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October 25, 2014

Man killed after attacking rookie cops with hatchet

Filed under: Uncategorized, online ads — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 1:36 am

NEW YORK—A hatchet-wielding man who charged at four rookie New York City police officers Thursday as they posed for a photograph on a Queens street was shot and killed after he struck one of the officers in the head and another in the arm, William J. Bratton, the police commissioner, said.

Stray police bullets also struck a 29-year-old woman in the lower back as she walked in the rain about half a block away along a normally crowded commercial stretch of Jamaica Avenue just after 2 p.m.

The man, who was not immediately identified by the police and whose motive for the attack remained unclear, died at the scene. The police recovered a blue-handled, 18-inch hatchet, and Bratton displayed a photograph of the weapon at a news conference at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center on Thursday evening.

“At this point, no known motive for this attack has been established,” Bratton said.

Kenneth Healey, a 25-year-old recent graduate of the Police Academy, was in critical but stable condition after suffering a “very serious injury to the back side of his head,” Bratton said. The officer struck in the arm, Joseph Meeker, 24, was expected to be released.

The bystander who was struck during the chaotic scene was in stable condition after surgery, also at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, he said.

The burst of violence occurred on the sidewalk in front of a department store where the four uniformed officers were standing on a regularly assigned foot patrol Payday Loan for Bad Credit. A passer-by asked to photograph the officers, Bratton said, and they obliged.

As they did so, standing together, a man in a hooded green rain jacket approached quickly from down the block, pulled a hatchet from his clothes, raised it over his head and, appearing to say nothing, brought it down on the officers with two hands, video released by the police showed.

The man first hit one officer in the arm and, continuing to swing, hit another in the head, Bratton said. A witness to the attack said that blow appeared to be particularly severe. “His head was split open from here to here,” said the witness, Mick Jones, 52, tracing a finger from his forehead to the back of his head. “His hat probably saved his life.”

The two other officers drew their weapons and fired multiple times at the man, killing him, Bratton said.

Standing beside the police commissioner, Mayor Bill de Blasio described the actions of the young officers as “bravery in the face of something absolutely unexpected.” He added, “They responded exactly as their training dictated.”

Bratton said the photographer and the attacker appeared to have no connection. The photographer, he added, has been cooperating with detectives to piece together what occurred, including providing the police with the photos he had taken.

Source

October 18, 2014

As Toronto dithers, Guelph sets sights on 21st century

Filed under: Uncategorized, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 12:40 pm

There is a city in Ontario that is well on its way to reimagining the role of local government. And it’s not Toronto.

Earlier this year I wrote in this space that the Toronto mayoral candidates were missing the point. I argued that the city is on the cusp of profound changes and needed a mayor with vision and an ability to lead.

The networked age provides new opportunities to reinvent our local infrastructure and institutions.

All the Toronto mayoral candidates ignored the advice. So imagine my surprise when an email from Mayor Karen Farbridge of Guelph arrived, saying that her community is actually working hard to implement the transformations I outlined in the article.

I’ve looked into her claims and have concluded that the city’s elected officials, public servants and 120,000 citizens are well on their way to reimagining the role of local government.

So Toronto mayoral candidates please take note. My vision is achievable. Here is what Guelph is doing in seven key areas I outlined in my original article.

1. Promoting Entrepreneurship to Achieve Prosperity

I argued that when it comes to jobs, entrepreneurship is key, as close to 80 per cent of new jobs come from companies five years old or less, and technology enables little companies to have the capabilities of big companies.

Innovation Guelph is the Guelph region’s central institution for the support of entrepreneurship. Since launching in 2010, it has coached more that 500 companies and helped channel more than $12 million into client companies.

Guelph’s urban planning includes the development of mixed-use residential and business districts, including the Guelph Innovation District. This envisions a large tract of land close to the city’s core being transformed into a vibrant community that will mix residential and business development.

Guelph is collaborating with entrepreneurs and neighbouring communities to create a unique innovation super-cluster corridor, stretching from Toronto through Guelph to Kitchener-Waterloo. The cities of Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo and the Region of Waterloo partnered with financial and technology sectors to create a business case for provincial and federal investment in all-day, two-way GO commuter rail service. Working together, these communities landed a commitment to increased service and two-way GO train service in the 2014 provincial budget.

2. Open Government

Guelph City Council unanimously approved an ambitious open government plan that had been co-produced from the outset with engaged citizens, local business and community stakeholders. Guelph’s vision for open government is a public service that grows into an “open by default” culture matched by citizens who regularly participate in government decision making.

The city is releasing data sets as public assets and has a vision for including data from community partners, such as businesses, educational institutions and agencies.

Here’s fresh thinking: the orientation manual built traditionally for councillors’ orientation has been turned inside out into an online user guide to local government, so that the public has the same information as new councillors.

The city and University of Guelph are in the early stages of launching a Civic Lab to bring design thinking approaches to address difficult issues affecting local communities.

3.Turning Public Safety Inside Out

Policing is moving into a new paradigm, where police focus on engaging citizens rather than delivering services to them. Already one of the safest cities in Canada, Guelph has launched Guelph Enterprise — a model for innovation in human services. The model asserts that cities do not have a policing problem but a marginalized people problem. To maintain safe communities we need more than just great policing — we need strong health care, education and social services working together.

In a few short months since its inception in May 2014, the group has shown this collaborative approach has tremendous opportunity to free up resources and capacity for stretched service providers.

4.Rethinking Transportation

I saw no evidence that Guelph is preparing for intelligent transportation systems and autonomous vehicle systems that are just around the corner.

However, the city council has made affordable, alternative transportation a priority for Guelph’s growth. Guelph’s cycling master plan has nearly doubled the city’s bike lanes over the past six years and is adding bike lanes as part of all road reconstruction. Guelph now has more than 100 lane-kilometres of bike lanes with another 110 kilometres in varying stages of approval. Guelph residents enjoy an additional 110 kilometres of off-road trails for pedestrians and cyclists.

Transit use is growing. Guelph Central Station was built in downtown Guelph to bring together Guelph Transit, GO trains and buses, VIA Rail and Greyhound buses. Guelph also introduced an affordable bus pass program.

5. Creating a Sustainable City

Amazingly, Guelph is building North America’s first city-wide district energy network.

The Community Energy Initiative is a kind of central heating and cooling system to serve industrial, commercial and residential buildings across the city. The system is designed to draw energy from multiple sources: solar, geothermal, biogas, waste heat and traditional fuels.

Since 2006, Guelph’s population has increased by 10 per cent while greenhouse gas emissions per capita have declined 10 to 15 per cent.

Since 2006, water conservation efforts have reduced average daily water production by 6.1 million litres per day. The average Guelph resident uses 20 per cent less water than the average Ontario resident.

According to Waste Diversion Ontario,Guelph’s innovative organic waste processing plant has led to the highest residential diversion rate of any municipality in Ontario.

The Guelph processing plant was built with additional capacity to be able to receive organic waste from neighbouring municipalities to subsidize the cost paid by Guelph taxpayers for the service.

6. Transforming Social Services

The digital revolution enables cities to better integrate social services, reducing cost and improving value.

Over the years, Guelph social services have decried the “business as usual” siloed approach to delivering public services. Recently, the city formalized this community philosophy with the creation of Guelph Wellbeing. Guelph used the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, developed at the University of Waterloo and rarely used at the city level, to survey residents to assess overall well-being.

The Guelph Wellbeing Leadership Group was formed to champion the initiative and includes 22 community leaders from different sectors, agencies and stakeholders within the city. They agreed to work together using shared performance indicators to tackle tough issues such as of affordable housing, social and physical connectivity, and food security. Instead of duplicating efforts and wasting tax dollars, they are pooling resources inside and outside government to find solutions.

7. Reinventing Local Democracy

Leaders in Guelph, whether at the city or university or in business, social services and community groups, have big ambitions. Events like Hackathons, Health Jams and Change Camps demonstrate a community approach to redefining the relationship between citizens and their local government. If successfully implemented, the open government and Guelph Wellbeing initiatives can go a long way to building trust among community stakeholders, to redefining the role of citizen and government.

Through its work in environmental sustainability, Guelph has demonstrated that cities can innovate. Through its fresh approach to problem-solving and open-government principles, Guelph is challenging the traditional industrial-age approach to local government and democracy. Shared ownership, decentralized decision-making, community engagement have the potential to shift the relationship from “us vs. them” to “we’re in this together.”

I travel the world speaking with and advising government and business leaders. Few communities demonstrate the ambition and discipline of Guelph. And I see no reason why the initiatives in a community of 120,000 can’t be replicated in a city the size of Toronto.

Oh: and to reiterate a final note to Toronto candidates. “Please stop calling me a taxpayer, dammit! I’m a citizen. And I want to live in a 21st century city! Which of you has a vision and plan to get us there?”

Source

October 3, 2014

Surge of hiring cuts US jobless rate to 5.9 pct.

Filed under: Uncategorized, money — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 10:16 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a burst of hiring, U.S. employers added 248,000 jobs in September and helped drive down the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent, the lowest since July 2008.

The Labor Department’s report Friday also showed that employers added a combined 69,000 more jobs in July and August than the government had previously estimated.

The unemployment rate fell from 6.1 percent in August and is now close to 5.5 percent, which many economists consider a healthy level for the United States. The lower rate, combined with the surge in hiring, will intensify debate within the Federal Reserve on whether to raise its benchmark interest rate earlier than expected. Most economists have predicted that the Fed would start raising rates in mid-2015.

The Fed might now feel heightened pressure to raise rates to prevent a strengthening economy from igniting inflation. On the other hand, inflation remains so low — even lower than the Fed’s 2 percent target rate — that it might decide to maintain ultra-low rates well into next year to try to further strengthen the economy. The Fed’s low-rate polices have helped keep borrowing rates low for consumers and businesses.

Average hourly wages didn’t budge last month, a surprising trend in light of the healthy job growth. Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist for the consulting firm McGladrey LLP, suggested that more jobs in better-paying industries haven’t yet translated into higher pay because employers still have so many applicants to choose from.

“Policymakers will certainly be worried by the lack of wage growth,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. “Without substantially higher wage growth, the fear is that households will pull back on consumption if interest rates and borrowing costs start rising, snuffling out the wider economic recovery.”

September’s robust hiring eased fears that a tepid job gain in August might have signaled the start of a slowdown. But the 142,000 gain that was initially reported for August was revised up Friday to 180,000. In addition, July’s job gain was upgraded from 212,000 to 243,000.

Stock prices jumped after the release of the jobs report. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 119 points in late-morning trading.

The job gains for September were broad-based and included many higher-paying industries. Professional and business services, which includes engineers, accountants and architects, added 81,000 jobs, the most in seven months. Construction companies added 16,000 jobs, manufacturing 4,000.

Government jobs, which usually pay solid wages, rose 12,000, the most in five months. Retailers added 35,000 jobs and hotels and restaurants 23,000.

The average work week rose for the first time in six months, to 34.6 hours from 34.5 in August. Sam Coffin, an economist at UBS, predicted that employers won’t be able to increase that figure much and will likely instead have to step up hiring no teletrack payday loan.

The average hourly wage, though, dipped a penny to $24.53. In the past year, the average has increased just 2 percent. That’s scarcely higher than inflation, which rose 1.7 percent in the past year. In a healthy economy, wages usually rise 3.5 percent to 4 percent a year.

Typically, a falling unemployment rate signals a likely increase in wages. The main reason is that employers have to pay more to attract the workers they need. Some Fed members have already warned that the unemployment rate is low enough to spur higher inflation.

But Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said she is tracking many other gauges besides the unemployment rate, most of which still show scars from the Great Recession. For example, there were 7.1 million people working part-time jobs last month even though they want full-time work. That figure is up from just 4.6 million before the recession.

From the Fed’s perspective, Coffin said the sluggish wage growth and tame inflation may offset solid job growth and low unemployment rate. That could keep the Fed on schedule to wait until the middle of next year to increase rates.

There are still signs of job market weakness in the other measures Yellen tracks: Among the 9.3 million unemployed, 3 million have been out of work for more than six months. That figure has declined in the past three years but is still more than twice its precession proportion.

And a broader measure of unemployment that includes part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs, as well as those who have stopped searching, is 11.8 percent. Still, that’s down from 12 percent in August and 13.6 percent a year ago.

The improved job growth comes after President Barack Obama touted his administration’s economic achievements in a speech Thursday. The economy is the top issue in voters’ minds as the November elections near.

The number of unemployed fell in September by 329,000. Most of them found jobs. But nearly 100,000 stopped looking for work. Their exodus lowered the percentage of Americans working or looking for work to 62.7 percent, the lowest proportion since February 1978.

September’s job gain means more Americans are earning paychecks and can spend more. The annual pace of economic growth is expected to remain above 3 percent for the rest of the year. Business investment is picking up, and consumer spending is growing at a steady if modest pace.

___

AP Economics Writer Paul Wiseman contributed to this report.

Source

September 29, 2014

New Zealand dollar sinks after central bank sells

Filed under: Uncategorized, business — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 5:16 am

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — The New Zealand dollar sank Monday after the central bank disclosed it conducted its biggest sell-off of the currency in seven years to lower an exchange rate that is squeezing exporters.

Data released by the Reserve Bank showed it sold 521 million New Zealand dollars ($410 million) during August. That came after the central bank governor, Graeme Wheeler, said the currency was too strong.

The disclosure pushed the currency known as the Kiwi down nearly 2 percent against the U.S. dollar to its lowest level in over a year before it recovered slightly to trade at $0.78. The currency has dropped 12 percent since July, when the central bank announced it was suspending its program of interest rate hikes.

The bank had earlier been the first among developed nations this year to begin hiking interest rates. It raised the benchmark rate four times to 3.5 percent as it tried to cool the economy, which had been growing at a relatively fast clip of 4 percent.

Even as rates were rising, farmers who play a key role in the economy were facing tougher times personal loans for people with bad credit. Wholesale dairy prices have fallen by more than 40 percent since February, prompting dairy giant Fonterra to last week announce a big cut in projected payouts to farmers over coming months.

Those farmers will be hoping for a boost from the central bank’s actions as a weaker dollar makes New Zealand exports more attractive abroad.

Wheeler has repeatedly said he believes the Kiwi is too high. He went further last week by releasing a statement saying conditions would justify intervention.

“The exchange rate has yet to adjust materially to the lower commodity prices,” he said. “Its current level remains unjustified and unsustainable. We expect a further significant depreciation, which should be reinforced as monetary policy in the U.S. begins to normalize.”

Source

September 27, 2014

The Syrian Civil War has destroyed a family’s past

Filed under: Uncategorized, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 10:28 am

BEIRUT

September 21, 2014

Toronto lowering its sights in mayoral search: James

Filed under: Uncategorized, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 12:04 am

Remember that idea about electing a mayor we love, one who loves us, one who is prepared to engage the city in an adult conversation about a glorious future, one who’d emerge following a year-long examination that is a municipal election?

Forget it. Not happening. Not this time. Too much division. Too much distrust. Too much angst. Too much of too much.

On Oct. 27 Toronto will be electing a mayor who can get us beyond the most exhausting, debilitating, divisive and demoralizing period of our civic history. We may grow to love each other, mayor and people; but survival, not romance, is what’s driving this relationship.

That’s the painful reality less than six weeks from election day. This election is not about a vision for Toronto’s future; it’s about washing away the recent past. It’s not about policy and the public good; it’s about politics and public cleansing.

Then, after the healing, the city can look to dream again.

Even that undertaking will be strained and extremely difficult. So much had transpired for so long between the guardians of our democracy and the disenfranchised masses that neither side care to talk about the genesis of the fracture. And, more recently, so much has happened in so short a time that neighbours wonder if they know each other at all; families view each other with distrust, unable to fathom divergent perspectives on what was thought to be bedrock values and issues.

Just to mention names and issues is to break open raw wounds, so let’s keep it generic as much as possible and not point fingers.

Transportation is such a pressing and critical issue that nothing could keep it off the agenda. But just about everything else fades into feeble talking points. There’s a civic restlessness that mutes real and vigorous wrestling of the issues of our time — lack of housing, poverty, joblessness among youth, the excruciating marginalization of so many communities and demographics. Even the most ardent advocates have taken pause.

People are not stupid. Sometimes they are selfish and vote for their own personal self-interest. Mostly, they don’t pay attention. And yes, they do seem to want it both ways — subways for nothing, increased services but no tax hikes.

But stupid, they are not. Forced to pay attention, they get it — even if they don’t let on. Probe below what seems like selfishness about taxes and government and a complex construct emerges.

Just before the last election, a little-known opinion poll showed the complexity of the voting public. Asked what should be done with any savings found in the city budget, respondents chose “pay down the debt, fund more services, build infrastructure, cut taxes” in almost equal increments.

Yes, they want to stop government waste, but that is not fuelled by some anti-tax, anti-government movement no fax payday loans. Faced with cutbacks and a jobs squeeze and a cash crunch in their own lives, they want the fiscal behaviour at city hall to reflect their everyday reality. Upon further review, really, it seems like they would pay, if they somehow felt the person asking for added taxes has taken good care of the taxes already paid.

Everything depends on fiscal credibility.

Several elections ago, a city administration looked for ways to spend money and — placed in the most positive light — to improve city services. That was replaced by the current regime that looked for ways to curtail spending. One regime, in effect, spawned the other.

I don’t detect any desire to countenance another debate about waste. The raw anger of four years ago has dissipated. But there is no desire to splurge. With the history of the last 10 years, fiscal discipline is the essential starting point. A first principle. Prove that and citizens will travel with you down the road to more taxes. But they must be convinced. And once they are, this big adult discussion — all the wonderful stuff about a livable metropolis — can take place.

Focus groups tell the campaign managers that voters want attention to infrastructure — build something, subway, LRT, just get on with it. They are not aching for a grand vision for a great city by the lake.

They do not relish a campaign message promising more taxes; and it’s not that they want to be lied to. It’s more complex than that. Give them the unvarnished truth and you won’t get elected. But, get elected; show fiscal responsibility; earn credibility; and they’ll consider taxes you recommend.

How do we know?

The current mayor promised subways without taxes. He levied a subway tax. And nobody revolted. There was barely a peep of protest because citizens felt he saved them money so if he is levying taxes it must be unavoidable in order to deliver something the citizens desire.

As such, on October 27 we are electing a mayor that gives us a general comfort that he or she understands our angst about the cost of government. And someone who understands the second inviolable requirement: a mayor who can govern the city and lead city council — without the drama.

People aren’t stupid. Essentially, they want a mayor with three basic characteristics: fiscal credibility, personal integrity, and ability to unite suburb and downtown, left and right, rich and poor in constructing a great city. Current circumstances prevent them from getting past the first two.

That’s all this election is about. The vision will have to wait.

Source

September 19, 2014

Pay hike on its way for SSM Health employees

Filed under: Uncategorized, legal — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 9:08 am

The holiday season could be a happy one for a vast majority of SSM Health’s employees across the health system’s four-state footprint.

The Creve Coeur-based nonprofit health care provider says it will increase eligible employees’ salaries by 2 percent starting this November, crediting the success of a cost-cutting initiative that began last fall.

In a letter sent to employees Sept. 12, CEO Bill Thompson wrote: “We are committed to providing fair and market-competitive salaries and benefits to our employees. It is also one of the reasons we have been working so hard to achieve our budget and end the year with strong financial performance. ”

The customary annual raises were temporarily suspended for eligible employees in 2014 as the health system tried to steer its finances back to black. Employees who missed their scheduled pay raise period (for most, that would have been in May), they’ll receive a lump sum come November to make up for the lost wage hike.

SSM employs 30,000 individuals, and those eligible for the pay increase include part-time employees, clinicians, managers and executives. New hires are excluded.

The boost in take-home pay comes on the heels of SSM’s success with a $150 million cost reduction plan that was implemented late last year to improve finances heading into fiscal 2014. Last year the health system posted a $74.3 million loss.

“To state the obvious, we exceeded our plan’s goals,” said Kris Zimmer, senior vice president of finance for SSM, said of the wage increase.

Through the six months ended June 30 operating income was $82.3 million, compared with a $1.3 million operating loss during the same period last year, a financial statement shows.

OVERHEAD TARGETED

A big chunk of the cost-cutting plan revolved around reducing overhead costs, which included eliminating 586 positions last October, restructuring management and reevaluating outsourced services.

One of the larger changes under the umbrella of cutting overhead costs was the decision to bring the legal team in-house. That represented a $4 million savings across its entire system throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Oklahoma this year alone, Zimmer said payday loan lenders.

Locally, bringing legal in-house meant Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale lost some of its business with SSM. Greensfelder spokesman Steve Houston said no jobs were cut as a result of SSM’s move. Zimmer said SSM will use Greensfelder on an as-needed basis for “highly specialized” cases.

Other gains were made by improving the way payments are collected, which Zimmer said stemmed from better documentation of the care that was provided to improve reimbursement from payers like federal and state governments.

INTEREST-FREE LOANS

Also, this year SSM began offering patients interest-free loans in partnership with Commerce Bank to better collect unpaid medical bills.

The health system is also working to better predict staffing needs to reduce overtime pay. And the health system is working to better align the physician practices they’ve acquired over the years, a move that helps cut costs as those independent businesses can utilize the economies of scale the health system has to offer.

Earlier this month, the Post-Dispatch reported the health system had decided to change its name to SSM Health; dropping the “care” from its name. Currently, the entire system has more than 100 names, logos and brands. Rolling out one name and one logo for the entire system will eventually reduce marketing costs, Zimmer said.

Source

September 14, 2014

Anti-euro party polls well in German state votes

Filed under: Uncategorized, canada — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 2:52 pm

Updated at 11:44 a.m.

BERLIN • An exit poll indicates that an upstart anti-euro group has won seats in two more German state legislatures in regional elections.

The ARD television exit poll put support for the Alternative for Germany, or AfD, party at 10 percent or more in Sunday’s elections in the eastern states of Thuringia and Brandenburg. It won its first seats in a state legislature two weeks ago.

AfD advocates ending the euro in its current form but also has appealed to protest voters with tough talk on crime and immigration.

Other parties say they won’t govern with AfD.

It wasn’t clear whether a three-party alliance led by the Left Party, which has ex-communist roots, would have enough support to oust Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives from the governor’s office in Thuringia.

Source

September 9, 2014

Stormy fall weather in southern Ontario forecast

Filed under: Uncategorized, news — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 7:16 pm

As a lukewarm summer draws to a close in the GTA, The Weather Network is warning people to brace for the “rollercoaster” of fall temperatures ahead.

The Canadian forecaster’s fall outlook said southern Ontario can expect a typical “transitional” fall weather pattern characterized by stretches of warm weather and sudden bouts of cold temperatures.

But Chris Scott, The Weather Network’s chief meteorologist, said the turning point in autumn weather patterns, around mid-October, could mark the start of a stormy couple of months for the GTA.

“Watch for more blasts of chilly air and potential for big fall storms,” Scott said. “We do think it’s going to be an active fall.”

The fall outlook cites a developing El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean combined with a cooler summer as cause for the potential for dips in the average temperature over the next couple of months.

Scott said southern Ontario residents can still expect to enjoy stretches of warm weather through Thanksgiving weekend, and are not in danger of seeing winter storms until the tail end of the season.

“We’re not in any danger of heading into mixing with snow or anything like Alberta’s getting anytime soon,” he said.

According to The Weather Network, Calgary was hit with between 5 and 15 cm of snow on Monday. Scott called Toronto’s fall forecast “tame” in comparison.

Unlike Sudbury, Barrie or areas north of the Oak Ridges Moraine, southern Ontarians can expect to be protected from early winter storms because of the “insulation factor” the Great Lakes provide. But if enough cold air sweeps through, it could mean snow is in the mix for storms in late November.

Source

September 1, 2014

Markets drift as Wall Street has day off

Filed under: Uncategorized, legal — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 2:04 pm

LONDON (AP) — Ahead of a raft of economic developments this week, financial markets started the week on a lackluster note Monday as Wall Street was closed for the Labor Day holiday.

KEEPING SCORE: In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed up 0.1 percent at 6,825.31 while Germany’s DAX rose the same rate to 9,479.03. The CAC-40 in France ended a tad lower at 4,379.73. Earlier in Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.8 percent to 2,235.51 points and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 added 0.3 percent to 15,476.60. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was marginally higher, adding 0.04 percent to 24,752.09.

UKRAINE: In Europe, the crisis in Ukraine remains a key source of interest for traders. On Monday, there were signs that a breakthrough may be in the offing as pro-Russian rebels appeared to soften their demand for full independence, saying they would respect Ukraine’s sovereignty in exchange for autonomy. The insurgents’ platform, released at the start of Monday’s negotiations in Minsk, the Belarusian capital, represented a significant change in their vision for the future of Ukraine’s eastern, mainly Russian-speaking region.

GLOBAL MANUFACTURING: There were some worrying signs however that the global manufacturing sector is waning. Two surveys showed China’s manufacturing growth slowed in August as export demand and investment weakened, raising expectations Beijing might launch more stimulus. HSBC Corp. said its purchasing manufacturers index fell to 50.2 from July’s 18-month high of 51.7 on a 100-point scale on which numbers above 50 show an expansion. An official industry group, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing, said its separate PMI declined to 51 no fax pay day loan.1 from 51.7. A similar picture emerged for the 18-country eurozone, with the August PMI from financial information company Markit down at a 13-month low of 50.7. On Tuesday, the Institute for Supply Management publishes its estimate for the U.S. economy.

EUROPE: Whether the weak economic indicators coming out of the eurozone will prompt the European Central Bank to enact further stimulus measures at its monthly policy meeting on Thursday remains open to question. Bank chief Mario Draghi called in a speech last month for fiscal policies to support growth, a departure from the ECB’s implicit support for austerity. No immediate steps are expected but the bank has begun work on a program to buy asset-backed securities.

EURO IN RETREAT: The crisis in Ukraine and weak eurozone economic data have combined to hurt the euro currency over the past few months. On Monday, it fell to a near year-low of $1.3119.

U.S. ECONOMY: After Thursday’s ECB meeting, traders will be fully focusing on the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report for August. The release often setts the market tone for a week or two after its release as traders try and work out when the Federal Reserve will start raising interest rates. Investor confidence over the U.S. economy has risen following several months of strong growth in hiring and corporate profits and a series of major corporate acquisitions.

ENERGY MARKETS: U.S. benchmark crude for October was down 25 cents at $95.71 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Source

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