UNICEF to launch Caucasus peace programme after Russian school massacre

“It is time to look to the future and try to heal age-old wounds,” said Carel de Rooy, UNICEF Representative in Russia. “In the aftermath of Beslan, we fear that things will get worse unless we work with children and young people to build tolerance and understanding,” he added of the town in the Russian Federation’s republic of North Ossetia, where 338 people were killed and 747 injured in a hostage taking linked to separatists in the nearby republic of Chechnya. “It seems fitting, after the tragic events in Beslan, that schools should be at the heart of efforts to build peace and reconciliation,” he said. The programme will begin in January with a study tour to existing peace education programmes supported by UNICEF, and will include art competitions, sports contests, youth discussions, exchange visits and summer camps for children and young people from different ethnic groups and religions. It is scheduled to run initially until December 2005 and will require $500,000. UNICEF provided medical supplies to the survivors within hours of the siege at School Number One in Beslan. It has provided education materials for the remaining schools in the town to make them more welcoming for children. It is also supporting psychological counselling for survivors, their families and other affected children in the town. read more

UN summit meeting in 2005 to review progress towards global antipoverty goals

Unanimously adopting a resolution on the format and organization of its work from late June through mid-September, the Assembly agreed that a High-Level Millennium review would be held from 14 to 16 September, and include the same format of debates and roundtable discussions of the 2000 Millennium Summit. At that meeting four years ago, world leaders adopted the Millennium Declaration that provided a blueprint to build a better and safer world for the next century through collective security and a global partnership for development. The MDGs themselves aim at a series of ambitious targets, ranging from halving extreme poverty, to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, to providing universal primary education, all by 2015. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a report last month unveiling his ideas for the five-year review summit that the decisions to be taken at the meeting “may determine the whole future of the United Nations.” He added: “Even more important, they will offer us our best – perhaps our only – chance to ensure a safer, more just and more prosperous world in the new century, not only for our own sakes but for those of our children and grandchildren.” The Assembly also decided to hold a High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development as a follow-up to the 2002 UN International Conference on Financing for Development, which was held in Monterrey, Mexico. The session would convene from 27 and 28 June 2005 in New York immediately prior to the ministerial segment of the 2005 substantive session of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in order for the Dialogue’s recommendations to be considered during the preparatory process for the Millennium review. For its sixtieth session, the Assembly scheduled its traditional general debate – which attracts heads of State and government from across the planet – for 17 September to 23 September, and 26 September to 28 September 2005 on the understanding that those arrangements in no way created a precedent for future sessions. read more

UN refugee chief brings back grim images of victims of Sudans conflicts

“Governments have an obligation to protect their citizens,” Acting High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Wendy Chamberlin told a news briefing in Geneva. “I think that there are people who are not protected right now in Sudan.”She spoke of Omdurman es Salaam, a camp near Khartoum that houses 120,000 IDPs, many of them from southern Sudan where a peace accord in January ended two decades of war between Government and rebel forces.”The conditions are very bad there, sometimes even worse than in Darfur, and certainly worse than in Chad,” she added, referring to a separate ongoing conflict in Sudan’s western region where more than 1.8 million people have been displaced internally and 200,000 more have fled across the border into Chad.”What really disturbed us is that 13,000 houses have recently been destroyed there, affecting 17,000 families,” she said. Last week while in Sudan she noted that the Government had evicted 30,000 southerners who had lived in Shikan until the end of December, dumping them in a desert area.Of her visit to Darfur, where a conflict that began two years ago, when rebels took up arms partly in protest at the distribution of economic resources two years ago, has been compounded by armed militia attacks on villages, Ms. Chamberlin told of an eight-year-old IDP girl in one camp near El Geneina.”This girl had been repeatedly raped, night after night. We of course gave her immediate attention and cared for her,” she said. “But we went beyond that. We also try to put in place protection processes so that other children will be protected as well. We have established a child-safe centre in this camp and if we have more funds, we have plans to build up similar structures in other camps.”She stressed that the IDPs, especially women, highly praised the role of African Union soldiers who escort them when they venture out of the camp to collect wood, as this is usually the time when women are attacked and raped by armed groups.When she asked them what their three most important concerns were, they replied: “Security, security, security.”In neighbouring Chad, refugees in Touloum camp told the Acting High Commissioner their main concerns were food, water and literacy classes for women. “But security is not a concern for these populations, which is a positive thing,” she said.She stressed that UNHCR has a unique protective role to play, but it cannot fully meet its goals because “we are limited by funds.”In Darfur, we asked for $30 million but only received $2 million for the moment. So we are still looking for $28 million to implement our protection role over there.”In Chad, the agency needs over $80 million but has only received $30 million. And for southern Sudan, which counts more than 4.5 million IDPs, the agency is asking for $61 million but has received less than $9 million. read more

Nova Scotia Power customers should pay for biomass plant if necessary premier

Nova Scotia Power customers should pay for biomass plant if necessary: premier by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 19, 2012 2:52 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email HALIFAX – Nova Scotia Power customers should pay the costs of operating a biomass plant for the next two years if a deal to sell a shuttered Cape Breton paper mill goes through, Premier Darrell Dexter said Thursday.But Dexter said any concerns that running the mill, which closed last fall, won’t offset the cost of running the biomass facility are “false” and “hypothetical.”Dexter said the economic ramifications of the mill not reopening would exceed what Nova Scotia Power customers would pay to operate the $208-million biomass plant.“We want the mill to operate and we want it to operate because it’s an important part of the economic architecture of the province,” he said.“The loss in terms of economic impact and in terms of the contribution to the province would far exceed any cost associated with the operation of the biomass plant.”His comments come a day after a lawyer raised the possibility of power customers facing the costs of running the biomass plant at a Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board hearing.The hearing into a proposed discount electricity rate for the mill concluded Wednesday, and the prospective buyer of the mill is urging the regulator to make a decision before the end of August.Pacific West Commercial has said that without a decision in its favour and approval from the Canada Revenue Agency, the deal to buy the mill could collapse.The operation in Point Tupper, N.S., shut down last September, throwing 600 employees out of work and affecting another 400 forestry contractors. It was closed after struggling with soaring fuel and electricity costs, a strong Canadian dollar and declining demand.It is under creditor protection until the end of August. read more

National Bank raises dividend Q4 profit up 20 per cent from year

by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Dec 6, 2012 11:04 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email MONTREAL – National Bank announced Thursday it that its quarterly dividend will go up in the new year, following a fourth quarter that saw its net income rise 20 per cent over the same time last year.The Montreal-based bank’s quarterly dividend on common shares will increase by five per cent or four cents to 83 cents per common share, starting with the January payout to shareholders.It joins Quebec-based rival Laurentian Bank and Alberta-based Canadian Western Bank (TSX:CWB), which also announced dividend increases this week. Four bigger Canadian banks have kept their dividends unchanged in their announcements.John Aiken of Barclays Capital said the results represent National Bank’s best quarter to date and, unlike other banks, it didn’t benefit from an unusually low tax rate.“Unlike the other banks that have reported to date, there are very few negative issues to point at in National’s earnings, particularly on a relative basis,” Aiken wrote in a report.“Solid earnings, capped with what will likely be the only dividend increase this quarter (among the large Canadian banks), should garner some relative outperformance for National.”Aiken said future dividend increases are “a distinct possibility” because National Bank’s payout ratio still remains below 45 per cent.National (TSX:NA), which is the country’s sixth-largest bank, announced Thursday that its profit for the three months ended Oct. 31 amounted to $351 million or $1.97 per share.For the full year ended Oct. 31, National bank had $1.6 billion of net income — up 26 per cent from 2011. That amounted to $9.32 per share of diluted earnings, up 35 per cent from the same time last year.Adjusting for one-time items, the bank earned $343 million or $1.93 per share for the quarter and $1.4 billion or $7.86 per share for the full year, in line with analyst forecasts.Revenues grew by 15 per cent to $1.35 billion in the quarter and to $5.1 billion for the year.“For the fourth quarter of 2012 and the year as a whole, the bank performed well on the strength of personal loan growth, financial market trading, and contributions from the wealth management acquisitions,” stated president and CEO Louis Vachon.He said the bank’s loan portfolio is among the best in the industry and it will continue to invest prudently.Net interest income from the personal and commercial segment rose $12 million the quarter as higher personal loan volume partially offset narrower net interest margins.Gains on available-for-sale securities increased $20 million, mainly because of a disposal gain on the investments sold during the TMX transaction.Underwriting and advisory fees and revenues from trust services and mutual funds increased by $27 million following the integration of Wellington West Holdings Inc. and HSBC Securities full-service investment advisory business.The increase in revenues during the year resulted from factors, including a gain on the sale of the operations of NatCan Investment Management Inc., personal loan volume growth and wealth management acquisitions.National Bank’s provision for credit losses was $46 million during the quarter, a decrease of $4 million. Gross impaired loans were $387 million, a $20 million decrease from a year ago.The core personal and commercial segment’s profits were unchanged at $157 million but grew by seven per cent to $168 million excluding severances.The wealth management segment’s net income totalled $30 million, down $44 million from a year ago on higher operating costs due to acquisitions. On an adjusted bases, profits fell 10 per cent to $45 million.Financial markets net income grew by $33 million to $107 million but were up 57 per cent to $124 million excluding severances.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, National’s shares lost 41 cents at $77.36 in morning trading. National Bank raises dividend, Q4 profit up 20 per cent from year earlier read more

Encouraging news on US job market and higher corporate profits lift stock

Encouraging news on US job market and higher corporate profits lift stock prices by The Associated Press Posted May 2, 2013 4:15 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email NEW YORK, N.Y. – Encouraging news about the job market and higher profits from CBS, Facebook and other companies sent stock prices higher on Wall Street.The Dow Jones industrial average rose 130 points, or 0.9 per cent, to close at 14,831 Thursday, wiping out nearly all of its 138-point fall the day before.The Standard & Poor’s 500 climbed 15 points, or 0.9 per cent, to 1,597.The Nasdaq rose 41 points, or 1.3 per cent, to 3,340 points.CBS and Facebook rose after reporting income that was better than Wall Street analysts had been expecting.The Labor Department reported that applications for unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low last week.Three stocks rose for every one that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. Volume was slightly below average at 3.4 billion shares. read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX TSX Venture Exchange markets

TORONTO – Some of the most active companies traded Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (12,669.04 up 21.14 points):Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd. (TSX:CLL). Oil and gas. Down eight cents, or 24.62 per cent, at 24.5 cents on 9.36 million shares. The energy sector slipped 0.51 per cent to 254.15 points as the price of crude oil dipped 15 cents US to $104.55 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.Uranium One Inc. (TSX:UUU). Miner. Unchanged at $2.72 on 9.24 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Transportation equipment. Up 16 cents, or 3.27 per cent, at $5.06 on 7.25 million shares. Its transportation subsidiary won a US$383 million contract to help deliver technology for a transit system in Saudi Arabia.Energizer Resources Inc. (TSX:EGZ). Mine explorer. Up 16.5 cents, or 150 per cent, at 27.5 cents on 7.18 million shares. The Toronto-based company’s shares soared after it tested greater than 99.9 per cent graphitic carbon on a purification test from its Molo flake graphite deposit in Madagascar.Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ). Oil and gas. Down 23 cents, or 0.71 per cent, at $31.97 on 3.15 million shares.Toronto Venture Exchange (924.69 down 0.60 point):Alberta Oilsands Inc. (TSXV:AOS). Oilsands explorer. Up half a cents, or 3.57 per cent, at 14.5 cents on 8.68 million shares.ArPetrol Ltd. (TSXV:RPT). Oil and gas exploration. Unchanged at half a cent on 5.82 million shares.Company reporting major news:Hudson’s Bay Co. (TSX:HBC). Retail. Up 96 cents, or 5.82 per cent, at $17.45 on 1.10 million shares after announcing it will buy U.S. luxury retailer Saks in a US$2.9-billion friendly deal. Canada’s oldest retailer said it will open up to seven full-line Saks stores in Canada, about two dozen locations under a discount banner and is eyeing the possibility of starting a real estate investment trust.Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ). Down $1.07, or 19.63 per cent, at $1.96 million shares. The mining company is expecting a delay in developing its Oyu Tolgoi copper project in Mongolia due to the government’s financing process. The company formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines said it continues to work toward finalizing project financing, and says that operations of the open-pit mine will continue.Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (TSX:VRX). Phamarceutical. Down 34 cents, or 0.36 per cent, at $94.06 on 421,763 shares. The Canadian drugmaker will cut as much as 15 per cent of its work force, which is between 1,850 and 2,775 people companywide. It will also move Bausch + Lomb’s headquarters to New Jersey as part of its $8.7 billion acquisition. by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 29, 2013 5:33 pm MDT Most actively traded companies on the TSX, TSX Venture Exchange markets AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Big week for cable TV in Nielsen ratings behind Duck Dynasty on

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by David Bauder, The Associated Press Posted Aug 27, 2013 5:15 pm MDT Big week for cable TV in Nielsen ratings behind ‘Duck Dynasty’ on A&E, Miley Cyrus on MTV NEW YORK, N.Y. – With a new season of “Duck Dynasty” and the annual MTV Video Music Awards, two of the three most popular programs on television last week were on cable networks instead of broadcast.The exception was the CBS miniseries “Under the Dome,” which has led in the ratings for much of the summer.The MTV awards show was clearly the most talked about program, with Miley Cyrus’ risque dance routine setting social media records. The show was seen live on television Sunday by nearly 10.1 million people, sharply up from the 6.1 million viewers for last year’s program.The audience was bigger in 2010 and 2011 but slumped in the previous years, according to the Nielsen ratings company. For six years starting in 1999, the audience ranged from 9.8 million to just under 12 million.In another sign of how the television business has changed, only eight of the 25 most popular shows last week were reruns, including NBC’s weekly recap of the previous week’s “America’s Got Talent.” In years past, there were fewer first-run shows during the dog days of summer.CBS easily won the week in prime time, averaging 6.1 million viewers. NBC had 4.7 million viewers, ABC had 4.1 million, Univision had 3.2 million, Fox had 2.6 million, ION Television had 1.2 million, Telemundo had 1.1 million and the CW had 890,000.USA was the week’s most popular cable network, averaging 2.7 million viewers in prime time. The Disney Channel had 2.4 million, TNT had 2.24 million, ESPN had 2.16 million and History had 2.1 million.NBC’s “Nightly News” topped the evening newscasts with an average of 7.2 million viewers. ABC’s “World News” was a close second with 7 million, and the “CBS Evening News” had 5.8 million viewers.For the week of Aug. 19-25, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: “Under the Dome,” CBS, 10.64 million; “Duck Dynasty,” A&E, 10.07 million; “Video Music Awards,” MTV, 10.066 million; “America’s Got Talent” (Wednesday, 9 p.m.), NBC, 9.35 million; “60 Minutes,” CBS, 8.67 million; “America’s Got Talent” (Tuesday), NBC, 8.52 million; NFL Exhibition: Minnesota vs. San Francisco, NBC, 8.18 million; “NCIS,” CBS, 7.95 million; NFL Exhibition: Seattle vs. Green Bay, CBS, 7.68 million; “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS, 7.38 million.___ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is a unit of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. MTV is owned by Viacom Inc. A&E is owned by the A&E Television Networks.___Online:http://www.nielsen.com read more

Hyundai recalling 883000 Sonata midsize cars to fix problem with gear shift

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Jul 30, 2014 6:26 am MDT Hyundai recalling 883,000 Sonata midsize cars to fix problem with gear shift levers DETROIT – Hyundai is recalling its popular Sonata midsize sedan to fix problems with the gear shift levers.The recall covers 883,000 cars from the 2011 through 2014 model years.The Korean automaker says the automatic transmission shift cable can separate from the shift lever. If that happens, the lever may not show the correct gear, increasing the risk of a crash.The company says in documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators that it has received 1,171 warranty claims about the problem, plus seven other reports with related symptoms. The documents don’t say if there have been any crashes or injuries.Hyundai will notify owners by letter between now and the end of September. Dealers will inspect the shift cables and repair the connection if needed. read more

Cogeco reports solid 2014 financial results

Cogeco reports ‘solid’ 2014 financial results MONTREAL – Cogeco Cable Inc (TSX:CCA) is reporting an increase in profits for its 2014 fiscal year.The Montreal based company says it turned in earnings of $209.4 million for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31 compared to $184.9 million for fiscal 2013.The profit figures are after interest, taxes depreciation and amortization were factored in.Cogeco says its revenue for its fourth quarter was up by 4.2 per cent or $19.8 million and 15.1 per cent or $255.1 million for the overall fiscal year.Cogeco President and CEO Louis Audit says describes the financial performance as solid and attributes it to effective cost control and organic growth in its Canadian and American cable businesses and its data services.Cogeco Cable is the 11th largest cable operator in North America offering services in Quebec and Ontario as well as Western Pennsylvania, South Florida, Maryland/Delaware and South Carolina. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted Nov 1, 2014 3:22 pm MDT read more

HBC takes out 20year mortgage on Saks Fifth Avenue store in New

by The Canadian Press Posted Nov 24, 2014 5:49 am MDT HBC takes out 20-year mortgage on Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – Hudson’s Bay Company (TSX:HBC) says it is taking out a US$1.25 billion, 20-year mortgage for the ground floor of its Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York City.The mortgage has an expected interest rate of less than 4.4 per cent, with the transaction anticipated to close in early December.“What we love about it is that we have locked in these historic low interest rates for the next 20 years, which is going to be substantial cash savings to the company,” HBC governor and chief executive Richard Baker told analysts during a conference call Monday.Shares in HBC were up $1.78 or nearly nine per cent at $21.98 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the announcement.The Canadian retailer said the building at 611 Fifth Ave. has been appraised at approximately $4.1 billion (US$3.7 billion), leased at current market rates.The mortgage is expected to save the company at least $5 million in annualized cash interest expenses. The transaction will incur approximately US$76 million of one-time expenses.HBC said it also plans to spend US$250 million to renovate the New York store in the first half of 2015.Baker said the deal gives the company flexibility and control over its most important flagship property, including the possibility of setting it up as part of a potential real estate investment trust.“It allows us to maintain all the options of doing other things with the building over time as we decide if it’s something that should be or needs to be done,” he added.Baker said in June that the company was “committed to surfacing the value of our real estate, which we believe is unappreciated by the market.”Last year, the company signed a $650-million deal to sell and lease back its Queen Street store and Simpson Tower office complex in Toronto.Across Canada, the company has 90 Hudson’s Bay department stores and one outlet location as well as 69 Home Outfitters locations.It also has 50 Lord & Taylor department stores and 39 Saks Fifth Avenue locations in addition to 80 Off 5th discount stores.In 2011, Hudson’s Bay sold more than 200 Zellers locations in Canada to U.S. discounter Target as part of a $1.8-billion deal. read more

Saudi oil minister says market should handle low prices

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum & Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi speaks at the annual IHS CERAWeek global energy conference Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan) Saudi oil minister says market should handle low prices by David Koenig, The Associated Press Posted Feb 23, 2016 9:35 am MDT Last Updated Feb 23, 2016 at 2:01 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email HOUSTON – Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said Tuesday that production cuts to boost oil prices won’t work, and that instead the market should be allowed to work even if that forces some operators out of business.Ali Al-Naimi said production cuts by big, low-cost producers like Saudi Arabia would amount to subsidizing higher-cost ones — an apparent reference to U.S. shale oil drillers.Booming U.S. production effectively ended oil trades at more than $100 per barrel that were taking place less than two years ago. A barrel of U.S. crude is now hovering around $30, a price at which many shale operators are assumed to be losing money.“The producers of these high-cost barrels must find a way to lower their costs, borrow cash or liquidate,” Naimi said. “It sounds harsh, and unfortunately it is, but it is the more efficient way to rebalance markets.”Naimi disputed a common view in the industry: that Saudi Arabia has kept pumping oil to protect its market share and undercut shale producers. “We have not declared war on shale or on production from any given country or company,” he said.Naimi spoke at a gathering of global energy leaders in Houston.The price of benchmark U.S. crude fell Tuesday by nearly 5 per cent to $31.81 a barrel. Brent crude, used to price oil internationally, dropped $1.36 to $33.31 a barrel in London.Just a day earlier, oil prices surged after the International Energy Agency predicted that oil supply and demand would balance next year because of a steep drop in new drilling, namely in the U.S. The group’s executive director, Fatih Birol, predicted that crude would more than double to $80 a barrel by 2020.Shale and other new sources attracted by years of high oil prices pushed the supply of oil much higher than global demand, leading to the sharp drop in crude prices since mid-2014.OPEC decided in late 2014 that it would not cut production to prop up prices, and Naimi echoed OPEC’s thinking. “Cutting low-cost production to subsidize higher-cost supplies only delays an inevitable reckoning,” he said.Analysts expect more U.S. shale operators will fail unless prices rise. Mark Papa, now an investment firm executive and the former CEO of EOG Resources, an early shale-gas producer, said the shale boom created many new companies. In the next year or so there will be “bodies all over the place — a lot of bankruptcies,” and drillers who survive will emerge weaker, he said.Others say that it might not take much of a rally in oil prices for shale drillers to thrive.Vance Scott, an Ernst & Young consultant to oil and gas companies, said shale operators are continuing to cut costs and can squeeze subcontractors more and improve efficiency with technological advances in drilling.“They could make a go at $40 and maybe even lower” depending on the field, Scott said. “They will innovate.”While Naimi rejected production cuts as politically unworkable, he endorsed a freeze on production at current levels if major oil-producing countries go along. The freeze idea, floated last week by Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar, would be a more gradual path to higher oil prices, but it faces uncertain prospects. Iran, just coming off international sanctions, wants to boost its production.“If a freeze even gets done it really does not accelerate the rebalancing of the global market, especially with Iran not participating,” said Dominick Chirichella, an analyst with the Energy Management Institute. Matching supply to demand would still linger “well into 2017,” he said.The 81-year-old Naimi, who joined Aramco, the old Arabian American Oil Co., as an office boy in 1947, said he had seen oil prices swing from $2 to $147 a barrel. The current price slump, which has led to layoffs across the U.S. oil industry, is just another of oil’s inevitable boom-and-bust cycles, he said.“It is going to end,” Naimi said. “When, I don’t know, but it will end.”?z?????????????????????????????????y read more

BC judge says workplace law too vague union leaders question industry impact

by Geordon Omand, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 26, 2016 12:46 pm MDT Last Updated Feb 26, 2016 at 6:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email VANCOUVER – A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has concluded the province’s workplace-safety laws are too vague in a decision union leaders say threatens to undermine B.C.’s entire regulatory regime.Justice George Macintosh tossed out allegations on Friday that an asbestos-removal contractor and his son disobeyed a 2012 court order to comply with the Workers Compensation Act, saying the law is too complex and difficult to understand.“If the court is to punish anyone for not carrying out its orders, the order must in unambiguous terms direct what is to be done,” Macintosh said.“Even if every word of the act or the regulation (were) contained in the order, it would still be impossible in my view for the respondents to know when they went to work each day whether their work put them … in contempt of this court.”The 2012 order was directed at Seattle Environmental Consulting Ltd., owner Mike Singh and his son Shawn Singh.Between 2007 and 2012, WorkSafeBC issued 237 violation notices to the company and two men. It also imposed fines in excess of $200,000.Those breaches included failing to correctly identify asbestos during building surveys, neglecting to put up warning signs and leaving potentially contaminated drywall debris uncovered on countertops and carpets.Macintosh’s ruling also dismissed the Singhs’ application that the 2012 order be set aside, despite finding it “overly broad and unclear.”Mike Singh said he was happy with the decision but that he would appeal Macintosh’s decision upholding the court order.“I want to make it clear … we do not expose people to asbestos, period,” Singh said.Lee Loftus of the B.C. Insulators Union described the judgment as “ludicrous.”“This is just right off the wall for me,” Loftus said outside the courthouse.“Here we have an employer that has hundreds of violations of the regulations that he has been documented with and served with. He knows what the law is. He knows what the regulation is. And the judge has ignored that.”Irene Lanzinger, president of the B.C. Federation of Labour, said the notion that a company with expertise in asbestos removal wouldn’t understand the laws governing its industry is “nonsense.”“We will be urging (the Workers Compensation Board) to appeal,” she said.WorkSafeBC spokeswoman Trish Chernecki said the agency will review the ruling in detail and consider its legal options, including filing an appeal.The head of the Hazardous Materials Association, Don Whyte, said he was shocked by what he called “the wrong decision.”“They teach me in elementary school that ignorance of the law is no excuse,” Whyte said. “Now we have a judgment that is telling us that if the law is too complex you don’t have to follow it.”This ruling will call into question the entire regulatory regime governed by the Workers Compensation Act, he added.— Follow @gwomand on Twitter B.C. judge says workplace law too vague, union leaders question industry impact read more

Canadian job market bounces back in August after big drop

The Canadian job market rebounded last month, gaining back much of the ground lost in July.The economy created 26,200 net new jobs in August compared with a loss of 31,200 in the previous month, Statistics Canada said Friday.However, even with the increase in the number of jobs, the unemployment rate crept up to 7.0 per cent compared with 6.9 per cent in July as more people entered the labour force and started looking for work.Economists had expected a gain a 15,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6.9 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.Canada’s jobs numbers have been volatile in recent months.August’s employment data included a gain of 52,200 full-time jobs, nearly offsetting a loss of 71,400 full-time positions in July. The number of part-time jobs in August fell by 26,000 compared with a gain of 40,200 the previous month.TD Bank economist Brian DePratto said it was encouraging to see a modest rebound in hiring after the weak report for July, especially given the details in the latest reading.“Job growth came from full-time employment, and the unemployment rate rose for the ‘right’ reason as more Canadians were engaged with job markets in August, reversing a four month trend,” he wrote in a note to clients.“Still, this is a very volatile series, and we shouldn’t put too much weight on any given month. From a longer-term perspective, Canadian labour markets remain consistent with the economic lethargy that has characterized the first half of this year.”The number of jobs rose in Quebec by 22,000 in August as its unemployment rate edged up to 7.1 per cent from 7.0 per cent, while Newfoundland and Labrador gained 4,000 jobs in the month as its unemployment rate moved down to 12.3 per cent from 12.8 per cent. New Brunswick lost 3,000 jobs, with its unemployment rate dropping to 9.4 per cent from 9.7 per cent.Related stories:Bank of Canada raises concerns about economy, holds interest rate at 0.5%Canadian economy shrinks in second quarter, worst since 2009 financial crisisFull-time work takes big hit as Canada loses 31,200 jobs in JulyStatistics Canada said there was little change in the other provinces, but noted that Ontario saw an increase in its unemployment rate to 6.7 per cent from 6.4 per cent in July as more people sought work.The number of public sector employees jumped 57,000 in August, while the number of private sector jobs increased 8,300. The number of self-employed workers slipped by 39,100.The jobs report follows the Bank of Canada’s decision earlier this week to keep its key interest rate target on hold at 0.5 per cent where it has been for more than a year.In making its decision, the central bank raised concern about the strength of the Canadian economic recovery, noting that a drop in exports earlier this year was larger and more broad-based than expected.However, the Bank of Canada says it still expects a “substantial rebound” in the economy in the second half of the year. Woman looking through a filing cabinet. GETTY IMAGES/Raphye Alexius by Craig Wong, The Canadian Press Posted Sep 9, 2016 4:00 am MDT Last Updated Sep 9, 2016 at 9:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Canadian job market bounces back in August after big drop read more

CIBC head calls federal governments new housing measures prudent

CIBC head calls federal government’s new housing measures prudent by Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 12, 2016 11:00 am MDT Last Updated Oct 13, 2016 at 7:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email CIBC President and CEO Victor Dodig listens during the company’s annual and special meeting of shareholders in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday April 5, 2016. Dodig is supportive of a new package of federal measures aimed at easing risks in the country’s real estate system.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck OTTAWA – The chief executive at one of Canada’s biggest banks is supportive of a new package of federal measures aimed at easing risks in the country’s real estate system.CIBC’s Victor Dodig said Wednesday that government changes announced last week, which include tightening mortgage lending rules, are “prudent” and will help shore up the housing system.“It’s always a balancing act making sure that the housing market and the construction sector stay robust and employment stays robust, making sure that the banks continue to lend prudently and that consumers are borrowing prudently,” Dodig told The Canadian Press in an interview after his appearance at the Public Policy Forum on economic growth in Ottawa.“So, I think it’s a prudent measure to continue to make sure there’s stability in the system.”Last week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced changes designed to slow the injection of foreign cash into Canadian housing markets and to stiffen eligibility rules on prospective borrowers, including stress tests on mortgages.The government also proposed consultations on a policy that could see banks shoulder more of the risk for mortgage defaults.Dodig said he expects the consultations around so-called “lender risk sharing” to be constructive.“It’s been a hallmark for us to always work together,” said the CEO of CIBC (TSX:CM).“I think the goal of the government is to make sure that the taxpayer is not on the hook to support financial institutions in a perceived or real way.”Morneau’s announcement last week came amid concerns that real estate costs in the hot Toronto and Vancouver markets are out of reach for many Canadians. Some fear foreign investment in these areas has helped drive up prices.Later Wednesday, Morneau was asked during his appearance at the same Ottawa conference about concerns over potential impacts the housing changes could have on Canadians, including first-time home buyers.He said impacts will always accompany decisions that are meant to deal with long-term risks.“We think those impacts will be relatively short-term in nature, we think they’ll be relatively modest and will contribute to a longer, positive growth pattern for the country,” he said.The changes, he added, will potentially delay purchases for some buyers until they save up more for a bigger down payment or they might force some people to buy a home that’s a slightly better fit for their income.Morneau said the government’s goal is to ensure long-term stability for the market in a low-rate environment, which has seen the overall indebtedness of Canadians become a “significant challenge.”On the economy, Dodig spoke about his efforts to promote the creation of a growth fund for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses, similar to one launched in the United Kingdom.He said the fund would seek to fill financing gaps by offering long-term capital to companies in their early stages — but those already past the initial venture capital funding stage.The fund would also include an expert advisory group to help firms access talent, important networks and mentorship advice from people who have expertise in commercializing and scaling businesses.Dodig said he’s received an increasing level of support for the idea from Morneau, Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains and stakeholders in the private sector.He said he hoped to see it launched sometime next year.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter read more

Ivanka Trump shifting gears heading to Washington

Ivanka Trump shifting gears, heading to Washington by Catherine Lucey, The Associated Press Posted Jan 11, 2017 9:28 pm MDT Last Updated Jan 12, 2017 at 8:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email DES MOINES, Iowa – Ivanka Trump plans to step aside from her executive roles at the Trump Organization and her lifestyle brand, but says she is confident both businesses will continue to “thrive.”In a post on her Facebook page Wednesday, Ivanka Trump said she would take a “formal leave of absence” from her executive positions at the Trump Organization and her lifestyle brand — which offers shoes, clothes and messages of female empowerment.President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would put control of his company in the hands of his sons and an executive, put his business assets in a trust and take other steps to isolate himself from his business.Ivanka Trump said her company will be run by the current president and a board of trustees. For now, she is not taking a role in her father’s administration, but her husband Jared Kushner will serve as a senior advisor.As the family moves to Washington, Ivanka Trump said she will be focused on getting her three children settled. But she also stressed her ongoing interest in issues affecting women and girls and said she would seek to determine the “most impactful and appropriate ways for me to serve our country.”An informal adviser to Ivanka Trump is expected to join the White House. Goldman Sachs partner Dina Powell will be leaving the bank to take a role in the Trump administration, said a source with knowledge of the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity. The source said Powell is expected to focus economic issues and policies relating to women and will work with Ivanka Trump and Kushner.Powell declined to comment. The Trump transition team did not respond to questions.The Trump team has said Ivanka Trump will divest some assets and will receive fixed payments rather than a share of the profits from the Trump Organization. She will also not be involved in the company’s Washington hotel. No details have been released on her financial arrangement with the lifestyle brand.Transition officials also said Kushner will recuse himself from any matters impacting the Trump Organization. Richard Painter, who served as chief White House ethics counsellor for President George W. Bush, said separation will be key because “all of her assets and income are attributable to him.”Painter added that if Ivanka Trump continues to have a financial stake in her business, then Kushner must recuse himself from areas that impact it, like foreign trade.Ivanka Trump’s independent lifestyle brand promotes her image as a successful working mother and partners with companies to make the branded blush pink dresses and trendy booties offered in department stores.Just how successful the business will be without her actively involved is not clear. Brand licensing expert Michael Stone, chairman of the agency Beanstalk, said that celebrity-driven brands succeed best when consumers aspire to be like the personality and believe the person is involved with the developing the products.“I don’t know if just being a role model is enough to drive a product brand,” he said.He also noted that it takes time to develop a personal brand to the point that it survives without the person involved, like with Paul Newman’s Newman’s Own products or Perry Ellis fashion. While Ivanka Trump has been successful, she does not have that kind of longevity.“Is it going to fail completely, I doubt it,” said Stone. “But will it have the (same) growth curve?” FILE – In this Nov. 11, 2016, file photo, Ivanka Trump, daughter of President-elect Donald Trump, arrives at Trump Tower in New York. Ivanka Trump plans to step aside from her executive roles at the Trump Organization and her lifestyle brand, but says she is confident both businesses will continue to “thrive.” (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci, File) read more

Somalia Security Council discusses revised UN presence in Mogadishu

“This period of transformation, with its opportunities and challenges, requires a step change in the United Nations support to peacebuilding in Somalia,” the Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, told the Council. Mr. Zerihoun supported Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recommendation in his latest report to establish a broader peacekeeping mission in Mogadishu “to simultaneously provide enhanced support to peacekeeping and to meet other development and humanitarian objectives.” The new mission would include good offices, advice and assistance on security, peacekeeping and state-building, the preparation of elections, human rights and the rule of law, and assistance for the coordination of international assistance, Mr. Zerihoun said. The recommendation follows an integrated strategic assessment conducted late last year, building on discussions with Somali authorities, the African Union, civil society and international partners in Somalia and Kenya.The UN entities working on Somalia, including the UN Political Office (UNPOS) and UNSOA, which provides logistics for the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia (AMISOM), are due to steadily relocate to Somalia over the next six to 12 months, Mr. Zerihoun said. Last month, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman met with key Somali and UN officials during a visit to the capital, Mogadishu. He said Somalia was undergoing a “profound transformation” and needs a better coordinated and coherent response from the international community. Also speaking to the Council today, Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fawzia Y. H. Adam, reiterated her Government’s “strong position that there must be an integrated mission” in Mogadishu to assist the humanitarian situation, which remains critical for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by fighting. Ms. Adam also requested that the Council lift the 20-year-old UN arms embargo to allow Somali Defense Forces, supported by AMISOM, to fight Al-Shabaab and other militant groups. “Getting rid of the remnants of the Al-Shabaab is a top priority for us,” emphasized Ms. Adam. She added that the Government would put in place necessary mechanisms “to ensure that armaments do not fall into the wrong hands.” Mr. Zerihoun had said that relaxing the arms embargo “would take a calibrated approach based on all the factors,” including support for the Somali forces while avoiding proliferation of uncontrolled weapons. Somalia marked a historic political watershed last August when it swore-in the first formal parliament. The event ended a so-called “transition” phase which had begun with the 2004 launch of a UN-backed interim government after Somalis had been without a functioning government since the overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.“There is now a tangible sense of security and optimism in Mogadishu,” Mr. Zerihoun said. He cautioned, however, that the security sector needs development in parallel with enhanced support for the judiciary and respect for human rights, in particular to deal with ongoing threats to journalists and the incidents of sexual violence. read more

UN officials urge collective action to save Central African Republic from current

“The crisis that continues to unfold in the Central African Republic poses a test for the entire international community,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to the Security Council, as he outlined a set of measures to address the greatest risks facing the country. “The situation in the country has been on the agenda of the Security Council for many years now. But today’s emergency is of another, more disturbing magnitude. It is a calamity with a strong claim on the conscience of humankind,” said the United Nations chief. He noted that over the past year, CAR has witnessed, in quick succession, the violent overthrow of the Government, the collapse of State institutions and a descent into lawlessness and sectarian brutality. The crisis has already claimed thousands of lives, uprooted almost one million people and left more than 2.5 million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.The conflict erupted when mainly Muslim Séléka rebels launched attacks in December 2012 and has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones as mainly Christian militias known as anti-Balaka (anti-machete) have taken up arms. With whole populations being moved, Mr. Ban said “a creeping de facto partition of the country” is setting in, with Muslims in one part and Christians in another. “This separation is laying the seeds of conflict and instability for years, maybe generations, to come.”The UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Valerie Amos, who wrapped up a visit to CAR today, said she was “shocked” by burned homes and people so scared by violence that they sleep in the bush at night. She noted that tensions between communities are high, and stressed the need for more troops on the ground to provide security and protection across the country.Echoing the call for security and protection was Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), who also witnessed the desperate conditions facing the people of CAR as he travelled with Ms. Amos. Prior to the current crisis, the country was already struggling with its AIDS response. Since the violence began, two-thirds of people living with HIV on treatment have fled their homes and are no longer able to access the medicines and care they need. The African Union and France have deployed troops to CAR to help stem the violence, and Mr. Ban voiced his gratitude to them for saving many lives and providing protection where they can. “However, given the scale and geographic breadth of the violence, the security requirements far exceed the capabilities of the number of international troops now deployed,” he stated. “In places where there are no international forces, the choice for far too many civilians is to flee or be killed.“The human family must not shy away from what is happening today in the Central African Republic, or from our responsibilities – both yours and mine – under the United Nations Charter,” he stressed. “Events in the CAR have implications across the region, and summon us to defend universal values as well. This complex security, humanitarian, human rights and political crisis demands a comprehensive and integrated response.”The Secretary-General is expected to report soon to the Security Council on the outlines of a future UN peacekeeping operation with a robust mandate to protect civilians and promote stability in CAR. However, he noted, the deployment of a peacekeeping operation, if authorized, will take months. “The people of the Central African Republic do not have months to wait. The international community must act decisively now to prevent any further worsening of the situation and to respond to the dire needs of the country’s people.”Therefore, he proposed a six-point initiative to address the greatest risks being faced by the people of CAR, beginning with a call for the rapid reinforcement of the AU and French troops now on the ground with additional deployments of at least 3,000 more troops and police.He also proposed that all international forces in CAR be brought under a single coordinated command, and that the mission of these forces be focused on the most urgent priorities. These include containing the violence, protecting civilians, preventing further displacements, and creating a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance. In addition, the African troops that join this force should be provided with logistic and financial support.Further, Mr. Ban called for rapid, tangible support to the Government of CAR, led by Acting Head of State Catherine Samba-Panza, to help it establish a minimum capacity to function. “This support should include the financial assistance necessary to get police back on the streets, judges back in the courtrooms, and prison guards back on the job,” he stated. In addition, he called for the acceleration of a political and reconciliation process to prevent a “further fraying of the communal bonds,” as well as for urgent funding for humanitarian aid, which is currently insufficient to address the crisis.“We know what is happening in the Central African Republic. We know why it is different from previous outbreaks of violence. We know why it matters to all of us and what we must do,” said Mr. Ban.“Knowledge is not all we have. Through collective action, as envisaged by the United Nations Charter, we have the power to stop the killing and save the Central African Republic from its current nightmare.” read more

Thailand Ban urges respect of democratic principles as army imposes martial law

“The Secretary-General is closely following the latest developments in Thailand, where the army declared martial law [today],” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson in New York.According to news reports, months of unrest have again erupted into protests in Thailand. Protests began in late 2013, with demonstrators calling for the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration and implementation of anti-corruption reforms. On May 7, Ms. Shinawatra reportedly was removed from Government after a ruling by the Thai Constitutional Court. Today’s statement says that Mr. Ban has consistently called on all sides to work together to seek a solution to the prolonged political stalemate through constructive dialogue.“The way to secure Thailand’s peace and prosperity is through full respect for democratic principles and engagement in democratic processes,” the statement continues, and adds: “The Secretary-General urges all sides to exercise utmost restraint, refrain from any violence and fully respect human rights.” read more

Syria Outraged Security Council condemns ongoing violence targeting civilians

In a press statement issued at United Nations Headquarters in New York, the Members of the Security Council expressed their deep concern at the continued high level of violence in Syria and condemned all violence directed against civilians. “They expressed outrage at all attacks against civilians, as well as indiscriminate attacks, including those involving shelling and aerial bombardment, such as the use of barrel bombs, which were reportedly dropped on a displaced persons camp in Idlib governorate on October 29, leaving many dead and injured, including children.”Through its statement, the Council recalled that all obligations under international humanitarian law must be respected in all circumstances. The 15-member body recalled, in particular, the obligation to distinguish between civilian populations and combatants, and the prohibition against indiscriminate attacks, and attacks against civilians and civilian objects. The Members of the Council reiterated their call on all parties to immediately implement in full the provisions of Council texts urging an end to the violence, respect for international law, and increased humanitarian access, among other terms, set out in resolutions 2139 (2014) and 2165 (2014), and of the Presidential Statement of 2 October 2013.“The members of the Security Council reiterated that the only sustainable solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process with a view to full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012,” said the statement, referring to the United Nations-backed six-point plan six-point plan aimed at ending the violence and moving the Syrian parties towards a political settlement. read more