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RPI(A) to lose presence in Pune civic body

first_imgThe Republican Party of India (Athawale) is set to lose its political moorings in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) after the Pune Divisional Commissioner rejected a plea of five of its members to be recognised as RPI (A) corporators.This implies that there will be no RPI (A) representation in the newly constituted 162-seat Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), which comes into being on March 15.Bone of contentionThe reason for this ‘disqualification’ is that since these five RPI candidates, who had contested the PMC election on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s symbol and won, they will be considered BJP members and cannot register as a separate political entity. RPI(A) leaders now plan to approach the Divisional Commissioner in a bid to change the directive.As per the pre-poll alliance, the BJP had requested Ramdas Athawale’s RPI candidates to contest on the BJP’s symbol, much to Mr. Athawale’s chagrin.The BJP had apparently agreed that after the results, the RPI(A) would be given a chance to register on their own party symbol.Being the privilegedUnlike the BJP’s other smaller, more fractious constituents Mr. Athawale had sided with the BJP. Subsequently, senior RPI(A) leader in Pune, Navnath Kamble, was awarded with the Deputy Mayor’s post. Being recognised as a distinct political entity within the PMC entails various privileges for RPI(A).First, the party cannot be subjected to any whip issued by the BJP in the event it differs on policy matters. Second, the RPI will have a separate office on the premises of the cash-rich PMC.The city’s RPI(A) chief, Mahendra Kamble, said the BJP’s Pune unit head, Yogesh Gogawale, had given his permission for the former to register as a separate party in the PMC.last_img read more

‘Rafale deal: PM bypassed Cabinet panel on security’

first_imgSenior Congress leader and former Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy on Friday alleged serious violations in defence procurement procedure on the Rafale fighter jet deal inked between India and France. He charged Prime Minister Narendra Modi with bypassing the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) and pushing through the deal.“This is a unique deal in the history of independent India where only the PM was involved in sealing the deal, and former Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and the then Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar were completely out of the picture,” said Mr. Reddy, speaking at the Congress Bhavan in Pune.Every government, including the NDA coalition headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has followed the defence procurement procedure, he said.Staggering loss “Why were only 36 aircrafts purchased when 126 were required? Why did the cost per plane soar from ₹526 crore [as per Congress-led UPA government’s estimates] to ₹1,670 crore, causing the country a staggering loss of ₹41,000 crore,” Mr. Reddy stated, repeating the statistics with which senior leaders of his party have been attacking Mr. Modi and the NDA over the deal.Prior approval needed“Every purchase has to be endorsed by the CCS. The PM has no right to enter into a deal without its prior approval,” Mr. Reddy stated. The Congress, he added, had never raised any questions on the quality of the Rafale aircraft. It had only questioned the procedures followed in sealing the deal.Drawing an analogy between the dictatorial tendencies of the 17th century French monarch, Louis XIV and the Prime Minister, Mr. Reddy while saying that India had no place for dictators, quipped that the “spirit of Louis XIV had entered Mr. Modi” when he signed the Rafale deal in Paris on April 10, 2015.Collusion allegedReiterating his allegations of ‘collusion’ between Mr. Modi and the Reliance Group chairman, Mr. Reddy said Anil Ambani was aware of the deal between the Dassault Aviation company and the Government of India 12 days before the actual signing. He demanded a “thorough probe” on the links between Mr. Modi and Mr. Ambani.“I am making a grave but a responsible allegation. He [Mr. Ambani] registered the company 12 days before the deal. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was not in the picture and the sound principle of transfer of technology was completely abandoned,” he said, demanding that the links between Mr. Modi and Mr. Ambani be thoroughly probed.Demanding that true facts of the deal be put before the public, Mr. Reddy refuted the suggestion that there was a secrecy clause between the Indian and the French governments that did not permit disclosure of the deal.last_img read more

End Of The Outsourcing Party?

first_imgThe global recession has thrown a spanner into the unrelenting growth of the $60 billion Indian outsourcing industry, which, by some accounts, generates more than 5 percent of India’s gross domestic product and employs nearly two million people. As job losses in the U.S. mount, opposition toward outsourcing, most notably to India, is gathering steam. In his first address to Congress in February, Pres. Barack Obama vowed to crack down on tax breaks for American companies that outsource jobs to India and elsewhere around the world.The political backlash was abetted by an untimely $1 billion accounting scandal at Satyam Computer Services. The World Bank also banned another Indian outsourcing services provider, Wipro, from bidding for its contracts for four years, accusing the Bangalore-based firm of providing “improper benefits” to bank staff. India’s BPO industry has also been buffeted by quality control issues and recently companies, such as Delta Air Lines, Chrysler and United, have curbed or halted the use of Indian call centers following customer complaints about language skills or to placate growing protectionist sentiments in the U.S.Is the outsourcing party coming to an end? Morgan Stanley projects an erosion in demand for Indian IT firms, and warns that the impact of budget cuts, mergers and bankrupt clients has not yet been fully reflected in the share prices of Indian providers. Smaller companies, especially those focused on a single market or service, are likely to be at risk in this environment.Earnings reports filed in recent weeks by the top three Indian outsourcing companies, Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys and Wipro, point to a significant slowdown. Wipro’s revenues slipped by 3% over the previous quarter and Infosys posted its first decline in quarterly revenues over the previous year and warned of weaker results ahead. Ashok Vemuri, Global Head, Banking & Capital Markets Practice, Infosys: “The economic downturn has had an impact on two critical factors which directly affect outsourcing: size and speed.”Infosys’ North American growth, which makes up 64.6 percent of revenues, declined by 4.14 percent sequentially in the fourth quarter. Ashok Vemuri, Global Head, Banking & Capital Markets Practice for Infosys, says: “The economic downturn has had an impact on two critical factors which directly affect outsourcing: size and speed. Though there have been no cancellations of existing contracts, clients have been wary of signing large, multi-year outsourcing deals. Furthermore, deals that do not have an immediate business benefit or are not initiated to solve a mission critical problem are often left by the way-side. In addition to reductions in the size of outsourcing deals booked, we have noticed a slowing in the speed with which outsourcing conversations transition to outsourcing deals. There is a delay in decision making, and the deal pursuit process has, in many cases, slowed to a crawl.”Sid Pai, managing director and partner at IT outsourcing consultancy TPI Advisory Services India told India’s Mint newspaper: “One can split hairs over the numbers of Infosys and TCS or Wipro and HCL, but the trend is clear. There is continued weakness in the market. In the calendar year, market size is going to be smaller, (and the) number of deals awarded will be less. Given the weakness and reduction in IT spends in major markets, there is no organic growth to be expected in the next two quarters at least, and that is evident in the forecasts Tier 1 players have been giving.”However, Rohit Kapoor, CEO of ExlService Holdings, remains sanguine: “Outsourcing, particularly BPO will grow even in this recession. This is an industry that does well during good times and bad times. In bad times more companies seek the value provided by outsourcing in terms of cost cutting and efficient Rohit Kapoor, CEO of ExlService Holdings: “Outsourcing, particularly BPO will grow even in this recession. This is an industry that does well during good times and bad times.”services.” Most businesses, Kapoor says, typically view software as a money saving tool and therefore even if tech spending declines by the forecasted 3% in 2009, it will affect hardware purchases more.In December 2008, HCL Technologies completed the largest acquisition in the tech space by an Indian company with Axon Group. It signed a $350 million 7-year contract with Reader’s Digest Association (RDA) to handle its technology services in March following it up with a $100 million data center deal with document management company Xerox. Nevertheless, the $2 billion company saw first quarter profits fall by 44% over the previous quarter.R Srikrishna, vice president, Business Operations (North America), HCL Technologies says, “Slowdown is not good news to anyone. However, I would say that HCL is doing well for itself and the interest continues to be good for our services. An engagement like the one RDA brings enterprises benefits such as cost optimization, service improvement and process efficiencies in their IT operational landscape. Organizations keep their lights on through partners like us.” Srikrishna remains optimistic about outsourcing, “We are seeing newer verticals opening up such as media, publishing and entertainment (MPE), legal, hospitality and government.”WNS North American Managing Director Steve Reynolds is also undeterred by the economic crisis: “While some of our customers have reduced volumes, it’s been balanced by an equal increase for new services. As an example, while insurance applications and claims are down, our insurance customers are starting to move work offshore that was historically out of scope R Srikrishna, vice president, Business Operations (North America), HCL Technologies says: “Slowdown is not good news to anyone. However, I would say that HCL is doing well for itself and the interest continues to be good for our services. due to complexity or client sensitivity. In addition, we are receiving a large number of queries from potential customers and advisors assisting clients in moving work offshore. In the long run, it will be a good thing for WNS as new customers and new processes ramp up.”The company recently announced a voluntary prepayment of its outstanding debt, “WNS is working to maximize usage of facilities, minimizing attrition, and keeping a close eye on all variable and fixed expenses relative to our revenues.” Going forward Reynolds expects the most active markets to be insurance, healthcare, banking, and financials.Infosys’ Vemuri says: “Though clients have cut IT spending in many areas, they have also ramped up spending in areas which they deem critical for future growth. For example, deposit accumulation is viewed as a priority for many banks; as such, we are seeing demand for technology which will spur deposit growth. New online branches, improved bank branch technology, and search engine optimization have all emerged as priorities and potential priorities.“As healthy companies look to acquire at low valuations, and less healthy companies look to spin-off units to raise cash, we are also seeing significant opportunities surrounding M&A and divestiture activity. The energy and utility industry verticals are other areas where we are seeing increases in outsourcing opportunities. As the U.S. government expands its stimulus initiatives, we would also expect to see further opportunities to capitalize on.”  View of Infosys campus in Bangalore.Does this mean that the outsourcing industry has reached a credible bottom yet? “It’s too early to tell,” says Reynolds. “Most are predicting a slow 2009 with a recovery coming in early 2010.” Infosys issued a weak guidance for revenues and earnings in 2009. The decline in the rupee, which fell 19% in 2008 against the dollar, is propping up profit margins of software exporters.ExlService’s Rohit however expects 2009 to be a good year for outsourcing companies, anticipating revenue for his pure play BPO firm between $170-175 million and profit margins to be maintained at 10-12%: “We are benefiting from the ramp-up in areas like insurance, finance and accounting, risk management and corporate governance.” His annuity-based firm added five new accounts in the last two quarter of 2008 and has seen no scaling down of its 120 U.S. employees.Nevertheless, the company is tightening its belt to maintain margins. “We had to significantly reduce wage inflation, moderate increments, rationalize transportation for employees, eliminate waste and make our infrastructure and capacity utilization systems leaner,” says Rohit.Infosys is also taking aggressive cost-cutting measures, Vemuri says, “There will be no wage hikes this year for existing employees and we will take measures to reduce travel and other G&A expenses.”What about the criticism that Americans are losing jobs to outsourcing? In the past, Indian companies sent Indian employees to work in the United States on temporary visas. Now in a kind of off shoring in reverse, big companies, such as Infosys, hire U.S. workers.Infosys, The Essar Group, HCL Technologies, Tata Group, Ranbaxy Laboratories, Mahindra and Wipro are estimated to have generated Vivek Wadhwa, Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering: “Reverse brain drain is a boon for India and a big loss for the U.S. Plus there are workers with a wide range of skills in new areas, so you will see more types of outsourcing.”over 30,000 jobs for U.S. citizens in recent years. The Tata Group alone employs 19,000 Americans and has invested over $3 billion in its 16 U.S. businesses, according to a report by the US-India Business Council. None of the Indian companies has announced any layoffs in the U.S. market yet. Wipro, a NYSE-listed firm with more than 95,000 employees at the end of 2008, is coping with the slowdown by slashing expenses in areas such as travel and marketing.TCS, one of India’s largest IT employers with a staff count of 1,000 in North America, a majority of which are local hires, has avoided layoffs by deploying “some specific control measures,” according to Surya Kant, President, TCS North America. “These include improvement of TCS business operations by moving more work out of client offices, increasing employee productivity, reducing unnecessary travel spending, lowering employee attrition and great project execution.”An industry survey by Vivek Wadhwa, of Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, and the Kaufmann Foundation, found that large companies, such as the Citi Group and JP Morgan, who have laid off thousands of U.S. employees may hire the same people in India, for a fraction of the U.S price. “This will give outsourcing tremendous momentum over the next couple of years, because a lot of skilled talent will be available in India more cheaply. Therefore reverse brain drain is a boon for India and a big loss for the U.S. Plus there are workers with a wide range of skills in new areas, so you will see more types of outsourcing,” Wadhwa says.  WNS North American Managing Director Steve Reynolds: “While some of our customers have reduced volumes, it’s been balanced by an equal increase for new services.” Surya Kant, President, TCS North America: TCS has avoided layoffs by deploying “some specific control measures.” Related Itemslast_img read more

Rafael Nadal Confirms London ATP Tour Finals Particiaption

first_img atpATP Tour Finalslondonnadal First Published: November 5, 2019, 7:16 PM IST Madrid: World number one Rafael Nadal, recovering from injury, confirmed Tuesday he will compete at the season-ending ATP Tour Finals in London from November 10-17.”Yesterday I had an MRI in Majorca and despite a slight strain to the left abdominal muscle I will go to London,” tweeted Nadal, forced out of last week’s Paris Masters by the same injury. “Thursday or Friday I will start hitting services. The idea is to play the ATP Finals. Thanks for your support.”Nadal took over as world number one this week from Novak Djokovic who went on to win the Paris Masters.The eight top-ranked players in the world gather in London for the ATP Tour Finals where Nadal’s world number one ranking will be under threat from Djokovic.The Serb would be sure of reclaiming the year-end top ranking should he win the tournament and Nadal fail to reach the semis.If Nadal fails to win even one round-robin match, Djokovic could be crowned world number one simply by reaching the final after two group-stage wins. Get the best of News18 delivered to your inbox – subscribe to News18 Daybreak. Follow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Telegram, TikTok and on YouTube, and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real time.last_img read more

Talk about a bad high: 27 swanky cars impounded after drivers caught drunk driving

first_imgHyderabad traffic Police impounded several high end sports cars after its drivers were found drunk driving. The Banjara Hills Traffic police station, which handles the posh Banjara Hills and Jubilee Hills area connecting to HITEC city, only registered 43 cases of drunk driving.The police team, which carried out a drive till 5 am this morning, impounded 27 cars and 16 two wheelers including high end vehicles like BMW, Audi and sports bikes.All the drivers or owners were asked to attend counselling in the presence of their parents and might be punished with jail.BIKE RIDERS CREATE RUCKUS OUTSIDE GIRLS’ HOSTELOver 30 youths created a ruckus outside a ladies hostel under Saroornagar Police limits of Rachakonda commissionerate while celebrating the New Year.The youths rode up to the ladies hostel with their bikes. They started creating a ruckus while under the influence of alcohol.They performed bike stunts near the hostel, hurled stones at the hostel and asked the girls and women to come out.The entire incident of the men creating a ruckus was caught on camera. Police have registered a case and were investigating the matter.In another incident Over 30 unidentified youths allegedly created a ruckus outside a ladies hostel under Saroornagar Police limits of Rachakonda commissionerate in Hyderabad while celebrating the New Year.Drunk youths created ruckus stone pelted performed dangerous bike outside under the influence of alcohol outside ladies hostel in #Hyderabad. Police registered case, trying to identify hooligans. #NewYear2018— Aashish (@Ashi_IndiaToday) January 1, 2018According to reports, these youths rode up to the ladies hostel with their bikes. They started creating a ruckus while under the influence of alcohol.They performed bike stunts near the hostel, hurled stones at the hostel and asked the girls and women to come out.The whole incident was caught on camera. Police have registered a case and are investigating the matter.last_img read more

FIFA Claims Progress in Letting Women Attend Games in Iran

first_imgZURICH (AP) — FIFA says Iran’s soccer federation supports letting women attend 2022 World Cup qualifying games of its men’s national team, though government approval is still needed.FIFA is working with Iranian authorities to overcome a ban on women entering stadiums for men’s games since the 1979 Islamic revolution.Some women were allowed to watch the Asian Champions League final in Tehran last November when FIFA President Gianni Infantino also attended.FIFA wants the issue resolved before Oct. 10 when Iran — the top-ranked team in Asia — hosts its first home World Cup qualifier against Cambodia. The next is March 26 against Hong Kong.Soccer’s world body says Iran federation president Mehdi Taj has replied to Infantino saying “the matter has been taken up directly with the minister of sports and youth.”___TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Nebraska Adds 12th Football Game To 2018 Schedule

first_imgFlag members of the Nebraska Cornhuskers perform before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.LINCOLN, NE – SEPTEMBER 23: Flag members of the Nebraska Cornhuskers perform before the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Memorial Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)Nebraska football will play a 12th game after all here in Scott Frost’s first season. The team’s season opener against Akron was canceled during a bad storm in Week 1.The Huskers are adding a team from the FCS ranks to their schedule: Bethune-Cookman.The Wildcats shared an open date with the Huskers on Oct. 27, making it a logical match. The team only had 11 games scheduled.Nebraska’s football’s game against Bethune-Cookman was announced moments ago.Via Nebraska:“Our great fans and our football student-athletes deserve a full schedule, and we are glad to be able to provide an additional game on Oct. 27 against Bethune-Cookman,” Nebraska Athletic Director Bill Moos said. “We appreciate the patience of our fans through this process. While there may be some conflicts on what was originally a bye week, we know Memorial Stadium will be packed to watch the Huskers on a fall Saturday.“I would like to thank Bethune-Cookman for their great cooperation as we put this agreement together. Athletic Director Lynn Thompson and Head Coach Terry Sims are excited to bring their team to Lincoln, and we look forward to their visit.”The school will add the Bethune-Cookman game to the season ticket package, and those who had Akron tickets will be eligible to receive a ticket through the ticket office.Bethune-Cookman will receive $800,000 for the trip. This game eliminates the Wildcats’ bye week, but the team wraps up its 12-game schedule on Nov. 17. Last week, the Wildcats lost their lone FBS game to Lane Kiffin and FAU, 49-28.Nebraska is 0-2 on the year, with close home losses to Colorado and Troy. The team heads to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Saturday.[Nebraska]last_img read more

Jangalmahal disappoints TMC despite slew of devp work

first_imgKolkata: BJP has made steady inroads in the Jangalmahal areas, despite a host of development works carried out by the Mamata Banerjee government in the state.After coming to power, the Trinamool-led government had pulled the people out of poverty in the districts of Bankura, Purulia and Jhargram which were earlier plagued by Maoist menace. Banerjee’s government had ironed out the issue through the introduction of various development schemes. A major infrastructure reform was taken up in the Jangalmahal areas and roads were constructed in the villages. Banerjee’s brainchild ‘Khadyasathi’ project had also brought a massive change in the socio-economic lives of the people in the region. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaPeople who had once witnessed the ‘Red terror’ are now getting rice and other food grains at Rs 2 per kg, while the ‘Sabuj Sathi’ and ‘Kanyshree’ projects of the government has benefitted thousands of young girls from various schools. However, despite all the aforementioned schemes run by the government, the people of Jangalmahal have disappointed Trinamool Congress, setting up BJP for victory in Bankura, Bishnupur and Purulia constituencies. The official announcement in this regard of the Election Commission may come late on Thursday night. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersTrinamool Congress heavyweight Subrata Mukherjee who was contesting from Bankura, is on the verge of losing the election. Soumitra Khan, who shifted his allegiance to BJP from the ruling party, is set to win from Bishnupur on BJP’s ticket. It may also be mentioned that Chief Minister Banerjee, who is also the Trinamool Congress supremo, had visited each district of Jangalmahal and held administrative meetings to review the development projects. Unfortunately, the overall development of the people in the area seemed to have little impact on the election results, as the BJP leaders have set a different political narrative to woo voters in the region. BJP’s Subhas Sarkar is set to defeat Trinamool’s Subrata Mukherjee by over 1,72,000 votes from Bankura, while in Bishnupur, Soumitra Khan is on the verge of winning with 6,57,019 votes with his nearest rival Shyamal Santra of Trinamool at 5,78,972. BJP’s Jyotirmay Singh Mahato is set to win with 6,64,671 votes over Trinamool’s Mriganka Mahato, who has received 4,61,732 votes. In Jhargram, Kunar Hembram of BJP is leading with 6,22,739 votes, while Trinamool Congress candidate Birbaha Saren has received 6,13,073. All the seats are awaiting an official announcement from the Election Commission.last_img read more

Modi has courage should bring ordinance to construct Ram temple Uddhav Thackeray

first_imgAyodhya (UP): Government should bring an ordinance to construct Ram temple, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said on Sunday in Ayodhya, asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the courage to do so and there would be no one to stop it. Thackeray offered prayers at the makeshift Ram Lalla temple along with his son Aditya and 18 newly-elected lawmakers of his party. The Shiv Sena has said the visit was to fulfil the promise Thackeray made last November to come to Ayodhya again after the elections. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France “The case is in the court for many years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the courage. If government takes the decision, there is no one to stop it. Not only Shiv Sena, Hindus of the whole world are with this,” Uddhav said, while addressing a press conference after his visit to the Ram Lalla (or infant Ram) temple. “The government should bring an ordinance for construction of Ram temple. The issue concerns all Hindus and the temple has to be constructed at the earliest,” he said, raising the slogan of “Kanoon banao, mandir banao (formulate law and construct temple)”. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics Prize Maharashtra will be going to polls later this year and the visit is being seen as an attempt by the Shive Sena to put pressure on ally BJP on the Ram temple issue. But Sena has maintained that Thackeray’s visit should not be seen through the electoral lens. “For us Ram temple is matter of faith and not politics,” Thackeray said. The title suit over the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid site is being heard by the Supreme Court.last_img read more

Mortgages get more expensive as rates hit near 4year peak

first_imgThe cost of borrowing for a home keeps going up, a potential obstacle to would-be buyers at a time when home prices are at all-time highs in more than half of major U.S. markets.Average long-term mortgage rates have been rising steadily this year and are now at the highest level in almost four years. That translates into higher mortgage payments and more money paid out over the life of the typical 30-year home loan.Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 4.38 per cent this week, up from 4.32 per cent last week. That’s the highest rate since April 2014. At the start of the year, the average rate was just under 4 per cent. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 3.84 per cent from 3.77 per cent last week.The pickup in mortgage rates dims prospects for would-be homebuyers struggling to compete in a housing market where a thin inventory of homes for sale continues to drive up prices.The median U.S. home price climbed 5.3 per cent in the last quarter of 2017 to $235,400, according to the National Association of Realtors. The trade group said that prices for single-family homes hit record highs in 114 of 177 major metropolitan areas that it tracked.The increases in home prices have been growing at a pace more than double the gains in average hourly earnings.“We’ve seen 5-to-7 per cent price gains since 2015, and we’re still seeing prices rise this year,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research at “When you have that sort of growth with prices, and now with mortgage rate increases, that’s putting a dent especially in the entry level buyer.”Recent wage gains and rising prices are stoking concerns about inflation picking up, which has caused investors to seek higher interest rates. Mortgage rates are closely aligned with the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, which has climbed above 2.90 per cent from 2.43 per cent at the end of last year.Just a few months ago, homebuyers had the benefit of average 30-year mortgages that were 3.78 per cent in September. The low mortgage rates had eased some of the price pressures facing would-be homebuyers. Now they might find it harder to save for a down payment and purchase a home.How much the latest rate increase affects the cost of a loan depends on whether one looks at the monthly cost, versus the cost over a 30-year span of a loan.Using the median U.S. home price in December of $246,800, and assuming a 20 per cent down payment, a 30-year mortgage at 4.38 per cent would translate roughly to $986 a month, but to $157,653 paid in interest over the full term of the loan. The same home purchased in the first week of this year, when rates were just below 4 per cent, would have saved the buyer about $45 a month, but that would add up to roughly $16,163 in interest payouts over the loan’s full term.The rise in mortgage rates this year is already spurring would-be buyers to act now, rather than wait until the spring, traditionally the busiest period for home sales, noted Kim Wirtz, a broker at Century 21 Affiliated in Chicago.“Many sellers are listing their homes earlier and many buyers are buying a lot earlier than in the past,” Wirtz said. “Buyers are out there a little earlier than they normally would have been to try to lock in an interest rate before it’s too late.”If mortgage rates keep rising at a quick pace, it could limit what people can afford to pay and cause demand for housing to fall.So far, Wirtz hasn’t had any buyers lower their price range because higher rates have reduced their buying power.“I have not yet had any buyers stop looking because of the rates,” she said. “But I believe that might be on the horizon.”Economists expect rates to move higher this year. Bankrate’s forecast calls for rates on the 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage to climb above 5 per cent, then pull back to finish the year at 4.5 per cent.That’s still a bargain to anyone who bought a house decades ago.“The first home I bought in the ’80s was at double-digit interest rates,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at “Were mindful that it was something that was historically unusual, but it didn’t dissuade us from buying homes and it didn’t kill the housing market.”last_img read more

Moroccos Hamza Mendyl Denied UK Work Permit to Play with Arsenal

Rabat – Moroccan footballer Hamza Mendyl has said difficulty getting a work permit as a Moroccan prevented him from playing for Arsenal or Newcastle.The Moroccan-Ivorian footballer, who signed for Schalke 04 last week, said that he was in negotiations with Arsenal this summer before signing with the German football team.Quoted by major sports outlets, the 20-year-old said that difficulty getting a work permit prevented him from joining England’s Arsenal. ESPN also said that the footballer was denied a work permit from Arsenal.“It is true: I was in talks Arsenal and Newcastle. But as a Moroccan citizen it’s not that easy to obtain a work permit. I would have trusted myself to play Premier League,” Mendyl said.Mendyl has joined his fellow Moroccan Amine Harit, who also plays for both Morocco’s national team and Schalke 04.Both Moroccans made the list of the team who participated in the 2018 World Cup.Mendyl expressed his joy over joining the German team.“I’m delighted to have signed for such a big club. With Domenico Tedesco, I’ve got a coach who is renowned for improving players,” the player was quoted by his club.Mendyl also expressed his ambition to grow as a footballer, saying: “I want to keep developing and play an important role in all three campaigns for Schalke 04 this season.”Born in Casablanca to a Moroccan mother and an Ivorian father, Mendyl has made senior debut for the Moroccan national team in a 2-0 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier win over Sao Tome. He has also represented Morocco’s Under 19 and Under 20 teams. Before joining Schalke 04, the footballer played as a left-back for French League 1 side Lille.  The footballer said in 2017 that his father “would have liked me to play for Ivory Coast, but he respects my choice,” reported French sports outlet, France Football.The young footballer explained his choice by saying that he was born and raised in Morocco. “For me, it was always clear in my head, I wanted to play and defend my Moroccan jersey.” read more

Brace for another year of slow growth and loonie below 70 cents

TORONTO — Canada is headed for a rocky year as low oil prices continue to drag on economic performance, the chief economists of some of Canada’s biggest banks said Tuesday.Bank of Montreal chief economist Douglas Porter told a morning gathering of leading economists that it’s going to be a “very close call” whether the fourth quarter of 2015 saw any economic growth.Canada’s resource sector has been slammed as the price of crude has fallen from a high above US$105 in June 2014 to below US$40 over the past few months, just as other commodities are at or near multi-year lows.Chance of rate cut rising as markets anxiously await details of Trudeau’s stimulus rescueWhy a world in turmoil is still parking its cash in Canada — lots of cashCanada’s ‘vomitous’ year for stocks: Investors find precious few places to hide in toxic yearSpeaking at an event hosted by the Economic Club of Canada, Porter said it looks like last year was one of the worst years for economic growth in decades outside of a full-on recession, and Canada is looking at a 2016 growth rate not much higher than last 2015.The loonie, which has plunged as the price of oil has declined, also has further to fall, he said.The negative outlook for oil, the differing policy directions between the Canadian and American central banks, and the strengthening American economy mean the loonie will fall below 70 cents US before it begins to recover, Porter said.“The last line of defence for the Canadian dollar would be some stability in oil prices and resource prices, and we just don’t see that stability over the next few months.”Canada’s dollar has been trading near 11-year lows for weeks but has remained above 71 cents U.S. since 2003.Craig Wright, Royal Bank of Canada’s chief economist, said the cheap loonie and the American economic recovery should provide a boost to Canadian exports in the near future, although such a rebound hasn’t materialized so far.Wright said Canada will depend more than ever on its largest trading partner for export growth, because of the faltering performance of the rest of the world including the European Union and China.“The U.S is the bright shining star,” he said. “But it’s not a very bright sky.”CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said 2016 will be a disappointing year for the global economy at large, and Canada won’t be spared.Yet by the end of the year, he said, investors may see better returns as the world looks ahead to a brighter 2017. read more

WSP Global shares set new high after bullish analyst forecasts of firms

MONTREAL – Shares in engineering services firm WSP Global Inc. hit a record high Tuesday after industry analysts raised the company’s target prices by as much as 15.7 per cent on a bullish outlook of its prospects for growth.At least six analysts increased their price targets to between $36 and $42 after WSP closed a $293-million equity offering to fund the acquisition of Alberta engineering and geomatics firm Focus Group Holding.The Quebec-based company’s (TSX:WSP) shares peaked at $37.12 in mid-day trading before closing at $36.82, up $1.09 or 3.05 per cent, on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Ben Vendittelli of Laurentian Bank Securities says the $366-million acquisition of Focus will result in significant sales opportunities as WSP leverages Focus’ energy expertise with its other customers.“We believe the acquisition of Focus provides the missing piece to WSP’s global connectivity strategy allowing it to have a broad presence geographically and in all key verticals,” he wrote in a report.With its $284 million of annual revenues and high profit margins, observers say the addition of Focus and its 1,700 employees strengthens WSP’s footprint in Canada and gives it a strong presence in Western Canada’s growing energy sector.The deal, which is expected to close about April 17, would also put WSP more than halfway towards its goal of adding $500 million of revenues from acquisitions by the end of 2015.Paul Lechem of CIBC World Markets called the Focus acquisition “a significant step” towards WSP’s target of generating $2.3 billion of annual net revenues and employing 20,000 people. He said the equity issue, including an $86-million private placement with the Caisse de depot and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, was oversized to fund future acquisitions.Vendittelli said he expects WSP will be able to capitalize on long-term opportunities and benefit from an eventual recovery in the U.K. and key markets in northern Europe.Frederic Bastien of Raymond James raised his target price 27 per cent to $42 saying that the Focus deal makes WSP a better investment.In addition to filling “a big hole” in its service offering, the analyst said Focus helps to “rebalance and strengthen the firm’s footprint in Canada, which has been heavily weighted toward the east.”The deal will increase the number of employees by more than 10 per cent and bolster WSP’s Canadian presence to 6,100.Quebec would account for just 10 per cent of overall revenues. The rest of Canada would lead with 31 per cent, following by 24 per cent in Northern Europe, 14 per cent in UK, 12 per cent rest of the world, and nine per cent in the United States.Sara O’Brien of RBC Capital Markets, who comes in at the low end of the price targets, says WSP’s shares are trading at a premium compared to its peers, despite the organic cross-selling sales opportunities that will be derived from Focus.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version referred to the company as WSP Group and gave wrong percentage for U.S. revenue WSP Global shares set new high after bullish analyst forecasts of firm’s growth AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 1, 2014 2:28 pm MDT read more

Oil industry touts technology investment in submission to Alberta climate panel

by Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press Posted Oct 2, 2015 9:43 am MDT Last Updated Oct 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Oil industry touts technology investment in submission to Alberta climate panel CALGARY – The oil and gas industry wants investment in emissions-busting technology to play a big role in Alberta’s climate change strategy.The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has made its submission to the five-member panel working on a broad plan to reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.“If we want to find the balance between increasing investment and production of energy here in Alberta and more responsible performance on the climate side, it’ll be technology that bridges both those two imperatives,” CAPP president Tim McMillan said in an interview.Alberta should set a target for technology investment over the next 10 years and invest funds from its soon-to-be-hiked carbon levy to develop and deploy those technologies, the group said.In June, the left-leaning NDP government announced the carbon price for large industrial emitters that exceed their allotment — now at $15 a tonne — would be rising to $20 a tonne next year and to $30 a tonne in 2017.Between that change, and an increase in the corporate tax rate from 10 per cent to 12 per cent, CAPP has estimated the industry faces $800 million in higher cost over two years.The climate change panel, headed by University of Alberta economist Andrew Leach, is tackling the province’s wider climate strategy, focusing not just on oil and gas, but on aspects like transportation and power, too.The government has said it aims to have the architecture of a climate plan ready in time for the UN climate talks in Paris in December.The work of the climate panel is happening in tandem with a separate royalty review led by ATB Financial boss Dave Mowat.CAPP has honed in on a way that the royalty system could be used to further climate goals. One of its recommendations is to develop a clean infrastructure royalty credit program that would encourage the adoption of green technologies without hurting the industry’s competitiveness.McMillan said British Columbia’s Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program serves as a good model. Under that program, companies can receive up to a 50 per cent credit for the cost of building roads or pipelines in underdeveloped areas of the province, which can be used against royalties.CAPP also wants more power generation to come from natural gas, a cleaner-burning fuel than coal, and to export it to countries like China.“If we were to swap out a megawatt of coal electricity for a megawatt of natural gas electricity, it has very meaningful effects on carbon emissions,” said McMillan.It would also bring in more royalties and reduce consumer costs, he added.Earlier this week, environmental group Greenpeace made its submission to the climate panel.Its recommendations include “adopting ambitious, biding and science-based” targets; the phasing out of coal and switching all of Alberta’s electricity to renewable sources by 2050, an economy-wide carbon price of $50 a tonne that rises to $150 a tonne by 2026 and capping oilsands expansion.“The prescription for the problem is clear — the only question is whether there’s the political will to do it,” said campaigner Mike Hudema.Follow @LaurenKrugel on Twitter. read more

Brock experts warn climate change could help spread Zika virus

Although there are at least three cases of the Zika virus in Canada, there’s nothing for Canadians to worry about – yet, say two Brock University biology professors.The virus is transmitted by two types of mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti; and Aedes albopictus.Medical entomologist Dr. Fiona Hunter explains that the Aedes aegypti mosquito causing so much havoc in South America and the southern United States cannot survive the cold Canadian winters.Biotechnologist Dr. Yousef Haj-Ahmad notes that humans carrying the Zika virus “become a natural reservoir for the Zika virus, for a week or two post-infection.”Calling mosquitoes “flying hypodermic needles,” Haj-Ahmad said they transmit the virus from person to person. He says by the time the insects “emerge after the Canadian wintering, those people carrying the virus will have developed immunity and completely eliminated the virus from their bloodstream.”The other type of Zika-carrying mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is found as far north as New Jersey, southern New York State and Pennsylvania, says Dr. Hunter.As part of their research, Dr. Hunter and her team set up light traps in different locations in Ontario to catch mosquitoes. She says her research team has been identifying around 500,000 mosquitoes each year over the past decade.Dr. Hunter notes that, in 2002, her team found two adult specimens of Aedes albopictus that “just blew in on wind currents and have never been found since. That’s great news that we don’t have homegrown aegypti and we don’t have homegrown albopictus,” she says.“However, in the future with global climate change, the models do predict that albopictus will be able to breed in Southern Ontario, so it is a species that we are constantly on the lookout for,” says Dr. Hunter.Dr. Haj-Ahmed’s Niagara-based biotech company, Norgen Biotek Corporation, is developing a nucleic acid-based diagnostic kit to test for the Zika virus, which should be available to labs worldwide “within a week.”“It’s a nucleic acid, RNA-based test. When a blood sample is taken, we’ll be able to purify the RNA and test for the presence or absence of the virus” he says.Dr. Hunter says people living in Zika-infested areas can protect themselves from mosquito bites by removing stagnant water around their homes and wearing insect repellent. As for any future Zika transmission, “we are well funded here in Southern Ontario to continue looking at vector-borne disease,” says Dr. Hunter. “This is one of the things top on our priority list, to make sure that if diseases such as this are going to make their way up to Canada, that we’re ahead of the ball.”World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan announced in a January 28 statement that the WHO “will convene an International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Zika virus and observed increase in neurological disorders and neonatal malformations.”According to the WHO, Brazil reported the first case of Zika virus disease in May 2015. The disease has spread all over Brazil and to 22 other countries and territories in the region.“Arrival of the virus in some countries of the Americas, notably Brazil, has been associated with a steep increase in the birth of babies with abnormally small heads and in cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a poorly understood condition in which the immune system attacks the nervous system, sometimes resulting in paralysis,” says the WHO statement.“A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth defects and neurological syndromes has not been established, but is strongly suspected,” it says. read more

Brock Sports parts ways with hockey coach

After 18 years at the helm, Brock Badgers men’s hockey coach Murray Nystrom is moving on. Nystrom has resigned from the head coach position to pursue other opportunities.Brock Sports Director Neil Lumsden made the announcement Tuesday, saying the department is now “exploring options for who might take the role on an interim basis.”Under his leadership, dozens of talented hockey players made the decision to wear the Brock Badgers jersey as they continued their careers as student-athletes.“We want to thank Murray for his commitment to Brock Sports for many years and we wish him all the best,” said Lumsden. “He’s had a very positive influence on many young men’s lives during his time as head coach.”The Badgers men’s hockey team will again kick off their upcoming season with the Steel Blade game being held at the Meridian Centre in downtown St. Catharines on Friday, Sept. 15. read more

Woodyard leading Titans in tackles in his 11th NFL season

NASHVILLE — Wesley Woodyard laughs when asked if the 32-year-old linebacker has found a fountain of youth.Coming off a career-high 172 tackles, Woodyard once again is leading the Tennessee Titans in tackles despite missing two starts and nearly three full games with an injured shoulder.He sets the tone for the NFL’s second-best scoring defence, a unit that has taken a big leap in several statistical categories this season under first-year head coach Mike Vrabel and co-ordinator Dean Pees.Woodyard, now in his 11th NFL season, says the secret to his success as a former undrafted free agent out of Kentucky is much simpler.“I’m surrounded by a bunch of great guys that I love to go to work with every week,” Woodyard said. “They make my job easier, showing up to work man I enjoy being here. And most importantly, I’ve had the chances to learn and take the bits and pieces from a lot of people that I came across in this game of football and now just going out there doing what I do. I love the game, so go and play and have fun and be free.”An undrafted free agent in 2008, Woodyard signed with Denver and wound up voted a team captain in each of his six seasons with the Broncos. He signed with Tennessee after the Broncos lost the 2014 Super Bowl to Seattle and has been a captain each season with the Titans.The 6-foot, 233-pound linebacker credits his longevity and success to a combination of keeping the driven mentality of being undrafted mixed with an ever-changing cast of head coaches and defensive systems.“I had three new head coaches and a new D co-ordinator every year the first five years,” Woodyard said. “I use it as a blessing man. I got a chance to learn five new systems, got a chance to put football out there for new coaches, and this league man, the turnover ratio is so huge. Every year it’s a different system, different schemes and I’ve been blessed to be in a lot of different schemes: 4-3s, 3-4s, new coaches, old coaches. So I’ve seen a lot.”With the Titans, Woodyard has had three different head coaches and the chance to play for a pair of defensive co-ordinator legends in Dick LeBeau and now Dean Pees. His current co-ordinator coached Ray Lewis and Ed Reed in Baltimore and said what Woodyard has in common with those players is being a pro knowing how to take care of their bodies. They also study hard.“And if they have a shortcoming in any area, they know how to overcome that shortcoming,” Pees said. “We all get older and we all get slower, … but the guys that know how to handle that, they all play smarter as they get older, and don’t rely as much on their talent as their instincts. And Wesley is definitely in that same calibre.”Woodyard, also switched to a vegan diet last year , is surrounded by youth at inside linebacker with Jayon Brown in his second season, 2018 first-round draft pick Rashaan Evans and six-year veteran Daren Bates. Woodyard is leading the way with 72 tackles, and he’s tied for second on the Titans with 3 1/2 sacks. He also has five tackles for loss as the Titans (5-5) prepare to visit Houston (7-3) on Monday night.The linebacker jokes he heard being in your 30s is the new prime.“The biggest thing for me man is getting better every year, to challenge myself to get better at something every year and continue to get better. Me coming in the league undrafted, you have that chip on your shoulder where you got to prove yourself every year no matter if you’re a first-round pick or a late-round pick, you got to go every year, and that’s just been my mentality.”Notes: The Titans went through a walk-through practice Thursday, taking advantage of an extra day before their game in Houston. QB Marcus Mariota was limited with an injured neck, and Vrabel says they will test Mariota’s arm Friday because they didn’t throw much Thursday. WR Taywan Taylor (left foot) and C Ben Jones (shoulder) also were limited. RB David Fluellen (knee) did not practice.___Follow Teresa M. Walker at AP NFL: and M. Walker, The Associated Press read more

Beside The Points For Thursday Oct 5 2017

Things That Caught My EyeUnpatriotic defenseThe Patriots offense has been great, as usual, but their defense is on pace to be the worst NFL defense since 2006. Looking at expected points added (EPA) per game, the Patriots have been coughing up 12.2 points per game and allowing an average 116.5 passer rating. [FiveThirtyEight]Lynx v. Sparks, Part II: Revenge of the LynxPrior to Wednesday, both the Lynx and Sparks scored exactly 908 points in their past 12 games — going back to the start of last year’s finals. The Lynx had won five and the Sparks seven, including last year’s title. But Minnesota won the latest round of this intense rivalry with a 85-76 victory over Los Angeles to win the Game 5 championship of the WNBA finals and seal their fourth title in seven years. [ESPN]Hockey has started!Dom Luszczyszyn over at The Athletic ran a massive fan poll to determine what NHL fans thought about the forthcoming season. Based on the wisdom of the crowds, Pittsburgh’s favored by 16 percent of respondents to repeat, followed by the Nashville Predators (11 percent chance to win), Washington Capitals (10 percent) and Tampa Bay Lightning (10 percent). [The Athletic]Dak could use a raiseCowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who is still on his rookie contract, is making $540,000 in 2017. For prospective, Matthew Stafford of the Lions makes Dak’s entire salary in 10 game minutes, Mike Glennon of the Bears’ bench made it in 32 minutes of game, and Jay Cutler of Miami took only about 52 minutes of game time to make Dakbucks. [ESPN]Bring your child to work day gets a little too real in CalgaryJaromir Jagr, the 45-year-old who’s the second all-time point scorer in NHL history, signed a one-year contract with the Calgary Flames for $1 million and another million in bonuses. Jagr will be playing alongside the son of a player he was drafted alongside in 1990, and 10 team members were not born when Jagr won the Stanley Cup in 1991. [SportsNet Canada]Cleveland has hope again, ughThe MLB postseason is underway, with the Yankees defeating the Twins and the Diamondbacks defeating the Rockies in the wild card games. Cleveland is most favored to win the World Series — we give them a 26 percent chance of doing so — followed by the Dodgers, Astros and Nationals. [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number6 NBA ChimerasOnly six teams in the past 25 seasons have had three players with at least 25 percent usage over the course of the season: the 2016-17 Warriors, 2016-17 Cavaliers, 2008-09 Mavericks, 2007-08 Spurs, 2001-02 Bucks and 1999-2000 Bucks. This year between Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Minnesota Timberwolves may very well join that club. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slackwalt:Want that 400 word Post about my Jets Browns bet for Friday? Can file tomorrowgfoster:Yeah for sure. Does the Jets being half decent screw it up? I guess not…walt:Nahwalt:They’re also half not decentPredictions MLB Oh, and don’t forgetWatch the most delightful man in New York — with correct feelings about the Eagles — crush it at Jeopardy See more MLB predictions See more NFL predictions NFL We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe All newsletters read more

Rowing team claims Ohio States first womens NCAA team title

Courtesy Walt Middleton Photography / provided by OSU athletic departmentThe top-ranked Ohio State rowing team made history Sunday morning at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, becoming the first team to win an NCAA title in program history.First-place finishes in both the first varsity four and second varsity eight as well as a third-place finish in the first varsity eight left the Buckeyes with 126 points, two better than runner-up California.The win makes OSU the first Big Ten team to win an NCAA team title in rowing.“It’s hard to put into words what it means to win a national championship,” said OSU coach Andy Teitelbaum, in a press release. “The NCAA Championship is a tremendous regatta every year. To be able to walk out of here with the NCAA Championship is unbelievably gratifying and really speaks to the athletes who’ve had a great year.”The Buckeyes’ first varsity four started the day by winning its second consecutive NCAA title. The squad of Taylore Urban, Sara Handa, Chloe Meyer, Aina Cid-Centelles and coxswain Dara Schnoll crossed the finish line in a time of 7:08.26, just ahead of USC (7:11.02) and Washington (7:12.03).OSU’s second varsity eight was next in line to race, finishing with a time of 6:27.86, ahead of California (6:29.89) and Brown (6:30.14). The crew of Daphne Socha, Katie Beletskaya, Silvia De Matteis, Stephanie Johnson, Nicole Becks, Lauren Eckles, Samantha Fowle, Catherine Shields and coxswain Amanda Poll earned its first ever NCAA Championship with the victory, closing out the season with a perfect 12-0 record.The first varsity eight boat of Katie King, Cori Meinert, Eelkje Miedema, Ashley Bauer, Meghan Birkbeck, Allison Elber, Holly Norton, Claire-Louise Bode and coxswain Victoria Lazur placed third in its final competition of the season with a time of 6:23.19. California (6:23.19) and Princeton (6.22.59) finished the competition in first and second, respectively.In women’s sports, Ohio State has only seen championship wins in pistol and synchronized swimming, which are not NCAA sports, making this the school’s first women’s NCAA Championship victory. read more

Microsoft confirms indies cant selfpublish games on Xbox One

first_imgSony has made it clear indie developers are very welcome on the PS4, and Sony is happy to let indies self-publish their games. But that’s not the case for Microsoft and the Xbox One.Microsoft has confirmed that self-publishing is not an option for its new console, meaning all indie developers need to find a publisher to partner with to get their games on the Xbox One. That means hit indie games will likely not appear on the One, or if they do, will probably arrive later than on other platforms that allow self publishing.Mike Bithell, the developer of Thomas Was Alone, has already said on Twitter that this decision means you won’t be seeing his games on the machine. He clearly won’t be the only indie taking that decision. I can’t see someone like Notch taking the time to deal with publishers, either. He’ll self publish on other platforms then consider a publishing deal down the line with Microsoft, if at all.Microsoft has not given a definitive explanation as to why they aren’t embracing indies other than to say they don’t want to change away from their existing model. If you are an indie and want your game on Xbox One, then you’ll have to convince Microsoft Studios or some other publisher Microsoft has a relationship with to take on your game. Of course, that also means they’ll want a cut of the revenue and possibly even demand changes to the game.Indie games development is certainly a growing market, and one that will surely continue to spawn many hits over the coming years. But it’s now very unlikely any of those hits will appear on Xbox One first due to the barrier requiring a publisher throws up.last_img read more