UN food relief agency to hand out rice to displaced people in

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced plans to provide emergency relief for more than 42,000 people displaced from their homes on the troubled island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where there have been deadly clashes over the past week between Government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front.In cooperation with the Philippine Government, WFP will distribute 85 metric tons of rice to the displaced on Jolo following a request from the Governor of Sulu province, where the island is located.WFP Country Director Valerie Guarnieri described the province – where at least 12 people were killed in this week’s clashes – as one of the most conflict-affected areas of the south.“We hope this support for hungry families will help stabilize the situation in Sulu,” Ms. Guarnieri said.Last month the agency provided 25 tons of rice to 6,000 people in Sulu displaced by earlier unrest, but those people have since returned to their homes. Although the Government signed a peace accord with the Moro National Liberation Front in 1996, fighting between the two sides has erupted periodically since then.WFP’s activities in the southern Philippines include not only the direct distribution of free food to needy families, but the use of food to encourage better school attendance, provide nutritional support for mothers and to repair damaged infrastructure. 19 April 2007The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced plans to provide emergency relief for more than 42,000 people displaced from their homes on the troubled island of Jolo in the southern Philippines, where there have been deadly clashes over the past week between Government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front. read more

Concerned at conditions in Somalia Security Council urges end to violence

Speaking to reporters following a closed-door briefing, Ambassador Marty M. Natalegawa of Indonesia, which holds the rotating Council presidency, said the members “expressed strong concern about the deteriorating political, security and humanitarian situation in Somalia.”He said the members also “underlined the need to continue to actively develop contingency plans for the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping force as part of enhanced UN integrated strategy in Somalia.”Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his latest report on Somalia, issued last week, cautioned that deploying a UN peacekeeping operation is not realistic or viable given the country’s security situation, the intensifying insurgency and the lack of progress towards any political reconciliation.He also noted that conditions are so dire that it has not even been possible to send a technical assessment mission to the country.“Given the complex security situation in Somalia, it may be advisable to look at additional security options, including the deployment of a robust multinational force or coalition of the willing,” the report suggested.The Council members today called for all Somali stakeholders “to renounce violence and to engage in an all-inclusive peace process,” the President said, expressing support for the efforts of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah to promote dialogue, consultation and reconciliation, and for the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) and the African Union Mission (AMISOM) deployed in the country.Council members “recognized the need for greater financial, logistical and technical support” for AMISOM, he added. They also “underlined the need for enhanced international assistance to address the humanitarian situation in Somalia.”Responding to questions from the press, the President said contingency planning involves not only a possible UN peacekeeping force but a UN response to the humanitarian and the political situation in Somalia.He added that Council members were considering an expert-level consultation with UN political, peacekeeping and humanitarian officials.“There is a clear recognition that this an issue that requires continued attention,” he said. “We’ll take this one step at a time, mindful of the urgency of the situation.”Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) today welcomed the safe arrival of the two ships carrying WFP cargo, the first two ships to be escorted by a French naval vessel assigned to protect them from pirate attacks.The French ship and the two WFP-contracted vessels left the Kenyan port of Mombasa on Friday, carrying more than 3600 tons of food, and arrived in Somalia today.Thanking the French Government and Navy for their assistance, WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said the operation comes at a critical time for the Somali people, who have been afflicted by drought as well as ongoing conflict. 19 November 2007Security Council members today voiced concern about worsening conditions in Somalia, urging all concerned to work for peace while stressing the need to lay contingency plans for a possible United Nations peacekeeping presence in the country, which has lacked a functioning government since 1991. read more

UN refugee agency exceeds 20000 resettlement target for Iraqi refugees

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that it had topped its target of 20,000 Iraqi resettlement referrals for 2007.As of 7 December, the agency had transferred the files of 20,472 of the most vulnerable Iraqi refugees to be considered for resettlement by 16 countries: the United States, Australia, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Ireland, Brazil, Chile, Finland, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Ireland, Spain and Germany.The largest number of files – 14,798 – has been submitted to the US, followed by Australia, Canada, Sweden and New Zealand as the top receiving countries.“With three weeks to go before the end of the year, we are, however, extremely concerned about the low rate of departures to date,” said Vincent Cochetel, Deputy Director of UNHCR’s Division of International Protection.As of 1 December, 4,575 Iraqis – slightly less than one-quarter of the total referred cases – had left for resettlement countries. Of those who have been resettled, the largest number is in the US.“UNHCR has consistently encouraged resettlement countries to speed up their procedures to enable the most vulnerable Iraqis to depart as soon as possible,” the agency said in a press release.Several categories of people are considered for resettlement, including torture victims, women at risk, urgent medical cases, households headed by women, and members of minority groups. UNHCR estimates there are some 80,000 to 100,000 extremely vulnerable Iraqi refugees in the Middle East needing to be resettled.However, the agency noted that realistically, only a small fraction of the most vulnerable can be considered for resettlement to third countries.Over 4.5 million Iraqis are uprooted, with 2.4 million within the country’s borders and nearly 2.2 million in other nations such as Syria and Jordan.“The security situation inside Iraq remains a concern and at this stage UNHCR is not promoting return to the country,” said Radhouane Nouicer, UNHCR Director for the Middle East and North Africa.“We all hope that the situation in the country will continue to improve. Pending this improvement, resettlement will remain one of the solutions for the most vulnerable and exposed Iraqi refugees.”While the agency has the capacity to submit another 25,000 Iraqi cases for resettlement, this depends on firm commitments from resettlement countries to accept them.Meanwhile, UNHCR voiced concern over an estimated 13,000 Palestinians residing in Iraq under the agency’s mandate. Those in Baghdad are under constant threat, while Palestinians living in makeshift border camps are reporting increasing physical attacks and harassment.“In view of their dire condition and the difficulty they have in escaping Iraq, UNHCR feels that humanitarian relocation to places of safety is their best option,” the agency said.But to date, only Sudan, Chile and a few other nations have indicated they are willing to help the Palestinians in Iraq. 12 December 2007The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that it had topped its target of 20,000 Iraqi resettlement referrals for 2007. read more

Ban Kimoon mourns death of UN police officer in Kosovo

Kynol Ivor, 25, was part of the Ukrainian Formed Police Unit (FPU) and was killed in an operation undertaken – jointly by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO-led Kosovo Force, or KFOR – to reclaim the courthouse in North Mitrovica which was stormed and occupied on 14 March. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he “calls on all parties to refrain from violence and to engage in a constructive dialogue and work together to promote security and stability in Kosovo.”Extending his condolences to the officer’s family, the Secretary-General also thanked the Ukrainian Government for its “dedicated commitment” to the UN’s work in Kosovo.Also mourning the policeman’s death, a senior UNMIK official today said the recent violence is “unacceptable” and will not be tolerated.“Our condolences go to the family of the Ukrainian police officer who was killed by this mob, who was murdered by this mob,” said the Secretary-General’s Principal Deputy Special Representative in Kosovo, Larry Rossin, at a press briefing.Characterizing the 14 March attack on the courthouse as an “orchestrated occupation,” he said that there had been several attempts to persuade Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic, as well as Kosovo Serb political figures in Mitrovica, to resolve the situation peacefully.Despite such communications, the courthouse continued to be occupied by some 40 people, including some officers of the Serbian Ministry of the Interior,” Mr. Rossin noted. Additionally, UNMIK received information that those who carried out the courthouse attack were planning to occupy another UN building in the area.After planning and consulting with both KFOR and the Police Commissioner, he said he authorized the operation which began early yesterday morning to regain control of the courthouse and restore law and order.Despite originally starting out peacefully, the situation deteriorated into violence, with a mob attacking first with rocks, then with Molotov cocktails. Shortly after, UN police and KFOR troops came under direct gunfire and hand grenade attacks, resulting in 42 UN police officers and 22 KFOR troops sustaining injuries.“I hesitate to call them demonstrators, because demonstrating implies peacefully and this was far, far beyond the limit of what is acceptable,” Mr. Rossin said of the mob.He added that 32 of those occupying the courthouse were temporarily detained, processed and released back to North Mitrovica. “Criminal investigations into all these illegal acts, including murder and attempted murder, perpetrated on UNMIK and on KFOR soldiers are ongoing and we firmly intend to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice.”The situation in the area is now calm, but tense, Mr. Rossin observed, urging all to respect the rule of law and to allow UNMIK to carry out its mandate.Last month, the Assembly of Kosovo’s Provisional Institutions of Self-Government declared independence from Serbia, and since then the Secretary-General has underlined the need for restraint from all sides. 18 March 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his deep sadness at the death of a United Nations police officer during yesterday’s violent clashes in Mitrovica in the north of Kosovo. read more

UN welcomes United States removal of entry restriction based on HIV status

Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), issued a statement saying the move by US President Barack Obama overturns a restriction that was discriminatory and did not protect public health.“Today’s announcement reinforces the position of the US as a global leader in HIV policy and practice,” Mr. Sidibé said. “This policy change is a significant step forward by the United States towards promoting human rights in the AIDS response.”The statement noted that the US Government had already concluded that maintaining HIV status on a list of excludable entry conditions would not result in public health benefits and contributed towards the stigmatization of HIV-infected people.Mr. Obama announced the change today as he signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009, which has provided treatment and support services to people living with HIV since 1990. The legislation is named after Ryan White, a teenage boy who became a nationally known figure in the US in the 1980s as he battled discrimination and ostracism after contracting HIV from a contaminated blood treatment. He died in 1990.Mr. Sidibé said UNAIDS described the Ryan White programme “as an integral part of the global AIDS response and a gesture of the United States towards achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people within the United States living with HIV.” 30 October 2009The United Nations agency spearheading the world body’s efforts to tackle the HIV/AIDS pandemic today welcomed the decision of the United States to remove 22-year-old entry restrictions based on HIV status. read more

Massive refugee influx from DR Congo straining neighbours resources – UN

12 January 2010A massive influx of 125,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into neighbouring Republic of Congo (ROC) and Central African Republic (CAR) after deadly ethnic clashes is severely stretching the meagre resources of the impoverished region, the United Nations refugee agency reported today. “There is an acute need for formal refugee sites to be established in both CAR and ROC, as the majority of the DRC refugees occupy public buildings and spaces,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesman Andrej Mahecic told a news briefing in Geneva, warning that the influx could lead to tensions with the local community.“In Mougoumba in CAR (where 17,000 people have fled, 60 per cent of them children and many from orphanages) the refugees outnumber the locals by 200 to one, while the Likouala region of northern ROC has seen its population double with the arrival of 107,000 refugees.”The refugees fled Equateur province in north-west DRC after fighting erupted in late October when Enyele militiamen launched deadly assaults on ethnic Munzayas over fishing and farming rights in the Dongo area. Tensions have since expanded to most parts of Equateur and the DRC army has launched an offensive against the militia.Although land has been allocated to accommodate 4,000 refugees in ROC, more space needs to be designated for refugee sites and discussions are ongoing with both ROC and CAR governments, Mr. Mahecic said. Meanwhile, UNHCR has sent emergency staff to support the widely dispersed refugee communities in this region.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has already provided month-long rations of maize, beans, vegetable oil and salt for internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Equateur province, where peacekeepers from the UN mission in DRC (MONUC) have protected the food convoys. Refugees who fled across the Oubangui River into ROC started receiving WFP food aid at the end of November, but their numbers have now swelled.According to the DRC Government, 270 people were killed when the inter-ethnic clashes first erupted. read more

Brazil UN rights expert urges stepped up efforts to fight slavery

“Slavery is a crime that should not go unpunished,” said Gulnara Shahinian, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, including is causes and consequences, at the end of her visit to Brazil. The Government has taken commendable action to combat the scourge, including publishing a so-called ‘Dirty List’ of all farms and companies using slave labour, excluding them from accessing public funds, she said. But “some landowners, businesses and intermediaries, such as the gatos, have found a way to avoid criminal prosecution by taking advantage of legal loopholes that delay justice and foster impunity,” the expert said. Civil penalties have been successfully applied to some landowners and companies but criminal penalties have not been enforced, with jurisdictional conflicts and delays in the judiciary system resulting in the lapsing of the statute of limitations, she pointed out. Although forced labour is considered a serious crime, first-time offenders might only face house arrest or community service. Brazil could shortly become the world’s fifth largest economy, but the Special Rapporteur cautioned that this ascendancy should not come at the expense of people’s rights. Forced labour in rural areas, which she said is a “slavery-like practice,” is most wide-spread in the cattle ranching and sugar cane industries, and the victims are mostly men and boys over the age of 15. In Brazil’s urban areas, forced labour takes place largely in the garment industry. “In all these situations the victims of forced labour work long hours, with little or no pay,” Ms. Shahinian said. “They are threatened with, or subjected to physical, psychological and sometimes sexual violence.” During her visit, she held talks with Government authorities, international organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organizations, and visited communities in São Paulo, Cuiabá, Imperatriz, Açailândia and Brasília. In rural areas, she met with people subjected to forced labour and slavery-like practices in the cattle ranching and sugar cane industries, and she also spoke with garment workers. The expert called for the adoption of schemes that ensure that the people most vulnerable to performing forced labour can enjoy basic rights, such as the rights to food, water and education to allow for their rehabilitation and reingetration into economic life and social protection networks. Education should also include vocational training and literacy programmes, which should be complemented by Government action to safeguard the right for indigenous groups and others “to work without having to succumb to forced labour,” she stressed. “The strongest message that the Brazilian Government can send to Brazilians to show that the crime of slavery will not go unpunished is to pass the constitutional amendment” which would allow for the expropriation of land where forced labour is used,” the Special Rapporteur emphasized. “This expropriation would occur without compensation and the land would be re-distributed, with priority being given to those workers previously held in conditions analogous to slavery.” Passing this amendment, she said, “will show that Brazil is indeed strongly committed to fighting slavery.” 29 May 2010An independent United Nations human rights expert has called urged Brazil to strengthen efforts to close loopholes perpetuating the practice of slavery, including forced labour in the vast South American nation’s rural areas. read more

UN expert calls for action to improve the lives of Armenias displaced

20 September 2010Armenian authorities need to do more to integrate internally displaced persons (IDPs) into their new communities and help those still living in difficult circumstances, a United Nations human rights expert warned today after visiting the Caucasus country. “Internally displaced persons in Armenia have been forgotten for too long,” said Walter Kälin, the Secretary-General’s representative on the rights of IDPs. “More should be done to improve the lives of these people who have been displaced for two decades, and this needs a concerted effort by the Government and the international community.”During his two-day visit, which concluded on Saturday, Mr. Kälin met with IDPs from the Dprabak village, and from the Gegharkurnik region. The displaced populations there still face great problems with respect to their economic and social rights, he said. They suffer, in particular, from a lack of adequate housing and limited economic opportunities. While many IDPs in Armenia have integrated well into their new communities, a considerable number still live in difficult circumstances, he said. Others have not been able to return to their homes in the border regions because of a lack of shelter and livelihood opportunities. During the course of his visit, Mr. Kälin met with Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan, as well as Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandyan and the First Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration. He also met with the country’s ombudsman and representatives of both the international community and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Mr. Kälin said he was encouraged by the Government’s envisaged measures to help the displaced return to border villages or to integrate within the villages to which they had been displaced, adding that such initiatives must be supported.“Armenia is in the enviable position of being able to solve its remaining displacement cases and to be taken off the map of countries still hosting internally displaced persons,” he said. “It is imperative that the international community supports the Government in its efforts.” He said such efforts should focus not only on housing, but also on improving social and economic conditions in the border regions – including opportunities for steady household incomes, quality education and prospects for youth. Mr. Kälin stressed that the parties to the conflict and the international community must strengthen their efforts to reach a peace agreement, and that any such agreement must address the human rights of the displaced, including their right to restitution of property or compensation. A Swiss law professor, Mr. Kälin has been the Secretary-General’s Representative on the Human Rights of IDPs since 2004 and serves in an independent and unpaid capacity, reporting to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. This is his second visit to Armenia since 2007. read more

Côte dIvoire UN envoy certifies results of first round of presidential poll

Y. J. Choi said the electoral process during the first round held on 31 October was “peaceful and democratic, and that the results of the elections were determined through fair and transparent process.”The “anomalies, irregularities and errors” brought to his attention were “of such minor nature as to affect in no significant way the overall results of the elections,” he added in a statement made in Abidjan. The two candidates in the forthcoming run-off are incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and former prime minister, Alassane Ouattara.The elections, originally scheduled for as far back as 2005, were repeatedly postponed. They are a major step in restoring stability in the country, which was split by civil war into a Government-held south and rebel Forces Nouvelles-controlled north in 2002.An additional 500 troops were sent to the country to reinforce the 8,650-strong UN peacekeeping force (UNOCI) and assist with security during the election period.Mr. Choi, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Côte d’Ivoire and head of UNOCI, noted that polling day during the first round was “marked as much by enthusiasm of the population as by the respect for human rights and democratic principles.” He called on all stakeholders to remain committed to the holding of an open, free, fair and transparent second round of the presidential elections, in order to bring the Ivorian crisis closer to a conclusion.Cote 12 November 2010The United Nations envoy to Côte d’Ivoire today certified the results of the first round of the presidential election in the West African country, paving the way for the run-off on 28 November between the two candidates who garnered the highest number of votes. read more

Lack of funds threatens UN food aid to millions of vulnerable Afghans

“We are making this appeal to give us the best possible chance of plugging the looming gaps in supply,” said Louis Imbleau, WFP’s Country Director for Afghanistan. “Food security is the bedrock of development in this country – especially for the youngest and most vulnerable.”WFP’s operation in Afghanistan has a twin focus, providing lifesaving relief and emergency aid for immediate needs, including those stemming from conflict and natural disaster, and improving overall food security, in partnership with the Government.The agency lacks half of the funding it needs to assist 7.3 million Afghans across all 34 provinces this year, and if money does not come in soon a “critical pipeline break” in wheat is expected to occur in June, it stated in a news release. This will affect millions of people in Afghanistan, where wheat is the primary food staple and is used in rations for nearly all WFP operations, including food-for-work activities, vocational training and literacy programmes for women and other marginalized groups, and emergency food distributions. Supplies of vegetable oil and pulses will run short in July and August, the agency added.The funding shortfall will also mean that WFP will have to scale back school-feeding activities by half in June, affecting more than a million schoolchildren.“By August, without swift and robust support from the international community, WFP will have exhausted all remaining commodities and be forced to reduce or suspend some parts of the operation,” it stated.The agency is calling on donors to provide a rapid injection of funds so that it can begin procuring food locally and regionally to avoid a potentially devastating break in food supplies. 15 April 2011The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said today it urgently needs $257 million to continue providing food and assistance to over 7 million vulnerable Afghans, most of whom are women and children. read more

UN and partners scale up malaria response for two million Somalis at

17 October 2011The United Nations and its partners are escalating their response measures to prevent a malaria outbreak in Somalia, where two million people already suffering from drought, famine and conflict are at higher risk of contracting the disease during the current rainy season. “The health of many Somalis is already extremely compromised due to the drought and famine, especially children suffering from malnutrition. With the rains come an increased risk of malaria,” said Sikander Khan, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Somalia representative.“We must act as swiftly as possible to prevent deaths due to this deadly disease. We are working with our partners on prevention as well as providing treatment services as necessary,” he said.Malaria, which is caused by a parasite transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes, kills nearly 800,000 people around the world every year with most of the deaths occurring in Africa.To protect the population, UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have engaged in a large-scale campaign which consists of distributing protection kits according to each region’s needs and educating people on the ways to prevent and treat the disease.In drought-affected regions such as Hiran, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, Lower Juba and Middle Juba in south-central Somalia, 280,000 long-lasting insecticide treated nets will be distributed in the next weeks to over 140,000 households in addition to the 79,000 nets which have already been distributed since July.In Mogadishu, where nets are not practical, 45,000 households will receive indoor spraying which will protect them for three to four months, and will be re-sprayed in March and April next year.Health facilities throughout high-risk areas will be equipped with 560,000 doses of anti-malaria drugs as well as with the ability to provide one million rapid diagnostic tests and the capacity to treat cases.The campaign is financially supported by the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFTAM) and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.“With these investments in prevention and treatment, and by encouraging people to seek treatment quickly, we can avoid the tragic impact malaria has on people’s lives,” said Michel Kazatchkine, Executive Director of the Global Fund.The number of malaria cases in Somalia has decreased by 57 per cent in recent years, from 1.73 million cases in 2005 to 740,000 cases in 2009. This is largely due to the development of new, more effective drugs, rapid diagnostic tests and long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, all of which did not exist 10 years ago, as well as the increase in international funding to prevent the disease. read more

Canada Pension Plan to buy UK equipment maker for 11billion

TORONTO — The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has agreed to pay $1.1 billion for the air distribution division of Tomkins, a diversified U.K.-based industrial company.The division makes products used in heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for commercial and residential buildings.The pension fund manager is already a part owner of Tomkins, which was acquired in 2010 by CPP and Toronto-based Onex Corp.Since then, Tomkins has been selling off non-core businesses.With the deal announced Friday, CPP Investment Board will have a “significant majority interest” in the Tomkins air distribution division including the portions it owns directly and indirectly through its stake in the parent company.The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter but other financial details of the transaction weren’t disclosed. read more

Toronto stock market dips after open as Ottawa gives details on next

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market opened lower, while Ottawa announced it will hold another auction for wireless spectrum next year to increase competition in the cellphone market.The S&P/TSX composite index dipped 16.96 points to 15,198.Industry Minister James Moore says the majority of the spectrum will be set aside for new entrants and is part of the government’s efforts to lower the prices of wireless cellphone plans. The telecom sector on the TSX fell nearly 1%, with shares of BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE), Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B), and Telus Corp. (TSX:T) all lower in early trading.Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar was up 0.16 of a cent to 94 cents US, ahead of the Bank of Canada’s latest survey of Canadian businesses.The business outlook, which will be released on Monday, is one of the ways the central bank gauges how the economy is faring. It relies on a summary of interviews conducted with senior management at about 100 Canadian firms on topics such as demand and capacity, and how they view future economic activity.U.S. markets were down with the Dow Jones industrials losing 55.23 points to 17,013.03, the Nasdaq dropped 11.25 points to 4,474.68, while the S&P 500 lost 5.39 points to 1,980.05. Wall Street had been closed since midday Thursday for the Independence Day holiday. read more

Quebec Ontario premiers team up to push Ottawa to help fund Bombardier

VANCOUVER — The premiers of Canada’s two most populous provinces have joined forces to push for federal help for Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard drew support from his Ontario counterpart in calling for Ottawa to back the airliner, saying the CSeries is important to the Canadian economy.The province wants the federal government to join it in contributing US$1 billion to the troubled jet program at Bombardier.Quebec has secured a 49.5 per cent stake in the CSeries and two of five seats on a separate board after agreeing last October to the financial contribution.Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare says CSeries is en route for successA bailout won’t fix Bombardier’s biggest problems: family control and dual-class sharesCouillard says he understands it takes time for Ottawa to consider the proposal, but he likened Quebec’s case to federal support for the auto industry in the past.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne supported Couillard, telling reporters at climate change talks in Vancouver that Bombardier is an important national company.The Liberal government has said it was continuing to evaluate the request for funding.The narrow-body CSeries planes, which are two years late and over budget at US$5.4 billion, are set to enter into service in the coming months. read more

TSX higher on rising oil Wall Street muted following Fed decision

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market extended gains for a second day as the price of crude hit a high not seen since November.The S&P/TSX composite climbed 78.22 points to 13,887.66 after the June contract for West Texas Intermediate crude shot up $1.29 to US$45.33 a barrel. It’s the first time oil has closed above US$45 in five months.The Canadian dollar also continued to benefit from the rise in oil, adding 0.02 of a U.S. cent to 79.25 cents US.Meanwhile, stock markets in New York were generally muted following the latest policy-rate statement by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The central bank left its benchmark interest rate unchanged, acknowledging that the U.S. economy slowed last month but that job market conditions are improving.The Dow Jones industrial average gained 51.23 points to 18,041.55, while the broader S&P 500 was little changed, up 3.45 points to 2,095.15. The Nasdaq composite shed 25.14 points to 4,863.14 as shares in Apple fell six per cent after the tech giant reported its first decline in quarterly revenue since 2003.In commodities, June natural gas was down a penny at US$2.15 per mmBtu, while June gold gained $7 to US$1,250.40 a troy ounce. July copper slipped two cents to US$2.22 a pound. read more

Mutual funds must now provide key information on fees performance before investors

TORONTO — A new safeguard is now in place to help protect mutual fund investors.Effective Monday, mutual fund companies are required to provide investors key information on things like a fund’s performance and fees before they buy.The so-called “fund facts” document mandated by securities regulators is the final step in improvements to mutual fund disclosure rules that began more than five years ago that are aimed at ensuring investors receive the information they need.Four ways to assess whether an investment adviser is right for youDavid O’Leary: Why mutual funds that charge performance fees are a scamA fund facts statement is a brief document written in plain language with basic details about a fund, including an explanation of expenses and fees and investor rights and is issued in addition to a fund’s prospectus.Mutual fund companies have been required to post a fund facts document on their website since 2011, and changes in 2014 required fund companies to deliver the document within two days of an investor buying a mutual fund. Now they get must get it before making the purchase.The change in mutual fund disclosure rules isn’t the only one investors will see this year.New rules are coming July 15 for the relationship between financial advisers and their clients. They will introduce new reporting requirements for investment advisers when it comes to the disclosure of fees and the performance of their investments. read more

WatchSixteen pages of NAFTA demands signal tough negotiations ahead

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration has released its broad goals for a new North American Free Trade Agreement in mostly vague language that offers just enough specific clues to point to potentially tough negotiations ahead.The U.S. says it wants more exports of its dairy products, wine and grains; freer trade in telecommunications and online purchases; new rules on currency manipulation; an overhaul of the dispute-settlement system; and more access for U.S. banks abroad.A Washington-based trade expert who advises the Canadian government didn’t flinch when asked what this means for NAFTA talks, which are scheduled to start next month: “Longer, rather than shorter,” said Eric Miller, a consultant at Rideau Potomac who advises Industry Canada.“It will be pretty intense and hard-fought. … Don’t expect it to be finished in less than eight months,” Miller said. “And expect Canada to have to fight hard for issues it cares about.”Some of the issues might be hotly debated, even between Canadians themselves.For example, the demand on online purchases could pit bargain-hunting Canadian consumers against bricks-and-mortar shops. The U.S. wants to increase the amount Canadians can buy online without paying an import tax, by 4,000 per cent.Canada has one of the world’s most punitive duty systems for online shoppers. It will be urged to increase its duty-free limit to $800 from its current $20, according to the document released Monday by U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer.The 16-page list contains some elements that might appear contradictory or confusing.Trump wants new NAFTA deal to cut trade deficit with MexicoTrump’s VP reassures Trudeau: New NAFTA will be ‘win-win-win for all’NAFTA lawsuits target Canada the most, United States hasn’t lost yetIt says the U.S. will demand more opportunities for American suppliers for government procurement abroad, such as construction projects. But in the next breath, it insists on preserving Buy American rules that limit such rights for foreigners.Of that contradiction, Miller joked: “It’s called the mercantilist dream — we want you to open to us, but we don’t want to open up to you.” He said it was more likely a signal that the U.S. wants Canada to stop demanding greater access to contracts at the state and local level.There is a vaguely worded section on banking. It calls for more opportunities for U.S. financial-service providers, which Miller said could be interpreted as a call for Canada to accept U.S. deposit-taking banks.It also demands the elimination of the dispute-settlement system that has ruled in favour of Canada on softwood lumber. But it’s unclear how the U.S. would replace Chapter 19 — which, to Canada, was a make-or-break issue in the original 1980s trade talks.Canadian negotiators suspended talks over that dispute-settlement issue. Later, on the final evening of negotiations, with a midnight deadline, then-prime minister Brian Mulroney informed the U.S. there would be no deal — without an international arbitration system.Canadian trade expert Peter Clark concurred: “This will not be a short negotiation.”But he cautioned against drawing too many conclusions from this initial list.“These asks are normal for the start of a negotiation. Goals are always ambitious — these are very ambitious,” he said. “The end result will inevitably fall short. But that is the way it is done.”Monday’s release came as no surprise to the Canadian government.The Prime Minister’s Office was in touch with the White House and sources say it was given a heads-up in advance of the release. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was prepared to start negotiating.“We welcome the opportunity to modernize NAFTA to reflect new realities — and to integrate progressive, free, and fair approaches to trade and investment,” she said in a statement.“When negotiations begin, we will be ready to work with our partners to modernize NAFTA, while defending Canada’s national interest and standing up for our values.”NAFTA talks are expected to begin on or around Aug. 16.The Canadian government will not produce a similar public list. It’s not a requirement under Canadian law, as it is in the U.S. U.S. lawmakers will also have a say. They must be consulted throughout the negotiating process, and will ultimately have to vote on any deal.Tuesday could provide an early test of the mood on Capitol Hill, when the House of Representatives holds a hearing on NAFTA.The U.S. says its overarching goal is to pare down the U.S. trade deficit.“President Trump continues to fulfil his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to get a much better deal for all Americans,” Lighthizer said in a statement. “Too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and broken political promises. Under President Trump’s leadership, (our office) will negotiate a fair deal.”With regard to manufacturing, a big U.S. objective involves car parts. The Trump administration wants to change the rules of origin, to reduce imports from Asia and ramp up parts production at home.But the devil here is all in the details of these rules: Will they be so strict that manufacturers simply offshore and pay the duty? Will they be designed to benefit all of North America, or just the U.S.? And, finally, how much will the compliance costs increase for domestic manufacturers — Monday’s notice emphasizes the need for more transparency in car parts.Miller says all these details will make a huge difference. read more

Markets update

On the markets at 9:50 a.m. (ET):In Toronto, the S&P/TSX composite index was up 37.25 points to 15,655.50.The Dow Jones industrial average was down 28.81 points to 22,352.39.The Standard & Poor’s 500 index was up 0.71 points to 2,510.77.The Nasdaq composite index was up 13.02 points to 6,466.47.The Canadian dollar was trading at 80.06 cents US, down from Thursday’s average price of 80.32 cents US.

Lankan woman in Dubai says she was forced into prostitution

She told him she needed a job and he said he could find her one that paid well. Three men – TE, a 27-year-old from Pakistan, and the two 27-year-old Bangladeshis TA and MR – were charged with human trafficking, kidnap, running a brothel, and benefiting from prostitution.The Pakistani denied the charges, while the two Bangladeshis were not present in court. The next hearing was scheduled for October 18. He then took her to an apartment in Naif, Dubai, where she met two women who were working willingly as prostitutes. “They told me they were paid Dh15 for each time they had sex with a customer,” said the maid. When she refused to prostitute herself, she was beaten by the three men who ran the brothel, so she gave into their demands.A police raid on the apartment in June resulted in the arrest of the three men. Two prostitutes were also arrested. AF, a 40-year-old policeman, told the court that the men had been running the brothel for the past 20 months. A Sri Lankan woman in Dubai has told a local court that she was kidnapped by a man she met at a bus stop before being locked up in a brothel and forced to prostitute herself for Dh15 per customer.The National newspaper said that the woman identified only as SM, a 27-year-old Sri Lankan maid, told prosecutors that she arrived in Abu Dhabi in March 2011 but absconded from her sponsor’s house about a year later and went to meet her sisters in Sharjah. While she was waiting for them at the bus station a man approached her and began chatting. read more

UNP to boycott committee on new CJ

The council is to select the new CJ from three nominees after former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was sacked by the President. Report by Indika Sri Aravinda Government committee member A.H.M. Azwar however said the UNP leader must attend the meeting, failing which he would be violating parliament rules. The United National Party (UNP) will boycott the parliament council meeting headed by Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa which will select the new Chief Justice tomorrow.UNP MP John Amaratunga told the Colombo Gazette that UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who is one of the council members will not attend the meeting. He warned that if the UNP leader fails to attend the parliament council meeting tomorrow to select a new Chief Justice then action will be sought against him from the Speaker.Former Attorney General Mohan Peiris is believed to be one of the nominees for the post. read more