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Pig virus enters Canada

OTTAWA -- The first case of a deadly pig virus that has killed millions of baby pigs in the U.S. has been confirmed in Canada.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture says the case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was discovered in a farm in Middlesex County.

But it adds there is no risk to human health or food safety.

Ontario chief veterinarian Dr. Greg Douglas says the farm is "under control" and its owner is co-operating with officials.

He says the farm was already following strict biosecurity protocols, but experience in other jurisdictions shows the virus is difficult to contain and there could be other cases.

Douglas says the source of the virus isn't yet known.


Retail sales inch upward

MANITOBA retailers kept their string of monthly sales increases going in November, but barely.

Preliminary Statistics Canada figures released Thursday show the province's retail industry eked out a 0.1 per cent increase in sales for the month -- $1.469 billion versus $1.468 billion in October.

It was the fourth consecutive month-over-month increase for Manitoba and a 2.3 per cent improvement from a year earlier, when $1.435 billion worth of goods were sold.

Statistics Canada said six other provinces also posted month-over-month increases in November. Nationally, sales climbed 0.6 per cent to $41 billion in November from $40.8 billion in October, the fourth increase in five months.


Target cuts 475 employees

MINNEAPOLIS -- Target Corp. says it's dismissing 475 employees worldwide.

The Minneapolis-based retailer said it has eliminated 750 open positions in the last six months.

None of the cuts affect Canada.

Most Target employees are in the United States, where the company had more than 360,000 workers, according to a regulatory filing last year. There are 20,000 Target employees in Canada.

A Target Canada spokesman said the changes were about "transforming Target and streamlining our operating model."

The dismissals come almost two weeks after Target lowered its fourth-quarter profit outlook as it grapples with the fallout from a massive security breach.

The company was planning on big holiday sales, but was victimized by the data breach, which hurt its image and stock prices and sent shoppers elsewhere.

Target warned this week the security breach may also have affected Canadian customers and led to their personal information being stolen.

Target said its investigation found personal information such as the names, addresses, emails and phone numbers of some Canadians may have been stolen. The breach did not extend to payment data for the debit and credit cards of Canadians, which is what was taken from U.S. customers, it said.


Black appeals tax ruling

TORONTO -- Conrad Black is appealing a federal Tax Court judgment that deemed him to be a Canadian resident in 2002 and said he owed taxes for that year.

Black's lawyers have filed notice of appeal with the Federal Court of Appeal, asking it to set aside the Jan. 14 judgment.

In the appeal notice, they say the Tax Court of Canada made an error in law when it found Black to be a resident of Canada in 2002 for the purpose of the Income Tax Act.

His lawyers had argued that under their interpretation of the Canada-United Kingdom Income Tax Convention, Black was, for tax purposes, a resident of the United Kingdom during that year.

They are also asking the appeal court to reconsider the amount on which the Canadian Revenue Agency claims Black owes taxes. The government has estimated the amount of income and benefits on which Black owes taxes might be as high as $5.1 million.

Black's lawyers have also asked that the appeal be heard in Toronto, where Black has been living since 2012 after he finished serving 37 months in a U.S. prison for convictions on fraud and obstruction of justice relating to his time as the head of media giant Hollinger. An appeal court tossed out two other fraud convictions against him and two other Hollinger executives.


-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 24, 2014 B8

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