Will the Calgary Stampede’s bottom line be affected by the recent economic downturn? by 660 NEWS Staff Posted Jun 5, 2015 1:30 pm MDT Last Updated Jun 5, 2015 at 1:51 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email The flags are up around the city and storefront windows are being decorated with animated cowpokes, but given the current state of Calgary’s economy, will the city’s biggest party be as big this year?There are signs that the bottom line could be hit like a midway whack-a-mole.Chuckwagon tarp revenue dipped by $750,000 in the recent auction and Stampede party planners have said they are waiting for their phones to ring.Bill Gray, president and chairman on the Stampede board, said he still has high hopes buoyed by strong ticket sales which he said are on pace with last year.“Certainly we understand that economic conditions have changed,” he said. “They have seen some less spending than normal on park than we have in previous years, but I think attendance will hold and I think everybody always looks forward to Stampede and they’re looking forward to the party this year maybe in particular.”He’s also optimistic that Canada’s languishing loonie will translate into more American visitors seeking a bigger bang for their buck.
BEIJING, China – A private film company in eastern China has agreed to invest at least $500 million in the studio of former Walt Disney boss Dick Cook to make movies to be distributed worldwide, the companies announced.The deal is the latest tie-up between Hollywood and Chinese companies as China offers overseas producers more investment opportunities and both look to increase their presence in each other’s film industries.Los Angeles-based Dick Cook Studios and Film Carnival, a film producer and distributor located in Zhejiang province, announced the deal in a statement Tuesday.Film Carnival will finance 100 per cent of the movies developed, produced, distributed and marketed by Dick Cook Studios. The Los Angeles-based company will also help Film Carnival produce its own movies in China.The first movie will be “Ranger’s Apprentice,” based on a book series and set to begin production in fall 2016. Paul Haggis, who wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” will direct the movie, and he also wrote the screenplay along with his daughter, Alissa Sullivan Haggis.Former Walt Disney Studios chairman Cook established his own company last year with a $150 million investment from CITIC Guoan, a unit of state-owned conglomerate CITIC Group, to make family entertainment.Last week, he partnered with CITIC Guoan and the Beijing Film Academy to host the first China-U.S. Motion Picture Summit. The one-day conference near Beijing brought together Chinese and Hollywood producers, scriptwriters and others for panel discussions and networking. by The Associated Press Posted Mar 29, 2016 8:36 pm MDT Last Updated Mar 30, 2016 at 7:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Chinese company to give Dick Cook Studios $500m for movies In this Friday, March 25, 2016 photo, Dick Cook, left, chairman of Dick Cook Studios, interviews Alfonso Cuaron, director of science fiction movie “Gravity” and keynote speaker, at the China-U.S. Motion Pictures Summit in northern China’s Hebei province. Film Carnival, a private film company in eastern China, announced Wednesday, March 30, 2016 that it has agreed to invest at least $500 million in the studio of former Walt Disney boss Dick Cook to make movies to be distributed worldwide. (AP Photo/Louise Watt)
US consumer spending grew a solid 0.4 per cent in June FILE – In this Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, file photo, shoppers are shown in Miami. The Commerce Department reports on consumer spending in June on Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File) by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press Posted Aug 2, 2016 6:37 am MDT Last Updated Aug 2, 2016 at 10:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email WASHINGTON – American consumers turned in another strong month of spending in June despite a decline in spending on autos.Consumer spending rose a solid 0.4 per cent in June after an identical increase in May and a 1 per cent surge in April, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The strength in June came from a surge in spending on nondurable goods, which offset a drop in spending on autos.Personal income grew a moderate 0.2 per cent in June, matching May’s gain.Economists say they think solid gains in hiring will support future growth in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 per cent of economic growth. The economy expanded at a modest 1.2 per cent annual rate in spring. Analysts say they expect double that growth rate in the second half of 2016.The 1.2 per cent growth in the gross domestic product in the April-June quarter was far below what economists had expected. A strong increase in consumer spending during the quarter was offset by weakness in other areas, including declines in business investment and the restocking of inventories.Economists say they think that both those drags will lessen in the second half of this year and that consumer spending will remain strong. Spending grew at a 4.2 per cent annual rate in the spring, its strongest performance since late 2014.Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the strength in June spending showed a solid end to the second quarter that would provide momentum going into the third quarter.“Another decent quarter for consumers, together with renewed inventory building, should anchor a near doubling in real GDP growth” in the current quarter, Guatieri wrote in a research note. He forecast GDP of 2.3 per cent in the current quarter.With spending up in June at a faster pace than incomes grew, the saving rate slipped to 5.3 per cent of after-tax income, down from 5.5 per cent in May. The June figure was the smallest since an identical 5.3 per cent in March 2015.Inflation as measured by a gauge tied to spending increased 0.9 per cent in June, compared with a year ago, while core inflation was up 1.6 per cent. Both gains were below the Federal Reserve’s 2 per cent target for inflation.The Fed left a key interest rate unchanged at its meeting last week but upgraded its assessment of the economy, raising expectations the central bank might hike rates as soon as the next Fed meeting in September. But the weak GDP report on Friday has raised doubts about that timetable, with many analysts now thinking a rate hike will not occur until December.
by Tom Krisher, The Associated Press Posted Aug 4, 2016 11:20 am MDT Last Updated Aug 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email DETROIT – The death of a Canadian driver has sparked a new investigation into a potentially deadly airbag problem affecting vehicles on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.Fatal airbag deployments in Canada are rare, but the July 8 fatality of a motorist in Newfoundland and Labrador marked the first time that a Canadian has been killed by an exploding airbag inflator, Transport Canada says.The ruptured inflator on the 2009 Hyundai Elantra sent metal fragments into the passenger cabin, killing the driver in what officials described as a low-speed collision. The reason the airbag ruptured remains unknown.Transport Canada and the RCMP are investigating the cause of the incident, as well as the manufacturer — ARC Automotive Inc. of Knoxville, Tenn., which is already under investigation by American authorities. Transport Canada said ARC is co-operating with investigators.Transport Canada said it is still determining what model vehicles may be affected by the new airbag problem. The agency’s American counterpart is trying to determine the entire population of ARC inflators in the U.S., which it estimates at eight million in older vehicles made by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai and Kia.Transport Canada says the safety benefits of airbags, which rely on controlled explosions that rapidly fill airbags in order to protect people in crashes, continue to outweigh the risks.The death and investigations bring fresh urgency to a probe opened last year by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after an Ohio woman was injured by an ARC inflator. The U.S. safety agency on Thursday upgraded its investigation to an engineering analysis, a step closer to a recall.In Canada, Transport Minister Marc Garneau could order a recall without having to wait for the company to do so.“Any decision to recall is based on careful, verified information. At this point, the department’s investigation — which is still preliminary — is needed to understand the issue,” said Garneau spokeswoman Delphine Denis.U.S. investigators began looking at ARC inflators in July of last year after getting reports that the Ohio woman was seriously hurt when her 2002 Chrysler Town & Country minivan crashed and the inflator ruptured. The agency said it also found another injury involving someone in a 2004 Kia Optima midsize car. In both cases, the inflators were made at ARC’s factory in Knoxville, according to agency documents.In the probe, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration focused on inflators made from 2000 until September of 2004. The population includes about 2.6 million that were sold to General Motors.According to NHTSA, the Elantra in the Newfoundland crash had an ARC inflator that was made in China, but it’s unknown whether any of the same inflators were used in vehicles sold in the U.S. ARC has confirmed that the Canadian Elantra inflator “was substantially the same design” as the one used in at least one other U.S. model, the 2004 Kia Optima.The administration said in a statement that it would direct the collection and testing of ARC inflators as it tries to determine what caused them to explode with too much force. The agency said it will focus on determining the entire population of ARC inflators in the U.S. and whether any inflators made in China were sold in the U.S.Although the results are similar, the ARC problem is different from one that resulted in the recall of 69 million inflators in the U.S. made by Takata Corp.Takata inflators have been blamed for at least 11 and as many as 14 deaths worldwide, as well as hundreds of injuries. Takata uses the explosive chemical ammonium nitrate to inflate airbags, but the chemical can degrade over time and burn too quickly, blowing apart metal inflator canisters.Canada’s colder — and therefore less humid — climate for most of the year largely minimizes the risk of the chemical degrading and heating too quickly, requiring it to be replaced.ARC uses a small amount of ammonium nitrate to ignite another chemical that inflates airbags, and authorities say they are not looking at ammonium nitrate as the cause. They are looking into whether a manufacturing problem causes a vent to become blocked in the ARC inflators. With no place for the gas to escape, a metal inflator canister can be blown into pieces.____With files from Jordan Press in Ottawa; AP’s Rob Gillies in Toronto and Dee-Ann Durbin in Detroit contributed to this report. Traffic death in N.L. triggers air bag investigations in U.S., Canada This July 14, 2015 photo shows the ARC Automotive manufacturing plant in Knoxville, Tenn. Investigators in the U.S. and Canada on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016, are looking into whether the death of a Canadian driver was caused by a faulty air bag inflator made by ARC Automotive Inc. Authorities say the driver was killed when an ARC inflator ruptured in a crash in Newfoundland and sent shrapnel into a 2009 Hyundai Elantra.(Adam Lau/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
“This is not the hallmark of the democratic global governance to which ASEAN aspires, and it will only serve to undermine the respect and ownership that such an important declaration deserves,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said at the 5th Annual Bali Democracy Forum in Indonesia, where ASEAN leaders are among representatives of more than 80 governments and international organizations meeting to discuss promotion of democratic practices.In expressing her concerns, Ms. Pillay noted that “inadequate involvement of civil society and other stakeholders” had prompted similar reservations “even among some members of the ASEAN institutions,” according to a news release from the Geneva-based Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).She highlighted that blanket restrictions in the draft that were “not part of international human rights law,” the release noted, though she also welcomed the inclusion of many fundamental rights.The declaration is one of the key mandates of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which the association of 10 member states created in 2009, saying it was intended to “promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedom” of the 600 million people within their borders. The declaration, according to OHCHR, is due to be adopted at the ASEAN Summit in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh later this month.In addition to using her remarks in Bali to commend ASEAN’s efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law through the creation of AICHR, Ms. Pillay said that “it is very important that the new ASEAN declaration complements and does not undermine international standards.”“I urge the governments of the region to take the necessary time to develop a Declaration that fully conforms with international human rights standards and is framed with the participation of all key stakeholders,” she said.According to OHCHR, Ms. Pillay said the “energy and contributions” of all key stakeholders should be additionally harnessed for building ASEAN’s new human rights mechanisms. “This has been the key to success for similar mechanisms in all other regions of the world,” she noted. The High Commissioner also used her address to welcome the emergence of the Bali Democracy Forum as an “important” platform for the promotion of good governance, the rule of law and human rights in the region. “The Bali Democracy Forum is particularly relevant at this time when a new wave of democratic aspirations and change is sweeping different parts of the world,” the human rights chief said. “Intergovernmental regional gatherings like this one can provide effective and relevant platforms for bringing stakeholders together – but it is crucial that mechanisms exist for broad and meaningful consultations with civil society.”
The United Nations anti-drug and crime agency today named Colombian footballer Radamel Falcao García Zárate as its Goodwill Ambassador for drug prevention.“I am proud to be a UNODC [UN Office on Drug and Crime] Goodwill Ambassador,” said Mr. Falcao. “My goal is to help the youth of this world show drugs a red card.”The striker for Monaco F.C., who will be getting a first-hand account of the UNODC fight against drugs and crimes, recently visited Ciénaga de Santa Marta, a coastal area of Colombia associated with drug trafficking.He helped secure $100,000 from Swiss watchmaker Hublot for an alternative development project to help families involved in illicit drug production and trafficking to turn to legal livelihoods. UNODC implements small-scale projects, such as fish breeding, beekeeping and livestock rearing, which are reinforcing 35 producers’ associations and directly benefiting 1,022 families.The head of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, called Mr. Falcao “one of the most exciting players of our time” at the announcement of the designation, who has used his skills to inspire young people and show them the way to a healthy lifestyle. “He is a role model of fair play, dedication and humility not just in his native Colombia, but also worldwide,” Mr. Fedotov said.“Football is the most popular sport in the world, with billions of fans around the globe. As UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, you can help us reach the young and marginalized,” Mr. Fedotov told Mr. Falcao. “I look forward to working with you and seeing young people fulfil their potential – as you have.”The footballer will represent Colombia in the World Cup next year.
The Sustainable Tourism Programme of the Ten-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP) introduced at the World Travel Market in London this week will be spearheaded by the UNWTO, the Governments of France, Morocco and the Republic of Korea, with the support of UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “This important initiative is about steering the industry onto a truly sustainable path — one that echoes to the challenge of our time: namely the fostering of a global Green Economy that thrives on the interest, rather than the capital,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner in a statement . It is estimated that by 2030, there will be 1.8 billion international tourism arrivals annually. If not sustainably managed, tourism can deplete natural resources leading to water shortages, loss of biodiversity, land degradation and contribute to climate change and pollution. Tourism’s contribution to global warming is estimated at 5 per cent of global CO2 emissions.“As tourism continues to grow, so too will the pressures on the environment and wildlife. Without proper management and protection, as well as investments in greening the sector, ecosystems and thousands of magnificent species will suffer,” Mr. Steiner said.UNEP’s 2011 Green Economy Report revealed that under a “business-as-usual” scenario, projected tourism growth rates to 2050 will result in increases in energy consumption by 154 per cent, greenhouse gas emissions by 131 per cent, water consumption by 152 per cent, and solid waste disposal by 251 per cent.UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai said, “As the leading organization for tourism, the World Tourism Organization seeks to maximize tourism’s contribution to development while minimizing its negative impacts.”Already, in the Galapagos Islands and Palau, visitors pay an entry tax to protected areas, which are sometimes referred to as ‘green fees.’ The revenues generated from these fees – which in Palau’s case is $1.3 million annually since 2009 – are used to support conservation and sustainable human development.The 10YFP Sustainable Tourism Programme will aim to achieve major shifts in tourism policies and stimulate greater sustainability within the tourism supply chain. A collaborative initiative, the programme aims to improve resource efficiency, management effectiveness, and the use of new technologies to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns in this key sector.Meanwhile, the three countries leading the initiative have already taken steps to promote sustainable tourism. As the most visited tourism destination in the world receiving 85 million tourists a year, France recognizes sustainable tourism as fundamental to preserving its heritage.And Morocco is hoping to capitalize on its natural and cultural advantages in a way that will yield the most sustainable social and economic benefits to all Moroccans. The Government of the Republic of Korea has already integrated principles of sustainability into its tourism policies and is accelerating programme implementation nationally.The 10YFP was established after Heads of State, meeting at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) conference in 2012, agreed that sustainable consumption production was a cornerstone of development, and an important contributor to poverty alleviation and the transition to low-carbon green economies.
In a statement released earlier today, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, noted that more than 20,000 homeowners are expected to be able to procure construction material by the end of December for critical repairs ahead of an expectedly cold winter.“This can only be the beginning of an effective process to rebuild Gaza,” read Mr. Serry’s statement which also stressed, however, that “much more needs to be done.”Speaking to Gaza Ministers of the Government of National Consensus and interlocutors of the private sector, Mr. Serry emphasized the importance of their “direct engagement” to address large scale reconstruction challenges and to prioritize projects for this purpose through the pre-established UN-backed reconstruction mechanism.According to a recent UN assessment, as it stands now, over 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, affecting more than 600,000 people. Many people still lack access to the municipal water network. Blackouts of up to 18 hours per day are common.In addition, the violence killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and more than 70 Israelis.Despite the positive steps forward for many Gaza residents, Mr. Serry warned that the operating environment continued to face many challenges, including “a fragile and informal” ceasefire which has not yet solidified and a lack of empowerment of the Government of National Consensus in Gaza with no control over border crossings.“These difficult issues, coupled with insufficient financial assistance from donors, have only worsened the atmosphere in an already devastated Gaza,” the Special Envoy continued. Mr. Serry said he remained “gravely concerned about the dire situation” and planned to urge all stakeholders and the international community to “make good” on their calls to help Gaza when he visits the UN Security Council next week. “This includes progress on all fronts, progress which must be made now lest we see Gaza fall back into yet another conflict,” he concluded.
“Treatment innovations such as this that replace unpleasant and bad tasting medicines are a real breakthrough, accelerating access to treatment for children and keeping our youngest healthy,” said Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé. “It is unacceptable that only 24 per cent of children living with HIV have access to antiretroviral medicines,” he added.Manufactured by Indian generic medicines manufacturer CIPLA, the oral pellets contain an antiretroviral formulation of lopinavir and ritonavir that can be mixed into a child’s food, the joint press release explains.The treatment is heat stable and more palatable than medicines currently available, making it particularly suitable for treating very young children.“This new formulation is a step in the right direction towards saving more lives of children living with HIV,” said Craig McClure, UNICEF’s Chief of HIV/AIDS section. “We expect it to greatly improve treatment access for many more children and support UNICEF’s equity focused programming aimed at reaching the most disadvantaged children throughout the world.”HIV infection progresses rapidly in children and, in highly impacted countries, is a major contributor to child morbidity and mortality. Without treatment, one in three children who become infected with HIV will die before their first birthday. Half will die before their second birthday.Early initiation of antiretroviral treatment in children substantially reduces the risk of death. Many countries have not been able to fully implement this World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation because of the challenge of not having a more appropriate, heat stable and palatable paediatric formulation of lopinavir/ritonavir used as part of the treatment options for children under 3 years of age.Despite global efforts to accelerate access to HIV paediatric care and treatment, fewer than 800,000 of the 3.2 million children living with HIV worldwide had access to antiretroviral medicines in 2013.
“The Syria crisis is a chronicle of missed opportunities by the Security Council, Member States with influence on the parties, and the broader international community to bring the conflict to an end,” Stephen O’Brien, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, told the 15-member Council. The meeting, which opened with a moment of silence in honour of the victims of the terrorist attacks Friday in Paris, also heard from UN special representatives dealing with sexual violence in conflict and children and armed conflict.Welcoming the recent international talks in Vienna, Mr. O’Brien said “this momentum must be seized to leave no stone unturned to put an end to this horrendous war that has cost an estimated 250,000 people their lives, given rise to extremist and terrorist groups, and reduced much of the country, a middle-income country, to rubble.”He recalled that the fighting has propelled the world’s largest humanitarian crisis of the twenty-first century, with some 13.5 million people in Syria in need of some form of humanitarian assistance, including six million children, and driven over four million people to seek safe refuge outside their home country.“Security Council members and the international community must also redouble their efforts to oblige the parties to finally comply with the demands made by this Council in resolutions,” the Emergency Relief Coordinator insisted, noting that attacks on civilian infrastructure continue unabated, including “relentless attacks” against health care facilities and personnel across the country.He called upon the Syrian authorities to urgently approve the 46 currently pending inter-agency requests and allow convoys previously agreed in principle, which are awaiting their clearance, to proceed. He also called on non-State armed opposition groups as well as listed terrorist groups to allow the deliveries they are preventing.“Despite all the challenges, the United Nations and partners continue to reach millions of people in need through all modalities,” he stated. In the past month alone, the UN and its partners reportedly delivered food aid to over four million people; water, sanitation and hygiene support to over 3.5 million; and medicines and supplies for 717,000 treatments.Earlier today in a press release, Mr. O’Brien welcomed a joint announcement by leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations of a “Syria Crisis Conference” to be held in London next February.”This conference in London will be a critical opportunity to remind the world of the suffering Syrian civilians are going through,” he underlined.“As the brutality and violence in their country intensifies it is our job to appeal on their behalf for essential and sustained aid and protection. The humanitarian appeals for Syria and neighbouring countries are alarmingly underfunded. I look forward to working with the UK, Germany, Norway and Kuwait to make this event a success. Concrete pledges of financial support will allow us and our humanitarian partners to help families in dire need.”In her remarks to the Council, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Hawa Bangura, said sexual violence has been a characteristic of the Syrian conflict, and has been perpetrated by “most of the belligerent parties” as a tactic of war.“Since returning from my scoping visit to the region this May, I have focused considerable energy on raising the level of awareness and understanding of the sexual violence crimes that are occurring,” said Ms. Bangura. “At the same time, we have been working to formulate a response strategy.”This seven point strategy includes: mobilizing political commitment, support and resources; ensuring that protection and empowerment of women is consistently includes as a central consideration in all efforts to prevent violent extremism and counter terrorism; enhancing protection, early-warning and risk mitigation; and strengthening the support and services to survivors of sexual violence.Turning to the plight of children in the conflict, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, said five years of intensifying hostilities and violence in Syria have taken an unacceptable toll on the lives of boys and girls.During her presentation, Ms. Zerrougui detailed how children continue to be killed, maimed, recruited and used by parties to the conflict. She also highlighted how the future of millions of children is jeopardized by attacks on schools and education.“Aerial bombardments of civilian areas by Syrian Government Forces have continued to cause a significant proportion of the verified cases of child casualties in 2015,” Ms. Zerrougui said.She added that the indiscriminate shelling of densely populated areas by all parties to the conflict is another major cause of child casualties. She also underlined how the alleged mass execution of 200 children by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is another “tragic” example of the brutality faced by boys and girls in the country.