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July 24, 2014

Wal-Mart names new CEO of US discount division

Filed under: online ads, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 1:08 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says U.S. discount-store chief Bill Simon is stepping down.

The world’s largest retailer has named the head of its Asian business as his replacement.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer says that Greg Foran, 53, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Asia, will succeed Simon.

Simon helmed the Wal-Mart U.S. division since June 2010. The changes will take effect Aug. 9. The company says Simon will be available on a consulting basis for the next six months to ensure a seamless transition Internet Payday loans.

Foran will report directly to Doug McMillon, who took over as president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in February.

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July 23, 2014

Consumer Prices in U.S. Increase as Gasoline Costs Jump - Bloomberg

Filed under: legal, management — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 2:00 am

The cost of living in the U.S. rose in June, paced by a jump in gasoline that is now reversing, bolstering Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

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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 18, 2014

Greece Seen in Third Bailout as Bond Return Not Enough - Bloomberg

Filed under: legal, online — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 5:12 am

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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 11, 2014

Person of interest gets bail in case of missing Calgary boy

Filed under: finance, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 6:44 pm

CALGARY—A Calgary judge has granted bail to a man police call a person of interest in the disappearance of a 5-year-old boy and his grandparents.

Douglas Garland, appearing in court via video, was to be released Friday on $750 bail.

He was ordered to live in transitional housing such as a hotel, motel or a homeless shelter and must report to authorities three times a week.

He is not allowed to return to his home northeast of Airdrie, which is still being searched by police.

He was being held on identity theft charges unrelated to the disappearance of Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

The three family members were last seen on June 29, after what police say was a violent incident in the Liknes home.

The couple had an estate sale at their home before they disappeared and Nathan was there for a sleepover. When his mother went to pick him up the next day, no one was home.

About 500 people turned out Thursday night for an emotional candlelight vigil at a nearby community centre.

Nathan’s mother, Jennifer O’Brien, said there’s no doubt in her mind that the three are out there somewhere.

“We’ve just got to find them and the police are doing everything they can do,” she said. “I’m hopeful in every way and we all are. I hope this turns out to be a happy story and I think it’s going to.”

Garland was taken in for questioning in the case last weekend and kept in custody on the unrelated charges. Officers have said they have other leads in their investigation, but he’s the only person of interest police have spoken about publicly.

Police have said Garland’s sister is in a relationship with a Liknes relative.

Court documents show he has a criminal history involving drugs and identity theft.

In 2000, he was sentenced to 39 months for making amphetamines at his parents’ farm. Before he went to prison, he jumped bail and lived for several years in Vancouver using the identity of a dead person.

Records show he also has a history of mental problems and breakdowns.

Police have also said they are looking into business dealings involving the Liknes family.

Alvin Liknes was involved in several oil and gas companies, including Winter Petroleum Ltd., which media reports say was forced to close a few weeks ago.

The CBC has quoted a police source as saying Garland and Alvin Liknes had a dispute over a patent for a gas device. Online records with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office show Liknes filed a patent in 2000 for a “method and apparatus for de-watering producing gas wells.”

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July 5, 2014

Nigerian capital airport closing for runway repair

Filed under: canada, online ads — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 5:45 am

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s aviation authority says it is closing the capital’s international airport for runway repairs from Saturday night to Monday morning.

The airport is served by a host of domestic flights in addition to daily international flights to Europe, the United States and the Middle East provided by Nigeria’s Arik Air, in addition to Air France, British Airways, Delta, Lufthansa and Emirates overnight pay day loans.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria said in a statement Saturday that Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (ABV) will be closed from midnight Saturday (2300 GMT) to 6 a.m. (0500 GMT) Monday.

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July 1, 2014

Flooding forces evacuation of Saskatchewan hospital

Filed under: economics, online ads — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 8:45 pm

More than 150 acute care patients and long-term residents have been moved from a hospital in eastern Saskatchewan because of flooding.

The full-scale evacuation at St. Peter’s Hospital in the city of Melville, about 145 km northeast of Regina, took place because a creek behind the facility was rising Tuesday.

Officials are also watching a nearby dam.

“The dam has not been breached,” said Patrick Boyle with the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency. “What we’ve seen happen is the water level coming into the dam, the dam is holding, it’s actually going around the dam . . . and that’s what’s creating the impact in the town and the cause for concern with the infrastructure there.”

Emergency management commissioner Duane McKay says the water has not entered the hospital and crews are building a berm on a driveway behind the facility.

“The water has not touched the building and the work that’s going there is to ensure that it never gets to the building,” said McKay.

The evacuation comes because a deluge of rain caused widespread flooding in eastern Saskatchewan and western Manitoba.

Officials had said Monday that parts of southeast Saskatchewan got more than 240 millimetres of rain over the weekend, while some parts of western Manitoba reported more than 100 mm. However, those figures came out while the water was still coming down in many communities.

More than 500 people have been forced to leave their homes in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That number will likely rise as officials started asking people living along the river in Virden, Man., to leave their homes on Monday night.

Meanwhile, McKay also says the number of communities under states of emergency has jumped to 53 in Saskatchewan cash advance no faxing.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says early estimates show the “unprecedented rainstorm and flooding” will be costly.

“We think we’re looking at an event that was larger in financial impact than the 2011 flood because it’s so widespread, because the number of communities are so significant and also because of the major infrastructure and highway damage,” Wall said Tuesday in Saskatoon.

“That particular event cost the province $360 million and so we’re thinking it’s somewhere higher than that.”

Wall says it’s hard to assess some of the highway damage because the roads are still under water. At least 19 sections of highways in eastern Saskatchewan were closed to travel Tuesday.

There were also 31 municipalities under emergencies in Manitoba, which is now bracing to deal with rivers swollen by the runoff.

“It’s not over yet,” Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger said Tuesday after touring flooded areas. “There’s been a lot of rain in Saskatchewan and all that water moves towards Manitoba.”

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June 27, 2014

Analysts predict slower June sales for GM

Filed under: canada, legal — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 3:05 am

DETROIT (AP) — A number of analysts are predicting that General Motors’ June U.S. sales will underperform the overall auto industry, putting the company in danger of losing market share at a critical time.

GM has issued 44 recalls covering 20 million cars and trucks this year as it undergoes a top-to-bottom safety review in the wake of a mishandled recall of small cars. So far, GM has announced or taken charges totaling $2 billion to cover recall costs.

While the spate of safety problems may be partly at fault, analysts say sales also could be hurt by a pullback on discounts and a drop in sales to rental car companies. Whatever the reason, a subpar month could drop GM’s market share from the 17.6 percent it held at the end of May. Chrysler, which has already gained nearly a point of market share this year according to AutoData, could be the beneficiary.

Automakers are scheduled to release sales results on Tuesday. GM won’t be the only company to trail the industry. Sales at Ford are expected to drop from a year ago as the company prepares to roll out significant new vehicles later in the year, led by the new F-150 pickup.

The Associated Press surveyed four auto industry research firms, and their forecasts for GM’s June sales range from a decline of 8.5 percent (Edmunds.com) to an increase of 2 percent (LMC Automotive) based on sales for the first three weeks.

Cars.com predicts total U.S. sales will drop 2.1 percent. One factor in the decline: last year had one more Saturday, typically a strong day for dealerships. But the market will remain on track to top 16 million in annual sales for the first time since 2007, says senior analyst Jesse Toprak.

Toprak expects GM sales to fall 6.1 percent. He partly blames buyer suspicion about safety issues and predicts that GM’s market share will drop nearly one percentage point from June of last year.

Truecar expects GM sales to fall 3 percent while the industry sees a 1 percent gain.

Truecar President John Krafcik, Hyundai’s former U.S. CEO, says GM sales will fall because it reduced discounts by $400 per car from a year ago. The company is showing “a lot of discipline” by cutting incentives in the face of the recalls, he says.

At the same time, Chrysler and Toyota, which are expected to post big sales gains, increased incentives by 8 to 11 percent, Truecar said.

GM also said that sales to rental car companies will fall this month compared with a strong June last year.

GM’s U.S. sales lagged the industry’s increase in March and April but outperformed the market in May. Through May, its sales were up 2.8 percent, compared with a 5 percent increase for the industry.

The automaker’s spate of recalls started with a recall of small cars such as the Chevrolet Cobalt with defective ignition switches. GM eventually recalled 2.6 million small cars worldwide for the problem, which it says caused at least 13 deaths and more than 50 crashes. Some members of Congress say the death toll is closer to 100.

The company acknowledged knowing about the problem for more than a decade.

____

Auto Writer Dee-Ann Durbin contributed.

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May 1, 2014

Asian stocks mixed after US growth slowdown

Filed under: legal, marketing — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 9:07 am

BEIJING (AP) — Asian stocks were mixed Thursday with most markets closed for a holiday after U.S. economic growth slowed and the Federal Reserve promised to keep interest rates low.

Oil edged down to stay below $99 per barrel on expectation of weaker U.S. demand and reports of higher supplies.

Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.4 percent to 14,360.27 points and Malaysia added 0.7 percent to 1,871.52. Sydney’s S&P ASX 200 shed 0.4 percent to 5,467.10 while New Zealand was off 0.4 percent at 5,557.59.

Markets in China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan were closed for the labor day holiday.

Investors were encouraged by the Fed’s pledge Wednesday following a policy meeting to keep short-term interest rates low to support the economy “for a considerable time” after its bond purchases end, likely late this year car warranty company.

“The accommodative stance is certainly going to maintain the current upswings in consumer sentiment and spending,” said Evan Lucas of IG Markets in a report.

In China, a survey of manufacturers by the state-sanctioned Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed April activity growth was weak, adding to signs the world’s second-largest economy is cooling further after growth dipped to 7.4 percent in the three months ending in March.

In a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy, the Fed said it would go ahead with plans to reduce bond purchases by $10 billion this month. Such purchases were aimed at encouraging investment by pushing down long-term interest rates and have helped to buoy stock markets.

U.S. government data showed economic growth slowed to a 0.1 percent annualized rate in the January-March period from 2.6 percent in the previous quarter.

That was the weakest growth since late 2012 and was largely put down to the winter storms that hit North America during the period. But it disappointed economists who expected a more modest slowdown to 1.1 percent.

A hiring survey by the ADP payrolls processor said the U.S. economy added 220,000 jobs in April, up from 209,000 in March and the most since November. Official government figures are due Friday.

On Thursday, Britain’s FTSE 100 and Germany’s DAX each added 0.2 percent while France’s CAC-40 dropped 0.2 percent.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500 both edged up 0 best used car warranty reviews.1 percent.

Crude for June delivery shed another 7 cents to $99.67 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

On Wednesday, the contract fell $1.54 per barrel to $99.74 after U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed on Russian officials, businesspeople and companies over the Ukraine crisis were less severe than traders feared. Markets had been on edge that sanctions might disrupt Russian oil supplies.

In currency markets, the dollar was unchanged at 102.25 yen and the euro was flat at $1.387.

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