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July 16, 2014

U.S. homebuilder confidence surges in July

Filed under: canada, technology — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 3:32 pm

U.S. homebuilders’ confidence in the housing market surged this month to the highest level since January, reflecting a pickup in sales of new homes and heightened expectations for sales the second half of the year.

The brighter sales outlook suggests home construction could pick up in coming months after a sluggish start this year.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Wednesday rose this month to 53, up four points from a revised reading of 49 in June.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor. The latest reading is the first above 50 since January, when it was 56.

Builders’ view of current sales conditions for single-family homes, their outlook for sales over the next six months and traffic by prospective buyers each increased since June.

Higher mortgage rates and the bad weather weighed on home sales in late 2013 and early this year. Harsh winter weather also contributed to a sluggish start to this year’s spring home-selling season.

But sales of new homes have picked up in recent months.

New home sales jumped 18.6 percent in May to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 504,000, the highest level in six years. That followed a 3.7 percent increase in April. The gains came after declines in February and March.

Even with the big overall gain, sales of new homes are still running at just about half the pace of a healthy real estate market.

Still, the recent pickup in sales suggests that the housing recovery may be regaining its footing after slowing earlier this year.

Economists say there is significant pent-up demand for homes as many potential buyers put off purchases over the past few years because of concerns about the economy paydayloans.

Solid job gains this year also bode well for housing.

Employers added 288,000 jobs last month, the fifth straight month of gains above 200,000. The national unemployment rate has slid to 6.1 percent, a 5 1/2-year low.

“An improving job market goes hand-in-hand with a rise in builder confidence,” said David Crowe, the NAHB’s chief economist. “As employment increases and those with jobs feel more secure about their own economic situation, they are more likely to feel comfortable about buying a home.”

That optimism is reflected in the latest NAHB index, which is based on responses from 241 builders.

In the latest survey, builders’ view of current sales conditions for single-family homes rose four points to 57. A measure of traffic by prospective buyers increased three points to 39. And builders’ outlook for sales of single-family homes over the next six months jumped six points to 64, the highest level since September.

Housing, while still a long way from the boom of several years ago, has been recovering over the past two years.

Though new homes represent only a fraction of the housing market, they have an outsize impact on the economy. Each home built creates an average of three jobs for a year and generates about $90,000 in tax revenue, according to NAHB data.

The builder confidence survey sent shares in U.S. homebuilders higher in morning trading Wednesday. M/I Homes Inc., based in Columbus, Ohio, led the pack. The stock rose 72 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $23.63.


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July 14, 2014

Murder charges to be laid in case of missing Calgary boy, grandparents

Filed under: loans, marketing — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 9:00 pm

CALGARY—Calgary police say two charges of first-degree murder and one charge of second-degree murder are pending in the disappearance of a five-year-old boy and his grandparents.

Chief Rick Hanson says a man was arrested early Monday but he can’t identify him because the charges were not going to be laid until later in the day.

Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Kathryn and Alvin Liknes, haven’t been seen since June 29 after what police say was a violent incident in the Liknes house.

Hanson says their bodies have not been found, but investigators have enough evidence to conclude that they are dead. An Amber Alert issued shortly after the family members were reported missing has been cancelled.

Shortly after the three disappeared, Nathan’s parents issued a tearful plea through the media asking for their return and urging their “superhero” son to be brave.

As the search for a missing boy and his grandparents continues, Calgary police say they’re looking into business dealings involving the family. Officers are also searching landfills and a property near Airdrie, Alberta.

Hanson says that hope is now gone.

“Even as the days went by there’s always a hope, there’s always a glimmer of hope. And unfortunately with the laying of the charges, we’ve taken that hope away from the family. So they are devastated.”

He says the case is not closed and investigators will continue to search for their bodies. He asked rural property owners to search their land for anything that appears out of the ordinary.

More than 200 officers and analysts worked on the complex and heart-breaking case, he says. There were about 900 tips from the public guaranteed cash advance.

The chief says the man arrested is from Airdrie, a community north of Calgary, and investigators are not looking for any other suspects.

He would not confirm that the suspect is Douglas Garland, who lives on an Airdrie acreage with his parents and has been identified as a person of interest in the case.

Garland was first questioned more than a week ago and was released from custody last Friday on unrelated identity theft charges.

Media reports citing police sources say it’s Garland who has been re-arrested.

Hundreds of people attended a vigil Thursday for a missing Calgary boy and his grandparents. The mother of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien told the crowd the community’s support is keeping her family strong.

Garland, who is 54, has ties to the Liknes family.

Police have said his sister is in a relationship with a family member and there have been reports he had business dealings with Alvin Liknes as well.

Investigators have been searching the Garland acreage northeast of Airdrie where since he was initially questioned.

Over the past two weeks RCMP and Calgary police have searched several fields, sloughs and stands of trees on the acreage and in an area nearby.


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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.”


July 8, 2014

Former city official picked for council seat

Filed under: canada, economics — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 9:04 am

A retired City of Toronto official has been picked as interim councillor in Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina, filling a vacancy created by Adam Vaughan’srecent election to federal office.

Ceta Ramkhalawansingh, 62, will take over the councillor duties in the busy downtown ward until the current term of office ends Nov. 30.

The former head of diversity and community engagement for the city won on the second ballot with 22 votes. Retired Peel police chief Robert Lunney placed second with 18 votes.

There were initially 29 candidates for the job but with withdrawals, the field had narrowed to 21 hopefuls.

Councillors earn $105,397 a year, making the five-month interim appointment worth about $43,000. Ramkhalawansingh, who receives a pension from the city, said she will donate part of her council salary to charity.

“I’ll be donating some of it, not all of it, because I think you should be paid for the work you do,” she said.

The biggest ward issue at the moment is the massive Mirvish development at King and John Sts., Ramkhalawanasingh said, adding she served on a working group that proposed changes.

The revised plan, which saves the Princess of Wales theatre, and reduces the project to two condo towers from three is a “significant improvement,” she said.

Ramkhalawansingh said she will decide in September which candidates she favours for mayor, and waffled on whether she plans to tussle with Mayor Rob Ford.

“I intend to focus on issues in the ward,” she said. “As long as the mayor supports the initiatives in Ward 20, I’ll be satisfied with that.”

Since retiring four years ago, Ramkhalawansingh said she has done volunteer work and on local development issues that has brought her frequently to city hall.

Councillor Mike Layton, Ward 19, Trinity-Spadina, said Ramkhalawansingh is known to councillors on the Toronto and East York community council because of her attendance at meetings.

“I think she’ll do a great job,” Layton said. “There’s two months (of council meetings) left and so it’s a pretty steep learning curve. I think we made a good choice with someone that has experience working with issues at city hall and in the community.”

Ramkhalawansingh said she has no interest in running for the job permanently.


July 6, 2014

Brampton man charged in death of pedestrian in St. Catharines

Filed under: canada, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 4:53 pm

A Brampton man has been charged in the death of a 67-year-old St. Catharines woman, who was struck by a pickup truck early Saturday morning.

Niagara police say that around 4 a.m. Saturday, the OPP were called with a complaint that a 2012 Dodge pickup truck was speeding and being driven erratically.

The truck was travelling eastbound on the QEW near Seventh St., west of St. Catharines, and was stopped by an OPP officer on Highway 406. But, as the officer approached the vehicle, it took off again, at a very high speed.

The OPP officer pursued the truck, believing the driver was impaired, but lost sight of it after abandoning the chase for safety reasons (the truck was driving too fast to safely follow). The truck was last seen at the off ramp at Highway 406 and Fourth Ave.

Shortly afterwards, Niagara Regional Police received another 911 call. Niagara Police and the OPP arrived at the site of a collision near Welland Ave direct payday lenders. and Queen St. in St. Catharines. Police said the truck struck the woman and a building on the southeast corner of the intersection.

Witnesses told police the driver allegedly reversed the vehicle, drove into a tree and fled on foot without stopping to help the victim.

The woman was taken to a local hospital in critical condition, then transferred to Hamilton Health Sciences General Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Pirasath Aiyathurai, 30, was arrested after an hour-long search by police. He faces five criminal charges including flight from police, criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving and failing to remain at the scene.


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.


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

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 ( to an increase of 2 percent (LMC Automotive) based on sales for the first three weeks. 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.


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.


April 16, 2014

The Syrian

Filed under: money, term — Tags: , , , — Snowman @ 7:32 am

ISTANBUL—They beg on the street corners with their Syrian passports open so passersby don’t confuse them with Roma.

Others crowd the congested, winding streets of Istanbul in their luxury cars with Syrian license plates.

Outside of the 220,000 refugees from Syria living in temporary camps lining the southern border, no one knows exactly how many displaced Syrians are living inside Turkey’s major cities, but estimates place the number at between 500,000 and 1 million people.

Syrian refugee family in Turkey ‘trying to leave this miserable life’

They can be found all over Istanbul, a sprawling metropolis of more than 14 million.

Syrian children dodge the hectic traffic, asking drivers stopped at lights for money. One afternoon, as we drove down Kennedy Ave., a main roadway that loops around southern Istanbul on the banks of the Sea of Marmara, a little girl ran through the stopped cars, tapping windows to get the passengers’ attention. When my Turkish translator stopped the car and rolled down the window, she spoke to us in quick Arabic, begging.

Fathers and sons approach diners at one of Istanbul’s many outdoor cafes, pleading for food. Some families spend their days at Taksim Square, the scene of deadly riots nearly a year ago that began over the attempted gentrification of nearby Gezi Park.

“In Istanbul, from my personal experience, this street, six months ago or so there were no Syrians begging,” says the International Crisis Group’s Didem Collinsworth as she points out the window down to Galata Towers. “Now there are so many Syrians sitting on the street . . . The situation is deteriorating.

“Turkey bankrolls this humanitarian effort. Yes, Turkey is building camps but that has kind of slowed down because they are expensive to build, they fill up quickly and they are expensive to maintain and run,” Collinsworth says from her office near the tower, constructed by the Genoese in the 14th century.

“In the meantime, the inflow has not stopped.”

In February, as the United Nations reported the crisis was escalating, at least 500 Syrians fled to Turkey every day; some days, between 1,000 and 2,000 moved through the crossing points at Turkey’s southern border. In a bleak milestone, the UN reported earlier this month that Lebanon has now taken in 1 million Syrians since the conflict began in 2011. The agency reports there are now 2.5 million Syrians registered as refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon.

By the end of this year, the Turkish government expects the number of Syrians within Turkey to balloon to 1.5 million.

The Republic of Turkey — the biggest, most stable state bordering Syria — has shouldered the burden of caring for the displaced mostly alone. It has spent close to $3 billion but has only received $183 million from the international community, says Collinsworth cash advance loan no fax.

Few countries grant Syrians asylum. In fact, 58,450 Syrian asylum applications were received by the EU by the end of August 2013, according to Eurostat and UN data. Of that number, Germany took in 19,360, followed by Sweden at 15,480. Canada has only accepted 512 from when the conflict began to 2012, the data shows.

There are no precise numbers on how many are in Istanbul because so many are illegal. They flee Syria so hurriedly that many leave without their passports. Yet, valid passports are needed to apply for work permits and to obtain other benefits.

Back home, they were engineers, tailors, teachers, doctors and farmers. In Istanbul, most live in crowded apartments and take jobs no one else would touch at low wages. Legal papers are needed to obtain a Turkish work permit.

Redwan Ahmd is one of the displaced. The 23-year-old university educated engineer left his world behind and fled Aleppo seven months ago. He works in a caf

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