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July 21, 2014

Former Sino Forest CFO barred from serving as director of public company

Filed under: business, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 11:08 am

The Ontario Securities Commission has permanently banned the former chief financial officer of Sino Forest Corp. from serving as a director or officer of a public company.

David Horsley, who served as CFO from 2005 until 2012, has also agreed to pay a $700,000 fine and testify in the ongoing Sino Forest case.

Sino Forest once had a high-flying stock that traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of more than $6 billion, until in 2011 short seller Muddy Waters suggested the forestry company’s sales were a fraud.

The company, which was listed in Canada, had all its operations in China, selling standing timber.

“This is a significant settlement and a significant admission by Mr. Horsley,” said OSC lawyer Hugh Craig at a hearing on Monday.

“This should serve as a message to CFOs operating in unfamiliar business environments” of the need to be vigilant, Craig added.

“He simply didn’t do his job,” he said. “Operations may be over there, but they are regulated under the Ontario Securities Act.”

Panel vice-chair James Turner said chief financial officers play a critical role in the financial reporting of companies.

Horsley failed in his role as CFO, and failed investors and capital markets, Turner said.

In approving the deal, Turner said it was contingent on the settlement of a separate class action lawsuit involving both securities and bond holders.

Judges in Ontario and New York state are scheduled to hear that settlement proposal that Horsley has offered to pay $5.6 million.

Horsley’s lawyer Peter Wardle noted that OSC investigators concluded that his client is not accused of perpetrating any alleged frauds involving Sino Forest.

“These sins, if I can put it that way, are sins of omission as opposed to sins of commission,” Wardle added.

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July 13, 2014

Israel widens air assault, UN calls for ceasefire as Gaza death toll tops 125

Filed under: business, online — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 5:52 am

GAZA, PALESTINE—Israel widened its air assault against the Gaza Strip’s Hamas rulers on Saturday, hitting a mosque it said was hiding rockets, as Palestinians said their death toll from the five-day offensive rose to over 125.

The military said it has struck more than 1,100 targets, including Hamas rocket launchers, command centres and weapon manufacturing and storage facilities, in a bid to stop relentless rocket fire coming Gaza. Officials in the territory said that besides the mosque, the strikes also hit Hamas-affiliated charities and banks, as well as a home for the disabled, killing two women.

The central Gaza mosque was being used to conceal rockets like those militants have fired nearly 700 times toward Israel over the past five days, the military said. However, the strikes in the densely populated Gaza Strip show the challenge Israel faces as it considers a ground operation that could potentially pose further dangers to civilians.

While there have been no fatalities in Israel from the continued rocket fire, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said overnight Israeli strikes raised the death toll there to over 125, with more than 920 wounded.

Hamas militants have been hit hard. Though the exact breakdown of casualties remains unclear, dozens of the dead also have been civilians.

The UN Security Council called for a ceasefire on Saturday, and a resumption of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians aimed at achieving a comprehensive peace agreement based on a two-state solution.

The press statement, which is not legally binding, expresses “serious concern regarding the crisis related to Gaza and the protection and welfare of civilians on both sides.” It is the first response by the UN’s most powerful body, which has been deeply divided on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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In Ottawa, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says the UN High Commissioner’s criticism of Israel’s response to rocket attacks from Gaza are uncalled for.

Navi Pillay said this week that there should be an immediate ceasefire, citing reports of many civilian casualties.

In a statement issued Saturday, Baird accused Pillay of focusing her comments on Israel and said that is neither “helpful nor reflective of the reality of this crisis.”

Baird says there can’t be any “moral equivalence” between a democratic state like Israel and Hamas, which he calls a listed terrorist organization with a blatant disregard for human life.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been a fervent supporter of Israel and a long-time critic of the United Nations and its officials.

Meanwhile in Gaza, the offensive showed no signs of slowing down Saturday as Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said his country should ready itself for several more days of fighting.

“We have accumulated achievements as far as the price Hamas is paying and we are continuing to destroy significant targets of it and other terror organizations,” Yaalon said after a meeting with top security officials. “We will continue to punish it until quiet and security returns to southern Israel and the rest of the country.”

Hamas said it hoped the mosque attack would galvanize support for it in the Muslim world.

“(It) shows how barbaric this enemy is and how much it is hostile to Islam,” said Husam Badran, a Hamas spokesman in Doha, Qatar. “This terrorism gives us the right to broaden our response to deter this occupier.”

The Israeli military released an aerial photo of the mosque it hit, saying Hamas hid rockets in it right next to another religious site and civilian homes. It said Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Gaza militant groups use this tactic of abusing religious sites to conceal weapons and establish underground tunnel networks, deliberately endangering civilians.

“Hamas terrorists systematically exploit and choose to put Palestinians in Gaza in harm’s way and continue to locate their positions among civilian areas and mosques, proving once more their disregard for human life and holy sites,” said Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, an Israeli military spokesman payday loans for bad credit.

Critics though say such allegations are too sweeping, and that Israel’s heavy bombardment of one of the densely populated territories is itself the main factor putting civilians at risk.

Sarit Michaeli of the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said that while using human shields violates international humanitarian law, “this does not give Israel the excuse to violate international humanitarian law as well.”

Israel issues early warnings before attacking Gaza targets and the military says it uses other means to do its utmost to avoid harming bystanders. But Michaeli said civilians have been killed when Israel bombed family homes of Hamas militants or when residents were unable to leave their homes quickly enough following the Israeli warnings.

“Justifying all Israeli attacks that lead to civilian casualties by saying Hamas is using human shields is factually incorrect,” she said.

The rocket fire from Gaza militants appeared to tail off somewhat Saturday, with a new round resuming later in the day. The “Iron Dome,” a U.S.-funded, Israel-developed rocket defence system, has intercepted more than 130 incoming rockets, preventing any Israeli fatalities so far. A handful of Israelis have been wounded by rockets that slipped through.

The most seriously wounded Israeli resulted from a rocket that struck a gas station Friday in the southern city of Ashdod, setting off a huge explosion. A house in Beersheba suffered a direct hit though the family living there was not home.

As a precaution, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv relocated its personnel assigned to Beersheba. However, militant rockets have reached further into Israel than ever before, with air raid sirens sounding even in the northern city of Haifa, 100 miles (160 kilometres) away.

The frequent rocket fire has disrupted daily life in Israel, particularly in southern communities that have absorbed the brunt of it. Israelis mostly have stayed close to home. Television channels air non-stop coverage of the violence and radio broadcasts are interrupted live with every air raid siren warning of incoming rockets.

The frequent airstrikes have turned the normally frenetic Gaza City into a virtual ghost town, emptying streets, closing shops and keeping hundreds of thousands of people close to home where they feel safest from the bombs.

The offensive is the heaviest fighting since a similar eight-day campaign in November 2012 to stop Gaza rocket fire. The outbreak of violence follows the kidnappings and killings of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, and the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian teenager in an apparent revenge attack.

Israel has pummeled Gaza at twice the rate of the 2012 operation and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press on with the campaign until there is a complete halt to rocket attacks from the seaside Palestinian territory. Israel has massed thousands of troops along the border in preparation for a possible ground invasion, with soldiers atop vehicles mobilized and ready to move into Gaza if the order arrives.

A senior military official said Saturday that Israel estimated Hamas still had thousands of rockets in its arsenal and it would take Israel more time to eliminate the threat to its civilians.

“There is no knockout. It is more complicated,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of military guidelines.

Israel has begun coming under international pressure as Palestinian casualties have grown. The United States and European leaders have stressed Israel’s right to defend itself, but the United Nations says it is concerned over civilian deaths in Gaza, and anti-Israel protests have taken place in Europe. In the West Bank, Hamas supporters clashed with Israeli troops over the Gaza offensive.

The Arab League said foreign ministers from member states will hold an emergency meeting in Cairo on Monday evening to discuss the continued Israeli offensive and measures to urge the international community to pressure Israel.

Egypt, which historically has served as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, appears less eager to help out this time. Hamas was particularly close to the Muslim Brotherhood, who the current leadership banned after driving it from power last year.

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July 10, 2014

Hong Kong Buyers Queue for New Homes After Prices Plunge - Bloomberg

Filed under: business, online — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 1:16 am

On a Saturday morning in mid-June, thousands wait, crammed into Hong Kong

July 3, 2014

European Bankers to Meet ECB on Asset Check Update From July 8 - Bloomberg

Filed under: business, marketing — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 1:33 pm

Officials from 128 of Europe

September 18, 2012

Buffett: My cancer treatment is done

Filed under: business, canada — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 6:28 am

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he has completed treatment for a mild case of prostate cancer, according to a published report.

Speaking Friday to executives of newspapers he has recently acquired, Buffett was quoted by The Omaha World-Herald as saying “It’s a great day for me. Today I had my 44th and last day of radiation.” The World-Herald is owned by , Fortune 500), Buffett’s investing company.

In a letter to shareholders in April, Buffett disclosed that he had Stage 1 prostate cancer. Buffett, who is now 82, said at the time that the cancer was “not remotely life-threatening.”

Less than a month later, Buffett told shareholders gathered in Omaha, Neb., that the cancer was “a non-event.”

“Maybe I’ll get shot by a jealous husband, but this is a really minor thing,” he said about the risk to his life.

Buffett, one of the world’s richest men as a result of his investing prowess, has yet to publicly reveal a succession plan, though he says he has already informed Berkshire’s board about his preferred candidates. Upon his departure, Buffett’s job will be divided between a CEO in charge of operations and one or more executives in charge of investments.

The World-Herald quoted Buffett as saying he’s relieved to be done with the radiation.

“I’ll be feeling the side effects for a few weeks yet, but I am so glad to say that’s over,” Buffett said.

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July 27, 2012

Spain at 7% Stresses Inadequacies of Rescue Options: Euro Credit - Bloomberg

Filed under: business, canada — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 12:56 am

Money managers with more than $800 billion are betting European policy makers can only offer Spain a temporary respite from record borrowing costs.

Yields on Spain

July 17, 2012

Low-cost ways to put off pricey home repairs

Filed under: business, loans — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 3:48 pm

You change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles or so, get your teeth cleaned regularly, and rebalance your investments once a year. So why wouldn’t you undertake similar preventive maintenance on your house?

Having to replace just one of its hardest-working surfaces — from roofing to exterior paint, hardwood floors to lawn — would cost you thousands. But you can stave off that pain with simple, often-overlooked upkeep procedures and slight tweaks to the way you already approach routine chores.

Exterior paint: The biggest controllable threat to the paint on your house is the landscaping around it, says architect Karen Sweeney, director of facilities for two Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Chicago.

Overgrown foundation plantings rub away paint — and bring moisture and bugs onto the finish.

The fix: Prune bushes to keep them at least a foot away from the house; a landscaper might do it for $200 if he’s already there.

Roofing: You can’t stop nature from damaging your roof, but you can address the harm coming from within by adding ventilation to your attic. Without proper airflow, that space can get 35° to 55°F hotter than the outside temperature, roasting the roof from below.

The fix: Have a contractor add airflow by installing high and low attic vents; they can go in the walls or the roof itself, depending on the situation ($500 to $1,000).

Hardwood floors: Every grimy boot and dragged chair brings you closer to the day when you’ll have to refinish the floors. "But sanding floorboards makes them a little thinner, bouncier, and creakier," says Sweeney. "And after three times there’s nothing left to sand."

The fix: Hire a floor guy to "screen," or sand away most of the old finish — without touching the wood — and apply new polyurethane ($1,000 to $1,500 for a typical first floor, half the cost of refinishing).

Lawns: Many DIYers and pros do the grass serious harm when they mow.

"People like the look of a close-cropped lawn," says University of Tennessee agriculture professor John Stier, a consultant to Major League Baseball grounds crews.

See also: Plug the cash drains and stop wasting money

But in the North, grass shorter than 2½ to 3½ inches is less drought resistant and invites insects and weeds (in the South, one inch is fine).

The fix: Set the mower higher and never remove more than a third of the grass height at a time. Says Stier: "Think of mowing as a trim, not a crewcut."  

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June 29, 2012

EU Leaders Ease Debt-Crisis Rules on Spain - Bloomberg

Filed under: business, canada — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 4:36 am

Euro-area leaders agreed to relax conditions on emergency loans for Spanish banks and possible help for Italy as an outflanked German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave in on expanded steps to stem the debt crisis.

After 13 1/2 hours of talks ending at 4:30 a.m. in Brussels today, chiefs of the 17 euro countries dropped the requirement that taxpayers get preferred creditor status on aid to Spain

May 29, 2012

Europeans dislike the euro, but don

Filed under: business, term — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 3:20 pm

LONDON

May 24, 2012

Noda Risks Party Rupture in Push to Pass Japan

Filed under: business, finance — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 8:36 pm

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda

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