the First Nations towards genuine reconciliation, the first gesture that the AFNQL is seeking from you is the immediate replacement of the current minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Mr. Bernard Valcourt.”Picard outlined his concerns in a brief 5 paragraph statement.He accused Valcourt of having a “total lack of respect for First Nations,” that he has shown on too many occasions “an absolute failure to understand our issues,” and of being “incompetent.”Picard warned Harper that, “maintaining this minister in place will mean for the AFNQL that you have no real intention of grabbing the historical intention of reconciliation that is offered,” the letter states. “Your minister has shown on too many occasions his total lack of respect for the First Nations, his absolute failure to understand our issues, as well as his incompetence.”The AFNQL is following a move by the Iroquois Caucus June 4 which sent a release asking for Valcourt to resign because of what it saw as a “lack of respect” by the minister to a recommendation made in the Truth and Reconciliation report days earlier.Click here to read the Iroquois Caucus letterOn June 2, in a packed conference room at a downtown Ottawa hotel, Valcourt remained seated when TRC Commissioner Murray Sinclair called on Canada to establish a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. The majority of people in the room gave Sinclair a standing ovation.TRC Commissioner Murray Sinclair delivers recommendations June 2. Photo Julien Gignac/APTN“As Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, he [Valcourt] should have been the first person to rise to his feet in order to acknowledge the issue,” the letter said. “While it is clear that the Minister exhibited little enthusiasm for the Truth and Reconciliation report, the Iroquois Caucus nonetheless are angered that he should lack the grace to acknowledge the pain and suffering of our people regarding the loss of hundreds of Indigenous women.“His actions are a stain on the Canadian government,” it adds.Picard wrote that Valcourt has imposed measures that are “reminiscent” of the “colonial” past.“The preliminary report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada … demands from all Canadians, and most importantly from the leader of the Canadian government, a rigorous soul-searching about the way this country, which claims to be modern, treats the First People in this country.”He stated that the futures of many First Nations youths are blocked by the “backward thinking” policies implemented by the federal government.“Enough is enough Mr. Prime Minister. Minister Valcourt must be removed from office immediately.”email@example.com
The Canadian PressWINNIPEG – The board of directors at Manitoba Hydro resigned en masse Wednesday, leading to counter-accusations from Premier Brian Pallister and the spectre of a lawsuit from the Manitoba Metis Federation.Nine of 10 board members at the provincial Crown corporation issued a written statement in which they cited an inability to work with Pallister and his Progressive Conservative government. The only remaining board member is Tory backbencher Cliff Graydon.“For over a year we have attempted to meet with the premier to resolve a number of critical issues related to the finances and governance of Manitoba Hydro, including matters related to Hydro’s efforts to further develop its relationship with Indigenous peoples,” the statement read.“Despite repeated attempts, we have not been able to have a meaningful dialogue with the government and we have reached an impasse. We have been informed the government intends to remove the chair and has therefore lost confidence in the board. Accordingly we have determined that it is necessary to resign.”Pallister, however, said the resignations stem from a dispute over a plan by Hydro to pay $70 million to the Manitoba Metis Federation so the organization won’t pursue concerns over a new transmission line to Minnesota.“I would describe it more as persuasion money,” Pallister said Wednesday. “To not push for extended environmental hearings on that line and also for acquiescence or non-participation in future such proposals that Hydro might make.”Pallister said when the government discovered the planned payment, it immediately objected.Federation president David Chartrand accused Pallister of using “race card” tactics and said he insulted the entire Metis Nation for implying they could be “bought off.”He said there was a negotiated agreement with the Hydro board for $67 million, paid out over 50 years, to offset the effects of Hydro’s Bipolle III project and the new transmission line on traditional Metis territory.“It is an outright lie and (Pallister) is just trying to mislead his own party and mislead Manitobans with that action. That’s not what this issue is about,” Chartrand said. “This issue is about his arrogance and that he would not give the time of day to the biggest Crown corporation.”Chartrand said he has instructed lawyers to move to litigation.Manitoba Hydro is racking up billions of dollars in debt to build new generating stations and transmission lines, and is asking regulators to approve annual rate increases of up to 7.9 per cent for the next several years.The Progressive Conservatives opposed the plan while in Opposition, but said after winning the 2016 election that it was too late to reverse the construction projects.The Tories replaced the Hydro board less than two years ago with the nine members who are now resigning.Pallister said he had spoken with board members but avoided meetings because he did not want to seem to be interfering in Hydro’s regulatory applications to the Public Utilities Board.Opposition NDP Leader Wab Kinew said it’s a “desperate attempt” for Pallister to blame everyone but himself, while Manitoba Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont called the dispute a “full-blown crisis” and an indictment of Pallister’s leadership.Loren Remillard, CEO of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, said the province needs to move quickly to appoint a new board to send a message of stability that “the core business is still responsible, sustainable, well-managed.”Pallister said a new Hydro board will be appointed soon.
Calgary Flames President and CEO Ken King will talk about the future of the team Monday at a sold out Calgary Chamber luncheon.Last week, the Flames released their proposal for a new arena, which included of a $255-million contribution by the ownership team.King will also answer questions from the audience, although he won’t be talking to the media.The event takes place over the noon hour at the Telus Convention Centre.
CALGARY – The bitcoin frenzy shows no sign of letting up, with the price of the digital currency topping US$17,000 Friday and bitcoin futures set to start trading on Sunday. Here’s a look at what bitcoin is and why there’s so much excitement around it.So what is bitcoin?It’s a fairly new type of currency, not controlled by any government or centrally processed by any bank or company. You can use it to buy things, though don’t expect your corner store to necessarily take it, and increasingly it’s used as an investment.You could think of it as a sort of gold for the digital era. Like gold, no one centrally controls production, supply is limited in part by the effort required to produce it, and you can hold on to it as a store of value. But because it’s digital it can be sent anywhere easily, and each bitcoin can be divided up into fractions much easier than trying to cut up a gold bar, making it potentially much easier to use for actual transactions and to act like a currency.How does it work?The biggest challenge to a digital currency is what’s called double-spending. Without a bank or credit card or other intermediary acting as a trusted third party, confirming that the same number of dollars come out of one person’s account and go into another, it’s hard to make sure people aren’t spending the same digital money in multiple places or multiple times.Bitcoin solves this with a public digital ledger that records every transaction, and which forms the basis of the blockchain. Specialized computers around the world crunch complex mathematical problems that incorporate information from a transaction, then once solved, other computers verify the math. The solved equation, with the transaction incorporated, is then added to the blockchain as a permanent record.The combination of collective confirmation, and the public record of the transaction, combine to solve the lack of centralized clearing.How are bitcoin made?New bitcoin is produced as the reward for trying to solve the complex equations involved in every transaction. Specialized computer farms are set up to solve the equations, with the first network to actually solve the equation rewarded with new bitcoin. While in the early days after bitcoin was launched in 2009 this could be done by hobbyists from personal computers, the increased complexity of the blockchain means it requires more energy and computing power to solve the equations and produce new coins.The energy being used to power the network is enormous. Bitcoin-focused website Digiconomist calculates that bitcoin uses more than 32 terawatt hours of power a year, or about the same power as Denmark uses in a year. Digiconomist says that with much of the network powered by cheap coal electricity in China, each transaction has a footprint of about 122 kilograms of carbon.How and why would you use it?Bitcoin is touted as a way to make free and secure money transfers, potentially cutting out the fees charged by companies who have traditionally processed those transactions. The digital currency could allow people in countries with heavily manipulated or controlled currencies to make international transactions easier, or it could be used as a more novel way to send money to friends. The price volatility, however, has made using it as a currency trickier.As to actually using bitcoin, while no one centrally controls it, you still need the software or app and an exchange to make the transaction easier. Then all you need to do is give up some of your government-backed currency for bitcoins and you’re in the game.Why is the value of bitcoin increasing so much? Is it a bubble?When it launched in 2009, each bitcoin was worth very little, since the system was designed to make it easy at first to make more bitcoin on a simple laptop, allowing the supply to grow. Even as recently as early 2013 it was trading for under US$15, but since the start of 2017 the price has gone from about US$1,000 to its recent highs in five figure territory.The growth is being cause by a few factors, including wider use of the underlying blockchain and the spread of alternative forms of bitcoin, more security on the exchange networks and more companies launching with plans to use bitcoin. Once its value started to rise, it’s now a self-feeding frenzy with investors from around the world able to buy into it with few barriers to entry.With bitcoin not paying any dividends, interest or other rewards for holding it, people buying into the currency as an investment hope it’s value will simply keep rising. As to how high it will keep rising, or how much it will fall when interest wanes is anyone’s guess.
FRANKFURT – Global stock markets rebounded Thursday from sharp losses triggered by escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China — the world’s two largest economies — as traders banked on conciliatory statements from U.S. officials.KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, Britain’s FTSE 100 surged 1.3 per cent to 7,124 and Germany’s DAX jumped 1.9 per cent to 12,181. France’s CAC 40 advanced 1.8 per cent to 5,234. Futures markets were pointing to a solid opening on Wall Street — Dow futures rose 0.2 per cent while S&P futures gained 0.4 per cent.TRADE TALK: After an initial jolt of fear brought on by China’s announcement of plans for tariff hikes in response to U.S. measures, investors are anticipating the two sides will work toward negotiations. President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, suggested the U.S. tariffs won’t be implemented if China lowers barriers to trade.ANALYST’S TAKE: Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at foreign exchange dealer OANDA, advised caution despite the rebound: “The reality is that a trade war remains a real possibility. U.S. President Donald Trump is looking to pick a fight with the world’s second largest economy, a fight he believes is easy to win, and China is willing to go toe to toe with the U.S. even if it means inflicting harm at home. It’s hard to see how anyone wins in this but investors currently, despite the declines we’ve seen, are expressing confidence that a solution will be found before a full blown trade war erupts.”ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 surged 1.5 per cent to 21,645.42 and South Korea’s Kospi jumped 1.2 per cent to 2,437.52. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.5 per cent to 5,788.80. Stocks in Singapore surged and markets in other Southeast Asian countries were also higher. Markets in mainland China and Hong Kong were closed for holidays.OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude lost 24 cents cent to $63.13 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 26 cents to $67.76 per barrel in London.CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 107.00 yen from 106.78 yen. The euro fell to $1.227 from $1.228.
VANCOUVER – From wedding dresses to summer apparel, consumers planning to add new items to their wardrobes are being warned to watch out for knock-off brand name merchandise that is increasingly tricking online shoppers.A consumer group and a counterfeit goods investigator both say it’s not only unaware consumers and brands that lose out when knock-offs are sold, but the profits often support other illegal activities.Jigme Love, co-owner of the Vancouver-based luxury consignment retailer Mine & Yours, said she’s seen the counterfeiting of brand name apparel transition from predominantly bags and accessories to dresses and other clothing.The company has destroyed a number of clothing items over the years that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be fakes, costing the store, she said.“We’re really strict but it’s not a perfect science,” she said.The store has become more cautious when buying clothes and increasingly relies on a third-party authenticator to verify garments, a process they previously used only for bags, Love said.There’s also been a shift from counterfeiting common high-end names like Michael Kors to more coveted haute couture lines like Chanel, she said.With wedding and prom season fast-approaching, Evan Kelly with the Better Business Bureau of Mainland B.C. is reminding consumers to do their homework before investing in a deal that seems too good to be true.“When it comes to brand name clothing, nothing is off limits,” he said. “We’ve seen fake Vera Wang dresses, fake just about anything.”Lorne Lipkus, a Toronto lawyer and member of the Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network, said everyone loses when knock-off brands are sold.An estimated $20 billion to $30 billion in counterfeit consumer goods are sold in Canada every year, he said.“The counterfeiters don’t pay taxes, so we are supporting an endeavour that is not contributing to this wonderful society that we have,” he said.While he’s seen production of counterfeit goods shut down by police over the years, he said 80 per cent of the global trade comes from China, and it’s largely controlled by organized crime or terrorism groups.Kelly said consumers should know the websites and companies they’re dealing with, check reviews, and always pay by credit card or PayPal which offer added security.Traditional brick-and-mortar stores continue to be the safer bet for shopping, he said.Increasingly, Lipkus said fake goods sold online aren’t just appearing on unique or resale websites but are sold through social media sites, including Facebook and Instagram.Three years ago, Lipkus said his law firm Kestenberg Siegal Lipkus LLP only employed one part-time person to search out online sellers. Today, they have three full-time investigators dedicated to the issue.Love said shoppers looking for a designer second-hand wedding dress should ask for a copy of the receipt and then call the retailer to confirm the original purchase.“I’ve even seen fake receipts,” she said.Close inspection of the stitching of a garment, the fabric and the label can provide clues as to whether a product is the real deal, she added.Lipkus also encouraged shoppers who get scammed to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which can investigate and provide support to someone trying to get their money refunded by a credit card provider.— Follow @Givetash on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a correction to a story that moved Tuesday. A previous version said the Canadian Anti-Counterfeit Network increased its staffing. In fact, staff were increased at Lorne Lipkus’s law firm.
BLED, Slovenia – The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator was cautiously optimistic Monday about the prospects of a deal with Britain by early November, in comments that triggered a big rally in the value of the pound.At a conference in the Alpine lake resort of Bled in northwestern Slovenia, Michel Barnier said a Brexit deal was “not far” and that some 80 per cent of the withdrawal agreement had been agreed.Though Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, an agreement will have to be reached months before hand in order to get the necessary ratifications though such places as the British Parliament and the European Parliament.Being “realistic,” Barnier said a Brexit deal can be reached within six or eight weeks and by early November.“I think it’s possible,” Barnier said at a panel dubbed ‘Bridging the Divide.’His comments helped the pound push back above $1.30. In late afternoon trading, the pound was 0.9 per cent higher at $1.3030.“Clearly there is a feeling that a lot of Brexit pessimism and no deal risk has been priced in which is why we’re in a state of such sensitivity to any reports that indicate a breakthrough will come,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at London-based financial trading firm OANDA.Though Barnier sounded relatively optimistic about the prospects of a deal, he acknowledged that tough issues remain not least over the border between EU member Ireland and Northern Ireland. That’s been one of the thorniest issues in the Brexit negotiations.Barnier refused to comment on the divisions in the governing British Conservative Party over Brexit.“This debate is very intense, it is very stimulating, but I don’t want to be involved,” he said.A proposal hammered out by May’s Cabinet in July at the prime minister’s Chequers country retreat proposes keeping the U.K. aligned to EU regulations in return for free trade in goods. The plan has infuriated Brexit-backers in Britain who have insisted it is bad for the country.Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has compared May’s plan to putting the country’s constitution in a “suicide vest” and handing the detonator to the EU.“Brexit is a negative negotiation, unfortunately. There is no winner. It is a lose-lose game,” Barnier insisted.“There is no added value to Brexit.”
NANAIMO, B.C. — Marijuana company Tilray Canada Ltd. has signed a new agreement to collaborate with Sandoz AG, part of the Novartis pharmaceutical group.The companies say they will work together to increase the availability of high quality medical cannabis products across the world.They say it’s an evolution of an existing alliance between Tilray and Sandoz Canada. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.Under the new agreement, Sandoz may support Tilray’s commercialization of non-smokable and non-combustible medical cannabis products and work together on developing new products.They may also partner to educate pharmacists and physicians about medical cannabis products.Tilray Canada is a subsidiary of Tilray Inc., which is which is listed on the Nasdaq stock market and has operations in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Latin America, Portugal and Canada.The Canadian Press