I dream of winning the Ballon dOr Hachim Mastour

Rabat – Morocco international Hachim Mastour said that his dream is to win the FIFA Ballon D’Or after his success on becoming a professional football player.In an interview with Sky sport, the AC Milan wonderkid said that he admires the likes of Neymar, Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ibrahimovic.“My dream? My dream was to meet Neymar, and it was a great experience, and now my dream is to win Ballon d’Or,” said the 17-year-old Milanista. “I was four years old when I wanted to be a professional football player and I thank my parents for their support that made my dream come true,” he added.Mastour said that his best friend at the Rossoneri is Al Shaarawy.“We laugh, we talk and we listen to music. Players who are much older than me are those who really help me in my career and give me advice. There are great players like De Jong, Mexes and Montolivo always give me advices,” he said. read more

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19 kg of Cannabis Resin Seized in Northern Moroccan

Tetouan – Some 19 kg of cannabis resin (chira) were seized at Bab Sebta border crossing point, customs sources said on Tuesday.During a joint routine operation, police and customs services seized 19kg of chira which were concealed as platelets inside the tank of a France-registered car driven by a French national of Algerian origin, the sources added.The man intended to smuggle the banned substance into France via the occupied city of Sebta, according to the same sources. The suspect will be brought to justice after the completion of the investigation led under the supervision of the public prosecutor’s office. read more

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Moroccos 2nd Surveillance Satellite Mohammed VIB Launches into Orbit

Rabat – The much-anticipated satellite split from its airspace Vega rocket at 2:42 a.m. Moroccan time.According to NASA Spaceflight, the final countdown before the satellite left the ground began nine hours and ten minutes before Vega’s scheduled liftoff.NASA Spaceflight also gave details about the launch, saying that the “rocket’s key systems were powered up, with the multi-functional unit (MFU) that controls Vega’s electronics, turned on at the T-6-hour mark in the count.” The final two steps before the satellite was launched came about 145 minutes and 75 minutes before liftoff, “with the rocket reaching launch readiness at the fifty-minute mark in the countdown.”Like Morocco’s first satellite, the second satellite was named after King Mohammed VI. Beginning orbit in 2017, the Mohammed VI-A satellite was also launched by the Vega Rocket.Mohammed VI-B is the French Arianespace company’s ninth air projects this year. Through the launch, Vega reached a record of 13 successful launches, according to Space News.Thales Alenia Space produced the satellite as the system’s prime contractor and Airbus as c-prime, according to NASA spaceflight.Read Also: Mohammed VI–B Satellite, Outstanding Value to Morocco’s DevelopmentThe Mohammed VI-B satellite is capable of taking double the number of images that Mohammed VI-A can take with a resolution of up to 70 centimeters.The satellites’ usesBoth Morocco’s satellites will work together to ensure strong surveillance for the country’s border and coasts and to manage natural disasters.Weighing 1,110 kilograms, the satellite will also be used for mapping and agricultural monitoring.The satellite will be piloted from Morocco and will fly at the same orbit as the first satellite, 620 kilometers above the earth.On November 13, Arianespace said that the satellite will be complementary to Mohammed VI-A and will “jointly enable a faster coverage of zones of interests.” The satellite information will also help Morocco to have a better observation of the territory, in terms of forest fire control and anticipation. The North African country can anticipate climate variations such as drought or floods. It will also help in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes or fires by showing a cartography of affected areas.The government plans for the satellites to help security agencies track any terrorists or drug trafficking across borders, especially in the Sahel regions.Each satellite has a role to provide military services information to ensure national security. The government acknowledged throughout the year that the first satellite helped the country to track illegal activities of the Polisario Front. Morocco is the third African country to have a reconnaissance satellite after Egypt and South Africa. read more

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Worlds biggest shipping company posts Q4 loss revenue up

COPENHAGEN — Danish shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk is reporting a fourth quarter loss of $34 million, down from a $32 million profit a year earlier.Its fourth quarter revenue increased to $10.2 billion, from 8.4 billion. For all of 2018, revenue was up 26 per cent to $8.1 billion with growth in all segments.Maersk said the revenue improvement was driven by higher freight rates, greater efficiency in its operations, and synergies from the 2017 acquisition of German container shipping company Hamburg Sud.Chief Executive Soeren Skou said Thursday the group had increased revenue “despite significantly higher bunker fuel prices and lower than expected container volume growth in the second half of 2018. However, profitability needs to improve.”Shares were down nearly 10 per cent in Copenhagen.The Associated Press read more

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UN agency relieved that Thailand stops deportation of Lao Hmong says action

30 January 2007The United Nations refugee agency today expressed relief that Thai authorities have delayed the deportation of scores of Lao Hmong refugees to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic after a group barricaded themselves in the centre where they were being detained, and warned that any forcible deportation would be a “major breach of international law.” “We are relieved the deportation is on hold after some extremely worrying moments today,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Geneva-based Asia bureau director, Janet Lim. “These refugees should not be forcibly returned to Laos under any circumstances and we will continue to work with third countries on their resettlement.”“If this deportation had gone ahead, it would have been the first time Thailand would have refouled [forcibly repatriated] refugees individually recognised under UNHCR’s mandate and a major breach of international humanitarian law.” Authorities at north-east Thailand’s Nong Khai detention centre had earlier on Tuesday attempted to move the 153 refugees, including a newborn baby, onto buses in preparation for deportation. Many women and children boarded the buses, however 54 male refugees barricaded themselves into the immigration detention centre and resisted all attempts to move. UNHCR understands a group of some two dozen children were with them.The agency has made repeated offers to the Thai Government to help find alternative solutions for the Lao Hmong group in detention and has been working closely with third countries to find resettlement solutions.Today’s attempted deportation comes just a few days after Thai authorities deported 16 Lao Hmong to the Lao People’s Democratic Republic without screening them to see if they needed international protection, a move which sparked concern at UNHCR. “We have serious concerns for the safety and security of those being deported to Laos,” agency spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis said at a press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday. “UNHCR does not have access inside Laos to people returned against their will.”UNHCR is also gravely concerned about the fate of 26 Lao Hmong children – separated from their parents – who were deported from Thailand to Laos in December 2005. There has been no trace of them since, despite efforts by the agency and the Thai Government to find out what has happened.These moves by Thai authorities underline the tenuous situation of some 7,000 Lao Hmong who have been living in makeshift camps near Huay Nam Khao village in Phetchabun province since about July 2005. UNHCR does not have access to this mixed group but has consistently advocated with Thailand to put in place a system that would ensure that any individuals among them who have protection concerns are screened in line with international standards. UNHCR is ready to help the Thai authorities in any appropriate way to manage this situation.In a separate development in Malaysia, UNHCR said on Tuesday it hopes authorities will continue to uphold their humanitarian commitment to refugees, after a group of Myanmar nationals were arrested despite holding agency documents.“We are concerned that over the weekend, as part of a general crackdown on undocumented migrants, some 45 Myanmar nationals holding UNHCR documents were arrested near the administrative capital of Putrajaya, and then detained,” said Ms. Pagonis, adding such arrests seem to be part of a trend. “We are now working with the authorities on their release.”She also pointed to “a new development where persons carrying UNHCR cards have also been arrested during these immigration raids.” In December, 90 UNHCR card holders were arrested, and so far this month an additional 70 have been arrested. “We hope this recent trend will quickly be reversed,” she added.There are some 46,000 persons of concern registered with UNHCR in Malaysia including 15,000 from the Indonesian Province of Aceh, 12,000 Rohingyas from the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar, 16,000 other ethnic minorities from Myanmar, such as the Chins and Myanmar Muslims and the remaining numbers from various other countries. read more

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UNbacked project to assist thousands in northern Chinas countryside

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced today that the $70.9 million programme will target households – particularly those headed solely by women – with per capita incomes of less than $1 a day and limited access to financial services such as microcredit and savings schemes.The six-year project will promote greenhouse and organic crop production with links to markets and buyers, and it will also establish village development funds to pay for infrastructure and activities selected by local communities.IFAD said it expects that the project could benefit households in more than 720 villages across nine counties of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, which has not experienced the same economic growth as other parts of the country in recent years.Thomas Rath, IFAD’s country programme manager for China, said the programme aims to tap into the skills and abilities of the local people.“So far, Government and donor-funded programmes have used the same poverty reduction strategies in different locations,” he said. “Sometimes this has led to reduced results. This suggests that we needed to try new approaches. We need to target with specific approaches tailored to the local needs of people and their institutions.”The programme will be funded in part by a $30 million loan from IFAD, as well as loans from the Chinese Government ($31.1 million) and the Rural Credit Cooperatives ($5.7 million). Participants in the scheme will contribute the remaining $4.1 million. 12 February 2008About 125,000 households in China’s Inner Mongolia region stand to benefit from better access to financial services, markets, technology and information under a new programme backed by the United Nations agency tasked with trying to reduce rural poverty. read more

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Security Council renews mandate of UN mission in Côte dIvoire ahead of

29 July 2008The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) by another six months, stressing the importance that much delayed presidential elections now slated for November are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner. The Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) by another six months, stressing the importance that much delayed presidential elections now slated for November are conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner. In a resolution adopted unanimously, the Council renewed UNOCI’s mandate – and that of the French forces supporting it – through 31 January next year. The 15-member panel asked the mission to provide logistical support to the national Independent Electoral Commission as it prepares to hold the first round of the presidential elections, set to take place on 30 November. It also called on UNOCI to continue its support of the implementation of the Ouagadougou Agreement, the 2007 political accord reached in neighbouring Burkina Faso that aims to reconcile Côte d’Ivoire’s Government and the rebel Forces Nouvelles. UNOCI has pledged to help in the identification process of voters ahead of the elections, which were originally supposed to have been held in 2005 in the West African country. The resolution encourages the Forces Nouvelles and the national Defence and Security Force to develop a joint plan to ensure security at the elections, in consultation with the mission and the French military forces. Ivorian political parties and groupings are urged to make further progress in their reconciliation, including in dismantling militias, demobilizing and disarming former fighters, restoring State authority across the country and registering voters before the polls. read more

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Aid plane with 17 on board crashes in eastern DR Congo –

2 September 2008A plane carrying humanitarian supplies with 17 people on board, including seven United Nations staff, has crashed into a mountain in the far east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the world body confirmed today. The plane had been en route from Kisangani to Bukavu yesterday when it crashed into a mountain about 15 kilometres northeast of Bukavu airport while beginning its landing approach in bad weather, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told reporters in New York.There were 15 passengers and two crew on board the plane, which was operated by Aid Serv, a United States-based company which provides air transport for the international humanitarian community.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) said the passengers included five UNDP staff members and two from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has voiced his deep sadness at the news of the crash, stating that his thoughts are with the families and colleagues of those UN and non-governmental organization (NGO) aid workers, Congolese officials and crew who were on board the aircraft. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban expressed his gratitude to all UN staff and international aid workers in the DRC “who continue to work tirelessly under difficult conditions to support the Congolese people in their efforts to consolidate peace in their country.”UNDP Administrator Kemal Derviº issued a statement voicing his deep sadness at learning of the plane crash.“Words fail one when such terrible events strike,” he said. “The colleagues we lost and those that disappeared with them will always remain in our hearts.”A team from the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC, known as MONUC, has located the wreckage. “UN peacekeepers were able to locate the plane and view the crash site from a helicopter, but, due to the difficult terrain, they were unable to land and verify the fate of those onboard,” Ms. Okabe said.The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Humanitarian Coordinator for the DRC, Ross Mountain, has gone to Bukavu to coordinate the emergency operation with the UN and humanitarian community.Ms. Okabe added that there will be an investigation into the cause of the crash. read more

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UN releases latest list of 10 Stories the World Should Hear More

“Ten Stories the World Should Hear More About,” launched today, aims to spotlight UN-related issues or developments that are sometimes overlooked by the media in an age when social networking sites and other forms of new media are changing the ways in which people receive information.Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, said that in today’s densely-packed media environment, where sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter are commonplace for many people, DPI tries to draw attention to stories that have important implications – if not always headlines – in different parts of the world.“At the UN, we are deeply conscious of the need to bridge the divide between those who do and do not always have the benefits of the latest technology, but also to participate in the dialogue that is taking place among those who are engaging via new modes of public discussion.”This year’s list, like those of past years, includes stories of both struggles and achievements. It details the neglected emergency of CAR, where tens of thousands of civilians have been displaced by violence, and the struggles of indigenous people in Colombia, where they have faced brutal treatment from armed groups for many years.The other stories include growing concern at how West Africa has become a transit hub for drug trafficking, which is fuelling corruption and instability across the region, as well as details of how the UN is helping with the efforts of port authorities worldwide to crack down on the trafficking of arms, drugs and humans.Meanwhile, the problems caused by skyrocketing food prices last year have only been exacerbated by the global economic turmoil, leaving millions more people hungry, while orbiting debris is threatening the sustainable use of outer space.On the positive front, a UN-backed commission in Guatemala that tackles organized crime is offering a unique form of assistance for a country emerging from conflict, while the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides a mechanism for individuals who feel their rights have been curtailed or denied.The other two stories concern the UN’s behind-the-scenes work that helped prevent a potentially explosive crisis in the wake of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia; and the issue of climate change, where the creation of adaptation strategies has become increasingly important as evidence shows that global warming has accelerated.The list, drawn up in consultation with various UN departments and agencies, does not reflect the full range of issues on the agenda of the Organization and the 10 stories are not ranked in any order.Additional information on all the stories on the list can be found on a special page on the UN website, www.un.org/events/tenstories. 8 September 2009From the struggles of Colombia’s indigenous people to the countless civilians displaced by violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) to United Nations efforts to crack down on the trafficking of arms, drugs and humans through ports, the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) has unveiled its latest list of stories it believes deserve greater global attention. read more

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DR Congo UN rushes food to thousands displaced by ethnic fighting

31 December 2009The United Nations is rushing food to thousands of displaced Congolese in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where tribal clashes have driven 130,000 people from their homes. “Because of ongoing clashes in the area where these people live, it has been difficult to get food assistance to those who need it most,” UN World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director Abdou Dieng said, noting that the food distributions would be widened if security conditions improved.Convoys carrying 50 metric tons of food escorted by peacekeepers from the UN mission in DRC (MONUC) left Gemena in Equateur Province yesterday for the two distribution sites in Bozene and Boyazala, where more than 6,000 displaced people will receive month-long rations of maize, beans, vegetable oil and salt, to be distributed by AVEP, a Congolese non-governmental organization (NGO).According to the Congolese Government, 270 people were killed when inter-ethnic clashes between the Enyele and Munzaya tribes first erupted in a dispute over access to fishing ponds in the Dongo area in November. More than 130,000 people have been displaced since then, over 84,000 of them fleeing across the Oubangui river into the neighbouring Republic of Congo where they started receiving WFP food aid at the end of November.Within DRC, the UN has estimated that some 40,000 people have been displaced internally, but the figure might now be higher. The town of Dongo is reported to be deserted while some localities like Bozene have started to see some returns, but a large number of people are still sleeping in the forest for fear of new violence. Harvest activities have been affected. MONUC peacekeepers and the national army and police have been carrying out joint patrols to reassure people in Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur, that they are safe, and the mission’s military presence in the area has been growing, with 700 troops situated in South Ubangui district and more expected to arrive in the coming days.Overall MONUC fields some 20,000 uniformed personnel in the huge country, with the vast majority in the war-torn east. Since its inception 10 years ago, the mission has seen a return to relative stability in much of the country after years of civil war, culminating in the first democratic elections in more than 40 years,But fierce fighting has persisted in the east, particularly in North and South Kivu, where Hutu militants blamed for the Rwandan genocide of 1994 have fled, compounding hostilities in a region already beset by ethnic tensions. read more

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UN football match scores for people affected by Haiti and Pakistan disasters

Organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and football stars, Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, both UNDP goodwill ambassadors, the Match Against Poverty series has the overall aim of reminding people about their responsibility for ensuring the achievement of the UN’s anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).For this year’s match – hosted by Greek football team Olympiacos at its Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus and broadcast live in more than 30 countries – half of the funds raised will be used to help the more than 20 million people in Pakistan and Haiti affected by the floods and earthquake which devastated those countries in January and July, respectively.“It is important that we reach out in solidarity with those affected by extreme poverty,” Zidane told a pre-match news conference. “We cannot allow the people of Haiti and Pakistan to suffer in silence. Through this match we hope to let the world know we’re in this together.”“It really inspires me to see that despite the economic crisis in Greece the people of this great country still come together in solidarity with the poor of the world,” Ronaldo added. “I’m really impressed that the stadium is sold out tonight.”The UNDP Director of Communications, Stéphane Dujarric, stressed that sports can be a powerful tool for bringing a positive impact to millions of people. “Through sport we can bring people together to focus on a common goal – a world without poverty where everyone on the planet can live with dignity,” he said.The owner of Olympiacos, Evangelos Marinakis, said his team will donate its share of the money raised to a group that helps children with special needs, as well as to homeless and disadvantaged communities in Piraeus.The Tuesday night match ended with a 2-2 draw. It was the eighth so far in the Match Against Poverty series, with the seventh match having taken place in January in Lisbon, hosted by Portuguese team Benfica. 15 December 2010The plight of those affected by the natural disasters which struck Haiti and Pakistan this year was the focus of a special UN football match played by some of the world’s top footballers and watched by a live crowd of 33,000 in Athens on Tuesday night. read more

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Darfur mediation team calls on Sudan rebels to attain ceasefire by years

20 December 2010The mediation team involving the United Nations that is working to advance the Darfur peace process has called on the Sudanese Government and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to conclude a ceasefire before the end of this year. In a statement issued on Sunday, the team – comprised of the UN, African Union and the Government of Qatar – noted that ceasefire negotiations have resumed between the Government and JEM in the Qatari capital, Doha.The Qatar State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Bin Abdullah Al-Mahmoud, and the Joint Chief Mediator, Djibril Bassolé, urged the two sides to “conclude a cessation of hostilities agreement before 31 December 2010, and to fully participate in the peace process.”They also called on Abdul Wahid Nur, whose faction of the Sudan Liberation Army continues to refrain from taking part in the peace talks, to hold his announced consultations to determine his participation in the Doha peace process before the end of this year.The mediation team also noted that during their recent consultations in Sudan, particularly in Darfur, all stakeholders expressed their support to the Doha process, their readiness to endorse the outcomes from the talks, and their wish to be closely involved in the final phase of the peace process. The team also plans to consult with the refugees in the near future.“All those consulted particularly stressed the importance of an inclusive process that would deliver a comprehensive and sustainable peace for Darfur. As such they underscored the necessity for all armed movements to participate without delay,” the statement added.Senior UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly urged all the parties to enter into negotiations in good faith without delay, stressing that only a comprehensive and inclusive negotiated political settlement can bring about a credible cessation of hostilities and address the root causes of conflict in Darfur.An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and another 2.7 million forced from their homes since violence erupted in the Sudanese region in 2003, pitting rebels against Government forces and their allied Janjaweed militiamen. read more

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Closing Bell TSX closes lower traders look to corporate earnings

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed lower Monday amid falling commodity prices, while traders looked to a heavy week of earnings news from corporate Canada.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,748.15 -53.08 -0.41%S&P 500 — 1,517.01 -0.92 -0.06%Dow — 13,971.24 -21.73 -0.16%Nasdaq — 3,192.00 -1.87 -0.06%The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 53.08 points to 12,748.15, led by falling gold stocks as bullion prices closed at a five-week low, while the TSX Venture Exchange slipped 9.5 points to 1,196.31.The Canadian dollar continued to lose ground in the wake of disappointing employment and housing starts data at the end of last week. The loonie shed 0.16 of a cent to 99.57 cents US.U.S. indexes backed off as the Dow Jones industrials declined 21.73 points to 13,971.24, the Nasdaq composite index was 1.87 points lower at 3,192 and the S&P 500 index was down 0.92 of a point at 1,517.01.BlackBerry also weighed on the TSX, falling 75 cents or 4.54% to $15.76 as Forbes reported that Home Depot has decided to ditch the approximately 10,000 BlackBerry smartphones used by its executives. The home improvement chain is reportedly supplying its corporate staff with Apple’s iPhone.The TSX gold sector led decliners, down a shade over two% as April bullion faded $17.80 to US$1,649.10 an ounce. Goldcorp Inc. shed 87 cents to C$35.36.The energy sector fell 0.51% as the March crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange reversed early declines to move up $1.31 to US$97.03 a barrel. Imperial Oil lost 56 cents to C$42.49.The base metals sector was down 0.77% as March copper was four cents lower at US$3.72 a pound. Taseko Mines dipped 12 cents to C$3.21.Cameco Corp. reported an 83% drop in net earnings in its fourth quarter to $45-million, or 11 cents per diluted share, largely due to a $168-million writedown on its Kintyre project in Australia and lower profits from its uranium business. Adjusted earnings came in at 60 cents, beating forecasts of 41 cents but its shares fell 66 cents to $21.05.The industrials sector was the leading advancer as Canadian Pacific Railway climbed $2.21 to $115.97.Financials also lifted the TSX as Manulife Financial ran up 44 cents to $15.28.The fourth-quarter earnings season is winding down in the U.S. but Canadian investors will be taking in a slew of earnings reports this week.Pipeline company TransCanada posts earnings Tuesday. Over the rest of the week, traders will take in reports from resource giants including Talisman Energy, Cenovus Energy, gas giant EnCana Corp. and Barrick Gold.“I think what we will see in terms of energy companies, more specifically oil and gas, is going to be a function of continued persistent multi-year weak gas prices which will hold back those with gas production,” said Garey Aitken, chief investment officer at Bissett Investment Management.“The earnings season has been pretty decent from our vantage point. I’m just hopeful that what’s going on at the corporate level will shine through and play centre stage.”Outside of the resource sector, Sun Life Financial, and telecoms Telus Corp. and Rogers Communications will also hand in results.In other corporate news, engineering firm Genivar confirmed that it engaged in “inappropriate conduct” several years ago in the financing of political parties in Quebec and the awarding of municipal contracts as outlined in recent allegations to the province’s corruption inquiry. The Montreal-based company said an unnamed person is on a leave of absence until an internal review is completed. Its shares Monday fell 50 cents to $23.10.WestJet Airlines is boosting its base in Western Canada by launching its Encore regional service in June to British Columbia’s energy region using the airline’s first Bombardier turboprops. The airline will begin with daily flights between Fort St. John, B.C. and Vancouver, and Fort St. John and Calgary. Additional routes will be added as it takes delivery of five more planes by the end of the year and WestJet shares drifted 15 cents lower to $21.24.Brookfield Asset Management Inc. says it will pay US$414-million to buy a portfolio of 19 apartment communities in three states in the U.S. Southeast. Most of the 4,892 units included in the deal are concentrated in Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, N.C., but some are also in the neighbouring states of South Carolina and Virginia. Brookfield shares slipped eight cents to $38.74.Onex Corp. and its affiliates have agreed to sell their 50% interest in RSI Home Products for approximately US$323-million. The Onex Group invested $318-million in October 2008 to acquire RSI preferred equity. The Toronto-based group says it will have received US$471-million, including prior distributions, when the sale closes. Onex shares were down 17 cents at $44.23.Alacer Gold Corp. will pay a special dividend to distribute $70-million in cash from the sale of its 49% interest in the Frog’s Lake mine in Australia. The sale is part of a strategic review conducted by the Toronto-listed company, which says it will now focus exploration activity on targets with the greatest potential to return “significant and immediate value.” Its shares ran ahead 14 cents to $4.54.Here’s the news investors were watching today:WestJet to launch Encore service in the west June 24G-7 moves to calm currency war fearsGenivar confirms ‘inappropriate conduct’ in financing Quebec political partiesBlackBerry shares fall as Home Depot ditches its phonesON DECK TUESDAY ECONOMIC NEWSBank of Canada governor Mark Carney testifies before parliamentary committee at 8:45 a.m. UNITED STATES7:30 a.m.NFIB small business economic trends survey (Jan): Economists expect a reading of 89, up from last month CORPORATE NEWSCANADARussel Metals Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 39¢ UNITED STATESGoodyear Tire & Rubber Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 20¢ a share The McGraw-Hill Companies Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 72¢ The Coca-Cola Company Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 44¢ Avon Products Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 27¢ Marsh & McLennan Co Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 52¢ Western Union Co Q4 earnings: Analysts expect 35¢ read more

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OECD calls for global tax crackdown to stop corporate loopholes that give

PARIS — The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says large multinationals are using legal loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and that global solutions are needed to combat the problem.The OECD report says many rules designed to protect multinational corporations from being double-taxed go too far and sometimes allow them to pay no taxes at all.[np_storybar title=”Yahoo joins Google, other corporate giants in US$13-trillion Netherlands tax haven” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/01/23/yahoo-joins-google-other-corporate-giants-in-us13-trillion-netherlands-tax-haven/”%5DBy routing profits through the Netherlands en route to island havens, companies receive an important benefit: they generally don’t have to pay taxes on payments leaving or entering the country.Keep reading. [/np_storybar]It says such rules do not properly reflect today’s economic integration across borders, the value of intellectual property or new communications technologies.The G20 countries commissioned the OECD study, which was released Tuesday ahead of a weekend meeting of finance ministers and central bankers from 20 of the world’s leading economies.The OECD says the gaps that enable multinationals eliminate or reduce their taxation give them an unfair competitive advantage over smaller businesses.That hurts investment, growth and employment and can leave average citizens footing a larger chunk of the tax bill, the OECD says.“These strategies, though technically legal, erode the tax base of many countries and threaten the stability of the international tax system,” OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said Tuesday in releasing the study.“As governments and their citizens are struggling to make ends meet, it is critical that all taxpayers — private and corporate — pay their fair amount of taxes and trust the international tax system is transparent.”The OECD said the practices multinational enterprises use to reduce tax liabilities have become more aggressive over the last decade.“Some, based in high-tax regimes, create numerous offshore subsidiaries or shell-companies, each time taking advantage of the tax breaks allowed in that jurisdiction,” it said.“They also claim expenses and losses in high-tax countries and declare profits in jurisdictions with a low or no tax rate.”The report does not suggest optimal tax rates, since each government decides that on its own.However, the OECD said that in coming months it will draw up a plan in co-operation with governments and the business community that will further quantify the corporate taxes lost and provide concrete methods and timelines for reinforcing the integrity of the global tax system.The OECD, with headquarters in Paris, is a global economic policy forum that provides analysis and advice to its 34 member governments and other countries worldwide. read more

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TSX Dow SP 500 soar on strong GDP growth

TORONTO — Stock markets in Toronto and New York closed higher, with the Dow and S&P 500 ending the day at record levels amid a slew of positive economic data from both Canada and the United States.The S&P/TSX composite index soared 161.65 points to 14,594.03. The Canadian dollar climbed 0.05 of a cent to 85.98 cents US.Statistics Canada says gross domestic product rose by 0.3% in October, beating economists’ expectations of 0.1%. The growth was broad based and due largely to oil and gas extraction, mining and manufacturing.In the U.S., the Commerce Department revised upwards its GDP growth figures for the third quarter to five per cent, the fastest pace in more than a decade. The previous figure was 3.9%.BOOM! Dow Jones storms past 18,000 as U.S. economy grows at fastest pace in 11 yearsCanada’s economy picks up the pace, putting growth on track to beat past two yearsThe positive data helped lift Wall Street, as the Dow Jones industrials advanced 64.73 points to 18,024.17, its first-ever close above the 18,000-mark, while the S&P 500 index added 3.63 points to 2,082.17. Both were record highs. The Nasdaq declined 16 points to 4,765.42.In commodities, the February crude oil contract added $1.86 to US$57.12 barrel. February gold bullion contract fell $1.80 to US$1,178 an ounce, while March copper lost a penny to US$2.87 a pound. read more

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Markets update at midafternoon

On the markets at midafternoon (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index is down 47.20 points to 15,105.92.The Dow Jones industrial average fell 96.01 points to 21,382.16.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index shed 14.85 points to 2,417.69.The Nasdaq composite index lost 38.25 points to 6,112.61.The Canadian dollar was trading at 77.10 cents US, up from Wednesday’s average price of 77.03 cents US.

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ICE Futures Canada quotes and cash prices

WINNIPEG — Grain quotes Friday for tonnes, basis Lakehead:Canola (Vancouver): Open High Low Close ThuNov. 495.00 497.60 494.70 496.70 495.20Jan. ’18 501.00 503.00 499.70 502.10 500.70March 505.00 507.70 504.50 507.00 505.00May 507.50 509.90 507.00 509.40 507.50July 508.30 510.80 508.10 510.30 508.30Nov. 486.00 486.00 486.00 486.00 486.00Jan. ’19 0.00 0.00 0.00 487.70 487.70March 0.00 0.00 0.00 490.40 490.40May 0.00 0.00 0.00 490.40 490.40July 0.00 0.00 0.00 490.40 490.40Nov. 0.00 0.00 0.00 490.40 490.40Barley (Western): Open High Low Close ThuOct. 0.00 0.00 0.00 145.00 145.00Dec. 0.00 0.00 0.00 148.00 148.00March ’18 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00May 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00July 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00Oct. 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00Dec. 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00March ’19 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00May 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00July 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00Oct. 0.00 0.00 0.00 151.00 151.00ICE Futures Canada cash prices:Feed wheat: Track Montreal CW: $240.00Canola:Thunder Bay No. 1 Canada: $506.70 (November 2017)Vancouver No. 1 Canada: $521.70 (November 2017) read more

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Operation to catch man eating crocs

Chandrasena told reporters that the government has decided to open two crocodile conservation parks where the crocodiles which are captured will eventually be kept. Meanwhile the Minister in charge of wildlife S.M Chandrasena said that they were also looking for a crocodile which had attacked and killed a young woman near the Nilwala River (Nilwala Ganga) last week. A young woman was killed last week when she went to have a wash near the river.The woman was dragged into the river by a crocodile and her body was later found, the authorities had said. However the killer crocodile was not found. The wildlife department today launched an operation to catch man eating crocodiles in rivers close to villages.According to the wildlife department, river banks in parts of the country where crocodiles are known to live were carefully searched during the operation and dangerous crocodiles which are captured will be transferred to a central location. The police said that at least 20 people have been killed by crocodiles within the last 10 years in Sri Lanka. Another woman had also been killed in the same river and officials believe she was killed by the same crocodile which carried out the second attack.Earlier this year a man was killed by a crocodile in Ragama.Villagers however captured the crocodile by feeding it chickens embedded with hooks. The crocodile however died while it was being transferred to the National Zoo. read more

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Sri Lanka offers to repatriate 10 Indian prisoners

Sri Lanka has offered to repatriate 10 Indian prisoners, currently serving their sentence in the island nation’s jails, to India to complete their remaining prison term.This was conveyed by Colombo to New Delhi through diplomatic channels saying it wanted to send the prisoners back as part of a pact signed by Sri Lanka and India on exchange of prisoners in 2010, official sources said. The Home Ministry is now in touch with the state governments and discussing with them where to lodge the prisoners to spend their remaining period of sentence once they are repatriated from Sri Lanka, sources said. Most of the Indian prisoners in Sri Lanka are from Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Majority of Indians were convicted in Sri Lanka for drugs-related offences, crossing over of international maritime boundary and other crimes. (PTI) read more

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