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Weekly Summary Corporate dividends name changes new listings

NEW YORK — Changes announced in corporate dividends Apr. 22-Apr. 26.INCREASED DIVIDENDSACNB .25 from .23Ameriprise Financial .97 from .90AmeriServ Financial .025 from .02Ball Corp .15 from .10Bank of Hawaii .65 from .62Brookline Bancorp .11 from .105Business First Bancshares .10 from .08Cal-Maine Foods .272 from .149CapStar Financial Hldgs .05 from .04Central Pacific Financial .23 from .21EQM Midstream Partners 1.145 from 1.13Enterprise Finl Services .15 from .14Evercore Cl A .58 from .50ExxonMobil .87 from .82First Bancshares .08 from .07First Community Bcshs .25 from .07Hess Midstream Partners .3833 from .3701Holly Energy Partners .67 from .6675Home Bancorp .21 from .20Home BancShares .13 from .12Lithia Motors Cl A .30 from .29MetLife .44 from .42Nasdaq .47 from .44NextEra Energy Partners .4825 from .465Noble Energy .12 from .11Northfield Bancorp .11 from .10Renasant .22 from .21Universal Forest Products .20 from .18VOC Energy Trust .16 from .145Webster Financial .40 from .33Winmark .25 from .15WW Grainger 1.44 from 1.36SPECIAL DIVIDENDSColumbia Banking Sys .14Warrior Met Coal 4.41REDUCED DIVIDENDSBlueknight Energy .04 from .08First Finl Bankshares .12 from .21RPC .05 from .10g- Canadian fundsOTHER CORPORATE NEWS AND LISTINGS:STOCK SPLITS THIS WEEKMoxian Inc 1 for 5 reverse splitRite Aide Corp 1 for 20 reverse splitTheStreet Inc 1 for 10 reverse splitWestwater Resources Inc 1 for 50 reverse splitACQUISITIONS AND MERGERSMINIMUM VALUE $350 MILLIONBelmond Ltd – LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (2.6B)Ellie Mae Inc – Thoma Bravo LLC (3.7B)Goldcorp Inc – Newmont Mining Corp (10B)USG Corp – Gebr Knauf KG (7B)NEW STOCK LISTINGSNYSEPinterestTortoise Acquisition Corp (and warrants)STOCKS REMOVED FROM TRADINGNYSEBelmond LtdPublic Storage 6.375pc pfd YNASDAQ GLOBAL AND GLOBAL SELECT MARKETSAchaogen IncAlight Inc Cl AInternet Initiative Japan Inc ADSKona Grill IncThe Associated Press read more

US consumer borrowing growth slowed in March

WASHINGTON — Consumer borrowing in March grew at the slowest pace in nine months as Americans pulled back on credit card use.Borrowing increased by $10.3 billion in March, the Federal Reserve said Tuesday. That was the smallest monthly advance since an $8.8 billion rise last June. Borrowing had increased $15.5 billion in February.The slowdown reflected a $2.2 billion drop in the category that includes credit cards. That offset a $12.5 billion rise in borrowing in the category that covers auto loans and student loans.Consumer credit is closely watched for clues it can provide of the willingness of households to increase their borrowing to support consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of economic activity.Even with the March slowdown, consumer debt rose to a new record $4.05 trillion in March.The overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, grew at a surprisingly strong 3.2 per cent annual rate in the January-March quarter.Many economists believe that GDP will slow in the current April-June quarter. That is because much of the first quarter strength came in such areas as business inventory building and trade that are not expected to last.The Fed’s monthly consumer borrowing report does not cover mortgages or other loans secured by real estate such as home equity loans.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press read more

The Latest Pennsylvania sues OxyContin maker over opioids

PHILADELPHIA — The Latest on Pennsylvania’s lawsuit against Purdue Pharma (all times local):3:50 p.m.:The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office says sales representatives for the company that makes OxyContin kept encouraging doctors to prescribe the powerful opioid painkiller even when it realized they were serving patients who were addicted to the drug.The state makes those allegations in a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma filed earlier this month and announced Tuesday.Pennsylvania is at least the 39th state to sue the Connecticut-based company seeking to hold it accountable for an opioid addiction crisis.Attorney General Josh Shapiro says the state sued because the company isn’t negotiating in good faith for a settlement — something the company disputes.The company says in a statement that the claims are part of an effort to try cases in the court of public opinion rather than the justice system.___2 p.m.:The attorney general of Pennsylvania has filed a lawsuit accusing the company that makes OxyContin of fueling the opioid epidemic.Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the lawsuit Tuesday against Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma. Pennsylvania is one of the states hardest hit by opioid addiction. It is at least the 39th state to sue Purdue.Shapiro’s office two years ago joined with dozens of other states to investigate companies that make and distribute opioid painkillers.Several Pennsylvania counties have already sued drugmakers, and a federal judge in Cleveland is overseeing more than 1,500 lawsuits filed by local governments, Native American tribes and others against the opioid industry.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says opioids were involved in a record 48,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2017.The Associated Press read more

Slovenias new asylum law sparks concern from UN refugee agency

7 January 2008The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has criticized Slovenia’s new asylum law which it says could lead to people being deported even before their cases have been properly evaluated and to the widespread use of detention. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has criticized Slovenia’s new asylum law which it says could lead to people being deported even before their cases have been properly evaluated and to the widespread use of detention. “We now have a new law that in transposing European Union asylum directives is actually reducing legal standards below international levels and restricting the prospects of asylum seekers to find protection in Slovenia,” said Lloyd Dakin, UNHCR’s Regional Representative responsible for Slovenia. UNHCR has previously warned that the EU directives had already set minimum norms, some of which were below international norms. There was concern that this could lead EU nations to lower their own national legal standards. “This is exactly what has happened in Slovenia, just as it assumes the EU Presidency,” said Mr. Dakin. The new law came into force on Friday, just days after Slovenia took over the rotating presidency of the EU. According to UNHCR, Slovenia has some of the lowest refugee recognition rates in Europe – only one asylum seeker was recognised as a refugee in 2006, and two in 2007. Among the agency’s major concerns with the new law is the increased substitution of accelerated procedures for full-scale asylum procedures, which UNHCR believes should only be applied in exceptional, specifically defined cases. The use of such procedures means that asylum seekers could be returned to another country where their lives or freedoms may be threatened even before their case has been properly evaluated. In addition, the new law could lead to the widespread use of detention for asylum seekers, regardless of whether they have special needs such as families or children. Although generally disappointed with the new law, UNHCR noted that it does have some positive aspects, such as the fact that it introduces the possibility resettlement of refugees to Slovenia from camps in other countries, something UNHCR is encouraging among EU countries. Mr. Dakin pledged UNHCR’s continued cooperation with the Government and other actors to ensure that everyone who deserves international protection in Slovenia receives it. read more

UN refugee agency deplores murder of aid worker in eastern Chad

2 May 2008The United Nations refugee agency today voiced its sadness at the killing of a senior aid worker in eastern Chad and warned that humanitarian staff operating in the region must endure an increasingly insecure environment in which to carry out their work. Pascal Marlinge, the Country Director for the non-governmental organization (NGO) Save The Children, was shot yesterday by bandits while travelling in a three-vehicle convoy on the road between the towns of Farchana and Adre.UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told reporters today in Geneva that “this shocking incident underscores the highly insecure environment that humanitarian workers face in delivering protection and assistance” in eastern Chad.More than 240,000 refugees from the neighbouring Darfur region of Sudan and 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) live in 12 camps across eastern Chad run by UNHCR.This week’s attack was the second targeting an aid worker in Chad in less than a year. A driver for UNHCR was shot and killed by gunmen late last year. read more

Security Council asks Ban to renew UN panel monitoring Liberia sanctions

18 June 2008The Security Council has asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to renew the mandate of the United Nations panel looking into the issues of diamonds, timber, sanctions, arms and security in Liberia for another six months. In a unanimously adopted resolution, the Council also requested Mr. Ban to reappoint the Panel of Experts and to make the necessary financial and security arrangements to support its work.The 15-member body also called on all States and the Government of Liberia to “cooperate fully with the Panel of Experts in all the aspects of its mandate.” The panel was appointed by the Secretary-General in July 2007 to investigate whether UN sanctions against Liberia are being broken, after learning of allegations that former president Charles Taylor may still have access to considerable wealth.It is also tasked with assessing the implementation of forestry legislation signed into law last October by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, and with gauging the Government’s compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, a mechanism established to keep “blood diamonds” from reaching world markets. The Council also highlighted the importance of the continuing assistance of the UN’s peacekeeping missions in Liberia (UNMIL) and Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) to the work of the Panel and to Security Council committee monitoring the sanctions on Liberia. read more

Significant step taken for proposed referendum in Basra says UNs Iraq mission

The Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC), an Iraqi institution tasked with voter registration and conducting all upcoming electoral events and referenda in the country, has opened 34 sub-centres providing registered voters in Basra the option to sign their names calling for the referendum.Collecting 10 per cent of voters’ signatures, from an electorate of around 1.4 million people, in the area prompts the authorities to organize a referendum. The first step in this process was initiated by a petition of 32,635 Basra voters that was submitted to the IHEC last month. Anyone born in 1991 or before has two weeks from the start of 2009 to come forward and register their support.“The Law is to ensure the voters’ right to freely express their choice regarding selecting the type of governance for their province or region. This is part of strengthening the democratic process when each eligible voter has a say,” noted the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Staffan de Mistura.Once the signature collection period has ended, the IHEC will certify whether the threshold of 10 per cent of valid voters has been reached. The confirmation of the signatures is expected by the end of January, and the IHEC begins arranging the referendum within 60-90 days of certification of the signatures. 17 December 2008Preparations are in place enabling the people of the oil-rich Iraqi province of Basra to officially demonstrate their support of a proposed referendum to form a region with some devolved power from the central Government, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) announced today. read more

Top UN officials spotlight progress on anniversary of antilandmine treaty

“Much has been achieved since the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention entered into force 10 years ago,” the Team said in a statement marking the anniversary of the signing of the watershed treaty (1 March).The Team, comprised of 14 different UN entities, said it was “greatly impressed and heartened by the steady decline in casualty rates, the return of formerly mined areas to productive civilian use and the destruction of tens of millions of these deadly weapons.”It estimated that 190,000 anti-personnel and 10,000 anti-vehicle mines were destroyed in 2008, and an increased number of countries have declared completion of their mine clearance operations, including most recently France, Malawi and Swaziland.“We applaud the progress made in the struggle against the scourge of landmines,” the statement read, reaffirming the Team’s commitment to assist mine-affected countries “in meeting their obligations to clear mined areas, assist victims, destroy stockpiled landmines and educate women, men, girls, and boys about the dangers of landmines and explosive remnants of war.”The statement also urged Member States to fully support three pacts signed in recent years aimed at reducing and eventually eliminating the humanitarian suffering and negative development impact of landmines and explosive remnants of war.It underscored that the Mine-Ban Convention “is an excellent example of effective collective efforts by States, the United Nations, regional organizations, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross aimed at ridding the world of indiscriminate weapons.” 27 February 2009Last year bomb disposal experts cleared over 200,000 landmines around the world, contributing to the progress made in ridding the anti-personnel and anti-vehicle explosives from the planet over the past decade, the United Nations Mine Action Team said today. read more

World cannot afford to put disarmament on backburner Ban tells States

4 May 2009Stressing that nuclear weapons remain an “apocalyptic threat,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged parties to a United Nations-backed global non-proliferation treaty to push for progress and set out a course towards achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world. “We cannot afford to place disarmament and non-proliferation on a backburner,” Mr. Ban said as he welcomed delegates to the third session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Review Conference of the States parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).“Let us not be lulled into complacency. Let us not miss the opportunity to make our societies safer and more prosperous,” he added. Mr. Ban noted that for too long, the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation agenda has been “stagnating in a Cold War mentality.” The 2005 NPT Review Conference ended in “disappointment” and the UN World Summit outcome contained not even a single line on weapons of mass destruction.But there have been some changes recently, he said, recalling the joint commitment announced last month by Russian President Medvedev and United States President Obama to take concrete steps to fulfil their obligations under the NPT, which forms the foundation of the world’s nuclear non-proliferation regime.In addition, he encouraged Iran’s leaders to continue their cooperation with the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to demonstrate the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme.Mr. Ban also urged the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to return to the Six-Party talks, which he believed is the best mechanism to achieve the verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.“I also urge all States to end the stalemate that has marked the international disarmament machinery for too long,” he stated. “To strengthen the NPT regime, it is essential that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty enters into force without further delay, and that the Conference on Disarmament begins negotiations on a verifiable fissile material treaty.”Mr. Ban stressed that the current preparatory session must generate agreements on key procedural issues and substantive recommendations to next year’s Review Conference. The Conference, in turn, must produce a clear commitment by all NPT States parties to comply fully with all of their obligations under this vital Treaty.“If you can set us on a course towards achieving a nuclear-weapon-free world, you will send a message of hope to the world,” he told the gathering. read more

Sustainable development tops UN chiefs priorities for 2010

11 January 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today outlined seven priorities for 2010, beginning with the urgent need for a renewed focus on sustainable development, including advancing efforts to achieve the globally agreed targets aimed at ending poverty, disease and hunger. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today outlined seven priorities for 2010, beginning with the urgent need for a renewed focus on sustainable development, including advancing efforts to achieve the globally agreed targets aimed at ending poverty, disease and hunger.The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – as the targets are known – are among the seven “strategic opportunities” to be realized not over decades but within the next twelve months, Mr. Ban told the 192-member General Assembly.“Taken together, they can make the world safer, fairer and more prosperous today and in the future,” he stated. “I ask that we join together to make 2010 a year of sustainable development – to meet the MDGs, address climate change, promote global health and take the necessary steps for lasting and robust economic recovery.”Mr. Ban highlighted the special MDG summit he will be convening in September in conjunction with the Assembly’s annual General Debate. Prior to that, in March, he will present his own assessment to the membership on the gaps and needs on this issue. Negotiating a binding agreement on climate change, as well as to deliver on commitments made to date, was the second priority emphasized by the Secretary-General. Last month, countries ‘sealed the deal’ on a political accord which seeks to jump-start immediate action on climate change and guide negotiations on long-term action. It also includes an agreement to working towards curbing global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, efforts to reduce or limit emissions, and pledges to mobilize $100 billion a year for developing countries to combat climate change. Mr. Ban said he intends to launch a high-level panel on climate change and sustainable development, which will deliver its own recommendations on the way ahead. The Secretary-General also called for empowering women as never before during 2010, and pointed to the need to work towards setting up the new gender entity to be established within the UN, and step up efforts to prevent violence against women. The appointment of a Special Representative on the prevention of sexual violence in armed conflict will be announced soon, he added. Noting encouraging progress in the field of disarmament, Mr. Ban’s fourth priority is working towards a nuclear-free world. “As with the MDG summit, we must prepare the ground for success,” he stated, listing a series of meetings that he will be attending on the issue in Geneva, Paris and Washington. “The fifth strategic opportunity lies in preventing and resolving deadly conflicts around the world,” the Secretary-General went on to say, adding that 2010 will undoubtedly bring unforeseen political and humanitarian crises.Among the challenges anticipated are critical elections in Iraq, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire and Myanmar. In addition, the situations in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Guinea, among others, will continue to demand attention.“In the Middle East, we must generate new momentum in the search for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace,” Mr. Ban stated. “One year after the Gaza conflict, a fundamentally different approach is required to address the major humanitarian and reconstruction challenges still facing its people.”The sixth priority, said the Secretary-General, is to advance on issues “at the heart of who we are – human rights and the rule of law.” In this regard, he urged the Assembly in the coming weeks to conduct a thorough and clear-eyed review of the Human Rights Council.He also called for strengthening the International Criminal Court (ICC), describing it as the “centrepiece of our system of international criminal justice,” and urged all nations to become parties to the Court’s Statute. Last, but not least, Mr. Ban cited the need to strengthen the UN system. “In the last years, we have made important progress in realigning the United Nations with new global realities. But more has to be done. “As an Organization, we have to commit to continuously improve the way we are doing business. Changing with changing times and evolving needs has to become a way of life at the United Nations,” he said, noting the need to rejuvenate management, develop the emerging leaders of the future, and build a flexible workforce for the 21st century, as well as make better use of modern technologies.“I sense renewed energy as we start the new year and take on the heavy agenda ahead,” Mr. Ban stressed to reporters following his informal briefing to the Assembly. “We can make 2010 a year for action on a number of fronts,” he added. “We are ready to act, ready to deliver, and ready to make 2010 a year of results for people.” read more

Caribbean region joins UN campaign to end violence against women

11 October 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today encouraged everyone in the Caribbean to get involved in the quest to end violence against women – a scourge which affects one in every three women in the region during her lifetime. “This campaign must involve everyone, from schools and street markets to parliament and the courts of justice,” Mr. Ban said at the Caribbean launch of the UNiTE campaign, which brought together ministers, civil society representatives and artists from around the region.Launched by the Secretary-General in 2008, the campaign calls for all countries to put in place strong laws, action plans, preventive measures, data collection, and systematic efforts to address sexual violence by 2015. In a message delivered by Gladys Acosta of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) at the launch in Barbados, Mr. Ban noted that he launched the campaign out of a belief that women and girls around the world deserve better.Since then, regional initiatives have been launched in Latin America and Africa, and the Secretary-General has also set up a Network of Men Leaders which works to challenge destructive stereotypes, embrace equality, and inspire men and boys to speak out. “No country is immune from gender-based violence, which is abhorrent in its own right, and can prevent girls from getting an education and women from earning a living,” he stated.“Sadly, it is clear that women in the Caribbean region suffer high levels of such violence,” he added. “According to recent statistics, one in every three women will experience violence in a personal relationship in her lifetime. Prosecutions and convictions remain very low.” He said the UNiTE campaign can build on the work that has already been done by the UN, national governments and others to raise awareness, build partnerships and have a greater impact on prevention, protection, justice and services for the victims of gender-based violence.“Violence against women must not be tolerated, in any form, in any context, in any circumstance, by any political leader or by any government. There can be no exceptions, no excuses and no delay.” read more

UN envoy backs World Day to stop violence against children

19 November 2010A global initiative to protect children from abuse and violence has received the support of the United Nations envoy dealing with the issue, who stressed that much more needs to be done to safeguard millions of young people around the world. In a message delivered in Geneva on the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Marta Santos Pais expressed support for adopting 19 November as a World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Violence against Children.“Violence against children remains hidden and socially accepted, and it has a serious and lifelong impact on the lives of children, compromising their physical and emotional health, development and education,” said Ms. Pais, who is the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children.“This anniversary reminds us that much more need to be done and prevention is crucial in protecting children from violence in all its forms.”She said that violence and abuse remain difficult to survey because of their sensitive nature, despite existing international standards. The Special Representative highlighted three critical goals which she will be pursuing, which are the development of national comprehensive strategies against violence worldwide, a global legal ban on violence against children, and the promotion of a national data collection system and research agenda.In spite of the challenges, Ms. Pais also noted some positive developments, including the fact that various countries have built significant legal prohibitions on violence against children.“At present, 29 countries have a comprehensive and explicit legal ban on all forms of violence against children,” she said. “Several countries have reinforced their legislation to address specific forms of violence and to protect children from ill treatment and abuse in schools, from child trafficking and sexual exploitation, as well as harmful practices, including female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage.” read more

Tunisia UN human rights team to begin assessment on Thursday

A team of United Nations experts will begin a week-long assessment on Thursday of the human rights situation in Tunisia in the wake of the recent political unrest, it was announced today. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay announced the mission last week, while urging the international community to support the Tunisian people’s call for freedom and the full respect of human rights for everyone in the country. “Human rights abuses were at the heart of the problems faced by the people of Tunisia. Therefore, human rights must be at the forefront of the solutions to those problems,” Ms. Pillay stated in a news release issued today by her office (OHCHR). “The OHCHR team will explore possibilities for the advancement of human rights in Tunisia and seek to gain a first-hand understanding of the human rights challenges,” she added. The eight-member team, led by Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Director of OHCHR’s Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division, will meet with interim authorities, civil society groups, UN agencies on the ground and other key actors during their mission. Ms. Pillay said the observations and recommendations resulting from the mission will enable her to put together a set of concrete proposals for immediate and future action to improve the human rights situation in the country. “It is important that we maintain the positive momentum established by the recent dramatic transformation of the political situation,” she stated. The North African nation’s president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, fled the country earlier this month amid growing protests and violence by protesters reportedly angered by rising prices of essential commodities, lack of employment opportunities, alleged corruption and limitations on fundamental rights and freedoms.Last week, the High Commissioner said that her office has received information concerning more than 100 deaths over the last five weeks, as a result of live fire, protest suicides and deadly prison riots. 26 January 2011A team of United Nations experts will begin a week-long assessment on Thursday of the human rights situation in Tunisia in the wake of the recent political unrest, it was announced today. read more

Yemen UNICEF sounds warning over impact of unrest on children

At least 26 children have been killed, mainly because of live bullets or ammunition, since 18 February, UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado told journalists in Geneva. Another 15 children died as a result of the large explosion at the Abyan ammunition factory last month, when civilians reportedly looted the facility, which had been previously taken over by militants.Ms. Mercado said more than 80 other children had been injured, either from being beaten with sticks, hit by rocks or shot at with live ammunition, while nearly 800 more had been exposed to tear gas.The spokesperson noted that the unrest, part of a wider wave of pro-democracy protests across North Africa and the Middle East, was taking a particularly heavy toll on Yemeni children.UNICEF is attempting to support critical services for children in Yemen, which is already the poorest country in the region.Senior UN officials, including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have repeatedly expressed concern in recent weeks over the situation in Yemen, and especially over the use of force by government security forces against peaceful demonstrators. 19 April 2011The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today urged the parties to the political unrest gripping Yemen to protect children at all costs as the number of minors killed or injured during the recent violence continues to rise. read more

Soccer star David Beckham visits UNICEFbacked shelter in the Philippines

2 December 2011David Beckham tried his hand at sewing, took part in an art class and played a game of soccer with local students this week as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) visited the Philippines to spotlight the plight of young people in need. The soccer ace toured a UNICEF-supported centre in Manila, the national capital, that is home to about 130 former street children aged between seven and 17, the agency said in a press release issued today.As many as 250,000 children are estimated to be living and working on the streets across the Philippines, and UNICEF noted they are particularly vulnerable to violence, abuse and exploitation.“As a father, I can’t imagine how life was for these young children living and working on the streets,” Mr. Beckham said. “They are exposed to so many threats and dangers, and are missing out on the basics in life – having people around who love and guide them.”The centre provides classes in different subjects, including sewing and art, as part of its livelihood programme for the children that also helps to build their self-esteem.His visit concluded with a 20-minute football game with young players from the shelter.“Whilst many of these children have been through tough experiences in their young lives, like any child they still have hopes and dreams,” he said. “The staff here has a huge responsibility and they are doing an amazing job giving these children the love, guidance and care they’ve been missing.”Mr. Beckham, 36, has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF since 2005. One of the most famous footballers of his generation, the midfielder has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy, among other clubs, and has also played more than 100 times for the English football team. read more

Northern Gateway equity offer would give First Nations about 70000 a year

TERRACE, B.C. — The equity offer from Northern Gateway to aboriginal groups along the route of a controversial oil pipeline would amount to as little as $70,000 a year for some bands, according to one base offer obtained by The Canadian Press.The company says that is not the average offer, and in fact is in the lower range of a wide array of agreements, but some aboriginal leaders says it’s a far cry from the path out of poverty the company claims.“Only minimal economic benefits were offered,” Chief Rose Laboucan, the six-term chief of the Driftpile Cree Nation northwest of Edmonton, told the federal panel assessing the project during final arguments about the controversial project.Laboucan said the band sat down to negotiate with Calgary-based Enbridge but would not sign the equity agreement “for ethical reasons.”“I remember being in that room and having that binder: ‘Here is the agreement. Take it or leave it.’ Many nations agreed, but we didn’t,” she said.Aboriginal buy-in is a major road block for the $6-billion project that would deliver heavy oil from just outside Edmonton to a tanker port in Kitimat, B.C.Northern Gateway has offered aboriginal groups along the route the opportunity to buy into a 10 per cent equity stake in the pipeline. A copy of the offer was obtained by The Canadian Press.A legal assessment for one of the bands compiled in 2011 and also obtained by The Canadian Press, said the anticipated annual average net income — after repayment of the loans with one per cent interest for Enbridge over and above the rate at which the company borrows the funds — would be $70,500 a year. While the assessment expressed concern that the bands would have to borrow the money to buy into the agreement from the company, an Enbridge spokesman said the offer to borrow the funds was made at the request of aboriginal groups, which might not be able to obtain as low a rate of interest as the pipeline company.The $70,000 offer would be on the lower end of he scale, for a band located some distance from the pipeline route, said Paul Stanway, company spokesman. The average offer would be in the range of three times that amount, he said.“The numbers reflect the impact that the project would have on a particular aboriginal community,” Stanway said Sunday, adding that distance from the actual line is one factor in the equation.Enbridge spokesman Ivan Giesbrecht said in an email that the 2011 document would indicate “a starting point, rather than a finalized, executed agreement between Enbridge and one of our Aboriginal equity partners.”“A document issued in 2011 would have been augmented by further dialogue and understandings between Enbridge and Aboriginal groups along the right of way,” he said.Giesbrecht said that as the pipeline route was determined, the company established a 160-kilometre-wide corridor for aboriginal engagement and consultation. As the process has unfolded, bands with traditional territories in the corridor have been identified and added.Northern Gateway has said 60 per cent of aboriginal groups along the pipeline route have signed on, but the Haida Nation told the panel last week that 18 equity packages were offered to Alberta aboriginal groups and 15 signed up. In B.C., 27 offers were made and 11 First Nations signed up.It’s more than the two bands that have acknowledged the agreements, but less than the 60 per cent claimed by Enbridge.Giesbrecht argued the benefits go beyond equity, amounting to $400 million in employment, procurement and joint venture opportunities over three years of construction, but it’s not enough even for some supporters of the project.“Ten per cent is totally inadequate,” said Brian Lee Crowley, managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, an Ottawa-based public policy think tank.“You split that up amongst the dozens of First Nations along the pipeline route and it’s just not enough, in my view, to make the project attractive or to outweigh some of the other objections.”The Institute published a report last month trying to lay out a path forward for the project that would pump billions of dollars into government coffers.It recommended a higher portion of equity be split among the bands, in addition to a general corridor benefit agreement and individual agreements that would include supply and service deals.The institute suggested, among other things, that the federal government designate the pipeline corridor land as reserves, giving First Nations the ability to raise tax revenues and fees from allowing the right-of-way.It also recommended the Alberta and federal governments provide fully repayable loans to First Nations to buy into the equity arrangement.“By the time you get property taxes and various other revenue flows out of it, you’re starting to put together a fairly attractive package,” Crowley said.Chief Herb Arcand, of the Alexander First Nation west of Edmonton, said his community has signed on, despite concerns about a lack of consultation from the provincial and federal governments.“Business is business,” Arcand told the panel, saying the deal will generate long-term benefits for the band.Final hearings on the project are expected to wrap up Monday. read more

Closing Bell TSX closes sharply higher amid strong showings in manufacturing indexes

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market was sharply higher Thursday as commodity prices advanced amid strong showings in manufacturing indexes in China, the U.S. and Canada.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,593.96 +107.32 0.86%S&P 500 — 1,706.87 +21.14 0.25%Dow — 15,628.02 +128.48 0.83%Nasdaq — 3,675.74 +49.37  1.36%The S&P/TSX composite index ran ahead 107.32 points to 12,593.96.Traders also digested big losses handed in by two major gold miners and an announcement from TransCanada Corp (TSX:TRP) that it’s going ahead with its Energy East pipeline project to transport crude from western provinces as far east as Saint John, N.B. TransCanada shares were ahead $1.08 to $48.01.The Canadian dollar was down 0.71 of a cent to 96.64 cents US as the Institute for Supply Management said its U.S. manufacturing index for July came in at 55.4, higher than June’s reading of 50.9 and the best level since April, 2011.Royal Bank’s latest purchasing managers index for the Canadian manufacturing sector came in at 52 for July, down slightly from the June reading of 52.4. Any level above 50 indicates expansion.China’s official purchasing managers index hit 50.3 last month. That is up only slightly from June’s 50.1 reading but economists had expected a modest decline of below 50.However, analysts note that the index has held between 49 and 51 for the past 15 months and is an indication that the days of double-digit Chinese growth aren’t coming back.“And even if it wanted to (grow that much), it can’t because it has an inflation problem,” observed Kash Pashootan, portfolio manager and vice-president at First Avenue Advisory in Ottawa, a Raymond James company.“That inflation challenge that they didn’t have five or six years ago which they have more of now puts downward pressure or sort of a ceiling on the rate on which they can grow.”U.S. indexes also racked up strong gains with the Dow Jones industrials and S&P 500 establishing record highs.The Dow Jones industrials gained 128.48 points to 15,628.02, the Nasdaq composite index was ahead 49.37 points to 3,675.74 while the S&P 500 index climbed 21.14 points to 1,706.87.Markets sentiment was also boosted by Wednesday’s statement from the Federal Reserve, which wrapped up its two-day meeting without any change to its monetary policy that has supported the economy by keeping interest rates ultra-low. That, in turn, has encouraged lending and spending and also boosted stock markets.There has been much speculation over the last two months about when the Fed might start to wind down its US$85 billion of bond purchases every month.Analysts think that the central bank could move on tapering its purchases as early as its next meeting in September.Traders also turned their attention to the release of the U.S. non-farm payrolls report coming out Friday. Economists looked for the data to show that the economy created about 190,000 jobs during July.Commodity prices were mainly higher in the wake of the Chinese data and the energy sector led TSX advancers, up 2.25 per cent with the September crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange up $2.86 to US$107.89 a barrel. Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) rose 88 cents to C$32.71.Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO) weighed on the sector as it said its net income was $327 million in the second quarter, a decline from $635 million in the year-earlier period. The main reason cited by the company was a $264-million non-cash charge related to its conversion of a refinery in Dartmouth, N.S., into a fuels terminal. Adjusted earnings were 34 cents per share compared with an analyst estimate of $1 per share and its shares slipped $1.06 to $43.01.The base metals sector climbed 1.84 per cent while copper added to Wednesday’s eight-cent rise, up five cents to US$3.17 a pound. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) advanced 49 cents to C$24.55 while HudBay Minerals (TSX:HBM) dropped 33 cents to $6.59 as the miner reported deepening losses. Its second quarter loss came in at $52.7 million or 31 cents a share, compared to a loss of $29.6 million or 17 cents a year ago.The industrials sector advanced 1.34 per cent and Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) improved by $3.66 to $129.79.Shares in transport giant Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) dipped one cent to $4.95 as it said it had adjusted net income totalling US$158 million in the third quarter, equivalent to nine cents per share and in line with analyst estimates.Financials were also higher and Manulife Financial (TSX:MFC) rose 36 cents to $18.45.The gold sector was the major decliner, down almost two per cent while December bullion in New York shed $1.80 to US$1,311.20 an ounce. Iamgold Corp. (TSX:IMG) faded 10 cents to C$5.20.Barrick Gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) posted a US$8.56 billion loss and lowered its quarterly dividend in the wake of lower prices for bullion and copper. Excluding unusual items, Barrick had adjusted earnings of US$663 million or 66 cents in the quarter ended June 30 — better than the analyst estimate but down from 82 cents per share last year and its shares jumped 46 cents to C$17.46.Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K) reported a net loss of $3.2 billion for its latest quarter, as it was also hit with a substantial impairment charge related to lower gold price assumptions and suspended its dividend. Adjusted earnings fell to 10 cents a share, beating analyst expectations of seven cents a share. Its shares slipped six cents to $5.28. read more

SPTSX highlights

Closing TSX Open 15,147.35 Close 15,135.00 Low 15,113.06 High 15,159.67 Change -8.99 Volume 245,867,427 Value 4,806,840,153

Workers at a Tim Hortons in Winnipeg vote to unionize second group

WINNIPEG — Employees at a Tim Hortons (TSX:QSR) in Winnipeg have voted to unionize.Workers United Canada Council says 15 people at the Lombard Avenue location have agreed to unionize with them, the second group of Tim Hortons employees to do so in the city.They will be joining 35 Tim Hortons workers at the Portage Avenue and Wall Street location, who have been represented by Workers United since 2015.Workers United represents workers in industries including garment and textile, food service, hospitality and manufacturing.

Judge OKs revised Sears Canada bonus plan to keep key staff through

TORONTO — An Ontario judge has approved Sears Canada’s request for a revised retention bonus plan for key head office staff and store managers who stay through its liquidation process.The number of people covered by the retention plan for head office executives and staff has dropped to 36 from 43, and the amount that could be paid under that plan has dropped to $2.8 million from $3.9 million.Under the revised plan, the key head office employees can earn their bonuses if they stay with the company until next March or April, depending on the person.Before granting the company’s request, Justice Glenn Hainey got assurances that there are no additional funds being approved beyond the $7.6 million that was originally approved for head office bonuses shortly after Sears got court protection.The original plan also included $1.6 million in potential bonuses for managers of stores that were slated to close.That money has essentially been used up but Sears Canada told the court that it will divert some of the unused executive bonuses to pay bonuses for the remaining store managers who stay until their locations are closed.The retailer currently has 74 full department store locations, eight Sears Home Stores and 49 Sears Hometown stores, which all face closure.Wednesday is the last day Sears Canada will honour extended warranties as the retailer prepares to start liquidation sales Thursday.Sears Canada said earlier this week that only customers who bought a protection agreement within the past 30 days could get refunds from paying for extended coverage.It said most merchandise it sells comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, which will be available to customers directly from the manufacturers.The company said it still looking for a buyer for its repair business, but it’s not know if a sale will go through or under what terms the repair service would operate.Sears Canada also finds itself in court again Wednesday to approve retention bonuses for key employees to oversee the liquidation of the company. read more