Stocks edged higher on Wall Street in early trading Thursday, extending the market’s modest gains from a day earlier.Technology and communication services stocks led the gainers, outweighing losses in banks and industrial companies. Bond prices rose, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury down to 1.76% from 1.78% late Wednesday.The latest gains came a day after the Federal Reserve cut its benchmark interest rate for a second time this year. The Fed failed to indicate whether more rate cuts were likely this year, though the central bank left the door open for additional rate cuts if the economy weakens.The Fed is lowering interest rates in a bid to combat slowing global economic growth and uncertainty over U.S. trade conflicts, among other threats to the U.S. economy.Washington and Beijing were set to begin trade talks Thursday ahead of more formal negotiations set for next month.Markets have rallied this month after both sides took steps to ease tensions in advance of the talks. That’s fueled speculation among investors that the U.S. and China may at least reach an interim deal in their costly trade war.Meanwhile, France’s finance minister said Europe is ready to impose retaliatory tariffs next year on U.S. goods as part of a long-running dispute over subsidies to plane makers Airbus and Boeing.KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 index was up 0.4% as of 10:17 a.m. Eastern Time. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 93 points, or 0.3%, to 27,241. The Nasdaq added 0.6%.Major stock indexes in Europe were broadly higher. Indexes in Asia were mixed.ANOTHER RATE CUT: The Fed cut its benchmark interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point on Wednesday, in a widely expected move. The rate, which is now at a range of 1.75% to 2%, influences many consumer and business loans.The market initially sold off on the news, however, after the Fed revealed that its panel of policymakers are divided about the upcoming path for interest rates. Stocks rebounded after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said the central bank would be ready to take action if the economy weakened.The Fed is trying to keep the U.S. economic expansion from being derailed by uncertainties over the U.S. trade war with China, slower global growth and a slump in American manufacturing.The Fed’s wasn’t the only interest rate decision to be digested.The Bank of England also kept its main interest rate on hold at 0.75% with rate-setters opting to sit tight while waiting for some clarity to emerge on Britain’s exit from the European Union. And Japan’s central bank opted to keep its own monetary policy unchanged and its key interest rate at minus 0.1%. The decision came amid signs of weaker consumer demand and exports and dimming confidence in the business outlook.DIVIDEND BOOST: Microsoft rose 1.6% after it approved a $40 billion stock buyback and raised its quarterly dividend.NOT SO TOUGH: U.S. Steel dropped 11.8% after it warned investors that its third quarter loss will be wider than anticipated.ENERGY: Oil prices rose again as traders continued to assess the impact of the attack on Saudi production over the weekend. Benchmark U.S. crude was up 1% to $58.72 a barrel and is up 7.1% since the attack. Brent crude, the international standard, was up 1.6% to $64.59.Alex Veiga, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The federal government’s big-ticket efforts to support high-growth tech firms are offering little for emerging companies that have already outgrown the fledgling start-up phase, according to a new survey of CEOs in Canada’s sector.The insights are among the early findings of a three-year research project focused on properly defining mid-sized “scale-up” firms, outlining what prevents them from growing into big companies in Canada and ensuring they’re central to policy discussions.“Scale-ups do not see their interests reflected in the federal innovation agenda,” said a document summarizing the opinions of executives at 48 of these firms during interviews last summer. The research is a collaboration between industry and the University of Toronto. Intellectual property may be a state of mind, but Canada’s mind is not on the game Canada risks losing its artificial intelligence edge as adoption lags and the tech goes mainstream Trade deals that lock up intellectual property rules could have dangerous consequences for Canada The research is partly funded by Toronto-based tech company Delvinia. Adam Froman, the firm’s founder and CEO, said he’s made use of many different federal programs over the last 20 years — and has seen the gaps for scale-ups.The problem, he said, is that without ongoing support, made-in-Canada firms are being purchased by foreign entities, which also gobble up valuable intellectual property Ottawa helped pay for.“We’re exiting too early and the government doesn’t recognize it,” Froman said.Ottawa, he said, remains focused on helping firms with annual revenues under $10 million a year, when it should continue its supports for the “most-at-risk companies” bringing in between $10 million and $100 million per year.“If we can actually help more companies become $50-million companies, $100-million companies and stay in Canada, this will have a material impact on the future of Canada’s economic prosperity,” he said.Froman added that scale-ups are looking for continued support beyond financial help and “handouts.” For instance, he said the government could do a better job promoting “Canada House” as a space where Canadian firms can host events in the United Kingdom and ensuring federal agencies are agile enough to provide advice and services for fast-growing companies like Delvinia.Since taking power in 2015, the federal Liberals have made big bets in hope of lifting Canada’s fast-growing sectors. Ottawa wants Canada to produce global-scale firms that will generate long-term growth and create lots of jobs.Among the measures, Ottawa has dedicated $950 million worth of public funding towards five tech “superclusters,” created a $100-million program to make the federal government a bigger customer of domestic firms’ innovative products and made changes designed to entice foreign, high-level talent to move to Canada.But CEOs interviewed for the survey, taken between June and September, said despite Ottawa’s efforts federal policy has mostly focused on helping smaller, start-up firms.“I think there’s a lot of frustration,” said Steven Denney, the researcher at University of Toronto’s Innovation Policy Lab behind the study. “I think a lot of the frustration stems from what I would say is a perceived lack of recognition.”For example, the summary said CEOs wanted government to give more opportunities to domestic firms when it comes to procurement.Denney said there’s a lack of data about companies in this scale-up category, which the project is also trying to properly define as way to frame policy debate. As he zeros in on a definition, Denney said these firms should have at least $10 million in revenue and between 60 and 65 employees and be considered high-growth according to OECD standards.“If we can’t define it, we can’t talk about it,” he said.A spokeswoman for Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said Thursday that helping businesses grow, scale up and go global is a top priority.“Our government has taken concrete action to make it easier for scale-ups to access capital, access new markets, and access talent,” Dani Keenan said in a statement.“We will continue to work closely with business to provide the right conditions for businesses to succeed and create good jobs for Canadians.”In a September report, an advisory group assembled by Bains’ department that included industry leaders said Canada has a strong entrepreneurial culture and startup capacity — but that it underperforms when it comes to scaling up companies.“The problem is that government programs tend to focus on entrepreneurs and small-and medium-sized enterprises,” said the economic strategy report on digital industries. The report said the government must refocus some of its programs to help high-performing scale-ups grow into global firms.
The island houses 86 cottages, which in the summer can house up to 200 people. By September, the number of visitors begins to die out, leaving Rogers as the only resident. It’s an idyllic life on Cockburn Island. In the summer, the tiny Ontario island hums with life. Parents relax in folding chairs set out on the sandy beaches, keeping an eye on their children swimming in the waters of Lake Huron. Beavers come out of their dens to enjoy the sun, while deer look for the best patches to graze in the woods. In the evenings, older couples stroll arm-in-arm through the streets of Tolsmaville, the cosy cottage community nestled on the island. And then winter arrives and the lake begins to freeze. Chairs are folded away, cars are loaded, cottages locked up and soon the last boat pushes off from the island, headed for Thessalon and Meldrum Bay. As the snow sets in, the only sign of life is a light in the cottage where sits Darren Rogers, the island caretaker.He will be the only person living on the island for the rest of winter.“I’ve never been a fan of crowds,” says the 52-year-old with a chuckle. “And then if you show up during winter, there’s not a lot going on here — there’s only one person,” Rogers said during a telephone interview. (He isn’t exactly easy to find; despite having a phone number, he suggests emailing him with a scheduled time to call as he often works in parts of the island with no cell service.)As island caretaker, Rogers looks after road maintenance, building repairs, safety equipment, tending to the needs of the summer residents — “it’s all rolled into one job,” he says. His years working as a farm hand on various dairy farms in Ontario and operating heavy equipment have prepared him for the physical labour. But his work experience wasn’t the only thing that got him the job. “The biggest thing here is you have to be willing to live out here,” he said. “It’s not a five-day-a-week job, it’s 24/7.”It might sound ideal at first. But the idea of living by yourself in the dead of winter, away from mainland can quickly turn daunting. According to Rogers, an older couple had been originally hired to try out the job for a year. “They didn’t like it,” he said, “and gave it up.”Lee Chappell, the last island caretaker, lived on the island since the early 1980s with his late wife Lynne and a maintenance employee. It was Chappell’s “penchant for privacy” that led him to make the island his home for 32 years, according to a 2009 Sault Star headline. Nevertheless, he moved back to the mainland in 2009 to live out the rest of his days in Thessalon. So far, Rogers has lived alone on the island for 14 years, ever since taking up post in 2006. While he has no complaints, he said the township has hired another person to give him a hand. However, it remains to be seen whether the person will be able to get through the first winter. “He hasn’t made it through the year yet,” said Rogers.Help or no help — this is it for Rogers. “Nowadays when you want a quieter life and you want to relax with no drama, this is the place to be,” he said. For Rogers, living on Cockburn Island is life come full circle. Ever since he was 10-years-old, his family would take a boat to the island during summers. “My father had a deer hunting camp and would bring us kids over,” he said. “I enjoyed it.”Decades later, he first learned of the job through an advertisement posted in the North Shore Sentinel, the local paper for Thessalon. He was working on a horse farm in Sault Ste. Marie at the time, but was open to trying “something different.” “At the time I was just bumming around,” he said. “I had no big career goals, so thought I’d give it a try.”It helped that he knew most of the local town council in charge of filling the vacancy and vice-versa. “It wasn’t like I was going into an interview with a bunch of strangers,” he said. “They knew who I was … and that’s the only way you’re gonna know if a person is going to like it (on the island) or not,”Unlike the couple before him, Rogers said he found the transition from mainland to island fairly easy, thanks to his years on the farm and his love for camping. “This was just a camping trip extended,” he said. Chappell had also stayed for the first year of his employment and showed him the ropes. Cockburn island makes up part of an archipelago that separates Lake Huron from Georgian Bay. “The only time I miss them is at Christmas,” he said. He spends Christmas alone, celebrating with a home-cooked meal of turkey and roast potatoes. “I don’t do the Christmas tree and all that, just the supper,” he said. “I usually make a phone call during the day when everybody is having their supper and talk to them then.”Does it ever get lonely? Not really, according to Rogers. “Everyone knows I’ve always liked doing things on my own,” he said. The only challenge he says, is in planning for the winter. “You don’t have a store to run to,” he said. “So if you’re planning on doing any projects over the winter then I gotta sit down now and figure out all the parts I need and what I’m doing.”If anything, having the whole island to himself is about as good as it gets. “Snowmobiling anytime I want, four-wheeling anytime I want,” he said. “It’s why I have no drive to get back to the North shore. There’s nothing for me there.” Darren Rogers Waves roll in at a sandy beach on Cockburn Island. Located in Northern Ontario, Cockburn is part of an archipelago stretching out into Lake Huron, with Meldrum Bay on one side and the Canada-U.S border on the other. The island covers 170 square kilometres, on which stand 86 cottages that make up the community of Tolsmaville. In the 1800s, its population grew rapidly with the construction of sawmills and peaked at 1,000 year-round residents during the Second World War. But in the 1960s, it began to dwindle as ferry services stopped altogether and the island became increasingly isolated. Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.As of 2013, the official population is zero — Statistics Canada’s practice is to round off populations in communities smaller than 15 people. The census data and the island’s isolation has mislead some into calling Tolsmaville a ghost town.“Years ago, you would have called it a ghost town because not many people were coming,” said Rogers. “But now we have a lot of younger retirees and so the population is staying pretty stable over the summer.”Thanks to the efforts of Harold Reeve, a former Tolsmaville mayor, the island was revived as a summer recreational community by the 1980s. Between May and September, the island can house up to 200 people, mostly during weekends. But after the annual fish-fry in August, the number of visitors begins to die down. Mhairi McFarlane/Nature Conservancy of Canada Ian Anderson “Most days are just going to work like a regular job,” he remarked.Back then, the job was mostly supervising the various contractors who’d come to maintain the island. As the township downsized, more of the work fell to him. “Being a younger guy, I was able to take over most of the road-work job over the years,” he said. Summer life on Cockburn flows at its own pace. There is no formal scheduling, no major plans made — everyone does as they please, when they please, according to Rogers. “Ninety percent of the time they’re sitting on the porch watching as the day goes by,” he said.Late afternoons are spent making social calls, stopping in at different cottages for the customary catch-ups and a drink or two. “It’s very informal — that’s how you get to know everyone,” said Rogers. Everyone knows everyone here and it’s not uncommon to see two cars pause in the middle of their respective drives around the township to say hello. The easy pace of island life affords Rogers a gift longed for by many living in the big cities — time. “If I have to do something today or put it off till tomorrow, that’s no problem,” said Rogers. “That’s my philosophy.”Nevertheless, the man is no lazy bones. He begins his work days early — out of bed by 5:30 a.m. and out the door an hour later. He treats his job as a regular eight-hour-a-day shift, finishing up in the early afternoon. His job includes a myriad of tasks, ranging from helping newcomers dock their boats to working on the community infrastructure. “Right now, I’m out working on the grader,” he said, during a phone call. The rest of the afternoon is spent completing some household chores, after which he might take himself on a drive around the island, to spot whatever wildlife he can find — which helps him plan for his annual deer and bear hunts. “I got the time to observe (the animals) so I know when they’re coming and going,” he said.A couple who visited Cockburn island in 2008 — two years into Roger’s reign — describe a curious experience with “the guy with the pickup truck.” “As we were coming in, though, a pick-up truck appeared out of nowhere, and a guy jumped out to help us with our lines. Another guy from a neighbouring boat came over to help as well. Then, after ensuring we were secure, they quickly left, barely giving us time to thank them,” wrote the couple on their blog. “The next morning, Darren the Harbormaster — the guy who drove down in his pickup to help with our lines — appeared out of nowhere again to help us with our lines again …. He faded away waving us a farewell (even now, we aren’t sure he was real),” they added. Rogers is a person of few words — yet, many belly laughs — and happiest when he is on his own. So much so, that he’s building a house in the middle of the island, farther away from the populated township, that he plans to move into in the next five or six years.“It’s a running gag around here,” he said with a chuckle. “Everybody knows I like it when everyone takes off.”His trips to the mainland are few, short and spread out — twice in the winter and once in September, mostly for stocking up on supplies and making necessary appointments. “I try to get them over with,” said Rogers. His family still make the annual trip to Cockburn island every August, for the community fish fry. “They all love the island, it’s a getaway from everything,” he said. Apart from the occasional trips, he doesn’t see them much but keeps in touch through daily phone calls. The community centre at Cockburn Island. Becky Guthrie/Postmedia
Speaking to reporters following closed-door consultations, the Council’s current President, Ambassador Patricia Durrant of Jamaica, said the members had “deplored the looting of UN offices, and the Taliban’s takeover of humanitarian relief sites, including food and supply warehouses.”Noting that the UN and its agencies were the main providers of humanitarian relief inside Afghanistan, Council members called on the Taliban not to impede the aid effort, she said. The members commended the humanitarian agencies and their staff, while emphasizing the importance of the safety and security of local and international humanitarian workers.Council members urged relief personnel to continue to do all possible to assist the most vulnerable people of Afghanistan, particularly women, children and the elderly, and “stressed the need to continue to find innovative ways of delivering much-needed supplies to the region and distributing aid to those in need,” said the President. Members urged the international community to continue its financial support for relief efforts, and appealed for the quick disbursement of funds that have already been pledged, she added.Concerning the regional picture, Council members expressed appreciation to the Governments of Afghanistan’s neighbours, which have agreed to open access routes for the delivery of relief supplies. The members also expressed support for the efforts of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative, Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, who is now holding consultations with officials of several countries of the region.
This is the third time the Joint Border Committee (JBC) has convened, and the first time the committee has held bilateral negotiations in East Timor. The Committee last met in July in Jakarta.According to UNTAET, the East Timorese agenda includes developing a general mutual understanding of what “border normalization” entails and endorsing an Indonesian “Right of Transit Passage” proposal that will allow East Timorese to travel between the Oecussi enclave in West Timor and the other districts of East Timor.The recommendations from the JBC meeting are expected to be passed on to the Council of Ministers of East Timor and the Indonesian Government for discussion and approval. Agreements reached will eventually be passed on to the Border Liaison Committee for implementation.The heads of the two delegations, East Timorese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Fernando de Araújo, and the Head of the Research and Development Board at the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, Muhammad Yusuf, each expressed great satisfaction over the convening of the meeting in Dili, and their strong hope for the JBC’s continued progress.
“Coral reefs are a major tourist attraction in many coastal areas, and protecting them is essential not only for the environment but also for the tourism industry,” said Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel, Assistant UNEP Executive Director. “We believe that by raising awareness and so changing the behaviour of tourists and local tourism industry workers alike, the damage to coral reefs can be reduced.”The first product in the information campaign, a wall calendar, is being distributed today to the 1,500 representatives of hotels attending MarketPlace – the largest travel and trade exhibition in the wider Caribbean region – taking place in Cancun, Mexico.Each month the calendar, produced in association with the Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable TourismThe outreach effort, which also aims to promote 2002 as the International Year of Ecotourism, will include a “passport” explaining the main biological and ecological features of coral reefs, a children’s quiz, a poster and a boaters’ chart with information on how to manage solid waste and holding tanks as well as refuelling and anchoring practices.
“We fully respect Israel’s security concerns,” the six UN agencies and 12 NGOs said yesterday in a joint statement. “But we firmly reject the clear implication of the measures imposed at the Erez crossing for the last month that UN officials and international aid workers constitute a security threat to the State of Israel or its citizens.”Noting that Israel partially lifted the closure for a few staff on Saturday, the statement added: “We call on the Israeli authorities to reopen the Erez crossing immediately, on a 24 hour-a-day basis, for all international staff members of all United Nations organizations and of all other international humanitarian and development agencies operating in the Gaza Strip.”It said the closure had made the operations of all UN agencies, NGOs and other humanitarian and development organizations unreasonably difficult, inefficient and costly, adding: “If these new restrictions persist, a number of international and non-governmental humanitarian organizations may be forced to stop their operations in the Gaza Strip.”Saying it was not clear why Israel had imposed the “unprecedented” restrictions, the 18 organizations declared: “The restrictions are violations of applicable international law and, in many cases, bilateral agreements between the Government of Israel and the agencies concerned.”They noted that they went against undertakings on humanitarian access given in August by Israel to Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Personal Humanitarian Envoy, Catherine Bertini, concluding: “We are further disturbed that these restrictions come at a time when the Government of Israel is promising publicly to ease the plight of the population in the occupied Palestinian territory and to support humanitarian relief efforts.”If the Government of Israel is serious about wishing to support our humanitarian efforts, these restrictions should be lifted immediately.”The signatories included the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Médecins sans Frontières, Médecins du Monde, Pharmaciens sans Frontières – Comité International, OXFAM GB, Care International, MERLIN, Enfants Refugiés du Monde, Solidaridad Internacional, Centro Regionale d’Intervento per la Cooperazione (CRIC), Movement for Peace, Disarmament and Liberty, UNA International Service (UK) and World Vision.
The Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Juan Miguel Petit, is scheduled to be in Brazil from 3 to 14 November.Mr. Petit is expected to visit Brasilia, Belém, Salvador, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where he will meet government authorities, representatives of the judiciary, and elected officials, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations.His report on the mission will be presented at the 60th session of the 53-member, Geneva-based Commission next March and April.
Addressing a meeting in Vienna of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors, Mohamed ElBaradei said the Agency “is not yet in a position to conclude that there are no undeclared nuclear materials or activities in Iran.”He noted that the normally time-consuming process of determining the facts would take even longer with respect to Iran, given the country’s past pattern of concealing its nuclear activities.“A confidence deficit has been created, and confidence needs to be restored,” the IAEA chief told the 35-member Board. “Iran’s active cooperation and full transparency [are] therefore indispensable.”He also reported that progress has been made in assuring that there are no undeclared enrichment activities in Iran and in assessing the extent of Tehran’s efforts to import, manufacture and use centrifuges. At the Agency’s request, Iran has agreed to let IAEA experts analyze samples taken from centrifuges and centrifuge components in the countries they came from as a basis for comparison. The aim is to “confirm the actual source of contamination and the correctness of statements made by Iran,” Mr. ElBaradei said. The IAEA has also generally been able to verify that Iran has suspended its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities, although more work is required to fully assess the situation.Speaking to reporters before briefing the Board, the IAEA chief sounded a note of cautious optimism. “We understand much better Iran’s programme now, but as I have stated before, the jury is still out on our ability to provide assurance that everything has been declared to us.”
The United Nations today launched a $3 million flash appeal to meet the immediate needs of over 300,000 Guyanese – nearly half the South American country’s total population – affected by recent floods, including provision of safe water, adequate sanitation and healthy food and re-establishing health services and education.“This emergency may have gone unnoticed outside Guyana in the aftermath of the tsunami,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland said, referring to the disaster that killed more that 200,000 people, injured over half a million more and left up to 5 million others in need of basic services in a dozen Indian Ocean nations in December.“But for those struck, the effects of the floods have been no less devastating than on the Indian-ocean beaches. Having witnessed the impressive generosity of donors for survivors of the tsunami, I hope that they contribute rapidly and fully to this appeal,” Mr. Egeland added.Drainage of the floodwaters has been extremely slow and even now, between 80,000 and 90,000 people still have water in and around their homes three weeks after the disaster struck. Many areas remain accessible only by boat and the water level is reportedly still as high as 1.2 to 1.5 metres in some villages, while rivers have swollen alarmingly.The risk of disease remains a major threat and poor sanitation, waste management and insect proliferation have rendered the waters highly infectious.Beyond meeting immediate needs, especially of vulnerable groups such as pregnant and lactating women, children and the elderly, the appeal will help kick-start rehabilitation by providing small farming communities with production inputs such as seeds, veterinarian services and equipment to rebuild their livelihoods and contribute to agricultural recovery.“Since the onset of the emergency, UN agencies on the ground have been working closely with the Government and other partners to provide emergency relief,” UN Resident Coordinator in Guyana Youssef Mahmoud said. “We need to keep supporting the affected population so they can get back on their feet, and actively participate in rebuilding their livelihoods as soon as possible.”
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said the three men and four women were shot dead on 29 January in San Carlos municipality in Antioquia province, where the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), right-wing paramilitaries and army troops were active. A woman and two babies were injured in the attack in which three men in green uniforms broke into a house and after asking for “the guerrilla weapons” opened fire, it added. It has not yet been established who was responsible. “The Office calls on the authorities to adopt the necessary measures to protect the civilian population from the violence of illegal armed groups and to guarantee adequate reparations for the victims,” OHCHR said in a statement yesterday.
With 1.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) of former Soviet nations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a coordinated response from all sectors of society and leadership at every level are vital to combat the scourge, United Nations Secretary-General told a regional meeting today.“How the CIS region deals with this challenge will determine not only the size of the epidemic, but whether you will be able to prevent all the other destruction that AIDS causes,” Mr. Annan said in a message to the ministerial meeting in Moscow on Urgent Response to the HIV/AIDS Epidemics.“We know from our experience elsewhere that the spread can be turned back. But it cannot be done piecemeal,” he added, pledging the UN’s readiness to assist in any way it can.“There is no time to lose if we are to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halting, and beginning to reverse, the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015,” he said, referring to one of the targets set by the UN Millennium Summit of 2000 seeking to curb a series of social and economic ills by that year. “I look to every one of you as an ally in that struggle.”
“This is a highly complex issue, with global organizations already overwhelmed by the demands of conventionally recognized refugees,” said UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel. “We should prepare now, however, to define, accept and accommodate this new breed of ‘refugee’ within international frameworks.Unlike victims of political upheaval or violence who have access through governments and international organizations to such assistance as funding, food, tools, shelter, schools and clinics, “environmental refugees” are not yet recognized in world conventions, the UNU’s Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany, said in a statement.”There are well-founded fears that the number of people fleeing untenable environmental conditions may grow exponentially as the world experiences the effects of climate change and other phenomena,” Institute Director Janos Bogardi said. “This new category of ‘refugee’ needs to find a place in international agreements. We need to better anticipate support requirements, similar to those of people fleeing other unviable situations.”He noted that the term “environmental refugee” rankled many experts for masking what were often complex motives behind migration and implicitly laying the blame on nature when often the policies and practices of people were the real cause of displacement.The Institute has been working to establish an internationally agreed glossary of terms to promote cooperation in the broad area of environment and human security.
In a message delivered by Special Adviser Iqbal Riza to the first high-level meeting of the Alliance in Palma de Mallorca, Mr. Annan said: “Trends of recent years have strained relations between East and West. They have notably strained perceptions between Islamic and Western peoples. If unaddressed, these may even threaten stability in our world.””Your High-level Group must assess these alarming developments. And it must propose a collective response to defuse these tensions,” he added.The Alliance, which was proposed by the Prime Ministers of Spain and Turkey and whose launch Mr. Annan announced earlier this year, will aim to address the hostile perceptions that foment violence and to bring about cooperation among the various efforts to heal divisions. The high-level group guiding the initiative is expected to present recommendations and a practical plan of action late next year.The participants range from such renowned theologians as Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Karen Armstrong of the United Kingdom, Arthur Schneir of the United States and Mehmet Aydin of Turkey, to administrators of cultural institutions, such as Ismali Serageldin of Egypt’s Biblioteca Alexandria and former UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Frederico Mayor. “Your diverse backgrounds and experiences epitomize what we all must strive towards: an alliance of social, political and civil forces to counter policies and actions which isolate cultures and societies from one another,” Mr. Annan said. “Only by such concerted efforts to come together can we deprive the extremist and the terrorist of the discontent and mistrust that serves as his oxygen.”This is a challenging task. It would be easy to descend into generalities, or adopt inflexible and unbridgeable positions. I trust you will avoid those pitfalls.”The Iberian melting-pot’s lasting legacy was learning and the exchange of ideas that benefited all humanity in the process, he said. Living today in one world, people have no choice but to understand and respect each other, live peacefully together and search for commonality in the best of each of their traditions, Mr. Annan said.
“UNHCR accepts that many asylum applications are unfounded but at these levels of rejection many genuine refugees are being left without a status and are finding themselves in a very vulnerable situation in Greece,” said Karen Farkas, the agency’s representative in the country, responding to the Government’s assertion that the vast majority of these applications are not valid. Because of Greece’s location at the border of the European Union and at the crossroads between Asia, Africa and Europe, considerable numbers of migrants enter the country every year, UNHCR said. Most of those caught entering illegally are arrested and placed in administrative detention, usually for the maximum legal term of three months. In 2004, UNHCR said, Greece granted overall recognition, including humanitarian status, to 0.9 per cent of applicants. The average equivalent figure in other EU member states that year was 26.4 per cent.These figures rose slightly in 2005, but, except for two cases that year, virtually all asylum seekers were rejected at first instance, including medically certified torture survivors, the agency maintains.“States have a legitimate right to monitor their borders in view of growing irregular migration and security concerns,” Ms. Farkas said. “But within the large flow of people that come to Greece are a small number of men, women and children who are seeking safety, some of whom have special needs.”Ms. Farkas added that UNHCR is working with the Greek authorities to create border control mechanisms that help identify people seeking asylum at the earliest possible stage. “Some steps forward have been made with the previous Cabinet and we hope that we will be able to continue building on these in order to improve the situation in Greece and allow refugees to live in safety and dignity,” she said.The awareness campaign is using an image of a see-saw to illustrate the fate of asylum seekers, which UNHCR said hangs in the balance between being accepted as refugees by the authorities or rejected.
“There must be zero tolerance for acts of gender-based violence and zero tolerance for complacency by governments and other institutions responsible for the safety and well-being of women, men and children affected by conflict,” says the agreement, adopted at the end of the three-day International Symposium on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Beyond in Brussels, Belgium.The meeting, attended by doctors and social service providers from countries affected by conflict, was sponsored by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Belgian Government and the European Commission.“We must address this issue with hope, passion and compassion,” UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid said. “We can talk about this issue until we’re blue in the face, but if the leadership of governments doesn’t insist that this issue is on the table, we won’t make progress. Governments must live up to their promises to make ending sexual violence a priority.” Among the most heart-wrenching testimonies presented was that of doctor from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Jean Pascal Manga, who told his horrified audience of girls as young as one year-old being raped by foreign objects such as metal bars, nails and sticks.“Green wood from the manioc plant had caused a great many problems creating fistulas especially in very young girls,” he said. Traumatic fistulas occur when tissues are ruptured during violent rape, leaving passages that constantly leak urine or faeces or both. “No one knew that you would find a fistula in a small girl under five years old, even as young as one year old,” he added. “We face new conditions, and we need exchanges with our western colleagues to treat these problems.” He said there were about 25,000 women and girls who were raped and needed continuing support. “In Africa, once a woman has been raped, she may be abandoned by her entire family, and when she has a fistula and smells of urine, no one wants to be around her,” he noted. Among the 226 cases of fistula from rape, about 20 per cent of surgeries were a failure. Some 90 per cent of women and girls who were raped had some kind of sexually transmitted infection and nearly 10 per cent were HIV positive, he said. In another presentation, Feryal Thabet, of the Bureij Women’s Health Centre in Gaza, said the border closure with Israel and escalating conflict were causing a deterioration of women’s health and an increase in violence against women. “More than one third of Palestinian pregnant women are anaemic,” she said. “Early marriage is on the rise and so is high-risk pregnancy.” She noted that antenatal visits to the centre were decreasing and 80 per cent of women did not receive any post-natal care in 2005. “There were 61 births at checkpoints with no medical assistance,” she said. Citing rising unemployment and poverty, she stressed that the increased vulnerability of women and unsafe sex were coupled with a lack of access to appropriate care and shortages of supplies, including contraceptives. Representatives from 14 conflict-affected countries presented their national action plans to address sexual and gender-based violence. Participants called for a longer-term, holistic approach to meet the health, education, legal, psychosocial and security concerns of affected populations.
“The Secretary-General personally believes that any attempt to cast doubt on the reality of this unique and undeniable horror must be firmly resisted by all people of goodwill and of whatever faith,” Mr. Annan spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told the daily UN news briefing.“The Secretary-General would deeply deplore any conference whose purpose is to question or deny the reality of the Holocaust. Only a year ago the General Assembly passed a resolution which ‘rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historical event, either in full or part,’” Mr. Dujarric added. He noted that Mr. Annan spoke to Mr. Ahmadinejad about the issue when he met with him in Tehran, Iran’s capital, in September. Mr. Annan also voiced “shock” last year when the Iranian leader was first reported to have made the remarks and to have called for Israel to be wiped off the map.In his statement today, Mr. Dujarric recalled that the General Assembly resolution designated 27 January as an annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and he stressed that Israel is a full UN member and its rights need to be fully respected, just like those of all the other 191 Member States.
by The Canadian Press Posted May 2, 2012 5:13 pm MDT TORONTO – Some of the most active companies traded Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (12,230.12, down 102.66 points):Westaim Corp. (TSX:WED). Investment firm. Up five cents, or 7.35 per cent, at 73 cents on 39,443,504 shares.Torex Gold Resources Inc. (TSX:TXG). Miner. Up seven cents, or 3.98 per cent, at $1.83 on 6,439,170 shares.Aura Minerals Inc. (TSX:ORA). Miner. Up two cents, or 2.82 per cent, at 73 cents on 5,347,809 shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Oil and gas. Down 68 cents, or 3.19 per cent, at $20.16 on 4,623,449 shares.Viterra Inc. (TSX:VT). Grain-handler. Down two cents, or 0.13 per cent, at $15.90 on 4,164,650 shares.HSE Integrated Ltd. (TSX:HSL). Health and safety. Up one cent, or 0.57 per cent, at $1.77 on 4,156,406 shares.TSX Venture Exchange (1,431.44, down 0.24 of a point):Trelawney Mining and Exploration Inc. (TSXV:TRR). Miner. Up one cent, or 0.3 per cent, at $3.29 on 6,730,626 shares.US Oil Sands Inc. (TSXV:USO). Oil and gas. Down 0.5 cents, or 2.78 per cent, at 17.5 cents on 5,068,149 shares.Companies reporting major news:Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO). Oil and gas. Down four cents, or 0.09 per cent, at $45.93 on 423,113 shares. Imperial is looking at jumping on the West Coast LNG bandwagon so that the gas it produces in northeastern B.C. can fetch a higher price in Asia than it would in North America, the company’s CEO said Wednesday.Telus Corp. (TSX:T). Telecommunications. Up eight cents, or 0.14 per cent, at $59.06 on 285,144 shares. Telus has filed a complaint with the B.C. securities regulator about a New York hedge fund’s opposition to the telecom company’s plan to have one class of common shares. Telus has asked the British Columbia Securities Commission to require Mason Capital Management to issue a press release to provide more information on why it acquired a large voting position in the telecom company. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Most actively traded companies on the TSX, TSX Venture Exchange markets
by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Dec 20, 2012 5:39 pm MDT Primaris Retail REIT said Thursday it is in contact with potential buyers in Canada and elsewhere who may be interested in topping a $4.4-billion hostile takeover offer by a consortium led by KingSett Capital.Chief executive John Morrison urged unitholders to reject what he called KingSett’s “opportunistic” bid because it “undervalues” the shopping centre real estate trust.“This is not the end of the story,” he said in an interview from Toronto.Morrison said financial advisers Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Evercore Partners have reached out to many potential bidders and are also receiving inquiries.“It’s not just them reaching out, there’s companies that are expressing interest as well.”In its proxy circular responding to KingSett, the Toronto-based REIT said its board unanimously rejected the offer because of its low price, which doesn’t provide an appropriate change of control premium.The price of Primaris (TSX:RMZ.UN) units has surged more than 16 per cent since the offer was announced Dec. 5, and is trading above the $26 per unit bid price. The units gained nine cents to close at $26.79 in Thursday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Morrison said that reflects the market’s belief that the company, which has a large portfolio of shopping centres from coast to coast in Canada, is worth more than what has been offered by KingSett and its consortium, which includes the Ontario Pension Board.The proposed offer, if successful, would also see RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust (TSX:REI.UN) buy five regional malls and three other shopping centres currently owned by Primaris for $1.1 billion.Not only does KingSett’s bid not take into account the strategic value of the assets, he said it doesn’t reflect any upside from potential acquisitions and development growth.“This offer really fails to compensate the unitholders for the underlying value of all the assets. This is a big shopping centre portfolio from coast to coast.”While he wouldn’t say how much higher an acceptable bid would be, Morrison believes Primaris can attract a more financially attractive price.Primaris said the offer is designed to take advantage of the holidays when other potential parties could face challenges in organizing an alternative bid, and isn’t permitted under the Primaris unitholder rights plan.He said the trust has heard from large unitholders which are unhappy with the hostile bid and don’t want to see the company disappear. He urged all unitholders to read its proxy circular and consult the website launched at www.primarisrealvalue.comFinancial adviser Canaccord Genuity said the bid price was “inadequate” from a financial point of view to Primaris investors, other than those making the offer and its affiliates.KingSett’s offer expires Jan. 17. Primaris expects the deadline will be extended because its unitholder rights plan prevents KingSett from purchasing any units under its offer until the independent committee has completed its discussions with third parties and its canvass of possible alternatives.The plan also gives Primaris 60 days to find an alternative bidder.Morrison hopes that’s enough time to strike a more attractive deal.Primaris owns 35 properties comprising 1.3 million square metres (14.7 million square feet) of space in Canada. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Primaris talking to potential suitors in Canada and abroad to beat KingSett bid
AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Stamps take to Twitter to spout off after CFL and union reach deal The CFL has reached a tentative deal with the players that could save the season, but not everyone is cheering.The new deal reportedly calls for a $5 million salary cap, which is nowhere near the $6.24 million pitched by the players.After the deal was announced, players immediately took to Twitter and Calgary Stampeders players didn’t hold back.Running back Jon Cornish: “How it works in the 21st century: Unions are dead.”Defensive end Charleston Hughes: “Hard work trying to convince someone else what your worth is…….”Offensive tackle Stanley Bryant: “Why did we vote AGAIN!??!??”Free safety Jeff Hecht: “You hire a bunch of clowns and you are probably going to get a circus.”Defensive back Dee Webb: “The Rich get Richer!!!!”Wide receiver Maurice Price: “There is no way we agreed to THAT”Sportsnet’s CFL Insider Arash Madani said while we don’t know how many players feel that way, those feelings are being shared right across the league.“There’s a lot more money coming in and this was about making more money for the players and instead the suits won, not the men in uniform,” he said. “The league has $27.5 million in new television revenue coming in and of that $27.5 million, they’ve effectively been willing to part with about $5.5 million to the players.”Even with the backlash, some players still thanked their reps for the hard work throughout the process.Running back Matt Walter tweeted, “Outcome aside, our player reps have selflessly put in an extraordinary effort in representing our interests.”Madani predicted that even though the deal still needs to be ratified, there’s no reason to believe that won’t happen.“There may be a loud vocal group that is not pleased with what has happened here, but fundamentally too many players are reliant on their game cheques just because of how little the make,” he said. by News Staff Posted Jun 8, 2014 2:36 pm MDT