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September 15, 2014

Exit poll: Sweden opposition wins without majority

Filed under: loans, small business — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 3:44 am

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The left-leaning opposition looked like the clear winner of Sweden’s election Sunday but without a parliamentary majority, an exit poll showed.

The poll by public broadcaster SVT gave the Social Democratic-led Red-Green bloc 44.8 percent of the votes, compared to 39.7 percent for the center-right Alliance that’s been in power for the past eight years.

If the result stands, eight years of tax cuts and pro-market policies under Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt are likely over in Sweden.

But it would also mean that a complicated situation looms, with Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven likely to form a new government, but with the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats holding the balance of power in Parliament. The once radical far-right party almost doubled its support to 10.5 percent in the exit poll.

That could make it difficult for Lofven to govern. If he wins the election, he’s expected to enter coalition talks with the environmentalist Green Party and the ex-communist Left Party.

But even with the added support of a small feminist party, which the exit poll showed balancing on the 4 percent threshold to enter Parliament, he would be unlikely to get a majority.

Political analyst Mikael Sundstrom of Lund University said Lofven may try to win over one of the four center-right parties in Reinfeldt’s Alliance to build a stronger coalition, though none of them have expressed a desire to work with the Social Democrats.

Reinfeldt, who took office in 2006, is the longest-serving conservative leader in Swedish history no fax payday loans. Though he’s won praise internationally for steering Sweden’s economy through Europe’s debt crisis in relatively good shape, many Swedes worry his pro-market policies have undermined the welfare system.

Reinfeldt’s Alliance has cut income and corporate taxes, abolished a tax on wealth and trimmed welfare benefits. It has also eased labor laws and privatized state-owned companies, including the maker of Absolut vodka.

Meanwhile, the gap between rich and poor has grown faster in Sweden than in most developed countries, though it remains among the world’s most egalitarian, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“I hope that there will be a change,” said Jonathan Andersson, a 25-year-old chef in Stockholm who blamed the government for his problems finding a “proper” job. “They changed the employment law and now I just get temporary work.”

Martin Holmen, a volunteer campaign worker for Reinfeldt’s Moderate Party, said many voters didn’t give the government enough credit for making Sweden’s economy one of the strongest in Europe.

“We have had the deepest economic crisis since the 1930s. But people in Sweden have hardly noticed it,” Holmen said. “That’s a very good grade for the Alliance.”


AP video journalist Jona Kallgren contributed to this report.


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September 11, 2014

Homicide officers probe death of man, 22

Filed under: Canada, uk — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 10:04 pm

Toronto police are investigating the death of a 22-year-old man after they were called to a North York scene around 8 a.m. Thursday.

Police found the man suffering from unspecified injuries in the area of Upper Canada Dr. and Montressor Dr., near Sheppard Ave. E. and Bayview Ave.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The victim’s identity has not been released pending notification of next of kin.

The death is being investigated as a homicide, the city’s 33rd of the year.


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September 3, 2014

Gay group to march in NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Filed under: Canada, legal — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 7:48 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — A gay group will march under its own banner for the first time in the world’s largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, organizers said Wednesday.

The prohibition on identified gay groups in the centuries-old New York parade had made participation a political issue. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to march this year, and Guinness beer dropped its sponsorship.

The parade committee, in a statement made available to The Associated Press, said Wednesday that OUT@NBCUniversal, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender resource group at the company that broadcasts the parade, would be marching up Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue on March 17 under an identifying banner.

Craig Robinson, executive vice president and chief diversity officer at NBCUniversal, said the group had applied to march, but there was no immediate word on why the group was chosen.

“We welcome the parade committee’s decision to accept OUT@NBCUniversal’s application to march and enthusiastically embrace the gesture of inclusion,” Robinson said. “Our employees, families and friends look forward to joining in this time-honored celebration of Irish culture and heritage.”

OUT@NBCUniversal is described on its website as “the affinity group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at NBCUniversal.” Parade directors voted unanimously to include the group, the statement said.

Other gay groups can apply to march in future years, spokesman Bill O’Reilly said.

“It’s about time,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of the gay-rights group GLAAD. “Discrimination has no place on America’s streets, least of all on Fifth Avenue. As an Irish-Catholic American, I look forward to a fully inclusive St. Patrick’s Day Parade that I can share with my wife and children, just as my own parents shared with me.” She said parade organizers “must be held accountable” on their pledge to open the parade to all.

In the past, organizers said gays were free to march but only with other groups and not with banners identifying them as gay. Most marching units in the parade carry identifying banners. There are about 320 units in next year’s parade, the committee said.

The committee said its “change of tone and expanded inclusiveness is a gesture of goodwill to the LGBT community in our continuing effort to keep the parade above politics.”

The statement said the parade was “remaining loyal to church teachings,” and O’Reilly said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is to be the parade’s grand marshal next year, was “very supportive” of the change.

Dolan said last year he supported the participation of gay people.

“I know that there are thousands and thousands of gay people marching in this parade,” he said. “And I’m glad they are.”

Dolan was expected to appear at a scheduled news conference Wednesday afternoon.

Police Commissioner William Bratton marched last year with a contingent of uniformed officers. Gay activists held a news conference before the march to say officers should not participate in uniform.

Uniformed city workers, marching bands with bagpipes, traditional Irish dancers and politicians are traditional participants at the parade, which began in 1762 and can draw hundreds of thousands of participants and spectators.

The committee’s statement welcoming OUT@NBCUniversal said, “Organizers have diligently worked to keep politics — of any kind — out of the parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event. Paradoxically, that ended up politicizing the parade.”


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

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.


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.


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.


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.

August 13, 2014

Carney Pledges No Rush to Raise Rate as BOE Focuses on Wages - Bloomberg

Filed under: marketing, uk — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 5:28 pm

Mark Carney pledged that Bank of England officials won

August 10, 2014

Farmers worry over forecasts of another strong corn harvest

Filed under: marketing, online — Tags: , , , — ManInBlack @ 11:00 am

With what appears to be another exceptional corn harvest headed our way, you might think farmers would be shopping for new trucks and planning pricey vacations.

But for many of them — particularly those who rent their farmland — 2014 looks like it’s bringing too much of a good thing.

It’s a simple case of supply far exceeding demand, with corn prices rapidly falling to the point where growers may actually lose money, despite having fields bursting with corn.

“A lot of crop producers are nervous,” said Pat Westhoff, director of the University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute. “They didn’t expect prices to fall as much as they have.”

Indeed, industry observers knew a correction was coming after several years in which rising demand and poor weather shoved prices into record territory, topping $8 a bushel in 2012.

Last year, prices slipped below $5 a bushel. And now the U.S. Department of Agriculture is suggesting the price could drop as low as $3.65, with some observers worried it could go even lower.

The problem is that many farmers can’t sell corn at that price and make a profit. It varies from farm to farm, but typically a grower who rents land needs to make about $4 a bushel to pay for seeds, fertilizer, herbicides, fuel, equipment depreciation and rent.

The picture is better for those farmers who own their land. That brings production costs closer to $2 per bushel. But experts say most large operators rent half or more of the land they farm.

So those farmers are in the uncomfortable position of watching as mild weather and strong harvest forecasts push prices ever lower.

It’s a far cry from the 2010 to 2012 stretch, when rising demand and drought pushed prices upward. The drought of 2012, in particular, hammered fields, reducing the national average yield to around 120 bushels per acre — well below last year’s harvest of more than 160 bushels per acre.

“People who had a decent crop that year actually made some money,” Westhoff said payday loan.

Some farmers have insulated themselves, somewhat, from this year’s price plunge by using advance contracts — agreements to sell corn at a set price. It’s a gamble than can pay off in this situation for farmers who agreed to such deals when prices were still above $5 a bushel.

“If they haven’t already sold it, there’s not much they can do,” said Darrel Good, an agriculture economist at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

One of the few options is to store the corn instead of selling it at losing prices.

It’s an option that can work, but one that has its drawbacks, said Jim Stuever, president of the Missouri Corn Growers Association.

Stuever, who farms 1,000 acres near Dexter, Mo., plans to store some of his corn this year, even though there’s no guarantee prices won’t slip even further.

And more importantly, he said, “That doesn’t create cash flow.”

That can make it tough when it comes time to pay land owners, seed merchants and other suppliers before the next planting season starts.

“They are businesses just like we are,” Stuever said.

Farmers do have a safety net, of sorts, in the form of crop insurance and subsidies provided by the farm bill passed by Congress earlier this year.

Crop insurance kicks in when yields or revenues drop 25 percent below a farm’s average. The farm bill subsidies are triggered by corn prices falling below $3.70 a bushel over an extended period — though it’s unclear whether those prices will fall low enough to trigger that.

Regardless, farmers are left worrying over how they will cope with the coming years, if things don’t change.

“If we have prices below $4 for several years running, we’d have a very different world than they thought they were in,” Westhoff said.


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