Monday, August 31, 2009

Clean sweep at lotto corp. Kelly McDougald Is Out

TheStar.com - Ontario - Clean sweep at lotto corp.

COLIN MCCONNELL/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO

Kelly McDougald, hired by the Liberal government two years ago to reform the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., has stepped down as CEO, along with the board of directors.

Finance Minister Duncan announces sweeping changes in wake of expense claims

August 31, 2009
Tanya Talaga
Rob Ferguson
Queen's Park Bureau

The CEO of troubled Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp., Kelly McDougald, has stepped down and OLG board chair Michael Gough and the rest of the board of directors have also resigned, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced this afternoon.

Duncan announced the changes in a bid to halt an eHealth Ontario type scandal that has dogged the Liberal government for months, saying taxpayers would be better protected under new leadership at OLG.

The OLG board positions have been filled on an interim basis.

In response to a question, Duncan said McDougald's employment was "severed with cause" and she would not be receiving a bonus.

Duncan has also asked the Auditor General Jim McCarter to review expense practices at OLG. And, a government-wide review of the accountability of agencies, boards and commissions will be initiated to determine what additional steps must be taken to ensure respect for taxpayers money, he said.

Duncan also released to reporters expense claims, reports and receipts that were the subject of a freedom of information request by the provincial Progressive Conservative party.

"I am disappointed about what has been brought to my attention," Duncan said at his press conference.

Some of the flagged expenses show OLG members dinged taxpayers for such items as a $7.70 pen refill, the $1,000 cancellation of a deposit on a Florida condo due to work requirements, a $1.12 cloth grocery bag and a $30 car wash claim submitted without a receipt. Also expensed was $487.50 for a nanny to be paid so a worker could attend meetings from September 2006 to December 2006 - while no receipts were handed in, this expense was repaid.

As the Star reported Saturday, OLG chief executive Kelly McDougald was under fire at her $400,000-a-year job as the Liberals scramble to pre-empt a new onslaught of damaging political opposition on the error-prone agency. McDougald came to OLG two years ago with a mandate to reform the monopoly that oversees everything from Lotto 6/49 to provincial casinos.

She could not be reached for comment.

The Liberals hope today's press conference will stall an expected onslaught from the Progressive Conservatives, who have made a number of freedom of information requests regarding the lottery agency.

The eHealth Ontario spending scandal has plagued the Liberals for months. Both CEO Sarah Kramer and board chair Dr. Alan Hudson resigned as a result. The Liberals are sensitive to public criticism that they lack oversight concerning crown agencies after details of lavish spending at eHealth were uncovered by the PCs and reporters. The impact of the eHealth imbroglio could play out at the polls on Sept. 17 in the St. Paul's by-election.

eHealth was created in September of last year with the mandate to set up electronic health records for all Ontarians, after the former Smart Systems for Health Agency was dissolved amidst criticism it squandered nearly $647 million of public dollars. Public outcry was fierce regarding eHealth when it was reported nearly $16 million in untendered contracts were handed out along with big bonuses and the use of consultants - some of whom were paid nearly $3,000 a day and expensed small items such as a cup of tea for $1.65 or Choco Bites for $3.99.

Duncan was given the OLG file two months ago by Premier Dalton McGuinty and asked to take a closer look at how the corporation operates and report back on any necessary changes. Today's press conference is said to be a result of that investigation.

Lawyer Michael Gough has worked for many provincial agencies in the past. Gough was a partner for more than 20 years in the law firm of Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP where he specialized in public law and regulatory affairs.

Earlier this year the heads of OLG were reprimanded for a series of decisions, such as awarding foreign-made Mercedes-Benz cars as casino prizes at the same time the province was bailing out General Motors and Chrysler.

Toronto man fined $2M for direct mail lotto scheme

TheStar.com - GTA -

Toronto man fined $2M for direct mail lotto scheme

August 31, 2009
THE CANADIAN PRESS

A Toronto man who pleaded guilty to sending out millions of deceptive direct mail promotions has been fined $2 million – double the amount of money he made from his activities.

David Stucky, 57, pleaded guilty to offences under the Competition Act.

The Competition Bureau says Stucky ran a lottery ticket-reselling scheme under the name Canadian Lottery Buyers Association.

He has been placed on probation for 18 months and also received a suspended sentence for his involvement in a second deceptive scheme, a sweepstakes look-alike offer marketed under the name Canadian Equity Funding.

Both promotions were based out of the Toronto area, but targeted customers outside of Canada.

The bureau says Stucky must donate $100,000 to charity and is prohibited from engaging in any form of mass marketing for 10 years.

The lottery promotion, which sold group shares of Super 7 lottery tickets, gave consumers the misleading impression that they could win tens of millions of dollars.

But over 1 1/2 years, consumers actually won an average of 75 cents. Stucky mailed out approximately 3.1 million copies of the lottery promotion and received approximately $1 million in revenue, the competition bureau said in a release.

The sweepstakes look-alike offer gave recipients the false impression that they were to receive a cash prize of about $5,000 or another valuable prize on payment of a modest processing fee. But almost all the purchasers ended up winning an inexpensive piece of costume jewellery.

The lottery promotion was marketed to people in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, while the sweepstakes promotion was sent to consumers in more than 200 countries.

Enforcement agencies in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and New Zealand all played a role in the prosecution, carried out by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

Stucky was convicted under the criminal deceptive mass marketing provisions of the Competition Act.

"This case demonstrates the bureau's resolve to pursue those who try to hide behind our borders, incorrectly believing they can avoid prosecution," said Melanie Aitken, commissioner of competition.

"Parliament has recently increased the maximum penalty for offences of this kind, which we hope will act as a further deterrent to anyone contemplating such acts," she said.



The Scope Today,,,

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

You feel a little in the dark at the moment, but you are not in a bad place. Do whatever is necessary to keep the tension in your world at bay. Venus promises a pleasant development before the week is through.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

You have lately been more prone than usual to attacks of anxiety, irritation and general dissatisfaction. But as the current moon continues to wax, you will gradually notice how it's harder to find reasons for being fed up.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

Saturn has laid some tough responsibilities on your shoulders. This time of testing has deprived you of much needed play time. There's nothing wrong with any of this. It had to happen.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

After addressing many problems, you are beginning to feel stronger. Soon, you won't need to take a back seat on a big issue. Others can't help but notice the growth in your power and influence.

Source

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Canada Revenue Agency decided to revoke the church's charitable status following an audit


There's a raging debate in Hamilton, Ont. about just what the Dominion Christian Centre is. But wide agreement on what it's not.

The D.C.C., as it's known, is no ordinary church. No hymns. Every Sunday service begins with a one-hour rock concert - complete with power-vocals, driving guitars and pounding bass. The man on the drums is the pastor, Peter Rigo, who claims he's "on a mission from God."

"When He said to come, He said, 'Drop a plumb-line and establish a people that know Me and that live for Me,'" Rigo said in a 2006 interview.

The pastor's voice drips with disdain and sarcasm when he talks about other churches and how they spend most of their time competing for parishioners.

"And then we compete with the world. Our God is better than yours, our girls give better b--- jobs. That's right, we get laid twice as quick in Christian school. Our God's better than your God," Rigo sermonized, captured by W-FIVE's cameras.

What sets Rigo apart from other churches is his zeal for his version of the truth and his insistence that salvation can be best found through the D.C.C.

"For the most part, church is just a nice outhouse. You simply go once a week, move your conscience bowels, get a little relief and go out and eat like a pig for another seven days. That's why churches mainly stink."

Disallowed expenses

Now the D.C.C. and Peter Rigo are under the microscope for more than just his controversial views and teachings. In December, 2008, following a lengthy audit, the Canada Revenue Agency decided to revoke the church's charitable status - a decision made public in February.

"Our audit revealed serious issues of non-compliance," said the CRA in a news release. "In particular, it was found that the Charity's assets have been misused for the private benefit of members, directors, donors and employees, and that the Charity has issued official donation receipts containing incorrect or false information.

"At the Charity's expense, and unrelated to its charitable programs, improper personal benefits have been provided including numerous personal trips, payments for privately used vehicles, gym memberships, food, lodging, and other unsubstantiated payments."

The regulator found that the D.C.C. had "issued receipts for transactions that do not qualify as gifts, and has failed to properly establish the fair market value of property received which, in several cases, was significantly inflated." The personal benefits provided to pastor Peter Rigo, his wife and key church officials, included a trip to Hawaii and purchases at expensive fashion outlets, such as Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana.

Contacted by W-FIVE, Peter Rigo refused comment. A lawyer for the church referred W FIVE to a statement on the D.C.C.'s website.






"The CRA recently reviewed our books and records and made a determination and issued a Notice of Revocation. We are ministers and rely on our advisors and will continue to do so in this matter. We are currently reviewing our options, including an appeal of the revocation. We believe it is important to obey the laws of the land and we have cooperated in good faith with the Canada Revenue Agency and are committed to continuing to do so as required of us," said the Internet posting.

In an earlier newspaper report, Rigo and his wife were quoted apologizing for "shoddy book-keeping" that led to "errors" and claimed that "funds from donations were properly used and church trips and vacations were not paid by the church."

"As pastors, we understand that there will always be tests of our faith," said the more recent statement.

Divisive faith

For a man who has preached disdain for other churches and strict obedience to God and the Bible, these allegations of impropriety have raised new questions about Peter Rigo and his church. In W-FIVE's original investigation, families of church members came forward to accuse the D.C.C. of being a religious cult.

Lucie and Renato Brun del Re explained to W-FIVE how their daughter, Mirella, drifted towards the D.C.C. and away from her own family. Like many young people from religious families, Mirella had been on a spiritual quest when she first encountered the D.C.C.

"After going through different churches, she came to me and said: 'Mama, I did find the church,' the right one, the true church, she called it," said Lucie Brun del Re.

W-FIVE discovered that the D.C.C. was a popular destination for many young people and families in Hamilton. The worship service included a rock band and fiery sermons by Pastor Peter Rigo - who told W-FIVE he was "on a mission from God."

Rigo never graduated from Bible College, and was kicked out of at least one fellowship of evangelical churches. But none of that diminished the pastor's credibility among his followers.

Rigo's message: "I don't accept what we've called Christianity to date. A lot of teaching goes on in the name of God, very little living. So the standard that I read in a relationship of God and of the Word is, 'if you love me, you'll obey me' -- not 'if you love me, you'll learn about me'."

The Brun Del Res were concerned about the Pastor's concept of obedience and their daughter's dedication to the D.C.C.

Lucie Brun del Re recalled what Mirella told her after she'd joined the D.C.C.

"God is talking to me and is telling me that we're all going to be moving to Hamilton," Lucie Brun del Re repeated to W-FIVE.

She added: "You could see the transformation on her face, like someone was talking for her. So that's when I started to worry that something was wrong -- the way she was thinking, analyzing, talking. And she became more distant."

Mirella's parents began to wonder if their daughter's thoughts were still her own. Her father, Renato, believed his daughter was being brainwashed. "She was fed a lot of information. And when you tend to go to church every day, or close to every day, there's a lot of time when you get indoctrinated."

And the Brun del Res found they weren't alone with those concerns. When W-FIVE publicized a town-hall for anyone dissatisfied with the Dominion Christian Centre, more than 70 people showed up. Almost all said their lives had been negatively affected by the D.C.C. and by Peter Rigo.

Shared and disturbing experiences quickly emerged -- mainly the separation of families.

"Over the space of a year, it was little by little by little. Until she came to a point where she went to my younger children and said: 'I'm sorry, I won't ever see you again,'" said one distraught parent.

Another theme that emerged during the town hall was the complete control that many said Peter Rigo exercised over his congregation.

"And it came to a place where you didn't even know how to function without asking the Pastor -- what should I do? Or, what colour should my hair be? You know, down to stupid things, you needed to ask them about everything," said Sarah Muller, a former member of the D.C.C.

But Mirella Brun del Re told W-FIVE that she wasn't being used or controlled by Peter Rigo. She said that it was her parents, and all of the other concerned families who were being manipulated by "the enemy."

"Who's the enemy? Satan is the enemy. You have the devil who's against everything God is doing," she told W-FIVE.

Direct action

Convinced that their daughter was in trouble, the Brun del Re family contacted American cult expert Mary Alice Chrnalogar.

"They had a very good cause to worry about Mirella. Anybody that's in a cult goes through turmoil. You struggle. You struggle terribly. And I think that any parent should be concerned if they're in a group like this," Chrnalogar told W-FIVE from her home in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Concerned and unable to convince their daughter to leave the D.C.C., the Brun del Res are alleged to have committed a final act of desperation -- and allegedly kidnapped Mirella off of the street.

Mirella told W-FIVE her story. "All of a sudden I realize there's five men that have surrounded me. They're all wearing black coats. Some of them are wearing toques and I'm looking around. I'm like -- oh my gosh, I think I'm going to be robbed or raped, or something horrible is going to happen. I had no idea what was going on. I was just fighting and I was pushed into a van that just pulled up right beside me," said Mirella.

Mirella claimed that she was driven to a cottage in the country where she was held a virtual prisoner for nine days. She said that her family subjected her to an intensive deprogramming regime, showing her videos about cults and reading from Mary Alice Chrnalogar's book "Twisted Scriptures."

At the Brun del Res' request, Mary Alice Chrnalogar agreed to fly to Canada to see if she could help -- but on the condition that Mirella would be free to leave if she wanted to.

Lucie Brun del Re admitted that it didn't go well.

"So after talking to Mirella for four hours, finally Mirella says -- are you finished now? So Mary Alice says, well we're not keeping you. She said, oh, you're not? Okay. So, she took her bag and she started walking out."

Their daughter gone, it seemed that things couldn't get any worse for the Brun del Res. But they did. They were summoned to the Hamilton police station where criminal charges were laid, including kidnapping and forcible confinement. The courts will ultimately decide the guilt of the Brun del Res. The trial has been scheduled for October, 2009.

Mirella told W-FIVE that she understood her parents' motivation.

"I understand what they want. They want that old Mirella back. The one that lived the fa├žade of what religion is and just accepting life as is. And I don't want that life. I want to live true because, now at this point, I've seen behind the curtain. I've seen that there is a real god and I have to live up to what I've seen," she said.

Rigo responds

Mirella's pastor, Peter Rigo, flatly denied any allegations of brainwashing and rejected any descriptions of his church as a cult.

"I think cult is ridiculous," Rigo told W-FIVE.

And when W-FIVE attended the D.C.C., Rigo joked with his followers about their families' concerns.

"I'm talking with the neighbor yesterday and he's like -- if you're a f---ing cult, I'm joining it!" Rigo said in his sermon.

Whether or not the D.C.C. should be called a cult, the new allegations raised by Revenue Canada certainly won't provide assurances to the church's critics that things are running as they should.

Responding to the revocation of their charitable status in their statement, the D.C.C.'s leaders said they "refute the inferences against our church leadership" and called the ordeal "tests of our faith." The D.C.C. also apologized for the language used in the sermon taped by W-FIVE.

"Pastor Peter regrets using the language he did during his sermon ...He was trying to deal with the sexual immorality that is prevalent among young people today and trying to speak the language he hears used by some young people in an effort to impact them. Pastor Peter does not use this language and did so for the shock value and in an effort to get the attention of the people involved in these activities."

In the meantime, the Brun del Res have their own struggles to contend with. They await trial for Mirella's alleged kidnapping, now scheduled for October, 2009. And they still face the possibility of a future without their daughter. Their only hope is that she stays safe and true to herself.

Lucie Brun del Re told W-FIVE: "We all love her. We want the best for her and we hope she finds herself the way God created her."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lotto shakeup looms



Lotto shakeup looms

August 29, 2009
Rob Ferguson
Robert Benzie
Queen's Park Bureau

The Liberal government is set to clear house at the troubled Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in a mad scramble to pre-empt another eHealth-style spending scandal, the Star has learned.

Three informed sources said OLG chief executive Kelly McDougald is fighting for her $400,000-a-year job, which she got two years ago with a mandate to reform the error-prone monopoly that oversees everything from casinos to the popular Lotto 6/49.

Sources said late yesterday that the Liberals hope to short-circuit an expected onslaught from the Progressive Conservatives when the Legislature returns Sept. 14 and are concerned about the impact of any new controversy on the Sept. 17 by-election in the mid-town Toronto riding of St. Paul's.

"Something big is up," a senior government official confirmed.

"By next week, OLG will look much different. And by the time this is over, they'll be forced to clean up their act."

McDougald has already been reprimanded by the Liberals for a series of problems at the gambling agency – including awarding foreign-made Mercedes-Benz cars as casino prizes at the same time as the province was bailing out General Motors and Chrysler.

An audit last winter also found:

A Good Samaritan treated shabbily when he tried to turn in a cache of lost tickets;

A malfunctioning slot machine erroneously informing a player he'd won $42.9 million when the maximum payout was $9,025;

A misprinted scratch-and-win ticket that led a man to believe he had won $135,000 when he hadn't.

But the straw that broke the camel's back appears to be Liberal fears of a reprise of the eHealth Ontario debacle at OLG.

The Tories, repeating their successful strategy that exposed spending run amok at the electronic health records agency, are seeking thousands of pages in OLG documents under freedom of information legislation.

Records sought include expense accounts of senior executives, spending on leased, owned and rented venues, such as luxury boxes at sports stadiums, contracts for consultants as well as travel costs.

So far, the Tories have been stonewalled in their request for information as the Liberals try to beat them to the punch by taking pre-emptive action.

"The concern is she's been running OLG like it's a private-sector company when it's a government agency," said one Liberal insider.

McDougald was not in her office yesterday afternoon and did not return emails and calls from the Star.

She was put in the top job after previous troubles at the Crown agency, where it was found that lottery retailers, employees and their families won $198 million in prizes over 13 years, dating from 1996.





"Any CEO that's running a large organization under public scrutiny certainly feels under the gun," McDougald, a former Bell Canada and Nortel executive, told the Star in March.

OLG officials were also unavailable for comment yesterday.

The Liberals were reluctant to talk on the record because negotiations on the future of the OLG executive team are expected to continue through the weekend and into next week.

Premier Dalton McGuinty issued warnings to government agencies like OLG in the wake of the eHealth scandal – which saw consultants paid $2,700 a day while expensing $3.99 bags of cookies to taxpayers – that such spending no longer passes the sniff test and must stop.

Tory MPP Norm Miller (Parry Sound-Muskoka) said the party has been trying since January to glimpse the inner workings of OLG.

"So far, we've been getting rebuffed. It certainly looks a lot like eHealth because with that we had to be very persistent – it wasn't just ask once and get the information. It certainly makes us suspicious."

Miller said the Tories targeted OLG because the organization "has had quite a few problems."

He added that voters would likely see through any OLG shake-up that seemed to be politically motivated.

The eHealth scandal continues to dog the Liberals, who are watching the issue resurface in the St. Paul's by-election.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

You know its been a bad day when this happens...



















Conficker' software is silently infecting PCs around the world


Experts waiting for worm to turn
`Conficker' software is silently infecting PCs around the world
August 28, 2009

Business Reporter

In the shadowy world of computer viruses, the potential for Armageddon – or its digital equivalent – seemingly lurks around every corner. Such is the challenge faced by computer security experts as they hunt, capture and catalogue literally tens of thousands of new specimens of malicious software, or malware, every day.

Many are easily stopped, but others prove to be smarter, more resilient. Still others appear to defy every effort at eradication.

Those include a particularly savvy program called Conficker, which attacks computers running Microsoft Windows software and recruits them into a vast army of similarly compromised machines known as a botnet.

The worm first emerged last year and is conservatively estimated to have infected at least three million computers around the world, although many users likely have no idea their machines have been co-opted.

The concern, as is the case with other high-profile worms, is that the program's creators will remotely use the botnet's collective computing powers for some sinister purpose.

But when? And what for?

"Like many of these botnets, it's a sleeping army," said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with antivirus firm Sophos PLC. "It just lies and waits there for instructions.

"But so far there are no instructions."

Conficker made headlines earlier this year amid fears the virus was preparing an attack around April 1. That never materialized.

The incident was reminiscent of the 1992 "Michelangelo" virus scare that threw the industry into panic after experts claimed as many as five million machines could be infected on March 6, the Renaissance artist's birthday. The virus ended up spreading to only a few thousand computers.

But Conficker still lurks. A New York Times report this week highlighted the difficulty experts face as they try to eradicate the stubborn worm.

While Microsoft issued a patch last October to protect the vulnerable aspects of its software, researchers estimate that some 30 per cent of computers running Windows remain unprotected.

Alarmed by the speed of Conficker's initial spread, the industry responded in February by setting up the Conficker Working Group, which includes Microsoft and several Internet security companies. Microsoft has offered a $250,000 (U.S.) reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people behind Conficker, according to the group's website.

Dean Turner, director of global intelligence for Symantec Corp., a member of the working group, said Conficker's infection rate has since "stabilized," but stressed that stopping the worm has proved unexpectedly difficult.

"The threat is very sophisticated," he said. "There's no doubt about that."

Some have raised the possibility that Conficker could have been created by a foreign government's intelligence agency or military for some unknown purpose.

But Turner said the worm's behaviour has so far led him to believe that Conficker, like most botnets, is designed to make money.

That can be accomplished by enlisting the zombie computers to send out potentially billions of spam emails.

The unique economics of spam – a volume business – means that a substantial amount of money can be made even if only a tiny fraction of recipients bother to purchase dubious products that claim to improve one's sex life or offer opportunities to consolidate one's debts.

There is also money to be made by stealing people's personal information and passwords.

And, in a relatively new twist, some spam attempts to trick users into thinking their computers have been infected by a virus so that they will buy antiviral software.

One theory as to why Conficker has not yet been called into action is that its creators have been spooked by all the attention the worm has generated, fearing that if a money trail materializes, they will be caught.

But Turner said as long as Conficker is on the loose, it represents an ongoing threat.

That's because it's becoming increasingly common for virus makers to sell access to their creations to criminal groups, he said.

con artist who disappeared with $20,000 after renting a home he didn't own to 13 different families.

Charge in 1987 rental con
One of the cover stories from The Star on April 27, 1987, was about a con artist who disappeared with $20,000 after renting a home he didn't own to 13 different families.
Twelve people rented same house, losing deposits
August 28, 2009

Staff Reporter

More than 22 years after a fake landlord disappeared with nearly $19,000 in rental deposits, Toronto police have charged a man who they say was living right under their noses the whole time under an assumed identity.

In April 1987, a man using the alias "Don Johnson" - apparently after the star of the then-popular TV show Miami Vice -disappeared after collecting rent deposits from 12 different families for a North York duplex he didn't own.

The scam was discovered when more than one family attempted to move into the home.

"We saved for a year to get that (money)," victim Jackie Clarke told the Star at the time. "It may not seem like much to him, but it is to us."

Police searched for weeks for the short, fat and balding man and a woman he had identified as his wife, but quickly realized they were getting nowhere.

The warrant for the man's arrest was never closed, however, and cold case officers from 33 Division picked up the file earlier this year.

"It was a warrant that we kept on file because of the severity of it, because it affected many people in the community," said Acting Det. Sgt. Keith Moxley. "The difficulty here is putting together a case that's 22 years old."

Details were not immediately available as to how investigators made a connection between the 1987 fraud and the man arrested on Wednesday, but Moxley said the officers were confident enough to press charges.

"We're working with old information, but it's certainly a very straightforward case," he said. "It was good work on the part of the officer who made the connection."

William Wilson, also know as William Bear, of North York, has been charged with 10 counts of fraud. He was released on $2,000 cash bail yesterday.

He will be back in court on Sept. 18

Girl returns 18 years after kidnapping

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Presented by

Girl returns 18 years after kidnapping

'She was in good health, but living in a backyard for the last 18 years takes its toll'

Michael McKiernan, National Post

http://a123.g.akamai.net/f/123/12465/1d/www.nationalpost.com/0827duggardcombo.jpg Handout

A woman kidnapped when she was 11 spent the past 18 years living in a series of sheds in the hidden backyard of a convicted sex offender who fathered her two daughters, according to police in El Dorado, Calif.

Jaycee Lee Dugard, now 29, was abducted from outside her home in 1991. She identified herself to police on Wednesday after the couple accused of abducting her brought her and her children to a parole office the day before. Police said the two children are 11 and 15.

Ms. Dugard appeared healthy despite having no access to the outside world and apparently giving birth to both children in one of the sheds where they were confined, undersheriff Fred Kollar told a news conference last night.

"She was in good health, but living in a backyard for the last 18 years does take its toll," he said.

He visited the house in Antioch, a nearby town, where Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy Garrido, 54, are believed to have taken the girl on the day she was kidnapped.

Both are being held in custody, with Mr. Garrido on US$1-million bail on suspicion of kidnapping, rape by force, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, sexual penetration and conspiracy.

Nancy Garrido was being held on suspicion of conspiracy and kidnapping. Her bail was also US$1-million.

The precise charges will be laid today before noon, according to El Dorado District Attorney Vern Pierson.

Mr. Garrido was convicted of a rape and kidnap in Nevada in 1971 and was on lifetime parole for that offence.

The Garridos were able to hide Ms. Dugard despite living in a residential neighbourhood with two neighbours nearby and regular visits by parole officers.

A large fence at the end of the yard, combined with trees and a tarpaulin, was enough to shield the living quarters in "a yard within the backyard," according to Mr. Kollar.

He said one shed was soundproofed and could only be opened from the outside and none were taller than six feet.

"The way the house and the backyard are set up, you could walk through and never know there was another set of living circumstances in the backyard," he said. "All of the sheds had electricity furnished by electrical cords. Nothing more sophisticated than that. There was a rudimentary outhouse and a rudimentary shower, as if you were camping."

The chain of events that led to her appearance began on Tuesday at the University of California at Berkeley, where Mr. Garrido was confronted by a suspicious campus police officer as he tried to hand out religious flyers with Ms. Dugard's two children. A background check flagged his conviction and parole conditions, prompting the officer to contact his parole officer.

The next day, Mr. Garrido met his parole officer with his wife, both children and Ms. Dugard, whom he identified as "Allissa." The parole officer, who had never seen "Alissa" and the two children before, contacted local police in Concord, which is where Ms. Dugard revealed her identity.

Ms. Dugard was reunited with her mother on Thursday morning and police are conducting DNA tests to confirm her identity, but say they are certain she is who she says she is.

"Subsequent interviews with Jaycee and the Garridos provided information that only the victims and the kidnappers could know," Mr. Kollar said.

Jaycee was an 11-year-old fifth-grader, walking to school in a pink windbreaker and pink stretch pants, when she was last seen by her stepfather Carl Probyn, outside her home in South Lake Tahoe, being kidnapped by two occupants in a car.

Mr. Probyn, who is now 60, gave chase on a bicycle but was too far away to stop the abduction.

"I had personally given up hope," he told ABC News, adding he was just hoping to find the people responsible.

Mr. Probyn, his wife Terry, from whom he is separated, and another daughter flew yesterday morning from Riverside, Calif., to San Francisco to meet Ms. Dugard.

When the initial news of Jaycee's rescue came through, her stepfather said it was like winning the lottery.

But as details of her capture emerged, he broke down in tears and told ABC News, "My girl has no proper schooling and I don't even know what shape she is in. I don't know if she was treated like an animal.... This is so horrific, I don't believe it."

National Post,

with files from AFP

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

3 telemarketers fined in no-call case


August 26, 2009

OTTAWA BUREAU

OTTAWA — The CRTC today finally named and fined three telemarketers thousands of dollars for knowingly violating the National Do-Not-Call list.

It is the first time that any individual or company has been found guilty of contravening the almost year-old rule, which was designed to protect consumers who have registered with the free service.

Until now, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has conducted its investigations into alleged violations in secret, refusing to even name the companies.

The CRTC announced this morning it had found that the three telemarketers had violated the National Do Not Call List (DNCL) Rules, despite being warned to change their ways, and were assessed fines:

• $4,000 fine to Rob Sugar, who runs a Toronto weight loss clinic

• $10,000 fine to Toronto-based Roofing by Peerless Mason Ltd.

• an additional $10,000 fine to Waterproofing by Peerless Mason Inc.

"The telemarketers were given opportunities to come into compliance with the National DNCL Rules, but failed to change their business practices," according a statement released by the CRTC.

The Toronto Star revealed last week that three CRTC commissioners were going to hold a private teleconference to discuss allegations that three telemarketers kept calling people who had registered with the national do-not-call lists.

The commission is investigating complaints against as many as 700 telemarketers.

In July, the three telemarketers were each issued with notices of violation and given 30 days to either pay the fine or to contest it before a CRTC panel.

If the telemarketers don't pay the fines within 30 days, interest will begin accruing and the CRTC will register the debt with the Federal Court in order to collect the amounts owing, according to the CRTC.

The National Do-Not-Call List is a free service for consumers that allows them to reduce the number of unwanted telemarketing calls and faxes they receive. To date, over 7 million numbers have been registered.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Morning Funny

A new priest at his first mass was so nervous he could hardly speak.


After mass he asked the monsignor how he had done.


The monsignor replied, 'When I am worried about getting nervous on the pulpit, I put a glass of vodka next to the water glass. If I start to get nervous, I take a sip.'


So next Sunday he took the monsignor's advice.


At the beginning of the sermon, he got nervous and took a drink.


He proceeded to talk up a storm.


Upon his return to his office after the mass, he found the following note on the door:


1) Sip the vodka, don't gulp.


2) There are 10 commandments, not 12.


3) There are 12 disciples, not 10.


4) Jesus was consecrated, not constipated.


5) Jacob wagered his donkey, he did not bet his ass.


6) We do not refer to Jesus Christ as the late J.C.


7) The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not referred to as Daddy, Junior and the spook.


8) David slew Goliath; he did not kick the shit out of him.


9) When David was hit by a rock and was knocked off his donkey, don't say he was stoned off his ass.


10)We do not refer to the cross as the 'Big T.'


11)When Jesus broke the bread at the last supper he said, 'Take this and eat it for it is my body.' He did not say 'Eat me'.


12)The Virgin Mary is not called 'Mary with the Cherry'.


13)The recommended grace before a meal is not: Rub-A-Dub-Dub thanks for the grub, Yeah God.


14)Next Sunday there will be a taffy pulling contest at St. Peter's not a peter pulling contest at St. Taffy's.

A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines

The Whale
A female humpback whale had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines.

She was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat.

She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her body, her tail, her torso, a
line tugging in her mouth.

A fisherman spotted her just east of the Faralon Islands (outside the Golden Gate ) and radioed
for help.

Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only
way to save her was to dive in and untangle her -- a very dangerous proposition. One slap of
the tail could kill a rescuer.



They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her.

When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.
She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently,
thanking them.



Some said it was the most incredibly beautiful experience of their lives.



The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the

whole time,


and he will never be the same.


May you, and all those you love,
be so fortunate... To be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you.
And, may you always know the joy
of giving and receiving gratitude.

I pass this on to you in the same spirit

cid:3.548723860@web30905.mail.mud.yahoo.com
Life is short ...forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly,
laugh uncontrollably...
and never regret anything that made you smile

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Scope Today,,,

Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

People with low expectations cannot see their own potential. Amazing coincidences are attempting to enter your life. Welcome them.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

Lots can lay you low, but nothing keeps you down long. You'll turn an obstruction to your advantage.

Cancer (June 22 — July 22)

Like a garden after winter, your soul feels shrivelled, but with Venus in your sign, your zest for life will return and revive a dream.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

The heavens are playing a tune like the Hollywood music played as the leads meet in a passionate embrace. Life is ripe with romantic potential.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Man recovers sunken wedding ring

Man recovers sunken wedding ring
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS








WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A New Zealand man who promised his wife he would find his wedding ring after it fell into the capital’s murky harbor has succeeded — 16 months later.

Ecologist Aleki Taumoepeau was checking Wellington harbor for invasive plant species in March last year when the ring went into 10 feet of water.

“It flew off into the air and everyone on the boat was looking at it and said it was like a scene from ‘Lord of the Rings’ in slow motion,” Rachel Taumoepeau was quoted as saying in Thursday’s Dominion Post newspaper.

He tossed an anchor overboard to mark the spot and pledged to Rachel, his wife of three months, that he would find it.

She offered to buy a replacement. “I just said ‘No, I’ll find it,”’ he said.

An initial search three months after the loss failed, but Taumoepeau was determined. He returned again recently for another dive, risking chill midwinter temperatures.

“I was getting cold and tired, so I said to God, it would be really good to find the ring about now,” he said.

He spotted the anchor — with the ring lying just inches away.

“I couldn’t believe that I could see the ring so perfectly,” he said. “The whole top surface of the ring was glowing” in the normally murky waters.

Friends have taken to calling Taumoepeau “Lord of the Ring.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is a funny one :-)))))


The Center for Disease Control has issued a medical alert about a highly contagious, potentially dangerous virus that is transmitted orally, by hand, and even electronically. This virus is called Weekly Overload Recreational Killer (WORK). If you receive WORK from your boss, any of your colleagues or anyone else via any means whatsoever - DO NOT TOUCH IT!!! This virus will wipe out your private life entirely. If you should come into contact with WORK you should immediately leave the premises.

Take two good friends to the nearest liquor store and purchase one or both of the antidotes - Work Isolating Neutralizer Extract (WINE) and Bothersome Employer Elimination Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should immediately forward this medical alert to five friends. If you do not have five friends, you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Git R Done


1.A day without sunshine is like night.

2. On the other hand, you have different fingers.


3. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

4. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

5. Remember, half the people you know are below average.


6. He who laughs last, thinks slowest.


7. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.


8. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese in the trap.


9. Support bacteria. They're the only culture most people have.


10. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.


11. Change is inevitable, except from vending machines.


12. If you think nobody cares, try missing a couple of payments.


13. How many of you believe in psycho-kinesis? Raise my hand.


14. OK, so what's the speed of dark?


15. When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.


16. Hard work pays off in the future. Laziness pays off now.


17. How much deeper would the ocean be without sponges?


18. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.


19. What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?


20. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?


21. Inside every older person is a younger person wondering, 'What the heck happened?'


22. Just remember -- if the world didn't suck, we would all fall off.

23. Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

24. Life isn't like a box of chocolates. It's more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today, might burn your butt tomorrow.

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