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World financial news » business

10/28/2014 (6:24 am)

Sarah Doucette wins Ward 13, Parkdale-High Park

Filed under: legal, stocks |

Incumbent Sarah Doucette had no trouble holding on to her Ward 13 seat and was overwhelmingly returned for a second term of office.

Advanced polls had placed Doucette far ahead of her contenders, a lead she maintained without breaking her stride.

Twelve candidates were vying for the ward seat which includes the Bloor West Village shopping strip and residential neighbourhoods to the north and south.

Back in 2010, Ward 13 recorded the second-highest turnout across the city with 58.76 per cent of voters casting ballots. With pressing issues such as development on their minds, they were back at the polls in full force.

Among the concerns were new highrise buildings popping up on Bloor St. and development proposals they fear will radically change the character of the village payday loans guaranteed no fax. They were also worried that new condominiums will generate more traffic on Bloor and local streets. An influx of new residents with children will mean local schools that are already crowded will be bursting at the seams. The need for more child-care spaces and affordable housing, which should be integrated into new developments, was also raised at the door.

So it was no surprise to see lawn signs in front of many homes emblazoned with Save Our Village that were as prominent on the landscape as election signs.


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10/18/2014 (10:28 am)

101-year-old voter casts his ballot in Toronto election

Filed under: money, technology |

When Harvey Borden first voted in Toronto, there were no glass-covered condos. No “new” City Hall. And definitely no subways.

There was also “no such thing as insults” in politics, said the 101-year-old Toronto resident.

This centenarian is clearly fed up with political finger-pointing.

In years past, “it was a matter of letting the public know what you can do and what you can’t do,” said the dapper former accountant, who wore a tan blazer and pocket square while voting in an advance poll near Yonge St. and St. Clair Ave. on Thursday morning. “Of course, today, it’s a different story. The ones running for office are only interested in insulting each other.”

There are also “too many personalities” now, Borden said.

But don’t go thinking Borden is frustrated with politics to the point of apathy. Far from it.

Borden first cast a ballot when he was around 18, in the early 1930s. That means he’s been voting in Toronto for around 80 years.

“I’ve travelled Canada and I still think we have the nicest, the largest, the most productive (city) with regards to industry — and anybody who wants to make a go of it, Toronto is the city for you,” said Borden, who clearly loves his adopted home.

Borden was born on July 1, 1913, decades before it was formally known as Canada Day, and moved from Russia to Toronto as a toddler. The Toronto of his youth was like a “little town,” he said.

He’s now a subway supporter, but said his “transit” as a teenager was just the bicycle he’d take to work at Koffler’s Drugstore on College St. (That little drugstore was owned the Koffler family — a family business that was eventually transformed into Canadian pharmacy giant Shoppers Drug Mart.)

Reflecting on the numerous mayoral elections he’s seen over the decades, Borden said Nathan Phillips, the mayor of Toronto from 1955 to 1962, was one of the “best mayors we ever had.”

Phillips is known for his efforts to build Toronto’s new city hall and modern civic square, amid controversy and pushback from the public. His downtown namesake, Nathan Phillips Square, opened in 1965.

“He did everything in order to beautify Toronto, to make their budget work out and not be insulting,” Borden said. “That made a good mayor. He’s there to serve the public, and not to insult other people.”

So who did Borden vote for this time around? He’s quick to answer: John Tory.

Borden said he remembered the Tory name from the Toronto law firm Torys LLP, and considers the family “leaders” in Toronto.

“I hope that if he comes in, I know he’s going to do his best,” Borden said. “He’s not going to be busy insulting people, and I hope the others will learn not to insult him.”

Borden also offered three pieces of advice for those running for office in Toronto.

One suggestion, apt advice from a former accountant: Don’t go spending billions more than the city has available. Another: keep working on those subways.

And his last bit of advice? Stop insulting people.

“If you’re educated enough to run for mayor, then you’re educated enough not to insult each other,” Borden said.


Toronto election news

Advance poll turnout in Toronto sets a first-day record


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10/17/2014 (12:16 am)

Plunging oil price provides massive economic stimulus: Citigroup

Filed under: Uncategorized, marketing |

LONDON — The lowest oil price in four years will provide stimulus of as much as $1.1 trillion (U.S.) to global economies by lowering the cost of fuels and other commodities, according to Citigroup Inc.

Brent, the world’s most active crude contract, closed at $83.78 (U.S.) a barrel in London Wednesday. That’s more than 20 per cent below its average for the past three years, amounting to savings of about $1.8 billion a day based on current output, Citigroup estimates. Savings will climb to $1.1 trillion annually as the slide cuts costs of other commodities, leaving consumers and companies with extra cash to spend and bolstering growth, according to Ed Morse, the bank’s head of global commodities research in New York.

Crude prices are plunging amid signs that OPEC, supplier of 40 per cent of the world’s oil, won’t act to eliminate a surplus as global growth slows. Combined supplies from the U.S. and Canada rose last year to the highest since at least 1965 as producers tapped stores locked in shale-rock formations and oil sands. The global economy will rebound next year, with growth quickening to 2.98 per cent, the fastest since 2010, according to analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg.

“A reduction in oil prices also results in a reduction in prices across commodities, starting with natural gas, but also including copper, steel, and agriculture,” Morse said yesterday in an e-mailed response to questions. “All commodities are energy intensive to one degree or another.”

Regular gasoline averaged nationwide in the U.S. dropped to $3.163 a gallon, the lowest in more than three-and-a-half years, Heathrow, Florida-based motoring group AAA said on its website Wednesday. The Bloomberg Commodity Index slumped to a five-year low, about 50 per cent below its peak in July 2008. Copper, natural gas, coal and iron ore are all far below their peaks.

“Cheaper oil is an advantage for both consumers as well as industrial and manufacturing operations, especially as winter approaches,” Myrto Sokou, an analyst at Sucden Financial Ltd. in London, said by e-mail yesterday.

As lower energy prices help reduce commodity costs, they can push down the inflation rate. While freeing up more money for consumers, outsized declines could become a concern in places like Europe, where policy makers are trying to stave off deflation, which can exacerbate an economic slump.

The euro area will have inflation of 0.5 per cent this year, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Consumer prices globally will increase by 2.47 per cent in 2014, about the same as last year, the forecasts show.

“Lower prices, for most economies, reduce the cost of doing business and support economic growth,” the International Energy Agency said in a report Oct. 14. “Lower prices offer a cushion of sorts against an otherwise vulnerable macroeconomic backdrop.”

The Paris-based adviser to governments said in the same report that oil demand will expand by about 650,000 barrels a day this year, half the pace it anticipated in July.

Nations in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries may resist cutting output in response to the slowing demand growth to try and test the prices at which some North American supply is profitable, Antoine Halff, head of the IEA’s oil industry and markets division, said.

A decline to $80 (U.S.) would cost OPEC $200 billion of its recent earnings of $1 trillion, Morse said in an analysis on the topic that was published yesterday in the Financial Times.

Oil prices rose to a record in 2008, boosting revenues for nations including Russia as well as Middle East states such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. It also increased prices for consumers in industrialized nations.


10/15/2014 (9:20 am)

What you need to know for the start of Medicare open enrollment

Filed under: mortgage, news |

Medicare’s open enrollment period, which starts today, can be a confusing and cumbersome process . But there are tools and resources available to cut through the jargon and help seniors find the best health plan.

The enrollment period runs through Dec. 7 and provides people 65 or older with a once-a-year opportunity to switch to a private Medicare Advantage plan or change their prescription drug coverage. It also lets people switch to traditional Medicare.

The Missouri Department of Insurance has partnered with Primaris, a Columbia-based health care consulting firm, to offer assistance to seniors sifting through their options.

Those who want to review their current plan, change their drug coverage or enroll can get advice from the Community Leaders Assisting the Insured of Missouri program.

“Even if you are happy with the one you have now, it may be changing,” said Revee White, the marketing director for Primaris. “You need to make sure it is still the best choice for you.”

The program has about 300 counselors who can help seniors with their options. They can also assist low-income residents in determining whether they qualify for federal or state assistance in paying for prescription drugs.

Call 1-800-390-3330 or visit for assistance.

Also available is a federal rating system of Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans currently on the market. Plans are rated on a five-star scale with five stars being the highest.

When rating plans on, federal officials take into account customer satisfaction and how individual plans keep consumers healthy and help them manage chronic conditions low fee pay day loans.

Jim Day, a regional liaison for Primaris, said the ratings can be a good indicator of what kind of service an insurer offers, but isn’t the best way to determine whether an individual should purchase a plan.

“Just because the plan is rated very highly, does not mean it is a good fit for the beneficiary,” he said.

Day added that residents should check with their local hospitals, doctors and pharmacies to make sure they are in a plan’s network before enrolling.

About 16 million people, or 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, are enrolled in Advantage plans. An additional 23 million people are enrolled in prescription drug plans.

For this year’s enrollment period, there won’t be as many choices of Advantage and standalone prescription drug plans, and premiums are expected to rise modestly.

There will be 46 Medicare Advantage plans available in Missouri, down from 54 last year. Nationally, the average premium will increase by about $3, but federal officials say two-thirds of beneficiaries won’t see any hike.

Similarly, there will be 31 standalone prescription drug plans, down from 35 in 2014. Premiums are expected to rise by about 2.4 percent on average in Missouri, although many consumers could face double-digit increases.

Day said there were still plenty of available prescription drug coverage options for 2015 but cautioned that was not necessarily the case for Medicare Advantage. “For the Advantage plans it really depends on where you are and the networks that are available,” he said.


09/29/2014 (2:52 am)

Luka Rocco Magnotta trial starts Monday

Filed under: online, technology |

MONTREAL—The trial in one of Canada’s most publicized and shocking criminal cases is set to begin Monday with evidence being heard in the proceedings against alleged murderer Luka Rocco Magnotta.

Magnotta, 32, has pleaded not guilty to five charges in connection with the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin in May 2012.

The charges are first-degree murder; committing an indignity to a body; publishing obscene material; criminally harassing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other members of Parliament; and mailing obscene and indecent material.

Trial Judge Guy Cournoyer questioned potential jurors earlier this month about whether they could stomach evidence that could be considered gruesome, graphic and possibly upsetting.

The 14 bilingual jurors who will hear the case will receive instructions from Cournoyer before prosecutor Louis Bouthillier begins presenting the Crown’s arguments.

The investigation was launched after the discovery of a human torso stuffed in trash behind a Montreal apartment building in May 2012. Body parts then began surfacing in different parts of Canada — first at a federal political office in Ottawa and, later, at two British Columbia schools.

A video that purportedly depicted a slaying was posted online around the same time and was linked by Montreal police to the discovery of the body parts.

As the investigation progressed, Magnotta was discovered to have left the country, triggering an international police manhunt that Montreal police said was the largest in which they had taken part.

Interpol became involved and Magnotta was arrested without incident at a Berlin Internet cafe on June 4, several days after Lin’s slaying.

He returned to Canada a few weeks later, escorted by several Montreal police major-crimes detectives aboard a Canadian government plane.

Bouthillier has said up to 60 Crown witnesses could be heard at the trial, which is expected to last between six and eight weeks. Some Europeans could be called to testify.

The process of selecting the jury took eight days, with the court vetting about 1,600 people called to serve. That group was narrowed down to 16 people. Two will be dismissed when the trial begins and two of the remaining 14 will be discharged before deliberations.

The trial will take place primarily in English, although some parts are expected to be in French.

Magnotta will be represented by Toronto-based attorney Luc Leclair low interest rate personal loans. The lawyer told reporters he was seeking jurors who were open-minded and intelligent and willing to listen to the case.

“He’s (Magnotta) been waiting a long time, I’ve been waiting a long time, we’ve been waiting a long time,” Leclair said on the first day of the jury selection process.

“There was a time that we never thought this day would come.”

Magnotta is a native of Scarborough, Ont., who, according to police, set up dozens of Internet usernames and maintained 70 Facebook pages and 20 websites.

The trial is likely to lure plenty of curious onlookers. During the preliminary hearing, the case attracted criminology students, legal junkies and even a handful of people who appeared to support Magnotta.

Proceedings will be heard in a special courtroom equipped with numerous screens and a large metal-and-glass enclosure behind which Magnotta will sit.

But seating is limited: five spots will be set aside for media and five others for the public. A few other seats are reserved for Lin’s family, including his father Diran, who is in Canada for the trial.

The trial will otherwise be broadcast to an overflow room on a different floor.

Diran Lin has attended several days of proceedings since the case began and has said he hopes to see justice for his son.

Jun Lin, 33, was born in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province. He had only been living in Canada since 2011, realizing a long-standing dream by coming to Montreal.

His family said in April 2013 that Lin had a comfortable life working in IT at Microsoft’s Beijing office, but had sought a move to Canada to study and to improve his life.

At the time of his death, Lin was enrolled as a computer engineering student at Concordia University and worked as a part-time convenience store clerk in south-central Montreal.


09/20/2014 (9:44 pm)

Julio Suarez Picked to Lead Guatemala

Filed under: loans, online |

Guatemalan economist Julio Suarez was tapped to lead the country

09/19/2014 (6:52 am)

Key Eyes N.Z. Election Win After Snowden, Eminem Battering - Bloomberg

Filed under: money, term |

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key could win a third term in elections tomorrow after surviving a political scandal, Edward Snowden

09/14/2014 (12:28 pm)

Scottish independence could mean messy divorce

Filed under: USA, stocks |

LONDON (AP) — How do you divorce after a 300-year union? It’s complicated, and there is a deadline.

If Scots vote yes to separation on Thursday, a clock starts ticking down to March 24, 2016 — the independence day declared by the Scottish government.

The British and Scottish administrations have agreed that they will recognize the outcome of the referendum and appoint negotiators to work out the details of separation “in the best interests of the people of Scotland and of the rest of the United Kingdom.”

But there is disagreement on many issues, and only 18 months to redraft laws, establish international agreements and work out relationships with international organizations.

Robert Hazell, head of the Constitution Unit at University College London, says that is an “impossible timetable,” and estimates it could take up to three years to hammer out the details.

Some of the key issues:



The Yes and No campaigns have very different assessments of Scotland’s financial picture, including its share of Britain’s national debt and North Sea oil reserves.

The pro-independence Scottish government says Scotland would be entitled to 90 percent of Britain’s oil wealth — based on divvying up the two countries’ waters — but only liable for about 8 percent of its 1.3 trillion pound ($2.1 trillion) national debt, based on its share of the U.K. population.

The British government disputes this, pointing out that Scotland has higher per capita public-sector spending than England and so is more indebted.

Scottish independence leader Alex Salmond has signaled he could play hardball.



Salmond says that Scotland wants to remain in the United Nations, the European Union and NATO, and he anticipates little difficulty in keeping those seats.

Opponents say re-admission cannot be guaranteed. NATO, in particular, may be perturbed by Salmond’s promise to remove nuclear weapons from Scottish territory.

That’s not so much a problem for Scotland — nuclear weapons are not a membership requirement — as for Britain, whose entire nuclear arsenal is based aboard submarines at the Faslane naval base in western Scotland.

Adm. Mark Stanhope, a former head of the Royal Navy, has said that moving the weapons “would add a dangerous period of destabilization in our nuclear defense posture at a time when the international picture is clearly deteriorating.”

The Royal United Services Institute, a military think-tank, estimates that moving the weapons could cost several billion pounds (dollars) and take until 2028. In the shorter term, Salmond may seek to use the base as a bargaining chip in negotiations with Britain.

Opponents of independence also say the loss of Scotland would sharply reduce Britain’s clout on the world stage. It could endanger its place in the G-7 group of wealthy industrialized nations and its seat on the United Nations Security Council, although Salmond says Scotland would support Britain in efforts to keep the security council seat.



The day after an independence vote, the pound sterling will remain Scotland’s official currency. The Scottish government wants to keep it in the long term as well — as a key prop of stability amid the uncertainty independence would bring.

British officials and bankers say it’s not that simple. Bank of England governor Mark Carney has said that “a currency union is incompatible with sovereignty.”

Salmond thinks the British government is bluffing. He says “a common-sense agreement on a common currency” is in everyone’s best interest.

Another unknown is whether businesses will pull out of Scotland. Financial institutions including the Royal Bank of Scotland and insurance giant Standard Life have announced plans to transfer some operations south of the border to ensure they remain part of British tax and currency systems.

Salmond says these are administrative measures and that the firms will keep most of their thousands of jobs in Scotland — but only time will tell.



At the moment only a blue-and-white billboard informs motorists and train passengers that they have passed from England into Scotland, and border checks will not be set up the day after an independence vote.

Salmond said there is “no danger” of such border formalities, saying Scotland would become part of the passport-free Common Travel Area Britain operates with the Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland.

He says Scotland, like Britain, will be a member of the EU. But opponents say membership cannot be guaranteed; countries such as Spain, that face strong secessionist movements, may be uneasy about quick recognition.

If Scotland remains outside the EU — or if Britain leaves, as some London politicians wish — there may be no alternative to border checks. Britain could also take umbrage if Scotland adopts much more liberal immigration policies.

Scots will be getting different passports if they opt for independence, even if they don’t need them to cross the border. The Scottish government says all British citizens living in Scotland will automatically be considered Scottish citizens, as will Scotland-born Britons who live elsewhere. They will be able to apply for Scottish passports from independence day in 2016, and would be allowed to retain dual Scottish and British nationality.



One thing both sides agree on — Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be the Scottish monarch after independence.

Scotland and England shared a monarch for a century before they united politically in 1707, and the queen remains head of state in Canada, Australia and several other former British colonies.

The queen will keep her Balmoral estate in Scotland, the royal family’s traditional summer-vacation destination.

Many other symbols of state are up for grabs. Scotland will likely adopt the Saltire, a blue-and-white flag that already flies alongside the Union Jack over government buildings in Edinburgh.

The red, white and blue British flag combines the emblems of its member regions, including England’s red-and-white Cross of St. George and Scotland’s blue. A redesign of the iconic banner may be in order.


09/09/2014 (4:48 pm)

Morocco Mojo Building From Moody

Filed under: legal, marketing |

Moroccan bond yields are tumbling to records as an increase in issuance boosts liquidity amid a stable political backdrop, according to Standard Chartered Plc.

The yield on the North African nation

09/06/2014 (10:56 am)

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Toronto

Filed under: marketing, mortgage |

Environment Canada has upgraded a severe thunderstorm watch to a warning for Toronto Friday evening.

The national weather agency is advising people to take shelter when a thunderstorm strikes, noting that “damaging wind gusts, large hail and torrential rainfall are all threats”.

Other southern Ontario regions are currently under severe thunderstorm warning, including Haliburton, Halton-Peel, and York-Durham.

Lightning kills up to 10 people a year in Canada, according to Environment Canada statistics.

The severe heat warning for Toronto has ended.


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