Criminal gangs have infiltrated postal delivery services across the country to intercept secretly marked packages of drugs to divert into the £200m-a-year market in bootlegged medicines, according to officials.
Millions of pounds of knock-off pills have been seized in raids on black-market dispensaries that revealed the role of corrupt postal workers in hoarding imported drugs for criminal wholesalers, according to investigators.
Subcontracted drivers working for Parcelforce – the parcel delivery arm of the Royal Mail – are under investigation after delivery vans were suspected to have stopped outside addresses without dropping off packages, said officials at the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The drivers are understood to have identified packages as carrying illicit drugs from their distinctive packaging – or because they were addressed to recognised false names.
Children could have to wait four days for their Christmas presents this year after it emerged that Royal Mail is set to be allowed to skip deliveries on Boxing Day.
The UK’s national postal service has asked for permission to skip deliveries on Saturday December 26 because it says so little post and mail is still in the system after the pre-Christmas rush.
The news will mean that any Christmas presents ordered late over the internet and not delivered by December 24th will not be delivered until Tuesday December 29th.
This is because Royal Mail – which was privatised by the Government last year – is also not delivering on Monday December 28, which is designated a Bank Holiday. It will also mean that postmen and women will have to wait until the following Tuesday to collect their traditional Christmas “boxes” from homeowners.
A deal has been brokered between Canada Post and the union representing six Saskatoon letter carriers who are refusing to deliver a graphic anti-abortion flyer.
According to Julee Sanderson, president of Canadian Union of Postal Workers in Saskatoon (CUPW), Canada Post will not force the six letter carriers to deliver the anti-abortion flyers. Instead, three other letter carriers have volunteered to deliver the flyers.
The six letter carriers opposed to delivering the flyers will pick up jobs from the three volunteers instead. Sanderson said Canada Post’s decision to agree to the job sharing is a rare compromise.
“The best case scenario has played itself out, you know, people who had a true issue with the content and the graphic nature of the flyer, were not forced to deliver the flyer,” she said.
Communications regulator Ofcom has accused Royal Mail of breaching competition law after it proposed raising prices for its bulk mail delivery customers.
Bulk mail is collected by other postal firms from businesses and passed to Royal Mail for sorting and delivery.Royal Mail set out the price changes in January 2014, before withdrawing them.
Rival firm Whistl, which had planned its own delivery network, claimed the price hikes were anti-competitive.
Ofcom said its specific allegations include that “changes to Royal Mail’s wholesale prices for bulk mail delivery services contained a differential in pricing which meant that, in practice, higher access prices would be charged to… customers that competed with Royal Mail in delivery than to those access customers that did not”.
At the time that the price increase was proposed, TNT Post – now Whistl – was proposing to launch a rival bulk letter sorting and delivery service for business customers.
Following the price hike, it complained to the regulator about anti-competitive practice on the part of Royal Mail and ultimately gave up on its rival venture.
OTTAWA – Alice Munro, the recognized master of the exquisitely honed short story and the first Canadian woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, is celebrated on a new stamp that pays homage to elements of her work.
The stamp incorporates a photograph of Munro that was taken by her daughter Sheila, a sample of the author’s handwriting from archival material, and vintage images of Wingham, Ont., the small town in which Munro was born. Many believe that Wingham inspired her fictional town of Jubilee, in which many of her stories are set. The stamp was designed by Marcio Morgado and Paul Haslip of Toronto’s HM&E Design.
“Alice Munro is not only one of Canada’s most critically acclaimed writers but also one of the most popular,” says the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport and responsible for Canada Post. “Her stories have garnered recognition worldwide and this tribute adds to her lifetime of honours.”
“Our stamp program recognizes the achievements of Canadians,” says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO of Canada Post. “As fans of this prolific author know, Ms. Munro’s literary talent, wisdom and humanity, reflected in her stories over several decades, have earned her recognition that few writers in any language or country attain.”
Alice Munro’s early works found their way into Canadian literary journals and CBC Radio’s Anthology. Her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, was published in 1968. In the mid-1970s, her short stories began appearing regularly in The New Yorker, bringing her a broader, international audience. She has been awarded three Governor-General’s awards in 1968, 1978 and 1986, Giller prizes in 1998 and 2004, and the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in 2009.
When she was presented with her Nobel Prize in 2013, a representative of the Nobel Committee for Literature said, “Reading one of her texts is like watching a cat walk across a laid dinner table. … Alice Munro is often able to say more in 30 pages than an ordinary novelist is capable of in 300.”
The stamp’s release date of July 10 marks Munro’s birthday.
About the stamp
The pressure-sensitive stamp – printed by Colour Innovations Inc. on Tullis Russell paper using lithography in five colours – is available in booklets of 10 and measures 26 mm x 32 mm (vertical), with simulated perforations. The Official First Day Cover will be cancelled in Wingham, Ont. To purchase philatelic products, please visit canadapost.ca/shop.
OTTAWA, July 9, 2015 /CNW/ – Canada Post is proposing to increase postage rates in 2016 as declining mail volumes continue to have a significant impact on its financial situation.
Canada Post proposes to increase the postage rate for Domestic LettermailTM items weighing 30 grams or less when purchased in a booklet, coil or pane to $0.90 from the current rate of $0.85. The price of a single stamp would remain$1.00. The rate change would take effect on January 11, 2016 and replace rates that will have been in effect for 21 months.
Lettermail volumes have been declining for almost a decade. In 2014, Canada Post delivered 1.4 billion fewer pieces of Domestic Lettermail than in the peak year of 2006. Some of the biggest declines have occurred in 2015, accelerating the erosion of Canada Post’s core business. As mail volumes fall, the number of addresses served also rises every year, affecting Canada Post’s cost of doing business.
The Corporation is taking every action necessary to secure postal service for all Canadians and to avoid becoming a drain on taxpayers. It is proposing these new postage rates to help achieve its long-standing mandate of remaining financially self-sufficient.
Canada Post estimates the average Canadian household purchases fewer than two stamps a month, while the typical small business purchases fewer than 250 stamps per year.
Canadians can avoid the cost increase by purchasing PermanentTM stamps at the current rate of $0.85 in advance of the proposed rate changes coming into effect. Permanent or “P” stamps always retain their value and are valid postage regardless of when they were purchased.
Canada Post is also proposing to increase rates for other domestic Lettermail, U.S. and international Letter-post items and Domestic Registered MailTM.
The rate changes are one of several actions the Corporation is taking to achieve financial self-sufficiency. In December 2013, Canada Post announced its Five-point Action Plan to transform its business and preserve postal service for all Canadians. As part of the Plan, Canada Post introduced a new tiered pricing structure for Domestic Lettermail that provided discounts to customers who purchase stamps in booklets, coils or panes.
The current proposals will be published July 11, 2015 in the Canada Gazette Part I.
In a July 3 story that broke the very day they were issued, one of five new stamps celebrating UNESCO World Heritage Sites was found to have the wrong image. Canada Post will answer critics by withdrawing and shredding the stamps, and issuing a new stamp with an accurate image.
Sharadamani Amma, an 87-year-old great grandmother, remembers a time when the sight of mail runners would cause a great deal of excitement in the small Kerala village she grew up in. The appearance of these postal employees, who carried mail between post offices on foot, meant a letter or money order or, god forbid, a telegram—a sure sign of ill news.
But those days are long gone. The postmen are no longer held in high regard in most of the country, and few in the current generation would have even stepped into a post office, at least in urban India.
New age e-commerce companies want to change this. The likes of Amazon and Snapdeal already have pilot projects running with India Post, while newspaper reports suggest that Flipkart is set to follow suit.
Ofcom has today announced a fundamental review of the regulation of Royal Mail.
The review will ensure regulation remains appropriate and sufficient to secure the universal postal service, given the recent withdrawal by Whistl from the ‘direct delivery’ letters market, which has resulted in Royal Mail no longer being subject to national competition. Continue reading →