Suncor Energy wins 73 Canadian Oil Sands shares declaring takeover a done

CALGARY — Suncor Energy has announced that nearly 73 per cent of Canadian Oil Sands shares and accompanying rights have been tendered to Suncor’s offer.Suncor officials said that as a result, the company will be able to ensure that a subsequent acquisition transaction will be completed and Suncor (TSX:SU) will acquire the remainder of the outstanding COS shares.In mid-January, COS (TSX:COS) accepted a sweetened takeover offer from Suncor Energy as the market outlook for oilsands producers deteriorates.Suncor Energy Inc to cut spending by 10% after surprise $2-billion lossHow falling oil prices and Notley’s Alberta worked against Canadian Oil Sands LtdThe deal drew to a close a bitter takeover battle that pitted two partners in the massive Syncrude oilsands mine against each other.Suncor offered to exchange 0.28 of one of its shares for each COS share — up from 0.25 of a Suncor share per COS share.Steve Williams, Suncor president and chief executive officer, said they were pleased with the strong level of support from COS shareholders.“From the outset, we’ve spoken about the excellent value this offer creates for both COS and Suncor shareholders and I’m looking forward to delivering on that commitment.”Suncor has extended its offer to Feb. 22 but has said further extensions beyond that are not anticipated.The development makes Suncor the largest shareholder in the Syncrude oilsands complex north of Fort McMurray, Alta., which is operated by Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO). read more

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Second City improv class teaches how to work unscripted

Consultant Melissa Madian wanted to help her clients navigate the fast-paced world of sales. She turned to a comedy juggernaut for a new skill to add to her tool kit: improvisation.“Sellers have to be improvising all the time with our customers because there’s not one set script,” says Madian, owner of Toronto-based consulting firm TMM Enablement Services.“You need to listen to what the customer is saying, then improvise and adjust based on what they’ve said so you can come to a solution together. A lot of the foundational items you learn in improv are absolutely applicable in a business environment.”Madian had previously attended training at Second City Works, the business arm of the famed comedy company, and returned to enroll in RewireU, a new educational program designed to help businesses boost on-the-job efficiency through improv.“It used to be B2B (business to business); we now talk about H2H — human to human,” says Kevin Frank, artistic director of the Second City Training Centre.“That’s the storytelling of your own story, listening to the story of your client, telling the story of your company, and those kind of tools are what we do.“We’re storytellers. We know how to craft a great story based on the truth and honesty of what we are; so we help companies and business managers be authentic about their story so they can relate one-on-one with their client and their teams.”Five questions to ask yourself to build your confidenceSix easy steps to help you deal with conflict at work, professionally, while also keeping your coolFollowing a post-lunch warmup, Madian joined her RewireU classmates in a series of exercises testing their abilities to think on their feet and forge bonds of trust. Fellow participants included a holistic doctor, consultants and individuals from a variety of sectors, including retail, finance and tourism.In one exercise dubbed “A Bunch of…” they branched out into small groups to take turns reciting a common story punctuated by their own punchlines. Regardless of whether their improvised endings elicited a hearty belly laugh or groan, the response from their peers was always the same: unconditional support, kudos and warm applause. The practice is designed to promote inclusivity and give participants the confidence to take a risk knowing that their delivery will have a soft landing.Frank says they have attendees self-evaluate their experiences within the exercises and tie them back to business culture to explore the parallels they see within their own work environments.“There’s a lot of evaluation, there’s a lot of debrief that allows our participants to say, ‘All right: it’s one thing to do this exercise in a workshop — how is it going to affect my workplace and the way I do business?’ ”Second City has also teamed with University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which is researching the impact of improv tools on business practices.“Those studies will allow us to quantify the effects of our training on business leaders and managers in the industry,” says Frank.He recognizes each individual arrives at RewireU with their own skill sets and comfort level and will evolve at different rates — particularly those who may initially seem more reserved.“I think (the term) ‘introverts’ is sort of a blanket description. What are the reasons that you aren’t stepping out?” asks Frank.“Is it because you are a perfectionist? Is it because you’re cautious? Is it because you don’t want to offend people? Let’s go down to the core of that and work on those skills.” read more

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Lanka defiant after vote

The Sri Lankan government remained defiant despite losing a key vote at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris said that most countries which voted with Sri Lanka were acutely conscious of the danger of setting a precedent which enables ad hoc intervention by powerful countries in the internal affairs of other nations. Cuba, Ecuador, Russia, Thailand, Philippines, Uganda, China, Maldives, Indonesia and Bangladesh were among the countries which rejected the U.S sponsored resolution while Sri Lanka’s biggest neighbor India and the EU were among those who backed the resolution. “In its failed efforts to block the council resolution, the Sri Lankan government saw fit to put its own citizens at risk through vicious personal attacks on rights advocates,” De Rivero said. “It’s a credit to Human Rights Council members that they saw through the government’s scare tactics to avoid accountability.” (Colombo Gazette) Peiris said that with 15 countries voting with Sri Lanka, and 8 countries abstaining, the final result was that 23 countries, out of a total of 47 members of the Human Rights Council, did not support the Resolution, while 24 supported it and so the margin was narrow. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch said that the United Nations Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution on Sri Lanka demonstrates strong international support for accountability for abuses committed in Sri Lanka’s armed conflict.“The Human Rights Council’s vote demonstrates broad international dissatisfaction with Sri Lanka’s accountability efforts in the three years since the end of the war,” said Juliette De Rivero, advocacy director at Human Rights Watch in Geneva.  “Many countries have recognized that this resolution is an important first step toward serious action to investigate the many abuses by both sides during the conflict.”The resolution calls upon the Sri Lankan government to fulfill its legal obligations toward justice and accountability, and to expeditiously provide a comprehensive action plan to implement the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and also to address alleged violations of international law. It also encourages the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other UN human rights envoys to assist Sri Lanka in implementing these steps. “The most distressing feature of this experience is the obvious reality that voting at the Human Rights Council is now determined not by the merits of a particular issue but by strategic alliances and domestic political issues in other countries which have nothing to do with the subject matter of a Resolution or the best interests of the country to which the Resolution relates.  This is a cynical negation of the purposes for which the Human Rights Council was established,” he said in a statement.The minister further said that as far as Sri Lanka is concerned, its policy in respect of all matters will continue to be guided by the vital interests and wellbeing of the people of the country and that this cannot yield place to any other consideration. read more

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Christian pastor attacked in Matara

A police complaint was lodged over the incident. (Colombo Gazette) During the attack on August 9 the mob had also verbally abused the pastor’s wife and then dragged both of them to the house they had visited and verbally abused a lady and her daughter who were residing in that house. “While they were on their way back home on their motorbike, they found the road obstructed by logs. The pastor moved the logs and they proceeded on their way. A little further on at a junction, their motorbike was cut off by a powerful pajero vehicle, throwing the pastors wife on to the ground. They were then set upon by a large mob of about 40 men, accompanied by 5 Buddhist monks and the assistant secretary of the Pradeshiya Sabha (local government authority) who arrived in a truck and 3 trishaws. The mob advancing on them were carrying rocks and shouting “attack them” “kill them”. They were joined by a man who was riding in the pajero vehicle identified as a person with very high connections. The pastor was dragged along the ground and beaten by the men who shouted at him, asking who gave him permission to live in this area. The pastor had replied that he had resided in Deniyaya for many years and did not need anyone’s permission to be there. They accused him of spreading Christianity and threatened to kill him if he did not stop his Christian ministry,” the statement said. A pastor from the Assembly of God (AOG) church and his wife were attacked by a mob in Matara last week, the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) said in a statement.The attack had taken place just after the pastor and his wife had visited a church member and were returning home. read more

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Journalists need to declare their assets

In the past there had been reports in the media calling for politicians to declare their assets.Minister Rambukwella said that there are 3000 journalists registered with the government information department. He also said that journalists in Sri Lanka will be categorized based on provincial journalists, full time journalists and others. (Colombo Gazette)Report by Indika Sri Aravinda Journalists will need to declare their assets in future, Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said.The Minister said that a special committee will be appointed to look at a system under which details of the assets will be collected. He said that once implemented, the Media Ministry will be the body to which the assets of journalists will be declared. The government hopes to implement the system in three months time, the Minister said. read more

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School students grab journos camera

The students, who saw the cameraman taking the footage, grabbed him and took him inside and took his camera and then erased the footage before returning the equipment. (Colombo Gazette)Report by Indika Sri Aravinda Students of a leading school in Maradana grabbed a video correspondent of Hiru Television and took his camera when he went to video an incident at the school.According to journalists from Hiru TV, the students had later returned the video camera after erasing the video footage taken by the cameraman. When the cameraman had gone there, he was refused permission to enter the premises. He however then took footage of the school from outside. The cameraman had gone to the school to look into reports that the students were protesting in the school and lighting firecrackers. read more

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India playing critical role says Basil

He noted that through the support of the government and the local community, the second phase of the Indian Housing Project for construction of 43,000 houses under the owner-driven model, which was launched in the Northern Province on 2 October 2012, was making good progress.More than 12,000 houses were already under construction and 10,000 houses were expected to be completed in the first year of the project. The High Commissioner assured that the target of completion of all the 50,000 houses to be constructed under the Project would be achieved within three years. (Colombo Gazette) In his address, Indian High Commissioner Askok Kantha reiterated the importance attached by India to support initiatives for early resettlement of displaced persons in northern and eastern provinces and providing opportunities to enhance their livelihoods.He expressed satisfaction that projects of Indian assistance in Northern Province were progressing well and appreciated the support provided by local authorities in this regard. He was speaking during the launch of the Indian Housing Project in the Eastern Province today, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said. Minister Basil Rajapaksa says India is playing a critical role in assisting the return of normalcy in the north and east.He said that the Housing Project undertaken by India in the north and east was indicative of the phased, timely and sequenced manner of India’s development assistance to Sri Lanka which has been based on requirements on the ground. Minister Rajapaksa also pointed out that among donor-funded humanitarian assistance projects in Sri Lanka, the Indian Housing Project was unmatched and unprecedented in its scale, reach and impact. read more

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Monks want slaughter houses closed

He was receiving treatment at the Colombo national hospital when he succumbed to his injuries.The Sihala Ravaya protested yesterday over the transfer of the body of the monk from Colombo. He said that some slaughter houses in parts of the country had been approached by the Sihala Ravaya and they had agreed to the request. The Sihala Ravaya, a group comprising of Buddhist monks, have called for the closure of slaughter houses until, at least, the final rites are carried out on the monk who died after setting himself on fire in Kandy.Sihala Ravaya National Organizer Venerable Akmeemana Dayaratne thera said that a formal request has already been made to the government in this regard. Bohowatte Indararatna thero, a member of the Sihala Ravaya, succumbed to his injuries in hospital on Saturday after he set himself on fire outside the Kandy Dalada Maligawa Temple on Friday demanding a ban on cattle slaughter. The body, which was at a funeral parlor in Borella, was transferred to Ratnapura for the final rites. (Colombo Gazette)Report by Indika Sri Aravinda read more

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Commonwelath backs Sri Lanka

“To walk away and not to stay the course would be to the Commonwealth’s lasting discredit,” he added.His comments came in the wake of calls for the Commonwealth to reconsider holding the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka this November owing to human rights concerns raised against the government. (Colombo Gazette) He said the question for the international community is whether to criticise lack of progress from afar in implementing that report or to offer and to make a practical difference. Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma says the Commonwealth will continue to offer Sri Lanka assistance to impliment the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report.In a comment to the London Financial Times, Sharma said the Sri Lankan government still has much to do to implement its post-conflict Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission report. Sharma says the Commonwealth has opted for the latter, and the Sri Lankan government even now is identifying the areas where the Commonwealth will help. “We are active in Sri Lanka in advancing Commonwealth values, including human rights, the media, judiciary, and building mutual respect and understanding in communities,” he added.Sharma says the Commonwealth soft power and behind the scenes contributions can often be at risk of negative judgment in the short term, but the success is invariably measured positively in the longer term in the form of real progress. read more

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Thajudeens body buried again in Dehiwala

The body of former Sri Lanka rugby player Wasim Thajudeen, which was exhumed at the Dehiwala Muslim burial grounds last month, was buried again today.Thajudeen’s body was exhumed in order to investigate his death as there was suspicions that he was murdered and not killed as a result of a car accident.

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Two more bodies recovered from Katukurunda boat tragedy

Two more bodies were recovered today as the death toll from the Katukurunda boat tragedy rose to 13.The body of a 28 year old male and a 7 year old child were found today. The Government had yesterday decided to pay compensation to the families of the victims of the Katukurunda tragedy.Several people were killed after a boat with pilgrims overturned at sea off Katukurunda on Sunday. (Colombo Gazette)

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Key suspect in Kalutara prison bus shooting arrested

A woman who gave refuge to the Kalutara prison bus attackers was arrested earlier this month.Another person was also arrested in connection to the incident. (Colombo Gazette) The prison bus was shot at in Kalutara last month killing seven people including an underworld member.Underworld member Aruna Udayashantha, alias Samayan, was killed in the shooting incident. Two prison officers were also killed in the shooting incident. A key suspect wanted over the Kalutara prison bus shooting incident has been arrested.The police said the suspect was arrested in Kataragama, read more

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India says Sri Lanka has chance to benefit at global level

“We cannot prosper in isolation,” he said. Sri Lanka can benefit at a global level by partnering with resurgent India, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu said that the thinking of the Indian leadership is that all, particularly Sri Lanka and India, should grow together. “The Government of India has taken many steps to promote Indian handicrafts abroad. But, this a unique event, where we are focusing not only on Indian handicrafts but also providing a platform for Sri Lankan artisans. Shilpa Kala is a joint partnership between Dastakaari Haat Samiti from New Delhi and Hands of Sri Lanka foundation in Colombo.  Smt Jaya Jaitley and Mr Keerthisena have put in special efforts to bring them together. This is in line with the thinking of Indian leadership that all of us, particularly Sri Lanka and India, should grow together. We cannot prosper in isolation,” he said.The High Commissioner said that Sri Lanka can also benefit at a global level by partnering with resurgent India including in the field of Handicrafts. The High Commissioner was speaking at the opening of the Shilpa Kala – 2017 exhibition in Colombo today. “Partnership would help Sri Lanka market her products to a larger audience. India is a huge market for Sri Lankan Handicraft products! Regular Sri Lankan participation in Surajkund Mela (Crafts Festival) in India and the amount of popularity they receive is a known example. As you are aware, India continues to be the largest source of tourists into Sri Lanka, accounting for almost one-fifth of all tourist arrivals. Efforts like Shilpa Kala would attract more tourists and strengthen our timeless links of history, religion and culture and people,” he added. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Sri Lanka hails support given by China to defeat terrorism

Wijewardene also said that Sri Lanka continues to maintain the “One China” policy and this was reiterated by President Maithripala Sirisena during his last visit to China. (Colombo Gazette) Sri Lanka today hailed the support given by China to defeat terrorism in the country.State Minister of Defence Ruwan Wijewardene, speaking at an event held at the Galle Face hotel today to mark the 90th anniversary since the founding of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), said that China extended support to Sri Lanka at a crucial time. read more

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NCPA investigates complaint on incident at international school

In 1990, Sri Lanka also became a party to the United Nations Child Rights Convention (UNCRC) where state parties have taken on legal obligations to take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect her children from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury, abuse or maltreatment. (Colombo Gazette) Positive discipline methods enumerated in Circular No. 2016/12 issued by the Ministry of Education should be resorted to, by all teachers in Sri Lanka where non–violent means such as advising the child and speaking to the parents, among other things, have been set out as a means of facilitating a sense of decorum and discipline in classrooms. In response to a complaint made by a student an investigation is being carried out by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) in relation to an incident at an international school where nine children had been made to kneel down and their ears were pulled by a teacher as punishment for forgetting to bring their reading book.Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority, Marini de Livera (Attorney at Law), said that such cruel and degrading treatment is a violation of Article 11 of the Constitution of Sri Lanka. read more

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Sri Lankan marine biologist wins Global Alumni Award

Winner of the Global Alumni Award for the Professional Achievement category is Asha de Vos, a marine biologist from Sri Lanka who is passionate about conserving the world’s oceans, and blue whale research in the Northern Indian Ocean. Asha is the founder of Sri Lanka’s first marine conservation research and education organisation, Oceanswell, which works to change the trajectory of the world’s oceans by empowering and inspiring people to be custodians of the oceans. Asha studied for her BSc in Marine and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews, and her MSc in Integrative Biosciences at the University of Oxford. “Without the experiences I had in the UK, I would not have been able to forge the career I have today,” commented Asha.The three global award winners were announced on Study UK social media following a 21-day campaign to celebrate and promote the stories of 21 regional winners. The global winners will be invited to the UK for a professional networking visit. Following prestigious national awarding ceremonies hosted by the British Ambassador/High Commissioner in more than ten countries, and high-profile digital campaigns to celebrate 63 regional finalists, and 21 regional winners, the British Council has announced the names of three outstanding global award winners of the Study UK Alumni Awards.All are alumni of UK universities, representing three countries and four UK higher education institutions across the UK. They have been recognised for their outstanding achievements as professionals, entrepreneurs and social change makers. Now in its fourth year, the Alumni Awards 2018 received more than 1,700 applications from international UK alumni in a record 123 countries, representing more than 140 UK Higher Education Institutions across the UK. Following several rounds of judging panels, award winners were selected for the three award categories: Professional Achievement, Entrepreneurial, and Social Impact. (Colombo Gazette) Her work has been showcased internationally by Channel 7 Australia, the BBC, the New York Times, CNN, WIRED UK, the New Scientist, TED, Grist, GOOD, Nature and National Geographic. She is the first Sri Lankan to have a PhD in marine mammal research. read more

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President declares war on group of 15 members

The former Ministers had attended a recent protest rally staged by the joint opposition against the government. The move came hours after the SLFP Central Committee removed former Ministers Susil Premajayantha, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, W.D.J. Seneviratne, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, T.B. Ekanayake and Chandima Weerakkody from their SLFP electoral organiser posts. President Maithripala Sirisena has declared war on the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) ‘group of 15’ who had left the Government with his blessings.The President today removed former Ministers Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, John Seniviratne and Chandima Weerakody from their SLFP District Development Committee cho-chairmanship posts. They were however invited to attend the SLFP Central Committee held last night yet they did not attend.Former Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, who was part of a ‘group of 16’ SLFP members who left the Government, has since made a u-turn and extended support to President Maithripala Sirisena. The 16 SLFP members resigned from the Government in April this year, with the blessings of the President, after voting in support of a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. read more

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Motion filed in court seeking fivejudge panel for case on MR

A motion has been filed before the Supreme Court requesting the appointment of a five-judge bench to hear the appeal filed against a court order restraining Mahinda Rajapaksa from holding office of Prime Minister and his Cabinet from functioning.Lawyers appearing on behalf of United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe filed the motion at the Supreme Court. An appeal was later filed in the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal order and the Supreme Court is to hear the case tomorrow (December 14th). The Court of Appeal had issued the restraining order on Mahinda Rajapaksa from holding office of Prime Minister and his Cabinet from functioning. Considering the significance of the case, Wickremesinghe’s lawyers have requested the Supreme Court to appoint a five five-judge bench to hear the case. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Dofasco acid leak under investigation

(Updated)A north end neighbourhood has some serious questions tonight, for both the Ministry of the Environment, and ArcelorMittal Dofasco. An apparent chemical spill at a facility on Grenfell Street seems to be the cause of extensive damage to several cars and trucks in the residential neighbourhood bordering the plant. But the residents are worried about more than just their property.They want some clear answers about just what kind of substance spilled inside the plant. they say it’s obvious the chemical spill has damaged the paint and glass on their cars but more importantly, they are wondering what it might do to their health.You can see the discoloration, on the side of the plant. A rusty looking, brown residue. And you can see it on the cars, that were parked nearby. Like the one’s at Chad Dal Bello’s Steeltown auto shop: “It seems if you rub it really hard, you might get it off but probably not. It seems like it’s in the paint.”Christina Rogal has already tried to scrub it off: “‘Cause at first I thought it was just dirt until you wash it, and you see that this won’t come off.”It’s just shown up in the last few days, but according to the Ministry of the Environment, the spill inside the ArcelorMittal Dofasco pickling line happened, more than two weeks ago. According to Ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan: “Dofasco reported the spill in the early morning hours of September 7th, and the Ministry sent investigators to the plant. They found a burst pipe, leaking ferric chloride residue, a by-product of the pickling line. The pipe was shut down but no air monitoring was conducted outside the plant.”Christina Rogal: “The last couple of weeks you know I’ve been havin’ a cough, same with my daughter, she’s got a cough, scratchy throat.”Sarah Ignacio, local resident: “I’m worried. I think they’re kind of low-balling the concerns. Downplaying it a bit.”Christina Rogal: “If there’s something being spread on vehicles, what is it that we are we breathing in.”Ferric chloride, actually starts out as Hydrochloric Acid, in the pickling process. That substance, when exposed to the air, can become hydrogen chloride — a highly toxic gas that can damage lungs, and possibly result in death. Ferric chloride is far less toxic, but breathing in the dust can irritate the nose, eyes and throat — and prolonged contact can cause skin irritation and burns.The Ministry of the Environment hasn’t confirmed the presence of ferric chloride residue from lab tests, but told us ‘it’s strongly suspected’. Although the Ministry has contacted some residents, Sarah Ignacio says: “Nobody from Dofasco has contacted us yet. But we have their number. So it’s up to us to contact them.”I share their sense of frustration this evening. Despite several phone calls and email asking for an interview, or comment from ArcelorMittal Dofasco, the company so far has been silent.And it was equally difficult getting basic information from the Ministry of the Environment, about the possible affects outside the plant. The local office at one point told me to call Dofasco — because it was ‘their spill’. It took a call directly to the minister’s office, to finally get the information that you just heard, in tonight’s report.Anyone who may have been affected by this incident should contact ArcelorMittal Dofasco directly at 905 548 7200 x2490. read more

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