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EPA going after atrazine, again

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Many in agriculture are not pleased with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency release of its draft report for the ecological risk assessment of atrazine.Here is the abstract from the EPA draft report released yesterday.“This refined assessment presents the ecological risks posed by the use of the herbicide atrazine. Based on the results from hundreds of toxicity studies on the effects of atrazine on plants and animals, over 20 years of surface water monitoring data, and higher tier aquatic exposure models, this risk assessment concludes that aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates in these same locations. In the terrestrial environment, there are risk concerns for mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and plant communities across the country for many of the atrazine uses. EPA levels of concern for chronic risk are exceeded by as much as 22, 198, and 62 times for birds, mammals, and fish, respectively. For aquatic phase amphibians, a weight of evidence analysis concluded there is potential for chronic risks to amphibians based on multiple effects endpoint concentrations compared to measured and predicted surface water concentrations. The breadth of terrestrial plant species and families potentially impacted by atrazine use at current labeled rates, as well as reduced rates of 0.5 and 0.25 lbs. a.i./A, suggest that terrestrial plant biodiversity and communities are likely to be impacted from off-field exposures via runoff and spray drift. Average atrazine concentrations in water at or above 5 μg/L for several weeks are predicted to lead to reproductive effects in fish, while a 60-day average of 3.4 μg/L has a high probability of impacting aquatic plant community primary productivity, structure and function.”The report was a concern to the farmers who rely upon atrazine in their operations.“With more than 7,000 scientific studies over the past 50 years, atrazine has been proven to be a safe and effective crop management tool. It is one of the most reliable herbicides available,” said Chad Kemp, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “We are dismayed and astounded that the EPA chose to fly in the face of guidance from its own Science Advisory Panel and base this assessment on studies the panel found flawed just four years ago. The trust level in this assessment plunges knowing that faulty studies were used as the basis of this evaluation.”Kemp said that farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre, according to a 2012 study by the University of Chicago.“And who pays the price for this not-so-scientific assessment? Consumers will face higher food costs as yields decrease and farm operating costs rise,” Kemp said. “We are deeply disappointed that the EPA has once again chosen to ignore science and, by doing so, has demonstrated its lack of support for and understanding of the farming industry and the negative economic impact its decisions place on consumers. We are urging all farmers and others who care about a plentiful, affordable food supply to contact the EPA and tell them to base their decision on sound science.”The EPA’s draft report on the herbicide atrazine is cause for alarm, according to the Triazine Network, a national coalition of farm organizations representing well over 30 agricultural crops in over 40 states. The group insists if EPA continues to use the same false logic or endpoints as noted in the preliminary risk assessment, it could lead to a de facto ban on atrazine.“EPA’s flawed atrazine report is stomping science into the dirt and setting farmers up for significant economic hardship. We challenge this latest proposal and insist EPA abide by federal law that requires the agency to make determinations based on credible scientific evidence,” said Gary Marshall, Triazine Network Chairman. Marshall is executive director of the Missouri Corn Growers Association. “Again and again, we must ask EPA to follow the law. A regulatory agency should not need to be reminded of that detail.”The Triazine Network asserts the federal agency discounted several high-quality studies and instead used studies EPA‘s own 2012 Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) deemed flawed. According to the latest report, EPA is recommending aquatic life level of concern (LOC) be set at 3.4 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average. The EPA’s current LOC for atrazine is 10 ppb, however a diverse universe of scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater. The proposed level cuts average field application rates down to 8 ounces per acre.“At the proposed level, atrazine would be rendered useless in controlling weeds in a large portion of the Corn Belt, effectively eliminating the product,” Marshall said. “It sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to approving crop protection tools, puts farmers at a great economic disadvantage and would drastically set back conservation efforts. If EPA abandons the recommendations of their own Science Advisory Panels and more than 7,000 science-based studies in favor of activist agenda’s and politics; they will have lost all credibility”EPA reregistered atrazine in 2006 and began its regularly scheduled registration re-review June 2013. The process typically takes six years to complete. Once the draft report is published in the Federal Register, EPA will begin collecting comments for 60 days.last_img read more

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YouTube Expanding On-Demand Movie Service with Mainstream Hollywood Titles

first_imgAccording to a report from the Hollywood-tracking news outlet The Wrap, Google’s YouTube will soon be expanding its on-demand movie rental service to include mainstream Holloywood films. Major movie studios including Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers and Universal are all said to be on board, as are a number of independent studios.The sources cited by The Wrap are “movie executives with knowledge of the deals,” but YouTube itself said it would not comment on rumor and speculation.An Expanded StoreA YouTube spokesperson would only say this, when asked about the on-demand streaming service:“We’ve steadily been adding more and more titles since launching movies for rent on YouTube over a year ago, and now have thousands of titles available.”The spokesperson is referring to YouTube’s store, available here at: http://www.youtube.com/store. The service launched last year, offering movie rentals for $2 or $3 dollars apiece. The files are available for streaming, not download, similar to the videos provided by Netflix or Hulu’s streaming services.Currently, there are only a small number of well-known titles in the YouTube Store. These are prominently featured on the site’s homepage, making the service appear more well-stocked than it actually is. But dig a little deeper and you won’t find much more to choose from, unless you like really B-to-D grade films and direct-to-video offerings. Launching in WeeksThe upcoming deal, which has now been confirmed by AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka as well, would change that. He adds that while Sharon Waxman’s report from The Wrap pinned the launch date as being “as early as next week or next,” he heard that the time frame was “weeks, but not months.”Those not participating in the current deal, Kaftka notes, are New’s Corp.’s Fox and Paramount, whose corporate parent Viacom is still suing Google regarding YouTube copyright issues and claims.Cloud Locker PlannedKafka also cited one source who said that this on-demand movie rental service was just the beginning for Google’s vision. In the future, Google wants users to be able to purchase movies and store them in an online cloud locker, a service that sounds strikingly familiar to the one Amazon itself just launched.But even if the service does launch as expected, the question many in the media are now asking is whether or not the business model is viable. Netflix, which offers streaming movies, not rentals and purchases, is booming, having nearly doubled its net quarterly profits from last year. It also added 3.3 million subscribers in Q1 2011. Would streaming individual rentals and purchases attract a large enough audience to make the expanded YouTube service a success? Or will consumers still choose Netflix instead? A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… sarah perez Tags:#Video Services#web#YouTube Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

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Thomas has solid debut but Lakers fall to Mavericks

first_imgWarriors rout Spurs to give Kerr 250th win NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers “I like the pace of this team,” he said. “I like the energy the guys bring. Coach did the best job he could to put me in position to play to my strengths with only knowing a couple plays.”Doug McDermott had eight points in his Dallas debut following a deadline deal that brought him from New York and was part of a youthful closing lineup that outscored the Lakers 13-5 in the final 3:09.Nowitzki, Barnes and starting guard Wesley Matthews all sat in the last three minutes, and rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. put Dallas ahead for good at 119-118 on a layup. Smith finished with 14 points, and the Mavericks had a season high in points.Thomas was out there late for the Lakers, who had a season-best, four-game winning streak stopped for the third time in a month.“I love winning, you know that,” said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who used a young lineup that struggled late in a loss at the LA Clippers with a chance to win five nights earlier. “The Clipper game was not good. Tonight was obviously much better.”ADVERTISEMENT View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next AFP official booed out of forum Julius Randle had 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, and Brandon Ingram scored 22 points. Kyle Kuzma had 12 points and 15 rebounds.Dallas’ Dwight Powell scored 19 , two shy of his career high. J.J. Barea had 10 points and nine assists.Thomas entered the game midway through the first quarter to a noticeable ovation from the usually solid number of Lakers fans in the Dallas crowd. He hit a 3 from the left wing on his first LA possession and was 4 of 7 from long range before halftime.TIP-INSLakers: G Lonzo Ball missed his 13th straight game with a sore left knee. … Thomas got a flagrant foul in the second half when he pulled Kyle Collinsworth down by the shoulders when the Dallas guard was going up for a dunk. … Brook Lopez had 16 points, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 14. … The Lakers matched a season high with 16 3-pointers.Mavericks: F Josh McRoberts was waived. He played in two games after spending the first 37 games on the inactive list with a left foot injury. He was acquired with a second-round pick and cash for center A.J. Hammons last summer. … McDermott, who came from the Knicks in a three-team trade, scored his first Dallas points on a breakaway dunk soon after entering the game in the first quarter.THOMAS’ ROLEThe persistent question for Walton will be whether and when Thomas becomes a starter.“They’ve been playing well. I don’t want to mess anything up, and I told him that,” Thomas said after the morning shootaround. “Yes, I would love to be a starter. I’ve feel like I’ve earned that and deserve that. At the same time, it’s a new chapter for me. I’m here to help this team.”Said Walton, “For tonight, we’re going to look for him to kind of bring us a lot of scoring off the bench and help that lead that group. And then we’re going to see how tomorrow looks and the next day. It doesn’t matter down the road right now.”DALLAS WIt was the first Dallas-LA meeting since the Lakers ended the Mavericks’ 14-game winning streak against the storied franchise. The previous longest streak for Dallas was three games. It was just the fifth win of 2018 for the Mavs, who ended 2017 on a season-best four-game winning streak.UP NEXTLakers: At New Orleans on Wednesday. Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena stingcenter_img Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Dirk Nowitzki had a season-high 22 points, Harrison Barnes added 21 and the last-place Dallas Mavericks rallied to beat the Lakers 130-123 on Saturday night.Thomas finished with 22 points and already looks like a better fit in coach Luke Walton’s offense following the deadline deal that brought him from the Cavaliers, who acquired him last summer in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“Obviously we couldn’t run a ton of stuff because he has been with us for one day, but he was good,” Walton said. “You can see his competitive spirit come out a little bit. He was scrapping and knocking down shots.”Thomas’ first half with the Lakers was his highest-scoring half of the season, a team-high 16 points. Thomas, who was part of a four-player deal at the trading deadline that also brought Channing Frye, missed the first 36 games recovering from a hip injury. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Mavericks: At Houston on Sunday. Los Angeles Lakers guard Isaiah Thomas (7) loses the ball as he drives to the basket against Dallas Mavericks guard Yogi Ferrell (11) during an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/ Richard W. Rodriguez)DALLAS — Isaiah Thomas used his crossover dribble to create an open 3-pointer that helped his new team build a double-digit lead in the first half.The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t stay in front in the diminutive guard’s debut following his ill-fated stint in Cleveland. Still, there was plenty of evidence that Thomas can be the scorer he was in Boston.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

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EMMA MAKES HER MARK ON NATIONAL SCENE

first_imgThe music was blaring, the laughter was long and loud, however the outfits were pretty ordinary, the quality of the performers was questionable, and the dance moves, well, the cast from the movie “Step Up” have nothing to worry about from this lot when they sign up to screen test the sequel…The National 18 Years Youth Development Squad were ‘competing’ in a friendly “dance off” competition as a team building activity at the TFA Inaugural Youth Development Camp at the Runaway Bay Sports Centre on Queensland’s Gold Coast in January 2006.Players had to perform random routines from across a range of categories – anything from ballroom to gangster rap… anything the guest mentors and coaches thought would stretch the dance repertoire of our brightest young touch football starlets.Players who adhered to the edict made famous in the movie “Strictly Ballroom” of “using their own flashy, crowd pleasing, non federation dance steps” were scored best by the mentors and coaches. The competition was set down along traditional State of Origin enemy lines, Qld v NSW…or so the competitors thought…At the height of the intense “dance off”, a new team entered the contest…Dressed in their fashionable “Jim jams”, and sporting bright green zinc with the letters “TAS” emblazoned across their faces, youngsters Emma Haines and Emily Hudson from Tasmania entered the fray.The outgoing Tasmanians danced up a storm and took the challenge right up to the opposition and made a huge statement about who they were, the pride they felt in their home State, and their place in the fabric of the National squad.Haines and Hudson (whose footwork was infinitely better on the field than on the dance floor) impressed all at the Inaugural Youth Camp with their talent, passion, skill, and enthusiasm for the sport.Their attitude to learning and improving was exceptional, and their ability to apply new knowledge was duly noted.Twelve months on Emily Hudson 16, is progressing well and is sure to be a leading light in the Tasmanian 18 Years Girls team at the National 18 Years Championships in Coffs Harbour from 19-22 September 2007.Emma Haines, after representing Crusaders at the last two National Touch League tournaments in the Women’s Open division, continues to go from strength to strength.Emma was one of 93 of Australia’s best Youth Touch Footballers who took their first steps towards selection for the 2009 Youth World Cup during a comprehensive training camp on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast from Thursday June 29 to Sunday July 1, 2007.The young talent described the opportunity to take part in the latest National Youth Camp as “awesome”. “It’s great meeting new people, getting new experiences and working with new coaches. Just to get information and to soak it all in is really good and you’re always learning something,” she said. The 19-year-old plays for local club Condors in the Southern Touch Association in Hobart and  has been playing Touch Football for seven years.Emma’s Dad Stephen, and mother Janet, are both long serving Tasmanian Touch Football representatives who have been  a constant support and the driving force behind Emma’s career.Stephen represented Tasmania at Men’s Open, Men’s 30s, and Men’s 35s level and was selected in the Australian Men’s 35s Merit team at the National Championships in 1992.Janet was a pivotal player in the Tasmanian Women’s Open Team for many years, and they are both immensely proud of their talented daughter’s achievements.“She absolutely loves Touch, she is so excited about being in the National squad and she just looks forward to every game she plays, at home or against the best players from Interstate. She works hard, and is very focussed on achieving her goals and we’re happy to support her in whatever direction she wants to take in the future,” Stephen said.Emma’s position as one of Australia’s leading Youth players will benefit her home state immensely. The bubbly youngster is already being promoted as a role model and a mentor to Tasmanian junior representative teams.She is sure to introduce some of the skills she picks up at events such as the National Youth Training camp to her local competition in the same way that current Australian Open stars Bo de la Cruz (Northern Territory) and Shelley Matcham and Rebecca Tavo (Western Australia) have done for their respective states.  Haines said she really enjoyed witnessing the difference in play on the mainland. “It’s a lot faster and there are better skills in other states because they’ve got a lot more players to choose from and higher level coaching. It’s good, but I still love playing at home because there are lots of friendships down here. That’s where I started so I always respect everyone.” Haines said the most enjoyable thing about Touch Football is the friendships and social aspect of the game. You couldn’t half tell, very rarely will you ever see the young Tasmanian with anything other than a huge smile on her face… even during fitness testing!The young tyro revels in the big time atmosphere and gives the impression that she belongs. She is confident and believes in her own ability, but is conscious of the gaps in her learning and seizes every opportunity to improve and develop.“I just try and be myself. You look at all the names and their talent and it is a bit intimidating, but once we get started, I just figure I’m like everybody else, and it’s heaps of fun. I have heaps to learn and I have a great chance to improve, so I just go as hard as I can,” Emma said.Current Australian Women’s Open Coach Kerry Norman was involved in the recent National Youth Training Camp and has watched Haines for the past three years.Norman said, as well as being immensely talented, one of the ‘Tassie Devil’s’ best attributes was her outgoing nature.  “The thing that impressed me was that she can come into a camp and probably not know anyone, but she’ll just fit in with everyone. She’s accepted really well by the others and she’s got a great personality for the sport,” Norman said.  The Australian coach also said Haines’ ability to put advice to good use was impressive. “When she’s given advice at a tournament she goes away and comes back and you can see that she’s grown as a player. I see Emma as a future representative, especially at youth level,” she said.  Emma’s fellow National 20 Years Youth squad members also see her immense value to the program as a player and a person. Queensland’s Alyce “The Rat” Hulbert, and NSW’s Nicole “Sero” Beck, were full of praise for the Tasmanian’s contributions at National Youth camps.“She’s great – full of energy. She talks to everyone and is always smiling, great fun to be around and she makes friends quickly. On the field, she never ever gives up and runs the whole time. I feel like she’s always got my back in defence as well, and she just seems to pick up with the squad where she left off last time. She learns quickly and she has everyone’s respect because she just competes hard always,” Hulbert said.Beck was similarly impressed with Haines’ progress.“Emma’s really outgoing and makes a real effort to get to know everyone…she loves the social things as well – she is not the least bit shy or self conscious. She definitely flies the Tassie flag! On the field, she is always asking questions and takes everything in. She is always keen and just gives everything she’s got. She always steps up and keeps going all day. She is a big asset to the program,” Beck said. Touch Football at the elite level has long been dominated by the “super powers” Queensland and New South Wales who with long established histories in the sport and strong links to the Rugby codes have been able to consolidate Touch Football as a mainstream game of choice.A plethora of skilled and experienced technical personnel in Queensland and New South Wales have also helped create an accelerated training and learning environment across their entire States to allow an elite level of competition to prosper.The sport is blessed to have Elite players and coaches in every State, but there is little doubt that the pathway to the top has a few more obstacles for talented players in the emerging States.The tyranny of distance, the reliance on Satellite coaching and correspondence, the limited quality high level week to week competition, the lack of consistent interaction and training with elite level peers, limited access to the latest developments in skills, techniques, and game play in the sport could all add up to significant roadblocks to representative participant development.These difficulties have been identified by each State, and as the sport continues to grow, more State’s are advancing High Performance Programs and camps to help improve, expand, and access representative pathways for players, coaches, and referees.Maree Tomlin, Tasmania’s Director of Elite Programs and a highly respected National Selector for the past thirteen years, is mindful of providing pathways for talented representatives in every State.“It’s really important that we offer experiences and programs, particularly for our Youth players. We don’t have well-established competitions and experienced coaches and a lot of Elite players, but we will be looking to improve the situation with the development of pathways with TFA and the High Performance area in the near future.We want talented players like Emma to have access to opportunities that will further her touch football career and we are very keen to help make the pathway smoother for a lot of our talented players in the future,” Mrs. Tomlin said.TFA High Performance Coordinator Wayne Grant is mindful of the need to provide effective High performance programs all over the nation.“We have identified the need to assist each State towards a High Performance Program. We are working closely with the States to assist them in developing representative pathways for their members. There are key areas TFA can assist the States with, such as identifying appropriate TID events, player development programs, access to elite player mentoring, coaching development and mentoring, and administration and support structures. It is a high priority to help review and implement High Performance processes that achieve the outcomes each State targets,” Mr. Grant said. For now Emma Haines will keep working hard and looking forward to her next chance to learn.She says her position in the current Youth World Cup squad is her proudest achievement in the sport. There is no doubt she is aiming to earn a berth for Australia in the 2009 Federation of International Touch Youth World Cup. “It would be so great getting to represent your country. It would be awesome playing at the highest level, to step up and see if you can make it,” she said.If Emma is a part of the final contingent she will be the first female Tasmanian to represent Australia at Youth World Cup level, and only the second Tasmanian in history behind Mark Holloway who played in the Australian 20 Years Mixed Team at the 2005 FIT Youth World Cup. Beyond that though, the young star has one major goal. “The ultimate would be to play for the Australian Women’s Open team,” she said. The dance skills may still need some work, but if the popular Tasmanian remains dedicated to her training and improving her skill level, maintains her outstanding attitude to learning, continues her rate of development on the field, and keeps that smile going for the duration, anything is possible.last_img read more

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Alberta oil and gas drilling rights auction results rise to 504 million

first_imgCALGARY – Sales of oil and gas drilling rights in Alberta delivered almost four times as much money for the provincial treasury in 2017 compared with 2016 but the total remained well short of the record.Alberta Energy reports receiving $18 million in Wednesday’s auction, the last of the year. That brings the total for 2017 to $504 million, 3.7 times as much as the $137 million in 2016. The record was $3.5 billion in 2011.The sales give oil and gas companies the right to drill exploration wells on land where the mineral rights are owned by the province. They are considered a key indicator of future drilling activity.Crown land sales were also up in British Columbia and Saskatchewan this year.Saskatchewan earned about $63 million in 2017, up from $53 million the year before but down from the record of $1.1 billion in 2008.B.C. earned $173 million, up from $15 million in 2016 but nowhere near the record $2.7 billion in 2008.last_img read more

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Ontario Teachers takes 400M stake in Assassins Creed producer Ubisoft

first_imgTORONTO – The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan is spending about $400 million to take a 3.4 per cent stake in French video game giant Ubisoft as part of a complex deal that will allow French conglomerate Vivendi to sell all of its Ubisoft shares.Vivendi, which was said to be considering a takeover when it accumulated its Ubisoft stake over the past few years, has agreed to sell its 30.5 million shares and not buy any more for at least five years.Ontario Teachers’ has agreed to acquire 3.8 million shares in the company, which produces games including Assassin’s Creed and Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, while Chinese internet giant Tencent is to buy 5.6 million shares.The rest are to be bought by Ubisoft and cancelled, or sold to existing shareholders and, through an offering, to institutional investors.Ubisoft says it has a strategic partnership with Tencent that will “significantly accelerate” the reach of Ubisoft franchises in China in the coming years.last_img read more

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CIBC says US auto tariffs could cut GDP by a per cent

first_imgTORONTO – CIBC Capital Markets says U.S. tariffs on auto imports could shave a per cent of Canada’s economy and send Ontario into a mild recession.A research report by the bank says that a 25 per cent U.S. tariff on all foreign imports could cut Canadian auto production by more than 400,000 units a year, while tariffs on only Canadian imports would lead U.S. buyers to find other imports and cut production in Canada by almost 900,000 vehicles.Adding in a potential 10 per cent U.S. tariff on parts, and the fewer foreign inputs that would be required, CIBC estimates the widespread tariffs would result in a 0.5 per cent drag on Canada’s GDP, while tariffs that single out Canada would cut the GDP by a full per cent.CIBC, however, says the most likely scenario is widespread tariffs with a temporary exemption for Canadian producers because of pressure from major U.S. auto producers with cross-border operations.But CIBC Capital Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld says even a temporary exemption would be a “sword of Damocles” that would pressure auto makers to shift more production to the U.S., pressure allies into a more U.S.-tilted trade deal, and demonstrate a toughness on trade to his voting base.He says the impact of tariffs and reduced auto production on the Canadian economy would be tempered by a resulting much lower loonie, and a lower path for interest rates.last_img read more

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Wall Street whiplash Stocks volatility looks here to stay

first_imgNEW YORK — The stock market hasn’t been this dizzying in years, and investors may need to get used to it.The S&P 500 slid 4.6 per cent this past week as worries piled up about the economy’s strength, global trade and interest rates. It was a whiplash-inducing reversal from the prior week, when the S&P 500 jumped 4.8 per cent. The last time investors experienced such a big swing in stock prices between two weeks was in late 2011.It’s the latest gyration for a market that’s become increasingly twitchy, as investors try to make sense of big questions that don’t yet have clear answers for. Will tariffs derail the global economy and sink profits for businesses around the world? Will the Federal Reserve raise U.S. interest rates too quickly and choke off growth?Many Wall Street strategists see more volatility on the horizon.“What we have experienced in 2018 and most acutely since October is, unfortunately, more normal than not,” said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust Wealth Management.With economic growth expected to slow and interest rates expected to rise, many along Wall Street are forecasting 2019 will be a rocky year for stocks. “The end of easy” is the title that Wells Fargo Investment Institute gave for its 2019 investment outlook.Easy, for investors, is what the stock market had been for most of its run that began in the spring of 2009. For most of the past decade, the Federal Reserve kept interest rates extremely low to promote economic growth following the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession. That helped keep borrowing costs down and lift all kinds of markets.But now the Fed is gradually raising interest rates. It has increased short-term rates eight times since 2015, and economists expect another hike to come later this month. Those higher rates — and expectations for more — have been one catalyst for recent selling.Worries about trade tensions between the United States and China have also driven big swings for stocks, in both directions. At the start of this past week, stocks jumped on hopes that the two countries had brokered a truce. But those gains evaporated as investors grew confused about what the two sides had actually agreed upon.“We started up sharply because we thought we had a deal with China and we ended at the lows for the day,” said Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA Research. “That tells me people are using days where we see some green to sell out of positions into the strength, and that’s pulling the market lower. The sentiment in the market is extremely negative.”The current skid for stocks is the third big swoon for the markets this year. The first was a dramatic downturn in late January and early February, when the S&P 500 lost 10 per cent in just nine days. That was followed by a less severe stumble in March.But the middle of this year was placid, which raised hopes for a return to a smoother ride. Between late June and early October, the market didn’t rise or fall as much as 1 per cent in a single day. That was similar to the scenario in 2017, when the market drifted gradually higher and finished up 19.4 per cent.Soaring corporate profits, fueled by sweeping corporate tax cuts, powered the market’s recovery this spring and summer. S&P 500 companies delivered second-quarter earnings growth of 25 per cent, well ahead of forecasts. That helped send the S&P 500 to a new all-time high in September, erasing the losses from its correction in February.But now doubts are emerging that a similar surge in earnings growth will rally markets out of their latest skid. S&P 500 companies delivered yet another blockbuster quarter of earnings growth for the third quarter, but the reports have not lifted stocks.All the gyrations are yet another reminder to investors that the downside to owning stocks, which have had the best results over the long term, is that they’re risky and prone to sudden drops in price.“We accept volatility as the cost of doing business,” Nixon said, “and we anticipate over time that we will be compensated for taking the extra risk.”___AP Business Writers Marley Jay in New York and Alex Veiga in Los Angeles contributed to this report.Stan Choe, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Transport department to ply AC trams between Nonapukur and Shyambazar

first_imgKolkata: The state Transport department has decided to ply AC trams between Nonapukur and Shyambazar via Dharmatala on a regular basis shortly.The department has already introduced two AC trams with modern facilities in the city, which are currently used as joyrides. The initiative aims to promote tourism and revive the 130-year-old tram system in the city. Local residents will be happy to see the new avatar of trams once they hit the streets. AC buses, introduced by the state transport department, are also hit with the commuters. The introduction of AC trams will give a boost to the transport system in the state. “People, who commute by trams on a regular basis, will be extremely happy on the introduction of AC trams on the Nonapukur and Shyambazar route,” a senior official of the transport department said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThere are plans to introduce a few more AC trams on certain routes. Some new AC trams will also be built at Nonapukur workshop of the state transport department. The department is also trying to enhance the speed of trams, said a source. The AC trams would ply at a stretch of 8.44 km between Nonapukur and Shyambazar via Dharmatala. The trial run of these trams has already been conducted on the Nonapukur and Shyambazar route. Altogether, there would be six trips on the route and there are around 24 seats in each tram. According to a source, the fare of AC trams has been fixed at Rs 20 upto 5 km and Rs 25 if the distance exceeds 5 km. About 40 to 45 trams are being run by the Transport department on various routes in the city. A month ago, the state Transport minister Suvendu Adhikari launched the two AC trams. The trams have been built at a cost of Rs 25 lakh each. The exterior of the trams was built at the Nonapukur workshop. The trams are fitted with 5.5-tonne ACs each.last_img read more

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Activist jailings blight Egypts march to democracy

first_imgCAIRO – The jailing of three activists has triggered fears in Egypt of a return to the police rule that blighted the Mubarak era, eroding gains made in the march towards democracy.On Sunday, a court jailed Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel to three years for organising an unauthorised protest in a verdict seen as the military-installed government broadening the crackdown on dissent.It was the first such verdict against pro-democracy protesters since the July 3 overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi, whose Islamist supporters have borne the brunt of a deadly crackdown. The three and Alaa Abdel Fattah, a vocal critic of the police and the military detained on similar charges, were at the forefront of the movement that toppled long-time ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011, beginning Egypt’s march towards democracy.But analysts say gains achieved since then are threatened by the targeting of such men and by other moves that could signal the return of a police state.Pursuing these activists “is a deliberate effort to target the voices who, since January 2011, have consistently demanded justice and security agency reform,” Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson said in a statement.“Almost three years after the nationwide protests that brought down Hosni Mubarak, security agencies feel more empowered than ever and are still intent on crushing the right of Egyptians to protest the actions of their government.”Activists have lashed out at the authorities for arming themselves with a new law banning all but police-sanctioned protests, calling it an attempt to stifle freedom of expression — a core value in the fight that toppled Mubarak.The interim authorities justified the overthrow of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, as a response to massive protests against his turbulent year-long reign, which critics said was marked by power-grabs and economic mismanagement.More than 1,000 people have died in a crackdown on Morsi supporters and thousands have been arrested.The sentencing of Maher, Douma and Adel came days after Ahmed Shafiq, a premier under Mubarak, and the ousted strongman’s two sons were acquitted of corruption.That verdict underscores a sharp reversal of fortune not just for Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement, but for the pro-democracy movement itself.‘A significant step back’“These practices are far from the rule of law. In fact these practices are of a police state enforced more brutally than ever,” 14 Egyptian rights groups said in a joint statement.James Dorsey, Middle East expert and senior fellow at the Singapore-based S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, said: “The jailing of activists is a significant step back in what Egypt has achieved since the toppling of Mubarak.“Yesterday’s (Sunday’s) verdict strengthens an atmosphere of caution, if not intimidation.”Dorsey said the regime is expanding the circle of people it is targeting beyond the Brotherhood.“It is signalling that it is not looking at broadening the rights and freedoms of the people,” he told AFP.Activists say the way the four were arrested, why they were detained, the acquittal of Shafiq and Mubarak’s sons and the midnight raid on an NGO last week to arrest Adel were all reminders of the Mubarak era.“In principle (the regime) is retaining an autocratic rule. This coupled with the protest law essentially means there is very little public space to express dissent,” Dorsey said.Experts now question the government’s intentions on the road map it announced to usher a democratic transition, the first step being the January 14 and 15 referendum on a new constitution, followed by parliamentary and presidential elections.Sunday’s verdict “is sabotage against the front that supports the road map,” said Hassan Nafea, professor of political science at Cairo University.He was referring to Maher’s April 6 youth movement which initially backed the road map after Morsi’s overthrow but on Sunday said it was withdrawing its support from the plan.“Now many questions are raised. Will the elections be free and democratic? Is Egypt heading towards a democracy?” asked Nafea.“The first test on the ground will be the referendum.”Dorsey remains hopeful, however.“The military… does not understand that in Egypt…there has been a fundamental shift. No matter what happens, people are willing to question. The regime can’t legislate away this fundamental shift,” he said.last_img read more