Standard & Poor’s upgrades Greece’s credit rating to ‘CCC+’ as fears of collapse dissipate by The Associated Press Posted Jul 21, 2015 1:28 pm MDT Last Updated Jul 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Standard & Poor’s has raised Greece’s credit rating after a European bailout reduced the chances of the country’s government defaulting on its massive debts during the next year.Greece’s rating now stands at “CCC+” in an upgrade announced Tuesday. That classification means Greece is still on shaky financial ground, but less likely to face an immediate credit crisis.S&P had previously rated Greece as “CCC-,” a category signalling that loan payments are likely to be missed within six months.Greece was on the brink of reneging on part of its national debt of 320 billion euro ($347 billion) earlier this month until agreeing to a series of concessions to obtain short-term financing from other European nations.S&P still believes there is a one-in-three chance that Greece will leave the eurozone.
by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 3, 2016 11:48 am MDT Last Updated Apr 3, 2016 at 2:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – Premier Kathleen Wynne has agreed to meet this week with Ontario’s opposition leaders to talk about reforming the province’s political fundraising rules.After a week of intense criticism over fundraising quotas for Liberal cabinet ministers, Wynne sent a letter on Sunday to Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath saying she wants their input on finance reform.“I am committed to phasing out corporate and union donations to political parties and reducing the amount that individuals can donate,” she wrote.“My government remains committed to enhancing the integrity of the election finance system and protecting the public interest.”Wynne also said she would give the Tories and New Democrats time to come up with their own suggestions before the new rules are drafted.“After we meet, and once you are able to consult within your parties, I am very interested to receive your formal input on a responsible way forward to reform the current system, including your ideas on legislative and non-legislative mechanisms we could use to develop recommendations to assist us in making these important reforms,” she added.The premier’s letter came after both opposition leaders said they don’t want the governing Liberals coming up with new political financing rules on their own.“It’s time to put an end to the undue influence of big money in Ontario,” Horwath said in a statement Sunday reacting to Wynne’s open letter.“We are looking forward to the meeting, and are hopeful we can begin mapping out a process that engages all political parties and broader civil society.”Brown welcomed Wynne’s offer of a meeting in a statement Sunday, and repeated his request for a legislative committee to examine the issue.“We hope she’ll agree to strike a select committee with equal representation from all parties, where all deputations and consultations are made in public and not behind closed doors,” wrote Brown.Wynne denies accusations that lobbyists are buying access to her and Liberal cabinet ministers at expensive and exclusive dinners and receptions, but promises to come up with new rules by this fall.However, she said there will have to be a phase-in period, so not all the proposed changes to the political fundraising rules will be implemented before the next election in 2018.Wynne said she wants to follow the federal model and phase out corporate and union donations and reduce the amount individuals can contribute to parties and candidates, but she hasn’t said if Ontario taxpayers would subsidize parties under the new rules.“The question now becomes how are we going to finance our democratic process,” said Horwath.Federal contribution rules allow individuals to contribute a maximum of $1,525 to each party annually, plus another $1,525 in total to all the registered associations and candidates of each party.In Ontario, individuals, companies and unions can donate $9,775 to a party each year, another $9,975 to the party for each campaign period, plus $6,650 annually to constituency associations of any one party. They can also donate $6,650 to candidates of any one party in a campaign, but no more than $1,330 to a single candidate.Ontario also has no limits on contributions to political leadership candidates. Former Progressive Conservative leadership candidate Christine Elliott received a single donation of $100,000 in 2014.———Follow @CPnewsboy on Twitter Wynne agrees to meet Ontario opposition leaders on political fundraising reform Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne speaks to reporters as she arrives at the First Ministers meeting at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. Wynne is asking for a meeting this week with Ontario’s opposition leaders to talk about reforming the province’s political fundraising rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
by Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press Posted Nov 30, 2016 3:31 pm MDT Last Updated Nov 30, 2016 at 4:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Ottawa’s approval of a pipeline into the United States will be hugely beneficial for his province.The federal government on Tuesday approved Enbridge’s proposed replacement of Line 3, a half-century-old pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin that runs through Saskatchewan.Wall says the decision will benefit industry and workers, including pipe manufacturer Evraz which has a site in Regina.“This is an important project for the 1,000 people that work out there,” he said Wednesday.Evraz said in a release that the vast majority, if not all, of the pipe for the Enbridge Line 3 replacement project will be made at the Regina facility.That could be good news for Saskatchewan where the economy is hurting because of a downturn in commodity prices.But there are concerns too.The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 Saskatchewan bands, said protecting land and water, as well as consulting with aboriginal communities must be top priorities.“It is crucial that stringent protections for the environment be put in place to protect our communities, and that our First Nations concerns and recommendations are abided by based on our inherent and treaty rights to lands and resources,” federation Chief Bobby Cameron said.In April, the National Energy Board recommended approval of the Canadian part of the Line 3 project with 89 conditions. One condition is that Enbridge develop a plan for First Nations to participate in monitoring the project’s construction.The federation says vice-chief Edward Dutch Lerat will work to ensure that Enbridge is transparent and inclusive when working with First Nations on monitoring.Wall said companies should be held accountable in their duty to consult. But he added all parties should “hold each other accountable to the truth.”“Because I’ve seen in these debates where facts are not always at the forefront, sometimes on either side,” he said.“There are a lot of pipelines that are run through the province of Saskatchewan today … it’s how we pay a lot of bills. The oil and gas business helps build roads and build hospitals and schools and operate them, and those benefit everybody, including First Nations.“And so let’s be mindful of the environment, of the duty to consult, but let’s also make sure we’re not unnecessarily obstructionist with respect to a very important project.” Wall welcomes Line 3 pipeline approval, says it will have economic boost
by Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press Posted Mar 28, 2017 1:00 pm MDT Last Updated Mar 28, 2017 at 2:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email John Fithian, president and CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), addresses the audience during his “The State of the Industry: Past, Present & Future” presentation at CinemaCon 2017 at Caesars Palace on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP) Movie studios look to young, diverse audiences for growth LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The future of Hollywood movies is in the hands of young and diverse audiences.At CinemaCon Tuesday, studio executives and representatives from the National Association of Theater Owners touted the importance of both groups in growing the movie business.Higher ticket prices helped push the motion picture industry to a record box office total in North American theatres in 2016, but Walt Disney Studios distribution head Dave Hollis said attendance itself has remained nearly flat for a decade.Meanwhile, the business is getting more complicated as streaming services compete for consumer attention.Many of the major Hollywood studios are looking at the possibility of shortening the time between the theatrical release of a film and its availability on home video. But Hollis said Disney and its fellow studios “believe deeply that films … should be seen in a theatre.”“We have a common goal to get people to see them in your cinemas,” Hollis told people at the convention.Industry executives say the focus in the coming years will be on consumers 18 to 39, whose attendance has grown in the past two years, as has that of diverse audiences.Association President and CEO John Fithian said Hispanics constitute the most frequent moviegoers in relation to their population numbers. Attendance by Asian Americans and African Americans has also ncreased.Millennials make up 55 per cent of frequent moviegoers, according to the association, meaning they have seen four movies in the past two months.Hollis challenged theatre owners and exhibitors to keep aggressively competing for the attention of their young audiences through Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and other technology and apps used by young people.“We live in a super-competitive world,” Hollis said. “Our consumers continue to change rapidly and have more choices than ever before.”
ROCHFORD, S.D. – A Canadian company wants to move its search for gold almost 40 miles northwest from its current location in Keystone.Mineral Mountain Resources wants to drill up to 120 exploratory near Rochford, which was a gold-mining hub in the late 1800s, the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/2qH9Z1L) reported.“The Rochford Project is vastly under-explored and has the potential to host several district-scale gold discoveries,” the company said in a February news release.According to the plan, no drill hole will go deeper than 4,000 feet and the company doesn’t anticipate any contact with aquifers. Water for drilling would be pumped from Rapid Creek and stored in a tank, where cuttings would settle out so the water can be reused. After drilling, the water may then be disposed at a sewage treatment plant. After samples are removed, holes must be filled with bentonite, or concrete if an aquifer is found.The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources is reviewing the plan. The company may receive a permit by mid-June, said agency engineer Roberta Hudson.Mineral Mountain paid $250 for an exploratory permit and will have a $20,000 bond with the state.Mineral Mountain Resources may return to Keystone if market conditions improve, CEO Nelson Baker told the newspaper in an email.Drilling water and bentonite from the Keystone drilling site leaked into Battle Creek in 2012. Drilling shut down for a week. Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials said the spill didn’t pose a hazard to people or fish.___Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com by The Associated Press Posted Jun 4, 2017 10:11 am MDT Last Updated Jun 4, 2017 at 10:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Company wants to move gold search from Keystone to Rochford
TORONTO – Four months after acquiring Jean Machine, the new owner of the denim retailer says it plans on “cleaning up” the look of its stores as part of an effort to woo back customers.Gerry Bachynski, president and CEO of Comark Services Inc., says renovations will begin this fall at some locations that will include new light fixtures and repainting, all in the hopes of reinvigorating a company that has been around for 41 years — a lifetime in Canadian retail.“Customers are going to see something that is different,” he said. “My personal affinity is let the merchandise do the talking, open up the storefront, light, bright.”Bachynski says over the past few years, customers have cast aside jeans in favour of more comfortable leggings and yoga pants. But he thinks denim is poised for a comeback.“In the last year, year and a half, we’ve seen a resurgence in denim sales,” Bachynski said, declining to provide specific sales figures for Jean Machine.“Denim stands out because everybody relates to having jeans, wearing jeans and wanting to wear jeans.”Founded in 1976, Jean Machine has 30 stores in Ontario. Comark’s parent company, Vancouver-based Stern Partners Inc., acquired Jean Machine in March for an undisclosed amount after it ended up in bankruptcy protection following years of dwindling sales.Bachynski, whose firm also oversees a number of other companies including denim retailer Bootlegger, says shoppers gave up on jeans for casual athletic options popularized by brands like Lululemon and the Gap.In response, jeans manufacturers have started producing more relaxed, comfortable, stretch-fit denim, he said.It may be working.According to market research firm Euromonitor, Canadian shoppers returned to denim in 2016, as the trend towards yoga pants, leggings and track suits began to show signs of decline.Last year, sales of super premium jeans for brands such as Rock & Republic and 7 for All Mankind increased by 4.3 per cent to $173.4 million after years of little or no growth, while in the U.S. they fell by eight per cent, Euromonitor said. The rise was attributed to an influx of retailers in Canada such as Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as a weak loonie.Earlier this month, True Religion, cited by Euromonitor as another example of a super premium jean brand, filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and announced it was closing 27 stores following years of lagging sales. The brand sold jeans known for its trademark horseshoes emblazoned on the back pockets that could run upwards of $500 for a pair.Retail expert Farla Efros says the main reason for the discrepancies in consumer appetite for denim in the two countries is that the U.S. market is oversaturated.In the case of True Religion, the brand is not only sold in department stores like they are in Canada, but also in stand-alone locations under their own banner.“They were cannibalizing their stores, and we just don’t have that here in Canada,” said Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory.She also noted that in terms of retail trends, Canada is often considered three years behind what happens in the U.S., meaning that such a downturn still has time to hit here.Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter. by Linda Nguyen, The Canadian Press Posted Jul 27, 2017 2:00 am MDT Last Updated Jul 27, 2017 at 2:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Jean Machine’s new owners look to spruce up stores in effort to woo shoppers