African Champions League Wydad to Face TitleHolder in QuarterFinals

Rabat – Following the draw for the African Champions League quarter-finals on Sunday night, the Mamelodi Sundowns will bethe next opponent of Wydad Casablanca.First in Group D, the Reds will have the advantage of welcoming the South Africans to the return match next September at the Mohammed V Complex in Casablanca.Wydad Casablanca gleaned theirticket to the quarter-finals after winning the last three matches, including defeating FC Zanaco on Saturday night with a goal from Bencherki at the68th minute. With this success, they have finished at the top of the group. “Without the foreign players, we managed to reach the quarterfinals,” said the coach Houcine Ammouta. “I thank the players, who have done a good game and have managed to express the spirit of this team.”Ammouta continued, “We have enough time to choose the best players who can help the team qualify for the final. We must work hard and give our best. If we lose it is not the end of the world. We are the champions of the botola and we [will participate] next year in the Champions League.”The quarter-finals will put the Egyptian club of Al Ahly against the hope of Tunis. The last two matches of this phase will oppose Al Ahly Tripoli to the Etoile Sportif du Sahel and the USMA to Ferroviario. read more

Hamas Leader Calls El Othmani about Palestinian Cause

Rabat – Head of the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh called Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani to discuss the Palestinian cause.Hamas said in a statement published today that Haniyeh expressed gratitude to Morocco for its solidarity and efforts to defend the Palestinian cause, especially after the Casablanca protests in solidarity with Gaza.Haniyeh informed El Othmani of the latest developments on the Palestinian question as well as the consequences of the Trump administration’s decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem and to declare the city Israel’s capital. Haniyeh entreated Morocco, which has a historical relationship with the Palestinian cause and the Jerusalem issue, to deploy all efforts to “confront the steps that affect the Arabism and Islamism of the Holy City.”The leader of the resistance movement also called on Morocco to provide urgent medical assistance to injured protesters.In response, King Mohammed VI ordered Royal Armed Forces to deploy a medical-surgical unit to assist protesters in a field hospital. Sixty-two Palestinians were killed on Monday, May 14, which marked the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem.El Othmani commended the bilateral ties between Morocco and Palestine, stressing Morocco’s position against the Israeli blockade. read more

The top iPhone and iPad apps on App Store

App Store Official Charts for the week ending April 14, 2019:Top Paid iPhone Apps:1. Minecraft, Mojang2. Heads Up!,Warner Bros.3. Plague Inc., Ndemic Creations4. Facetune, Lightricks Ltd.5. iSchedule, HotSchedules6. Bloons TD 6, Ninja Kiwi7. Geometry Dash, RobTop Games AB8. Bloons TD 5, Ninja Kiwi9. Construction Simulator 3, astragon Entertainment GmbH10. Dark Sky Weather, JackadamTop Free iPhone Apps:1. Clean Road, SayGames LLC2. AMAZE!!!, Crazy Labs3. Roller Splat!, Voodoo4. Pinatamasters, Playgendary5. Run Race 3D, Good Job Games6. Mr Bullet – Spy Puzzles, Lion Studios7. Draw it, Kwalee8. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream, Google LLC9. Instagram, Instagram, Inc.10. Tiles Hop – EDM Rush, Amanotes Pte. Ltd.Top Paid iPad Apps:1. Minecraft, Mojang2. Procreate, Savage Interactive Pty Ltd3. Notability, Ginger Labs4. GoodNotes 5, Time Base Technology Limited5. Geometry Dash, RobTop Games AB6. Amazing Frog?, FAYJU7. Plague Inc., Ndemic Creations8. Pixelmator Photo, Pixelmator Team9. Construction Simulator 3, astragon Entertainment GmbH10. Bloons TD 6, Ninja KiwiTop Free iPad Apps:1. Pinatamasters, Playgendary2. Unicorn Slime: Cooking Games, Shake It3. Run Race 3D, Good Job Games4. Tiles Hop – EDM Rush, Amanotes Pte. Ltd.5. Roller Splat!, Voodoo6. Mr Bullet – Spy Puzzles, Lion Studios7. Clean Road, SayGames LLC8. Draw it, Kwalee9. Netflix, Netflix, Inc.10. YouTube: Watch, Listen, Stream, Google LLC__(copyright) 2019 Apple Inc.The Associated Press read more

Top 20 Global Concert Tours from Pollstar

The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers. Week of April 25, 2019:TOP 20 GLOBAL CONCERT TOURS1. Eric Church; $2,809,138; $96.15.2. Billy Joel; $2,667,702; $129.84.3. Fleetwood Mac; $2,439,008; $144.82.4. Luis Miguel; $2,424,986; $87.06.5. Elton John; $2,392,250; $135.12.6. Justin Timberlake; $2,146,500; $132.55.7. Metallica; $2,102,293; $117.72.8. Michael Bublé; $1,517,024; $124.47.9. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band; $1,366,243; $115.42.10. Cher; $1,345,126; $114.96.11. Trans-Siberian Orchestra; $1,322,103; $64.71.12. KISS; $1,243,595; $105.96.13. Sebastian Maniscalco; $1,227,139; $101.97.14. Marc Anthony; $1,190,570; $104.62.15. Travis Scott; $1,175,397; $77.09.16. Florence + The Machine; $1,144,592; $73.15.17. Mumford & Sons; $1,111,940; $75.90.18. Blake Shelton; $1,044,392; $89.58.19. André Rieu; $928,669; $86.52.20. Shawn Mendes; $861,630; $68.73.For free upcoming tour information, go to www.pollstar.com___The Associated Press read more

Google revenue falls short of Q1 estimates

SAN FRANCISCO — Google parent Alphabet is reporting that it beat analyst earnings expectations with a first-quarter profit of $8.3 billion. But the company’s revenue fell below expectations.Alphabet is including an expected charge of $1.7 billion in the quarter’s results to account for a European Union antitrust fine. Including the fine, Alphabet’s profit of $6.7 billion fell short of analyst estimates.The company’s profit represents a slight drop from $8.9 billion in the first quarter last year.Alphabet revenue rose to $36.3 billion, up 17 per cent from $31.1 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet expected revenue of $37.3 billion.Alphabet’s earnings per share, excluding the fine, was $11.90, well above Wall Street estimates of $10.60.Google’s stock fell more than 4% in after-hours trading.The Associated Press read more

Ivanka Trump Praises Moroccan Efforts in Ensuring Equality in Inheritance

Rabat – Ivanka Trump, daughter and advisor  to US President Donald Trump, has praised Morocco’s efforts to ensure equality between Moroccan women and men in terms of inheritance.Trump’s daughter took to her Facebook to send a special thanks to the Moroccan government and to the Moroccan ambassador to the US, princess Lalla Joumala.On Monday, August 19, Ivanka wrote that the US applauds the “Moroccan government for this important step towards the adoption of inheritance law amendments, and look forward to supporting their full implementation.” She also expressed satisfaction with the leadership of the Moroccan ambassador to the US princess Lalla Joumala, and the work of the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.“ W-GDP [Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative] will continue to support women’s land rights and I appreciate the strong leadership of HH Princess Lalla Joumala,”  she posted.W-GDP aims to reach “50 million women in the developing world by 2025 throgh US government activities, private-public partnerships, and a new, innovative fund,” according to the White House.The message comes a few weeks after the House of Representatives unanimously adopted  three bills related to communal agricultural land (sulaliyat). The three bills have been described as a “long awaited reform” by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Interior, Noureddine Boutayeb. The official said in July that the adoption of the draft texts is the result of “several achievements and developments during the last years.”A long awaited reformThe three bills have been described as a “long awaited reform” by the Minister Delegate to the Minister of Interior, Noureddine Boutayeb. The official said in July that the adoption of the draft texts is the result of “several achievements and developments during the last years.”The draft laws took into account the aspirations of rights holders, including women also known as sulaliayt.The women have been struggling for more than 10 years for equal rights of ownership.The bills are also in accordance with royal instructions. In October 2018, King Mohammed VI  said that it is “necessary to find appropriate legal and administrative mechanisms to facilitate rights holders’ ownership of some of the fallow land.”The monarch added that “this must be done according to specific conditions that take into account the actual implementation of projects, the need to curb the excessive fragmentation of agricultural land and the provision of the technical and financial support needed.”Since King Mohammed VI ascended to the throne in 1999, the promotion of women’s rights has been on his agenda. Morocco introduced  a new family code to grant more rights to women in both marriage and divorce.Morocco also introduced the 2011 Constitution, which made gender equality one of its priorities.Article 6 of the constitution stipulates that the“public powers work for the creation of the conditions permitting the effectiveness of liberty and of the equality of citizens [feminine] and citizens [masculine] to be made general [generaliser], as well as their participation in political, economic, cultural and social life.”Article 19 also emphasized the need of equality between both men and women.“The man and the woman enjoy, in equality, the rights and freedoms of civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental character.” read more

Tesla raises goal in capital hunt and Musk doubles down

DETROIT — Tesla is increasing the amount of money it will attempt to raise to as much as $2.7 billion.The Palo Alto, California, electric car and solar panel maker said Friday that it’s increasing the offer due to the response from Thursday’s announcement that it would try to raise $2.3 billion.Also, CEO Elon Musk more than doubled the amount of stock he would buy from $10 million, to $25 million.The offer was detailed in a filing Friday with U.S. securities regulators. It includes up to $1.84 billion in notes that pay 2 per cent annual interest and convert to Tesla common stock in 2024. Also included are more than 3.5 million new shares.The new numbers include underwriting brokers exercising their full options to buy additional notes and shares.The Associated Press read more

The Latest Frances Macron warns not to freeze out Huawei

BEIJING — The Latest on trade tensions between the U.S. and China (all times local):7:15 p.m.In Paris, France’s president has cautioned against freezing out Chinese tech giant Huawei or escalating trade tensions with China.Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that “launching a technology war or a trade war toward any country” is not the best way to defend national interests.Macron was speaking at the VivaTech gadget show. He was responding to the U.S. announcement Wednesday labeling Huawei a security risk and introducing export controls.But Macron added that France would be “very careful” about choosing who can install 5G networks. Huawei is far ahead of competitors in developing 5G technology, and denies accusations it facilitates Chinese spying.Macron said France and Europe want more co-operation among governments to solve conflicts, as Washington and Beijing battle for global economic and technological dominance.___6:00 p.m.China’s government has criticized Washington for imposing export controls on technology sales to tech giant Huawei, saying it will “resolutely safeguard” Chinese companies.A foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, criticized “abuse of export control measures” on Thursday after President Donald Trump signed an order requiring vendors to get approval for sales to Huawei.Huawei, the biggest global maker of switching equipment for phone and internet companies, has spent a decade fighting accusations it facilitates Chinese spying.Lu said Beijing will take “further measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises” but gave no details.The Associated Press read more

New information may link more people to killing of Lebanese expremier UN

In its report, the International Independent Investigation Commission (IIIC) requests a two-month extension of its mandate until 28 February to prevent any break in the inquiry before the international Special Tribunal becomes on operation on 1 March.“For every inch of progress there is a mile of effort,” the IIIC stresses, thanking the Lebanese security forces for “their relentless and effective support and assistance” in protecting its staff and premises, without which it could not continue its work.It also reports that cooperation provided by the Syrian authorities continues to be generally satisfactory.The Council was set up the IIIC in April 2005 after an earlier UN mission found that Lebanon’s own inquiry into the massive car bombing that killed Mr. and 22 others was seriously flawed and that Syria was primarily responsible for the political tensions that preceded the attack. It has also been mandated with investigating 20 other attacks and has found additional elements linking some of them to the network behind the Hariri assassination.“Those responsible for the attacks were professional and took extensive measures to cover their tracks and hide their identity. Much of the Commission’s activity at this point in the investigation focuses on piercing this smokescreen to get at the truth,” the report says, stressing that the panel has faced difficulties in obtaining potentially sensitive information for investigative purposes.While the vast majority of formal requests for assistance for specific information sent to Member States are responded to in a timely and comprehensive manner, the Commission notes that late or incomplete responses slow progress in the investigation.“There remains a significant amount of additional investigation work that must be undertaken in all the cases within the Commission’s mandate,” the report concludes. “The Prosecutor (at the new Special Tribunal) will therefore need to continue the investigation into these cases once he assumes his office in order to establish which cases are connected to the Hariri case.”Announcing earlier this month that the tribunal is on track to begin its work on 1 March, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said IIIC staff in Beirut would gradually transfer to The Hague starting on 1 January. “This will be carried out in a manner that ensures that there is no interruption to the IIIC investigation,” he noted. 9 December 2008The independent inquiry into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri has acquired new information potentially implicating additional individuals to the network that carried out the suicide car bomb attack, according to a new report to the Security Council released today. read more

Thousands of Gazans remain homeless as UN again calls for aid access

26 January 2009Thousands of Gazans remain homeless and hospitals still have a large number of intensive care patients over a week after a ceasefire ended Israel’s devastating three-week offensive against Hamas militants, according to the latest United Nations update, which calls for immediate unhindered humanitarian access to the Strip’s 1.5 million inhabitants. “At this stage, the initial response is focusing on the re-establishment of basic services to the population of Gaza, including water, health, food, cash assistance, education and psychosocial support,” the UN Office the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today. This includes safety of movement by marking and clearing unexploded ordnance, removing rubble, repairing priority infrastructure, and securing access to services.Although fewer than 500 displaced people remain in three UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) emergency shelters, most displaced Gazans are staying with host families who are overstretched and face shortages of food, non-food items such as mattresses and blankets, and water and electricity.Hospitals are gradually finding capacity for routine care for chronically ill patients who are now returning for treatment. Repair of medical equipment, already a priority before the conflict when Israel’s closure of crossing points hindered import of necessary spare parts, remains a priority, as does the import of spare parts.Some people still have no access to piped water and the sewerage network in parts of Gaza is still damaged. The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that continued shortage of drinking water and overflowing sewage in some residential areas poses serious health risks, and immediate assistance is needed to rebuild the infrastructure, including pipes, generators and pumps. Spare parts and other equipment are also needed for the electricity sector. All 10 UNRWA distribution centres are open, feeding 25,000 people per day, and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) has distributed 95 tonnes of food aid to 993 families (nearly 6,000 people) in Gaza City and North Gaza. All schools opened on Saturday, with an 80 per cent attendance rate in government schools and 89 per cent at UNRWA schools, and there is a focus on psychosocial and mental health support for students, with UNRWA fielding 185 counsellors. OCHA cited Gaza’s most critical needs as spare parts and fuel for the power plant, hospitals and water and sewage treatment facilities, and cement, sand and other construction materials to rebuild the destroyed schools, hospitals, clinics and homes. It added that it was critical that full and unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza be granted immediately by all parties to the conflict. International agencies have faced unprecedented denial of access to Gaza since 5 November, it said. Although a small group was allowed in on 23 January, humanitarian access remains unreliable and needs to be granted every day without restriction. Meanwhile, renowned musician Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens) today released a charity song (, with all proceeds going to UNRWA, which aids 750,000 Palestinian refugees in Gaza, and the non-governmental organization Save the Children. Mr. Islam said he hoped the song, “The day the world gets round” originally recorded by George Harrison, will “help remind people of the immense legacy of love, peace and happiness we can share when we get round to looking at mankind’s futile wars and prejudices, and start to change our foolish ways.” read more

UNICEF mourns death of Special Olympics founder

“While the world has lost a great visionary and leader, Mrs. Shriver’s legacy lives on through her strength, determination and the organization she founded, Special Olympics,” said UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.Mrs. Shriver, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 88, was a “tireless advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, a determined champion of children and a true friend and partner to UNICEF,” the agency’s head stated yesterday.The Special Olympics founder believed that all people deserved the chance to reach their full potential, Ms. Veneman said, expressing UNICEF’s condolences to her family and friends.The agency “honors her long-lasting contribution as a true global ambassador of change in helping end discrimination one child, one community, one country at a time,” she added.In a related development, a South African disabilities expert has been appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as the Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development for 2009-2011. Shuaib Chalklen has experience working closely with UN entities, including the World Bank, as well as with donor countries in Europe and other regions, to promote the rights of people with disabilities in the global arena. His mandate is to monitor the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the General Assembly in 1993, and to advance the status of those with disabilities throughout the world. Mr. Chalklen will be the third person to hold the post, following Bengt Lindqvist of Sweden and Sheikha Hessa Khalifa bin Ahmed al-Thani of Qatar. 13 August 2009The head of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has mourned the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics, paying tribute to her dedication to giving hope and opportunities to children around the world living with disabilities. read more

Lack of clean water impacts childrens learning and health UNICEF warns

Many schools in poorer countries lack adequate water and sanitation facilities, affecting children’s educations and even claiming lives, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warns in a new report. “Millions of children in the developing world go to schools which have no drinking water or clean latrines – basic things that many of us take for granted,” said Sigrid Kaag, the agency’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, at the publication’s launch today in Dubai. Produced with the UN World Health Organization (WHO) and partner non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the report notes that 1.5 million children under the age of five die every year of diarrhoea due to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and lack of hygiene. Better water, sanitation and hygiene – collectively known as WASH – could reverse the trend of nearly 300 million school days being missed worldwide due to diarrhoea, it states. Improved hygiene will lead to less risk of disease, which in turn will result in stepped up school attendance and ultimately nations’ economic growth. WASH also enhances girls’ continuation of their education, notes the new publication, entitled Raising Clean Hands: Advancing Learning, Health and Participation through WASH in Schools. Ms. Kaag pointed out today that improving sanitation in schools will help to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), notably the targets of reducing child mortality and halving the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation. Providing WASH in schools, the report says, will require the involvement of all segments of society, including communities, media, students and the private sector. 5 April 2010Many schools in poorer countries lack adequate water and sanitation facilities, affecting children’s educations and even claiming lives, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warns in a new report. read more

Todays young people can help create a better tomorrow Ban tells UN

“More than any other generation, you have a voice,” Mr. Ban told more than 2,000 students gathered in the General Assembly Hall for the opening of the 11th annual Model UN conference, sponsored by the UN Association of the United States (UNA-USA). “Social networking is changing how we interact – and it can change our world,” noted the Secretary-General, the first UN chief to use popular social networking tools such as Twitter.“You are in touch with peers from around the world. You understand the power of instant communication. I appeal to you to use that power for the common good, the power of communication and the power of networking.” Mr. Ban said the UN needs the energy of young people, particularly on efforts such as promoting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), pledges made by world leaders to reduce extreme poverty, hunger and a host of other socio-economic ills by the target date of 2015. “I firmly believe that we can make it a better world, not just for a privileged few, but for everyone in the world,” he stated. “I hope this is what you will work for, in your schools and throughout your lives.”Students participating in the three-day conference will debate a number of diverse and pressing global issues such as post-conflict reconstruction, energy for sustainable development, HIV and young people, and election monitoring and peaceful transitions of power.Also among those addressing the opening ceremony was Ed Elmendorf, President of UNA-USA, and Bill Roedy, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks International. 13 May 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to thousands of young people gathered at a student conference at United Nations headquarters to use their voices and the power of instant communication to create a better world. read more

Security Council recommends South Sudan for UN membership

13 July 2011The Security Council today recommended to the General Assembly that the Republic of South Sudan be admitted to membership in the United Nations, bringing the new nation one step closer to becoming the world body’s 193rd member. The Security Council today recommended to the General Assembly that the Republic of South Sudan be admitted to membership in the United Nations, bringing the new nation one step closer to becoming the world body’s 193rd member.The Council’s decision was contained in a resolution that it adopted without a vote, on the recommendation of its Committee on the Admission of New Members, which reviewed the application for membership submitted by the President of South Sudan.In a statement read out by Guido Westerwelle, Foreign Minister of Germany, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency this month, the 15-member body noted “with great satisfaction” South Sudan’s solemn commitment to uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and to fulfil all the obligations contained therein.“We look forward to the Republic of South Sudan joining us as a member of the United Nations and to working closely with its representatives,” the statement added.Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the meeting, saying that “like any newborn,” South Sudan – which on the day of its birth ranked at the bottom of almost all human development indicators – needs help. “Our responsibilities are enormous and the role of the UN is vital, but it is complicated,” he said. “We must continue to help – to help the new nation become a nation – to help the region consolidate the gains. This is the ultimate test of peacebuilding and of nation-building.” It will now be for the Assembly to act on the Council’s recommendation, which comes just days after South Sudan officially broke away from the rest of Sudan on 9 July.South Sudan’s independence is the result of the January 2011 referendum held under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the decades-long civil war between the North and the South. In a separate meeting today, the Council heard a briefing from its peacekeeping chief regarding the new UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS), which was set up last week to help the new nation consolidate peace and lay the foundation for longer-term state-building, conflict prevention and economic development.The new mission, comprising up to 7,000 military personnel and up to 900 civilian police personnel as well as a civilian component, takes over from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), which was created following the signing of the CPA. “The transition towards this new mission is well under way,” said Alain Le Roy, the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, noting that the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Hilde Johnson, has been working with an initial team to establish the mission since she took up her post as head of UNMISS on 9 July. Efforts are being aimed at completing the transition within six months. Meanwhile, efforts are also under way to expedite the complete deployment of the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), with plans for initial deployment of 1,643 soldiers before 20 July, said Mr. Le Roy.According to an agreement signed between the north and the south last month, their respective forces – which have clashed repeatedly in the disputed region – are to withdraw from Abyei at the end of this first deployment. “One of the initial tasks of UNISFA will be to monitor this complete withdrawal of forces from all of Abyei,” he stated. Mr. Le Roy also voiced deep concern at the situation in the Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan, where reports of continued fighting are putting the lives of civilians at risk. He stressed that it is critical that the parties cease hostilities and move towards political dialogue.“It is also important that the parties work to resolve the unfinished processes of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and post-independence issues, including the final status of Abyei, popular consultations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, oil revenue sharing, financial transitional arrangements and border security and demarcation,” he stated.“Rapid, peaceful resolution of these issues will play a key role in ensuring long-term stability in both countries and the region.” read more

Former Daylight Energy CEO accused of insider trading by Alberta Securities Commission

CALGARY — The Alberta Securities Commission is accusing the former CEO of Daylight Energy Ltd. of insider trading, along his ex-wife and her boyfriend.The watchdog alleges Anthony Lambert bought shares in Daylight in August and September 2011 shortly before his company was acquired by Chinese firm Sinopec.The $2.2-billion deal was not disclosed publicly until Oct. 9, 2011.The ASC also alleges that Lambert’s ex-wife, Sandra Pierce, bought Daylight shares after Lambert tipped her off about the takeover.And the commission says Pierce talked about the impending deal with her boyfriend, Sean Turner, who also bought Daylight stock.An appearance to set a hearing date is scheduled for May 6 in Calgary. The allegations have not been proven.The Canadian Press read more

Closing Bell TSX rises amid negative Chinese economic data

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed little changed Monday amid weak Chinese data and dealmaking in the Canadian financial sector.Here are the closing numbersTSX — 12,382.67 +9.37 0.08%S&P 500 — 1,642.81 -0.57 -0.03%Dow — 15,238.59 -9.53 -0.06%Nasdaq — 3,473.77 +4.55 0.13%The S&P/TSX composite index was up 9.37 points to 12,382.67 following six losing sessions with pressure coming in particular from base metals stocks.The tepid performance followed a slide of more than 2% last week, leaving the TSX in negative territory for the year.“I don’t think there is going to be anything too much to keep it in positive territory”, said John Stephenson, portfolio manager at First Asset Funds Inc.“You have too much of a resource focus, a market that’s really twinned between two dominant sectors, financials being one and materials/energy being two.”Lululemon Athletica Inc. (TSX:LLL) (Nasdaq:LULU) was also in focus and its shares fell almost 9% in aftermarket trading in New York after CEO Christine Day said she is stepping down. Day will remain in the job until a successor is named. The yoga wear retailer also handed in earnings of 32 cents a share, which met expectations and announced plans to delist from the TSX.The Canadian dollar advanced, up 0.08 of a cent to 98.14 cents US amid a solid report on the housing sector.Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Monday that housing starts were trending at 182,756 units in May compared with 182,971 in April. The trend is a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing starts.But the seasonally adjusted stand-alone annual rate was 200,178 units in May, an increase from 175,922 in April.U.S. indexes were generally listless after registering sharp gains at the end of last week because of a strong jobs report.The Dow Jones industrials was down 9.53 points to 15,238.59, the Nasdaq added 4.55 points to 3,473.77 and the S&P 500 index slipped 0.57 of a point to 1,642.81.Traders also took in an upgrade on the U.S. credit rating from Standard & Poor’s. S&P revised its long-term outlook to stable from negative, citing economic strength and the dollar’s status as a reserve currency. The agency had downgraded the U.S. sovereign rating to AA-plus from its top rating of AAA in 2011.Prices for oil and copper declined as data released on the weekend showed China’s trade, retail sales and other activity in May were weaker than expected, fuelling concerns about the country’s shaky economic recovery.China’s trade surplus rose to $20.4 billion in May from $18.2 billion the prior month. However, export growth slowed dramatically to just one% from a year ago, which was the slowest increase since July 2012. Imports slipped 0.3% from year-earlier levels.“Of those three figures, I’d say that the weak import result is the most worrying as it suggests domestic demand has weakened considerably,” said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Jennifer Lee.Meanwhile in Japan, the first-quarter growth rate was revised up from an annualized rate of 3.5% to 4.1%.Elsewhere on the TSX, shares of E-L Financial Corp. (TSX:ELF) jumped after it announced the pending $1.125-billion sale of Dominion of Canada General Insurance Co. to Travelers Companies Inc. (NYSE:TRV), a major U.S. insurance company. E-L Financial gained $56 or 9.46% to $648 on a thin volume of 3,135 shares.Consumer staples stocks led advances with Shoppers Drug Mart (TSX:SC) ahead 38 cents to $45.75.The gold sector was also supportive, up about 0.35% with August bullion up $3 to US$1,386 an ounce. Barrick gold Corp. (TSX:ABX) climbed 21 cents to C$20.81.The energy sector climbed 0.2% even as July crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange shed 26 cents to US$95.77 a barrel. Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) improved by 14 cents to C$31.80.The base metals sector was the biggest TSX drag, down 0.85% as July copper fell three cents to US$3.24 a pound on top a 10-cent slide over the previous two sessions. Copper is widely viewed as an economic barometer as it is used in so many applications. Sector heavyweight Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) lost 61 cents to C$25.04.Railway stocks fell alongside miners as Canadian Pacific Railway (TSX:CP) declined $2.30 to $126.86.The tepid performance on the TSX continued the generally negative showing on the TSX, which gained momentum after Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said May 22 that the U.S. central bank might pull back on its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program if economic data, especially hiring, improved significantly. Other Fed officials have spoken about a winding down of bond purchases sooner.The quantitative easing program has kept interest rates low and also helped fuel a strong rally on U.S. stock markets.The TSX has been dragged lower by mining stocks in particular, a reflection of a slow global recovery.But speculation about cutting back on the QE program has had the effect of pushing U.S. Treasury yields sharply higher, which in turn has had a negative effect on TSX defensive sectors as well.“We have seen REITs pull back in the last couple of weeks by eight% or thereabouts, same for utilities and pipelines — so it’s a pretty big pullback,” added Stephenson.“And . . . financials in Canada are interest sensitive to a degree and you have weakening data in terms of housing. And people are saying this is not a very good story.” What investors were watching today: Condo building surge signals economy gaining momentumOMERS, AIMCo to buy Europe’s cinema giant for $1.5-billionTravelers to buy Dominion of Canada General Insurance for $1.1-billionToronto ranked in top 10 most competitive cities in worldON DECK TUESDAY ECONOMIC NEWSCANADAManpower Survey (Q3) UNITED STATES10 a.m.Wholesale trade (April): Economists expect a 0.2% rise in inventories, 0.1% decline in sales Job openings and labor turnover survey (April) read more

TSX surges amid mega deals in telecom tech

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market got off to a strong start to September trading amid improved manufacturing data from China and fading chances of a military strike against Syria.The S&P/TSX composite index ran ahead 117.5 points to 12,771.4.Support also came from the telecom sector on Tuesday after U.S. telecom giant Verizon Communications Inc. said it was no longer interested in entering the Canadian wireless market. Verizon had announced Monday that it was paying US$130-billion for the 45% stake in Verizon Wireless owned by British cellphone carrier Vodafone.Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B) rose $3.12 or 7.5 per cent to $44.38, BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) climbed $1.81 or 4.19% to $45 and Telus Corp. (TSX:T) jumped $2.06 or 6.3% to $34.75.Techs also advanced after Microsoft Corp. announced it was buying Nokia Corp.’s lineup of smartphones and a portfolio of patents and services for US$7.2-billion. Buyout hopes for BlackBerry (TSX:BB) sent the smartphone maker’s stock up 26 cents to $10.90.The Canadian dollar was down 0.14 of a cent to 94.83 cents US as the U.S. dollar appreciated on a much better than expected reading on American manufacturing.U.S. indexes were also higher as traders weighed the chances of President Barack Obama getting congressional approval for punishing Syria for a sarin gas attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21 that U.S. intelligence says killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children.“We’re not out of the woods yet,” observed Kash Pashootan, vice-president and portfolio manager at First Avenue Advisory, a Raymond James company, adding that volatility could return when Congress comes back from vacation next week.“I think volatility could be back.”The Dow Jones industrials ran ahead 90.12 points to 14,900.43 as the latest reading on the U.S. manufacturing sector showed stronger than expected expansion in August. The Institute for Supply Management’s index rose to 55.7 from 53 in July, much stronger than the 54 reading that had been expected.The Nasdaq gained 44.98 points to 3,634.85 and the S&P 500 index was up 15.12 points at 1,648.09.Microsoft is attempting to strengthen its fight with Apple Inc. and Google Inc. to capture a slice of the lucrative mobile computing market through the Nokia purchase.The proposed price consists of (euro)3.79 billion for the Nokia unit that makes mobile phones, including its line of Lumia smartphones that run Windows Phone software. Another (euro)1.65 billion will be paid for a 10-year licence to use Nokia’s patents, with the option to extend it indefinitely.The deal came down a day after Verizon announced its deal with Vodafone. Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam also suggested in an interview with Bloomberg that speculation Verizon might try to compete in Canada was “way overblown.”The spectre of competition in the Canadian wireless market from the big U.S. telco had pushed Canadian telecom stocks well off their 52-week highs over the last few of months.On the commodity markets, copper prices ran ahead following two reports — both released Monday — that showed China’s manufacturing sector improved last month after prolonged weakness. China is the world’s biggest consumer of copper, which itself is an economic barometer as it is used in so many applications. The HSBC purchasing managers’ index rose to 50.1 points in August, a level that indicates expansion as output and new orders edged up slightly and order backlogs rose at the fastest pace in two years. Meanwhile, the official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing PMI showed increasing expansion, rising to 51 from July’s 50, which was the highest level in 16 months.December copper got extra lift from the strong U.S. manufacturing data and gained eight cents to US$3.31 a pound, sending the base metals sector up 3.3%. Teck Resources (TSX:TCK.B) advanced 91 cents to $27.43.The energy sector gained 0.8 per cent as oil prices shed early losses after the release of the ISM data. The October crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange was up 17 cents to US$107.82 a barrel. Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) rose 51 cents to $36.01.Gold prices reversed early losses with the December contract climbing $5.40 to US$1,401.50 an ounce and the gold sector rose 1.8%. Goldcorp Inc. (TSX:G) gained 38 cents to $31.48.Financials also provided lift as TD Bank (TSX:TD) ran up $1.13 to $90.75.Jobs data will also weigh on markets this week.Markets are especially anxious to see how U.S. job creation fared in August. The consensus calls for the American economy to have cranked out about 180,000 jobs but recent data showing continuing declines in the numbers of people applying for jobless benefits have led some to think that number could be much higher.In any event, traders hope the data will provide another clue as to whether the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to pare its monthly US$85-billion of bond purchases, which have kept long-term rates low and fuelled a strong rally on many stock markets.European bourses slipped lower as London’s FTSE index moved down 0.29%, Frankfurt’s DAX declined 0.38 per cent and the Paris CAC 40 dipped 0.16%. read more

Galen G Weston named CPs Business Newsmaker of the Year for 2013

TORONTO — He’s been a familiar face to Canadians for years — approachable, friendly, and asking them to come shop at his family’s grocery stores.Behind the scenes, he also helped lead Loblaw’s restructuring efforts at a time of intense competition while pushing green, organic and fresh products.But it was his role in one of the biggest takeovers in the country’s retail history as well as his strong stance on the need for change in Bangladesh after the Dhaka factory collapse in April that won Galen G. Weston the title of Canadian Press Business Newsmaker of the Year for 2013.Weston received about 22% of the votes, followed by BCE chief executive George Cope and former Blackberry CEO Thorstein Heins, who tied for second place with 17% of the votes each.“It’s not just one of the largest deals this year — it’s one of the largest deals in Canada ever,” Derek DeCloet, Editor of Report on Business at The Globe and Mail, said in voting for Weston.“It will shape the future of the Canadian retailing sector.”“Tough call here. I voted for Weston, being at the centre of not one, but two of the top business stories of the year,” said Adam Nyp, News Director at CIHR in Woodstock, Ont.It was a busy year for Weston, whose family regularly makes the list of richest Canadians with a fortune that tops $10 billion.Loblaw (TSX:L) moved to acquire Shoppers Drug Mart (TSX:SC) in a blockbuster $12.4-billion deal that will allow it to better compete against retail giants, such as Walmart, and provide cash flow of about $1 billion to pay down debt.The company said it wouldn’t be appropriate for Weston to comment to the media until the Shoppers deal closes. Shoppers’ shareholders recently voted in favour of the takeover offer and the deal is before the federal competition bureau for approval.During the summer, the company also spun off its real estate holdings into a new publicly traded trust, Choice Properties (TSX:CHP.UN), which remains majority owned by Loblaw.Since the drugstore deal, the company, which owns Loblaws, President’s Choice and several other grocery brands as well as the Joe Fresh clothing line, has said it remains focused on winning over customers with lower prices and a bigger selection of fresh foods.It’s not yet back to the point of growing its profits, as it struggles to draw in shoppers in an increasingly competitive retail environment that pits it against Sobeys and Metro, as well as U.S. retailers such as Walmart, Target and Costco. But the company has come a long way from where it was when the younger Weston took over from his father W. Galen Weston as executive chairman of Loblaw in 2006.“Loblaw stores were in a bit of disarray. He was new, they had distribution issues and they had strategy issues and they were turning over some senior personnel as they modified the distributions,” said Ken Hardy, a marketing professor emeritus at Western University’s Richard Ivey Business School.“He was so youthful to take over a major chain and there was this imminent threat of Walmart’s food empire moving north, so yes, I think there was some skepticism,” Hardy said.“But the board plugged in some good people and they went ahead and made the changes, so he had support.”Gord Nixon, chief executive of RBC and a Weston family friend, said the younger Galen and his team should be credited for their role in the restructuring of Loblaw during a time industry margins are shrinking.“I think the Shoppers Drug Mart deal certainly has the potential to be a real home run for them and give them the opportunity to shift their strategies to address some of the changes that are taking place in the marketplace,” said Nixon.“It’s been a transformational year all around given the two big transactions … and some of the progress the company has made in terms of addressing some of their cost issues and efficiency issues.”For several years Weston, whose family is Loblaw’s biggest shareholder, has helped personify the brand and differentiate it from competitors like Metro or Sobeys, which have no official spokespersons.Sobeys has more recently hired British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who bears a physical resemblance to Weston, as to promote its stores. He had previously done the same for Sainsbury’s, a U.K. grocery chain.Weston also positioned himself as a champion for healthy, organic and ethical food, with TV commercials that emphasized those product categories.Monica LaBarge, a marketing professor at Queen’s University, said Loblaw has continued the elder Weston’s philosophy of continuing innovation, but also reflects his son’s own perspective.“It’s an interesting evolution of the brand that is probably affected by him, who he is and the age that he is.”Weston was most visibly in the spotlight this year for his quick and upfront reaction to the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh that made Joe Fresh clothing.More than 1,100 people died when the eight-storey building collapsed in April. While one of the factories in the building produced items for Joe Fresh, numerous other clothing makers were also in the complex.“I’m troubled by the deafening silence from other apparel retailers on this,” Weston said at the time, as he promised to take steps to ensure the structural integrity of the factories.“There are many other retailers involved here and the way that we’re going to make lasting change in countries like Bangladesh — and the industry as a whole — is to act as an industry,” he said.The company has since moved ahead with short-term financial compensation plans for workers and dependents of the company that produced the Joe Fresh Style clothing, and has plans for long-term assistance.Hardy called Weston’s handling of the building collapse “enormously clever and apparently sincere.”“It just added coherence to the already progressive, green imagine. Now the caring humanitarian was added,” he said.“It strengthens the soft goods line, Joe Fresh, and it takes the edge off the critics.”Nixon said the way Weston put Loblaw front and centre in the wake of the collapse and tried to become part of the solution “speaks very well of Galen as an individual, shows good leadership.”“It’s not always easy as a CEO to make those calls, and often you have people telling you not to say things (or) be as out front,” said Nixon.“When I saw that, I was very impressed.” read more

Empire Q3 shows lower revenue from Sobeys weaker adjusted earnings

STELLARTON, N.S. — The parent of Sobeys is reporting lower adjusted earnings and revenue for its third quarter, but managed to recover from a huge loss reported a year earlier as it wrote down the value of its western business.Empire Co. Ltd. (TSX:EMP.A) had $30.5 million of net income for the 13 weeks ended Feb. 4.That compared with a loss of $1.37 billion reported a year earlier, mostly due to a writedown of the Safeway chain after years of underperformance since it was acquired by Sobeys.After adjustments that exclude the writedowns, however, Empire’s earnings fell by 58.1 per cent to $34.6 million.How Sobeys screwed up Safeway in a messy takeover that left empty shelves, massive losses, and drove customers awayEmpire’s revenue fell by $137.4 million to $5.89 billion, mostly from the Sobeys grocery business.Net income was equal to 11 cents per share and adjusted earnings amounted to 13 cents per share.It’s the first quarterly report issued by Empire since it hired former Canadian Tire executive Michael Medline to be its president and chief executive officer in January. read more

Markets update at midafternoon

On the markets at midafternoon (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 94.09 points to 15,243.66.The Dow Jones industrial average was up 38.80 points to 21,613.53.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 10.22 of a point to 2,470.83.The Nasdaq composite index was up 40.90 points to 6,385.21.The Canadian dollar was trading at 79.43 cents US, up from Tuesday’s average price of 79.19 cents US.