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International Insight

Fresh, focused analysis of today's business news
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Powerful photo of Syrian toddler spurs wave of Canadian generosity


The harrowing image of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on a beach has galvanized Canadians into action, triggering a surge in donations to refugee aid groups, while only a handful of donations from corporations has started to trickle in.

The recent response of individuals and muted reaction from companies come in contrast to generous donations to natural disasters such as April’s devastating earthquake in Nepal or the 2013 typhoon in the Philippines.

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Why savvy investors shouldn't be concerned with the latest market turmoil


Norman Rothery is the value investor for Globe Investor’s Strategy Lab. Follow his contributions here and view his model portfolio here.

Labour Day heralds the imminent arrival of fall and the first day of classes. It also marks the end of summer vacations. More than a few investors will return to their desks in a sour mood due to the market’s recent fluctuations.

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Here are five films made for new romances


The big Toronto International Film Festival takes over the city next week, but the glitzy premieres aren’t for everyone. We asked Rebecca Northan, whose adorable Blind Date play gets a remount starting Sept. 8, to name five films built for budding romances.

The Wizard of Oz

Because it’s full of love and magic!

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Student investor favours IT, European and financial stocks

Larry Macdonald

Étienne Joncas-Bouchard


University student

The portfolio

Includes shares in CGI Group Inc., Agrium Inc. and Magna International Inc.; plus exchange-traded funds Vanguard FTSE Europe and Vanguard Financials.

The investor

Étienne Joncas-Bouchard is majoring in finance and economics at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Que. He also serves as the chief strategist for a student-run investment fund with more than $500,000 under administration at the university.

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A must-see films list from a TIFF devotee and terrible tipster

Kate Taylor

People often ask me for recommendations for the Toronto International Film Festival. “What’s good at TIFF?” they say. “Anything I should see?” I usually mumble something non-committal, halfheartedly recommend a big Hollywood movie I’ve seen at an advance screening and not hated, or try to remember the title of that little doc that wasn’t so bad.

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The parties – and power struggles – of TIFF’s rich and famous


The creep of fall, the clatter of celebrities. The Toronto International Film Festival might be many things – a giant fame aquarium, an opera of self-adoration, the Oscar-sniffing equivalent of white truffle hunting in Alba – but it is, invariably, a tableau that runs on parties.

Preparties. Postparties. Goldilocks parties. Here they all come, complete with code-red celebs, critics bearing pitchforks, hangers-on bearing hashtags – TIFF means never having to say you’re sorry. But what might look like a party and sound like a party doesn’t always mean it’s just a party: Often, these shindigs are nothing but carefully choreographed social-delivery systems meant for either career enhancement or celebrity piggybacking. With careers at stake, and billions of dollars, too, in the context of the wider movie biz, there is much jockeying. Everybody is at work here. Everybody is someone’s instrument. Everyone is secretly thinking the word “leverage.”

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G20 to focus on global instability, slow growth: Oliver

Randall Palmer

Structural reforms being planned by the world’s major economies have taken on increased importance because global growth has fallen behind forecasts, Canadian Finance Minister Joe Oliver told Reuters on Friday.

Oliver was speaking ahead of a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors of the Group of 20 (G20) leading economies, which he said would focus on “how to deal with the instability and how to get growth growing again.”

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A good crisis can make for great opportunities

Ken Tencer

In a few weeks, I’m heading to Brazil to speak to a large group of manufacturers on the perpetually-topical subject of innovation in a time of crisis. The forum, held by FIERGS (Federation of Industries of Rio Grande do Sul), addresses the well-known struggles of the Brazilian economy. Unfortunately, those same issues are now being faced by the Canadian economy.

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What if European debt goes the way of the dot-com bubble?


Avner Mandelman is president and CEO of Acernis Capital Management Inc., which may hold long or short positions in securities mentioned in this article.

In the 1990s, dot-coms and tech companies were flush with IPO cash, but had little in the way of sales. To show growth, some lent each other cash to buy ads on their sites or to buy their wares. But as cash went out the door, many sellers had only bad receivables to show for it – and temporarily inflated share prices, which some used to make acquisitions of each other. Then, the bad loans had to be written off. When the end came, the Nasdaq fell 90 per cent.

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UBC’s interim president wants to offer funding to more international students


Fresh from her first three days as interim president at the University of British Columbia, Martha Piper is vowing to move the institution forward by pursuing the prior president’s strategic goals and adding a timely focus of her own.

“All Canadian universities need to take seriously that we should be doing our part in trying to educate international students and particularly from developing countries. Something I hold dear is that students are global citizens,” Dr. Piper said in an interview Thursday.

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Iceland using cool climate to cash in with power-hungry data centres


As it emerges from financial isolation, Iceland is trying to make a name for itself again, this time in the business of data centres – warehouses that consume enormous amounts of energy to store the information of 3.2 billion Internet users.

The island has long been associated with hi-tech trends such as the Eve video game, the genome deCode project or singer Bjork’s use of software as well as its links to file-sharing site Pirate Bay, the Silk Road online black market and Wikileaks.

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Shell’s bid for BG leaves it scrambling to shore up dividend


If you want to own Royal Dutch Shell stock, a cheap way of buying the B shares has opened up but you might want to think twice before calling your broker.

The route is via BG Group, the U.K. gas and oil explorer that succumbed in April to a £47-billion ($94-billion) cash-and-shares bid from Shell. It was the culmination of a courtship that has lasted more than a decade and some critics then wondered if Shell’s impatience to get its hands on BG’s huge oil and gas reserves caused it to pay just a little too much.

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International banks dangerously exposed to China

Leonid Bershidsky

Until very recently, large exposure to China was seen as an advantage, a toehold in the market of the future. Now it’s seen as a risk, and some of the world’s most advanced companies seem to be on the losing side of a huge bet. The danger may be overstated in some cases and understated in others.

Last month, Goldman Sachs created a list of S&P 500 stocks with the most exposure to China. Inexplicably, Apple, which generates more than a quarter of its revenue from Greater China, is not on the list. Nonetheless, all but three of the 20 companies listed are in the tech sector: Wynn Resorts with its Macau casinos, KFC and Pizza Hut owner YUM! Brands and baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition. The rest are mostly makers of tech components that are used to manufacture devices in China that are sold around the world. For example, 61 per cent of Qualcomm’s sales are in China, but Chinese-assembled mobile phones containing the U.S. company’s chips are sold everywhere.

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Thursday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades


Inside the Market’s roundup of some of today’s key analyst actions. This file will be updated often during the trading day so check back for new details.

In reaction to commodity price revisions on Thursday morning, TD Securities analyst Scott Treadwell lowered his 2015 and 2016 forecasts for the oilfield services sector.

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Premarket: World stocks enjoy relief rally ahead of ECB, but investors wary

Jamie McGeever

World stocks rose on Thursday, lifted by the strong rally on Wall Street the previous day, but investors were cautious ahead of a potentially critical 24 hours that will include a European Central Bank policy meeting and the latest U.S. jobs data.

The ECB is expected to lower the central bank’s growth and inflation forecasts on Thursday, while Friday’s U.S. employment data could be a major factor in determining whether the Federal Reserve raises interest rates later this month.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Teachers buys Amica in generous $578-million deal

Seres Lu and Ahmad Hathout

DEAL OF THE DAY: Ontario Teachers’ subsidiary to buy Amica for $578-million

BayBridge Seniors Housing Inc., a subsidiary of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, is set to acquire luxury senior homes operator Amica Mature Lifestyles Inc. for $578-million. The friendly – and generous – deal will see Amica shareholders get $18.75 per share in cash, which is more than double the stock price at close of trading on Tuesday. Full story

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Chinese probe into stock-market swings risks accelerating sell-off


Investigations by Chinese authorities into wild stock-market swings are spreading fear among China-based investors, with some unsure if they are simply helping with inquiries or actually under suspicion, executives in the financial community said.

Chinese fund managers say they have come under increasing pressure from Beijing as authorities’ attempts to revive the country’s stock markets hit headwinds, with some investors now being called in to explain trading strategies to regulators every two weeks.

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At least 20 killed in explosions at mosque in Yemeni capital: officials


A suicide bomber and a subsequent car bomb killed at least 20 people Wednesday at a mosque in Yemen’s rebel-held capital, Sanaa, amid the country’s raging civil war, officials said.

The suicide bomber blew himself up inside the mosque during the evening call to prayers, while the car bomb exploded outside an entrance, they said. Medical officials said the death toll may rise with people now in operating rooms in several hospitals.

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At midday: TSX fluctuates as oil producers slide for a second day

Eric Lam

Canadian stocks swung between gains and losses on Wednesday after a two-day slide, as the global selloff in equities eased.

Equities erased an earlier gain of as much as 1.1 per cent as a slump in energy producers offset an advance in the nation’s largest lenders. Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., the second-largest company by market capitalization, advanced 1.4 per cent after agreeing to buy a surgical devices company.

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Taiwan as the regional dispute mediator?


Ma Ying-jeou calls it his South China Sea Peace Initiative. But the President of Taiwan could as easily call his strategy for cooling Asian territorial spats his “no Western meddling” plan.

His argument amounts to this: With few exceptions, Asian nations have not generally sorted out their differences through international institutions like the United Nations or the International Court of Justice. So why would maritime disputes be any different?

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Trump tower antenna poses ‘no safety risk’ Toronto police say

Police say an antenna at the top of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto that had been deemed unstable poses “no safety risk whatsoever.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory has nonetheless vowed to get to the bottom of the scare that closed a large swath of the city’s financial district for nearly two days.

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VIFF unveils gala, special presentation programs

Marsha Lederman

This year’s Vancouver International Film Festival will open with the historical immigration drama Brooklyn, directed by John Crowley and with a screenplay adapted by Nick Hornby from the Colm Toibin novel of the same name. The British/Irish/Canadian co-production, starring Saoirse Ronan, will kick off the festival with a gala screening on Sept. 24. The Hank Williams biopic I Saw the Light, directed by Marc Abraham and produced by Vancouver’s Bron Studios, will close the festival on Oct. 9.

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CentriLogic sets sights on big telcos with IT-outsourcing expansion


CentriLogic Inc. has established itself as a company to watch in the data centre business after several years of blistering growth (it ranked 58th in Profit Magazine’s list of fastest-growing Canadian companies in 2014) and hiring two big-time executives last year, notably former BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. investment banker Robert Levine as chief financial officer.

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Rio 2016 chief says water will be clean in time for Games

Mike Collett

The water quality at the Olympic sailing venue in Rio de Janeiro is a serious issue but will be resolved by the time the Games begin next year, Rio Organizing Committee president Carlos Nuzman said on Tuesday.

A scientific report carried out last month said the waters were so contaminated with high levels of bacteria and viruses from human sewage that athletes could become ill and unable to compete at the Games, the first to be held in South America.

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John Tory vows to hold Trump tower owner accountable for closures

Toronto Mayor John Tory has vowed to get to the bottom of what’s happening at the top of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto.

A large swath of Toronto’s financial district remained closed Tuesday morning due to an unstable antenna on top of the luxury hotel and condo that opened in January, 2012.

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Tuesday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades


Inside the Market’s roundup of some of today’s key analyst actions. This file will be updated often during the trading day so check back for new details.

In reviewing the recently completed third-quarter earnings season for Canada’s large banks, CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Sedran said bullish investors may need to be patient moving forward.

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IMF’s Lagarde sees weaker than expected global economic growth

Eveline Danubrata

Global economic growth is likely to be weaker than earlier expected, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday, due to a slower recovery in advanced economies and a further slowdown in emerging nations.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde also warned emerging economies like Indonesia to “be vigilant for spillovers” from China’s slowdown, tighter global financial conditions, and the prospects of a U.S. interest rate hike.

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Markets slide after China data triggers concerns over slowdown


A brief interruption in the global stock correction ended with a volatile trading session to kick off September, as markets again buckled under fears of an economic slowdown.

While there was no strong catalyst for the sell-off, new supporting evidence of China’s slumping economic posture seemed sufficient to send investors back into retreat mode.

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Valeant picks up AstraZeneca psoriasis drug after Amgen exit

Canada’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc is buying rights to AstraZeneca Plc’s late-stage experimental psoriasis drug brodalumab after it was dropped by Amgen Inc in May.

Amgen pulled out of the project because suicidal thoughts were observed in some patients taking the medicine, casting a shadow over its prospects.

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Costa Rican property remains a buyer’s market


This story is part of an ongoing series on global property that examines the shifts and trends in the housing market on the international stage.

Long a haven for expats, Costa Rica is finally recovering from the beating its real estate values took during and after the mortgage meltdown in the United States.

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Grain prices drop amid concerns about China’s economy


It’s harvest time at Leo Meyer’s farm near Peace River, Alta., which means several weeks of 12-hour days trying to get more than 13,000 acres of wheat, canola and other grains out of the field before the damaging frosts of September hit.

But he has China on his mind.

Doubts about the strength of the economic superpower have sent prices tumbling for grains and other commodities, capping a season marked by a Western Canadian drought that has slashed yields and a persistently low dollar that has driven up the price of farm equipment and fertilizer.

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The NDP goes down the ‘sound finance’ rabbit hole

Marc Lavoie

Marc Lavoie is a professor in the department of economics at the University of Ottawa.

Economic ideas are like hares – they go in circles, the Cambridge economist D.H. Robertson once noted: Stand in one place long enough, and you will see dismissed beliefs come round again.

Before 2008, the consensus among a majority of economists – the so-called New Consensus – was that monetary policy was powerful enough to counter a slowdown or recession, that fiscal policy was unable to stabilize an economy and hence that fiscal policy should content itself to balance budgets, run more efficient programs and possibly reduce tax rates.

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Bartender finds $20 bill, wins $1-million California lottery with it

A Bay Area man who found a $20 bill on a street outside San Francisco International Airport used it to play the California lottery and won $1 million, a lottery spokesman said on Monday.

Hubert Tang used the lucky bill to buy two scratcher tickets at a store near the airport on Wednesday and won the top prize with one of them, lottery spokesman Greg Parashak said.

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Signs point to major shake-up at Tembec


Could Tembec Inc.’s days as an independent forest products company be numbered?

There’s certainly enough fresh timber for the rumour mill these days regarding the fate of the Montreal-based lumber, paper and specialty pulp producer.

The shares fell to penny-stock status recently after Standard & Poor’s revised its outlook for the company to negative from stable, and investor jitters ramped up on balance-sheet concerns.

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Refugee children, close to death, found in van in Austria

Karin Strohecker

Three young children suffering from dehydration and close to death have been rescued from a van crammed with 26 refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, Austrian police said on Saturday.

The two girls and a boy, aged five and six, were found in a dire state when police stopped the vehicle after a chase near the Austrian town of St. Peter am Hart on the border with Germany, a police spokesman said. They are recovering in hospital.

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Time to reconsider the nature of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

William A. Macdonald

Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution and the survival of the fittest portray a world that is competitive, one divided into winners and losers. On this basis, co-operation and accommodation are – as Donald Trump, the champion of unbridled competition, might put it – for losers.

And, of course, they are not. In fact, two simple words, “mutual accommodation,” seem to resonate as a way of going about big things in a much better way. They also reflect the broadly shared way in which Canadians have made their country work – not always, but more often than not.

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Dambisa Moyo: ‘This government has many tools at their disposal to stimulate the economy’

Rudyard Griffiths

Rudyard Griffiths, chair of the Munk Debates, Canada’s leading public-affairs forum, discusses issues and trends just over the horizon with renowned analysts and policy-makers.

What does the turmoil we have seen in financial markets tell us about the underlying state of the Chinese economy?

It is short-sighted to focus only on what’s happening in the markets. This is really a story about what’s happening structurally to the Chinese and the global economy. If you look at capital, labour and productivity – the three big drivers of economic growth – all are showing significant weaknesses in developed and emerging economies alike. Commodity exporting countries, and emerging markets in particular, are facing increased borrowing costs and the significant deterioration in their credit worthiness.

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Greece’s Syriza party to win election but face setback, poll shows

George Georgiopoulos

Former Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist Syriza will emerge as the biggest party after next month’s election but without the sizeable margin it was hoping for, the first major opinion poll since he resigned last week showed.

The poll also found that almost two thirds of voters felt Tsipras should not have sought a fresh mandate and that his favored coalition ally would not make it into parliament, suggesting his gamble to call early elections to consolidate his power base could backfire.

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Malaysia, Indonesia deploying rapid reaction teams in war against piracy


Malaysia and Indonesia are deploying rapid reaction teams to combat a soaring number of attacks on merchant vessels in one of the world's busiest shipping choke-points, a Malaysian admiral has announced.

More than 70 ships have been attacked in the Malacca and Singapore straits, on the western side of the Malay Peninsula, this year, the highest number since at least 2008, including at least seven at the end of last week, according to security and anti-piracy groups.

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Boy catches 220-kilogram bluefin tuna off Prince Edward Island shore

A 10-year-old boy from Prince Edward Island who recently reeled in a mammoth 220-kilogram bluefin tuna off the province’s northeastern shore says he’s not quite satisfied with his potentially record-breaking catch.

Koen Norton set out on his family’s charter boat on Sunday in Naufrage Harbour hoping to break the International Game Fish Association’s record for the biggest tuna ever caught by a boy aged 10 and under using the stand-up fishing technique.

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Has globalization run its course?


What ever happened to globalization? Growth in the volume of traffic in stuff between nations is stagnating, if not in retreat. Some economists wonder if this is a sign that we have reached “peak trade.” Could it be that the frantic efforts to create seaborne and airborne highways between Asian workshops and North American and European warehouse shops was just a phase that has now run its course?

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Thursday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades

Gillian Livingston

Inside the Market’s roundup of some of today’s key analyst actions. This file will be updated often during the trading day so check back for new details.

Royal Bank of Canada's (RY-T; RY-N) cash earnings per share of $1.68 was higher than Desjardins Financial's estimate of $1.62 per share, and they viewed that as positive.

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How golf innovators found an ‘in’ into Britain


For millions of avid golfers, a trip to the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, the widely acknowledged home of golf, is a pilgrimage that needs to be undertaken at least once in a lifetime.

Luckily for Bruce Rempel, the owner and president of Dryrainge Equipment Company Inc., the journey, which he made last month, also doubled as a business trip. It just so happens that Britain has become the strongest market worldwide for Saskatoon-based Dryrainge, which manufactures two- or three-person movable canopies that shield golfers from wind and rain and harmful UV rays while they hone their game.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Tricon Investment Partners files IPO


DEAL OF THE DAY: Schlumberger to buy Cameron International

Schlumberger Ltd, the world’s top oil field services company, is set to acquire oil field equipment maker Cameron International Corp in a deal valued at $14.8-billion (U.S.). Cameron’s shares shot up to $61.94 in premarket trading on Wednesday, while Schlumberger’s shares rose 1.4 per cent to $73.57. Full story

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Former Centerra CEO faces extradition hearing in Bulgaria


Ex-Centerra Gold CEO Len Homeniuk has been redetained by Bulgarian officials after being under house arrest for most of August, and will face an extradition hearing Thursday that could see him transferred to Kyrgyzstan, according to the company and Bulgarian consular officials in Ottawa.

“We are in contact with his family, and we know that both the U.S. and Canadian foreign affairs are aware of the situation and we urge them to support Len and to provide the necessary counsellor services for him,” said John Pearson, VP of investor relations at Centerra Gold Inc.

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Schlumberger to buy Cameron International in $14.8-billion deal

Schlumberger Ltd, the world’s No.1 oil field services company, said it will acquire oil field equipment maker Cameron International Corp in a deal valued at $14.8-billion (U.S.).

Cameron shareholders will get $66.36 – $14.44 in cash and 0.716 of a Schlumberger share – for each share held, a premium of 56.3 per cent to Cameron’s Tuesday close.

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Death of Khmer Rouge ‘First Lady’ brings no justice for victims


Ieng Thirith, infamous in life as the “First Lady” of Cambodia’s murderous Khmer Rouge regime, died on Saturday. Unlike the vast majority of the Khmer Rouge’s estimated two million victims, she spent her final hours surrounded by her family. She was given a Buddhist funeral, something that was forbidden under the avowedly atheist government she served as a senior cabinet minister and close confidante of Pol Pot.

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Red Cross halts work in Yemeni city of Aden after gunmen raid office

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday it had temporarily suspended its activities in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden after its office was raided by unidentified gunmen a day earlier.

Aden is largely lawless since it became a front line in Yemen’s conflict between supporters of the exiled, Western-backed government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the northern, Iran-allied Houthi movement.

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Who’s headed to TIFF? Johnny Depp, Sandra Bullock and Matt Damon – for starters

Barry Hertz

The streets of Toronto will look a bit like the finer roads of Los Angeles next month, thanks to a huge influx of stars heading to the Toronto International Film Festival. Johnny Depp, Sandra Bullock, Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Anna Kendrick are just a few of the hundreds of actors and filmmakers set to attend this year’s festival, organizers revealed Tuesday.

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IAEA asks member states for more money for Iran nuclear work

The UN nuclear watchdog has asked its member states for more money to carry out its role under a deal to curtail Iran’s nuclear program, its chief Yukiya Amano said on Tuesday, saying current funds would run out next month.

The costs for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) activities on Iran have so far been met through extra-budgetary contributions from members states.

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Property buyers seeking wine and sunshine target this French area


This story is part of an ongoing series on global property that examines the shifts and trends in the housing market on the international stage.

When Brent McTavish and his husband, Bryan Teixeira, decided to move from Vancouver to Europe, they contemplated settling permanently in London. The two had fallen in love with the vibrant city, and Mr. Teixeira had landed a senior level management position there. It didn’t take long for them to become disenchanted by its staggering property prices, however.

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Canada has the potential to be a services superpower


Many people automatically think about resources or manufacturing when describing Canada’s economy. But that image of Canada as a producer and exporter of forest products, energy or autos is archaic and out of step with today’s reality.

It’s about time that our self-image got in sync with the facts. Canada today is first and foremost a services economy in terms of employment, wealth creation and international business. Services have steadily grown to more than 70 per cent of gross domestic product, with many highly skilled and well-paying jobs. Future economic success will be determined by our ability to stay at the front of the pack in providing services to the world. Does Canada have what it takes to be a services superpower?

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U.K. says Iran sanctions may be lifted next spring


International sanctions on Iran could start to be lifted as early as spring next year, Britain’s foreign minister said on Monday, as Tehran and the West rebuild their ties and potentially open up billions of dollars of trade deals.

Six world powers agreed in July to lift sanctions in return for Iran accepting long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb. Tehran has always denied seeking nuclear arms.

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Dentons knocked off Gap patent case over conflict of interest


Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, is challenging a decision that has thrown the firm off a U.S. patent case launched against the Gap Inc. because the firm already acts for the retailer in Canada.

The challenge highlights the problem conflicts pose for the new breed of massive global legal players such as Dentons, which began with an international, three-way merger involving Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in 2013.

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Canada's three top momentum stocks


Visit Lion’s Head in the summer and you’ll be in for a treat. The small town is nestled on the shores of Ontario’s Georgian Bay and is surrounded by the natural glory of the Niagara Escarpment.

While that section of the bay is placid most of the time, if the winds howl in the right direction, the waves can be powerful enough to rearrange its pebble beaches and chase swimmers back to shore.

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IAAF’s Lamine Diack maintains sport’s credibility ‘has not been impinged’


His sport under siege, the president of the IAAF dismissed the notion that track and field’s credibility has been compromised by a storm of doping allegations. He called it “ridiculous” to suggest the federation has ever swept evidence of positive tests under the rug.

“The credibility of our sport has not been impinged,” the IAAF’s outgoing president, Lamine Diack, said during a combative news conference Friday, the eve of world championships.

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Peru gives Pacific Exploration and Production contract for oil block

Peru has negotiated a two-year deal with Canada’s Pacific Exploration and Production Corp. to operate and develop the country’s biggest oil block, state regulator Perupetro said Friday.

The Canadian company, which changed its name from Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp last week, will take over oil block 192 in Peru’s Loreto Amazonian region after the contract of the current operator, Pluspetrol, expires in eight days.

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Amazon corporate culture: Less creative conflict, more Darwinian struggle


A fashionable management theory is floating through the ether in human resources departments and it should make you worried. It’s called creative conflict or creative abrasion. Instead of striving for dull, nodding consensus, the idea goes, it’s better to have an argument between prickly individuals – you are more likely to come up with new and better ideas.

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Euro zone expects Greece to reform despite election

Jussi Rosendahl and Shadia Nasralla

European policy makers said on Friday they expected Greece to press on with reforms agreed under its new bailout regardless of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ decision to resign and seek new elections.

Some investors, however, were concerned by the uncertainty surrounding new elections.

Tsipras resigned on Thursday, hoping to strengthen his hold on power in snap elections after seven months in office in which he fought Greece’s creditors for a better bailout deal but had to cave in.

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Usain Bolt’s returns to Beijing overshadowed by doping discussions


He set world records, won Olympic gold medals, danced on the track and made the sprint game feel fun again.

One thing Usain Bolt cannot do, he insists, is serve as the lone saviour for track and field.

“I can’t do it by myself,” Bolt said Thursday.

Back in Beijing, where he set three world records and won three gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, The World’s Fastest Man is preparing for the world championships this time around.

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Leverage global industry’s scale to accelerate Canada’s big ideas

Dino Trevisani

Dino Trevisani is president of IBM Canada

On May 9, The Globe and Mail published Canadians Can Innovate, But We’re Not Equipped To Win, by former Research In Motion co-CEO Jim Balsillie. This is part of a series responding to and expanding on that essay.

According to the World Economic Forum, which studies and benchmarks more than 100 global economies, Canada continues to lose ground in terms of its competitiveness.

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Seeking a consistent dividend? Here’s your test


If your favourite market sectors for dividends are banks and energy, apply this test to the stocks you like.

We’ll call it the consistency test: Have shares produced dividend increases annually over the past 10 years, and have the increases averaged 10 per cent or more? applied this screen to Canadian dividend payers and not one of the Big Six banks made the list. The closest we get in the financial sector are Canadian Western Bank, Home Capital Group and Intact Financial. In energy, only Suncor and Canadian Natural Resources make the list. Beyond that there are just two energy services firms – Ensign Energy Services and Pason Systems.

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TSX plunges to 8-month low

Canadian stocks fell to the lowest since December as the rout in emerging markets spread, sending energy producers to an eighth straight loss.

The benchmark equity gauge slumped a fourth day, joining a retreat among global equities amid a selloff in developing- market assets. Energy producers decreased 1.3 per cent, extending a 2009 low. Barrick Gold Corp. jumped 6 per cent as gold climbed to a month high after traders scaled back bets of a U.S. interest-rate increase in September.

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TIFF veteran to lead Hot Docs


North America’s largest documentary festival has announced a new director of programming.

Shane Smith, formerly director of special projects with Toronto International Film Festival, will take over the position for Hot Doc’s 23rd annual edition.

“Documentaries are at a very exciting moment in their evolution and history,” Smith told The Globe and Mail about his new position. “These new technologies and hybrid documentary forms – animated works, mixed genre, documentary arts … I’m very excited about the potential to bringing them to Toronto audiences.”

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Canada makes ‘moderate’ effort against foreign bribery: Anti-corruption watchdog

An international anti-corruption watchdog says Canada has made “moderate” efforts to enforce an anti-bribery convention signed more than a decade ago by 41 countries.

Transparency International says a majority of the signatory countries have made limited or no effort to investigate and prosecute companies that bribe foreign officials to win contracts, or to dodge taxes and local laws.

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IMF freezes benchmark currency basket, defers any yuan addition

The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday it will freeze its benchmark currency basket until October 2016, giving markets more time to adjust to the possible addition of China’s yuan as part of a review of global reserve currencies.

The IMF board is scheduled to decide in November whether the yuan will join the Special Drawing Rights basket.

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Resisting bribery, and other tales of expansion abroad


Imagine trying to build a company amid disease outbreaks, political unrest and a completely unfamiliar culture. Indeed, it sounds like the stuff of C-suite nightmares.

But for Frederick Davidson, managing issues such as these are just part of doing business.

That is because his company, Vancouver-based specialty drilling firm Energold Drilling Corp., operates in some of the roughest and most precarious locales on the planet, including remote areas of developing countries in South America, West Africa and the Middle East.

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Access to Iran’s Parchin military site meets demands, IAEA says

The United Nations nuclear watchdog said it is satisfied with access Iran will grant it to the country’s Parchin military site, suspected by some states to have in the past hosted atomic bomb-related experiments.

Without International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmation that Iran is keeping promises enshrined in a landmark nuclear deal reached with world powers on July 14, the country will not be granted much-needed relief from sanctions.

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Korean wind surfer falls ill during Olympic sailing test event in polluted bay

Stephen Wade

South Korean wind surfer Wonwoo Cho got his first ride in an ambulance the other day, taken to a Rio de Janeiro hospital with dehydration, vomiting, a headache and dizziness.

Cho is one of four athletes to have “officially” fallen ill so far at the week’s Olympic sailing test event in Rio de Janeiro’s polluted Guanabara Bay. Officials acknowledge the reporting is incomplete with many teams and some of the 300 athletes skittish about disclosing illnesses.

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Chinese report details role of political connections in Tianjin blast


The mayor of the northern Chinese city where explosions killed more than 100 people last week took responsibility for the disaster Wednesday, as authorities sought to contain growing public anger about the accident. Mounting evidence has suggested that political malfeasance and rampant safety violations played significant roles in the accident.

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Lexpert: Growth in trade law reflects global business practices

Some lawyers are calling this the “golden age of international trade law.” Both public and private-sector lawyers are comparing trade law’s growth to burgeoning practice areas such as aboriginal and constitutional law, which are admittedly somewhat further along the curve.

The spread of globalization means increased engagement with other countries’ laws, including trade laws. As other countries’ laws become more important to business, they become more important to law firms. “Trade laws are sliding their way up the ladder when conglomerates try to figure out what’s best for the whole entity,” says Darrel Pearson of Bennett Jones LLP in Toronto. “They’re right up there with other important issues like the environment, government intervention and the cost of transportation.”

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Canadian stocks are weaker than they appear: Scotiabank


Canadian stocks are far weaker than they appear, with the benchmark masking what is already a market in “severe correction territory,” by one measure at least, according to a new Bank of Nova Scotia strategy report.

Over the last year, the S&P/TSX composite index is down by 7.5 per cent, but that dramatically understates the extent to which Canadian stocks are in retreat. The composite is a market-capitalization-weighted index, meaning that movements in larger stocks have a proportionately larger influence on the headline figure.

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PM Tsipras yet to decide on early Greek elections, minister says

George Georgiopoulos

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has yet to make up his mind on calling early elections, a government minister said on Wednesday, following a rift in the ruling party over the country’s new bailout deal.

Ministers have spoken openly about the possibility of a parliamentary confidence vote leading to elections since Tsipras had to rely on opposition lawmakers to win approval on Friday for the 86 billion euro bailout deal.

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Government distrust and anger grow after Tianjin explosions in China


Since last Wednesday’s still-unexplained accident, which killed at least 114 people and injured more than 700, the Chinese government has insisted again and again that effective measures are being taken to ensure that the air in Tianjin remains safe. But when rain fell Tuesday, the city’s streets began to foam, and people reported burning sensations on their lips and elbows.

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Libya asks Arab League for arms to fight Islamic State


Libya’s internationally recognized government, with strong backing from neighbouring Egypt, on Tuesday urged fellow Arab countries to provide arms to help it defeat a local Islamic State affiliate and criticized the U.S.-led coalition for confining its efforts to Syria and Iraq.

Egypt criticized what it called international “double standards” and “lethargy” in dealing with the spread of the IS group in Libya, where the militants have exploited the chaos following the 2011 revolt that toppled and killed long-time ruler Moammar Gadhafi, seizing his hometown of Sirte and other areas.

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TIFF unveils lineup additions

Barry Hertz

New films starring Tom Hiddleston, Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are heading to this year's Toronto International Film Festival, organizers announced Tuesday morning. The unveiling was the latest in TIFF's summer-long programming reveal, with five more galas, 19 special presentations, 60 international films, and more joining this fall's lineup.

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Tuesday’s analyst upgrades and downgrades


Inside the Market’s roundup of some of today’s key analyst actions. This file will be updated often during the trading day so check back for new details.

The current unit price for Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust (BEI.UN-T) is “pricing in an unlikely ‘doomsday’ scenario at the moment,” according to Raymond James analyst Ken Avalos.

The REIT announced second-quarter funds from operations of 94 cents per unit, beating both the consensus of 93 cents and Mr. Avalos’s estimate of 92 cents. Same property net operating income (NOI) grew 2.8 per cent from the previous quarter with rental revenue rising 2.4 per cent. Occupancy did fall 0.4 per cent to 97.4 per cent (with Calgary remaining flat while Edmonton fell 0.4 per cent).

“The bottom line is that everyone, including us, expects occupancy and rents to slip in the oil provinces. That said, the current stock price implies a decline in net operating income ($30 million or approximately 10 per cent) that is extremely unlikely in our view,” said Mr. Avalos. “For this to happen, occupancy would need to decline 10 percentage points to 87 per cent. The portfolio’s occupancy has never fallen below 94 per cent.” 

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Is Apple a meaningful stock market indicator?

Barry L. Ritholtz

With the stock markets down almost (OMG!) 5 per cent from their all-time highs, lots of folks are looking for signs that the bull is dying, if not dead. One of the more portentous omens is the recent decline and volatility of Apple’s stock.

Or so it seems.

For reasons too numerous to list here, Apple captures an enormous amount of mindshare. I find that gratifying, as a fanboy since falling in love with a Mac Classic in 1988. I have jokingly noted that the five major asset classes are stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities and Apple. However, too many people seem to think it is the most important stock in the universe. Even if that were true, that doesn’t help us understand how markets work.

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Canada celebrates strong Parapan results


Stephanie Dixon remembers returning home from the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, and being unable to celebrate her successes with anyone.

Nobody knew what Paralympic sport was.

“Here, after having these Parapan American Games in Toronto, I know that none of our athletes will ever have to put their heads down coming home from competition,” said Dixon, a former Paralympic swimmer and the assistant chef de mission of Canada’s team in Toronto. “They’ll be able to raise their heads up high and be proud of their accomplishments. All of our athletes are being put in a position of being a role model and a hero in our country.

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Canada finishes second in a Parapan Am Games that were about more than medals

Lori Ewing

Stephanie Dixon remembers returning home from the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, and being unable to celebrate her successes with anyone.

Nobody knew what Paralympic sport was.

“Here, after having these Parapan American Games in Toronto, I know that none of our athletes will ever have to put their heads down coming home from competition,” said Dixon, a former Paralympic swimmer and the assistant chef de mission of Canada’s team in Toronto. “They’ll be able to raise their heads up high and be proud of their accomplishments. All of our athletes are being put in a position of being a role model and a hero in our country.

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Glitch that canceled more than 400 U.S. flights is fixed

Disrupted air travel along the heavily populated U.S. East Coast was resuming normal operations on Saturday after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it had fixed an automation problem at an air traffic center that led to hundreds of flight cancellations.

The FAA said an air traffic center in Leesburg, Virginia was thought to be the cause of the issue which canceled more than 440 flights for hours and caused hundreds of other flights to be delayed during the busy August travel season.

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Daily Deal Roundup: Domtar looks to spend $1-billion on acquisitions


DEAL OF THE DAY: Domtar looks to spend $1-billion on acquisitions

Montreal-based Domtar Corp., North America’s second-biggest paper company by market value, is setting aside $1-billion to increase its presence in the personal care business through acquisitions. The Montreal-based company is looking to generate as much as 65 per cent of its earnings from growth businesses including pulp, personal care and specialty packaging as paper demand slows by 3 to 5 per cent a year. Full story

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China’s yuan devaluation was a significant move, but not a salvo

Yves Tiberghien

Yves Tiberghien is the co-director of UBC’s master of public policy and global affairs program and a senior fellow with the Asia-Pacific Foundation of Canada.

What is the significance of China’s surprise devaluation of the renminbi and the subsequent shockwaves across foreign exchange markets, stock markets and commodity markets?

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Chief investment adviser seeking incentivized management teams


Iain Butler


Chief investment adviser

The portfolio

Includes shares in Sun Life Financial Inc., Martinrea International Inc., Pure Energy Minerals Ltd., Motorola Solutions Inc., Agrium Inc., NeuLion Inc., Major Drilling Group International Inc. and Silver Wheaton Corp.

The investor

Growing up in rural Ontario, Iain Butler worked at jobs that required physical labour and “a shower at the end of the day.” In search of a cleaner line of work, he went to university.

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Will Health Canada crack down on pot-shop ads?


When the program guide for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival came out this past June, it included advertisements for four dispensaries that illegally sell marijuana. The dispensaries are among the hundred or so pot shops that have opened up throughout the city in the past several years.

Soon after Health Canada caught wind of the ads, the department contacted festival organizers and demanded the ads be pulled from both the online and print versions of the guide. A spokesman for Health Canada told the media that any business promoting the sale of marijuana could face a maximum penalty of $5-million, two years in prison, or both. The organizers, unaware they were illegal, immediately complied.

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GE expected to win EU approval for $14-billion Alstom deal, sources say

Foo Yun Chee

General Electric Co. is expected to secure EU approval for its proposed 14-billion (U.S.) bid for French peer Alstom SA’s power business, its largest ever deal, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The green light from the European Commission will come 14 years after it rejected GE’s attempt at a $42-billion takeover of Honeywell International, despite clearance by U.S. authorities.

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There’s method to awards-season madness before the Oscars


Outside, it’s still watermelon-and-feta-salad weather. Inside, though, at least in the corridors of movie studios and showbiz fixers, minds are already squared on Feb. 28, 2016. Destination: Oscar.

With the industry already in battle-mode for the major fall film fest rigamarole (i.e. Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York), the analogy writes itself: The awards season is not unlike an election (albeit one with an electorate of just 6,000 people or so). It has morphed into a year-long phenom, with bloggers galore to track every tweet and twitch. Oscarologist Mark Harris framed it this way once in New York magazine: “There is no war room, per se, but there are early front-runners that fade, grassroots insurgencies, even primaries. Ultimately, most of the nominees emerge from a combination of good planning, good movies, and good luck.”

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Malaysia says most of the debris found in Maldives not from plane; unclear if all examined

Malaysia said Friday that most of the debris found in Maldives were not from a plane and were unrelated to the missing Malaysian jet.

Last week, Malaysia said a wing fragment found on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion was confirmed to be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The plane disappeared March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

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China’s yuan devaluation makes sense, but only time will tell for whom


Were the stakes not so high, it would be almost funny to compare the competing analyses of why China shocked the financial world this week with a record devaluation of its currency. The experts can’t seem to agree on whether Beijing’s move is a sign of strength or weakness.

The official explanation given by the People’s Bank of China for lowering the value of the yuan against the U.S. dollar, and overhauling its mechanism for setting the daily exchange rate, is that it aims to increase the “market orientation” of the currency. On its own, that should build confidence that the Communist regime is ceding some of its control to the free market.

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The Swedish sex-work model is a success

Simon Hedlin

Simon Hedlin is a former political adviser for gender equality and human rights at the Prime Minister’s Office in Sweden.

On Aug. 11, the human-rights organization Amnesty International voted at its International Council Meeting to adopt a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of prostitution, including both selling and buying sex. This was very unfortunate. While decriminalizing individuals who sell sex is essential to increase the protection of prostituted people’s human rights, making it easier to buy sex risks having the exact opposite effect.

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Indonesian court overturns sex abuse conviction against Canadian teacher

Niniek Karmini

A Canadian teacher and an Indonesian teaching assistant serving 10 years in an Indonesian prison for child sexual offences were released Friday after a court overturned their convictions.

Neil Bantleman, 45, and Ferdinant Tjiong were greeted by tearful family and cheers from friends and dozens of teachers from their former school as they walked out of Cipinang prison in eastern Jakarta.

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Residents frustrated with lack of reliable info after Tianjin explosion


This bustling port city about a 90-minute drive from the Chinese capital confronted scenes of death and devastation Thursday – huge grey plumes of smoke, vast parking lots of charred vehicles, blocks of high-rises with their blown-out windows – and questions about what had caused the explosions at a warehouse storing a witches’ brew of toxic chemicals.

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Chinese rail deal raises hopes for economic shift in North Korea


North Korea is hoping to woo billions of dollars in foreign investment to rejuvenate its tattered industrial landscape after signing a deal that gives a small Chinese rail company the right to invest in a huge swath of the Hermit Kingdom’s economy.

For decades, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has been among the most isolated places on earth, cut off from the broader world politically and economically. It remained steeped in deep poverty as its neighbours in China and South Korea embraced reforms that radically remade their countries.

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Top Links: No need to worry about President Trump. Yet.

Scott Barlow

A roundup of what The Globe and Mail’s market strategist Scott Barlow is reading this morning on the World Wide Web.

Global markets easily digested further weakness in the Chinese yuan overnight so I’m feeling a lot less confused by investor behaviour.

The “OMG IT’S A GLOBAL CURRENCY WAR GO TO 100 PER CENT CASH NOW WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE” contingent has lost out. At least for now, it appears that China’s moves to allow currency depreciation are the result of technical factors – addition to the IMF’s global currency baskets – and not imminent financial disaster.

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Canadian indie artists can take distribution into their own hands


Tarun Nayar’s band Delhi 2 Dublin has flirted with record labels, but locking into a complicated contract doesn’t really make sense for the road warriors.

“We make so much off of CDs when we’re travelling,” says the co-founder of the Vancouver band, which fuses both bhangra and Celtic music with pop flavourings. Any label they would attach themselves to would want a piece of their revenue.

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Tories' false claims about pot laws put youth at risk: drug policy centre


Conservative Canadian politicians continue to feed myths such as the legalization of marijuana in Colorado has led to a spike in teen use and that a clear link has been established between cannabis use and mental illness, says an international network of drug policy scientists and academics.

The Toronto-based International Centre for Science in Drug Policy attempted to inject itself into the federal election campaign on Wednesday by releasing a list of 11 common claims about the use and regulation of pot that research shows are actually incorrect. Such false claims about marijuana lead to policies that actually put youth at risk, the researchers say.

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UN peacekeeping chief in Central African Republic fired over abuse reports


The United Nations has fired its peacekeeping chief in the Central African Republic after a new scandal over alleged sexual abuse by UN troops, even as the sacked commander warned of a “systemic problem” of sexual abuse by peacekeepers.

Babacar Gaye, a Senegalese army general who headed the UN mission in the war-torn Central African nation, was ordered to resign on Wednesday after Amnesty International cited 15 witnesses and medical evidence to support its allegation that a UN peacekeeper had raped a 12-year-old girl during a house search in Bangui this month.

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Google’s Alphabet not your traditional conglomerate


The Google founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, set the bar quite high for new ventures or “moonshots,” as they choose to call their big ideas, from driverless cars to finding the elixir of life. So, it was a bit disappointing to learn that the new Google parent company is to be called “Alphabet,” a somewhat lame conflation of the investor jargon for high returns and the idea of taking a gamble.

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Markets are partying like it's 1998

Michael P Regan

Take a quick gander at the analysis below and see if you don’t agree it’s a pretty good summary of the recent state of play in financial markets as China launched the latest salvo in the global currency wars by devaluing the yuan.

* “A buildup of overheating pressures, evident in ... inflated property and stock market values.”

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Canada is missing in action at the United Nations


Omer Aziz is a Kirby Simon Fellow at Yale Law School and a Visiting Researcher at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @omeraziz12.

On one of my first days working at the United Nations this past June, a senior UN official took me out for coffee. This being Geneva, our espressos went into lunch and the conversation slowly moved from the architectural splendour of the Palais des Nations to the more rugged terrain of geopolitics. The words “Canada” and “reputation” were inevitably mentioned, and as I tiptoed around the moat that lay between these two words, the UN official simply looked amused. To her, Canada’s role at the UN was not controversial. It was irrelevant.

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