Czech authorities jail Lankan man for abusing passport

Even after the war, the government troops continued torturing and raping V.M., also due to his sister who cooperated with the Tamil Tigers radical group. According to lawyers, it is extremely tough to imprison a man for using another person’s passport and having a single faked stamp, mainly if he is a refugee who most probably experienced torture in his homeland, HN writes. “This is an everlasting problem. We know about similar cases of a family from Azerbaijan and a man from Congo,” she said.The Czech Foreigner Police deny any wrongdoing. They insist that V.M. did not apply for asylum at the airport, not even after a Tamil interpreter was invited.It is difficult to solve the dispute as neither impartial witnesses nor a police recorded interview with V.M. exist, the daily writes.After completing his prison service, V.M. was to be expelled from the Czech Republic, according to the court verdict, but he may further stay in detention until his asylum request is decided on, Hola said.The asylum proceedings may take many months or even years, she said.HN reporters recently applied for being permitted to visit V.M. in prison, but the prison director Petr Suk rejected the application, the daily writes. (Colombo Gazette) A Sri Lankan man who allegedly experienced torture at home and arrived in Prague late last year to seek asylum has ended in a Czech prison, sentenced for abusing another person’s passport, the daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) reported.The 28-year-old man was arrested by the Czech police and was convicted and is in the Prague-Pankrac prison, HN writes. V.M. finally succeeded in leaving Sri Lanka using an Indian passport that a friend provided for him, HN writes.V.M. applied for Czech asylum immediately after arriving at the Prague airport, but the police ignored his request and no one dealt with his life story. “Finally he could apply for asylum from prison in March, with our assistance,” Hola said.According to Frankova, this is not the only case when the Czech police ignored a foreigner’s application for asylum. However, Hana Frankova, lawyer from the Czech Organisation for Aid to Refugees (OPU), said V.M.’s story is quite trustworthy.“We have enough evidence to trust him…He repeatedly presents details that cannot be known to anyone except those who experienced such situations. Moreover, his testimony corresponds to the testimonies of other people coming from the Sri Lanka region,” said Hola.Frankova and Hola said V.M. had suffered due to the persisting tension between the Sinhalese Buddhist majority and the Tamil Hindu minority, which previously resulted in a 25-year-long civil war that ended in Sri Lanka in 2009. “A prison sentence is definitely inappropriate in this case. We dealt with a similar case in the past, when a Sri Lankan man was only sentenced to three months, a period identical with the time he spent in custody before the trial,” Hola said.The judge, in her verdict, said V.M. forged his documents with a clear intention to reach France. “In this context, his assertion about his alleged persecution looks very untrustworthy. If he really had faced persecution, he would have presented his genuine identity at the Czech customs checks,” the judge said. “He was punished for having arrived using a passport of another man, an Indian. He also used a forged Schengen entry stamp. However, from the beginning he has made it clear that he is a refugee and wants to apply for asylum,” V.M.’s lawyer Eva Hola is quoted as saying. read more

Labatt Breweries buys craft brewer Mill Street for undisclosed amount

Labatt Breweries buys craft brewer Mill Street for undisclosed amount by David Friend, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 9, 2015 7:29 am MDT Last Updated Oct 9, 2015 at 5:05 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Mill Street Brewery CEO Irvine Weitzman, left to right, Labatt Breweries Canada President Jan Craps, Brewmaster Joel Manning and Mill Street co-founder Steve Abrams pose for a photo in the Mill Street Brewery in Toronto on Friday, October 9, 2015. Labatt Breweries of Canada have announced it’s purchase of the Mill Street Brewery, a craft brewery based in Toronto. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young TORONTO – The loyalties of craft beer aficionados were put to the test Friday with the announcement that Mill Street Brewery, one of Canada’s leading makers of craft beer, is being swallowed by the world’s largest brewing company.Under the agreement, privately held Mill Street is to be taken over by Labatt Breweries, a subsidiary of Belgian-based Anheuser-Busch InBev — a prospect that has raised concern among some of the company’s longtime customers.This is Labatt’s sixth acquisition of a North American craft brewer since 2011 and the deal immediately raised questions about how to define craft breweries in a multinational industry that’s purposely making the boundaries murkier than ever.Mill Street will continue to operate as a stand-alone company as it looks for ways to expand production and capacity, said co-founder Steve Abrams.Over the past few years, the craft brewer has seen average sales growth of more than 15 per cent annually.“Many craft brewers in Ontario are experiencing this huge surge just to keep up with demand,” Abrams said in an interview.“This immediate infusion of capital will assist us in getting tanks and more equipment.”However, those aspirations may not sit well with craft beer drinkers, who pride themselves in supporting local products made in small batches.Some of them quickly took to Twitter to express dismay over the future of the Mill Street brand.“Goodbye to craft. Hello average,” posted @Simmsation on Twitter shortly after the announcement was made.“Oh no! What a shame, I liked Tankhouse. I need to find a new beer,” added @nfitz1, referring to one of the company’s trademark brews.Others decided to take a more creative approach, considering ways that Labatt could mesh its Labatt Blue line with the Mill Street reputation.“Might I suggest ‘Mill Street Blues’ as their first hybrid ale?” said @jeremysale.Mill Street itself will also lose some of its support from the Ontario government under the province’s initiative to help grow the market share of craft brewers.While Mill Street will still be considered a craft brewer, it will not be a “small brewer,” which strips it of certain benefits, said a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Charles Sousa.Press secretary Kelsey Ingram said in an email that Mill Street “will now be treated as any other Labatt-owned brand,” which includes bumping Mill Street from the Ontario craft section of the LCBO and eliminating the favoured marketing support given to smaller players.Meanwhile, beer drinkers will be cautious about assurances that Mill Street won’t change under the rule of a global brewer with a reputation for sweeping cost reductions to stay competitive.Labatt bought discount beermaker Lakeport Brewery in 2007 when “buck a beer” was all the rage, and then shut down its Hamilton facility three years later after deciding it was cheaper to fold production into Labatt’s operations in London, Ont.While Labatt didn’t announce how much it will pay for Mill Street, it plans to invest $10 million into the company’s existing brewery operations, which it says will remain open.“We think that this partnership will really help expand awareness of craft across the country,” said Charlie Angelakos, Labatt’s vice-president of corporate affairs.The popularity of craft breweries has been on the rise across Canada for years. While overall beer consumption declined by six per cent in 2014, craft beer servings grew by seven per cent, according to recent findings from data research company NPD Group.Stephen Beaumont, an industry watcher and author on beer trends, said the takeover didn’t come as a surprise because of the international buying spree for craft brewers at Anheuser-Busch InBev.Labatt has also played in the craft brew market itself, under a relatively low profile, positioning its Shock Top line of beers in the microbrew department at liquor stores.Despite its reputation, Mill Street isn’t a stranger to corporate partnerships either.The brewery opened a branded pub at Pearson Airport in Toronto three years ago, and paired with hotel chain Fairmont for a honey ale named after the company’s Royal York Hotel, because it harvested from beehives on the building’s rooftop.“They will likely face a good deal of blow-back from the craft community, for all that relatively small percentage of the market means,” Beaumont said.“I don’t think (Mill Street) will change their beers, but for a lot of people the cachet of buying craft beer will be lost.”Mill Street was started in 2002 with modest aspirations by its three founders, but its success pushed them to move its facilities to a larger space four years later that could handle rising demand.Since then, it has amassed a variety of accolades, including Canadian brewery of the year at Canadian Brewing Awards for three consecutive years starting in 2007.Labatt — once an independent giant in Canada’s beer industry — was bought in 1995 by a Belgian group that has continued to grow by buying and merging with other companies around the world. The group, now called Anheuser-Busch InBev, is currently attempting to buy the world’s second-biggest beermaker SABMiller.The founders of Mill Street are hopeful that despite early criticism, their beers will reach new markets, starting with Quebec — the only province that currently doesn’t have any distribution of the brand.Follow @dj_friend on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version noted Mill Street would be removed from the craft beer section at LCBO. It is being bumped from a specific part of the craft beer section which highlighted Ontario craft brews. read more