UN envoy discusses powersharing agreement on DR of Congo

The formula announced by Mustapha Niasse involves having one president and four vice presidents for the DRC.The envoy told journalists that he would be holding follow-up meetings with the MLC, as well as the Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma and the DRC Government later this week.In the meantime, starting tomorrow, Mr. Niasse plans to meet in separate sessions with other Congolese groups, including the Maï- Maï, the RCD National, the RCD-Kisangani/Liberation Movement and representatives of civil society and the unarmed political opposition.

Western Sahara UN mission welcomes planned release of 100 Moroccan POWs

A UN spokesman in New York said the mission hoped for an early release of all remaining POWs, in compliance with international humanitarian law. It also called on the parties to cooperate with the efforts of the International Committee of the Red Cross to resolve the fate of all those unaccounted for since the beginning of the conflict.Following the agreement between Morocco and the Popular Front for the Liberation of the Saguia el Hamra and Rio de Oro, the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was deployed in September 1991 to monitor the ceasefire and to organize and conduct a referendum which would allow the people of Western Sahara to decide the Territory’s future status.

UN health agency delists certain generic HIVAIDS drugs pending further tests

In bioequivalence tests, volunteers take the generic medicines and their blood is tested after a certain time to determine whether the concentration of the generics in their blood is similar to that of the innovator or patented medicines in other volunteers.After an inspection of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. in Dewas, India, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) removed “the triple fixed-dose combination pill containing lamivudine, stavudine and nevirapine in two different strengths and a lamivudine plus zidovudine tablet” until the company can provide “unequivocal evidence” of bioequivalence.WHO was following a European directive, which came into force in May, requiring inspections of laboratories doing bioequivalence studies.The Ranbaxy products have met quality specifications and WHO said the company would submit them to a different laboratory for new tests.An inspection in late May led to the removal of a lamivudine tablet made by Cipla Ltd. in Kurkumbh, India, and a combination lamivudine-zidovudine tablet made by Cipla in Vikhroli, India, WHO said. Tests of Cipla’s triple fixed-dose combination of lamivudine, stavudine and nevirapine in a tablet were properly carried out, however, and it was retained. read more

UN agency to back project distributing sturdy lowcost laptops in poor countries

Aiming to give poor communities access to the benefits of information technology, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has announced plans to support an innovative project which aims to put cheap and energy-efficient laptop computers in the hands of the world’s most disadvantaged students.The innovative $100 laptop project, designed to give children in developing countries access to the knowledge and educational tools that could lift them out of poverty, will take a step closer to realization on Saturday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.There, UNDP Adminstrator Kemal Dervis and Nicholas Negroponte, Chairman of One Laptop per Child, (OLPC), the non-profit organization set up to oversee the $100 Laptop project, will sign an agreement on working together with local and international partners to deliver the new technology to targeted schools in the least developed countries. The $100 laptop is an inexpensive, robust computer, with open-source software, very low power consumption, and the capacity to be powered by hand cranking. It was unveiled at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunisia last November.On that occasion, Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the laptops an “impressive technical achievement” and said they were able to do almost everything that larger, more expensive computers could do, unlocking the “magic with each child, within each scientist, scholar or plain citizen-in-the-making.” read more

UN relief chief calls on Middle East to channel more aid through

Making the keynote address at an international humanitarian conference in Dubai, Jan Egeland said that his most recent missions, including trips to Uganda and Sudan, showed beyond doubt that the international community needed to strengthen its collective efforts to address the “pressing, but often forgotten,” humanitarian challenges of today.“There needs to be greater recognition of the positive role that the Middle East plays in the delivery of charitable and humanitarian assistance. However, I would also point out that greater participation within the multilateral system could help bring about that recognition,” he told government, UN and development representatives at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid and Development Conference and Exhibition.“The international humanitarian response will be strengthened through greater cooperation; the United Nations humanitarian system will be reinforced and diversified; and the countries and aid agencies of the Middle East will be better able to tap international resources, help set the agenda and generate international recognition for their humanitarian activities.”“Strengthening humanitarian partnerships and networks within the region and between the Middle East and other regions represents a win-win situation for all involved,” Mr. Egeland pointed out, saying also that the humanitarian community continued to be “perceived as too UN- and too Western-centric,” something the UN was trying to rectify.He also highlighted various areas of recent collaboration, including contributions or pledges from the Governments of Kuwait, Pakistan, Egypt and Qatar, as well as the new Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which will have up to $450 million available to be used as grants for jump-starting life-saving relief operations immediately when a natural disaster or other crisis strikes.“We also value the excellent working relationship we have with Red Crescent organizations of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf States. Our open, frank and constructive dialogue with charitable organizations from the Arab-Muslim world enables us better to understand specific challenges and constraints,” he concluded. read more

US unemployment benefit applications fall to 350000 lowest in 4 years drop

WASHINGTON – The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits plunged last week. But a big reason is that automakers have skipped some of their usual summer shutdowns to keep up with demand, causing fewer temporary auto layoffs.Economists expect the number of Americans seeking unemployment aid to go back up in coming weeks.The auto industry’s recovery has helped support the struggling U.S. economy. U.S. auto sales in the first half of the year jumped 15 per cent over the same period a year ago. Sales of new vehicles surged in June. Automakers also began Independence Day promotions early, lifting sales at the end of the month.The Labor Department adjusts the number of applications for unemployment aid to account for seasonal factors. But it didn’t anticipate fewer temporary shutdowns of auto plants this summer — and fewer auto layoffs. That distorted the seasonally adjusted data it released Thursday.And that may largely explain why applications for unemployment aid tumbled 26,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 350,000 — the fewest since March 2008.“Take July with a grain of salt,” Jill Brown, an economist at Credit Suisse, said in a note to clients. The auto shutdowns “often cause extreme volatility.”Automakers traditionally close their plants in the first two weeks in July to prepare them to build new models, and their employees often file for unemployment benefits. But Ford Motor Co. said in May that it would reduce its usual two-week closing to just one week. And Chrysler cancelled the normal two-week shutdowns at three factories.Applications for unemployment benefits measure the pace of layoffs. When they consistently fall below 375,000, it generally suggests that hiring is strong enough to reduce the unemployment rate. The number has fluctuated at or above that level since April.At the same time, hiring has slowed sharply compared with the first three months of the year. Employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, the third straight month of weak hiring. The unemployment rate was stuck at 8.2 per cent.And wages have barely kept up with inflation over the past year, leading consumers to pull back on spending.The economy isn’t growing fast enough to prompt more hiring. The economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.9 per cent in the first three months of the year. Most economists don’t think growth picked up in the April-June quarter. And some predict that it weakened.The Federal Reserve expects the U.S. economy to grow just 1.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent for 2012. That’s half a percentage point lower than the range it estimated in April. The Fed also says the unemployment rate won’t fall much further this year than it has already.Yet the auto industry is enjoying a rebound. From January through June, U.S. auto sales ran at an annual rate of 14.3 million, far better than last year’s 12.8 million. Many analysts predict 15 million sales next year.Much of the increase comes from pent-up demand. The average age of a vehicle on U.S. roads is nearing 11 years. Many are wearing out and need to be replaced.The higher auto production also has ripple effects: Many parts companies have had to add workers to keep up with demand.Chrysler’s first-half sales are up more than 30 per cent over the same period a year ago.Ford’s sales rose nearly 7 per cent in the first half of 2012. It cut in half the usual two-week shutdowns at six assembly plants and seven engine and parts plants, all so it could make 40,000 more vehicles this year.Most other areas of the U.S. economy aren’t faring as well. That’s why some analysts think applications for unemployment aid could rise in coming weeks, once the Labor Department’s seasonal adjustments no longer include the summer auto shutdowns.Most economists don’t foresee a strong increase in hiring coming soon.“We have been disappointed for the past three months, and I will believe that payroll gains have improved up when I see it,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors.___Krisher contributed from Detroit. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Christopher S. Rugaber,Tom Krisher, The Associated Press Posted Jul 12, 2012 4:40 pm MDT US unemployment benefit applications fall to 350,000, lowest in 4 years; drop may be temporary read more

Sportscene optimistic about 2013 despite bodycheck caused by NHL lockout

MONTREAL – The operator of Quebec’s sports themed La Cage aux Sports restaurant chain says it remains confident about the coming year despite a bodycheck to its business caused by the NHL lockout.Sportscene Group Inc. (TSXV:SPS.A) said Thursday that after two years of significant investments, it will move to reduce costs, primarily in its kitchen operations, and focus on customer service.“Despite the uncertainty that continues to prevail in regard to the 2012-2013 hockey season, we are still confident as to fiscal 2013, considering the investments and initiatives carried out over the past two years to expand and modernize our operational base, improve profitability and enhance the overall offering to our target customers,” said president and CEO Jean Bedard.The chain started the new fiscal year by acquiring an additional 50 per cent interest in a Cage formerly operated as a joint venture and a 50 per cent stake in three non-banner restaurants located in the Montreal area.“In addition to bringing an accretive contribution to Sportscene Group’s results, this latest acquisition offers interesting synergy potential,” he added.The Montreal-based company reported Thursday that it earned $544,000 attributable to shareholders or 13 cents per share in the fourth quarter. That compared with $411,000 or nine cents per share a year earlier.Revenues for the period ended Aug. 26 grew 6.5 per cent to $19.1 million from $17.9 million in the corresponding quarter in 2011. Total network sales including from franchisees increased seven per cent to $26 million.Sportscene added three restaurants in the first quarter and a fourth at the end of the fiscal year.Sales for restaurants open at least a year — or same-store sales — increased by four per cent on efforts that were initiated during the summer.For the full year, net earnings decreased nearly 19 per cent to $3.26 million, or 78 cents per share, from $4 million, or 96 cents in 2011 on lower same-store sales, costs associated with new restaurant openings and the organization of two boxing events in 2012, one less than the prior year.Revenues increased five per cent to $84.3 million from $80.25 million. Total network sales grew by 2.3 per cent to $110.3 million.“We believe Sportscene Group has done well in the last fiscal year, given the particularly challenging context we were faced with in regard to both our competitive and sporting environment,” Bedard said, noting that it paid 30 cents per share dividend during the year from its $9 million of operating cash flows.Founded in 1984, Sportscene Group operates 52 sports-themed restaurants, 40 of which are wholly or jointly owned by the company and 12 that are franchised.On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Sportscene shares were unchanged at $7.25 in afternoon trading Thursday. Sportscene optimistic about 2013 despite bodycheck caused by NHL lockout by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 22, 2012 2:33 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

RIM to debut new BlackBerry 10 in heavilyhyped unveiling

by News Staff Posted Jan 30, 2013 5:21 am MDT RIM to debut new BlackBerry 10 in heavily-hyped unveiling The launch has been hyped for months, after several delays forced RIM to push back the date into 2013, missing the lucrative 2012 holiday season.Once a Canadian tech darling, RIM has seen much of its market share eaten away by increasing competition from the Apple iPhone and Google’s Android platform.Several service outages in past months have also hurt the company, along with the long delay for BB10 and the lack of a new winning product.These issues have all contributed to the price of RIM’s stock dropping to $15.71 from its all-time high of approximately $150 per share.RIM is hoping the release of the BB10 will change the company’s fortunes, however, and renew the “cool” factor that once surrounded Blackberry phones.The company said the new BlackBerry will be released first in a touchscreen version, while a keypad alternative will follow in the weeks or months afterward.The new phone launch is RIM’s attempt to regain its position in the highly competitive North American and European smartphone markets, which are now dominated by iPhone and Android devices.While the first hurdles to overcome are the opinions of tech analysts and investor reaction, the true measure of success — actual sales of the phones — is still weeks away.The BlackBerry has dramatically lost marketshare in recent years after a series of blunders.Several network outages left customers without the use of the smartphones they had come to rely on, while the BlackBerry’s hardware hasn’t received a significant upgrade in years.RIM chief executive Thorsten Heins has already offered a glimpse of some features on the new devices. They include BlackBerry Balance technology, which allows one phone to operate as both a business and personal device entirely separate from each other.The new BlackBerry will also let users seamlessly shift between the phone’s applications like they’re flipping between pages on a desk.In the coming weeks, RIM will launch an advertising blitz to promote the phones, including aggressive social media campaigning, which includes plugs from celebrities on their Twitter accounts, and a 30-second advertisement on the Super Bowl, the most watched television program of the year. It’s being billed as a make-or-break moment for Research in Motion, as the company unveils its latest version of its smartphone — BlackBerry 10 — to the world.Anticipation is high ahead of Wednesday’s unveiling at 10 a.m. ET, where RIM will display its new phone and operating system, hoping to win back some of its once large North American subscriber base.Key launch details are also expected to be announced at the launch. That will likely include its release date, which is expected in the next four to six weeks, the phone’s features and how much it will cost.Follow real-time coverage from CityNews technology specialist Mike Yawney starting at 8:30 a.m. ET. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Oil rises above US95 after good jobs signal a day ahead of

Oil rises above US$95 after good jobs signal a day ahead of unemployment report AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Associated Press Posted Jun 6, 2013 11:50 am MDT NEW YORK, N.Y. – Oil rose to a high for the week Thursday after a positive reading on the U.S. job market, as natural gas plunged on a surprisingly large increase in the nation’s supplies.U.S. benchmark oil for July delivery gained US$1.02 to finish at $94.76 a barrel in New York, the highest close since May 28. Earlier in the session, crude hit $95.32 a barrel.Natural gas dropped 17 cents, or 4.1 per cent, to end at $3.83 per 1,000 cubic feet.Oil prices received support from the latest government unemployment update. The U.S. Labor Department said Thursday that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 11,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, a level consistent with steady job growth. The claims figures come a day ahead of the monthly payrolls report, which often sets the tone across financial markets for a week or two after its release.Natural gas sank after the government released weekly supply numbers. Natural gas supplies tend to rise at this time of year, between the heating and air conditioning seasons. The report showed supplies rose by 111 billion cubic feet to 2.252 trillion cubic feet for the week ended May 31. That was well above the average increase for the last week of May of 82 billion cubic feet to 98 billion, according to the daily newsletter The Schork Report.Natural gas futures have dropped 43 cents, or 10 per cent in the last two weeks.Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose 57 cents to finish at $103.61 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange:— Wholesale gasoline rose three cents to end at $2.85 a gallon.— Heating oil added two cents to finish at $2.87 per gallon.___Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Christopher S. Rugaber in Washington contributed to this report.(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE) read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX TSX Venture Exchange markets

Most actively traded companies on the TSX, TSX Venture Exchange markets AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by The Canadian Press Posted Sep 3, 2013 5:17 pm MDT TORONTO – Some of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (12,845.06 up 87.25 points):Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. (TXS:ANS). Up 98 cents, or 33.33 per cent, at $3.92 on 30.3 million shares. U.S. forestry giant Louisiana-Pacific announced a friendly, US$1.1-billion takeover deal for the Vancouver-based maker of products used in housing construction.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Transportation equipment. Up 26 cents, or 5.51 per cent, at $4.98 on 12.2 million shares. The company is exiting the fractional business aircraft ownership service after 18 years with the planned sale of Flexjet to a U.S. private equity firm for US$185 million.”Blackberry (TSX:BB). Wireless communications. Up 32 cents, or 2.84 per cent, at $11.60 on 5.5 million shares. The Wall Street Journal reported that the smartphone maker has narrowed the list of possible bidders for all or part of the company, and hopes to wrap up the auction by November.Surge Energy Inc. (TSX:SGY). Oil and gas. Up two cents, or 0.33 per cent, at $6.08 on 3.99 million shares. October crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange was ahead $1.14 to US$108.37 a barrel and the energy sector gained per 1.26 cent.Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU). Oil and gas. Up 43 cents, or 1.20 per cent, at $36.26 on 3.66 million shares.Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. (TSX:TRQ). Miner. Up four cents, or 0.74 per cent, at $5.41 on 3.58 million shares. Gold stocks were the biggest TSX weight, down about three per cent as December bullion declined $17 to US$1,373 an ounce.Toronto Venture Exchange (947.78 up 0.60 of a point):Novus Energy, Inc. (TSXV:NVS). Oil and gas. Up one cent, or 0.93 per cent, at $1.085 on 6.2 million shares.Solimar Energy Ltd. (TSXV:SXS). Oil and gas. Down half a cent, or 25 per cent, at 1.5 cents on 3.1 million shares. read more