Trustee in MF Global case says US$1.2B in customers’ money missing

WASHINGTON – The court-appointed trustee overseeing MF Global’s bankruptcy says up to US$1.2 billion is missing from customer accounts, double what the firm had reported to regulators last month.

The trustee, James Giddens, also said in a statement Monday that his plans to release about $520 million from accounts that have been frozen will mean nearly all the assets under his control will be distributed.

Giddens has been combing through the accounts and finances of MF Global, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Oct. 31.

Regulators are investigating whether MF Global tapped money from clients’ accounts as its own financial condition worsened. That would be a violation of securities rules. The FBI is investigating whether New York-based MF Global violated any criminal laws.

MF Global was led by former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. The firm collapsed after making a disastrous bet on European debt.

Giddens’s office said in a statement that “the apparent shortfall” was as much as $1.2 billion or more, but noted that the figure could change.

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Last week, the judge overseeing the bankruptcy proceeding approved Giddens’s request that 60 per cent of the funds in about 23,300 frozen cash-only accounts be returned to customers. The money could start moving to customers before Thanksgiving, a spokesman for Giddens said.

Giddens has previously returned to customers $1.5 billion in collateral for their trading accounts with MF Global. He has a goal of eventually returning 100 per cent of all funds to customers, though that could be reduced by the apparent shortfall.

Customers use the accounts for trading derivatives. The value of derivatives is based on the value of an underlying asset, such as interest rates, oil prices or currency rates. MF Global was one of the biggest players in the derivatives market.

In Canada, the Canadian Derivatives Clearing Corp. said Monday that it has completed the transfer and closure of all remaining open positions related to the bankruptcy of MF Global Canada.

Customer positions for which the clearinghouse received transfer instructions were moved to a receiving clearing member, with the remaining positions closed out in the market after receiving instruction from the Trustee for MF Global Canada.

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A healed Crosby returns to a sick league: critics

OTTAWA – Sidney Crosby’s spectacular return to the National Hockey League Monday night has fans across North America breathing a collective sigh of relief. He scored two goals and notched two assists as his Pittsburgh Penguins downed the New York Islanders 5-0.

While his brain may be healed enough to return to the ice, critics are warning he and his fellow hockey players won’t be safe until the NHL tackles concussions.

The 24-year-old Canadian star of the Pittsburgh Penguins was sidelined by a concussion for 10 months. Crosby was injured in January when he sustained two hard hits in back-to-back games.

The length and pace of his recovery is an anomaly in a sport where players often feel pressure to get back on the ice as soon as possible.

Crosby, on the advice of his doctors, stayed off the ice until the concussion-related symptoms including sensitivity to light and loud noises, dizziness and fatigue were completely gone.

He may be back, but the most current science suggests that Crosby will be even more susceptible to injury than before.

“We know that once you sustain one brain injury, that is one of the major risk factors for another,” said Dr. Michael Cusimano, a neurosurgeon and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

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Despite their increased vulnerability to concussions, players will return to a work environment rife with risks to play a game that is often their sole livelihood and their favourite activity.

Cusimano says asking a player to give up a job he has worked so hard to achieve is too much pressure to bear. Instead, he says, the NHL needs to step up and change the way it handles concussions, focusing on prevention and adequate treatment of injured players.

“They have to step up to the plate and accept social responsibility. Their players have to be kept safe,” he said. “It should be your right to work in a place that is safe, as safe as possible. If we know about environmental risks, in any other workplace we try to minimize them.”

Concussions simply aren’t a necessary part of sport and society needs to realize it, said Dr. Paul Echlin, a sports medicine specialist.

“We don’t have to do this,” he said. “It’s the refusal to change the way we play the game.”

Echlin said all levels of hockey have to address the intentional violence in the game.

Jesse Wallin, a former NHL player forced by a concussion to retire, says it is impossible and undesirable to eliminate risk from hockey.

“There an element of danger in the sport and that’s why a lot of guys play it,” he said.

The Red Deer Rebels coach says he believes the league is taking the rights steps when it comes to managing risk of injury.

“As far as the risk and danger in the sport, you are never going to eliminate all injuries,” Wallin says. “If the player has been given clearance to play and wants to play, I don’t think anyone would be putting a player at risk that shouldn’t go back.

Spurred on by public pressure and a growing number of high profile injuries, the NHL has taken some steps to improve player safety.

“With all the concussions we have seen over the past few years, I think it has made the league stand up and say: ‘We have to do something,’” said Dr. Mark Aubry, the chief medical officer with Hockey Canada.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in March unveiled tighter rules on hits to the head and stronger return-to-play criteria for injured players.

The new policy requires players who show signs of a concussion to be evaluated off of the team bench by the team physician instead of ice-side by a trainer.

Later in the year, the NHL tightened Rule 48 by prohibiting head shots, not just lateral or blindside hits. Still, the rule has a lot of room for interpretation by referees, meaning fans and players will still see head shots on the ice.

“I think that is positive in the sense that the league is listening,” he said, adding that how Crosby was treated shows an evolution in the way players are treated.

“We tend now to keep players out and we’ve kept the players out longer than what they’ve traditionally been told,” he said.

Crosby’s injury and recovery will be a case study for the league to learn from, said certified athletic trainer Dustin Fink.

“He is going to be followed closely afterwards,” he said. “It’s good to know that if it is treated correctly and done right you can get back to what you want to do.

Fink said one of the most important lessons for player and coaches from Crosby’s injury is to let the symptoms – not the league, the coaches or the player – be the guide when it comes to return to play.

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Alberta now projecting $3.1-billion deficit

EDMONTON – After a rosy spring for Alberta’s finances, weakening resource revenue and poor investment income during the summer have combined to put the province farther into the red.

Delivering its second-quarter fiscal update on Monday, the government is projecting a $3.1-billion deficit at the end of its 2011-12 fiscal year. While that’s still ahead of initial budget estimates of a $3.4-billion deficit, it’s considerably worse than the $1.3-billion deficit predicted after the first quarter than ended June 30.

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One main reason for the change is a decline in resource revenue. Conventional oil royalties are now projected to be $462 million less than they were at the end of the first quarter. This is due to a drop in oil prices and a less favourable exchange rate with the U.S. dollar.

Bitumen royalties are expected to be nearly $1 billion lower than the first-quarter estimates, due to higher operating costs that has led to lower-than-expected production in the oilsands.

These declines were somewhat offset by a projected record year in the sale of Crown leases, which is expected to generate revenue of $3.3 billion this year. That is a $2.3-billion increase from the budget and $955-million increase from first-quarter projections.

Weak global markets have also hit the province’s investments, resulting in a revenue forecast $625 million lower than at first quarter.

On the expense side, government costs have risen $860 million from the budget and $210 million from the first quarter.

The main reason for the change is increased bills for responding to disasters and emergencies, including forest fires, flooding and the battle against the mountain pine beetle. The province is spending $234 million this year to deal with the Slave Lake wildfire.

The provincial books have also been affected by Premier Alison Redford’s decision to restore $107 million in education funding.
Overall, the province is predicting total revenue of $36.8 billion, and total expenses of $39.9 billion.

The deficit is being covered by the province’s sustainability fund, the value of which is projected to dip to $8.1 billion by year end on March 31, 2012.

As for the Heritage Savings Trust Fund, its value stood at $14.7 billion by Sept. 30. That’s decline of about $400 million since the end of the first quarter, due to poor investment markets.

This drop has meant a decline in investment income from the fund, which the province puts toward its general revenue. 

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Tigers ace Verlander beats Bautista to claim American League MVP award

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Detroit’s Justin Verlander stymied the Toronto Blue Jays with a no-hitter in May. He shut them out again Monday by becoming the first starting pitcher in a quarter-century voted Most Valuable Player.

Verlander earned the American League MVP honour after receiving 13 of 28 first-place votes and 280 points in results announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

“Obviously pitchers are not just written off all of a sudden because they’re pitchers,” Verlander said.

Boston centre-fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was second in voting with four firsts and 242 points, followed by Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista with five firsts and 231 points.

Bautista led the major leagues in home runs (43), walks (132), slugging percentage (.608) and on-base plus slugging (1.056) to become the first player since Barry Bonds in 2001 to lead in four offensive categories. He also batted .302 with 132 RBIs.

The Blue Jays outfielder received a top-10 vote on ever ballot, but was ranked as low as ninth by one writer.

Verlander added the MVP to the Cy Young Award he won last week.

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“Not even in my wildest dreams had I thought of this,” he said. “I want to say this is a dream come true. I can’t say that because my dream had already had come true … to win a Cy Young. And the next dream is to win a World Series. This wasn’t even on my radar until the talk started. And then all of a sudden it was a this-could-actually-happen type of thing.”

Verlander won the AL’s pitching triple crown, going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, the most wins in the major leagues since Oakland’s Bob Welch went 27-6 in 1990. Verlander pitched his second career no-hitter at Rogers Centre in Toronto on May 7.

Last week, he was a unanimous Cy Young winner. On Monday, he became the first pitcher voted MVP since Oakland’s Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Boston’s Roger Clemens in 1986.

“I think that a starting pitcher has to do something special to be as valuable or more so than a position player,” Verlander said. “Obviously, having the chance to play in 160-some games in the case of Miguel, they can obviously have a huge impact every day. That’s why, I’ve talked about on my day, on a pitcher’s day, the impact we have is tremendous on that game. So you have to have a great impact almost every time out to supersede (position players) and it happens on rare occasions, and I guess this year was one of those years.”

The 2006 AL Rookie of the Year, Verlander joined the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Don Newcombe as the only players to win all three major awards in their careers.

“I think this set a precedent,” Verlander said. “I’m happy that the voters acknowledged that, that we do have a major impact in this game and we can be extremely valuable to our team and its success.”

Verlander appeared on only 27 ballots and was omitted by Jim Ingraham of The Herald-News in Ohio, who voted Bautista first. Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal voted Verlander eighth.

Ingraham doesn’t think pitchers should be eligible for MVP.

“I’d wrestled with this for a long time. If I was ever going to vote for pitcher for MVP, it would be him this year,” Ingraham said. “He hasn’t appeared in 79 per cent of their games, any starting pitcher really doesn’t appear in 79 per cent of his team’s games in a year.

“Would you vote for an NFL quarterback for MVP if he only appeared in three of his team’s 16 games, which would be 21 per cent? So that’s part of it. Another part of it is I think they’re apples and oranges. The guys that are in there every day, there’s a grind to a season that a starting pitcher doesn’t, I don’t think, experience the way the everyday position players do playing 150, 160 games.”

Other pitchers to win MVP and Cy Young in the same year were Newcombe (1956), Los Angeles’ Sandy Koufax (1963), St. Louis’ Bob Gibson and Detroit’s Denny McLain (1968), Oakland’s Vida Blue (1971), Milwaukee’s Rollie Fingers (1981) and Detroit’s Willie Hernandez (1984).

Since Mickey Cochrane (1934), Hank Greenberg (1935, 1940) and Charley Gehringer (1937), all Tigers voted MVP have been pitchers, with Verlander joining Hal Newhouser (1944 and 1945), McLain and Hernandez.

While Verlander earned a US$500,000 bonus for winning the Cy Young, he didn’t have an MVP bonus provision. Tampa’s Evan Longoria receives $25,000 for finishing 10th.

The NL MVP winner will be announced Tuesday.

Before learning he won, Verlander had given up hope.

Last week, he was told he had won the Cy Young at about 12:40 p.m. He watched the clock Monday.

“I figured somebody else got the call,” Verlander said.

Then Brian Britten, the Tigers’ director of baseball media relations, called at 12:56 p.m., about one hour before the announcement.

“It was just a weight off my shoulders,” Verlander said, “and pure elation, really.”

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Murder trial for Hells Angels members begins in Vancouver court

Seven Okanagan men, including two full-patch Hells Angels, made their first appearance in a Vancouver courtroom Monday in the beating death of Kelowna’s Dain Phillips last June.

The men — Hells Angels members Robert Thomas and Norm Cocks — as well as Cocks’ dad Robert, brothers Daniel and Matthew McRae, Anson Schell, and Thomas Vaughan, were charged with second-degree murder two weeks after the fatal assault on Phillips last June 12.

They made their initial appearances in Kelowna provincial court, where five of the accused were released on bail.

But Crown prosecutors have decided to proceed by way of direct indictment, meaning the case goes straight to B.C. Supreme Court without a preliminary hearing at the provincial court level. And prosecutors have moved the case to Vancouver, where the accused appeared Monday in a new high-security courtroom built for an unrelated gang murder case.

There is a ban on publication on evidence and submissions in the case.

Justice Arne Silverman put the matter over until Dec. 19, with a tentative start date for the eight-month trial sometime in January, 2013.

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Thomas, 46, and Norm Cocks, 31, appeared wearing red prison garb from the North Fraser Pre-trial centre, where they remain in custody. The others – Dan and Matt McRae, 21 and 19, Schell, 19, Vaughan, 22 and Robert Cocks, 53 – arrived with relatives and supporters, each being directed to their seat behind bullet-proof plexiglas.

No one from the family of Phillips attended Monday.

The Vancouver Sun earlier reported that Phillips, a married father of three, tried to intervene peacefully in a dispute two of his sons were having with a pair of brothers with whom they had attended Rutland Secondary.

When Phillips drove to a meeting place on McCurdy Road in the early evening of June 12, he was attacked by a group of men who had arrived in two separate vehicles. He died later in hospital.

Insp. Pat Fogarty, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said after the arrests that Phillips was simply trying to do the right thing and resolve the problem when he was savagely attacked.

The elder Cocks is president of a Hells Angels puppet club called the Throttle Lockers, while the four youngest accused were described by police as associates of the notorious biker gang.

The case is believed to be the first in the 28-year-history of the Hells Angels in B.C. where a club member has been charged with murder.

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Canadian lightweight Mark Bocek combines cage-fighting with love for motorcycles

TORONTO – When he is not training or fighting in the UFC, Canadian lightweight Mark Bocek feels a need for speed.

“Cars, motorcycles, they’re a rush to me,” Bocek told The Canadian Press. “I really enjoy them.”

In his garage, Bocek has a Honda CBR1000 and Suzuki GSX-R600 superbike and a Mitsubishi Eclipse car – “my daily driver.”

The 30-year-old from Woodbridge, Ont., considered one of the UFC’s top 155-pound grapplers, fills his down time by watching Formula One and MotoGP. Chances are his TV is tuned to Speed network.

“I watch all the races. When I’m not in town, I PVR them,” he said. “I love sports cars, I love superbikes, I love motorcycles. … Speed. It’s all evolved around speed. If I wasn’t in MMA, it would have something to do with speed for sure.”

Bocek (9-4) is currently training for a fight with Nik (The Carny) Lentz at UFC 140 in Toronto on Dec. 10.

Bocek is not much of a NASCAR fan – the oval circuits do little for him. Instead he loves street circuits like Monte Carlo, with its chicanes.

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“I’m not the drag or straightaway guy,” he explained. “I’m not really into car or bike drag-racing either. It’s cool, it’s powerful but it’s not complete enough for me. So F1 and Moto GP.”

Still Bocek acknowledges he was a bigger fan of Formula One in years gone by.

“Vettel’s the man right now. Overall accomplishments, how can you not say (Michael) Schumacher. I think it’s seven world titles. But favourite all-time, Ayrton Senna, no question.”

Bocek does his riding mostly on the road. He concedes riding on a track can be safer – “There are a lot of bad drivers out there” – but getting a bike to a track takes time and effort.

“It’s a bit of work compared to just opening your garage and pulling out,” he said.

“But yeah I know how dangerous they are.” he said of motorcycles.
“I’ve seen friends crash. There’s no guarantees either way, but I’m not asking for trouble. I don’t have to be doing 250 kilometres per hour to enjoy it. I can enjoy it just by being on it on a nice day.”

His bikes offer plenty of speed wherever he takes them.

“A CBR 1000 it’s no joke. That’s pretty much as powerful as they get. You could be on a highway and just laugh at Corvettes.”

Bocek doesn’t takes passengers on his bikes – there are no extra seats or pegs.

“I try to make it as much of a race bike as possible. I usually go on my own and I’ll just go for an hour or so. Secluded areas, I’ll go for a one-hour blip – just on my own, just to enjoy it and have fun, to get my fix.”

No hogs or Harley-Davidsons for Bocek.

“It’s just not my thing. Everyone’s got their thing, you know. It’s just very hard to ride a bike like that after you’re used to the braking, handling and performance of a superbike. It’s very hard for me to get on a cruiser and try to ride that and it’s hard to make a U-turn. My hands are up high and I feel like I’m on a little moving chair. I don’t feel like I’m one with the bike.

“Everyone has their preferences. It’s just not for me.”

Bocek’s bikes aren’t cheap – both costing more than $10,000 – and modifications up the price tag even more.

“A couple of times, when I got fight of the night (bonuses), it definitely helped,” he said.

Bocek isn’t the only mixed martial arts fighter with a love of motorcycles. Anthony (Rumble) Johnson, Josh Koscheck and Jamie Varner are among those who share Bocek’s passion.

Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir, meanwhile, was badly injured in a 2004 motorcycle crash in Las Vegas. He was sidelined for some 17 months before returning to the cage, taking longer to regain his form.

And in recent weeks, IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon and MotoGP star rider Marco Simoncelli died in race crashes.

“Bad two weeks there,” Bocek said with a sigh.

But Bocek says he has the green light to ride and takes the responsibility of speed seriously.

“It doesn’t say anything in the (UFC) contract. But I don’t do anything stupid on them either. I love my life too and I love my job.

“It’s all (done) with respect. I mean you could get killed in a car too, it’s just you’ve got more protection in a car. But I keep a straight head on my shoulders.”

Living in Canada also helps, in that the climate forces his motorcycle off the road for months at a time.

“I pack up the bikes, put them in storage and I’m like ‘OK, it was a good year, no accidents,’” he said with a laugh.

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Nuremberg fan loses arm after being hit by train after row with Mainz supporters at station

NUREMBERG, Germany – A Nuremberg football fan lost an arm after being hit by a train following an altercation with opposing supporters at a station.

The 19-year-old man was in a group of fans returning from Nuremberg’s 4-0 loss at Schalke on Saturday when it became involved in a row with Mainz supporters at Cologne train station. He is thought to have fallen in front of an oncoming high-speed train. Emergency surgery failed to save his right arm.

Cologne police initially began an attempted homicide inquiry believing the man was pushed, but a state prosecutor told the Nuernberger Zeitung newspaper that witnesses gave a different story.

“They stated that the 19-year-old was running over the tracks when he fell in front of the train,” state prosecutor Alf Willwacher said.

Nuremberg director Martin Bader said the club heard the news with “disbelief and great sadness.” He denied the fan was a hooligan and offered him and his family Nuremberg’s “full support.”

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“We still don’t know the exact circumstances. We can’t and won’t comment on the matter as long as the police continue with the investigation,” Bader said. “That such a serious incident could take place is very tragic. It certainly adds a new dimension to the violence.”

Kicker reported that police arrested a 21-year-old man following the incident in which about 30 people took part.

Several violent incidents have marred German Cup and league matches recently, while a police report said the number of people injured at matches in the top two divisions reached a 12-year high last season.

“We note with concern the nationwide developments,” Bader said. “Anyone that feels a bond with football wants peaceful football occasions in and around German stadiums. Sport should be the focus of attention in every rivalry.”

Mainz’s game at Cologne had earlier been called off after the referee attempted suicide hours beforehand. The German Football Federation said Monday that Babak Rafati is recovering well and has been released from the hospital.

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Spain borrowing costs soar in first debt sale since conservative election win

MADRID – Spain’s borrowing costs soared Tuesday in an auction of short-term debt, suggesting investors remain cautious about the country’s financial future despite a convincing electoral win this week by conservatives bent on deficit-cutting austerity.

The Treasury sold €2.98 billion ($4 billion) in 3- and 6-month bills, which was roughly the agency’s target. But the average interest rate on the 3-month bills jumped to 5.1 per cent from 2.3 per cent in the last such auction in Octover, and to 5.2 per cent on the 6-month bills, compared with 3.3 per cent last time.

Demand was nevertheless good, with bids almost three times the amount offered for the 3-month bills, and nearly 5 for the 6-month bills.

Last week Spain had to offer an average interest rate of nearly 7 per cent on 10-year bonds at an auction, a euro-era record. An auction of 12- and 18-month bonds last week also went badly, with Spain also forced to offer significantly higher interest rates to investors.

The centre-right Popular Party has had no time to savour its electoral victory over the Socialists, having to immediately address grueling task of reassuring investors worried about Spain’s grim prospects for economic growth and getting nearly 5 million unemployed – 21.5 per cent of the work force – back to work.

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Doubts that Spain will be able to make it are behind the rise in its borrowing rates. On the secondary market, where bonds are bought and sold after they are issued, the yield on Spanish benchmark 10-year bonds stood at 6.5 per cent, roughly the same as the day after the election and not far from the 7 per cent level that is considered unsustainable over the longer term.

The future prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, has said he will maintain the purchasing power of retirement pensions but other than that, any kind of government spending is liable for cuts. However, Rajoy has kept the country and the financial community largely in the dark over his specific plans. He will not be sworn in until mid-December.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said Monday it was maintaining its AA- rating with a negative outlook for Spain despite the conservative win.

Meanwhile, in a sign of the fragility of some of Spain’s lender, the central bank announced late Monday that it had seized a small bank, Banco de Valencia, because of problems with solvency and liquidity stemming from overexposure to the real estate bubble largely blamed for Spain’s economic collapse. It is the fourth such seizure of a banking entity since 2009.

The Bank of Spain said it was injecting €1 billion in capital into Banco de Valencia S.A. and opening up a €2 billion credit line for it.


Ciaran Giles contributed to this report.

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Victims intimidated by inmates using social networking sites

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Lisa Gesik hesitates to log into her Facebook account nowadays because of unwanted “friend” requests, not from long-ago classmates but from the ex-husband now in prison for kidnapping her and her daughter.

Neither Gesik nor prison officials can prove her ex-husband is sending her the messages, which feature photos of him wearing his prison blues and dark sunglasses, arms crossed as he poses in front of a prison gate. It doesn’t matter if he’s sending them or someone else is – the Newport, Ore., woman is afraid and, as the days tick down to his January release, is considering going into hiding with her 12-year-old daughter.

“It’s just being victimized all over again,” she said.

Across the U.S. and beyond, inmates are using social networks and the growing numbers of smartphones smuggled into prisons and jails to harass their victims or accusers and intimidate witnesses. California corrections officials who monitor social networking sites said they have found many instances in which inmates taunted victims or made unwanted sexual advances.

Like Gesik’s case, it’s often difficult for authorities to determine for sure who’s sending the threatening material and the few people caught rarely face serious consequences.

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“The ability to have these kinds of contacts is increasing exponentially. In many ways, the law has not caught up with these changing technologies,” said Rob Bovett, an Oregon district attorney whose office prosecuted Gesik’s ex-husband, Michael Gladney.

Timothy Heaphy, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said criminals’ use of social networks to reach witnesses has made his job harder.

“We deal every day with witnesses who are afraid of being identified,” he said. “If there are increased instances where folks who are incarcerated can reach outside the walls of the jail, that’s going to make it more difficult for us to get co-operation.”

In a rare victory, Heaphy’s office successfully prosecuted John Conner and Whitney Roberts after they set up a Facebook account that Conner used to intimidate witnesses preparing to testify against him on charges of burning two houses to punish a girlfriend and collect the insurance.

“How the hell can u b a gangsta when u snitchin and lien…,” said a post from the pair that publicly exposed one witness who co-operated with law enforcement, according to federal court records.

The issue has emerged as cellphones have proliferated behind bars. In California, home to the nation’s largest inmate population, the corrections department confiscated 12,625 phones in just 10 months this year. Six years ago, they found just 261. The number of phones confiscated by the federal Bureau of Prisons has doubled since 2008, to 3,684 last year.

Noting the increase, California legislators approved a law bringing up to six months in jail for corrections employees or visitors who smuggle mobile devices into state prisons, while inmates caught with the phones can now lose up to 180 days of early-release credit. But no additional time is added to their sentence, minimizing the deterrence factor.

In the old days, those behind bars would have to enlist a relative or friend to harass or intimidate to get around no-contact orders. Social networks now cut out the middle man.

In Gesik’s case, Gladney used to harass her the old-fashioned way, sending letters and making phone calls through third parties. The Facebook harassment began in June.

Gesik, 44, got prison officials to contact Facebook to remove that account, only to have another message appearing to be from him in September. This time, there was a different spelling of his last name.

“I figure, if he’s done all this from in prison, what’s he’s going to do when he gets out?” Gesik said.

A gap in state law meant that “no contact” orders like the one Gesik obtained against Gladney were deemed not to apply to anyone in custody, said Bovett, the prosecutor. “So they could do these very creative ways of reaching victims through third parties,” he said.

Last June, Oregon legislators approved a law prohibiting inmates from contacting their domestic violence victims from behind bars.

In California, prison officials are working with Facebook to identify inmate accounts and take them down. But that only generally happens only after the damage is done.

Karen Carrisosa, who lives in a Sacramento suburb, was aghast when officials found Facebook postings from Corcoran State Prison inmate Fredrick Garner. Garner is serving a 22-year, involuntary manslaughter sentence for killing her husband, 50-year-old Larry Carrisosa, outside a church 11 years ago.

“My kids, they go on Facebook, I go on Facebook, and what if they decide to look us up?” Carrisosa said.

She was alerted by a Sacramento television station that Garner was posting messages to his mother and others. Garner was punished with a 30-day reduction in his early release credits for possessing a forbidden cellphone and has since been transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison.

Hector Garcia Jr. used a smuggled smart phone hidden in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison to rally support on Facebook for an inmate hunger strike this summer that sought improved living conditions for gang leaders housed in special secure cellblocks.

“Starving for my better future,” he posted, according a July 1 screen grab from the corrections department. “Let’s do this … statewide…”

The discovery rattled Isabel Gutierrez. Garcia murdered one of her sons and wounded another in January 2005. Now Gutierrez fears her own social-networking left her vulnerable.

“I panicked,” she said. “My photos are up of my family and my grandkids. I felt like they can see into my world.”

Guards found Garcia’s phone, punishing him with a 30-day cut in early-release credits and 30 days’ loss of yard, TV and radio privileges.

Attorneys who represented Garcia and Gladney in their previous criminal trials did not return phone calls seeking comment on behalf of their former clients.

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Calgary entrepreneurs to serve up breakfast on the go

CALGARY – Two young entrepreneurs are hoping their Mighty Skillet truck will warm the hearts of Calgary’s brunch crowd.

Food trucks took the city by storm this summer; gourmet cuisine is served up on the street to hungry fans.

However, the chilly temperatures will be yet another test for the trucks; co-owners Billy MacDonald and John Scott hope hungry Calgarians will bundle up for their morning grub.

“There is a kind of anxiety there that I don’t really know what people are going to think of it,” says Billy.

The duo say it’s been a hectic journey creating Calgary’s first breakfast truck. Hoping to cash in on the food truck feeding frenzy, Bill and John bought ‘Street Burger’ just as Mayor Naheed Nenshi announced phase two of the pilot project.

“It’s a great example of combining entrepreneur’s great ideas and a market that wants the product,” said Nenshi. “Phase two is going to be about seeing how this works over the winter.”

A local freestyle artist has given the truck a new look, featuring mighty Thor in the kitchen with a skillet.

“Billy and I are both into comic books and it kind of came out of nowhere,” says John.

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However, that turned out to be the easy part. The team had to undergo a health and fire inspection as well as set themselves up with insurance before they could obtain a business licence and a mobile vendor’s licence.

Then there was experimenting with the menu.

“We spend lots of late nights trying to come up with the perfect consistency of the shredded potato,” says Billy.

The owners want to take breakfast to the LRT lines but are nervous about the winter weather but felt the opportunity was just too good to pass on.

“Even with the Calgary cold weather, there will be customers. We just have to find them and make sure we are out there when they want us,” says Billy.

To find out where the Calgary food trucks will be this week visit 杭州夜生活yycfoodtrucks杭州夜网 or follow @yycfoodtrucks on Twitter.  

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