Finance news. My opinion.

October 28, 2014

John Tory’s first big challenge: uniting Toronto council

Filed under: finance, term — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 12:39 pm

“Torontonians want to see an end to the division that has paralyzed city hall the last few years,” mayor-elect John Tory declared Monday night. “And to all of that, I say: Toronto, I hear you — I hear you loud and clear.”

Heeding the Rob Ford lesson — that a healthy mandate can turn to dust if you lose support of the 44-member council — Toronto’s new leader continued: “You want results, and together with the city council we will deliver.”

Tory has a list of councillors’ phone numbers and, on Tuesday morning, will start dialing, with a goal of talking to all of them by the end of the week, Tory campaign adviser Nick Kouvalis said after the results were announced.

“John has a strong mandate — he’s going to have a working (council) majority much bigger than (Rob) Ford did,” because he will work to build consensus across council’s left, centre and right, Kouvalis added.

There are battles ahead. Many councillors oppose the SmartTrack transit expansion plan — the centrepiece of Tory’s campaign — and think it foolhardy to even consider expanding private garbage collection east of Yonge St. The proposed expansion of the island airport, on which Tory has yet to weigh in, will pit factions against each other.

Tory will need to be seen as having strong council support to get the financial help from Ottawa and Queen’s Park he promised he can deliver.

And there are geographical wounds to heal, as the past four years saw downtown and suburban citizens bang heads on a host of issues.

But several councillors canvassed Monday said they hope that this term ideas will be debated on their merits, without the personal attacks, threats and trench warfare that characterized Rob Ford’s term in office.

Josh Matlow, a prominent centrist re-elected in Ward 22, St. Paul’s, is eager to give Tory a chance at gathering all sides together under a big tent.

“I’ve spoken with a number of colleagues in the last week or two, and we all want a more productive, thoughtful and civil relationship, to make Torontonians proud and focus on our residents’ priorities,” he said.

“John Tory strikes me as a person that, whether we agree or disagree, will focus on the things we agree on and move forward to get things done.”

Joe Mihevc, a leader of council’s left who was re-elected in Ward 21, St. Paul’s, said he is “open to dialogue and discussion” with Tory, the former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party.

But it will be up to the mayor-elect to quickly signal a new direction.

“I can imagine, within a couple of weeks, work being done on who fills major chairs and major positions” at city hall, Mihevc said Low fee payday loans. “I imagine (Tory’s team) wants to send signals there is real inclusion, and not tokenism.”

The new council faced by Tory, a centre-left conservative, looks like a somewhat more Tory-friendly version of the old council, where centrists held the balance of power.

Of the eight new faces, six ran centre or centre-right campaigns — Stephen Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre), John Campbell (Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre), Justin Di Ciano (Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore), Christin Carmichael Greb (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence), Jon Burnside (Ward 26, Don Valley West), and Jim Karygiannis (Ward 39, Scarborough Agincourt).

Tory endorsed Carmichael Creb and Burnside for council, while several of the others endorsed Tory for mayor.

Flanking them on the right are Rob Ford, returning to his pre-mayor position as councillor for Ward 2, Etobicoke North, while he fights cancer, and on the left Joe Cressy (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), who last spring ran unsuccessfully for the federal NDP.

Ford, speaking after his brother Doug Ford lost the mayor’s race to Tory, sounded ready to poke holes in the big tent before it’s even erected.

“I’ll continue taking care of every taxpayer in this city. like I always have,” said Ford, who from 2000 to 2010 was a lone wolf on council, howling at what he called wasteful spending.

“I’ll continue to fight. Tory said he’s going to do some things — folks, the first thing I want to see him do is contract-out garbage on the other side of Yonge St., that’s the first thing.” Ford also seemed to commit the family to fighting to regain the mayor’s chair in 2018.

Ryerson University politics professor Myer Siemiatycki thinks Tory might have a tough time delivering on his vow to end the divisions.

The fact that Doug Ford did surprisingly well against him, and that Rob Ford will be on council, means their “Ford Nation” supporters will be emboldened.

Council’s left will look at the solid third-place showing of their standard-bearer, Olivia Chow, as proof that her progressive ideas have support.

“I think it’s going to be a real challenge for Tory,” Siemiatycki said. “Rob Ford had a big plurality (of votes) and John Tory does not.

“Tory doesn’t go into it with as many cards and a mandate as he may have wished. It will be a test of his ability to bring those groups together.

“I think he probably wishes he had more of a commanding win.”

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October 22, 2014

Ukraine, Russia end gas talks without breakthrough

Filed under: lenders, mortgage — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 1:03 am

BRUSSELS (AP) — Ukraine and Russia on Tuesday failed to get a decisive breakthrough in their standoff over gas supplies to Kiev and will resume European Union-sponsored talks next week.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukraine counterpart Petro Poroshenko had agreed on a broad thrust of a deal on Friday, but the issues on how, when and how much Ukraine should pay continued to divide the sides.

Kiev asked the EU for an additional loan of 2 billion euro ($2.5 billion) as it struggles to cope with the implications of its energy needs.

“We have made some important progress,” said EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. “We hope they will reach an agreement on a winter package for Ukraine.”

Oettinger added a long-term solution could wait until after the crucial cold months.

The EU Commission said that the Ukraine request for the 2 billion euro loan will be “evaluated in consultation with the IMF and Ukrainian authorities.” However, it insisted that the EU’s executive office “remains very committed to supporting Ukraine in line with earlier commitments payday loans.”

This year already, the EU has agreed on an aid package of 11 billion euros ($14 billion) to boost the economy of a divided nation as it faced fighting in the east and the breakaway of its southern Crimea region to integrate with Russia.

The Russian energy company Gazprom said Friday’s tentative agreement included a promise that Kiev would pay back $3.1 billion by the end of the year. This is where further EU help could be vital.

Russia cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in the summer over unpaid bills, raising the risks that Ukraine would siphon off gas from the pipeline passing through its territory from Russia to Europe.

Europe is concerned that if Ukraine would do that, Russia could cut off all flows through Ukraine, leaving parts of Europe without supplies in the dead of winter, as has happened in the past.

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October 18, 2014

Harper warns Canadians about spread of Ebola at polio award ceremony

Filed under: business, lenders — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 7:03 pm

Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned about the potential for the spread of Ebola at an award ceremony in Toronto today, saying that much like polio the disease must not be underestimated.

Harper said the current situation with Ebola reminds us that in an age of globalization, global trade and travel, a problem that was once far away from Canada “could arrive at our shores very quickly.” The World Health Organization says the Ebola outbreak has killed more than 4,500 people in West Africa.

Harper was presented with the Rotary Foundation Polio Eradication Champion Award for his efforts to eliminate polio globally, and said that in many countries, including Canada, polio was once a “devastating illness” for thousands of people every year but has now been virtually eliminated as a common concern bad credit payday loans.

Harper accepted the award on behalf of the Government of Canada, which he says has championed polio eradication for 25 years and added the world is close to fully eradicating the disease.

He said it was the generosity and support of Canadians that has led to great progress toward the elimination of polio, due to the fact that Canadians have supported the initiative and related efforts on maternal and child and newborn health generously over the past few years.

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October 12, 2014

US says some nations not doing enough on economy

Filed under: debt, legal — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 7:12 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States expressed frustration that a number of countries were not doing enough to boost growth in their economies as finance ministers from the world’s largest economies conveyed determination to prevent a slide into another global recession.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew complained that governments in Europe, Japan and China were failing to deliver needed support.

“European leaders should focus on recalibrating policies to address persistent demand weakness,” Lew said in comments prepared for a session of the policy-setting committee of the International Monetary Fund, which was scheduled to conclude its discussions Saturday.

The policy-setting committee of the World Bank also was to meet, and both groups were expected to return to addressing the Ebola crisis in West Africa.

Lew said Japan’s outlook was uncertain with growth projected to remain weak this year and next. He said Japanese officials needed to carefully calibrate budget reductions and “move decisively to implement requisite growth-boosting structural reforms.”

He said China’s economy remained strong but risks had risen and the country needed to put more emphasis on consumption-led growth.

Lew did not mention Germany by name, but it was clear that his remarks on Europe focused on that nation’s reluctance to do more to stimulate growth. “Countries with external surpluses and fiscal flexibility” needed to do more to boost growth, he said. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, ran a large trade surplus last year.

Even some of Germany’s European partners have said countries in the 18-nation euro zone should shift away from the deficit-cutting policies Germany has championed and boost investment spending to avoid being stuck in Japanese- style stagnation.

It was against that background that G-20 finance ministers and central bank presidents met for two days of talks that wrapped up Friday in advance of the IMF-World Bank meetings.

After those discussions, the ministers unveiled plans for a global initiative to build roads, ports, railways and other infrastructure projects to help boost world growth by $2 trillion over the next five years and create millions of jobs.

The G-20 was being led this year by Australia, which was scheduled to host a leader’s summit next month in Brisbane. Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey, who chaired the finance discussions, told reporters that the plan the G-20 group developed involved more than 900 individual initiatives with the potential to lift growth by 1.8 percent over the next five years. He said details would be disclosed at the leaders’ summit.

While developing the five-year plan for infrastructure projects, the G-20 financial officials were less successful in their efforts to deal with immediate threats from slowdowns in Europe, Latin America and China. The group did not issue a communique, but individual ministers said economic problems were discussed in the G-20 sessions.

“We as a group do not want to settle for mediocre growth,” Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver told reporters after the end of the G-20 sessions. “We don’t think we have to.”

_____

Associated Press writers Paul Wiseman and Matthew Pennington contributed to this report.

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October 4, 2014

Report: UBS faces $6 billion fine in France

Filed under: loans, marketing — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 4:56 am

BERLIN (AP) — Shares in UBS AG are down after reports the Swiss bank could face a fine of 4.88 billion euros ($6.16 billion) if found guilty of facilitating tax evasion and money laundering in France.

Geneva daily Le Temps on Friday cited prosecution documents obtained by French investigative news site mediapart.fr that put the potential penalty for UBS significantly higher than a 1.1 billion euro bond it has had to deposit in the case.

The bank last month accused French authorities of staging “a highly politicized process” that had “not followed elementary facets of the rule of law cash advance no faxing.”

The bank has denied allegations that it helped rich French clients dodge taxes. It didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

UBS shares were down 1.4 percent at 16.09 Swiss francs ($16.80).

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September 30, 2014

Filed under: legal, money — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 10:47 pm

As development has leapfrogged the Greenbelt area north of the GTA into the fast-growing area around Barrie, many farmers have been playing a lucrative game of musical chairs.

They’ve been selling off valuable spreads for development that their families have farmed, in some cases for generations, and been snapping up cheaper land within an hour’s drive where they start all over again.

That double demand, of sorts, for farmland in the South Simcoe area has been “extraordinary,” according to ReMax’s annual farm report released Tuesday. That high-demand stretch, largely along Highway 400, includes Barrie, Tottenham, Innisfil, Springwater and Bradford.

There developers have paid up to $54,000 an acre for hay fields that can be converted to housing. Just down the road – in areas where land is designated solely for farming – prices have also been escalating, but to a relatively affordable $10,000 to $12,000 per acre, says ReMax.

That’s encouraged some long-time farmers to even split their businesses, says former farmer and now ReMax farm specialist George Atkinson: Dad maintains some of the valuable old parcel and sells off the rest to help the kids buy up new, cheaper farms within easy commuting distance so they can share costly farm equipment.

In Kitchener-Waterloo, where prices have started to level off, farmland is now amongst the priciest in the province — $14,000 to $18,000 per acre. That’s also lead to relocations, with some Mennonite families moving to Quinte and Renfrew counties to the northeast. There farmland is a more affordable $8,000 to $12,000 per acre, notes ReMax.

For the most part, the price of farmland across Canada has largely held steady or increased just slightly over 2013, says the report, after years of substantive price escalation.

Alberta, however, has been plagued with the same inventory problem now driving up prices in the Toronto house market: Bidding wars caused by too much demand for too little supply.

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September 29, 2014

World

Filed under: finance, term — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:07 am

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September 24, 2014

Deer are pests for airports, threats to pilots

Filed under: money, news — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 11:03 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Aviation and wildlife experts say soaring deer populations are nuisances for airports and threats to pilots, especially at this time of year.

Whether driven by hunger or just crazy for love, deer will do seemingly anything to get onto airport grounds and runways, including leaping over tall fences or squeezing under them. But put a deer and a plane together on a runway and both can have a very bad day.

A recent government report says that from 1990 to 2013, there were 1,088 collisions between planes and deer, elk, moose and caribou. Most of the planes suffered damage, and some were destroyed. One person was killed and 29 others injured. About a third of the collisions took place during the October-November mating season.

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September 16, 2014

Yellen Rate Raises Seen as Gradual in Survey as Inflation Muted - Bloomberg

Filed under: lenders, marketing — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 8:31 am

Even after five years of steady economic growth, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is likely to raise interest rates only gradually between 2015 and 2017 as inflation remains muted, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.

Fifty-six percent of 61 economists said the median of policy makers

September 13, 2014

Apple finds Canadian geography confusing

Filed under: house, online — Tags: , , , — Professor @ 2:31 am

TORONTO— Apple seems to be a little confused when it comes to Canadian geography.

Consumers who hit Apple.ca to pre-order one of the company’s new iPhones and clicked on a link about delivery timelines saw an error-riddled map of Canada.

Apple appeared to have mixed up the nation’s capital and Ontario’s capital, and placed Ottawa roughly where Toronto should be on the map paydayloans.

Edmonton is also seen to be northwest of Calgary, instead of northeast.

And Quebec City is mistakenly labelled as Quebec.

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