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August 31, 2014

TIFF overbooks for two world premieres, including Bill Murray

Filed under: online, term — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 1:56 pm

It won’t be much of a Bill Murray Day for some Toronto International Film Festival goers, after a computer glitch froze them out of premium tickets they thought they had for the world premiere of St. Vincent on Sept. 5.

And some ticket pack purchases who thought they had seats at the Sept. 5 world bow of crime drama The Drop, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late James Gandolfini got the same bad news.

The TIFF computer system failed to take two Princess of Wales screenings

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August 29, 2014

Sandy recovery, sun boost Jersey shore business

Filed under: Canada, legal — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 10:52 pm

BELMAR, N.J. (AP) — Good weather and greater awareness that the Jersey shore has made huge strides in recovering from Superstorm Sandy helped make the second summer after the storm better than the first one, many merchants and elected officials say.

Some business owners report profits up 20 to 30 percent this summer compared with last year’s, when the shore was still in the early stages of recovering from the devastating October 2012 storm.

“This summer was great,” said Matt Riccelli, who manages Gee Gee’s restaurants on the Manasquan beachfront. “We’re all sad to see it end.”

Riccelli said his business was up 20 percent this summer from last, when it was still rebuilding and the beach was much narrower before an offseason replenishment project. Weekend weather was mostly sunny. But he and many others said the biggest factor was getting past the images of Sandy’s destruction.

“Sandy is a memory at this point,” Riccelli said. “A lot of the construction is done, and more locals who were displaced last year are back in town this year.”

Annie’s Ocean Grill has operated from a truck on the Belmar beachfront the past two summers. This year was definitely better, said cook David Gelman.

“People see that the beach is back, the boardwalk is here, and that Sandy is gone,” he said. “There’s a sense that the shore is getting back to normal.”

To be sure, there is still work to do. The whine of power saws and the thwack of hammers still resonate on summer afternoons in places like Manasquan, the Ortley Beach section of Toms River, and Mantoloking, where work continues on homes wrecked by the storm. But even those places have made sure the beach is ready for visitors.

Summer rentals bounced back strongly. Jerry Bennett, a real estate agent with Seashore Agency in Ship Bottom, said his business increased by 30 percent on Long Beach Island.

“If you’re driving around LBI, you wouldn’t even realize there was a superstorm here less than two years ago,” he said. “The island is back to normal now and better than ever, because a lot of places got newly renovated. People have gotten the word that there’s not total devastation here.”

Dan MacElrevey said rentals at the six motels he manages in the Wildwoods, three beach communities at the southern tip of the state, were up by 8 percent in July and August small personal loans. At Maui’s Dog House, a hot dog restaurant that serves its food in dog bowls, saw its sales increase this season, partly because it was still rebuilding in early summer 2013.

Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach also said business was noticeably better this year, although it could not give a percentage increase. Spokeswoman Toby Wolf attributed the improvement to good weather, more available rentals and more out-of-state visitors.

“I’ve always seen some New England license plates here, but this year there seemed to be an abundance of them in the parking lots and driving around the area,” she said.

New Jersey charges people for the privilege of walking onto a beach, and beach badge sales were up in many shore towns this summer.

Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long said her town, which was pummeled by Sandy, had taken in 50 percent more beach revenue as of Aug. 22 compared with all of summer 2013. Belmar had sold 9,000 more beach badges as of Aug. 24 than it did in the same period last summer, and its beach parking revenue nearly tripled this summer. Ocean City was up by $125,000 at the beginning of August.

Tom Rogers said business at his TR’s Food Court in Belmar was about the same this summer as last year — despite raising prices by 3 percent. He said an increase in New Jersey’s minimum wage held down profits and also customers bought fewer soft drinks, which are a big profit-maker for his business.

And despite the imminent closing of the casinos, Atlantic City has been having a good summer, with restaurants and nightclubs doing brisk business, said Liza Cartmell, president of the Atlantic City Alliance, the casino-funded agency that promotes the city to other parts of the country.

“Contrary as it appears in the face of the closings, Atlantic City is actually experiencing a very strong summer,” she said.

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August 28, 2014

GM to move Cadillac SRX production to Tenn.

Filed under: loans, management — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 7:52 am

SPRING HILL, Tenn. (AP) — General Motors is moving production of the next-generation Cadillac SRX crossover SUV from Mexico to a factory in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The company also announced Wednesday that it will add production of some small gasoline engines to the Spring Hill complex.

The additions will bring more jobs to Spring Hill, but a spokesman wouldn’t give specifics on how many would be added to the sprawling former Saturn facility about 40 miles south of Nashville.

All GM said in a statement is that the SRX and a yet-to-be identified second midsize vehicle would “create or retain” about 1,800 jobs, while a $185 million investment in the Spring Hill engine factory would keep 390 jobs.

The complex now employs just over 2,300 workers, including hourly and salaried employees and those who work for parts supply companies.

Last year GM announced plans to invest $350 million in the Tennessee assembly plant to build two future midsize vehicles. The plant already builds several small gasoline engines plus the Chevrolet Equinox midsize SUV.

GM also announced Wednesday that it would invest just under $50 million at its Bedford, Indiana, engine block casting plant, keeping 45 jobs.

The company was holding a news conference at the Spring Hill factory on Wednesday to formally make the announcements.

The Cadillac SRX now is built at a GM factory in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. That plant also builds the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact car and Chevy Captiva small SUV.

The United Auto Workers union, which represents Spring Hill factory employees, touted Wednesday’s news as an example of how the union and company can work together.

“Today’s announcement is proof we can achieve great things when workers have a seat at the table and the chance to share their ideas,” union Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement.

Republican politicians like U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam have been vocal opponents of the UAW gaining representation at a Volkswagen factory in Chattanooga. Workers voted against the union earlier this year. But the UAW has said it expects VW to recognize the union without another vote when it gets enough workers to sign membership cards.

GM hasn’t identified the other new vehicle to be built at Spring Hill. But the state of Tennessee said in a July 11 news release that a nearby company was expanding to make parts for new GMC and Cadillac vehicles at the Spring Hill factory.

The new GMC likely would be produced on the same underpinnings as the Cadillac SUV, which likely will be redesigned for the 2016 model year.

It’s possible that Chevy Equinox production at Spring Hill could go away in favor of the two new vehicles. The Equinox and sister vehicle, the GMC Terrain, already are assembled at two Canadian factories.

Crossover SUVs are in one of the fastest-growing segments of the U.S. auto market, appealing to young people and downsizing baby boomers. Sales of the midsize crossovers are up 14 percent so far this year, according to Autodata Corp., while overall U.S. auto sales are up 5 percent.

Crossovers are built on car underpinnings so they maneuver like a car and get comparable gas mileage. Drivers like the visibility of the high seating position and versatile cargo space.

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August 26, 2014

US durable goods orders surge record 22.6 percent

Filed under: Uncategorized, investors — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 4:44 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Business orders for long-lasting manufactured goods shot up by the largest amount on record in July but much of the strength came from a huge surge in demand for commercial aircraft. Outside of transportation, orders actually fell.

The Commerce Department says orders for durable goods rose 22.6 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the largest one-month gain on record. The strength came from a 318 percent increase in orders for civilian aircraft which helped lift orders for transportation equipment by a record 74 no fax pay day loan.2 percent.

But excluding transportation, orders fell 0.8 percent, and a key category that serves as a proxy for business investment plans dropped 0.5 percent, but this dip came after a sizable 5.4 percent rise in the previous month.

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August 25, 2014

Roche to buy US biotech firm InterMune for $8.3B

Filed under: management, technology — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 2:04 am

BERLIN (AP) — Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche said Sunday it has reached an $8.3 billion deal to buy InterMune Inc., a California-based developer of treatments for lung diseases.

The companies have reached an agreement under which Roche will acquire InterMune in an all-cash transaction, paying $74.00 per InterMune share, Roche said. That is a premium of 38 percent over InterMune’s closing price on Friday.

The acquisition of the biotechnology company, based in Brisbane, California, “will allow Roche to broaden and strengthen its respiratory portfolio globally,” the Swiss company said. It added that the transaction is expected to bolster earnings from 2016.

Roche said it plans “a smooth transition of InterMune employees and operations into the Roche organization payday advances.” The American company hopes to launch its drug pirfenidone in the U.S. later this year.

The drug is designed to treat a terminal lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, or IPF, which causes inflammation and scarring of the lung that makes it hard for patients to breathe. InterMune began selling it in Europe under the name Esbriet in 2011 and it is also available in Canada and some other countries.

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August 23, 2014

McKee applies for St. Louis hospital approval

Filed under: Uncategorized, term — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 10:28 am

Developer Paul McKee has officially submitted his application to state health regulators seeking approval for a three-bed, $6.8 million urgent care hospital on the city’s north side.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Department of Health Director Pamela Walker offered written support for the project along with a handful of other public officials and residents, according to the application submitted Friday to the Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee.

In Missouri, hospitals must go through the certificate of need process to obtain approval before building. Applicants must show there’s an actual need for the hospital, and the Health Facilities Review Committee votes on the request.

McKee’s application uses a study from the city’s department of health to show the overall poor health status of north city residents to illustrate the need for the hospital, according to the application. If approved, this will be the city’s only hospital north of Lindell Boulevard. 

Substantial health disparities particularly among the African-American community still persist in north St. Louis, Walker said in a letter contained within McKee’s application. The highest mortality rates, including those of infants, are within north St. Louis zip codes, Walker wrote. And, the lowest life expectancy is in north St. Louis, she wrote.

“An estimated 40 percent of residents living on the north side of St. Louis do not have their own means of transportation, resulting in a high demand for city ambulance services to primarily Christian North East or BJC emergency departments,” Walker wrote my credit score.

In a letter to convey his “unqualified support,” Slay said the project “would not simply promote public health in a part of the city where there is great need, it would represent a significant advance in broader interests of social justice.”

The application is in line with McKee’s previously announced plan for the hospital located at the intersection of 25th and North Market Streets, within McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration project area. But it’s still unclear who will operate clinical services for the hospital.

The three-bed hospital will not house any operating rooms, oncology services, invasive procedure rooms or obstetric services, according to the application. Transfer agreements will be in place with other hospitals and trauma centers to treat patients who need more than urgent care services, according to the application.

McKee estimates the hospital will experience 7,800 patient visits in its first year of operation followed by about 8,580 its second year.

The owner of the project is listed as Northside Urgent Care Property LLC, located in O’Fallon, Mo. The operator is listed as Northside Urgent Care Hospital Inc. with the same O’Fallon address, according to the application. The two have “common” ownership, according to the application.

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August 21, 2014

Lights Off at JVC as Abenomics Finds Exporters in Decline - Bloomberg

Filed under: Canada, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 8:20 pm

The lights are off in the lobby of JVC Kenwood (6632) Corp.

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August 20, 2014

Japan Defense Shares Beats National Benchmark as Abe Beefs Up Military: Chart - Bloomberg

Filed under: business, technology — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 4:48 am

Defense-related shares in Japan beat the national benchmark and U.S. peers since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power and embarked on a policy to strengthen the military and lower barriers to arms exports.

The CHART OF THE DAY tracks defense gauges for Japanese, American and European equities and counterpart geographic benchmarks normalized from Dec. 14, 2012, just before Abe led an election victory, through Aug. 18. Goldman Sachs

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August 18, 2014

Europe stocks rebound, Asia subdued by China data

Filed under: mortgage, online — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 1:40 pm

European stocks bounced back Monday from Ukraine-related selling while Asian markets were subdued by further signs of weakness in China’s property market.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany’s DAX jumped 1.5 percent to 9,229.97 and France’s CAC 40 added 1.2 percent to 4,225.37. Britain’s FTSE 100 rose 0.6 percent to 6,726.92. European markets tumbled Friday on reports Ukraine destroyed a Russian military convoy that had entered its east. Futures pointed to gains on Wall Street, with Dow futures up 0.4 percent to 16,705. S&P 500 futures added 0.4 percent to 1,961.

ASIA’S DAY: Trading was cautious after Friday’s selling spasm in Europe and on Wall Street. Weak China property prices added to the caution. Japan’s Nikkei 225 inched up 0.1 percent to 15,322.60 while Seoul’s Kospi dropped 0.5 percent at 2,053.13. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was little changed at 24,955.46 but China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.6 percent to 2,239.47. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.4 percent to 5,587.10. Southeast Asian markets were mixed. Taiwan’s benchmark fell 0.7 percent.

CHINA CHILL: A fall in China’s residential property prices for July added to other recent signs of economic softening. Government data showed prices decreased in 64 out of 70 cities for new apartments. For secondhand apartments, prices decreased in 65 of the 70 cities. “Given weakness remains rampant in certain parts of China’s economy, there have been growing calls for further stimulus measures recently,” said IG strategist Stan Shamu.

UKRAINE: Ukrainian army troops penetrated deep inside a city controlled by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine in what could prove a breakthrough development in the four-month-long conflict, the Ukrainian government said Sunday. That came after NATO on Friday said a Russian military column ventured into Ukraine, and the Ukrainian president said his forces destroyed most of it. Russia denied it.

JACKSON HOLE: Central bankers, policy experts and academics from around the world meet at Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an annual talkfest later this week. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s speech Friday on the U.S. labor market is expected to “reiterate her views that slack remains substantial, and that the Fed should keep monetary policy accommodative still in order to address that,” Mihuzo Bank said in a commentary.

ENERGY: Oil is trading near its lowest since April after fears of supply disruptions from major producer Iraq faded, removing much of the risk premium that built up in May and June. The benchmark U.S. crude futures contract was down 93 cents at $96.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

CURRENCIES: The euro dropped to $1.3390 from $1.3399 late Friday. The dollar rose to 102.46 yen from 102.36 yen.

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August 16, 2014

Blue Jays may look back at Seattle series as moment it all went south: Griffin

Filed under: marketing, news — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 10:44 pm

CHICAGO—The just-concluded three-game series in Seattle was always going to be huge for the Blue Jays.

You could see its importance come into focus at the beginning of August when the Mariners began to heat up and the Jays started cooling off.

Series success would nicely set up the rest of this road trip, even the rest of the season.

Failure? Well, now we’re going to find out.

The Jays lost the middle game of the set to right-hander Chris Young on Tuesday. That one game, in hindsight, may be looked upon as the turning point in what is looking more and more like a slow, painful drop to .500 or below.

Young was the one Seattle pitcher the Jays had to beat before taking their chances with Hisashi Iwakuma. Instead, the journeyman beat them with an 85 m.p.h. letter-high fastball. He has been doing it all season in posting a solid record of 11-6 with a 3.20 ERA. The Jays started J.A. Happ against Young, and it was exactly the type of matchup they needed to win in order to be contenders.

But the Jays offered little resistance until it was too little, too late.

The complexion of Toronto’s season now changes.

Losing to Felix Hernandez and Iwakuma would have been acceptable if combined with a win over Young. Losing two of three would have left the Jays just one game behind the M’s in the wild-card chase and a couple behind the Tigers. That would have left them in position to compete, especially with Edwin Encarnacion set to return on Friday.

But now it’s all about mathematical hope and putting together a long win streak in the face of starting pitching matchups that rarely seem to favour the Jays. There are no signs of anything good about to happen, unless Encarnacion comes back and carries the offence for 40 games.

Is it a coincidence the Jays’ dismal streak started on the day after the Aug. 1 trade deadline, after GM Alex Anthopoulos failed to pull the trigger on any deal, except for acquiring utility infielder Danny Valencia two days earlier?

The Jays were talking bravely about the return of Brett Lawrie, Adam Lind and Encarnacion being their equivalent moves to a big deadline deal. Lawrie’s return to action lasted all of three innings, and more air was sucked out of the clubhouse.

The Mariners picked up Austin Jackson and added Kendrys Morales. The Tigers got David Price. The Orioles added lefty Andrew Miller to an already solid bullpen. The Yankees picked up Stephen Drew, Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy and Martin Prado. The Royals made a strong August addition in Josh Willingham. The A’s have Jon Lester.

The Blue Jays? The clubhouse simply received excuses and assurances the money was there but no move seemed a good fit. Whoosh! More air sucked out of the room.

The Jays are 3-9 since the trade deadline and have lost four of their last five series heading in to play the nothing-to-lose White Sox. The raw numbers tell a daunting tale for the Jays.

They have 40 games remaining. To win 95 games, which would seem to be a lock for at least a wild-card and maybe the division, the Jays must go 32-8. To win 90, which would put them in the hunt all the way through the final month, they must win 27 of the next 40. To equal Tim Johnson’s 16-year-old high of 88 wins set in 1998, manager John Gibbons and his troops need to go 25-15.

Even to the most optimistic Jays fans, this would seem to be the best they could hope for.

Simply put, 10 games above .500 over the next 40 games is a tall order for a team that has been 10 games below .500 since maxing out at plus-14 and leading the AL East by six games. Where are the positive signs? Someone needs to step up on both the pitching and hitting sides of the equation.

On June 1, when Mark Buehrle was 10-1, there was a thought that when the Jays visited Chicago he might be vying for career win No. 200. He needed 16 wins at the start of the season. Now, 76 days later, Buehrle will be facing his old team attempting to win his 12th game of the season, trying to regain the precision of his pitches and the good luck that made him an early Cy Young favourite.

The fact of the matter is, in the next 40 games, it’s Buehrle and R.A. Dickey that really need to step it up. Dickey went down 2-0 in the first inning Wednesday in Seattle but did not allow another run through six. The bottom line, though, is they lost and trailed the entire game. There are no consolation prizes in October.

Marcus Stroman is the Jays’ best starter right now, but does that make him an ace? No. Good teams look at the pitching matchups and there is no Blue Jays starter anyone fears.

Stroman is not going to get any better and more competitive than he is now. The four guys that need to step up if the Jays are going to put on any kind of a late-season run are Buehrle and Dickey on the pitching staff and Encarnacion and Jose Bautista on offence.

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