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US dollar rises as investors await monetary decisions

first_imgNew York: The US dollar strengthened against its major rivals as investors awaited major central banks’ next monetary moves. In late New York trading on Monday, the euro decreased to $1.1211 from $1.1219 in the previous session, and the British pound was down to $1.2481 from $1.2499 in the previous session, Xinhua news agency reported. The Australian dollar was down to $0.7035 from $0.7043. The US dollar bought 107.87 Japanese yen, higher than 107.77 Japanese yen of the previous session. The US dollar fell to 0.9816 Swiss franc from 0.9825 Swiss franc, and it was up to 1.3112 Canadian dollars from 1.3062 Canadian dollars. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Market expectations for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates in July were 100 per cent, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool late Monday, with investors pricing in some 22.5 per cent chance of a more aggressive cut. Investors were also waiting for Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting, which will likely give out policy easing signals. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, rose 0.12 per cent at 97.2628 in late trading.last_img read more

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Exports The engine of growth

first_imgThe timing is right. We have proved our quality, we have proved our commitment. The world is looking at us. Slump/slowdown in Domestic manufacturing could be/should be offset by kick-starting and fast-tracking of exports. Readymade infrastructure lying idle could be and should be ideally and immediately utilised for Export Manufacturing. Right dose at the right time is required and time is ripe. Instead of ideas and ideating, implementation is important. The intention should result in implementation. Desire should convert into delivery. Let us all get together and get going. The industry needs to fasten its belts and look inwards for cutting cost wherever possible and the government needs to join hands to supplement, complement and implement some of the immediate measures which would go a long way in achieving the achievable. Also Read – A special kind of bond Engineering exports: An engine of export growth Engineering exports constitute about 26 per cent of India’s total exports and have the potential to garner a bigger market share. It is a highly labour-intensive sector and provides sizeable employment. However, in the last one year, the price of steel which is the basic raw material for engineering exports has increased by almost 20 per cent. This has made engineering exports uncompetitive and unsustainable. Also Read – Insider threat managementSteel mills export steel at much lower prices compared to their domestic prices which are offered to buyers here. Engineering exporters buy steel domestically from these mills at these high prices. It is suggested that engineering exporters be provided steel at competitive/export prices that are offered to international buyers by steel mills. Only announcing for MSME will not serve the purpose since we need large capacity and capability for Exports and Cost and Logistic disadvantage is faced by all irrespective of the size (large/medium/small). Cost of Credit and Availability of Credit Interest rates of major competing countries are either nil or negligible whereas Indian exporters have to pay 6-7 per cent minimum interest. Vide Circular number RBI/2018-19/81,DBR.Dir.BC.No. 09/04.02.001/2018-19, the government has given interest equalisation scheme from 3-5 per cent. However, this is only applicable for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The above should be applicable to all exporters so that they can compete in the international market. Similarly, a smooth flow of funds must be ensured. Competitiveness of Indian exporters Opening of trade windows due to trade tensions between the US and China provides an opportunity for Indian exporters to enhance/get a foothold in the US market. Chinese exporters are offering their goods at more than 10 per cent discount, with the Chinese regularly devaluating their currency Yuan. They are able to match their original prices nullifying the impact of duty imposition. We don’t know what kind of subsidies/support – visible/not-so-visible do they get from their government. Hence, our government should support exporters for offsetting the cost disadvantage and non-abetment of taxes and duties by enhancing MEIS and Duty Drawback rates at the earliest till another refund scheme is introduced. Still, there are many taxes, duties and levies which are not yet refunded through GST mechanism, such as Electricity Duty, Taxes and Duties on Petroleum Products; though we are sure it will be taken care of in the upcoming announcements. Refund of Certification Charges For US Markets, taking UL (Underwriters Laboratories) Certification is a pre-condition for exporting electrical products. UL marking is mandatory for all electrical products to be sold to the US. The charges for UL listing are prohibitory but have to be paid by exporters. It is high time the government should encourage and energise the existing exporters who can expand and capture a bigger ready market share in the US from their existing customers provided we are competitive and cost-effective. Hence, certification charges paid to Underwriters Laboratory (UL), etc., should be reimbursed by the Ministry of Commerce under Market Access Initiative (MAI) or any other scheme. Role of Embassies/High Commissions Embassies and High Commissions are our ears and eyes. They should be proactively engaged in gathering and sharing market intelligence in terms of new opportunities and also how and what the other governments are offering to their exporters. Role of Ambassadors should be equally that of Economic Ambassadors, which will enhance and enlarge our efforts to increase India’s market share in the global trade. Need for a Shipping Regulator Exporters are facing severe hardship due to continuous rise in shipping freight to US, Canada and even to European markets by the shipping lines. These increases have been brought about by imposing several surcharges like peak season surcharge and general rate increase which varies according to different shipping lines and container sizes. Apart from these, the shipping lines have also imposed several small surcharges and incidental charges such as the issuance of Bill of Lading (BL), Amendment to BL and various other smaller charges, which are adding up to a sizeable amount. In absence of any National Shipping Line, our exporters are at the mercy of these foreign shipping lines. As in the case of COSCO, the Chinese National carrier, it is suggested that we should invest in Shipping Corporation of India so that determine or set the freight rates rather than foreign shipping liners. Also, a National Shipping Regulatory Body should be formed in the lines of IRDA and TRAI to determine freight rates. Special Economic Zones SEZs were created with the main objective of generating additional economic activity, promotion of exports and the creation of employment opportunities. Close to Rs 4.75 lakh crores have been invested in SEZ. Yearly exports from SEZ are close to Rs 6 lakh crores and around 20 lakh people are employed in SEZs. SEZs have a huge potential for increasing exports and need stable policy. There are serious issues which are driving entire investment made in SEZs go waste if no remedial measures are taken. Due to mid-term policy changes, many units in SEZ are finding it difficult to do business and carry on operations. Lot of infrastructure developments and investments initially planned for SEZs have either been abandoned or in a state of suspension. The government should use these existing ready infrastructures for increasing the value of exports. The following remedial measures in way of policy change will go a long way in contributing to this objective. The SEZ Act of 2005 provided for Income Tax exemption for 15 years for units located in SEZ. MAT has unexpectedly been imposed on units in SEZ. The 10 year period (2006-16) for Income Tax exemptions has also ended and units established in 2006-07 are paying full Income Tax which has made them unviable due to added financial burden and they will lose the stimulus of investing and enhancing exports. It is hence suggested that a one-time 100 per cent Income Tax payment exemption for a period of 10 years be provided and MAT be withdrawn at the earliest for all units operating in SEZs to mitigate the financial burden and give impetus to exporters to make further investments to expand or strengthen their existing operations. It is suggested that Duty Drawback eligible on exports from DTA to SEZ should be credited to exporter’s bank account similarly as exports through ICES (Indian Customs EDI System), without the need to submit physical documents which will drastically reduce time, money and energy expended by both the exporters and authorities. (The author is Chairman – CII National Committee on EXIM & MD, Patton group. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

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G7 leaders cant avoid Iran at summit with Trump say European diplomats

first_imgOTTAWA – Donald Trump’s decision Tuesday to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement will be a topic of discussion at next month’s G7 summit in Quebec’s Charlevoix region, European diplomats say.It will join trade issues among the more potentially charged topics that could highlight divisions between the mercurial U.S. president and his G7 counterparts — an unenviable position for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he hosts them for two days of talks.The European ambassadors, who were taking part in a panel discussion on the upcoming summit, played down the potential for divisions with the U.S. — including the potential for a new G6 configuration that would exclude America — saying the small exclusive club of the world’s richest countries could handle a round of frank discussion.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed Canada’s regret over the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which she called “essential” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability and ensuring global security.“Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear weapons,” Freeland said in a written statement. “The JCPOA has subjected Iran’s nuclear program to a rigorous and unprecedented international verification regime by the International Atomic Energy Agency.”She acknowledged that the deal, agreed to by Iran in 2015 and endorsed by the United Nations, “is not perfect. It has, however, helped to curb a real threat to international peace and security.”Freeland noted that just two weeks ago, G7 foreign ministers unanimously committed to “permanently ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program remains exclusively peaceful, in line with its non-proliferation treaty obligations and its commitments under the (JCPOA).”“Canada regrets that the United States has decided to withdraw from the JCPOA, particularly given that, according to the IAEA, Iran continues to implement its JCPOA commitments,” she said.Many of Canada’s western allies similarly expressed their disappointment at Trump’s decision, which served as a harbinger of how fast-moving global events can upset the carefully scripted G7 agenda that Trudeau will be trying to advance.“It is evident that actually this will be one of the topics to be discussed at the summit,” Peteris Ustubs, the European Union ambassador to Canada, said of Trump’s decision.But Ustubs dismissed any suggestion that the U.S. position had potential to “diminish and change the formulation” of the club to a G6.“We should avoid thinking that (the) G7 is only the club of the convenient conversations,” said Ustubs. “If there are conversations which are inconvenient that’s the part of the G7 conversations.”The European Union is a full-fledged member of the G7, but it does not have so-called numbered status.Germany’s ambassador to Canada, Sabine Sparwasser, said the G7 has always been a forum where there is room for disagreement and discussion.But she said it is no secret that the U.S. decision on Iran is “a blow” to what was an important diplomatic victory. “We thought the deal as such made the world a little bit safer for the time being,” she said.Sparwasser said it was too early to comment on all the implications of Trump’s decision, but “we will try to salvage what we can.”French ambassador Kareen Rispal, whose country takes over the G7 presidency from Canada next year, said the group would overcome its obstacles.“We can’t exclude any state or any country that has a difference of view,” she said. “Yes, it’s a risk to have a communique with 6 plus 1, but I think everybody is trying to avoid this kind of situation because we would go nowhere.”Earlier Tuesday at the same symposium, Trudeau’s chief G7 organizer said that the world leaders simply cannot avoid a discussion of thorny trade issues.Peter Boehm, the Canadian sherpa, didn’t mention Trump by name, but he too was addressing the same day-long conference focused on how to shape Canadian foreign policy in the age of the disruptive, protectionist influence of the current U.S. president.“I’m afraid we can’t avoid a trade discussion in Charlevoix,” Boehm told the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.“We’re aware that this is a challenging issue within the G7, particularly with the backdrop of steel and aluminum tariffs and NAFTA negotiations.”Despite the challenges, Boehm said the G7 leaders may be able to reach an agreement on the need for a revitalized World Trade Organization.“Canada and its G7 partners need to remain committed to working together on strengthening the rules-based trading system, fighting protectionism and encouraging free trade so that all citizens can take advantage,” said Boehm.The day-long gathering of foreign policy experts, diplomats and academics took place under the banner, “Positioning Canada in the Shifting International Order.”That shift referred mainly to Trump and the wrecking ball that many say he has taken to the world’s multilateral institutions.Rona Ambrose, the former Conservative cabinet minister who is an adviser on the government’s non-partisan NAFTA panel, told the gathering that Canadians can no longer adhere to the “romantic notion” that Canada and the U.S. remain best friends and allies.That said, a deal on NAFTA that all three countries could live with is still possible, she insisted, crediting the Liberal government with doing everything it can do get a deal with the unpredictable Trump administration.Peter Donolo,who was communications chief to former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien, said Trump won’t be satisfied with any NAFTA outcome that does not allow him to declare all-out victory.“He will define a success as, ‘We’ve won, we’ve won big time; Canada and Mexico are eating dust; they’re eating dirt, they’re done; they’re humiliated.’”last_img read more

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New books to add in your shelf

first_imgKundan Lal Saigal once strode like a collosus over the Hindi and Bangla music worlds, jovial and good-humoured but never sharing his personal tribulations – here’s why; next, explore a new world where changes in technology make one wonder what the next generation will turn into; and finally, learn how gravitas not only inspires you but also inspires greatness in others. Here are a few new releases, which you can add in your collection:’Kundan – Saigal’s Life and Music’ by Sharad Dutt (translated by Jyoti SabharwalHis unique voice and singing style, coupled with an acting prowess, has not possibly been emulated – and for good reason. “The litmus test of any artistic endeavour lies in the fact that even with a classical base, it invades the realm of popularity and enchants the masses. That was the warp and weft of Saigal’s craft that immortalised his songs,” writes National Award-winning author Sharad Dutt, a former DDG of public broadcaster Doordarshn. In a film career that spanned 15 years – 1932-46 – Saigal performed in some 36 films in varied genres of songs, ghazals and bhajans each of which tug at the heart even when heard to this day. “It is often stated that a musical rendition makes a mark when it emanates from a wounded heart…At what point Saigal was grievously hurt could not be established but the anguish in his voice remained unextricable, be it in his acting prowess or his skilled singing,” Dutt writes. ‘Where Will Man Take Us?’ by Atul JalanWill the perfect partner need to be charged before bed? Will we soon be taking happiness pills before breakfast? Will the screen that we peer into soon be within us? Has the first person who will live to be 150, been already born? It’s a new world we are walking into and the man who began this journey is not the man who will end it. In this debut novel, Atul Jalan, a science storyteller and futurist, the founder-CEO of pioneering AI venture Manthan, explores how the technology man has built is transforming him and the institutions he has created. “I like to call ours a Gutenburg moment. As Johannes Gutenburg looked at his first proofs, did he for a moment think that he was flagging off one of the golden ages of mankind?…We are witness to a similar moment in history when mankind takes another giant leap. One that will elevate man again – as a species infintely more sapient,” Jalan writes. ‘Authentic Gravitas – Who Stands Out and Why’ by Dr Rebecca Newton Authentic gravitas means you are respected and trusted, your words carry weight, your ideas are taken seriously and your contributions valued. This also requires you to bring out these qualities in others. Thus, you are not only inspiring but also inspire greatness in others. “Throughout this book, you will meet some truly inspiring leaders and professionals who built true gravitas and you will learn how they did it. We’ll look at what gravitas is, what it isn’t, and debunk gravitas myths to discover the surprising truth about who stands out and why,” writes Newton, an Organisational Psychologist and Senior Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the Department of Management.last_img read more

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N.S. mine where roof collapsed allowed limited production increase

The Canadian Press DONKIN, N.S. — Nova Scotia’s Labour Department has allowed a limited increase in production at Canada’s only operating underground coal mine after a series of roof collapses last year.Kameron Coal’s operations in Cape Breton were suspended for just under a month by the province in late December before it was allowed to partially resume activities in one portion of the mine while it prepared a revised roof support plan.Scott Nauss, the province’s senior director of inspection compliance, said the new plan approved on May 7 allows Kameron to mine in two sections of the Donkin mine totalling 730 metres of added rock face, which is less than 10 per cent of the mine.Nauss said in an interview Wednesday the province is still in discussions with the American-owned colliery to provide an approved plan on ventilation, electrical operations and mining operations.Nauss said it’s only when those three additional aspects are in place and approved that the full mine will be allowed to go back into production.New measures for roof safety include roof bolts that are about 61 centimetres longer and more frequent inspections to see if there is any sign of roof movement.The last suspension of the mine followed a roof collapse just after Christmas, resulting in the province ordering the company to seek independent advice on a fresh roof plan. That was the second collapse that month.The December collapses came 11 weeks after a six-day closure in October, which was ordered after the company didn’t report two massive cave-ins within the required 24 hours.Inspection documents say both reported collapses had spanned the entire six-metre width of a passage, as slabs of rock fell and left a ceiling gap up to almost four metres deep. The first rock fall ran over 18 metres along the underground roadway, while the second was about a third of the length of a football field.The delay in reporting the falls resulted in a citation for contravention of a section of the province’s underground mining regulations. There was no fine for that infraction.The company was fined $2,000 for an accumulation of combustible coal dust and $2,000 for failing to implement the original roof plan in a way that “may have provided an indication that the roof strata were exhibiting signs of potential failure.”As with the earlier collapses, no workers were injured.Nauss said Wednesday that in January both the company and the province separately hired independent experts on roof supports to tour the mine and bring in “industry-best” practices.Kameron Coal, a subsidiary of U.S.-based Cline Mining Corp., said in an emailed statement, “we are very busy at the mine and this is a great thing for our employees.”The company said it is “continuing to develop the underground infrastructure in the areas covered under the approved ground control procedure.”Since it opened, Kameron has received 70 orders telling it to comply with a mining rule and 102 warnings of failure to comply.—By Michael Tutton in Halifax.— Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter. read more

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Wus visit to enhance Sri LankaChina ties

“China built a conference hall in Colombo known as the BMICH hall and recently we opened another major conference hall built by China also in Colombo,” he said.The new hall, the “Mahinda Rajapaksa Nelum Pokuna hall” hosted a summit of Commonwealth Parliamentarians last week.“The Commonwealth Parliamentarians were very happy with the way we organized the event and with what they saw,” he said. “I appreciate him coming to Sri Lanka at such short notice. He will be visiting the Colombo port on Sunday and then the Sri Lankan parliament on Monday. He will also be signing more than 15 bilateral agreements during his visit,” Rajapaksa said. He recalled his fond memories of China, saying the Asian giant has a lot to offer to his country and people.He noted that the Chinese government funded the construction of the new port in the southern city of Hambantota and phase one of the project was commissioned last year.“China has helped us a lot. They helped us with our new port in the south. When I was the minister of ports I initiated this project,” he said. The speaker said that Sri Lanka’s post-war economy was booming and there are several investment opportunities for Chinese and also for investors from other countries.After suffering a 30-year war, Sri Lanka is now safe for investments, said Rajapaksa, adding that this view was shared by the over 1000 delegates from 54 countries who attended the Commonwealth Parliamentarians conference.The Sri Lankan military defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels three years ago and since then the country has undergone rapid development, mostly with Chinese assistance, including new road networks, bridges, the new port in Hambantota and a new international airport. (Xinhua) He said that Sri Lanka wants to study the Chinese parliamentary system and seek advice from Wu during his Sri Lankan visit. Rajapaksa, who is patron of the China-Sri Lanka Friendship Association, said that he hopes both countries will develop bilateral ties in all spheres. The forthcoming visit by China’s top legislator Wu Bangguo will help enhance the relationship between Sri Lanka and China, said Chamal Rajapaksa, speaker of the parliament in an interview with Xinhua on Sunday.The speaker said he met Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), during his China tour in June and invited him to visit Sri Lanka, and Wu readily accepted the invitation. Rajapaksa, the elder brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, used to serve as minister in charge of ports and aviation. He said he visited China several times and was impressed with what he saw and the people he met.“I last went about three months ago. I visited three provinces including several tourist sites. The development in China is most impressive. The tourism in the country is really good,” he said. read more

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Namal Rajapaksa and six others arrested over protest

Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa and six others were arrested today over the protest staged in Hambantota last week.Joint opposition members D.V. Chanaka and Prasanna Ranaweera were also among those arrested. Namal Rajapaksa and the joint opposition took part in a protest in Hambantota last Friday against the Government. (Colombo Gazette) They were produced before a Magistrate and remanded till October 16.They were arrested after being questioned by the Hambantota Police this evening.

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Intense drought dries up reservoir reveals longlost underwater Stonehenge in Spain

A long-lost ancient megalithic structure has been revealed, after intense droughts and record-breaking temperatures this summer lowered water levels at a Spanish reservoir. Known as ‘Spain’s Stonehenge,’ the Dolmen of Guadalperal stone monument was erected 4,000 to 7,000 years ago on the shores of the Tagus river in west-central Spain. It was discovered in the 1920s but disappeared underwater in the 1960s, after the government built the Valdecañas reservoir, which flooded much of the surrounding area. For decades, only the tips of the ancient structure could be glimpsed from above. “All my life, people had told me about the dolmen,” Angelo Castaño, president of the local Roots of Peraleda Cultural Association,told Atlas Obscura’s Alyssa McMurtry.“I had seen parts of it peeking out from the water before, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in full. It’s spectacular because you can appreciate the entire complex for the first time in decades,” he added. The discovery presented an opportunity for researchers to study the structure in its entirety. The structure includes 144 upright stones, some taller than six feet, arranged in an ovular fashion, closely resembling its British namesake. According to La Espanol, the structure might once have served as an ancient solar temple, constructed using tall upright stones, called menhirs, topped by horizontal slabs to create a roof. Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The site could have also functioned as a burial mound. According to ScienceAlert, a handful of personal items had been found among the rock piles in the 1920s, as well as symbols of a human form and a snake carved into the entrance. However, whatever relics once existed would have been washed away in the reservoir. Not that it matters anymore, according to Castaño. “There certainly may have been treasures buried beneath the stones once upon a time, but for us now, the treasures are the stones themselves,” he told the Local.However, the years spent underwater have visibly deteriorated the stones, prompting calls from Castaño’s organization to move the monument elsewhere to preserve it.“If we miss this chance it could be years before they are revealed again,” Castaño told the Local. “And the stones, which are granite and therefore porous, are already showing signs of erosion and cracking, so if we don’t act now it could be too late.” read more

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More action needed to curb illegal small arms trade head of UN

The Small Arms Review Conference, to be held in New York from 26 June to 7 July, will involve more than 2,000 representatives from governments, international and regional organizations and civil society, the Conference President-designate, Sri Lankan Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, told reporters.“The 2006 Review Conference is first and foremost about eliminating illegal small arms in order to save more lives…It is a known fact that in the 1990s, that out of 49 major conflicts, 47 were waged with small arms and light weapons and that most of the conflicts were exacerbated by the availability of illegal small arms.”Ambassador Kariyawasam said the Conference will also be a chance for all countries to review their pledges to get rid of the illegal trade in small arms and to develop a strategy for further implementation of the UN Programme of Action that was agreed in 2001.Since its adoption, the Programme of Action has stimulated a wide range of initiatives at the national, regional and global levels, the UN said in a press release.Examples include improved legislation in countries such as Cambodia and Brazil; destruction of large amounts of illegal small arms, for example in Burundi and Rwanda; and, the coming into force in July last year of the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition – the first legally binding global instrument on small arms that aims to strengthen cooperation among States.“The Programme of Action has started making a difference but much more remains to be done,” said Ambassador Kariyawasam.The Conference is also expected to welcome the establishment of a group of governmental experts who will meet in November to tackle the issue of reining in illegal arms brokers, the UN press release said. On the eve of the Conference, from 22-23 June, the world body is also organizing a workshop on capacity building for developing countries on the 2001 Programme of Action. read more

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Nexen to be acquired by Chinas CNOOC for US151 billion in cash

Nexen to be acquired by China’s CNOOC for US$15.1 billion in cash CALGARY – Oil and gas producer Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY) has agreed to be acquired by China National Offshore Oil Company for US$15.1 billion cash.The Calgary-based firm will be purchased by CNOOC Ltd. in an all-cash transaction worth $27.50 per Nexen share.The agreement is a 66 per cent premium over the 20-day weighed volume average of Nexen shares, and a 61 per cent premium on the closing price of its shares on Friday at the New York Stock Exchange.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, shares of Nexen rose 53 per cent, or $9.18, to $26.47 in early trading.“This transaction will allow for significant investment in our business and opens the door to new opportunities for our employees,” said Nexen chief executive Kevin Reinhart in a release.The proposed acquisition is also likely to raise some red flags for the federal government over foreign ownership concerns.“Initial phone calls were made to them, but it is premature to talk about any of the reaction,” Reinhart said on a conference call with reporters.“We will work together to file the necessary applications and to work with the various governments to ensure they have all the information they need to make the right decision.”As part of the transaction, CNOOC said it plans to list its shares on the TSX. It also intends to have a head office in Calgary to oversee its North and Central American operations.CNOOC also noted that it intends to keep Nexen’s existing management and staff.The transaction still requires two-thirds of Nexen shareholders to approve the agreement at a special meeting of shareholders by Sept. 21. Preferred shareholders would receive $26 in cash, plus accrued dividends.If the deal isn’t completed, CNOOC is subject to a termination fee of US$425 million.Nexen has faced numerous challenges over the past few years, most recently the troubled launch of its Long Lake oilsands project in northern Alberta. The project has yet to come close to its design capacity of 72,000 barrels of bitumen per day due to a number of operational glitches.Last week, the company reported that second-quarter profits tumbled more than 50 per cent as it took a charge on an unsuccessful well in the Gulf of Mexico.Nexen’s net income was $109 million, or 20 cents per share, missing analyst estimates by seven cents. The results were also down from $252 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.In January, Nexen announced a major management shakeup, with Marvin Romanow leaving his post as CEO and Gary Nieuwenburg stepping down as the executive vice-president of the company’s Canadian operations.Reinhart was previously the company’s chief financial officer.Nexen’s original partner at Long Lake, Opti Canada, filed for court protection from creditors last summer and was later acquired by CNOOC for $2.1 billion.The Chinese company has made several other investments in Canadian companies over the past seven years, including buying stakes in MEG Energy Inc. and a 60-per cent investment in Northern Cross (Yukon) Ltd. by The Canadian Press Posted Jul 23, 2012 10:25 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

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Artistic alumni to host vacationthemed exhibition downtown

The Permanent Vacation art collective is inviting the public to experience the sights and sounds of a tropical getaway – without spending a cent.The group, made up of Brock alumni, is presenting its second exhibition, All Expenses Paid, at the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts (MIWSFPA) beginning Thursday, Jan. 31. An opening reception for the showcase will be held Thursday, Feb. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m.All Expenses Paid is a multimedia exhibition featuring photographs, videos, an installation and a zine. The artists will also create a studio space inside the exhibition, where emerging local artists can work if they cannot access their own studio space due to economic barriers.The collective, which includes artists Katie Mazi (BA ’16), Jenn Judson (BA ’16), Matt Caldwell (BA ’16), Ben Mosher (BA ’15) and Alex Muresan (BA ’16), were all Studio Art majors at Brock who first worked together to restructure the Brock Art Club into the current Brock Art Collective.The name Permanent Vacation stems from the idea that you don’t need to ‘vacate’ an area to find work and fulfilment. The collective’s goal is to create working space for emerging Niagara-based makers in a way that promotes seeing home anew.“The exciting part about this exhibition is that it is fully collaborative within our collective and interactive with local artists and community members,” said Mazi.The artists encourage visitors to embrace the theme and wear their best vacation attire to the opening, where they can expect to find themselves surrounded by inner tubes and piña coladas.“It’s practically a vacation,” said Judson.Permanent Vacation’s All Expenses Paid is on from Jan. 31 to Feb. 28 at the VISA Gallery and Student Exhibition Space within the MIWSFPA. The opening reception, also at the gallery, takes place Feb. 7 from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m.If you would like to book studio time during the exhibition, please email the artists to make advance arrangements at permanentvacationcanada@gmail.com read more

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The Odds Of A Perfect Bracket Are Too Infinitesimal For My Puny

Perfect brackets: They’re rather hard. You know this. Before we get into the whole “you have a one-in-who-gives-a-craptillion chance of winning” part of the story, though, let’s talk about why it’s so hard to grasp big numbers like this.Generally speaking, without a way to anchor a number to an everyday concept, people tend to have a hard time with Very Big Numbers. For some of them, like my favorite thing of all things the Powerball lottery, it’s still doable. For instance, your odds of winning the Powerball lottery are roughly equivalent to picking a random adult who lives in the U.S. and Canada and that person being you. It’s the probability of selecting a random person on earth, and that person having been in your freshman biology class. Powerball, with its 1 in 292 million probability of success, approaches the upper limit of what we can convey.My personal limit is 1 in 7 billion, because that is how many people are on earth — essentially the biggest number I feel I have any hope of grasping. Any more than that and you’ve got to do one of those “line up five decks of shuffled cards” monstrosities, and by then you’re just grasping at straws — we get it, dude, it’s unlikely.Last year I got to interview Randall Munroe — a guy who regularly confronts this kind of problem — and he talked about it better than anyone I can think of:One thing that bothers me is large numbers presented without context. We’re always seeing things like “This canal project will require 1.15 million tons of concrete.” It’s presented as if it should mean something to us, as if numbers are inherently informative. So we feel like if we don’t understand it, it’s our fault.But I have only a vague idea of what one ton of concrete looks like. I have no idea what to think of a million tons. Is that a lot? It’s clearly supposed to sound like a lot, because it has the word “million” in it.You should read that whole interview, because he’s got a brilliant take on a problem we deal with more often than we’d prefer to admit, but his key point is this: “A good rule of thumb might be, ‘If I added a zero to this number, would the sentence containing it mean something different to me?’ If the answer is ‘no,’ maybe the number has no business being in the sentence in the first place.”That being said, here is a series of sentences about the number 9.2 quintillion, and how you might work your head around that many possible brackets.We should start small, then work our way up. Let’s take the most basic entry point, a single round-of-32 game. There are two possible ways to fill in that part of the bracket. Now we’re getting to an increasingly hard part: calling a region perfectly. One region has two of those smaller chunks — with 128 combinations each — plus two choices in the last game. This gives us 128 times 128 times 2 possible configurations, or 32,768 ways to fill out a division. That’s 2^15, which, you guessed it, is the number of games in this chunk. You filled out eight of these. If everyone in a company of 5,600 people, which is a little smaller than ESPN, filled out a bracket randomly, there’s a 50-50 shot that at least one of them gets one division perfect. Next, we have a half of a region. We have two of those previous bracket chunks — each with eight possible configurations — and two ways to pick who goes on to the Elite Eight. This means we have 8 times 8 times 2 possible configurations, or 128 possible ways to fill out this section. Just another quick note: 128 is 2^7, seven being the number of games in this chunk of bracket. Maybe someone in your office got one of these perfectly! But it’s starting to get pretty hard, right? This brings us to the final bracket. With 63 games and 2 possible selections for each one, that’s 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 possible combinations. Your bracket is one of these, and the perfect bracket is one of these, but it is highly unlikely that they are the same bracket, is what I’m saying. Moving up to half a bracket: With 31 games to call, there are 2^31 possible combinations — 2,147,483,648, to be exact. That means that randomly guessing winners, you are about one-seventh as likely to get half a bracket right as you are to win the Powerball jackpot (1 in 292 million, you’ll recall). It is half as likely as randomly selecting a resident of the Americas and having that person be Bill Murray. Here is some perspective on that figure. (N.B. Probably this will not help at all.)If you had one cat for all the possible bracket combinations and piled them up, it would form a mass one-seventeenth the size of the largest thing in the asteroid belt, and something like 1.5 times the mass of a moon of Saturn that is rounded into a sphere shape by its own gravitation. However, some of the cats could get hurt! Don’t try this!If you had one penny for all the possible bracket combinations, first of all, your wish-making syntax with genies is AWFUL, but also your penny stash would be worth about 858 times the value of the global economy.If you were waiting for Comcast to show up and install your Internet and the technician said it would only be another 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 seconds, that would take 21 times the age of the universe and fall just barely outside the average Comcast response time.If you had one grain of sand for every possible bracket combination, you not only managed to get worse at asking for wishes, but would also have like several trillion pounds of sand.If you had one ant for every possible bracket combination, you are by now thankfully out of wishes, you dangerous incompetent, and would increase Earth’s ant population a thousandfold and move Ant-Man to the A-list. So, got that going for us.Still, while 9.2 quintillion is the number that gets thrown around, it sucks because it’s so huge and also, honestly, somewhat pointless. There’s a reason people mostly perform better than the expected rate of bracket busting: They aren’t selecting randomly. There are different probabilities for each game, and people are aware it’s not a coin flip between first-seed Kansas and 16th-seed Austin Peay.Estimates for the legitimate probability of a perfect bracket vary. Based on reporting from USA Today, Duke math professor Jonathan Mattingly puts it at 1 in 2.4 trillion — I love this estimate, and you’ll see why in just a second — while a professor at DePaul University puts it as low as 1 in 128 billion.I have no idea what it actually is, but using the pre-tournament probabilities of each team in the FiveThirtyEight interactive, I can tell you the probability of a perfect chalk bracket. That is, if in every game you selected the team that FiveThirtyEight gave the higher pre-tournament likelihood of winning, what’s your actual probability of getting a perfect bracket? Based on the assigned probabilities of advancement at each game, picking the likeliest team to advance and multiplying through all the pre-tourney probabilities, the odds that every one of our predictions would be right was 1 in 2,460,838,227,877 (2.5 trillion). This is delightful because it’s right in the ballpark of Mattingly’s estimate. Indeed, it’s basically right on the pitcher’s mound with it.So, the gist: Numbers are hard; big numbers are pointless and not attuned to the human brain; this should not make you feel bad; you should be proud if you nailed half of a region and thrilled if you got a whole one; and don’t hold your breath for anything more. See you next year or maybe earlier, if the Powerball gets big enough. Next, we go to one-fourth of a division: four teams vying for one spot in the Sweet 16 over three games. There are eight possible configurations of this bracket — two possible ways to fill in the first game, two ways to fill in the second, and then two possible ways to fill in the final game, given that you only have two choices from the first four teams. That’s eight configurations, or 2^3. Your probability of picking one of these perfectly is thus 1 in 8. Given that you filled out 16 of them, check your bracket. You probably got at least a few perfect! read more

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More GEMS from Gemcom

first_imgGemcom Software International, which claims to be “the largest global supplier of specialised mining productivity solutions,” has released Gemcom GEMS 6.1 (GEMS), the latest version of its geology, mine planning, production scheduling and data management software. Tom Gibson, Gemcom GEMS product manager: “To ensure critical mining data is managed effectively, GEMS is at the forefront in database technology that optimizes workflows and secures mining data. In GEMS 6.1, we continue to leverage these strengths to advance mining productivity with the addition of new innovations such as ‘click-to-generate’ tunnel designs.”GEMS 6.1 has more than 25 new features and enhancements such as the tunnel object that automatically turns lines into complete underground tunnel designs with the capability for safety bays and filleted intersections. Other new capabilities focus on usability, including easy to use tools to visualize and edit search ellipses when interpolating block models, and workspace setup and management.“De Beers’ Snap Lake mine is due to open in the last quarter of 2007. GEMS has been an integral part of the development of the underground resource since evaluation began in 1999,” stated Josh Harvey, senior supervisor, MRM and specialized geology, De Beers Canada Snap Lake. “We have benefited from many upgrades and improvements to GEMS over the last eight years and are excited about the new features and enhancements in GEMS 6.1.”“With our breadth and depth of mining technology, including GEMS, and our mining, business and IT expertise, we can configure solutions matched to the specific needs of each client,” said Rick Moignard, Gemcom’s President and CEO.last_img read more

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TB hasnt gone away its a silent killer

first_img(USaidVideo/YouTubeIT MIGHT BE a disease that many of us in the developed world don’t give much of a thought to, but tuberculosis affects millions of people around the globe.Today is World TB Day, when people are encouraged to donate to organisations helping those who are ill with the disease, and those fighting for a cure.According to the Stop TB Partnership, every year nine million people get sick with TB – but three million don’t get the care they need.Fighting TBThe organisation says that many of these three million people “live in the world’s poorest, most vulnerable communities and include groups such as migrants, miners, drug users and sex workers”.We believe that no one should be left behind in the fight against TB. This World TB Day, we call for a global effort to find, treat and cure the three million and accelerate progress towards zero TB deaths, infections, suffering and stigma. Medecin Sans Frontiéres said that data its teams have gathered suggests that the spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is greater than previously estimated.With TB passed through coughs or sneezes, it’s obvious why developments in new treatments need to be made.But according to Dr Jennifer Hughes, developments have “ground to a halt” in recent years, despite the fact that TB kills 1.5 million people very year and is the second-largest infectious killer worldwide.The disease has all but disappeared in the world’s richer and more developed countries, but in countries such as South Africa, thousands of people are unknowingly being infected.Said Hughes:We need a brand new treatment regimen against TB. Treatment that actually works. Treatment that hasn’t been dredged up from the Dark Ages of modern medicine and re-used because, well, it’s better than nothingTo mark the day, the Lancet medical journal has taken a look at the latest news in the fight against TB. It says that there is a range of novel anti-tuberculosis drugs in preclinical development.It also notes that there has also been progress in the development of anti-TB drugs that are active against dormant or persistent populations of mycobacterium TB.To find out more about World TB Day, visit the Stop TB Partnership website.Column: I can’t bear to look into someone’s eyes and tell them they will probably die>last_img read more

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EA release official Dead Space iOS gameplay trailer

first_imgThose of you who enjoyed Dead Space on consoles and PC will soon be able to get another fix in mobile form.EA Mobile has been teasing the iOS version of Dead Space for a few weeks now with a drip feed of screenshots, but today the publisher has put up the first video of actual gameplay. We have to say the game is looking impressive.Dead Space for iOS will be available to play on iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. The gameplay video was shot running on an iPhone 4. It should appear on the App Store next week with the story in the game linking the first and second games available on consoles and PC. That works well for EA seeing as Dead Space 2 gets released on January 25.Read more at Touch Arcadelast_img read more

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Conor McGregor has been officially stripped of his UFC featherweight title

first_img Nov 27th 2016, 9:48 AM Follow us: the42.ie Image: Tom Hogan/INPHO By Kevin O’Brien 83,437 Views https://the42.ie/3104941 UFC says McGregor has “relinquished” the 145 title. I’m told he never agreed to that, as we reported earlier, but UFC w/i rights to strip.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) November 27, 2016 Image: Tom Hogan/INPHO Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this article 54 Comments center_img Conor McGregor has been officially stripped of his UFC featherweight title The UFC announced last night that Jose Aldo is the new undisputed champion of the 145-pound division. Short URL Share169 Tweet Email Sunday 27 Nov 2016, 9:48 AM McGregor has yet to comment on the news.The42 is on Instagram! Tap the button below on your phone to follow us! Finding Ali Dia, Ireland’s new hero Conor McGregor and all the week’s best sportswritingShe’s back! Katie Taylor’s professional career gets off to the perfect start in London CONOR MCGREGOR IS no longer a two-division UFC world champion.The UFC announced during the UFC Melbourne broadcast that McGregor has been stripped of his featherweight belt.McGregor had yet to defend the belt he won after beating Jose Aldo inside 13 seconds in the title fight last December.Jose Aldo, winner of the interim title at UFC 200 in July with a win over Frankie Edgar, is now the undisputed champion in the 145-pound division.What probably sped up the process was the scrapping of the UFC 206 headline fight between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson. Cormier sustained an injury, forcing him to withdraw from the bout.A new main event was needed for the Toronto card, where Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway will now fight for the interim featherweight belt on December 10.The UFC says McGregor gave up the belt voluntarily, although Ariel Helwani reports otherwise. Source: Ariel Helwani/Twitterlast_img read more

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Official Nomination Day Today

first_img Bahamas Police Commissioner Greenslade gone to UK, appointed as High Commissioner Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, November 18, 2016 – It is Nomination Day in the Turks and Caicos Islands and by 4pm the Elections Office will know for certain just how many candidates they will potentially be listing on ballot papers.  Most candidates to whom Magnetic Media has spoken will go early, wanting to have some time to remedy any problems just in case.The District contenders have to do so within their constituencies and with two registered voters of the constituency, along with the other requirements.  The All Island folks can take anyone and register as a nominee anywhere.There are 10 nomination centers which will be opened from 9am to 1pm and then 2pm to 4pm.  There will be some surprises today for certain and it will also prove quite exciting for those offering to serve the country in one of 15 seats… they will be able in this instance to boast their party or independent colours, bring a contingent of support and likely record some of the nomination activity which will not be able to happen on voting day, December 15.Follow us online, as Magnetic Media keeps pace with the candidates and their supporters to bring you the action from the electoral districts nationwide. TCI Premier blasts Opposition side for “slop” information, sets it straight in HOA Nearly 30 Haitians caught following illegal landing in Nassau, says Defence Force Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#MagneticNewsMedia, #nominationdaytci2016 Recommended for youlast_img read more

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Handanovic urges Inter to bounce back

first_imgInter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanović is looking ahead after their Champions League exit on Tuesday night.Inter Milan were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday night after failing to beat PSV at San Siro, and Handanovic has called on his teammates to bounce back from the disappointing result as soon as possible.“Today is a new day and we’re now looking ahead. We’re back in action on Saturday, and playing and winning is the best medicine in situations like this,” Handanovic told the club’s website.We knew we had to win our game without thinking about what was going on elsewhere, but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do so.Romelu Lukaku, Serie A, Inter MilanCapello calls Lukaku “a modern striker” Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The former Italian manager believes Romelu Lukaku is perfectly suited for Antonio Conte’s Internazionale Milan in the Serie A.“We have missed out on our objective, but come February we’ll be treating the Europa League as a new opportunity, as will the other teams with a chance of winning it.“We have a team that can go all the way. We haven’t even reached the halfway stage of the season and we’ve still got targets we want to achieve.“We’ve played well in recent games, but unfortunately, we haven’t managed to pick up the results we wanted. We need to find that spark again.”last_img read more

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Osaka ramps up IR preparations

first_imgThe cold wave currently hitting Japan has not managed to cool down Osaka’s ambitions in the IR candidate city race.On 1 January 2019, the “IR Local Alliance” – an organization made up of key small-medium business players in Osaka – commissioned a video commercial to be shown in the city’s 3000-strong taxi fleet. At the end of last year, wrap advertising was used on circular route buses to promote the benefits of IRs to the citizens of Osaka. RelatedPosts Huawei Japan joins Kansai Economic Federation with eye on World Expo 2025 and Osaka IR Genting’s Resorts World Las Vegas names five key additions to executive team Lack of premium mass strategy begs questions of SJM’s Grand Lisboa Palace launch: analysts Load More We are also starting to witness movements on the political front. According to one leading Japanese newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun, Osaka Prefecture along with the city of Osaka is planning to set aside JPY2.15 million (US$20,000) of its 2019 budget for the selection committee who will choose the city’s operator partner.The selection committee is expected to comprise a maximum of 10 intellectuals, such as university professors, who will hold approximately five meetings before the final decision on an operator is made. The city will cover half of the operating costs.Further, the “Osaka IR Promotion Bureau”, an internal cooperative organization between the prefecture and the city established in April 2017, will be enhanced to include 38 staff members. It is likely that a JPY330 million (US$3 million) will be included in the 2019 budget for this.The IR Development Act stipulates there can be a maximum of three domestic  .Osaka is a major player in the administration and finance, leads other local governments and is set on selecting an operator as early as this summer.The six front runners include the likes of MGM Resorts, Las Vegas Sands and Melco Resorts and Entertainment.last_img read more

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Who Will Fill Sylvester Turners Seat In The Texas Legislature

first_imgListen 00:00 /01:29 Today marks the start of early voting in the special election for state representative, Texas House District 139. The contest is only the first of two over the next month that will determine who will fill the seat formerly held by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.The May 7 special election pits former Houston city councilman Jarvis Johnson against high school science teacher Rickey Tezino. It’s effectively a place holder contest.“Just in case there’s a special session, for example, that might be called by the governor — you know, something unexpected — that person can basically sit on the interim committees. They can basically position themselves for the fall campaign,” says Jon Taylor, chairman of the political science department at the University of St. Thomas.Taylor says name recognition is likely to help Johnson in the special election but could hurt him in the Democratic primary runoff on May 24, where he is also a candidate.“He had issues related to city contracts, the issue of evading arrest,” Taylor says. “I mean, it would be difficult in a normal election cycle for someone with that kind of baggage to actually win election to the seat.”Johnson’s opponent in the runoff is Kimberly Willis. Willis, a former staffer to Sylvester Turner, is now a social worker with the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department.“You’re looking at a person who might very well, once she’s elected, hit the ground running, pushing for issues related to criminal justice reform, even forensics and related to the crime lab issues we’ve had in Houston in the past,” Taylor says.No Republican is contesting District 139, which is centered on the largely African-American neighborhood of Acres Homes. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will represent the district in Austin come January. Share X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more

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