Utah solar lens scheme a ‘massive fraud,’ judge says

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of related companies involving the same pair of men in Utah can no longer say its solar lenses are eligible for energy tax credits after a federal judge issued a narrow injunction on Friday. International Automated Systems, RaPower3 and Xsun Energy must pull any promotional material from the company websites if it purports tax benefits from lens purchases and also must post a notice from the U.S. District Court for Utah that any tax information on the solar lenses is false. “The best evidence tells us there is $50 million in revenue with no productive results,” said Judge David Nuffer after hearing closing arguments… Read More

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B.C. securities regulator takes action in U.S. court to enforce major penalty

The B.C. Securities Commission has filed an application in a U.S. court to enforce a $21.7-million penalty against fraudster Michael Lathigee, who relocated to Las Vegas from Vancouver after he was sanctioned. In documents filed in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada, Lathigee argues the BCSC is attempting to enforce a judgment that is “non-recognizable” under the laws of Nevada and the United States. The BCSC’s action against Lathigee is the latest among measures the regulator took after a Postmedia investigation, reported last November, revealed more than half a billion dollars of its penalties had gone uncollected in the past decade. During the period, the collection rate was less… Read More

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Reports detail examples of pregnant women facing discrimination in the workplace

Women at large corporations throughout the U.S. have been sidelined due to pregnancy, according to The New York Times. “Some women hit the maternal wall long before the glass ceiling,” Joan C. Williams, a professor at the University of California Hastings College of Law, told The New York Times in a recent article titled “Pregnancy discrimination is rampant inside America’s biggest companies.” “There are 20 years of lab studies that show the bias exists and that, once triggered, it’s very strong.” Whitney Tomlinson, a 30-year-old single mother and packer at a Walmart distribution center in Atlanta, told CNN she was forced to get a note from her doctor to receive… Read More

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Police: Backup driver in fatal Uber crash was distracted

PHOENIX — The human backup driver in an autonomous Uber SUV was streaming the television show “The Voice” on her phone and looking downward just before fatally striking a pedestrian in suburban Phoenix, according to a police report. The 300-page report released Thursday night by police in Tempe revealed that driver Rafaela Vasquez had been streaming the musical talent show via Hulu in the 43 minutes before the March 18 crash that killed Elaine Herzberg as she crossed a darkened road outside the lines of a crosswalk. The report said the crash, which marks the first fatality involving a self-driving vehicle, wouldn’t have happened had the driver not been distracted.… Read More

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OPEC agrees to pump more oil but crude prices jump anyway

VIENNA — The countries of the OPEC cartel agreed on Friday to pump 1 million barrels more crude oil per day, a move that should help contain the recent rise in global energy prices. Questions remain, however, over the ability of some OPEC nations — Iran and Venezuela in particular — to increase production as they struggle with domestic turmoil and sanctions. Oil prices rose after OPEC’s announcement, which analysts cited as evidence that investors believe the actual increase in production will be smaller, about 600,000 to 700,000 barrels a day. After an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said the cartel decided to fully comply with… Read More

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B.C. LDB selects internet contractor for online cannabis sales

British Columbians will be able to legally buy cannabis online through the B.C. Liquor Distribution Branch when sales go live Oct. 17, according to the agency, though establishing bricks-and-mortar store locations remains a work in progress. B.C. LDB today announced that it has picked Canadian online-shopping expert Shopify Inc. to build an e-commerce portal for its legal, recreational cannabis sales, with facilities to serve private retail sales. Besides being a retailer itself, the branch will be B.C.’s exclusive distributor of recreational weed in the province so Shopify’s task will be to create two websites, one for its own online sales and one to fulfill orders for private retail stores. LDB… Read More

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Conversations That Matter: Who will build renewable energy?

The energy transition has been underway for more than 25 years. Solar, wind, run of river and geothermal are all energy sources that hold promise in our determination to move away from fossil fuels. Interestingly, utility companies are not building them, rather they are turning to the private sector as suppliers. That means private enterprises are taking the risks, they’re buying or leasing the land, building the power sources, maintaining them and carrying the debt for decades. The costs are significant and the investment is not for the faint of heart. A solar power plant regularly includes 45,000 or more panels, while a wind turbine costs between $1.5 million and… Read More

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Properties disqualify Greg Hughes from inland port board

SALT LAKE CITY — After discovering his ties to several properties disqualify him from being a Utah Inland Port Authority board member, House Speaker Greg Hughes now wants to change the bill he championed so he can stay in the seat he appointed himself to. Hughes, a developer and property manager, is registered with at least eight companies that own land within the port authority’s five-mile restrictive boundary that prohibits board members from owning property other than their personal residence, under SB234’s current conflict of interest provisions. Those include: a batch of apartment developments along 200 West in Salt Lake City; the Holden Apartments at 854 S. 200 West; the… Read More

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Don’t blame taxes for high gas prices, blame oil companies: Economist

When oil prices crashed at the end of 2014 — from a high of $110 per barrel to roughly half within a few months, and eventually bottoming out at about $35 in early 2016 — a funny thing happened with Vancouver’s gas prices. They went down a little, but not nearly the same as the bulk base price. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives economist Marc Lee has taken a look at how gas prices have tracked over the past few years and found data that broke down where the increases were coming. While the price of oil globally fell by 68 per cent, the price of gas in the Lower… Read More

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Supreme Court decision a win for Utah brick-and-mortars but Overstock, not so much

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah brick-and-mortar businesses are celebrating Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on online sales tax collection, noting a playing field that’s been uneven since the dawn of digital commerce can now be made a little more level. The court’s 5-4 decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair overturned a 26-year-old ruling on a dispute involving a mail order business that forbade states from collecting sales tax on so-called “remote” transactions unless the company had a physical presence in that state. Back in 1992, e-commerce was a mere glimmer on the newly-minted landscape of the World Wide Web. Last year, online sales exceeded $450 billion and represented almost 9… Read More

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