Magna International buys Italian automotive light maker OLSA for 354M

first_imgAURORA, Ont. – Magna International Inc. has signed a deal to buy Italian company OLSA S.p.A., a maker of automotive lighting products, for about $354 million.The Canadian auto parts company valued the transaction at 230 million euros.Magna says the deal will make the company a global lighting supplier and expand its capability to design, engineer and manufacture headlamps, tail lamps and other lighting products.OLSA, based in Turin, Italy, employs about 2,500 people and has manufacturing operations in Italy, Poland, Brazil, China and Mexico.Its customers include the Volkswagen Group, the BMW Group, Daimler and FCA.The deal, which requires regulatory approval and other standard closing conditions, is expected to close before the end of the year.Companies in this story: (TSX:MG)last_img

FoxComcast battle to buy Sky to be settled by auction in UK

first_imgLONDON – Comcast and 21st Century Fox will settle their battle for control of broadcaster Sky through a rare auction designed to put an end to months of offers and counteroffers from the American media empires seeking a foothold in the European pay TV market.The auction will begin after the London stock market’s close on Friday and end sometime Saturday evening following a maximum of three rounds of bidding, said Britain’s regulator, the Takeover Panel.Fox has long been trying to acquire the 61 per cent of Sky it doesn’t already own. A bidding war emerged last December, when Comcast made an offer for Fox’s entertainment assets, which Disney is in the process of buying for about $71 billion. Comcast eventually dropped out of that contest to focus on its acquisition of Sky.The regulator said it called the auction “to provide an orderly framework for the resolution of this competitive situation.”Fox, as the current low bidder, will have the right to make a new offer during the first round of the auction, and Comcast will have the opportunity to counter it during the second round. Both parties will have the chance to make increased offers simultaneously during the third and final round. All bids must be in cash.While it will still be up to Sky shareholders to take whichever offer they like best, much of the groundwork for such a decision has already been laid. Simply putting the bids clearly on the table will fill in the last blank, so that Sky is not endlessly in play.It will also mean that the core value of the combined company won’t be eroded in a bidding war, inflicting a “winner’s curse” on the buyer.“The fact the parties agreed to an auction is super significant,” said Alice Enders, an analyst who has followed the deal closely. “Neither of the parties have the appetite for that kind of (bidding war.)”The panel will make an announcement with the results of the auction “as soon as practicable” — a dramatic finish to one of the most tense takeover sagas in recent memory in Britain. The auction rounds themselves will not be onSky is a unique asset. It operates in Austria, Germany, Ireland and Italy as well as the U.K. It has 22.5 million customers, attracted by offerings such as English Premier League soccer and “Game of Thrones.”For Comcast, Sky offers a chance for growth — a company with proven quality in sports and entertainment together with the technology to deliver it.Fox, meanwhile, has long sought to take full control of Sky. Rupert Murdoch’s last bid foundered amid a 2011 phone-hacking scandal, in which journalists working for Murdoch newspapers were accused of gaining illegal access to the voicemail messages of crime victims, celebrities and members of the royal family.News Corp., which is controlled by the Murdochs, withdrew its bid for Sky soon after.The last time such an auction took place was in 2007, when Tata beat out CSN to buy Britain’s Corus, creating what at the time was one of the world’s top five steelmakers.“Comcast and Disney have been playing a game of thrones in the media sector,” said Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “And the season finale will now take place this weekend.”last_img read more

October home sales down 16 per cent compared with September CREA

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — Canadian home sales fell in October, as the number of transactions dropped in more than half of all local markets led by dips in Montreal, Edmonton and the Hamilton-Burlington, Ont., area.The Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales through its MLS system dropped by 1.6 per cent last month compared with September.Compared with October 2017, sales last month were down 3.7 per cent as lower sales in the Vancouver region and the B.C. Fraser Valley more than offset gains in the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal.The drop came as the average price for a home sold last month fell 1.5 per cent from October last year to $496,800.Excluding the Greater Toronto Area and the Greater Vancouver area, two of the country’s most expensive markets, the average price of a home sold was just under $383,000.The number of new listings also dipped 1.1 per cent in October, led by declines in the Greater Toronto Area, Calgary and Victoria.last_img read more

Canadian firm says it has found largest diamond ever unearthed in North

first_imgCompanies in this story: (NYSE: DDC-N)The Canadian Press YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian mining firm says it has unearthed the largest diamond ever found in North America.Dominion Diamond Mines says the 552-carat yellow diamond was found at its Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories in October.It says the stone “far surpasses” the previous record-holder, known as the Diavik Foxfire, which was found at the same mine in 2015.Dominion, which owns 40 per cent of the Diavik mine, says in a statement that the find “is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America.”It says the gem will not be sold in its rough form, and the company will find a partner in the coming weeks to cut and polish the stone.The company says it’s too early to determine a value for the giant diamond, but the Diavik Foxfire eventually yielded two stones that sold for US$1.3 million.“The colour and texture of the diamond are a unique example of the journey that natural diamonds take from their formation until we unearth them,” Kyle Washington, chairman of Dominion Diamond Mines, said in a statement Thursday.“Our Diavik Mine has produced some of the most beautiful diamonds in the world, and this one certainly tops the list.”last_img read more

China upbeat ahead of US trade talks but differences large

first_imgBEIJING — China sounded a positive note ahead of talks with Washington this week on a sprawling trade dispute that threatens to chill global economic growth, but the two sides face lengthy wrangling over technology and their future relationship.Talks were due to start Monday but there was no word from the American Embassy or China’s Ministry of Commerce on whether they were under way or details of their agenda.Both sides have expressed an interest in settling their tariff fight over Beijing’s technology ambitions. Yet neither has indicated its stance has changed since a Dec. 1 agreement by Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping to postpone further increases.Envoys will have “positive and constructive discussions,” a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, said on Friday.The American side is led by a deputy U.S. trade representative, Jeffrey D. Gerrish, according to the U.S. government. The delegation includes agriculture, energy, commerce, treasury and State Department officials.The Chinese government gave no details of who would represent Beijing.The talks are going ahead despite tensions over the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada on U.S. charges related to possible violations of trade sanctions against Iran.Trump imposed tariff increases of up to 25 per cent on $250 billion of Chinese imports over complaints Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology. Beijing responded by imposing penalties on $110 billion of American goods, slowing customs clearance for U.S. companies and suspending issuing licenses in finance and other businesses.Washington, Europe and other trading partners complain Beijing’s tactics violate its market-opening obligations.The clash reflects American anxiety about China’s rise as a potential competitor in telecommunications and other technology. Trump wants Beijing to roll back initiatives like “Made in China 2025,” which calls for the state-led creation of global competitors in such fields as robotics and artificial intelligence. American officials worry those might erode U.S. industrial leadership.The ruling Communist Party is reluctant to give up initiatives it sees as a path to prosperity and global influence.China’s leaders have tried to defuse complaints by emphasizing its potential as an export market. Over the past year, they’ve promised to increase foreign access to their auto, finance and other industries.Some Chinese officials suggest the technology initiatives might be opened to foreign companies. But they have given no details, leaving it unclear whether that will satisfy Washington.Trump and Xi agreed to a 90-day postponement of additional tariff increases to take effect Jan. 1. But economists say that is too little time to settle all the disputes that bedevil U.S.-Chinese relations. They say Beijing’s goal probably is to show enough progress to persuade Trump to extend his deadline.During that 90-day period, agreements “may not be reached until the last day,” said Tu Xinquan, director of the China Institute for World Trade Organization Studies at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.This week’s talks will focus on technical details before higher-level leaders “make hard political decisions,” Tu said.In the longer term, the final tariffs might “remain for several years,” Tu said. “I don’t think it will proceed that fast. It must take time.”Cooling economic growth in both countries is turning up the pressure to reach a settlement.Chinese growth fell to a post-global crisis low of 6.5 per cent in the quarter ending in September. Auto sales tumbled 16 per cent in November over a year earlier. Weak real estate sales are forcing developers to cut prices.The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 3.4 per cent in the third quarter, and unemployment is at a five-decade low. But surveys show consumer confidence is weakening because of concern that growth will slow this year.Beijing has tried in vain to recruit France, Germany, South Korea and other governments as allies against Trump. They criticize his tactics but echo U.S. complaints about Chinese industrial policy and market barriers.The European Union filed its own challenge in the World Trade Organization in June against Chinese rules that the 28-nation trade bloc said hamper the ability of foreign companies to protect and profit from their own technology.For their part, Chinese officials are unhappy with U.S. curbs on exports of “dual use” technology with possible military applications. They complain China’s companies are treated unfairly in national security reviews of proposed corporate acquisitions, though almost all deals are approved unchanged.Some manufacturers that serve the United States have shifted production to other countries to avoid Trump’s tariffs.UBS said Friday that 37 per cent of 200 manufacturers surveyed by the bank have shifted out of China over the past 12 months. The threat of U.S. tariff hikes was the “dominating factor” for nearly half, while others moved because of higher costs or tighter environmental regulation.“Most firms expect trade war to escalate,” the bank said.Joe McDonald, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Kareena joins Irrfan in Hindi Medium 2

first_imgMumbai: Actor Kareena Kapoor Khan has joined actor Irrfan Khan in the sequel to Hindi Medium. A source close to the actor said: “She is playing the lead role in the film and might turn into cop mode for it.” It is also reported that the film’s sequel’s shoot will take place in London. Saket Chaudhary directorial Hindi Medium which released in 2017, starred Irrfan and Pakistani actor Saba Qamar in pivotal roles. The first part was based on India’s education system. On a happy note, the sequel will be Irrfan’s first project after he was diagnosed with Neuroendocrine Tumour in March last year. Apart from Hindi Medium 2, Kareena will next be seen in Takht in an elaborated cast and Good News alongside Akshay Kumar.last_img

Two Moroccans Die at Lake Michigan in Chicago

Chicago –Two Moroccans were pronounced dead in Chicago on Tuesday. According to NBC Chicago, the two men believed to be 36 and 40 years old were pulled out from Lake Michigan in the afternoon and taken in “extremely critical condition” to Mercy hospital for urgent care. They were pronounced dead an hour later. NBC did not reveal the identity of the two victims, but a friend of the two victims said that they are both Moroccans, from Rabat.According to eyewitnesses cited by the same source, the two men, who were at the beach with their families, went for a swim. They began to have troubles “35 yards out from the shore in 7-8 feet of cold water.” But in a phone call with MWN, a friend of the victims, who asked to speak on the condition of anonymity, said that one of the two Moroccans, Ali Moufid, a taxi driver, went to look for his son’s ball when the wave of the lake pulled him deep inside. His brother-in-law, Outhmane Kassou, who was also a taxi driver, went to rescue him but could not withstand the cold water.The same source added that the rescue team arrived in the scene 20 minutes after the Chicago Fire Department was informed of the incident.The main reason of their death appears to be the cold water of the lake. According to the Chicago Fire Department, the water was temperature was around 50 degrees, which can cause hypothermia and cause the body to shut down.“I mean we got weather that’s right around 90 degrees and everybody thinks the water is that warm, but the water temperature is right around 50 degrees, and that can really zap your energy really fast,” deputy fire chief Mike Fox told NBC news.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed read more

Moroccan actress trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Casablanca

Tinejdad, Morocco – Young Moroccan actress Amal Maarouf was among those trapped under the rubble of the three Buildings that collapsed early on Friday morning in Borgogne neighborhood in Casablanca.In a video posted on YouTube yesterday, Amal Maarouf’s grandfather said that the young Moroccan actresses was still trapped with her mother under the ruins of the collapsed buildings.“We were calling her to her mobile phone, but in vain,” Amal’s grandfather said. But he added that “members of the fire department (Protection Civile) said that they were replying to their phone calls and that they were still alive”The death toll of the collapse of the three buildings has risen to eight people.According to MAP, King Mohammed VI went Friday to the site where of the collapsed buildings and visited the injured people in the Moulay Youssef regional hospital to inquire about their health.The king ordered the local authorities to afford home for the victims and to provide the injured with the needed health care. read more

Moroccos Air Passenger Traffic Up 1064 pc in 1st Half of

Casablanca – Morocco’s Air Passenger Traffic increased by 10.64 pc in the first half of 2014, the Moroccan Airports Authority (ONDA) said Thursday.The number of international passengers flying into and out of Morocco amounted to 8.4 million passengers during the first half of 2014 compared to 7.5 million passengers during the same period in 2013, ONDA pointed out.Mohammed V International Airport and Marrakech-Menara were the busiest airports in the first six months of the year, welcoming 5.9 million passengers, that is 69 pc of the overall air passenger traffic in the kingdom.

Moroccos National Team Disqualified from CAN 2015

Rabat– The executive committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has decided, following its meeting on Tuesday in Cairo, that the African Cup of Nations 2015 will not take place in Morocco.The decision also means that the Moroccan national team is ‘automatically disqualified and will not take part in the 30th edition of the forthcoming African Cup of Nations.’CAF’s executive committee said that this decision comes after the Royal Moroccan Football Federation reiterated its refusal to hold the competition on the dates indicated (January 17-Februqry 8, 2015). According to a press release issued by CAF on Tuesday, “the organizing committee of the Africa Cup of Nations will later apply the statutory provisions that are required due to a breach of the Royal Moroccan Football Federation regulatory and contractual provisions, including those set out in the Host Association Agreement signed between CAF and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation in April 2014.”The executive committee of the governing body of African football has confirmed that it took note of some applications of national associations confirming their willingness to host the 2015 competition on the dates agreed.CAF has also confirmed “the continuation of qualifiers match-days 5 & 6, which will be held during the month (14/15 November and 19 November), paving the way for the qualification of the 15 teams that will be joining the team of the host country.”© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more

Canadian National Assembly Speaker Praises Moroccos Stability Counter Terrorism Efforts

Rabat  –  Speaker of the Canadian National Assembly Jacques Chagnon praised, on Tuesday in Rabat, Morocco for its stability and the efforts it has launched to counter terrorism and stem extremism in North Africa.Speaking at a meeting with Upper House Speaker Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, Chagnon also applauded the Kingdom for its key regional role in maintaining stability and world peace, the Upper House said in a statement.For his part, Biadillah briefed his guest on the reforms undertaken in Morocco under the leadership of King Mohammed VI which enabled Morocco to forge ahead on the path of strengthening democracy. The meeting was an opportunity to raise the excellent relations between Morocco and Canada and the province of Quebec in particular.The two Speakers also discussed the means to further strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation between Morocco’s and Canada’s respective legislative institutions. read more

Expressway in Côte dIvoire Named After King Mohammed VI

Abidjan – Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara inaugurated, on Saturday in Abidjan, an express way named after “King Mohammed VI”.The inauguration ceremony of the 4.6 kilometer expressway linking the communes of Abobo and Anyama was notably attended by Foreign Minister who was representing HM the King.The road was completed at a total cost of 13.5 million Euros and will be serving 1.8 million inhabitants of the two communes. Speaking on this occasion, the Ivorian President highlighted the longstanding ties of friendship and brotherhood between Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire.He said that naming the road after HM King Mohammed VI is a sign of appreciation and recognition to the Moroccan Sovereign for his “engagement to boost cooperation between the two countries.”In this respect, President Ouattara highlighted the importance of the projects implemented in his country with Moroccan support.Speaking on the same occasion, Mezouar said that naming the expressway after King Mohammed VI reflects “sincere friendship and brotherhood” and mirrors the willingness of the Ivorian president and HM the King to add fresh momentum to bilateral relations. read more

FrenchMoroccan Talks on Southern Provinces to be Held in Paris

Rabat – The head of French diplomacy, Laurent Fabius, and his Moroccan counterpart, Salaheddine Mezouar, will meet on Tuesday evening in Paris to discuss topics of common interest related to bilateral cooperation, the situation in North Africa, as well as the fight against terrorism, underlined le 360 website.Morocco’s top diplomatic priority, the southern provinces, will be the focus of this meeting in light of the last royal speech on the 40th anniversary of the Green March, the same source highlighted.The meeting will also evoke the final preparations for the Conference of the UN Climate Change (COP21), scheduled for 30 November to 13 December in Paris. The two heads of diplomacy will also discuss the political situation in some North African countries, including Algeria and the preparation of an exchange program of ministerial delegations in the short term.The Fabius-Mezouar meeting will be held at the margin of a conference on the history shared between France and Morocco, and will be chaired by Prince Moulay Rachid to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the 1955 agreements Celle-Saint-Cloud, which ended the exile of late King Mohammed V.This meeting is organized in partnership with the Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (IRES), the Arab World Institute (IMA) and Jacques Berque Centre. read more

King Mohammed VIs Visit to Nigeria to Give New Impetus to

Abuja – The visit paid by King Mohammed VI to Nigeria on Dec. 1-3 has given new impetus to bilateral relations.“The two Heads of State expressed their deep concern over the persisting security threat particularly in the Sahel region and re-affirmed their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, and their common commitment to combat terrorism and violent extremism through a comprehensive, inclusive and multi-dimensional approach,” said a joint communique issued following the King’s official visit to Nigeria.During further discussions, the two Heads of State welcomed the increased interest of investors of both countries in each other’s economy, the source added. They agreed to work with each other to harness the investment potentials that both countries have in order to open up opportunities for their peoples and also called for the re-activation of the Nigeria-Morocco Joint Commission.“The economic collaboration existing between the business communities in the two countries is further encouraged to explore business and investment opportunities available in the two countries. It is on that note that the Joint Economic Forum of the Nigeria-Morocco business stakeholders meeting was held in Lagos on 30th November 2016,” the joint communique pointed out.On the third day of the visit, the two leaders chaired over the signing of a number of agreements and memoranda of understanding between both countries covering the public and private sectors, the source added, noting that the Agreements range from agriculture to transport, port, energy, finance, banking/insurance, culture and tourism and visa waiver for diplomatic and official/service passports.At the conclusion of the official visit, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his gratitude and appreciation to HM King Mohammed VI for the visit and for the fruitful discussions they had.In his turn, the Sovereign thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, the Government and People of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the warm reception and hospitality extended to him and to members of his delegation during the visit. read more

Toxic Political Rhetoric Created Climate of Fear in 2016

Toronto – A new report from Amnesty International (AI) is painting a very bleak and damning portrait of 2016. Toxic political rhetoric was responsible for “creating a climate of fear for refugees and migrants,” according to a report in The Guardian.Although the London-based NGO was particularly hard on Britain, the UK had plenty of company. Still, Amnesty International’s UK director of campaigns, Kerry Moscoguiri, managed some harsh rhetoric of her own when describing the atmosphere surrounding the Brexit referendum. It “was a particular low point, with all too real consequences,” she said, referring to a 57% spike in hate crimes just a week after the vote. AI accuses the British government of “creating a hostile climate for refugees and migrants.” Leaders across the globe made liberal use of toxic political rhetoric to achieve their own agendas, according to the AI report. Donald Trump was singled out but he was not alone. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was remembered for calling for a referendum on refugees and the Philippines’ Duterte for having killed thousands in the name of a war on drugs. Still, US President Donald Trump’s pre and post-election rhetoric, likened to that heard during the rise of Adolf Hitler, seemed to amplify the “dangerous idea that some people are less human than others,” said Amnesty International’s director of crisis research, Triana Hassan. “This report,” she continued, “documents the very real consequences of politicians like Trump, Orban and Duterte wielding a toxic agenda that hounds, scapegoats and dehumanizes entire groups of people.”The AI report further warned that allowing this trend to continue doesn’t just place human lives at risk. It endangers the entire system of international and human laws which were the direct result of the greatest conflagration the world has even known, World War II. “Have we forgotten,” asked Hassan, “that human rights protections were created after the mass atrocities of the second world war as a way of making sure that ‘never again’ meant ‘never again’?”To prove her point and answer her own question, Hassan cites the indiscriminate bombing of civilian hospitals in Aleppo and Yemen, incidences of violent suppression of the human right to dissent and countless attacks on refugees and migrants. The report was a brutal indictment of the Russian-backed bombing of civilians in Aleppo in 2016. The inertia of the international reaction felt very reminiscent of the tone set in Rwanda during the 1994-1995 genocide. Echoing that conflict, major world powers and the UN were tangled into immobility by their own rivalries while civilians paid the highest of costs.Though the report did cite a few bright spots, such as the reawakening of the concept of resistance, as witness by the countless protests which have followed Donald Trump’s election, the report was, by far, weighted toward condemnation. It is a failing report card for current world leaders, summarizing that, “Ultimately, the charge that human rights is a project of the elite rings hollow. People’s instincts for freedom and justice do not simply wither away.” read more

Moroccans Watched Despacito Video More Than Any Other Arab Country

Rabat – The music video for Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” featuring Daddy Yankee has broken the record for the most viewed video of all time on YouTube, with over 3 billion views thus far, and Morocco contributed big time.Statistics shared by YouTube have revealed that the “Despacito” video has been viewed over 1 million times in over 99 countries, with Morocco providing the most views in the Arab world.According to statistics shared on social media, Morocco contributed with 12 million views to the record-breaking number. Saudi Arabia and Egypt came second with 10 million views from each country respectively. Tunisia and Algeria came in 3rd with 7 million views from each, and Palestine, Qatar, and Syria came last with only 1 million views from each of the countries.It took 203 days only for the official music video for Despacito to become the most viewed video in YouTube history.The music video is currently the most liked video on YouTube history, and is considered one of the most popular song of all time.YouTube even a shared a map of how quickly the song had spread over the world, showing the number of views in each country and continent.Some countries, like Malaysia, banned the music video, considering the lyrics “explicit.”Malaysia banning despacito because the lyrics are obscene when 90% of the people here don’t even understand the lyrics. Lol.— Beng (@Shafiqbeng) July 20, 2017“The song was filled with numerous sexual references and innuendos and thus wholly inappropriate to be aired by our national media outlets for our general public, especially children,” Malaysian Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak told CNNMoney.In an interview with Fonsi by CNN, the artist explained the reason behind the success story of the music video to be the various kinds of music used in the song, such as the Reggateon beat, the pop melody, and other tropical influences such as Salsa. read more

NYC transit chief slams Bombardier halts rail car deliveries over problems

Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)The Canadian Press NEW YORK — The head of the New York City Transit Authority and former chief executive at the Toronto Transit Commission says he is having “deja vu times two” with problems around trains from Bombardier Inc.Andy Byford told the state transit authority this week that New York City Transit will halt new train car deliveries until more of the existing cars are fixed.“It’s gruelling. You have to stay on their case, you have to hold their hands, you have to cajole them,” Byford said at a Metropolitan Transportation Authority committee meeting Tuesday.He cited “depressing” issues with the HVAC system software and past problems with springs between the cars and doors that were “weeping oil.”“I’ve been around this cycle now twice with Bombardier — twice in Toronto,” he said, recalling the production delays and defects that plagued streetcar orders during his five years at the helm of Canada’s largest municipal transit authority.“Eventually they get the build quality right and suddenly they start to come off the production line like a well-oiled machine,” he said, adding that “you end up with a very good product.”New York City Transit was expecting 13 of the cars, which cost about $2-million apiece, back from repairs this week following software issues.Bombardier said it has delivered 160 out of about 300 cars so far, with some still in testing.“We understand the frustration and we own the issue,” spokesman Eric Prudhomme said in an email Thursday evening.“It’s not unusual in the industry to have some issues, particularly in the early stages of passenger service.”Prudhomme said he expects the technical problems with the R179 cars, which run on several lines in New York City, to be fixed “shortly,” with 50 employees “working around the clock” at Bombardier’s plant in Plattsburgh, N.Y.None of the problems has jeopardized passenger safety, the company has said.New York City Transit has representatives on site monitoring the progress, on top of bi-weekly meetings to discuss vehicles that were delivered but not fit for service, Byford said.“Short of actually building the damn things, we’re doing everything else that we possibly can do,” he said.Earlier this month, Swiss Federal Railways opted to stop taking new trains from the Montreal-based company until it fixes the ones already in service.Bombardier is also facing a Feb. 1 deadline for delivery of the first six of 76 vehicles for Toronto’s Crosstown Eglinton light rail line, with one car already at a Metrolinx site in Toronto. read more

China factory measure improves but activity still sluggish

BEIJING — An official measure of China’s manufacturing improved in January but forecasters say economic activity is sluggish as Chinese leaders try to resolve a tariff battle with Washington.The purchasing managers’ index issued Thursday by the government statistics agency and an industry group rose 0.1 points on a 100-point scale but stayed below a level that shows activity expanding.Measures for employment and domestic demand weakened.China’s economic growth sank to a three-decade low in 2018 after activity decelerated in the final quarter of the year.Citigroup economists said in a report, “we see economic growth remaining sluggish” through the first half of 2019.Chinese and U.S. negotiators began talks Wednesday in Washington aimed at resolving the fight over U.S. complaints about Beijing’s technology ambitions.The Associated Press read more

Asian stocks rise after listless Wall Street day

BEIJING — Asian stocks rose Tuesday following a listless day on Wall Street as investors looked ahead to U.S.-Chinese trade talks.KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 2.6 per cent to 20,871.36 and the Shanghai Composite Exchange added 0.6 per cent to 2,669.66. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was 7 points higher at 28,151.38 and Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.5 per cent to 2,192.48. Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 advanced 0.3 per cent to 6,079.10 and India’s Sensex was unchanged at 36,391.38. New Zealand, Taiwan and Thailand rose while Singapore declined.WALL STREET: Gains for industrial companies, banks and energy stocks outweighed losses elsewhere. Small-company stocks fared better as investors shifted focus away from the tail end of a strong corporate earnings season to U.S.-Chinese trade talks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2 per cent to 25,053.11. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.1 per cent to 2,709.80. The Nasdaq composite added 0.1 per cent to 7,307.90.U.S.-CHINA TALKS: Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin leads a delegation to Beijing on Thursday for talks aimed at resolving a tariff war over American complaints about Chinese technology ambitions. The dispute threatens to chill global economic growth. The talks are the last scheduled high-level meeting before an agreement by both sides to suspend further punitive action against each other’s goods expires March 1.U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN: Traders were watching negotiations in Washington aimed at averting another government shutdown. Democrats and the GOP disagree over how much to spend on President Donald Trump’s promised border wall. A Friday midnight deadline is looming to prevent a second partial government shutdown.ANALYST’S TAKE: “U.S. equities struggled to establish clear direction as concerns about progress of trade talk and U.S. government shutdown looms in the background,” said Zhu Huani of Mizuho Bank in a report. “Investor sentiment remains cautious despite report suggesting that President Trump’s advisers are discussing a potential summit with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping next month.”GLOBAL ECONOMY: Fears of a global slowdown were given additional fuel from a report showing Britain’s economy had its slowest economic growth since the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Both Europe overall and China are contending with slower growth.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 33 cents to $52.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract lost 31 cents on Monday to close at $52.41. Brent crude, used to price international oils, rose 43 cents in London to $61.94. It shed 59 cents the previous session to $61.51.CURRENCY: The dollar gained to 110.47 yen from Monday’s 110.36 yen. The euro edged up to $1.1283 from $1.1279.Joe McDonald, The Associated Press read more

Hilel Garmi I Refuse to Serve in the Israeli Army

By Anna SchaefferRabat – In a Facebook post, 19-year-old Hilel Garmi declared his refusal to fight for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), acting in civil disobedience.His conscription into the IDF hovered at the end of July. However, during the unarmed demonstrations near the Gaza strip earlier this year, Garmi read writings by protest leader Ahmed Abu Ratima that made him reconsider his nearing entrance to the Israeli army. “I was impressed to discover these people who prefer unarmed alternatives to address the question of the situation between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River,” Garmi wrote. “Like them, I believe in civil disobedience to underline the illegitimacy of our regime.”Both his older brother and two sisters joined the army; as a child, the mandatory two years and eight months of service “in an elite unit” seemed not only inevitable but fascinating for Garmi.“But growing up, and being convinced that all human beings are equal, I changed my mind,” read his August 5 Facebook post. “I do not believe in the existence of a common denominator between Jews that made them different from Arabs. I do not see why I should be treated differently as a child of Gaza or Jenin. And I do not think that the suffering or joy are more important for some than for others.”Garmi said he asked himself why three million inhabitants of the West Bank and East Jerusalem have lived under military occupation for over a century and why two million Gazans suffer under a 10-year-long military siege.“Who gave Israel the right to manage the life of these five million human beings? To decide their right to drive, import, export, fish, to have electricity? To be able to arrest them at any time?”The teenager staunchly declared his position against participating in “a regime so anti-democratic,” especially with Israel’s daily actions taken against the Palestinian people.“There is a red line that we cannot cross, and for me this is insurmountable.”He wrote that his decision to make the declaration public on Facebook was directly tied to his belief in civil disobedience leading the way for social change by appealing to the sense of justice for the most privileged individuals in Israel.“If the Gaza protesters have the courage to do so, I feel the obligation and the power, as a person born on the side of those who hold the power, to engage equally in this way.” read more