Moroccan Woman Arrested Trying to Smuggle SubSaharan in Her Suitcase

Rabat – A 22-year-old Moroccan woman was arrested December 30th for trying to smuggle a 19-year-old sub-Saharan migrant into Ceuta inside a suitcase in her car, according to Spanish media reports.According to a report from the Spanish Civil Guard, the arrest occurred at 04:30 PM, when the service agent at Moroccan customs in Tarajal observed the woman, carrying a suitcase in her car intending to cross the borders.“The officers were alerted by the nervousness of the detainee at the crossing. They then examined the car and they found the migrant inside the suitcase. He was referred to a hospital in the city to receive the necessary medical treatments,” the report said. Spanish police report that the migrant is undocumented but, according to his statements, he said that “he is from Gabon.”A court date will be set in the near future so that the Moroccan detainee can answer the charge of “allegedly abusing the rights of foreign citizens.” read more

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Disneys 1stquarter results beat expectations

NEW YORK — The Walt Disney Co.’s first-quarter net income beat expectations as higher revenue from its media networks and theme parks helped offset a weaker movie slate during the quarter.Disney is working on building its streaming offerings by buying 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets for $71.3 billion and launching its Disney Plus service later this year.The entertainment company’s net income fell 37 per cent to $2.79 billion, or $1.86 per share. The drop was due mainly to a hefty benefit from tax changes in the prior-year quarter. Excluding one-time items, net income totalled $1.84 per share. Analysts expected net income $1.54 per share, according to FactSet.The Burbank, California-based company’s revenue slipped less than 1 per cent to $15.3 billion from $15.35 billion last year. That beat analyst expectations of $15.16 billion.The Associated Press read more

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EU wants 23 states on laundering terror financing blacklist

BRUSSELS — The European Union Commission on Tuesday proposed to put 23 non-EU countries and territories on a blacklist of those it believes to pose a high risk when it comes to money laundering or terrorist financing.Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said Wednesday that the list, including such nations like Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Nigeria, will be used to increase checks and investigations on financial operations to find any suspicious money flows.Jourova said that “we have to make sure that dirty money from other countries does not find its way to our financial system.” She said that “Europe cannot be a laundromat for dirty money.”The European Parliament and the member states must now approve the list over the next weeks.The Associated Press read more

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Swiss charge woman who sweettalked her way to 2M bank scam

GENEVA — Swiss authorities say they have indicted a woman who convinced dozens of people to hand over their online banking details over the phone from the Netherlands.Federal prosecutors say the woman managed to use the banking details to steal more than 2 million Swiss francs ($1.98 million) between March 2016 and July 2018.Prosecutors said Thursday that about 50 people fell victim to the scam, known as “voice phishing.” They provided no further details on how she managed to sweet-talk her victims into divulging their details.They said the woman, who was not identified, had been working with an “internationally active group” that also used spam emails in the scam.She was among two people arrested in the Rotterdam area in June. Dutch authorities extradited the woman to Switzerland.The Associated Press read more

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Gone in a New York minute How the Amazon deal fell apart

NEW YORK — When Amazon chose the Long Island City neighbourhood of Queens to build a $2.5 billion campus that could house 25,000 workers, New York’s top brass saw it as a major coup.But what they didn’t expect was the protests, the hostile public hearings and the disparaging tweets that would come in the next three months, eventually leading to Amazon’s dramatic Valentine’s Day breakup with the city.The list of grievances was long: the deal was done secretively; Amazon didn’t need nearly $3 billion in tax incentives; and rising rents could push people out of the neighbourhood.City officials and union leaders were talking to Amazon until the last minute. Then the company surprised even the city’s mayor by announcing they were ditching New York in a blog post.Joseph Pisani, The Associated Press read more

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Hit with arrest of exchair Ghosn Nissan profit nosedives

TOKYO — Japanese automaker Nissan, reeling from the arrest of its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, has seen annual profit nose-dive to less than half of what it earned in the previous year. It’s forecasting even dimmer results going forward.Nissan Motor Co. reported Tuesday that its profit for the fiscal year ended March was 319.1 billion yen ($2.9 billion), down from 746.9 billion yen in the previous fiscal year.Yokohama-based Nissan said profit for the fiscal year through March 2020 will drop to 170 billion yen ($1.5 billion), as restructuring and product development expenses combined with currency-related losses and rising material costs slam earnings.Ghosn, who led Nissan and its alliance with Renault SA of France for two decades, was arrested in November on financial misconduct charges. He says he is innocent.The Associated Press read more

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Most actively traded companies on the TSX

Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (16,301.91, up 62.65 points).Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Energy. Down 33 cents, or 5.02 per cent, to $6.25 on 7.5 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financials. Up 20 cents, or 0.87 per cent to $23.32 on 5.5 million shares.Stornoway Diamond Corp. (TSX:SWY). Materials. Unchanged at two cents on 5.4 million shares.Yorbeau Resources Inc. (TSX:YRB). Materials. Down 1.5 cents, or 37.5 per cent, to 2.5 cents on 4.9 million shares.Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX). Materials. Up 16 cents, or 0.86 per cent, to $18.66 on 4.7 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Unchanged at $2.18 on 4 million shares.Companies in the news:TRANSAT AT Inc. (TSX:TRZ). Up five cents to $13.44. A Quebec developer who promised a takeover proposal for Transat AT Inc. has made good on his word, outbidding Air Canada in the process. Vincent Chiara of Group Mach Inc. filed a formal offer Thursday for $14 per share or $527.6 million. Transat began exclusive talks with Air Canada, set to end on June 26, after the country’s largest airline made a bid of $13 per share or about $520 million last month. Chiara’s rival bid includes trying to convince the Quebec government to finance nearly one-quarter of the purchase. He says he submitted a business plan to Investissement Quebec earlier this month.SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (TSX:SNC). Down 46 cents or 1.77 per cent to $25.52. Neil Bruce, who stepped down abruptly as head of SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. on Tuesday, says the process to replace him was in the works for at least six months. Bruce says in a LinkedIn post that the process started last year and notes that his interim replacement, Ian Edwards, was appointed operations chief in January, allowing a five-month handover period to groom the industry veteran. Bruce says his family moved backed to the United Kingdom after the winter holidays and that he was eager to join them.Canfor Pulp Products. (TSX:CFX). Down one cent to $11.40. Canfor Pulp Products is temporarily shutting down one of its northern British Columbia pulp mills — just days after parent company Canfor Inc. announced breaks at all but one of its B.C. sawmills and the permanent closure of another. Canfor Pulp says the Taylor mill won’t operate from June 29 to Aug. 5, reducing pulp production by about 25,000 tonnes. The Vancouver-based company says reasons include weaker market conditions and a short-term lack of wood supply due to slowdowns at its sawmills elsewhere in the province.The Canadian Press read more

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UN relief chief warns on deteriorating conditions facing Palestinians

John Holmes, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, told journalists in Geneva that restrictions in Gaza and the West Bank were making it harder and harder for normal economic activity to be maintained, especially in Gaza.“The squeeze was tightening all the time,” he said, noting that while the UN had been able to get more than 3,000 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza in July, only 1,508 truckloads made it through last month.The main crossing point into Gaza for goods, Karni, has been closed since June, he said, with only one conveyor belt available twice a week. One of the two smaller crossing points for goods, Sufa, is also expected to be closed by the end of this month. The major crossing point for people, Rafah, has also been closed since June.Mr. Holmes also said the number of Palestinian patients allowed to cross into Israel for health care had fallen from 40 a day in July to less than five a day in September.“Denial of freedom of movement for medical reasons would appear to be a breach of international humanitarian law,” he said.The Under-Secretary-General said that while the UN condemned ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel, he was concerned that Israel was threatening to cut off electricity and fuel supplies if they continued.“It did not appear to be an appropriate response to those rocket attacks to punish the population of Gaza.”He called on Israel to lift its economic blockade on Gaza and relax its restrictions on humanitarian aid, in part to improve the chances of progress at Israeli-Palestinian talks scheduled to take place in the United States next month.Given the conditions inside both Gaza and the West Bank, the population increasingly depends on outside aid to survive, he said.“That is not a good situation for their livelihoods, their dignity and the possibility of their participating in any kind of peace process.”Mr. Holmes’ warning comes a day after the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe told the Security Council about the humanitarian situation that Palestinians face and the potential impact of further Israeli restrictions. 25 October 2007The humanitarian situation inside the occupied Palestinian territory is deteriorating every day, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator said today, warning that Israel’s threat to cut electricity and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip if rocket attacks continue will only worsen the situation. read more

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Revised UN estimates show over 33 million people worldwide living with HIV

20 November 2007A new report released today by two United Nations agencies puts the number of people living with HIV at about 33.2 million, down from last year’s estimate of 39.5 million, attributing the decrease to more accurate data collection and analysis. The new data show global HIV prevalence, or the percentage of people living with HIV, has levelled off and that the number of new infections has also fallen, thanks in part to global HIV programmes. In addition to the 33.2 million people estimated to be living with HIV in 2007, 2.5 million people have become newly infected and 2.1 million people have died of AIDS.The findings were presented by the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in their report, 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update.“These improved data present us with a clearer picture of the AIDS epidemic, one that reveals both challenges and opportunities,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr. Peter Piot. “Unquestionably, we are beginning to see a return on investment – new HIV infections and mortality are declining and the prevalence of HIV levelling. But with more than 6,800 new infections and over 5,700 deaths each day due to AIDS we must expand our efforts in order to significantly reduce the impact of AIDS worldwide.”The findings also show that AIDS is among the leading causes of death globally and remains the primary cause of death in Africa. According to the data, there were an estimated 1.7 million new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa in 2007. While that represents a significant decrease from 2001, the region remains the most severely affected. The report shows that an estimated 22.5 million people living with HIV – or 68 per cent of the global total – are in sub-Saharan Africa. Eight countries in this region now account for almost one-third of all new HIV infections and AIDS deaths globally.The two agencies cite an “intensive reassessment” of the epidemic in India as the primary reason for the reduction in global HIV prevalence figures in the past year. The revised estimates for India, combined with important revisions of estimates in five sub-Saharan African countries (Angola, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe) account for 70 per cent of the reduction in HIV prevalence as compared to last year. Paul De Lay, Director of Evidence Monitoring and Policy at UNAIDS, told reporters that the report shows that overall global declines are partly attributed to strong treatment and prevention programmes. “Data from countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand are showing that there are behavioural data that supports this epidemiologic data,” he told a press briefing in New York via video-link from Geneva. “It is encouraging that we’re seeing returns on the investments made in many parts of the world.”The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) agreed, stating in a press release that the new numbers show that investments in prevention programmes are clearly working. “This new report of UNAIDS communicates what we have know for many years – namely, prevention works,” said Steve Kraus, Chief UNFPA’s HIV/AIDS Branch. “Young people, when provided with accurate and comprehensive information, education and services postpone sexual debut, reduce the number of sex partners, and ensure the use of condoms.” The Fund adds that so far, the new data also suggests that HIV transmission among young people is declining in nine countries – Botswana, Cameroon, Chad, Kenya, Haiti, Malawi, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These trends, combined with evidence of significant declines in HIV prevalence among young pregnant women in urban and or rural areas from five countries (Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe) indicate that HIV prevention efforts are having a significant impact in some of the worst affected countries. “We are seeing a return on investments made in the past several years,” stated Mr. Kraus. “We need to continue these investments, knowing that universal access to sexual and reproductive health allows countries and communities to scale up HIV prevention services and help make the money work.” read more

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Afghanistan Iran and Pakistan agree an antidrugs plan brokered by UN

8 May 2008Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan have agreed to step up cross-border controls to stop the flow of illegal drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced today in Vienna. Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan have agreed to step up cross-border controls to stop the flow of illegal drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) announced today in Vienna. The three countries, meeting in the Iranian capital Tehran, agreed to establish Border Liaison Offices, on each of their three borders, to plan joint operations against traffickers attempting to smuggle heroin out of Afghanistan. The countries also announced that they would step up the campaign to block the transport of precursor chemicals for heroin production in and around Afghanistan. Another key focus was on how to prevent trade links and road transport from being used for the smuggling of narcotics. “We need to ensure that ways to facilitate trade are not exploited by smugglers of guns, chemicals and weapons,” said Antonio Maria Costa, the Executive Director of UNODC. Today’s meeting in Tehran was part of the Triangular Initiative brokered by UNODC.Speakers at the meeting stressed the devastating impact of opium and heroin on their countries, and urged the international community, particularly European countries, to reduce demand for drugs and support the new plan. With UNODC’s assistance, Iran will establish a permanent secretariat for the Triangular Initiative and a regional centre for intelligence exchange. read more

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Somali civilians bearing brunt of latest upsurge in fighting – UN agency

2 October 2009Somali civilians are bearing the brunt in the latest upsurge in fighting in the country’s troubled south central region, the United Nations refugee agency said today, adding that 145 people have reportedly been killed and another 285 injured in heavy clashes in September alone. Yesterday, the opposition Al Shabaab group said it had taken control of the southern city of Kismayo from its former ally, Hisb-ul-Islam. According to hospital sources, some 12 people were killed and 50 others injured, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported.Fighting since early May between Government forces and Al Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam has displaced around 160,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country. UNHCR said that the rate of displacement had diminished over the last two months, as compared to May and June, but it is still high, with 17,000 people uprooted last month alone. “We are extremely concerned about the dire humanitarian situation of hundreds of thousands of civilians who have been displaced by the continuing conflict in Somalia,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva. “Should the fighting between Al Shabaab and Hisb-ul-Islam escalate, we fear that more than half a million internally displaced people in the Afgooye corridor, some 30 kilometres south of Mogadishu, could be affected and uprooted once again,” he said.Mr. Mahecic added that insecurity in the Afgooye area is already significantly limiting humanitarian access to the IDPs, but the situation could further deteriorate, making it even more difficult for Somali and international humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance to people in need.UNHCR provides protection and assistance to more than 515,000 Somali refugees in the nearby countries of Kenya, Yemen, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Uganda. There are also more than 1.5 million IDPs in the country and the number is constantly increasing. read more

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Prosecutor of International Criminal Court looking into recent events in Guinea

The International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed today that its prosecutor is looking into last month’s events in Guinea, where at least 150 people were killed when security forces opened fire on an opposition rally.“A preliminary examination of the situation has been immediately initiated in order to determine whether crimes falling under the Court’s jurisdiction have been perpetrated,” according to a news release issued by the Court, which is an independent, permanent body that investigates and prosecutes people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.The Court said that the Prosecutor’s Office has taken note of “serious allegations” surrounding the events of 28 September in the capital, Conakry.“From the information we have received, from the pictures I have seen, women were abused or otherwise brutalized on the pitch of Conakry’s stadium, apparently by men in uniform,” said Deputy Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. “This is appalling, unacceptable. It must never happen again. Those responsible must be held accountable,” she added.Top UN officials have condemned the violent suppression of the 28 September demonstration which High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has characterized as a “blood bath.”Guinea has been a State Party to the Rome Statute, which set up the ICC, since July 2003. “As such the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide possibly committed in the territory of Guinea or by nationals of Guinea, including killings of civilians and sexual violence,” the Court stated. Other situations under preliminary examination by the ICC Prosecutor include Afghanistan, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Kenya, and Palestine.Currently, four situations – the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and the Darfur region of Sudan – are under investigation by the Prosecutor. 15 October 2009The International Criminal Court (ICC) confirmed today that its prosecutor is looking into last month’s events in Guinea, where at least 150 people were killed when security forces opened fire on an opposition rally. read more

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UN envoy on Western Sahara continues meetings in North Africa

Christopher Ross, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Personal Envoy, today left the Algerian town of Tindouf, his second stop in the region after visiting the capital, Algiers. Yesterday, he held talks with senior officials of the Frente Polisario, including with its Secretary-General.Those discussions addressed the need to overcome the status quo, the requirements of the negotiations and the pace of work in managing confidence-building measures.The Frente Polisario confirmed its readiness to take part in the next round of talks, slated to be held early next month.Mr. Ross is now heading to Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, and then to Rabat, Morocco, to wrap up preparations for the November talks.“As with my previous visits, this tour of the region has as a principle goal the clearing of roadblocks on the path to constructive negotiations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Frente Polisario,” he told reporters after meeting with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in Algiers on Monday.“There is no doubt that the status quo is untenable in the long term, given the costs and dangers that it entails, and the parties must now demonstrate the necessary political will to surmount it. This demands negotiations without pre-conditions and in good faith… to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable solution which provides for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.”Morocco has presented a plan for autonomy, while the position of the Frente Polisario is that the territory’s final status should be decided in a referendum on self-determination that includes independence as an option.“My hope is to see the parties emerge from the current impasse and start intensive and substantive negotiations in the future of Western Sahara,” the UN official said. 21 October 2010The top United Nations envoy on the status of Western Sahara is continuing discussions in North Africa ahead of the next round of UN-backed talks to resolve the long-running dispute that dates back to 1976 when fighting broke out between Morocco and the Frente Polisario after the end of the Spanish colonial regime. read more

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UNESCO chief pays tribute to late Spanish author and activist Jorge Semprún

9 June 2011The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) paid tribute to the late Jorge Semprún, a renowned Spanish author, screenwriter, political activist and long-time friend of the agency who died on Tuesday. “I am deeply saddened by the death of Jorge Semprún, a truly great man of peace and a champion in the struggle against oppression,” said UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.Mr. Semprún, 87, also served as minister of culture in his native Spain in the 1970s, as well as an interpreter for UNESCO during his youth, the Paris-based agency stated in a news release.It added that his works were influenced greatly by his experiences during the Second World War as a member of the French Resistance and as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald. He was most famous for the French films The Confession and Z, which was nominated for an Academy Award.Mr. Semprún “vividly demonstrated the power of culture to defend human dignity, which became his life’s work,” noted Ms. Bokova, adding that he contributed greatly to bringing forward UNESCO’s ideals, actively fighting against all forms of discrimination. read more

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Wider changes in region make it crucial to resume IsraeliPalestinian talks –

Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been stalled since late September following Israel’s refusal to extend a 10-month freeze on settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory. That decision prompted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to withdraw from direct talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which had only resumed a few weeks earlier after a two-year hiatus.“The current lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is a source of great concern,” Mr. Ban said in a message to the UN International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, which opened today in Brussels.“Less than three months remain until the September target date that had been set last year for reaching an agreement on permanent status issues and for completing the Palestinian Authority’s two-year state-building programme.  “With historic popular protest and political change taking place throughout the region, it is critical for Palestinians and Israel to re-engage in serious negotiations,” Mr. Ban said in the message, delivered on his behalf by Maxwell Gaylard, Deputy UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory.From Tunisia and Egypt to Bahrain and Yemen, a wave of popular protests has arisen across the Middle East and North Africa since the start of this year in a bid to bring about democratic reforms and greater fundamental freedoms. The uprisings have already toppled the long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and led to ongoing conflict in Libya. The Secretary-General noted that the two-State solution is in the best interest of both parties, and embodies their legitimate aspirations. “The Palestinians have the right to establish a sovereign, independent and viable State of their own. Israel has the right to live in peace and security within internationally recognized and secure borders,” he stated. “To achieve this and to overcome the current stalemate, it is important to avoid steps that might damage trust,” he added, appealing to the parties to return to negotiations without preconditions and without delay. The two-day meeting in the Belgian capital, organized by the General Assembly’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, aims at contributing to efforts at achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians by looking at the role of Europe in advancing a two-State solution. It will take stock of 20 years of European efforts to promote Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, as well as consider current political initiatives endorsed by the European Union, among other issues. “As a key member of the Quartet [the diplomatic grouping that advocates a two-State solution and comprises the UN, EU, Russia and the United States], the European Union must make its voice heard more clearly on the question of Palestine,” said Committee Chairman Abdou Salam Diallo, as he opened the meeting. “As the efforts of Palestine to obtain diplomatic recognition are gaining ground, we encourage the European countries which have not yet done so to recognize Palestine and its 1967 borders,” he added.“Those who think that the recognition of the State of Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly would ‘delegitimize’ Israel, or deal a mortal blow to the peace process, should be reminded that such recognition is already included in the Quartet’s Road Map and has been endorsed by all the parties concerned, including Israel,” stated Mr. Diallo.Stressing that the time has come for a change of direction, the Chairman appealed on behalf of the Committee for the EU to make greater efforts to lay the foundation for a just and sustainable peace in the Middle East.“The European Union has the historical legitimacy, the practical ability and the moral resources to succeed in this challenge.” 28 June 2011Citing the developments taking place in the wider Middle East, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today underscored the need for Israel and the Palestinians to urgently resume negotiations towards a two-State solution to their conflict. read more

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CAE inks easyJet and Air China contracts worth 100million

MONTREAL — Flight simulator and training provider CAE Inc. has added more than $100-million worth of contract wins in China and Europe.The Montreal-based company said it sold three flight simulators to Air China with a total list value of $42-million.The flight simulators will be deployed at the airline’s training centre in Beijing next year. They’ll be used to train pilots and cockpit crews that fly Airbus A320, A330 and Boeing 737 passenger jets.The orders raised the total full-flight simulator sales this fiscal year to 10.“The contracts with long-time customer Air China reflect CAE’s continued leadership position in China,” said Jeff Roberts, CAE’s president of civil simulation products, training and services.“Air China has been a CAE simulator customer for nearly two decades, and we are privileged to continue to serve their flight training needs.”Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Securities said the civil aerospace environment remains solid. CAE won 37 simulator orders last year and expects orders to be in the “mid-30s” in fiscal 2013.Orders are typically slow in the summer but should ramp up in the fall, helping CAE to meet its simulator sales guidance for the year ending March 2013 on expected delivered to Airbus and Boeing, he wrote in a report.“Today’s orders reflect CAE’s strong leadership position in China, and solid penetration of emerging markets,” he said. Sixty per cent of last year’s orders came from Asia and Australia, while 16% were from the Middle East and Africa.CAE was also selected by European air transport company easyJet to provide long-term pilot training services in a contract valued at more than $60-million, the company said in a separate announcement Tuesday.CAE has provided simulators and training for easyJet pilots since 2004. The new contract will also provide competency-based Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL) First Officer program training at CAE’s recently acquired Oxford Aviation Academy.The first cadet class will graduate at the start of 2013, two others are in progress, and a fourth will begin by August this year.CAE added seven training centres to its network by acquiring Oxford in a $314-million deal announced in May. CAE also entered the pilot and maintenance crew sourcing business with the acquisition of Oxford subsidiary Parc Aviation.Although CAE has been a training supplier to easyJet for eight years the modified agreement increases the duration and scope of its relationship which is “indicative of the type of revenue synergies CAE can generate with its new bandwidth,” Poirier added.CAE will report the results of its first quarter Thursday. Analysts expect it will earn 18 cents per share on $509-million of revenues.CAE is a global leader in simulation and training for civil aviation and defence. The company employs about 8,000 people at more than 100 sites and training locations in some 30 countries.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, its shares gained five cents at $10.03 in morning trading. read more

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Ottawa wont intervene in CRTCs BCEAstral decision Paradis

[np_storybar title=”Terence Corcoran: The telecom-media revolution stops here” link=”http://opinion.financialpost.com/2012/10/18/bce-astral-the-telecom-media-revolution-stops-here/”%5D It’s a stunning but not illogical decision given the CRTC’s antiquated mandate as an all-knowing and all-seeing regulator. In denying telecom giant BCE’s bid to acquire the broadcasting assets of Astral Media, the CRTC stood athwart the 21st century communications revolution and said the revolution stops here.Read Terence Corcoran’s full comment piece here. [/np_storybar]Industry Minister Christian Paradis is giving the cold shoulder to any government intervention in the CRTC decision to block Bell’s friendly takeover of Astral Media.Paradis says the government won’t get involved to reverse the CRTC’s decision.He says the CRTC operates at an arm’s length from the government, its decision was clear and he respects the CRTC’s ruling.Paradis made his comments at the Canadian Space Agency south of Montreal.[np-related]BCE Inc. has said it will call on the federal cabinet to intervene, but a CRTC spokesperson has said a challenge would have to go to the Federal Court of Appeals rather than to the government.The surprise decision by the CRTC was announced after stock markets closed Thursday and marked the first major ruling for newly installed commissioner Jean-Pierre Blais, who took over in late June.Not only did Blais turn down one of the biggest takeovers ever submitted to the CRTC, he left little doubt about where he stood, or how he would respond should BCE return with a modified but essentially similar proposal.“This transaction would have resulted in an unprecedented level of concentration in the Canadian marketplace and we had grave concerns that BCE would be able to use its market power in an unfair manner and engage in uncompetitive behaviour,” Blais said.“Simply put this was not a good deal for Canadians” that could have restricted choice and raised prices of services, he added.Bell claims the deal would have given it control of 33.5% of the English-language TV market, a level it says should have been approved under guidelines set out in the CRTC’s Diversity of Voices policy, which governs the level of media concentration in Canada.But Blais said that had the regulator allowed the deal, BCE would have controlled almost 45% of the English TV viewership and almost 35% of the French. As well, it would have become the largest radio station operator in Canada and would have controlled over half of TV pay and specialty services.“At the end of the day, BCE demonstrated clearly that the proposed transaction would be good for BCE, but we were not persuaded that it was in the best interest of Canadians,” he said.Astral shares fell 16% Friday in response to the decision. Astral’s A shares fell $7.43 to $39.57 in late morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.BCE Inc. shares were down 73 cents to $42.90.The Canadian Press read more

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Dow plunges over 300 points TSX drops more than 200 as emerging

North American stocks dropped sharply on Friday as a selloff in emerging market assets fed through to wholesale pullbacks in equities, with the Dow falling more than 300 points, the S&P 500 posting its worst week since June 2012 and the Toronto stock exchange plunging more than 200 points.[np_storybar title=”The stock market correction is here, strategist says” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2014/01/24/the-correction-is-here-strategist-says/”%5DThe correction many have been waiting for appears to have arrived, according to Tony Dwyer, U.S. portfolio strategist at Canaccord Genuity. Read his explanation. [/np_storybar]The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 215.21 points to 13,717.76 in a broad-based sell-off.The Canadian dollar was ahead 0.21 of a cent to 90.31 cents US as Statistics Canada said the annual inflation rate rose to 1.2% in December, compared with 0.9% in November, largely because of higher gasoline prices.Losses were even steeper in New York where the Dow Jones industrials racked up a sizable triple-digit loss for a second day, falling 318.24 points to 15,879.11 after plunging 176 points on Thursday. The Nasdaq was 90.7 points lower to 4,128.17 while the S&P 500 index was down 38.17 points to 1,790.29.Investors have been worried about sharp drops in the values of currencies in several emerging markets, including Turkey, Russia, South Africa and Argentina.These drops were sparked by moves by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut back on its massive bond purchases, a key stimulus measure that fuelled a rally on stock markets last year and also kept long-term rates low. But U.S. bond yields have risen as the Fed moves to taper its purchases.“If the expectation is in the U.S. that yields start going up, I think the investors who are now overseas in the Turkish, Argentinian, South African or Venezuelan bond markets don’t see the need to stay there anymore — so they repatriate their money,” said John Tsagarelis, portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management.“So there’s a pretty quick outflow and you’re seeing that through the transmission mechanisms of the currencies first and then obviously the bond market and then things follow from there.”The rout in emerging market assets began a day earlier following signs that manufacturing was contracting in China, a major driver of global economic growth.Also weighing on markets has been a slew of fourth-quarter earnings reports out this week that have disappointed on revenue growth.“Many companies last year were coming in line or just coming in slightly below revenue expectations and then beating on EPS because of cost cutting and issues related to maintaining margins and so forth,” Tsagarelis said.“But I think if you don’t have topline growth, cost reductions can only go so far.”Investors are wary of a U.S. market that hasn’t experienced a serious correction in almost 18 months. The S&P 500 soared about 30% last year.Much of last year’s rally was made possible by Fed stimulus in the form of massive bond buying. But the central bank announced last month it was cutting those purchases by US$10 billion a month to $75 billion.The Fed holds its next interest rate meeting next week and traders will be anxious to see if the Fed reduces its asset purchases further.In earnings news Friday, Procter & Gamble said its second-quarter net income fell 16% to US$3.43 billion, or $1.18 per share as the world’s largest consumer products maker faced tough comparisons from a year ago, the stronger dollar and flat sales globally. But its adjusted earnings still beat expectations. Revenue was flat at $22.28 billion, short of the $22.34 billion in revenue analysts expected but its shares headed up 1.2% to $79.18.North American indexes fell sharply during the week with the TSX down 1.23% while New York’s Dow industrials gave back 3.52%.The industrials group led decliners on Friday, down 2.55% with Canadian National Railways (TSX:CNR) losing $1.77 to $57.93 while Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) dropped $7.22 to $156.88.The base metals sector was close behind, down 1.98% as March copper declined a cent to US$3.278 a pound following a five-cent retreat Thursday on the China manufacturing data. Teck Resources lost 54 cents to C$26.61 and HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) lost 37 cents to $8.93.Financials were also a weight, down 1.61% with Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) 94 cents lower to $20.86, while Royal Bank (TSX:RY) gave back 93 cents to $70.49.The energy sector lost 1.38% with the March crude oil contract down 68 cents to US$96.64 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) fell 71 cents to C$35.47 and Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) shed 89 cents to $36.91.The February gold bullion contract rose $2 to US$1,264.30 an ounce as the gold sector lost early momentum and turned down about 0.7%. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) lost 38 cents to C$21.05 and Kinross Gold (TSX:K) faded nine cents to C$5.15.The tech sector was the main advancer, with shares in business software company Open Text Corp. (TSX:OTC) running ahead $10.81, or 10.79%, to $111 as it posted a quarterly profit of US$53.5 million or 90 cents a share, down from $61.1 million a year ago. Revenue increased to US$363.5 million from $352.2 million. Open Text also said that it will split its stock two-for-one next month. read more

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TSX Wall Street rise amid higher oil earnings misses Bombardier shakeup

TORONTO — Resource stocks gave the Toronto stock market a solid advance Thursday as a weaker U.S. dollar helped send prices for oil and metals higher.The S&P/TSX composite index closed up 78.53 points at 15,229.85, with gains limited by earnings misses from big Canadian insurers and a major corporate shakeup at transportation giant Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B).Bombardier shares tumbled 35 cents or 11.5% to $2.69 after the Canadian corporate giant suspended its dividend and announced plans to raise up to $2.5 billion. Bombardier has faced a string of delays related to its new CSeries jetliner and cost estimates keep climbing. “They have their issues with the CSeries; (it) seems like it’s taking forever,” said Allan Small, senior adviser at HollisWealth. “There’s no light at the end of the tunnel and the fact their stock is trading in the two-dollars-and-change range is not a surprise.”Bombardier also announced that Pierre Beaudoin is stepping down as president and CEO and will take over as chairman from his father, Laurent, who is retiring. The Beaudoins are members of a family that has controlled the company since it was founded.General U.S. dollar weakness also pushed the Canadian dollar ahead 0.95 of a cent to 80.06 cents US.U.S. indexes were positive as investors focused on a ceasefire deal in Ukraine. France and Germany brokered a deal that will see a ceasefire take effect in Ukraine on Sunday.The Dow Jones industrials gained 110.24 points to 17,972.38, the Nasdaq composite index was ahead 56.43 points at 4,857.61 and the S&P 500 index advanced 19.95 points to 2,088.48.Insurance stocks also weighed on the TSX in the wake of earnings reports from Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) and Sun Life Financial (TSX:SLF).Manulife’s core earnings were 36 cents per diluted share, five cents below estimates. It also said that macroeconomic factors including low interest rates “produces headwinds in 2015.”“This low interest rate environment ensures they are going to struggle,” Small said. Sun Life’s net income on an adjusted basis came in at $360 million or 59 cents per share, missing estimates of 78 cents per share.Manulife fell 51 cents to $21.33 while Sun Life lost $2.73 to $39.23.The TSX energy sector was ahead 1.33% as March crude gained $2.37 to US$51.21 a barrel.Cenovus Energy (TSX:CVE) expects to cut its workforce by about 15%, with the bulk of the cuts coming from its contractors. Its shares dipped five cents to $24.63. Oil companies have scrambled to cut costs as prices have slid about 40% since late November amid a huge supply/demand imbalance.The base metals sector ran up 4.25% as April copper gained six cents to US$2.60 a pound.The gold sector edged up 0.1% as April bullion rose $1.10 to US$1,220.70 an ounce. The telco sector dipped 0.2% even as Telus Corp. (TSX:T) increased its fourth-quarter profit 7.6% from a year ago to $312 million, helped by growth in its wireless business. Adjusted earnings were 53 cents, in line with estimates, but its shares slipped a penny to $43.53.The Greek debt crisis also vied for investor attention after the country’s talks with eurozone creditors on overhauling its bailout loans broke down.Still, markets were optimistic a deal will be reached in time for Greece to avoid a potential exit from the euro. read more

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Indebted Canadians will face highest risk in 30 years when rates rise

OTTAWA — The expected, gradual rise of interest rates over the next few years is poised to push the financial vulnerability of indebted Canadian households well above levels seen in the last three decades, warns a new analysis.A report released Tuesday by the parliamentary budget officer predicted that higher rates expected in the coming years will leave households exposed to economic shocks at “levels beyond historical experience.”The study comes amid concerns that rising debt levels — largely fuelled by surging housing prices — have made households increasingly vulnerable to events like a severe recession that trigger job losses or higher-than-expected interest rates.Why does the Bank of Canada suddenly seem in such a hurry to hike rates?Canadians owe $1.67 for every $1 of disposable income and the $27.5 billion we borrowed in Q1 was mostly mortgagesCanada becoming more vulnerable as rising debt and hot housing get worse, bank warnsRising rates threaten to make it harder for Canadians to pay down their debt, the PBO said.The country’s debt service ratio — the household debt payments relative to disposable income — has already climbed above the historical average seen between 1990 and 2017, said Mostafa Askari, the assistant parliamentary budget officer.“That by itself has to be considered alarming because obviously it means that the households will be more vulnerable over time to any kind of shock to the economic system,” Askari said.Askari said the ratio will continue its ascent when the rock-bottom borrowing rates start rising. Some analysts predict the first hike to come as early as this year.Indebted households will no longer enjoy the offset of lower interest rates on their debt payments, he noted.“We project that household debt-servicing capacity will be stretched even further over the medium term as interest rates return to more normal levels,” the report said.As the economy strengthens, the Bank of Canada has been signalling that it’s moving closer to hiking its benchmark interest rate. Its trendsetting rate has been locked at 0.5 per cent since 2015 and hasn’t seen an increase in seven years.The PBO is projecting the central bank’s rate to rise to three per cent by mid-2020.It predicts the household debt service ratio to reach 16.3 per cent in 2021, which would be nearly 3.5 percentage points higher than the 12.9 per cent average seen between 1990 and 2017. The debt service ratio has crept upwards over the last two years to hit 14.2 per cent early this year, the report said. “Based on PBO’s projection, the financial vulnerability of the average household would rise to levels beyond historical experience,” it said. “Households that are required to devote a substantial portion of their disposable income to service their debts are vulnerable to adverse income and interest-rate shocks, and are more likely to be delinquent in their debt payments.” read more

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