Humanitarian situation in Sierra Leone shows signs of improvement UN official

Carolyn McAskie, the UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, who recently returned from the region, told a press conference at UN Headquarters that “with the apparent weakening of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and with the considerably more robust presence of UNAMSIL [the UN mission in Sierra Leone], there is a sense that a solution is on the way in Sierra Leone.” She stressed, however, that it was premature to predict whether the trend would hold, noting that Sierra Leone was a very poor country and that there had been great difficulty in raising funds for the area.Against the background of some positive signs in Sierra Leone, the humanitarian crisis in Guinea and Liberia was worsening, Ms. McAskie said. In Guinea, the past few years had witnessed ongoing concerns about how to help the Government support hundreds of thousands refugees from Sierra Leone. To complicate matters, the country now had 300,000 internally displaced persons of its own because of the fighting along the borders with Liberia and Sierra Leone, she noted. In Liberia, rebel factions in the north of the country seemed to have joined forces against the authorities, Ms. McAskie said. As a result, Liberian President Charles Taylor was mobilizing the old territorial forces, which had been demobilized in 1997 and 1998, effectively creating a humanitarian crisis in the country. Potentially, there could be 60,000 internally displaced persons in Liberia alone, she pointed out. Describing it as “not a happy state at all,” Ms. McAskie said that in addition to the half-million refugees in the region, the number of internally displaced persons could reach three quarters of a million. read more

In Washington Annan urges business leaders to join fight against HIVAIDS

“Even though AIDS poses a huge economic threat, it is first and foremost a humanitarian imperative,” Mr. Annan told members of the US Chamber of Commerce during a breakfast meeting. “In fact, there is a happy convergence between what your shareholders pay you for, and what is best for millions of people the world over.”Stressing that the spread of AIDS causes costs to rise and markets to shrink, he said, “The business community needs to get involved to protect its bottom line.” The Secretary-General detailed the negative effects of the pandemic, pointing out that by 2005, AIDS would strike a combined 10 million people in China and India – “two of America’s largest export markets and sources of supply.” Looking to the broader implications of the spread of the disease, he cited a CIA report which found that the burden of infectious diseases will add to political instability and slow democratic development in Sub-Saharan Africa, parts of Asia, and the former Soviet Union. “That is certainly not good for business,” he said. Outlining how corporate action can fight the epidemic, Mr. Annan called on those present with employees in the developing world to implement effective AIDS policies. “Programmes to educate your work force about HIV can become a corner stone of our global prevention campaign,” he said. Beyond contributing through the workforce, the Secretary-General said businesses can serve as advocates for change by speaking about the AIDS epidemic and what can be done to stop it. “Silence and stigma drive the virus underground and fuel its spread,” he said. “Speaking up helps to halt it.” The Secretary-General also pointed out that businesses could help to stop the spread of AIDS by donating money to the Global AIDS and Health Fund, which he proposed earlier this year as a means of supporting national programmes and strategies. Citing a Harvard University estimate that AIDS has already cost the world more than $500 billion, he said the suggested $10 billion to defeat the disease “seems fairly reasonable – in fact, a bargain.” Later, Mr. Annan had a one-on-one meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Speaking to the press afterwards, the Secretary-General said the two had discussed Iraq, the Middle East, Secretary Powell’s recent visit to Africa, and the struggle against AIDS. read more

UN envoy reports Israeli commitment to suspend overflights in Lebanon

Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Personal Representative for Southern Lebanon, said that Israeli Minister of Defence Benjamin Ben Eliezer had expressed the commitment to UN representatives during a “difficult but frank” meeting in Israel. On the UN side, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed-Larsen, also took part in the talks.”At the end of the meeting, the Minister of Defence of Israel gave us the confirmation that, effective immediately, there will be a suspension of all overflights over the cities of Beirut, Tyr, Sidon, Tripoli and deep inside the territory of Lebanon, and that there would be no more sonic booms over such cities,” Mr. de Mistura said in a statement after his meeting today with Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, whom he informed of the development.”We are taking the words of the Minister of Defence of Israel seriously; they were said clearly and they were said firmly,” the UN envoy stressed. “Of course, facts in the skies of Lebanon will have to prove the consistency of this commitment.”Describing the reaction of President Lahoud, Mr. de Mistura said that Lebanese leader “very appropriately, reminded me that according to Lebanon any action beyond the Blue Line [of Israeli withdrawal] is an infringement. In fact, we as United Nations are mandated to request the respect of the Blue Line by all concerned and involved sides.” read more

Annan names Finnish general top military observer for IndiaPakistan mission

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today announced the appointment of a Finnish general to the top post at the United Nations Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP).Major-General Pertti Juhani Puonti takes over as the mission’s Chief Military Observer from Major-General Hermann K. Loidolt of Austria, who has led the Group since July 2001.Major-General Puonti, who is currently the Chief of Staff of Finland’s Northern Command Headquarters, previously served as a military observer in the UN Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO). In 1992, he was commanding officer of the Finnish Construction Battalion in the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR).

UN delivers new shipment of emergency reproductive health supplies to Iraq

In an effort to restore reproductive health services in Iraq, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has delivered a new shipment of emergency reproductive health supplies to key maternity hospitals and primary healthcare centres in Baghdad.The shipment included much needed emergency obstetric care supplies, clean delivery equipment, contraceptives, syringes, essential drugs and other medical supplies sent by the UNFPA office in Iran, the agency said in a press release. The supplies were distributed among healthcare centres by UNFPA and the Iraqi Ministry of Health. Priority was given to healthcare facilities serving densely populated areas, those that were directly affected by the war, and others located in areas in need of immediate support.Additional UNFPA shipments of reproductive health supplies are expected to arrive in Baghdad soon. read more

Dues arrears force borrowing from peacekeeping funds UN official says

Under-Secretary-General for Management Catherine Bertini told the General Assembly’s Administrative and Budgetary Committee on Tuesday that unpaid regular budget assessments from 78 countries totalled $693 million, while the arrears for peacekeeping was $1.56 billion.”The financial stability of the organization is under pressure,” she said. “We must be able to rely on payment in full and on time to provide the predictable resource base needed to carry out all our mandated activities.”The United States contributed $31 million of its regular dues earlier in the year and said it would send in another $233 million to $341 million, depending on congressional action, by the end of the year. If it got the lower amount, the United Nations would be $5 million in the red; if the higher amount, it would have a surplus of $103 million, Ms. Bertini said.At the end of September, the United States owed $732 million for peacekeeping, but it paid $252 million of that on Monday, she said. Fourteen other major contributors owed $464 million.Nonetheless, the organization was reimbursing Member States for troops and equipment as promptly as possible. It had paid $339 million in troop costs and planned to add another $64 million by year’s end, she said.Meanwhile, the war crime tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia were $117 million in the hole, compared to an unpaid amount at this time last year of just $49 million, so they, too, had had to borrow from peacekeeping funds, Ms. Bertini said. Sixty States had paid their tribunal assessments in full, but five major contributors owed $102 million and 126 others owed $15 million. read more

AsiaPacific governments must do more to stop spread of HIV UN official

“We are at risk in the Pacific of a serious HIV epidemic,” Asia-Pacific Regional Director for the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS, Prasada Rao told the audience of more than 300 delegates representing government, scientific and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) at the Pan Pacific Regional HIV/AIDS conference in Auckland.”The question is not whether this will happen, but when this will happen,” he predicted. ‘Whether it does or not will depend on the decisions made now, not in ten years,” he added, underlining that governments and donors must do more to shore up the inadequate resources for HIV prevention, treatment and care across the Pacific.In Papua, New Guinea an estimate 1.7 per cent of the adult population or approximately 47,000 people are already infected with HIV, and the epidemic is on its way to spreading through the rest of the Pacific region, with potentially devastating results, Dr. Rao said.”In small nations, we are talking about the very survival of peoples, cultures, languages,” and security of the country, Dr. Rao said. “We need governments throughout the Pacific to make substantial commitments by investing now,” he added. read more

Annan urges attention to grave and growing problem of unemployed youth

Addressing the fourth European Union/Latin America and Caribbean Heads of State Summit, being held in Vienna, he warned that the failure to deliver jobs can weaken faith in democracy, and undermine popular support for reasonable economic reforms.“Today, such discontent is palpable in many parts of Latin America, where high unemployment has led to reduced confidence both in democratic institutions and in the market economy,” he said, noting also that Caribbean democracies suffer from “an unemployment-fuelled assault of violence, drugs and HIV/AIDS.”Meanwhile, “persistent unemployment in developed economies such as those in Europe creates conditions that xenophobic and other extremist political movements seek to exploit,” he added.Explaining the benefits of providing jobs to young people, he said youth employment creates consumers, savers and taxpayers while alleviating problems like drug abuse and crime. “Most important, it gives young people a sense of purpose, and a real stake in the success of their communities,” he said.To generate jobs for youth, he called for direct policies on the issue. “We must re-evaluate our approach, and place job creation right next to economic growth in national and international economic and social policies,” he said.He also recommended fostering both increased employment opportunities for the young, and their improved employability. “In effect, Governments must seek to create and to increase both the demand for youth labour and the supply of young people with the skills that are needed,” he said.The Secretary-General called for a broad-based approach to the issue. “No country, and no single actor, can take on this challenge alone. Governments cannot do it without business; and business cannot do it without trade unions and civil society at large. We need genuine coalitions for change, in which all of us unite our efforts behind a common purpose. The United Nations system stands ready to assist in this work,” he said. read more

Middle East UN team leader cites promising first efforts but says much

“I can announce today that we have made some promising first efforts on the way forward. My team has discussed concrete ideas with the Government of Lebanon. We leave shortly for Israel, where we will convey these ideas for further discussion,”Vijay Nambiar, the Secretary-General’s Special Political Adviser, told reporters.“I must stress that this is a first step and much diplomatic work needs to be done before we arrive at any grounds for optimism,” he said.“Our work will require the support and goodwill for my delegation from all the parties. But they should know that the consequences of failure could indeed be grave,” he warned.Mr. Nambiar, who is accompanied by Alvaro de Soto and Terje Roed-Larsen, made his remarks after what he described as “a productive round of meetings” with the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament, Nabih Berri, and Prime Minister Fuad Siniora. “Our meetings have been very useful and I believe the Lebanese Government has a crucial role to play in restoring peace and security in Lebanon and the region,” Mr. Nambiar said, adding that after conveying the details of these meetings to Israeli officials the team may return to Lebanon to explore these ideas further, although he stressed there was no time to lose.“Time is of the essence. Creative solutions have to be found in order to prevent a broadening and deepening of the conflict.”The team, which Secretary-General Kofi Annan decided to send to the region last week, has already visited Egypt on its regional mission and apart from Israel may also travel to Syria, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. read more

Calling on Israel to end Lebanon blockade Annan urges Hizbollah to free

Mr. Annan made his remarks after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora and his cabinet to further discuss implementation of Security Council resolution 1701 that ended the recent month-long conflict between Hizbollah and Israel. “The Secretary-General… called for the lifting of the Israeli blockade and the return of the Israeli soldiers. He also stressed the importance of having ‘one law, one authority and one gun’ in Lebanon,” United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York. On his arrival in Beirut, Mr. Annan said this was a “very critical time,” and stressed that it was important for him to discuss personally with the Lebanese authorities the aftermath of the war and the measures being taken to implement UN resolutions, “and also to underscore international solidarity.” Later the Secretary-General also met with Lebanese Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri, during which he assured him that the UN and the international community wanted to work “very, very effectively with the parties” to ensure full implementation of resolution 1701 so that there will be “long-term peace in this region.” “We have a chance now to have a long-term ceasefire and a long-term peace and we all need to work together. This is the purpose of my visit here.” The Secretary-General is also scheduled to have a working dinner hosted by Prime Minister Siniora which Alain Pelligrini, the head of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), will also attend. UNIFIL said today its force commander had met senior representatives of the Lebanese and Israeli armies this morning at the Ras Naqoura border crossing in the south to discuss and coordinate the latest progress of withdrawal and deployment as stipulated by resolution 1701. It described the meeting as “productive” and said others were scheduled. From Lebanon, Mr. Annan is also scheduled to travel to Israel to discuss the cessation of hostilities and longer-term peace in the Middle East and he will then go to other countries in the region, including Iran. The Secretary-General’s trip follows his high-level meeting with European Union (EU) ministers in Brussels on Friday during which EU countries agreed to provide the ‘backbone’ to a beefed-up UN force of up to 15,000 troops in Lebanon as called for by resolution 1701. European officials said between 5,600 and 6,900 extra soldiers were pledged during the meeting, plus sea, air and logistical support, and Mr. Annan has said it is vital that advanced units of this expanded force be on the ground as soon as possible. read more

Survey German investor sentiment plummets over eurozone crisis concerns

Survey: German investor sentiment plummets over eurozone crisis concerns AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email BERLIN – Concerns about Europe’s heavily indebted economies sent a closely-watched survey of German investor confidence plummeting in June.The ZEW institute reported Tuesday that its monthly confidence index dropped by 27.7 points to a level of minus 16.9 points — its strongest decline since October 1998.ZEW president Wolfgang Franz says the financial market experts who were surveyed are clearly warning against an over-optimistic assessment of Germany’s economic prospects this year. Germany’s export-oriented economy ships a lot of its goods to countries where the crisis is weighing on the economy.“The risks of a pronounced decline in economic activity in countries with close trade ties to Germany are very clear,” Franz said.The experts’ assessment of the current economic situation for Germany dropped by 10.9 points to 33.2 points.Germany’s economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter and the country’s government finances are in good shape compared to other members of the 17-country single-currency union. Countries such as Greece, Spain and Italy are seeing their economies shrink and unemployment rise as they try to cut their budget deficits by reducing spending and raising taxes. That removes the stimulus of government spending from the economy. by News Staff Posted Jun 19, 2012 6:57 am MDT read more

Gannett agrees to buy Belo for 15 billion in cash deal would

by Barbara Ortutay And Bree Fowler, The Associated Press Posted Jun 13, 2013 8:09 am MDT NEW YORK, N.Y. – Gannett Co., the publisher of USA Today, is buying TV station owner Belo Corp. for about $1.5 billion. If approved, the all-cash deal will make Gannett the fourth-largest broadcast group in the U.S.Gannett already owns television stations as well as dozens of newspapers. But the deal transforms Gannett from “a newspaper company with broadcast and digital assets to being a broadcast company with strong newspaper and digital assets,” said Ken Doctor, a media analyst with Outsell Inc.Under the agreement announced Thursday, Gannett will pay $13.75 per share for the Dallas-based TV station operator. That represents a 28 per cent premium over Belo’s closing stock price on Wednesday.The acquisition nearly doubles Gannett’s portfolio of stations from 23 to 43, reaching nearly one-third of U.S. households. Gannett, which is based in McLean, Va., will own 21 stations in the country’s top 25 television markets. The company said the deal will give it access to what it said are some of the fastest-growing television markets, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, as well as Seattle and Portland, Ore.The move should help stabilize Gannett at a time when the newspaper business is faltering. Last year, revenue at Gannett’s publishing business fell nearly 3 per cent to $3.7 billion, compared with a year earlier. By contrast, broadcast revenue grew more than 25 per cent to $906 million, much of it from political advertising.In recent months, Gannett’s newspapers have turned to a new revenue source: charging readers fees to access many of their websites. Because of that, revenue in the publishing division was mostly unchanged at $871 million in the first three months of the year.But broadcast revenue during the same period grew nearly 9 per cent to $192 million, even without major political campaigns.In the latest quarter, earnings increased 53 per cent to $105 million, boosted by a tax benefit and the new website fees. The company’s revenue was up less than 2 per cent, meeting Wall Street’s expectations.Doctor said the deal will give Gannett more negotiating clout over fees that local TV stations get from cable and satellite TV companies for the right to include those stations on cable and satellite systems.“The pressures on profit in the newspaper sector are much greater than in the broadcast sector,” the analyst said.Gannett, the largest U.S. newspaper publisher by circulation, also will assume $715 million in debt. Gannett said it is paying for Belo with cash it has or plans to borrow.After the announcement, the stocks of both companies soared to their highest levels since 2008. Belo Corp.’s shares jumped $3.04, or 28 per cent, to close at $13.77, the high for the day. Gannett’s stock rose $6.75, or 34 per cent, to $26.60 after peaking at $26.75.Gannett President and CEO Gracia Martore called the acquisition an important step in Gannett’s diversification and said it will significantly improve the company’s cash flow and financial strength.“We have been successfully transforming Gannett into a diversified multimedia company with broadcast, digital and publishing components across high-growth markets nationwide,” Martore said in a conference call with analysts.Gannett expects the deal to increase its adjusted earnings by 50 cents per share within the first 12 months and generate $175 million in annual cost savings within three years after closing.Belo President and CEO Dunia Shive said the sale is an “outstanding and financially compelling transaction” for her company’s shareholders.The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close by the end of 2013. It needs approval from the Federal Communications Commission and at least two-thirds of Belo shareholders.The FCC may require Gannett to sell some stations or newspapers it owns because of rules restricting multiple media outlets in the same market. The companies said only five markets are potentially affected — Phoenix, St. Louis, Portland/Salem, Ore., Louisville, Ky., Tucson, Ariz.Belo executives and shareholders representing about 42 per cent of the company’s voting power have agreed to support the sale, the companies said. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Gannett agrees to buy Belo for $1.5 billion in cash; deal would boost TV operations read more

Corporate operating profits down 08 in Q2 at 722B Statistics Canada

Corporate operating profits down 0.8% in Q2 at $72.2B: Statistics Canada OTTAWA – Statistics Canada says corporations earned $72.2 billion in operating profits in the second quarter, down 0.8 per cent from the previous quarter.The agency says the decline followed a 2.8 per cent decrease in the first quarter.In the non-financial sector, operating profits fell 3.9 per cent to $51.1 billion, following a 0.5 per cent decrease the previous quarter.Manufacturing industries led the decline with a 16.6 per cent drop to $9.9 billion.In the financial sector, operating profits increased by 7.6 per cent to $21.1 billion in the second quarter, following an 8.5 per cent decline in the first quarter.Most of the second-quarter gain came from life, health and medical insurance carriers. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted Aug 27, 2013 8:42 am MDT read more

Germanys Bayer plans to buy Merck Cos consumer care business for 142

Germany’s Bayer plans to buy Merck & Co.’s consumer care business for $14.2 billion by Linda A. Johnson, The Associated Press Posted May 6, 2014 4:29 am MDT TRENTON, N.J. – Germany’s Bayer plans to buy U.S.-based Merck & Co.’s consumer health business, creating a combined medicine cabinet of household names from Bayer’s aspirin to Merck’s Claritin allergy pills.The $14.2 billion deal announced Tuesday would vault Bayer AG atop the nonprescription medicine business across North and Latin America. It would make Bayer No. 1 worldwide in skin and gastrointestinal products, a strong No. 2 in the huge cold and allergy category, and No. 3 in pain relievers.“We are combining two highly complementary businesses with virtually no overlap that will improve our product position over multiple categories,” Marijn Dekkers, Bayer’s CEO, said on a conference call with journalists.Merck, widely considered the most research-driven U.S. pharmaceutical company, would divest a slow-growing business it inherited in 2009 when it bought Schering-Plough Corp. to get its experimental prescription medicines.Bayer, which invented aspirin more than a century ago, already has a major over-the-counter division whose brands include Aleve pain reliever, Alka-Seltzer and One-A-Day vitamins. It would add Merck’s Claritin, the Coppertone sun-care line, Dr. Scholl’s foot-care products and MiraLAX laxative.The transaction is part of a recent surge in pharmaceutical industry deals. Some drugmakers are selling or swapping business segments to focus on areas where they have the most expertise, marketing prowess and prospects for growth, as Merck is doing. Others, like Bayer, are making acquisitions to beef up their portfolios of products or experimental drugs to boost future sales.Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said in January that he was evaluating options for Merck’s consumer and animal health businesses, both units without enough scale to grow quickly. On Tuesday, Merck said it would use the sale proceeds to invest in business areas with the highest growth potential and beef up its drug pipeline with “external assets.”Merck is a different company than Merck KgaA, which is based in Darmstadt, Germany. The American company is known as MSD, for Merck, Sharp & Dohme, outside the U.S. and Canada.The transaction, expected to close in the second half of 2014, requires regulatory approval. Bayer will borrow money to pay for the deal, which will bring it significant tax savings and about $200 million in savings on marketing and production costs by 2017.“The extra revenue creates the synergies for us,” Dekkers said, adding that the deal “marks a major milestone on our path towards global leadership in the attractive non-prescription medicines business.”Ana Nicholls, a health care analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, noted Bayer has offset price-cutting and recession in Europe with a big push into emerging markets.“It now has a geographical reach that should allow it to take its newly acquired U.S. brands, such as Claritin and Coppertone, and roll them out pretty much worldwide,” she added.Meanwhile, Bayer and Merck also agreed to co-operate on developing and selling drugs in a new class known as sGC modulators, which have potential for treating some heart conditions — long a Merck strength. Merck would initially pay Bayer $1 billion, with up to $1.1 billion in future payments contingent on sales.The partnership includes a Bayer drug approved in the U.S., Adempas for treating high blood pressure in lung blood vessels. It also features a chronic heart failure drug in midstage patient testing and other experimental drugs in earlier stages of research.Merck, like other major drugmakers, has seen prescription drug sales slide amid cheap generic competition for several drugs that once raked in billions annually. Those include asthma and allergy pill Singulair, allergy spray Nasonex and blood pressure drugs Cozaar and Hyzaar.Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, in April reported a 7 per cent rise in first-quarter earnings, mainly due to cost cutting across its businesses, including eliminating another 2,000 jobs in the quarter.In late afternoon trading, Merck shares were down $1.39, or 2.4 per cent, at $57.24 in New York. Bayer shares fell nearly 1 per cent in Germany.Dekkers said any layoffs after the deal closes, either in the U.S. or Germany, would not be significant.“This is not a deal that hinges on job eliminations as a key value driver,” he said.Bayer, based in Leverkusen, Germany, said the combined consumer care business would be based at its new U.S. health care headquarters in Whippany, New Jersey.Merck’s consumer business, based nearby in Summit, New Jersey, has about 2,250 employees. Bayer’s consumer business, nearly 2 1/2 times the size of Merck’s, has about 8,000 employees.___AP reporters David McHugh in Frankfurt, Geir Moulson in Berlin and Tom Murphy in Indianapolis contributed to this story.___Follow Linda A. Johnson at www.twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma In this photo taken July 6, 2009 worker Roland Ulbrich presents an Aspirin pill made for Italy at the pharmaceutical plant of the Bayer Bitterfeld company in Bitterfeld-Wolfen, eastern Germany. Germany’s Bayer AG says it plans to buy U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc.’s consumer care business, whose products include the Coppertone suncare range, Claritin allergy medicine and the Dr. Scholl’s footcare products, for US$ 14.2 billion. (AP Photo/Eckehard Schulz) AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Stock markets advance amid solid US jobs data weak Canadian employment report

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed modestly higher Friday amid a solid U.S. employment report for May and weak Canadian jobs data.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 38.72 points to 14,838.9, weighed down by mining stocks as copper and gold prices lost ground.The Canadian dollar was slightly lower as job creation figures for Canada came in above expectations, up 25,800 for the month.But Statistics Canada said the gains were part-time and the unemployment rate edged up to seven per cent from 6.9 per cent as more Canadians went looking for work in May. The loonie was down 0.01 of a cent to 91.49 cents US.The U.S. Labor Department said the American economy cranked out 217,000 jobs, roughly in line with expectations. That’s down from 282,000 in April, which was revised slightly lower. Despite the gains, the unemployment rate remained 6.3 per cent.“It’s confirmation that things are, as expected, improving,” said Wes Mills, chief investment officer Scotia Private Client Group.“The more disappointing numbers were the Canadian ones. The headline number looked OK but underneath, part-time jobs increased and full-time lost.”In New York, the Dow Jones industrials gained 88.17 points to 16,924.28, the Nasdaq advanced 25.17 points to 4,321.4 and the S&P 500 index was ahead 8.98 points to 1,949.84.Industrials led TSX gainers, up 1.3 per cent. Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) shares rocketed to a 52-week high amid an upgrades from Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets. He boosted his target price for the airline by nearly 42 per cent to $17, saying the carrier is undergoing a fundamental and structural cost reduction initiative that is playing out in a climate of steadily increasing demand for air travel. Its shares closed up 54 cents to $10.47 after going as high as $10.58 on heavy volume of almost five million shares.Commodity markets were mixed in the wake of the jobs data with July crude in New York 18 cents higher to US$102.66 a barrel.The TSX energy sector was ahead 0.34 per cent as the Financial Times reported that EU officials have decided to change a draft of a fuel quality directive, something Canadian officials have lobbied their European counterparts to do. Proposed EU environmental legislation would have set heavy penalties on petroleum products made from Alberta’s oilsands, citing higher carbon emissions associated with its production.There has been speculation in Ottawa that the crisis between Russia and Ukraine may have helped Canada’s cause. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has suggested that Europe should reduce its dependence on Russian energy supplies and look to Canada for some of its energy.“It’s not so much that the oil wasn’t going to continue to be developed, it’s that the stocks were being shunned and also some environmentally-conscious funds would say, no, we don’t want to own them,” added Mills.“And they may still say that but the fact that the Europeans… can’t depend on the Russians and they’re highly dependent at this point.”The TSX was weighed down by a 1.87 per cent slide in the base metals sector, while July copper fell four cents to US$3.05 a pound.The gold sector lost about 0.3 per cent as August bullion shed early gains to decline 80 cents to US$1,252.50 an ounce.The TSX ended last week up 234 points or 1.6 per cent, leaving the Toronto market ahead 8.9 per cent year to date, led by gains in energy, mining and financials.U.S. markets also gained ground last week with the Dow industrials ahead 1.24 per cent. by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 6, 2014 6:49 am MDT Stock markets advance amid solid U.S. jobs data, weak Canadian employment report read more

DuPont wins proxy fight against billionaire investor Peltzs Trian Fund Management

DuPont wins proxy fight against billionaire investor Peltz’s Trian Fund Management WILMINGTON, Del. – Dupont shareholders on Wednesday flatly rejected a contentious campaign by one of the most powerful investor firms in the U.S. for seats on the board of the 212-year-old chemical company.Nelson Peltz and his Trian Fund Management L.P., a major shareholder, had sought more influence at DuPont, saying that the company was falling short of its potential. CEO Ellen Kullman has resisted Peltz’s campaign vigorously, saying that he had mischaracterizing DuPont’s performance.DuPont shares slumped 6 per cent in morning trading.Kullman said the proxy fight showed that DuPont needs to do a better job explaining its ongoing transformation from a traditional chemicals company to a growth company focused on developing advanced materials, bio-based industrial products, and new seed, food and agricultural products to improve the global food supply.“I think we as a company don’t tell our story well enough,” she said. “We’ve undergone a lot of change, and as we’ve engaged with shareholders, even retail, it was clear that they remembered a company of maybe 20 years ago, not the company that we’re creating going forward.”As an example, Kullman pointed to the upcoming spinoff of DuPont’s performance chemicals unit into a separate commodity chemicals company called Chemours. She said Peltz’ fight for board seats forced the company to move up its public relations campaign about the spinoff.“We were going to go out and do that in June. We ended up doing that in April and May,” she said.Peltz’s Trian Fund Management owns about 24.6 million DuPont shares, making it the company’s fifth-largest shareholder. Since first buying huge stakes in the company almost two years ago, he has criticized DuPont for missing its earnings targets and failing to meet its goals, laid out in 2011, of a 12 per cent compound growth rate in operating earnings per share, and a 7 per cent compound annual growth rate in sales.Trian had nominated four directors for DuPont’s board but came up empty.“I think we lost because they probably did a better job with the press… I think they clearly did a better job with the retail shareholder who really doesn’t understand the issues of the company,” said Peltz, who claimed “overwhelming support” from institutional investors and mutual funds.“I think there was a lot of scare tactics employed,” he said, rejecting DuPont’s assertions that he wanted to over-leverage the company and slash funding for research and development.Peltz also took credit for several actions taken by DuPont since Trian took a stake in the company, including a $5 billion share buyback program, new cost cuts, the placement of two new directors on the board, and the spinoff of Chemours.“All of that stuff didn’t happen by accident,” he said, adding that Trian will continue to monitor DuPont.“I think they will feel the pressure. I think we’ve got a situation today where the emperor has no clothes…. We’ve shown the full picture. It’s up to this board and this management team to carry forward.”___AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman contributed to this report from New York. FILE – In this Dec. 18, 2014 file photo, Ellen Kullman, chair of the board and chief executive officer of DuPont, speaks about global competitiveness and the importance of innovation at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. DuPont shareholders elected the company’s entire slate of directors on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, rejecting a bid by activist investor Nelson Peltz for seats on the company’s board. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) by Randall Chase, The Associated Press Posted May 13, 2015 7:12 am MDT Last Updated May 13, 2015 at 1:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

FDA will ask panel to review pain bleeding problems with Essure contraceptive

This product image provided by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. shows the birth control implant called Essure. Federal medical experts on Monday, Sept. 21, 2015 said it will take a closer look at a host of problems reported with Essure, including chronic pain, bleeding, headaches and allergic reactions. (Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, Inc. via AP) FDA will ask panel to review pain, bleeding problems with Essure contraceptive implant by Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press Posted Sep 21, 2015 11:31 am MDT Last Updated Sep 21, 2015 at 4:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – Federal medical experts will take a closer look at a host of problems reported with the birth control implant called Essure, including chronic pain, bleeding, headaches and allergic reactions.The Food and Drug Administration on Monday posted a 90-page review of Essure online, ahead of a Thursday meeting where experts will re-examine the safety and effectiveness of the implant.Essure has been available for 13 years, but since 2013 the FDA has received a surge of complaints from women implanted with the device, which is marketed as the only permanent birth control method that doesn’t require surgery.Essure consists of two tiny, metallic coils that are inserted into the fallopian tubes, where they are intended to trigger the growth of scar tissue that eventually blocks sperm. Bayer sells the device as an alternative to traditional surgical procedures used to “tie the tubes,” via incision.The product’s warning labeling lists a number of side effects and risks, including short-term pain and bleeding after the procedure. The label also warns that the device can slip out of position into the lower abdomen or pelvis, which can require surgery to remove. Additionally, Essure is made of a nickel-titanium alloy that can cause allergic reactions — such as itching and hives — in some patients.But thousands of women have attributed other problems to the implant, including some not listed on the warning label: chronic pain, fatigue, weight gain and depression. Many of those complaints have been shared through social media, including a Facebook page called Essure Problems, which has over 20,000 members.The FDA will ask its experts to weigh on seemingly conflicting information about the device’s safety. Studies conducted by the manufacturer and other researchers suggest chronic pain and other long-term problems are rare with Essure. But the FDA is also responding to concerns from patients, who have called on the agency to withdraw Essure. An FDA search of social media uncovered more than 20,000 mentions of problems with Essure, mostly from Twitter.Kim Hudak, 43, said she hopes the FDA meeting will be the first step toward pulling Essure from the market. Hudak had the device removed in 2013 after years of pain, fatigue and other symptoms that she attributes to the implant.“I’m hopeful that at least the doctors on the panel will listen with an open mind and hear what’s being said, because there’s a lot of very damaged women out there,” said Hudak, who helps manage the Essure Problems page on Facebook.German manufacturer Bayer says the current warning labeling already describes Essure’s risks and side effects based on company research.“Our hearts do go out to any woman who has experienced an adverse event with any one of our products,” said Edio Zampaglione, Bayer’s vice-president for women’s health. “But what we are seeing in all of this is that the events are consistent with what was seen in the clinical trials.”In its review, the FDA paints a mixed picture of the literature on Essure’s safety. On one hand, problems like chronic pain, bleeding and nickel allergies appear to be rare. But the agency notes “significant limitations must be taken into account when reviewing the data.”For instance, many studies of Essure consist of patient surveys or phone interviews. Others do not include a comparison group of patients who have not received the device, a critical component of quality medical research.The FDA panel will also be asked to weigh in on problems that have scarcely been studied with Essure, such as headaches.According to the agency: “FDA has been unable to locate any significant scientific literature which specifically evaluated headaches following Essure treatment.”The panel will discuss whether use of the device should be restricted to certain women or whether Bayer should conduct additional studies of the device. Notably, the FDA will not ask the panel whether Essure should be removed from the market, according to the documents posted online.___This story has been corrected to indicate that the FDA meeting is Thursday, not Wednesday read more

Calgarians bargain hunt on Black Friday

JONATHAN MUMA/660 NEWS by Jonathan Muma and 660 NEWS Staff Posted Nov 27, 2015 7:19 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Expect to see some empty chairs at the office as many will skip work in favour of trying to score some sweet deals at the American import known as Black Friday.Weak economy or not, a poll from BMO shows Alberta’s love of Black Friday will see 42 per cent of us out there throwing an average of $457 at businesses.Bev was at Chinook Centre, as the mall opened early at 7 a.m.“I looked online and there’s some good deals to be had,” she told 660 NEWS. “Christmas gifts, shoes, clothes, things for my kids.”She says she probably wouldn’t have come out if she hadn’t already have had the day off.Joelle had her eye on purse.“I work evenings, that’s why I’m here early,” she said, adding she wasn’t too worried about crowds. “I just wanted to get a parking spot.”Diego’s first day of work happened to be Black Friday.“I’m actually not too sure what to expect,” he said. “I’m excited to see what’s going to happen but we’ll see.”Millennials are the most likely to take part in the frenzy, and the older you are, the less likely you are to shop.Nine per cent of Canadians say they’re looking out for number one Friday, 12 per cent will shop for others, and almost a quarter will do a bit of both. Calgarians bargain hunt on Black Friday read more

Canadian household debt level rises hits 1637 of disposable income Statcan

Canadian household debt level rises, hits 163.7% of disposable income: Statcan by Craig Wong, The Canadian Press Posted Dec 14, 2015 6:37 am MDT Last Updated Dec 14, 2015 at 10:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email OTTAWA – Canadian household debt hit a new record in the third quarter, as borrowing rose faster than income.Statistics Canada said Monday the amount of household debt compared with disposable income rose to 163.7 per cent, up from 162.7 per cent in the second quarter.That means the average household has roughly $1.64 in debt for every dollar of disposable income.“The deterioration in the headline was expected, driven by a combination of sluggish income growth and still-hearty borrowing,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter said.“Hot housing markets in B.C. and Ontario are driving mortgage growth, over-riding the softness in oil-producing regions. On the flip side, the relentless decline in oil and other commodity prices is dampening income growth.”Disposable income increased 0.8 per cent, while household credit market debt grew 1.4 per cent.Total household credit market debt, which includes consumer credit, and mortgage and non-mortgage loans, reached $1.892 trillion. Consumer credit debt was $572.3 billion, while mortgage debt stood at $1.234 trillion.Household debt and the housing market have been key concerns for economists and policy-markets.Last week, Ottawa moved to cool some of the country’s hottest real estate markets with new rules to require larger downpayments for houses over $500,000.TD Bank economist Diana Petramala said the new rules would likely affect only a small segment of the overall housing market.“However, set against a backdrop of rising unemployment, the debt-to-income ratio is still likely to continue to trek higher through 2016,” Petramala said.“The combination of rising unemployment and a continued decline in home prices is an immediate concern for oil-producing regions such as Alberta and Saskatchewan.”Low interest rates have helped consumers manage their debts, but there are worries about what may happen once the cost of borrowing eventually starts to rise.The report on household debt came a day before the Bank of Canada is set to release its latest financial system review which will include an examination of household debt and potential vulnerabilities for the financial system.Porter noted that while the household debt-to-disposable income ratio is at a new high, it likely will not dictate Bank of Canada policy.“In its latest policy statement, the bank suggested that while ‘vulnerabilities in the household sector continue to edge higher.’ they see ‘overall risks to financial stability are evolving as expected’,” Porter said.The household debt service ratio, the total obligated payments of principal and interest as a proportion of disposable income adjusted to include interest paid, slipped to 13.6 per cent.The interest-only debt service ratio, household mortgage and non-mortgage interest paid as a proportion of disposable income, fell to a record low 6.1 per cent.The ratio of total household debt to total assets edged up in the third quarter to 17.0 per cent from 16.9 per cent in the second quarter. A consumer pays with a credit card at a store Tuesday, July 6, 2010 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz read more

Ottawa to review Boeing military bids in Canada after battle with Bombardier

A Bombardier CS300 is shown during a ceremony to mark the first delivery of the commercial jetliner to Air Baltic in Mirabel, Que., Monday, November 28, 2016. The next potential Canada-U.S. trade dispute is unfolding today in a Washington, D.C., courtroom.A U.S. aeronautics powerhouse is at a hearing arguing for duties on Bombardier aircraft. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes by Ross Marowits and Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press Posted May 18, 2017 8:31 am MDT Last Updated May 18, 2017 at 7:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email The federal government hinted Thursday that Boeing should not take future military contracts with Canada for granted, a veiled threat that coincided with a spat between the aerospace giant and rival Bombardier.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s comment that it’s “reviewing current military procurement that relates to Boeing” appeared to be a not-so-subtle hint that the government would revisit its purchase of Super Hornets.The government has said it plans to sole-source 18 Super Hornets as a stop-gap measure before running a full competition to replace its aging CF-18 fleet.The Liberals say the Super Hornets, which internal estimates suggest could cost as much as $2 billion, are urgently needed.Military officials and defence industry representatives contacted by The Canadian Press on Thursday were united in assuming that Freeland’s warning related to the planned Super Hornet purchase.Freeland’s comments came as the next potential Canada-U.S. trade dispute unfolded Thursday with the aerospace giants clashing at a Washington hearing.“The U.S. market is the most open in the world, but we must take action if our rules are being broken,” U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement after the hearing began into Boeing’s claim that Bombardier received subsidies allowing it to sell its CSeries planes at below-market prices.Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group said the Canadian government’s move was inevitable, putting into question Boeing’s strategy in taking on Bombardier.“If Boeing is smart it’ll press the do-over button and walk away,” he said in an interview, adding the aeronautics powerhouse has much more to risk from losing military contracts than the tiny gain from a successful trade complaint.“Boeing values Canada as a customer and supplier-partner for both our commercial and defence businesses,” said company spokesman Dan Curran.“Two of Canada’s most recent acquisitions of Boeing military products, the C-17 Globemaster and CH-47 Chinook, were delivered on-time and/or ahead of schedule.”In an emailed statement Boeing also pointed out that it places substantial amounts of commercial and defence work in Canada and has a supply chain that “leverages the breadth and depth of the Canadian aerospace industry.”Lobbyists, lawyers and aerospace executives crowded a room in Washington for a little battle playing out in the broader context of the day’s larger trade news: the U.S. announcement that NAFTA renegotiations will start in the next 90 days.Bombardier has made it clear that its true goal is to grab half the international market share for 100-to-150-seat aircraft, according to Boeing, which argues its rival has received an unfair head start from Canadian taxpayers.Boeing vice-president Raymond Conner said the sale of cheap, subsidized planes to Delta Air Lines helped build momentum for Bombardier to enter a new market. If Bombardier reaches its stated goal, he said, it would squeeze Boeing from that market and cost the company US$330 million a year in annual sales.“Today we are at a critical moment,” Conner told the seven-member U.S. International Trade Commission. “If you don’t fix it now, it will be too late to do anything about it later.”Boeing has petitioned the U.S. Commerce Department and the U.S. International Trade Commission to investigate subsidies of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft that it says have allowed the company to export planes at well below cost. A preliminary determination on the petition is expected by June 12.If the ITC determines there is a threat of injury to the U.S. industry, preliminary countervailing duties could be announced in July, followed in October by preliminary anti-dumping duties, unless the deadlines are extended. Final determinations are scheduled for October and December.Boeing is calling for countervailing duties of 79.41 per cent and anti-dumping charges of 79.82 per cent.It complains that Bombardier has received more than US$3 billion in government subsidies so far that have allowed it to engage in “predatory pricing.”Lawyers for the U.S. aerospace giant argued Thursday that Bombardier’s own words prove it was rescued financially by multibillion-dollar assistance from the Quebec government, which last year invested US$1 billion in exchange for a 49.5 per cent stake in the CSeries. The company also shored up its finances by selling a 30 per cent stake in its railway division to pension fund manager Caisse de depot for US$1.5 billion.Bombardier representatives countered that their planes never competed with Boeing in a sale to Delta — which the American rival describes as a seminal moment.Bombardier lawyer Peter Lichtenbaum said the plaintiff is a global powerhouse that hasn’t lost any sales as a result of Bombardier, has an enviable order backlog and doesn’t even compete with Bombardier in the sales campaigns it has complained about because the CSeries is smaller than Boeing’s 737-800 and Max 8 planes.“Boeing’s petition in this case is unprecedented in its overreach,” he said. “If this is a case of David vs. Goliath, Boeing has cast itself in the wrong role.”Boeing’s annual sales were US$94.6 billion last year. That means the US$330 million Conner expressed concern about amounts to one-third of one per cent of its annual sales. Bombardier revenues last year were US$16.3 billion, including US$9.9 billion from aerospace activities. Ottawa to review Boeing military bids in Canada after battle with Bombardier read more