Day: March 20, 2019

What’s next after UK seeks 3-month delay to Brexit?

LONDON — With just nine days to go until Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May has asked the European Union to postpone Britain’s departure from the European Union until June 30. The decision is in the hands of the 27 remaining EU nations, whose leaders must agree unanimously to an extension.

Here’s a look at what could happen next:


May has asked the EU to let her argue for an extension at a summit in Brussels on Thursday. The 27 others will then discuss it, but there may not be an immediate decision. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says EU leaders “will probably have to meet again next week” to make a final ruling.

The bloc is reluctant to agree to a three-month extension, saying that would require Britain to participate in May 23-26 elections for the European Parliament. The U.K. won’t be represented in the parliament after it quits the EU, and its seats already have been given to other countries to fill in the May election.

Juncker has said the U.K. should leave by May 23 — or participate in the elections and face a longer delay until the end of the year or beyond.


A thousand days after Britain voted to leave the EU, Brexit is stalled because Britain’s Parliament is split down the middle between supporters and opponents of Brexit. Both sides are critical of May’s plan for an extension: Brexiteers say it will betray voters’ decision in 2016 to leave the EU; pro-Europeans say it will only prolong Britain’s Brexit crisis.

Pro-Brexit and pro-EU lawmakers are also unimpressed by May’s divorce deal, and Parliament has rejected it twice by hefty margins. Yet May says she plans to try again. She hopes to persuade reluctant pro-Brexit lawmakers that backing her deal is their best hope of delivering Brexit.


If the EU refuses an extension, Britain will leave the EU on March 29 with no deal. That could cause upheaval for businesses and residents in both Britain and the EU, with the sudden imposition of tariffs, customs checks and other barriers to trade and travel.

If the EU agrees and Parliament approves her Brexit deal, May plans to use the delay to pass the legislation necessary for Britain’s orderly departure. If her deal is rejected, Britain will face the prospect of leaving without an agreement once the extension ends.

Britain’s Parliament has voted to rule out a ‘no-deal’ Brexit — but it remains the legal default position. The only ways to stop it are for Parliament to ratify a deal, or to cancel Brexit.


May has spent almost three years trying to shepherd Britain out of the EU, and said Wednesday that “as prime minister, I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30” — a hint she could resign rather than oversee any more delays.

Many on both sides of Britain’s Brexit divide would be happy to see her go, but her replacement by a new Conservative leader would not solve the country’s political crisis.

Opposition politicians think the only way forward is an early election that could rearrange Parliament and break the political deadlock. May has ruled that out, but could come to see it as her only option.

And anti-Brexit campaigners haven’t abandoned the idea of a new referendum on remaining in the EU. There’s currently no majority for that in Parliament, but the political calculus could change if the paralysis drags on.


Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit at:

Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

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Police defend decision to issue Amber Alert for Markham girl, say father won’t be charged

York Regional Police are defending their decision to pursue an Amber Alert for a missing five-year-old girl who was ultimately found safe on Tuesday night.

Investigators initially said that the young girl had been abducted by her father from Armadale Public School in Markham at around 2 p.m.

“It started off as an investigation into a missing child that we believed had been abducted from that school in Markham. Information that our investigators had was that they did believe that that child was in danger,” Const. Andy Pattenden told CP24 on Wednesday morning.

The Amber Alert was cancelled at around 6 p.m. after the young girl was found with her father, who was briefly taken into custody but later released without charge.

“Ultimately that child was found safe very quickly, which is the best outcome we could possible hope for,” Pattenden said.

Speaking to CP24 on Tuesday night, the child’s father said the Amber Alert shouldn’t have been issued in the first place.

“My daughter was safe and sound the entire time. She loves being with her father and she knows she is safe with me so this Amber Alert was done falsely,” he said. “I’ve been picking her up every day since she has been in school.”

Pattenden said Amber Alerts are not put in place on a whim. He noted that they require several levels of investigation before they are issued.

“We did believe the child was in danger. From there an investigation team is reviewing that file. From there, it goes up to our real-time operations centre where someone at the rank of inspector or above reviews that file to ensure that there is a belief that the child is in danger,” he said.

”It goes to the OPP control and they review the file once again, and if their belief is consistent with ours, that is when that Amber Alert gets issued… Our efforts were really about finding that child as quickly as possible and as you saw yesterday, the system did work.”

Pattenden said Amber Alerts are issued in very few missing persons cases.

“In my time in the media relations office now, seven years, I can’t recall a time where we issued an Amber Alert or were part of that,” he added. “We get missing child calls every single day. There are a lot of investigations that go on for missing people, missing children that don’t involve an Amber Alert.”

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The Latest: May to seek short Brexit delay from EU leaders

BERLIN — The Latest on Brexit talks (all times local):

9:55 a.m.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is preparing to ask the European Union for a short delay to the country’s divorce from the European Union.

Britain’s Press Association is citing sources in the prime minister’s office as saying May will write to EU leaders on Wednesday to formally request “a bit more time.” Parliament last week voted for a three-month delay to the end of June, but some EU leaders have suggested another two years might be necessary.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC on Wednesday that a shorter delay is the right option.

Hinds says the process has already gone on for more than two years, “and I think people are a bit tired of waiting for Parliament to get our act together and get the deal passed.”


9 a.m.

The head of the European Union’s executive branch says a decision on a delay to Brexit is unlikely at this week’s EU summit and the bloc’s leaders may have to meet again next week.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to ask the EU for a delay to Brexit, currently scheduled for March 29, ahead of an EU summit starting Thursday. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that he hadn’t received a letter as of Wednesday morning.

Juncker told Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio: “My impression is … that this week at the European Council there will be no decision, but that we will probably have to meet again next week.”

He added that “Mrs. May doesn’t have agreement to anything, either in her Cabinet or in Parliament.”

The Associated Press

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Canadian Financier Morrie Tobin Allegedly Set Off U.S. College Admissions Scandal

The University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles, California is one of the institutions at the centre of the largest admissions scandal ever to be prosecuted in the U.S.

MONTREAL — Morrie Tobin, the Montreal native named in reports as the central figure who exposed an alleged college admissions scam in the United States, was described Tuesday by those who knew him as someone who stood out for his athleticism and drive.

Tobin, who pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in an unrelated case, has been identified by the Wall Street Journal as the informant who helped expose the admissions scheme. At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, are among those charged in an investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.

Clifford Margolese, 55, said he and Tobin were “thick as thieves” when they grew up together in the predominantly Jewish Montreal neighbourhood of Cote St-Luc.

“We played sports, we worked out, we chased girls, we drank beer. We had a good group of close friends,” Margolese said in an interview. “He was the prototypical Cote St-Luc good Jewish kid growing up.”

Tobin’s information led to nation-wide arrests

Now a manager for a building maintenance company in Victoria, Margolese said he had heard about Tobin’s troubles with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission prior to last week’s news about the college scandal that continues to grip the United States.

“I understand the position he’s in,” said Margolese, who graduated in 1980 with Tobin from Montreal’s Wagar High School, which closed in 2005. “I think it’s human nature. We would all do the same thing, faced with possible jail. I would think we would all do the same thing to protect our family and to try and generate some leniency.”

The Wall Street Journal described Tobin as a Los Angeles financier who tipped off federal authorities to the admission scandal “hoping for leniency” in his securities fraud case. The newspaper reported that Tobin’s information led to the arrests in the alleged nation-wide college admissions scheme.

College employees, including many coaches, are accused of taking bribes from wealthy parents to get their children into top schools by falsely portraying them as recruited athletes.

Typical human nature, greed, wanting more, trying to take advantage of the system — we are all faced with those kinds of decisions, and either you make the right one or the wrong one. He happened to make the wrong one.Clifford Margolese, acquaintance

U.S. officials say some parents — including people prominent in Hollywood, law, finance, fashion and manufacturing — paid as much as $6.5 million to guarantee their child’s admission into colleges around the country.

Margolese said he lost contact with Tobin when they were both in their early 20s, after he had moved to British Columbia and Tobin began playing hockey for Yale University in New Haven, Conn.

“Everyone makes good and bad decisions in their life,” Margolese said, adding he had only positive memories of Tobin. “But typical human nature, greed, wanting more, trying to take advantage of the system — we are all faced with those kinds of decisions, and either you make the right one or the wrong one. He happened to make the wrong one.”

Court documents reveal Tobin pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and aiding and abetting. The charges were in connection with what are known as pump-and-dump schemes, involving several alleged accomplices. It’s alleged in the documents that between 2013 and 2018, Tobin and others disguised their ownership and control of various securities and artificially inflated the price and trading volume of those stocks so they could secretly sell their shares at a substantial profit.

More from HuffPost Canada:

Tobin is set to be sentenced in June and has been released on bail until then, with several conditions, including that he surrender his passport, stay in the United States, seek mental health treatment and not possess any weapons, the documents show. His lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.

Don McEwan, 66, who taught gym at Wagar and is now retired, said he remembered Tobin and his brother Larry as excellent athletes. “And good people,” McEwan said in an interview. “That’s why it was a little bit of a surprise,” he said, referring to Morrie Tobin’s legal troubles.

In a biography on that has since been modified, Tobin described himself as an “LA-based entrepreneur with broad experience in the financial services industry.” The bio states he worked with CIBC World Markets in Toronto and invested “more than $200M in new companies to grow and prepare them to go public. Today, I use my talent and experience to be of service to my neighbors.”

With files from Paola Loriggio and The Associated Press

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