Newspaper Articles Archive 2024

CBC

Canadian DNA lab knew its paternity tests identified the wrong dads, but it kept selling them

CBC, April 9, 2024, by Jorge Barrera

Canadian DNA laboratory knowingly delivered prenatal paternity test results that routinely identified the wrong biological fathers — ruling out the real dads — and left a trail of shattered lives around the globe, a CBC News investigation has found.

Harvey Tenenbaum, the owner of Viaguard Accu-Metrics, told a CBC producer with a hidden camera during a conversation in his office that prenatal paternity test results that his laboratory produced for about a decade were "never that accurate."

The hidden camera conversation unfolded in the midst of a months-long CBC News investigation into a years-long pattern of erroneous results produced by Viaguard's non-invasive prenatal paternity testing. The test — if done correctly — matches DNA from a fetus that is in a mother's blood with the biological father's DNA.

Viaguard, based in Toronto, sold its prenatal tests through various related online storefronts with names like Prenatal Paternities Inc. and Paternity Depot.

"The test was not that accurate…. And we're leery of that test now," said Tenenbaum.

Tenenbaum is 91 and still runs the laboratory, showing up onsite most days, answering phones and meeting with customers.

A longtime businessman, it seems he began selling DNA services through Viaguard in the early 2000s, registering a prenatal paternity division in 2013, according to business records.

During the hidden camera encounter, he presented himself as a seasoned scientific expert who's seen it all, and, in a matter-of-fact tone, said he knows mistaken prenatal paternity results could inflict lasting damage on lives.

"There's a lot involved if it gets screwed up," Tenenbaum told the CBC News producer, who posed as a prospective customer seeking a paternity test.

"What if it's the wrong guy named and you're aborting your child of, you know, a wrong person…. We can imagine everything happens in life…. You see them all, and worse, and worse."

He also described instances where Viaguard's tests were proven wrong during a birth.


The Canadian Press

44 students suspended for incomplete immunization records

The Canadian Press, April 9, 2024

As many as 44 elementary students have been suspended from school due to ongoing incomplete immunization records with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU), as mandated by the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) R.S.O.1990.

As of March 26, 2024, while most elementary school students have fulfilled all required vaccinations, the suspensions of 44 students highlight the importance of adhering to immunization requirements.

Beyond compliance, maintaining up-to-date immunization records aids the WECHU in planning services and identifying potential risks in the event of disease outbreaks within the community. This becomes particularly crucial in light of recent vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, in Ontario.


New York Times

What Happened When This Italian Province Invested in Babies

The area around Bolzano has a thick network of family support provided by the government. That means a steady birthrate in a country facing a demographic plunge.

The New York Times, By Jason Horowitz and Gaia Pianigiani -- Jason Horowitz reported from Bolzano, Italy, and Gaia Pianigiani from Siena. April 1, 2024

In a municipal building in the heart of the alpine city of Bolzano, Stefano Baldo clocked out of work early for his breastfeeding break.

"It's clear I don't breastfeed," Mr. Baldo, a 38-year-old transportation administrator, said in his office decorated with pictures of his wife and six children. But with his wife home with a newborn, one of the parents was entitled by law to take the time, and he needed to pick up the kids. "It's very convenient."

Full houses have increasingly become history in Italy, which has one of the lowest birthrates in Europe and where Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, as well as Pope Francis, has warned that Italians are in danger of disappearing. But the Alto Adige-South Tyrol area and its capital, Bolzano, more than any other part of the country, bucked the trend and emerged as a parallel procreation universe for Italy, with its birthrate holding steady over decades.

The reason, experts say, is that the provincial government has over time developed a thick network of family-friendly benefits, going far beyond the one-off bonuses for babies that the national government offers.

Parents enjoy discounted nursery schools, baby products, groceries, health care, energy bills, transportation, after-school activities and summer camps. The province supplements national allocations for children with hundreds of euros more per child and vaunts child-care programs, including one that certifies educators to turn their apartments into small nurseries.

All of that, experts say, helps free up women to work, which is vital for the economy. As in France and some Scandinavian countries, it also shows that a policy of offering affordable day-care services has the power to steer Italy from the impending demographic cliff as the birthrate falls.


USA TODAY

North Carolina school removes bathroom mirrors to get kids off TikTok, back in class

Since the mirrors were removed earlier this month, the school says there has been a "drastic decrease" in students using the bathroom to make TikTok videos

USA Today, Emilee Coblentz, January 29, 2024

A North Carolina middle school has come up with a way to curb TikTok use among its students: removing bathroom mirrors.

Reports of disruptions because of the popular social media app began to surface in 2021, when school administrators said that TikTok challenges were endangering both students and staff, and in some cases, canceling classes and increasing security.

For the Southern Alamance Middle School in Graham, North Carolina, it was affecting attendance and productivity. Students at the Burlington-area school were "going to the bathroom for long periods of time and making TikTok videos," Les Atkins, a spokesman for the Alamance-Burlington School System, told WFMY-TV.

Some students were going to the bathroom as many as nine times a day, largely to make the videos, according to the school.

Nearly 95% of teenagers between 13 and 17 report using social media, with more than a third of them saying they use the platforms "almost constantly," according to a U.S. Surgeon General advisory released last year.


Alyson Schafer - parent educator - corporal punishment of children and discipline

Alyson Schafer on Spanking and Corporal Punishment of Children

Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada's leading parenting experts. She's the author of the best-selling "Breaking the Good Mom Myth" (Wiley, 2006) and host of TV's The Parenting Show a live call-in show in Toronto, Ontario.

The media relies on Alyson's comments and opinions. you can find her interviewed and quoted extensively in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Readers' Digest, Canadian Living, Today's Parents, and Canadian Families.

You can read Alyson's thoughts.

Auditor General Ontario

Auditor General of Ontario

Disasterous Report on the Family Reponsibility Office FRO 2010

80% of Telephone calls don't get answered

Payers and recipients do not have direct access to their assigned enforcement services officer

"There is only limited access to enforcement staff because many calls to the Office do not get through or are terminated before they can be answered."

"The Office is reviewing and working on only about 20% to 25% of its total cases in any given year."

"At the end of our audit in April 2010, there were approximately 91,000 bring-forward notes outstanding, each of which is supposed to trigger specific action on a case within one month. The status of almost one-third of the outstanding bring-forward notes was "open," indicating either that the notes had been read but not acted upon, or that they had not been read at all, meaning that the underlying nature and urgency of the issues that led to these notes in the first place was not known. In addition, many of the notes were between one and two years old."

"For ongoing cases, the Office took almost four months from the time the case went into arrears before taking its first enforcement action. For newly registered cases that went straight into arrears, the delay was seven months from the time the court order was issued."

National Post

Ontario's child financial support collection agency has big problems

Ontario's Family Responsibility Office has many problems

Quote from Ontario Government Ombudsman -"an equal opportunity error-prone program,."'

Support recipients not getting their money.

Men who've been meeting their court-ordered obligations have trouble getting the FRO to stop taking payments when it's supposed to.   Read More ..

The Women's Post

"Canada's National newspaper for professional women"

Does the FRO have a feminist perspective?

When families fall apart, they can make for the bitterest of enemies. The intensity of their hostility, the personal rhetoric, the posturing and positioning, and the utter faithlessness of remembrance in the relationship's good deeds and consequences is a breathtaking phenomenon. It's as if the positive qualities and countless achievements are struck from history as a revisionist might strike the Holocaust. Into all of this the family court system wades, often inelegantly. Divorce lawyers drive up the emotional and financial toll of separation and transformation. Family and friends frequently collude to make things worse.

And when government decides to rear its head, well, it's a mess for all the world to see. Witness the recent attention on Ontario's euphemistically branded Family Responsibility Office. A job in advertising doubtlessly greeted the person who came up with its title, because it suggests some sort of feel-good missionary work to hold together the sanctity of the institution.   Read More ..

Women's Post Newspaper

"Canada's national newspaper for professional women"

The Family Responsibility Office Under Scrutiny

On June 9, 2005 the McGuinty government announced the passage of Bill 155, legislation that promised to increase enforcement, improve fairness and enhance efficiency at the Family Responsibility Office (FRO).

However, the legislation did not address the problem of accountability and, as things now stand, the FRO is a threat to every Canadian affected by a government regulated support and custody arrangement system. Think of George Orwell's 1984 and you'll have a good picture of how issues are handled at the FRO.

They have legal power to extort money from Canadians, but are not responsible or accountable for their actions.

Last year an FRO staff member decided not to wait for a court date to review the financial status of an out-of-work truck driver and took it upon themselves to suspend his license because he was, understandably, behind on his payments, having lost his job earlier in the year. Although he was looking for work, the FRO cut off the only way he knew of to earn a living. His suicide note explained how he'd lost all hope. Is this what we want FRO to be doing?  Read More ..

Wicked mum murdered son, 8, with electrical cables after he caught her in sex romps with his granddad

The Mirror, UK, October 19 2016

Vicious Veronica Panarello throttled her son Loris to death and abandoned his body in a remote gully after he found out about the fling.

Veronica Panarello, the mother-killer

The "manipulative" mum,  wept as she was jailed for 30 years at a court in Italy on Monday

 

A wicked mum who brutally murdered her eight-year-old son after he allegedly discovered she was having an affair with his grandfather has been jailed.

Vicious Veronica Panarello throttled her son Loris Stival with electrical cables and abandoned his body in a remote gully after he found out about the fling.

The "manipulative" mum wept as she was jailed for 30 years at a court in Italy on Monday.

Panarello, 28, had tried to pretend her son had been abducted to cover up the horrendous killing in November 2014.

Panarello throttled her eight-year-old son Loris to death with electrical cables. Read More ..

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.

Canada's
national "Child Day"

November 20th

Canada's "Child Day" is held on November 20th each year as designated by the Parliament of Canada in 1993.

It commemorates the United Nations adoption of two landmark documents concerned with the human rights of all children and youths.  Read More ..