MIAMI — As coronavirus infections surge across Florida and hospital authorities nervously count their available intensive care beds, the state’s most populous county is closing down again, imposing a curfew and closing beaches over the Fourth of July weekend to contain the spread.Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew begins Friday night and will be in place indefinitely. A new county order also closes casinos, strip clubs, movie theatres, the zoo and other entertainment venues a month after they were allowed to reopen.Florida reported 341 new hospital admissions of COVID-19 patients on Friday, the biggest daily jump since the pandemic began, along with 9,488 new confirmed cases and 67 deaths.The mayor’s order also tightens mask rules at restaurants, requiring customers to wear facial coverings at all times unless eating or drinking. Under the previous order, customers were allowed to remove masks when they sat down.The mayor said Miami-Dade police will be checking businesses to enforce mask and capacity rules, and closing establishments in violation.___HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:— Florida reports nearly 9,500 new virus cases.— Confirmed coronavirus cases are rising in 40 of 50 states.— Kim Jong Un urges North Koreans to keep up virus fight.— South Africa’s hospitals bracing for surge of virus patients.— Pubs in England can reopen on Saturday for the first time since they were closed on March 20 as part of the coronavirus lockdown. Those that reopen will have to make sure they are safe for staff and customers alike.— With coronavirus-related restrictions being eased and temperatures climbing, people are flocking back to the Jersey Shore. And with the July Fourth holiday on the horizon, that’s making some people nervous.— Nearby South American countries are grappling with uncontrolled spread of the novel coronavirus, but Paraguay appears to be controlling the disease. It’s had just a few thousand confirmed cases and a few dozen deaths.___Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak___HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:HONOLULU — A U.S. judge will not stop Hawaii from enforcing a quarantine on arriving travellers. U.S. District Judge Jill Otake says in a ruling that the emergency mandate is reasonable during the public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.A group of Hawaii, California and Nevada residents tried to stop the quarantine by filing a lawsuit alleging it is unfair and unnecessary.Gov. David Ige has announced that starting Aug. 1, travellers will be able to bypass the quarantine if they test negative prior to arriving. The testing plan is similar to one in Alaska.___LOS ANGELES — California is heading into the Fourth of July weekend under classic sunny summer skies and new health orders that temporarily put many popular beaches off-limits in an effort to prevent runaway coronavirus infections.A few surfers were in the water at Los Angeles’ Venice Beach and a few dozen people strolled the boardwalk or shoreline early Friday, but the normal Independence Day throngs are missing.With testing showing a rising COVID-19 positivity rate and increasing hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom has rolled back or limited some of the reopening of business sectors in counties encompassing nearly three-quarters of the state’s population.The holiday beach closures began Friday from Los Angeles County northward through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. To the south in Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were to close Saturday and Sunday, while San Diego did not plan any shutdowns. Many Northern California beaches were open but parking was closed at some to reduce the potential for crowding.___GENEVA — The World Health Organization’s emergencies chief says “we need to put up a fight now” during a peak in the current wave of the coronavirus pandemic — rather than focusing on when a second wave might come.Dr. Michael Ryan said the world will be much better at fighting a second wave, if people can learn the lessons of fighting the first wave.WHO officials emphasized mask-wearing, social distancing, and hygiene by individuals, along with contact-tracing and tracking of cases by health authorities as key strategies to fight the virus. They say governments and individuals should contour their policies and behaviour based on the outbreak’s status in their countries.Ryan said the world was experiencing a “second peak in the first wave” — a situation in which the virus hasn’t been suppressed enough to quell transmission to end the first one.___TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas has reported another big increase in new coronavirus cases that capped its worst two-week spike since the pandemic began.The state health department released its latest figures Friday as a statewide mask mandate from the governor took effect.The Department of Health and Environment reported that Kansas has had 15,919 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, up 929, or 6.2% since only Wednesday. Kansas also has reported 277 COVID-19-related deaths, up five in two days.Kansas reported an average of 276 new coronavirus cases a day over the past two weeks. That was the largest 14-day average since the state confirmed its first case March 7. The previous peak for the 14-day average was 271 on May 11.Gov. Laura Kelly’s mask order requires people to wear masks in public and at their workplaces. However, state law allows the state’s 105 counties to opt out, and even if they don’t, officials don’t expect vigorous enforcement.___MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama reported more than 1,700 new confirmed coronavirus cases — the highest number yet for a single day — as doctors and state officials expressed concern about further spread during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.The state on Thursday surpassed the previous high-water mark for the most infections reported in a 24-hour period while the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 also reached a new high of 843.Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey urged people to use precautions during the holiday weekend. The state saw an uptick in cases in the weeks following Memorial Day.According to the state Department of Public Health, Alabama has reported more than 41,000 cases of the coronavirus since the pandemic began with more than 25% of infections being reported in the last two weeks. So far, at least 983 Alabamians have died after contracting the virus.___PHOENIX — Arizona has reached new peaks in hospitalizations and emergency room visits, indicating the state is only intensifying as a coronavirus hot spot.State health officials say the capacity of hospital intensive care units is at an all-time high of 91%.The number of people hospitalized Thursday due to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 was 3,013, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. It’s the first time reaching 3,000.People who went to the ER because of COVID-19 symptoms numbered a record 1,847, nearly 500 more than a day earlier.The state reported Friday 4,433 confirmed cases and 31 deaths. The total stands at 91,858 cases and 1,788 deaths.___NEW YORK -- New York state reported 918 new coronavirus infections and nine deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.It’s the first time more than 900 new infections have been reported since June 12, when 916 people tested positive for the virus statewide.“The more than 900 new cases in New York yesterday, while representing just 1.38% of tests, is a reminder that the virus is still here,” the Democratic governor said in a news release.He added, “I cannot repeat enough that our actions today -- those of individuals being smart and following all precautions, and local governments enforcing the state’s guidelines -- will determine which direction these numbers go.”___BATON ROUGE, La., — Only 63 Louisiana state prison inmates will be released through the furlough program that state officials developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.The Louisiana Department of Corrections created a review panel in April to consider up to 1,100 state prison inmates for temporary release. The Advocate newspaper reports the panel reviewed fewer than 600 cases before it was suspended on June 5, when Louisiana entered Phase 2 of reopening.About 100 people were approved and 63 will be released, corrections department spokesman Ken Pastorick said. Louisiana has the nation’s highest incarceration rate, with approximately 32,000 prisoners.Most inmates considered were in local jails, not state prisons, the paper reported. Candidates had to be within six months of their release date, among other criteria. No one convicted of a violent crime or sex offence was considered. The meetings weren’t open to the public and advocates criticized the plan for its limited scope.Sixteen inmates at Louisiana’s state prisons have died from the coronavirus, according to corrections department data.Louisiana recorded its largest daily coronavirus case spike since April on Wednesday, with nearly 2,100 new cases.___RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro approved a law requiring masks on streets and in public transportation to help prevent coronavirus infections.However, he vetoed clauses requiring masks in churches, schools, shops and factories. Bolsonaro says forcing people to use masks in such places could violate property rights.He also vetoed an article enabling the government to provide masks to vulnerable groups and requiring commercial establishments to provide masks to their employees.As in the United States, use of masks has become contentious and sometimes politicized in Brazil. Bolsonaro only occasionally covers his face in public and often mingles with crowds.Even in cities where masks have been obligatory, compliance and enforcement have been lax.Brazilian cities last month started lifting restrictions even as COVID-19 cases and deaths surged. Latin America’s most populous nation has confirmed more than 61,500 deaths and nearly 1.5 million infections, the second most in the world behind the U.S.Experts say both are undercounts due to the lack of widespread testing. On Thursday, Brazil reported its second-highest daily increase in cases, more than 48,000, and nearly 1,200 deaths.___HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is joining health officials in Allegheny County and Philadelphia in recommending that people returning to Pennsylvania from a coronavirus hot spot to stay at home for 14 days.The Democratic governor’s administration singled out the following 15 states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.The rising number of COVID-19 infections in the Pittsburgh area helped drive Pennsylvania’s number of confirmed new cases to 667, the state Health Department said Friday.Wolf issued a more expansive order to wear masks this week. Five House Republicans issued a statement questioning the science behind using a mask to contain the virus.Pennsylvania’s confirmed death toll from the coronavirus pandemic rose by 34 to more than 6,700. There have been nearly 89,000 confirmed cases.___NAIROBI, Kenya — Burundi’s new government appears to have reversed course, announcing screening of suspected clusters of the coronavirus.However, there’s no requirement to wear a face mask in Burundi, which has 170 confirmed virus cases. The United Nations Development Program donated 14 million masks, along with other supplies, to the East African nation on Friday.Burundi’s previous government had said divine protection would suffice, and it kicked out the World Health Organization’s country director.Now the government is conducting screenings, along with providing cheaper soap and lower water bills. But Health minister Thaddee Ndikumana remains suspicious of outside influence: “We will never accept the vaccine of COVID-19 because Burundian people are not a field of experimentation.”___ROME — The governor of Italy’s northeastern Veneto region says he’ll crack down on people who test positive but refuse to quarantine or give details to health authorities about recent contacts for tracing.After days of fewer than a dozen daily confirmed infections, Veneto’s new cases increased to 20 on Thursday. Gov. Luca Zaia says next week he’ll present a new ordinance aimed at ensuring those testing positive stay home in isolation until further testing indicates they have cleared the virus.Said Zaia: “If we continue to go around without masks in crowds, continue to give credence to conspiracy-believers, those who think the virus was invented by Big Pharma, Martians or came aboard some spaceship, it’s inevitable” that Veneto’s cases numbers will rise again.Veneto, which early on stressed widespread testing, has had only a fraction of confirmed cases and deaths than its neighbour, Lombardy, by far Italy’s worst-stricken region.___ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced he’s tested positive for the coronavirus.He says he felt a ’slight fever,” immediately quarantined at home and later tested positive for the coronavirus.Qureshi is the senior most government official to contract the virus. Pakistan’s infection rate has been steadily climbing as Prime Minister Imran Khaneased restrictions saying the country’s fragile economy would collapse under a strict lockdown and the poorest would suffer the most.Khan has gone on national television to ask Pakistanis to wear masks and social distance, but the vast majority largely ignore the precautions. Confirmed infections reached 221,896 on Friday and more than 4,500 deaths. Pakistan has pulled back on testing to around 20,000 tests a day from a high of more than 32,000.Four Parliamentarians have died of COVID-19 disease, one from the federal legislature and three provincial Parliamentarians.___BELGRADE, Serbia — Serbia announced the highest number of daily deaths since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the Balkan country, as authorities declared an emergency in the capital of Belgrade.Authorities say 11 people have died and there were 309 new confirmed cases in the last 24 hours. This compares to the highest previous daily figure of nine deaths on April 14.Serbia has gone from a very tight lockdown to almost total relaxation, allowing spectators back to the soccer and tennis venues and reopening nightclubs. Government critics have said this was because populist authorities wanted to hold the June 21 parliamentary election that tightened their grip on power.The Belgrade crisis team on Friday said nightclubs and cafes will be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. and public gatherings limited to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors. Those not wearing masks in closed spaces face strict fines.Emergency measures also have been introduced in several other towns in Serbia where hospitals have been overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients in recent days.Belgrade authorities said the rules will be reviewed in two weeks. So far, there have been 25,504 confirmed cases and 298 deaths in Serbia.___BUCHAREST, Romania — Only about a third of hospital beds for coronavirus patients are available in Romania following a week during which the country has been logging hundreds of daily cases.In the last day, the number of confirmed cases rose by 420, one of the highest daily increases in Romania since the start of its outbreak at the end of February.“We started transferring intensive care patients between different hospitals to ensure they still have a bed available,” said Nelu Tataru, Romania’s Health Minister.Tataru and other officials attributed the surge to a failure by local authorities in some parts of Romania to clearly communicate to the public that the danger from the virus was not removed after easing its lockdown on May 15.Total confirmed cases in Romania reached nearly 28,200 and 1,708 deaths.The Associated Press
The U.S. headed into the Fourth of July weekend with many parades and fireworks displays cancelled, beaches and bars closed, and health authorities warning that this will be a crucial test of Americans' self-control that could determine the trajectory of the surging coronavirus outbreak.With confirmed cases climbing in 40 states, governors and local officials have ordered the wearing of masks in public, and families were urged to celebrate their independence at home. Even then, they were told to keep their backyard cookouts small.“This year is a huge bummer, to say the least,” said Ashley Peters, who for 14 years has hosted 150 friends and relatives at a pool party at her home in Manteca, California, complete with a DJ, bounce house, water slide and shaved-ice stand. This time, the guest list is down to just a few people.Pulling the plug on the bash, she said, was a “no-brainer” because so many of those she knows are front-line workers, including her husband, a fire captain. “I woke up and told my husband I wish it was just July 5,” she said.Health experts agree this will be a pivotal moment in determining whether the nation slides into a deeper mess. The fear is that a weekend of crowded pool parties, picnics and parades will fuel the surge.“We’re not going to be arresting people for having gatherings, but we’re certainly going to discourage it,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, public health director for Seattle and King County.Those who decide they must gather with a small group of family members need to be careful, he said: “Don’t share utensils, don’t share objects, don’t pass them back and forth, because you’re passing that virus around as well."The warnings were sounded after a Memorial Day weekend that saw many people emerge from stay-at-home orders to go to the beach, restaurants and family gatherings. Since then, confirmed infections per day in the U.S. have rocketed to an all-time high, more than doubling.The U.S. set another record on Friday with 52,300 newly reported cases, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.The picture was bleak around much of the country. In Arizona, the number of people in the hospital with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 eclipsed 3,000 for the first time. Alabama reported more than 1,700 new confirmed cases, its highest single-day count yet. New York state, which has largely tamed the virus, recorded 918 new cases, the most in at least three weeks.Despite it all, there will still be fireworks and community events scattered across the nation, with many taking social distancing into account. In Ohio, Upper Arlington’s July Fourth parade will take a much longer route through its neighbourhoods so residents can watch without crowding the streets.“We’re calling it the front porch parade,” said organizer Sam Porter. “We can’t just not do something.”Fireworks will be launched from four spots across Albuquerque, New Mexico, so that people can ooh and aah from home instead of gathering in a single place.Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July Picnic will carry on at his Texas ranch outside Austin, but this year the concert portion will be virtual.President Donald Trump travelled to South Dakota on Friday for a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore before returning to the nation’s capital for military flyovers Saturday and a mile-long pyrotechnics display on the National Mall that his administration promises will be the biggest in recent memory. Up to 300,000 face masks will be given away but not required.The big party will go on over objections from Washington's mayor.“Ask yourself, do you need to be there? Ask yourself, can you anticipate or know who all is going to be around you? If you go downtown, do you know if you’re going to be able to social distance?" Mayor Muriel Bowser said.Beaches that had been open for the traditional start of summer over Memorial Day weekend will be off-limits in many places this time, including South Florida, Southern California and the Texas Gulf Coast.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans who do go to the beach to wear face coverings, though not in the water.With professional pyrotechnic displays cancelled, authorities are bracing for wildfires and injuries caused by Americans shooting off fireworks at home. Sales of fireworks have been booming in what some sellers say may reflect a desire for a little excitement among people cooped up for so long.Jamie Parrott, a pediatric neurologist in Columbia, South Carolina, said he intends to stay home with his grandchildren, setting off fireworks and eating hamburgers, because that's the safer course for older people like him.“We’ll muddle through,” he said.Delaware’s governor ordered bars in some beach towns to close, saying people were getting complacent about masks and social distancing. The Lake Erie resort village of Put-in-Bay in Ohio cancelled its fireworks after a small number of coronavirus cases were linked to bars on the island. And the New Jersey resort town of Wildwood did the same.Still, many people are expected to pack the beaches, boardwalk restaurants and amusement parks up and down the Jersey shore.South Carolina's Myrtle Beach is one of the nation’s worst hot spots for COVID-19, and officials in several other states blame their outbreaks on vacationers returning from the resort city. On Thursday, the city passed a mask requirement.“I hate the perception that people have right now, as any city would,” said Mayor Brenda Bethune.After hearing Michigan’s governor warn about the need to be smart amid an uptick of cases, Mary Halley of Jonesville said her family cancelled plans for a weekend outing on Lake Michigan.“We had some disappointed kids, but we knew as a family we couldn’t do that,” she said. The problem, she said, is that too many people aren’t listening to the experts. “Even in my small, little town, there are lot of people who didn’t comply with the orders,” she said.Dr. Don Williamson, head of the Alabama Hospital Association, said he is “really, really worried about the Fourth of July."“I think that will likely determine the trend for Alabama for the rest of the summer,” he said.___Associated Press reporters from around the world contributed to this report.John Seewer, The Associated Press
TORONTO — Cineplex Inc. has filed a lawsuit against its former suitor Cineworld Group PLC, seeking damages over the U.K. company's failed acquisition that could exceed the $2.18 billion outstanding on the deal. The Canadian movie theatre operator filed the suit in Ontario Superior Court on Friday, detailing what it claims was "a case of buyer's remorse" on the part of the U.K. company in the middle of a pandemic that's seen cinemas across the world unable to operate.Cineworld walked away from the $2.8-billion deal on June 12, saying it had become aware of a material adverse effect and breaches by the Toronto-based company.Cineplex says it complied with its obligations under the agreement and vowed to "vigorously defend any allegation to the contrary."The Canadian chain is seeking damages that include the $2.18 billion that Cineworld would have paid had the deal closed, minus the value of Cineplex's securities retained by its holders.It's also seeking compensation for the $664 million in debt and transaction expenses that Cineworld would have shouldered had the deal successfully closed, as well as repayment of certain "benefits" it received as part of the transaction.A representative for Cineworld did not respond for comment.Sarah Van Lange, a spokeswoman for Cineplex, says it's "not possible for Cineplex to determine the amount of damages" it's seeking in total, due to uncertainties inherent in litigation, including the determined value of Cineplex shares.The company's share price has fallen substantially since the Cineworld deal was struck in late 2019, due to a confluence of factors that included weakened optimism for the 2020 movie slate, and the sudden closure of theatres due to COVID-19 in March.Cineworld offered to buy Cineplex at $34 per share, a 42 per cent premium on the chain's stock price at the time, but by March the company's shares had dropped below $10 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Cineplex closed at $8.50 per share on Friday.The Canadian exhibitor has slowly resumed business at locations in certain parts of the country, including British Columbia and Alberta, though the company delayed a more extensive reopening plan as Hollywood studios delayed the release of most of their titles due to an escalation of virus cases in some U.S. states.On Tuesday, Cineplex said it reached a deal with its lenders to provide some financial relief due to the pandemic, but warned about its ability to "continue as a going concern."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CGX)David Friend, The Canadian Press
AUSTIN, Texas — As Texas began mandating face coverings Friday on the orders of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, his party charged ahead with plans for a massive convention this month in Houston, magnifying the conflicting responses in the Texas GOP to a rampant resurgence of the coronavirus.Abbott, governor of America's biggest red state, has dodged saying whether he supports still holding an indoor three-day convention beginning July 16. The event typically draws thousands of people — making it one of America's biggest political conventions — but comes this year at a moment when Houston is one of the nation's biggest virus hotspot.On Friday, Houston's mayor urged the Texas GOP to again reconsider as the party views their convention as a test run for the Republican National Convention next month in Florida, where President Donald Trump is expected to accept the Republican nomination.“This is a convention that Trump wants," said Leslie Thomas, a state GOP committee member from Dallas, during a party meeting late Thursday. "Like it or not, Texas is the Republican state. We bear that. So we need to stand our ground.”The conflict underscores the pressure Abbott has faced from within and outside his party as he tries to gain control of an alarming resurgence of the virus in Texas. Conservative activists blasted the new mask order, condemning it as heavy-handed. Abbott made new appeals to those he says are failing to grasp the severity of the crisis in Texas, which earlier this week set a record with more than 8,000 newly confirmed cases in one day.“It just seems like people are not comprehending the magnitude of the problem,” Abbott told San Antonio television station KSAT.The U.S. set another record on Friday with 52,300 newly reported cases, according to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. Texas reported more than 7,500 cases, and hospitalizations set another new record. The picture was bleak around much of the country, including in Arizona and Florida, where GOP governors have also backpedaled from aggressive reopenings as cases and hospitalizations have surged.Neither have moved to follow Abbott's reversal on masks. Next door in Arkansas, Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday signed an executive order allowing cities to enact mask ordinances, but continued to resist calls for a statewide mandate.The mask order in Texas — which carries a $250 fine — is the most dramatic about-face Abbott has made as he retreats from what stood out as one of the swiftest reopenings in America. Mayors and county leaders in big cities where the virus has rapidly spread, including San Antonio and Austin, praised the decision but have also blamed Abbott for the resurgence, criticizing him for rebooting Texas so quickly and stripping their authority to enforce tougher restrictions.“It's about time,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said, referring to Abbott issuing the mask order.GOP activists in Texas, who for years have driven the state's politics in the Texas Capitol, battered the order that was made ahead of the Fourth of July weekend. Hours after Abbott issued the mandate Thursday, and while continuing to urge people to stay home, the Texas GOP voted in an emergency meeting to keep plans to meet in Houston and not switch to a virtual gathering.The refusal to cancel led the Texas Medical Association, the state's largest physician organization, to revoke its sponsorship. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, said the “city will decide what steps must be taken to protect the health and safety of employees, visitors, and the general public.”There are exceptions in Texas' mask order for people who have a medical condition or disability, who are exercising outdoors, or who are participating in a religious service or voting. Abbott also gave mayors and county authorities the ability to ban outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people.On June 17, Abbott told a Waco television station: “We want to make sure individual liberty is not infringed upon by government and hence government cannot require individuals to wear masks." Two weeks later, Abbott issued his mask order Thursday.Dr. John Zerwas, a former Republican state lawmaker who has advised Abbott throughout the pandemic, said the governor had told him he would issue the mask order a day earlier and was swayed by the worsening trajectory.“The political implications are what the are,” Zerwas said. “But the public health implications are crystal clear. This is a decision that needed to be made.”____Associated Press writer Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Ark., contributed to this report.Paul J. Weber, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Cirque du Soleil creditors who are unhappy with its recovery plan will oppose the purchase agreement between the entertainment company and its current shareholders, which they claim is "doomed to fail."A group of 13 institutions, including Catalyst Capital Group, which holds about US$1 billion of guaranteed debt, says there is a way forward without the need for financial support from the Quebec government that would still maintain Cirque's head office in Montreal."At no time will (lenders) consent to the proposed transaction in which secured creditors would be paid below the total amount of debt owed to them," they said in a motion filed earlier this week in Quebec Superior Court.The aerobatic company announced on Monday its decision to file for creditor protection, a move that led to the termination of nearly 3,500 employees.The creditors say the current owners — the Texan fund TPG Capital, the Chinese firm Fosun and the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec — should not be the so-called stalking horse bid. That will be argued at the next hearing, scheduled for July 10.Creditors would rather negotiate directly with advisers mandated by the company."We do not understand why the (Cirque) did not want to engage in the negotiation of a final agreement with our group by opting for an agreement with its shareholders knowing that the secured creditors had already rejected it," said William Hardie, general manager of Houlihan Lokey, who advises creditors, in an emailed statement.The current owners propose to inject US$300 million, including a US$200-million loan from Investissement Quebec. Creditors would own 45 per cent of the Cirque and US$50 million of unsecured debt, while the owners would share the remaining 55 per cent. They would establish two funds totalling US$20 million to support Cirque workers and pay freelancers.The proposal values the company at around US$420 million, less than half of what is owed to secured creditors. According to the court-appointed monitor, the Cirque lost US$10 million in 2017, US$71 million in 2018 and US$80 million in 2019, while acquisitions increased revenues nearly 18 per cent to US$1.04 billion.Since its restructuring is now supervised by the courts, the Cirque would not comment on the arguments raised by its creditors.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
LOS ANGELES — California headed into the Fourth of July weekend Friday under classic sunny summer skies and new health orders that temporarily put many popular beaches off-limits and cancelled fireworks shows in an effort to prevent runaway coronavirus infections.A few surfers were in the water off Los Angeles' famed Venice Beach and a few dozen people strolled the boardwalk or shoreline, but the normal Independence Day throngs were missing from the long expanse of sparkling sand."This is going to be a different summer and this is going to be a different July Fourth celebration for all of us,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned this week as the dramatic reversal of California's early success against COVID-19 became increasingly apparent.Some, however, were intent on trying to keep it a normal summer: Dozens of surfers caught the morning swells at Malibu's Surfrider Beach despite the ban.“There's only so many sheriffs so, realistically, they can't be everywhere all the time and some people are just going to break the law and break the guidelines of public sense, common decency and the recommendations of our trusted public health officials," city spokesman Matt Myerhoff said.The holiday beach closures began Friday from Los Angeles County northward through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. To the south in Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were to close Saturday and Sunday, while San Diego did not plan any shutdowns. Many Northern California beaches were open but parking was closed at some to reduce the potential for crowding.With testing showing a rising COVID-19 positivity rate and increasing hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom has rolled back or limited some of the reopening of businesses in Los Angeles and 18 other counties encompassing nearly three-quarters of the state's population.Recently reopened bars, indoor restaurant dining and other indoor entertainment venues were ordered closed back down in those counties for at least three weeks. Traditional fireworks shows were cancelled to avoid drawing crowds.Where possible and permitted, the battered restaurant industry moved tables outdoors onto sidewalks or into streets in hope of cashing in on the normally lucrative holiday.While beaches, fireworks shows and businesses could be regulated, authorities warned that ordinary gatherings were being identified as the source of COVID-19 transmission.On the state's north coast, far from population centres with millions of people, Humboldt County said Friday that about a quarter of its 144 cases were reported in the past two weeks.“This has been driven largely by residents gathering and visiting between households both locally and while travelling, as well as by illness occurring in the cannabis industry workforce,” said Dr. Teresa Frankovich, the county health officer.For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.Elsewhere in Northern California, a few surfers were in the water Friday morning in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, where beaches and parking areas are closed through the weekend. Aside from a few residents out on walks, the sandy stretches were empty.Half Moon Bay resident Lisa Zadek told KGO-TV she was relieved the beaches were closed for the holiday weekend.“It’s been kind of scary the volume of people coming here,” she said.Others felt the order was overbearing.“I don’t particularly like it,” resident Joel Thompson told the TV station. “I think its a matter of government control, over controlling people.”Some communities made creative efforts to keep the spirit of the holiday.Napa asked residents to submit photos of their decorated homes and patriotically costumed pets for a city contest.The city of Fremont was hosting a virtual “porch parade,” with judges awarding prizes for the best decorations.Many cities were organizing livestreams of “virtual fireworks,” while the city of Gilroy planned to launch actual fireworks but “higher in the sky” than usual to accommodate social distancing.The city told residents that anyone within 2.5 miles (4 kilometres) of the launch at Gilroy High School would be able watch the show.Requirements to wear masks in certain situations continued to generate controversy.A McDonald’s employee in Oakland said she was grabbed, hit and slapped by a customer last weekend after telling him he had to wear a mask to pick up his order at a drive-thru window, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.Maria Resendiz, 19, filed a complaint Thursday with the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration about the incident.___Gecker reported from San Francisco. AP photojournalist Richard Vogel contributed to this report from Los Angeles.John Antczak And Jocelyn Gecker, The Associated Press
(Bloomberg) -- Cineplex Inc. has begun legal proceedings against Cineworld Group Plc after the latter backed out of a deal that would have created the biggest operator of movie theaters in North America.Toronto-based Cineplex is seeking damages including the C$2.18 billion ($1.61 billion) Cineworld would have paid to buy the company, minus the value of Cineplex securities retained by its holders.It also wants to be compensated for other losses, including Cineworld’s failure to repay or refinance Cineplex’s C$664 million in debt and transaction expenses.Last month, Cineworld scrapped the acquisition saying Cineplex breached the terms of the merger agreement and was unwilling to correct the situation. It pointed to a deterioration of Cineplex’s business amid the coronavirus pandemic.But Cineplex dismissed that argument, saying London-based Cineworld is the one that breached its obligations.“The contractual agreements between the parties expressly exclude outbreaks of illness, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, as a circumstance entitling Cineworld to terminate the arrangement,” Cineplex said in a statement Friday. “Cineworld intentionally chose to breach its obligations, including its obligation to seek timely regulatory approval for the arrangement under the Investment Canada Act.”The coronavirus health crisis shuttered movie theaters across the world including Cineplex’s operations. Earlier this week, it reported a loss of C$178 million for the first quarter. The company acknowledged that the business will take a long time to recover from the pandemic.Cineplex struck an agreement with lenders to relax financial covenants as it deals with an uncertain future after the failed takeover. Lenders will require it to raise C$250 million by the end of August, some of which must be used to repay existing debt.The company shut all of its venues on March 16 and most remain closed, though it plans to open some outlets in six provinces starting Friday.Cineplex shares have slumped 75% this year, making it the worst-performing stock on the S&P/TSX Composite Index.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
QUEBEC — The Quebec government says it is joining an international boycott of Facebook by refusing to advertise on the social network during the month of July.Premier Francois Legault's office made the announcement today in a news release, stating its intention is to show the importance the Quebec government places on the fight against racism.The release added that the government's decision to join the boycott was also made in support of access to accurate information.Quebec is joining hundreds of companies who have decided to suspend advertising on Facebook over concerns the platform is complicit in promoting racism, violence and misinformation.The StopHateForProfit campaign, run by several groups such as the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP, accuse the social network of refusing to remove content they deem hateful.All five of Canada's biggest banks joined the boycott this week, aligning themselves with other Canadian brands such as Lululemon Athletica and MEC."This decision is part of a movement launched to denounce the lack of a proper framework governing the Facebook social network, on which messages and comments circulate that are racist, hateful and discriminatory in nature," the statement from Legault's office read."Already, a number of financial institutions and businesses, including several in Quebec, have joined the initiative by ceasing all advertising placement on Facebook, and by asking the American company to better manage these kinds of messages."On Wednesday, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice-president of global affairs and communications, tried to reassure businesses that Facebook "does not benefit from hate" and said the company has every incentive to remove hate speech from its service.He acknowledged that "many of our critics are angry about the inflammatory rhetoric President Trump has posted on our platform and others, and want us to be more aggressive in removing his speech."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.— With files from The Associated Press———Facebook and The Canadian Press recently announced a reporting initiative called the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Facebook will have no influence over the stories created under the program, which is set to launch in the fall; The Canadian Press will maintain complete editorial independence.The Canadian Press
PARIS — Air France and regional subsidiary Hop announced 7,500 job cuts Friday after the virus pandemic grounded most flights and darkened prospects for future air travel.Activists from multiple unions protested at Air France headquarters at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport as talks began Friday morning about future job prospects at France's flagship airline.They’re particularly angry that the French government didn’t require Air France to protect jobs when it won 7 billion euros ($8 billion) in state bailout funds in May. Workers warned that the job cuts will ripple across the French economy, and said bailout funds should be used to rebuild the company instead of pushing people into unemployment.After a day of talks with personnel representatives, company management announced Friday night that it will cut about 6,500 of 41,000 jobs at Air France and 1,000 of the 2,400 jobs at Hop by 2022.The company said most of the losses will come through not replacing retiring and departing workers and that it would encourage voluntary departures and early retirements before imposing layoffs.Airlines around the world are forecast to lose $84 billion this year, with revenue halved. Some have filed for bankruptcy or sought bailouts to survive the near-shutdown in their activity, and officials predict the industry will take years to recover.“It’s too easy to take COVID-19 as an excuse,” said Julien Lemarie, a 35-year-old Hop mechanic demonstrating at the airport. “The scale of this plan… it’s enormous, it’s an absolute sledgehammer blow.”Air France said its traffic sank 95% over the worst three months of the coroavirus pandemic and it was losing 15 million euros a day — and that it doesn't expect to recover until 2024. The airline argued that the state bailout would allow it to withstand the short-term crisis and help it focus on changing its domestic business model and becoming more environmentally responsible.The 7 billion euros in state aid for Air France is in the form of loans and loan guarantees and part of a broader 15 billion euro rescue plan from the government for the aviation sector.The Air France meetings come days after European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, based in France, said that it must eliminate 15,000 jobs to safeguard its future.Angela Charlton And Nicolas Garriga, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The federal ethics watchdog is examining whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the conflict of interest law over how he handled a decision to have WE Charity manage a $900-million federal program to pay students and fresh graduates for volunteer work this summer.The Liberal government announced Friday the Toronto-based youth organization would no longer be managing the program, days after the prime minister himself called WE Charity the only option for success.Trudeau said Friday public servants will administer the pandemic-related grants instead.Since the charity founded by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger was announced as the manager of the program last week, the sole-sourced deal has been criticized because of Trudeau's close relationship with the group. He, his wife and his mother have all been involved in WE events and activities.That prompted the Conservatives and the NDP to ask Mario Dion, the federal ethics commissioner, to look into whether Trudeau has violated the Conflict of Interest Act.On Friday, Dion replied in separate letters to Conservative MP Michael Barrett and NDP MP Charlie Angus, their parties' ethics critics, that he would begin an examination and that he had notified Trudeau about it.In his letter to Barrett, Dion said his examination would involve the sections of the Conflict of Interest Act that forbid public office holders from taking part in decisions that they should know would put them in a conflict of interest, giving preferential treatment and requiring them to recuse themselves from matters that would put them in a conflict of interest.The allegation from the Conservatives regarding preferential treatment relates to Trudeau's having said that WE Charity was chosen by the non-partisan public service to manage the program because it was the only organization capable of doing so.Dion said he would not examine allegations that Trudeau contravened three other sections Barrett raised in his request because there are no reasonable grounds to do so and that he had also informed the prime minister about that.Dion's letter to Angus mentions only the section of the act regarding preferential treatment, because that is the one the NDP raised in its request.Charity experts have questioned whether WE is equipped for the fine-grained management of such a big government-funded program.Trudeau repeated Friday morning that his consciousness of his close relationship with WE meant it was left to the public service to decide how to manage the program, and to carry out what he called a "transparent and open" process to ultimately go with WE.Speaking to reporters, Trudeau lamented what he called the "unfortunate" unfolding of events over the last few days. He said the government supported the organization's decision.He said there may be things that federal officials won't be as well placed to do, such as actively recruiting students — there have already been 35,000 applicants for the program by WE's count, exceeding early expectations of 20,000 — and supporting small groups with onboarding and training volunteers."One of the things that ends up happening with this is that young people won't maybe have the same kind of access to programs that they ... would have," Trudeau said."We will continue to work very hard and we need to reflect carefully on what exactly went wrong and how we can make sure that we're doing a better job of supporting young people in the coming months and years."The volunteer program is to pay up to $5,000 for schooling costs for participants who volunteer the maximum 500 hours, and is aimed at students who can't find work this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic.Youth Minister Bardish Chagger said in a statement that volunteers who have already signed up shouldn't be adversely affected, and WE Charity will pay back money it's already received from the federal government.The Liberals had set aside about $19 million for the organization to administer the program, but the final amount was dependent on how many young people joined it.The charity did not say how much it had received or repaid when asked, pointing to a statement that "reflects all that we have to say on this matter."In the statement, WE pointed to the ongoing controversy around its involvement in the program as the source of its decision, even though "the government has provided explanations" to all questions.The statement went on to say that the organization was concerned that an ongoing affiliation would mean "the program itself will begin to suffer — and as a consequence, opportunities for students might be negatively affected."The controversy over the charity's involvement only grew as the days wore on, including with revelations of a recording, obtained by The Canadian Press and others, in which Marc Kielburger told youth leaders last month that Trudeau's office reached out one day after the grant was announced on April 22 to get the charity on board. Kielburger later retracted, saying he misspoke. A public servant had called, he said.Trudeau didn't say whether his office had reached out to WE or the Kielburgers when asked Friday about the recording.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Robert Hockett, Edward Cornell Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, highlights the significance of Reconstruction for the U.S. and why 2020 is the right time to re-introduce it.
TORONTO — Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,596.75, down 25.65 points.)Harte Gold Corp. (TSX:HRT). Materials. Up three cents, or 23.08 per cent, to 16 cents on 4.7 million shares.The Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS). Financials. Up 54 cents, or 0.96 per cent, to $57 on 4.4 million shares.StageZero Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:SZLS). Health care. Down half a cent, or 8.33 per cent, to 5.5 cents on 3.4 million shares.Moneta Porcupine Mines Inc. (TSX:ME). Materials. Down 2.5 cents, or 12.82 per cent, to 17 cents on 2.7 million shares.The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD). Financials. Up five cents, or 0.08 per cent, to $60.65 on 2.5 million shares.Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Energy. Up six cents, or 2.69 per cent, to $2.29 on 2.2 million shares.Companies in the news:Organigram Holdings Inc. (TSX:OGI). Down 16 cents or 7.3 per cent to $2.03. Organigram Holdings Inc. is laying off at least 220 employees — and is warning more bad news could be on the way. The Moncton-based cannabis company said Friday the cuts will impact a quarter of its staff, but make the workforce leaner, more flexible and better prepared to align its production capacity with market conditions. The cuts will leave Organigram with a total workforce of 609 employees including 84 staff members who were previously temporarily laid off, but may be recalled if the company requires them. Organigram also said it will work to "right-size" production and review its assets. Both could cause Organigram to report a decline in net revenue in its forthcoming third quarter and incur writedowns on inventory and its Moncton facility, the company warned.Le Chateau Inc. (TSXV:CTU). Up 1.5 cents or 37.5 per cent to 5.5 cents. Le Chateau Inc. says it has started the manufacturing of up to 500,000 hospital gowns in partnership with Logistik Unicorp Inc. and its contract with the federal government. The retailer says all the gowns will be made in Canada. Le Chateau is a retailer and manufacturer of clothing, footwear and accessories for women and men. The company says it has historically manufactured about 30 per cent of its clothing in its own Canadian production facilities and is using them to produce the order. It is the latest Canadian firm to shift gears and start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers. Other clothing companies that have made the switch include Samuelsohn, Canada Goose and Arc'teryx.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
(Bloomberg) -- The world’s biggest wood-pulp producer says cutting down the Amazon makes no business sense.While Brazil‘s President Jair Bolsonaro defends opening up the world’s largest rainforest to agriculture and mining, the head of Suzano SA said preserving the biome could earn the country $10 billion a year on the carbon credit market.“It would be an incredible opportunity in the green carbon market if Brazil cut Amazon deforestation and burning to zero,” Chief Executive Officer Walter Schalka said in an interview. “It’s not a loan, or investment. It would be profit from carbon credit sales.”One of Brazil’s most outspoken executives on the environment, Schalka makes the case for preservation at a time when the forest is being destroyed at the fastest pace in more than a decade amid looser rules and enforcement. In June, the first month of the dry season, fires rose to a 13-year high, National Institute for Space Research data show.Still, tapping billions in carbon trading may have to wait. There’s a gap in the system left by the transition to a global protocol to be designed by next year’s climate conference in Glasgow, Schalka said. Once the new system is up and running, polluters will be able to buy credits from companies and nations that remove CO2.For now, not even Suzano -- with its 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres) of forested land -- has been able to monetize the CO2 it removes in the fragmented market. Schalka will look to do so when the global system resumes.About 40% of Suzano’s land is native forest and the rest is mostly eucalyptus plantations, which is renewed and expanded through the planting of 450,000 trees a day.The pulp giant aims to remove a net 40 million tons of CO2 from the atmosphere through 2030. That could generate about 800 million euros ($900 million) for the company in the next 10 years based on price references from the Kyoto Protocol of 20 euros per ton of carbon removed.“Forest destruction is by far the nation’s largest source of CO2 emissions,” he said. “By eliminating that, Brazil could assume a different role, leading a global movement toward a cleaner economy.”For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
MIAMI — For two months, the Malta-flagged oil tanker Alkimos has been quietly floating off the Gulf Coast of Texas, undisturbed by the high-stakes legal fight playing out in a federal courtroom as a result of American sanctions on Venezuela.The commercial dispute, which hasn’t been previously reported, has all the drama of a pirate movie: a precious cargo, clandestine sea manoeuvrs and accusations of a high seas heist.It pits Evangelos Marinakis, one of Greece’s most powerful businessmen and owner of its most successful soccer club, Olympiakos, against a fellow shipping magnate from Venezuela, Wilmer Ruperti, who has a long history of helping the country’s socialist leaders.Round one appears to have favoured Marinakis, whose Piraeus-based Capital Ship Management Corp, operates the Alkimos. On Wednesday, federal marshals in Houston are scheduled to auction off the ship's' cargo: 100,266 barrels of high octane gasoline estimated to be worth more than $5 million. The auction is in response to Judge Lynn Hughes’ order seizing the cargo, which he said would've likely ended up in Venezuela, while arbitration over a $1.7 million lien continues.“This clearly demonstrates that sanctions work,” said Russ Dallen, who closely monitors maritime traffic as the head of Miami-based Caracas Capital Markets. “But although this shipowner appears to have done the right thing, there are lots of other unscrupulous cockroaches in the shipping industry that won’t hesitate to do business with Venezuela."The U.S. has been trying for months to cut off fuel shipments to and from Venezuela, hoping to accelerate Nicolás Maduro’s downfall by depriving him of the oil income that is the lifeblood of the socialist country. But so far the biggest losers have been regular Venezuelans, who are forced to wait in line for days to fill up their cars due to a lack of domestically-refined gasoline.To date, the Trump administration has sanctioned more than 50 vessels found violating sanctions. This month it added five Iranian captains to a list of individuals blocked from doing business with the U.S. after Maduro leaned on his fellow anti-American ally to deliver gasoline that skittish commodity traders are increasingly unwilling to supply Venezuela.The Alkimos' saga, which was pieced together from court filings reviewed by The Associated Press, began innocently enough. In late March, the Chinese-built carrier, which measures 156 metres (480 feet), was docked in Panama when it was hired to deliver the gasoline to Aruba.But almost immediately something seemed off.The shipping instructions indicated the cargo would be transferred at sea to another ship that had been visiting Venezuelan ports exclusively for the past year. And payent for the freight was wired from a third party, a company called Ultra Travel, which was purportedly based in Montenegro.Moreover, ES Euroshipping AG, the Swiss-registered company that chartered the Alkimos, was owned by Ruperti, a businessman connected to Venezuela's government.In 2002, Ruperti chartered a fleet of Russian tankers to help then President Hugo Chávez break a months’ long strike at the state-run oil company PDVSA. Now, he was trying come to the rescue again.In March, a separate Swiss company he controls billed PDVSA for a 12 million euros advance with which he planned to purchase up to 250,000 barrels of the same 95-octane gasoline he hired the Alkimos to transport, according to a copy of the invoice obtained by the AP. To get around the U.S. sanctions, the company opened a bank account in euros and rubles at Moscow-based Derzhava Bank.The Alkimos tanker is owned by Brujo Finance Company, a company registered in the Marshall Islands. But its operator, whose name and corporate logo is painted on the ship, is Capital Ship Management, which operates a fleet of 54 tankers.Capital's chairman, Marinakis, is the owner of football clubs Olympiakos in Greece and Nottingham Forest in England.In 2018, prosecutors opened a preliminary criminal investigation against him in a case stemming from the record seizure of 2.1 tons of heroin aboard a vessel in Greece. He has strongly denied any wrongdoing, saying he was being targeted by the leftist government at the time to silence dissent. In the past, he also faced match-fixing charges but was later cleared.Marinakis did not respond to a request to comment made through his website and Capital.While the arbitration between the two shipping magnates is likely to take months, U.S. officials see the case as a sign that sanctions on Venezuela are increasingly effective.In May, the U.S. Departments of State and Treasury and the U.S. Coast Guard issued an advisory warning the maritime industry that such ship to ship transfers of the sort the Alkimos was being asked to perform are frequently used to evade sanctions. While the report focuses on Iran, North Korea and Syria—not Venezuela—it urges shippers to enhance due diligence and sanctions compliance practices to avoid running afoul of U.S. regulations“The global shipping community is moving out of doing business with Venezuela,” Elliott Abrams, the Trump administration’s special representative for Venezuela, told the AP. “The most reputable firms, including the largest Greek shipping companies, have been co-operative and have shown that they value their reputations and their global businesses."In the case of the Alkimos, its owners suspected something was amiss. So its lawyers pressed ES Euroshipping for additional information, pointing out that the contract contained a “sanctions clause” giving the shipowner “absolute discretion” to refuse to carry out any trade that it deems exposes it, or its crew, to U.S. sanctions.“Just to be clear in advance. Owner WILL NOT participate in any illegal trading,” according to an email sent March 31 by the shipowner’s broker.Despite its misgivings, the ship departed Panama on April 9 — days after the AP reported that Ruperti had started purchasing oil in what he would later describe as a “humanitarian work" that didn't violate the U.S. sanctions.“I am 100% sure that I am doing this legally and that I am complying with the rules and obligations,” he told the AP in an April interview. He declined to comment when contacted this week about the seized cargo.En route to Aruba, the back and forth continued—and the Alkimos' owners grew more suspicious. The rendezvous point with the other ship, the Beauty One, was located in the open seas—50 miles west of Aruba off the northern coastline of Venezuela—rather than an area designated by Aruban authorities for ship-to-ship fuel transfers. Further, the supervisor of the risky procedure, ATM Marine Services, were unknown to the ship's owners, without even a web page to identify it. No agents had been appointed to co-ordinate with Aruban authorities.“URGENT responses to the above are requested. The matter is most serious,” the Alkimos' broker wrote shortly before its schedule arrival off Aruba on April 11.Throughout the ordeal, tanker rates were surging — something that ES Euroshipping contends was driving the shipowner's rush to unload its cargo and move on to the next job. With the world economy shutting down due to the COVID crisis, there was a glut of fuel being produced. The mammoth oil carriers, which in some cases saw their daily rates jump 10-fold, were suddenly in demand as floating storage devices even as crude prices were crashing.After two deadlines to provide alternate voyage orders passed, the Alkimos turned around on April 26 and headed to Houston. But it first advised ES Euroshipping that it would seek a lien on the cargo for $1.7 million to compensate for losses, including $500,000 in fees it racked up being adrift for so long.ES Euroshipping contends Capital Ship Management and the ship's owners stole the cargo and is seeking damages worth $2.3 million. In court filings, attorney Michael Volkov said that that after much stonewalling by the ship owner, which refused to accept its assurances there was no sanctions risk, Euroshipping did provide alternate instructions — to take the cargo first to the Bahamas and then Trinidad.But Ruperti’s company claims its instruction were nonetheless ignored and accused the ship owner of setting off on an illegal, 7-day voyage to Houston to find a favourable jurisdiction to legalize its “theft” when much closer ports existed for the parties — none of the U.S. nationals — to litigate their competing breach of contract claims. It also accused Alkimos of fleeing Aruban waters without notifying the harbourmaster, leaving behind $11,500 in fines and fees for the unauthorized departure.“Brujo is but a pirate who plundered cargo at sea, fled the Aruban authorities without proper authorization, diverted its vessel to a port in this District, and then deceived this Court,” Volkov said in a May 29 filing.Ruperti appears to have some powerful backers of his own. On May 1, Hans Hertell, a former U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, wrote a letter to Ryan Patrick, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Texas, calling on prosecutors to open a criminal probe against the shipowners.“We were simply astounded to learn that the Vessel Owners had so brazenly stolen and converted our clients’ cargo in this manner,” according to the letter.___Contact AP’s global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.___Joshua Goodman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/APjoshgoodmanJoshua Goodman, The Associated Press
REGINA — Saskatchewan is expanding its COVID-19 guidelines for visiting long-term care homes next week.Starting Tuesday, health officials say residents can have two family members or support persons identified for visits, with one person allowed in the facility at a time.Patients in intensive care and those receiving palliative care can have two people present at the same time as long as they keep a physical distance.Visitors will be expected to follow health-care guidelines — such as wearing a mask — to protect others against the spread of COVID-19.Saskatchewan is reporting one new infection in the far north, bringing the province's total number of cases to 796.Four people are in hospital, 711 have recovered and 14 have died.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020The Canadian Press
Adrianne Shropshire, BlackPAC Executive Director, discusses the structural inequality in U.S. politics and the impact of this on equity in the Black community.
TORONTO — Canada's main stock index wrapped up a solid week on a down note while U.S. markets were closed for the Independence Day holiday.Crude oil and gold prices were down a little bit but not enough to "really spook" the market so the Toronto Stock Exchange followed the path set in Europe where investors took some profits after recent gains, said Philip Petursson, chief investment strategist at Manulife Investment Management."It's kind of one of those wishy-washy days where when you don't have the leader, which is the U.S. equity markets, [so] the market is searching for direction," he said in an interview.Petursson said the market is hitting that third phase of exhaustion after the prior two of a bear market and a sharp rebound."In this phase what we're doing is we're waiting for the results and it's not necessarily just the economic results, more importantly its the earnings results or anything that leads to a positive earnings outlook in Q4 or into 2021 to really drive the market to that next leg higher."Second-quarter earnings, which start mid-month are expected to be very bad, said Petursson."No matter what the earnings look like the market is just going to shrug it off," he said.Rather than recent performance, investors are going to be looking for signs in company guidance that "baby steps" are being taken back to normal despite the increase in COVID-19 infections in the United States.The S&P/TSX composite index closed down 25.65 points at 15,596.75. It ended the week up 2.7 per cent on a rise in oil and gold prices.The Canadian dollar also appreciated with oil surpassing US$40 a barrel. It traded for 73.72 cents US compared with 73.61 cents US on Thursday.Petursson expects the loonie will reach 75 to 77 cents as crude rises to US$45 per barrel, gaining to hit about US$60 over some 18 months.On Friday, the August crude contract was down 33 cents at US$40.32 per barrel and the August natural gas contract was up 1.6 cents at US$1.75 per mmBTU.Husky Energy Inc. was the weakest performer as its shares dropped 2.6 per cent, followed by Vermilion Energy Inc. at 2.1 per cent and Cenovus Energy Inc. off two per cent.Nine of the 11 major sectors on the TSX were lower amid low trading because of the U.S. holiday.Health care, real estate and materials decreased.The August gold contract was down US$2.70 at US$1,787.30 an ounce and the September copper contract was down 2.75 cents at US$2.72 a pound.Consumer staples and telecommunications were slightly higher.The market choppiness should continue, rising one day and then dipping as investors take some profits, Petursson said."This is what I expect to happen until the fall where I think we will have a better picture on what the start of 2021 is going to look like, not only with respect to COVID, more importantly to earnings."This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:HSE, TSX:VET, TSX:CVE, TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X)Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Ontario tenants' rights advocates are voicing concerns over a new bill they say will make it easier for landlords to obtain evictions once the COVID-19 crisis eases.Several advocacy groups say Bill 184, also known as the Protecting Tenants and Strengthening Community Housing Act, would provide a number of new avenues for landlords to both evict and collect unpaid rent from current and past tenants.The changes would apply retroactively to when the province first declared a state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic.Under current law, all disputes over evictions and rent in arrears must be heard by the Landlord and Tenant Board, some of which result in rent repayment plans.Bill 184 would allow for landlords to cut the board out of the equation and offer tenants their own repayment plan.If a tenant refuses the landlord's offer, they can still take their matter before the board, but some critics and legal analysts say it's more likely that vulnerable tenants will sign onto shady repayment plans because they don't know how to navigate the system."The more complex the process, the less likely people will be able to avail themselves," says Caryma Sa'd, a Toronto landlord and tenant lawyer.Sa'd notes the bill also permits the board to grant evictions if the tenant rejects a repayment plan, which could allow landlords to force tenant out by simply offering an unreasonable repayment plan and then claiming the tenant's refusal of the plan as grounds for eviction before the board.Others have noted the bill would allow landlords to evict without a hearing if a tenant fails to fulfil the repayment plan.The province said in March that hearings related to residential evictions would be halted until further notice due to restrictions related to the pandemic, and no new residential eviction orders would be issued during that time.Suze Morrison, Ontario's NDP tenant rights critic, said thousands of tenants are worried about losing their homes after falling behind on rent due to the pandemic."While landlords may not be able to execute evictions just yet, they haven’t stopped threatening tenants that they’re coming," she said in a statement.In early June, the Toronto Foundation released a brief that estimated thousands in Toronto were struggling with or had missed rent payments, and warned for the potential of 'unprecedented levels of homelessness' when the moratorium on evictions is lifted. And the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation said the bill, if enacted, would have a particularly negative impact on vulnerable groups such as low-income families and newcomers.The governing Progressive Conservatives have said the bill will help, not harm, tenants.A spokeswoman for the minister of municipalities and housing said the proposed legislation would "strengthen protections for tenants and make it easier to resolve landlord and tenant disputes."The bill also increases maximum fines to discourage unlawful evictions, and allows the Landlord and Tenant Board to order up to a year's rent in compensation to tenants for eviction notices issued in bad faith, Julie O'Driscoll said in an email."When rent is overdue, we want to encourage landlords and tenants to work together to come up with repayment agreements – rather than resorting to evictions," she said. The bill has passed second reading and was brought before a legislative committee this week. This report by The Canadian Press was first published on July 3, 2020.Jake Kivanç, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Home sales in the Greater Vancouver area are starting to return to more typical levels after dipping to four-decade lows in April, while prices continue to edge up from 2019.Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May and a 17.6 per cent year-over-year increase.The figure still hovered 21.9 per cent below the 10-year sales average for June.Board chair Colette Gerber said realtors and their clients are getting more used to exploring and showcasing homes remotely through video tours and floor-plan reviews as buyers and sellers alike acclimate to health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic."Much more of the real estate transaction is happening virtually today," Gerber said in a release Friday."Over the last three months, home buyers and sellers have become more comfortable operating within the physical distancing and other safety protocols in place."New home listings rose 21.8 per cent to 5,787 in June compared with a year earlier, a leap of 57.1 per cent from May, the board said.The sales-to-active listings ratio was 21.4 per cent, well outside the range analysts consider as signalling potential for downward pressure on prices.Prices have held steady over the last few months, with the composite benchmark index price at $1.03 million in June.The figure marks a 0.3 per cent dip compared to May but a 3.5 per cent boost from June 2019.In April, home sales in the Greater Vancouver area hit their lowest levels in nearly 40 years due to fallout from the virus, and experts said price declines could be expected to follow eventually.This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
(Bloomberg) -- As a barley battle brews in the Pacific Rim, Canadian producers are swooping in just in time to take advantage of China’s peak beer-drinking season.Canadian barley shipments to China rose in May as the Asian nation slapped anti-dumping duties on the grain from Australia, its top supplier. Canada exported 175,500 tons of barley to China in May, up 38% from a year earlier, according to the Canadian Grain Commission.Canada, the second-largest malt-barley exporter to China, had already been trying to win a bigger share of China’s beer market from Australia. The northern nation’s barley has higher protein than crops from Australia, and that quality helps in fermentation to give beer more body and foam retention.The number of acres allocated to barley in Canada is set to rise to the highest in more than a decade in 2020, and any additional output could be absorbed by demand from China’s beer and livestock industries, said Errol Anderson, president of ProMarket Communications in Calgary. Canada is one of the world’s major barley producers and among the top exporters.“Unfortunately, what’s happening to Australia will benefit Canada,” Anderson said by phone. “If China comes into the market, really those additional acres will be absorbed easily.”China Slaps Duties on Australian Barley as Tensions EscalateCanadian efforts to ship more barley overseas have been successful, even before China’s tiff with Australia, said Tom Steve, the general manager of Alberta Barley. Production cuts in Australia due to drought in past years have helped Canadians boost shipments to China to about 1.5 million tons a year, he said.“The challenge for us is to try and secure those markets longer-term,” Steve said.China is the world’s largest beer market, and consumers are increasingly shifting to premium and foreign brews from mass-market brands. Investors are expecting the sector’s recovery will continue in July when peak season for beer consumption starts. Inventory levels have been dropping while sales in venues like restaurants have continued to recover in the past few months, CCB International said this week in a report, citing checks with distributors and observations based on third-party data.It’s not just Canada that’s eyeing China’s need for barley. Exports from France are poised to benefit from the Australian tariffs, and consultant Strategie Grains boosted its outlook for this season’s European Union barley shipments by 6% in a June report, citing higher projected sales to China. There have been multiple shipments of feed and malting barley loaded from France and destined for China in the past few weeks.Prices in Europe and Canada are firm as a result. Feed barley in Saskatchewan has risen more than 8% since May and is currently at the highest price since July 2019, according to data from Farmco.The potential for increased barley shipments comes at the same time as simmering tensions between Canada and China shrink demand for another major Canadian crop. Last year, China suspended the licenses of two major Canadian canola shippers, citing pest and quarantine concerns -- though the move was widely interpreted as retaliation over the arrest of a Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Vancouver. Canada is the world’s top grower and exporter of canola, an oilseed used in everything from salad dressings to deep-frying.“They haven’t picked on barley for politics, whereas canola is on the hit list,” ProMarket’s Anderson said.(Updates with report on Chinese beer sales in eighth paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
WASHINGTON — Why the United States chose to taint the debut of North America's celebrated new trade deal by threatening fresh tariffs against Canadian aluminum, only President Donald Trump and trade emissary Robert Lighthizer can say for sure.But industry insiders point to a convergence of disparate factors: COVID-19, international metals arbitrage, presidential politics and $16.3-billion worth of the stuff from Russia, the world's second-largest producer.Aluminum is one of the elemental components of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship, a bond forged in the blast furnace of the American war effort. Experts say smelters on both sides of the border stand to benefit from the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which took effect Wednesday and imposes new requirements for regionally sourced metals.Jean Simard, president and CEO of the Aluminum Association of Canada, is at a loss to understand why his industry is being targeted by the White House for the second time in two years. The U.S. has nowhere near the capacity to meet growing demand."It doesn't make sense," Simard said. "It's like an oxymoron. It's so contradictory to the spirit of USMCA."The answer may lie in how aluminum production works around the world, and how traders and marketers profit from it.Because they traffic in white-hot liquid metal, aluminum smelters can't simply shut down when demand for the product dries up, which is what happened to Canadian producers — who provide the bulk of the metal to U.S. markets — when the pandemic forced auto manufacturers to idle their assembly lines.Smelters pivoted away from the specialized premium products demanded by the auto sector and instead produced the more generic primary aluminum known as P1020, shipping it to the only storage warehouses that are cost-effective, Simard said: facilities in the U.S., which is where the lion's share of the North American aluminum market is located.The ensuing "surge" in Canadian imports caught the attention of the U.S. trade representative's office — or more specifically, the two U.S. producers that raised a red flag: Century Aluminum and Magnitude 7 Metals, which together comprise a Trump-friendly lobbying effort known as the American Primary Aluminum Association."The surge of Canadian metal has a caused the price to collapse and is endangering the future viability of the U.S. primary industry," the association wrote to Lighthizer in May."Action — real action, not mere monitoring, and endless discussions in multinational fora — is needed now if the United States is to save what is left of its primary aluminum industry."A separate group — the Aluminum Association, which represents dozens of U.S. and international producers — disagrees, calling Canadian suppliers an integral element of the North American supply chain and a key component of the industry's success.Politics is undoubtedly a factor: two of Century's four smelters are in Kentucky, while Magnitude 7 operates in Missouri, two states vital to Trump's electoral fortunes."These are the states that keep campaign managers up at night," said Gerald McDermott, an international business professor at the University of South Carolina.A spokesman for the American Primary Aluminum Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday. Glencore Plc, a metals trader and producer based in Switzerland, holds a 47 per cent stake in Century. Magnitude 7, founded by a former Glencore aluminum trader, operates a single Missouri plant that won a new lease on life after Trump's first round of tariffs in 2018, but which warned in February it was on the verge of shutting down.And Glencore holds the exclusive rights to sell Russian-made aluminum in the U.S., having agreed in April to spend $16.3 billion over the next five years on up to 6.9 million tonnes of the metal from Rusal, the second-largest aluminum producer in the world.Glencore is also a major player in the world of metals arbitrage — buying commodities at the lowest price possible, then shipping and storing them before selling on a futures contract in hopes of a higher price. The pandemic has fuelled a global collapse in the price of aluminum, Simard said, while the threat of tariffs has had the opposite effect."What do the traders do? They buy the metal at a very low price because the crisis is what brought you to pivot to this position, and they warehouse it when interest rates are very low because it's a crisis," Simard said. "The key player over and above everybody else is Glencore."Rusal, once controlled by the Russian billionaire oligarch Oleg Deripaska, was subject to U.S. sanctions since Moscow's annexation of Crimea in 2014 — sanctions that were lifted in January 2019 as part of an extensive restructuring that saw Deripaska relinquish control of the company. Glencore was involved, too, swapping shares in Rusal for a direct stake in its parent company, En+.The USTR and the Trump administration "cannot be unaware of the corporate structure around Rusal and Glencore. I would doubt it very much," said Simard.A spokesman for Glencore declined to comment Friday.The Canadian aluminum industry, the bulk of which is located in Quebec, owes its origins to soaring American demand for the metal in the months prior to the U.S. entry into the Second World War — a partnership that cemented Canada's role in the continental military industrial base. Is the Trump administration trying to end that relationship?"It's worth raising the question," Simard said.Trump's disdain for Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long been an open secret — "Trudeau's a 'behind-your-back' guy," former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive new book quotes the president saying — and with an uphill battle for re-election looming, he may be looking to score political points, McDermott said."Why is the Trump administration doing what it's doing? The short answer is it's in a free fall," he said."It's got to show that it's doing something for these Midwestern manufacturing states, and that means getting tough with non-U.S. people. What better thing, then, to piss off the Canadians?"This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2020.— Follow James McCarten on Twitter @CdnPressStyleJames McCarten, The Canadian Press
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. futures and European stocks dropped on Friday as investors mulled a reported conflict among policy makers over a stimulus package for the single-currency region, as well as political upheaval in France.The Stoxx 600 Index fell after Bloomberg News reported the European Central Bank is facing a potential rift over how much their emergency bond-purchase program should stay weighted toward weaker countries such as Italy. The euro fluctuated following French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to name a new prime minister after asking his government to resign. Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc slumped after the British jet-engine maker said it’s exploring options to raise funds to strengthen its balance sheet.The dollar was slightly down, posting its first weekly drop in a month, while American cash equity and bond markets were shut for Independence Day. President Donald Trump will attend an early July 4 celebration at Mount Rushmore with thousands of guests who won’t be required to wear masks, while his U.K. counterpart Boris Johnson urged Britons to act responsibly as pubs prepare to re-open and the government lifts quarantine rules on travel for 60 countries.The friction at the ECB highlights the risk to markets should promised stimulus measures fall short. Investors continue to weigh policy support and upbeat economic data against relentless new outbreaks of the virus. U.S. payrolls figures Thursday fueled optimism of a V-shaped recovery in the world’s biggest economy, even as Florida reported that infections and hospitalizations jumped the most yet, and Houston had a surge in intensive-care patients. Emerging-market stocks posted the biggest weekly gain in a month.“There’s still a general positive sentiment about how quickly we’re seeing the recovery,” said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA Bank. “But we do think you’re going to see the recovery level off, especially if we continue to see higher case numbers on the virus.”Elsewhere, crude oil dipped but remained on track for a weekly gain.These are some of the main moves in markets:StocksFutures on the S&P 500 Index decreased 0.4%.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.8%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 1%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 1%.CurrenciesThe Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1% as of 4:00 p.m. in New York.The euro was little changed at $1.1245.The British pound advanced 0.1% to $1.2480.The onshore yuan was little changed at 7.067 per dollar.The Japanese yen was little changed at 107.49 per dollar.BondsGermany’s 10-year yield declined less than one basis point to -0.43%.Britain’s 10-year yield rose less than one basis point to 0.19%.Japan’s 10-year yield fell one basis point to 0.028%.CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.8% to $40.32 a barrel.Brent crude dipped 0.8% to $42.80 a barrel.Gold rose 0.1% to $1,777.20 an ounce.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Luke Lloyd, a wealth advisor at Strategic Wealth Partners, joins Yahoo Finance to highlight how some Americans are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to reset retirement goals.
(Bloomberg) -- Construction on the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline has begun in Canada, and the premier of the nation’s top oil-producing province says the project’s momentum may make it difficult for a future U.S. administration to cancel it.“We have taken a conscious risk to get construction started, to get facts on the ground,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said at a press conference to celebrate the start of the pipeline’s construction. “If there is a change of administration, there will have been very substantial progress” on building the line on both sides of the border.While President Donald Trump supports Keystone XL, presumptive Democratic Nominee Joe Biden has said he would rescind the permits authorizing the project if elected. Biden is leading in many polls against Trump with five months before the U.S. presidential election.Keystone XL, which would help carry more crude from Alberta’s oil sands to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, is just beginning construction more than a decade after the project was first proposed. Former President Barack Obama rejected the pipeline on environmental grounds only to have Trump reverse that decision. In the meantime, the project has faced court battles and setbacks, including a federal judge’s ruling in April that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers improperly approved a streamlined permit process.Alberta’s government has made a $1.1 billion investment in the project and is guaranteeing a $4.2 billion loan to help finance construction. The project is strongly supported by Alberta’s oil industry, which has been hampered by a shortage of export pipelines.Kenney’s government has pushed back against environmental groups that oppose pipelines and oil-sands development. He said on Friday that Alberta will open an office in Houston to promote the province’s interests and will reach out to labor unions and Democratic lawmakers who support Keystone XL. Kenney said he plans to speak with Biden’s transition team about the project if he’s elected.It would be a “terrible blow to cancel a project in which billions of dollars have been invested,” he said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.