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Third Canadian detained in China, Canadian media says, citing ministry @Reuters
Law & Politics
A third Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada’s
National Post newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing the Canadian
China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, told a daily news
briefing in Beijing that she was unaware of the report.
Two Canadians - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael
Spavor - were detained after Canadian police arrested Huawei
Technologies Co Ltd’s [HWT.UL] chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou,
on Dec 1.
Canada’s Global Affairs office told the National Post that they were
aware of a detention but did not provide details and did not suggest a
connection to Meng’s detention.
The Canadian government has said that there is also no explicit link
between Meng’s arrest and the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor.
But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have
said they believe the detentions are a form of “tit-for-tat” reprisal
by China, in response to Meng’s arrest.
Switzerland prepares to launch Iran payments channel @FT
Law & Politics
Switzerland is close to launching an initiative to let companies sell
food, medicine and medical devices to Iran using a payments channel
that would be the first such mechanism to win Washington’s approval
since it reimposed sanctions against Tehran.
Bern’s humanitarian supplies plan, which is the subject of delicate
ongoing talks with the US and Iran, comes as leading EU powers hope
within weeks to set up a much-touted mechanism to finance broader
trade with Tehran.
The simultaneous efforts highlight the transatlantic schism since
President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark international nuclear
deal with Iran in May.
While Switzerland’s work is consistent with Washington’s insistence
that it will continue to allow humanitarian trade with Tehran, US
officials have denounced the EU for its efforts to defy reimposed US
sanctions on industries ranging from oil to finance.
The Swiss economic affairs department told the Financial Times it was
“striving” to set up the humanitarian payments channel “as soon as
possible” but could not give a start date. “Discussions are still
ongoing with US authorities, Iran and Swiss companies,” it said.
Switzerland, which is not an EU member and has a large pharmaceuticals
sector and a tradition of neutral diplomacy, has strong credentials to
be a base for the mechanism.
Roche, the Swiss pharmaceuticals company, said it was aware of
“discussions on a potential alternative financing channel for
humanitarian purposes” but could not comment further. “To our
knowledge no concrete proposals have been made,” it said.
The US state department signalled that it was comfortable with the
Swiss channel: “We understand the importance of this activity since it
helps the Iranian people. It has never been, nor is it now, US policy
to target this trade.”
It added: “The United States maintains broad authorisations that allow
for the sale of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical
devices by US persons or from the United States to Iran.
“In addition, US sanctions laws provide similar exemptions for sales
of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices by
non-US persons to non-designated persons in Iran.”
Brian Hook, US special representative for Iran, warned last month that
Tehran would have to “create a financial sector that is open and
transparent” to facilitate the humanitarian imports and ensure they
were not diverted to “regime elites”.
The Iranian rial has depreciated by about 50 per cent this year,
pushing up prices of food and medicine. Central bank figures show a 60
per cent year-on-year rise in food prices in November.
While Iran’s government says there is no severe shortage of
pharmaceuticals, people complain that treatments for acute conditions
such as cancer have soared as much as threefold — if they can be found
The EU hopes its payments channel for non-dollar denominated Iran
trade could be in place as soon as the end of this month, Federica
Mogherini, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, said last week.
The initiative — led by France, Germany and the UK — has struggled to
make headway because of technical and political problems, notably a
reluctance by countries to host it because of a possible US backlash.
EU diplomats say it is likely France and Germany will shoulder the
biggest burden, including hosting the channel. US officials have
alternated between condemning the effort and dismissing it as a paper
tiger, as international companies with American links are likely to
shun it due to worries it could open them up to US sanctions.
I somehow doubt the US will countenance the Mogherini plan.
@facebook Faces Intensifying Pressure From Washington on Privacy @technology
Facebook Inc. faces growing pressure over its privacy protections as
the District of Columbia sued Wednesday over its handling of user
data, exemplified by the privacy breach in which personal information
of millions of Americans was transferred to Cambridge Analytica, a
political consulting firm hired by President Donald Trump’s 2016
The suit alleges Facebook violated the district’s Consumer Protection
and Procedures Act as a result of lax oversight of the company’s
third-party applications. It came just hours after an explosive New
York Times report that the social media giant had allowed, even after
the Cambridge Analytica scandal, more than 150 companies to access
more users’ personal data than it had disclosed, prompting renewed
calls for Congress to act.
“It is beyond obvious at this point that social media platforms are
simply not up to the task of voluntarily ensuring the privacy and
security of their users,” Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from
Virginia, tweeted on Wednesday. “Congress must step in.”
Washington Attorney General Karl Racine, who filed the lawsuit, said
in a statement that “Facebook put users at risk of manipulation by
allowing companies like Cambridge Analytica and other third-party
applications to collect personal data without users’ permission.”
Facebook has been battered all year by questions about its privacy
protections, and its shares took another hit Wednesday, falling as
much as 7.3 percent and trading at $136.43 at 2 p.m. in New York.
@JunckerEU : Africa's future will shape Europe's @dwnews
Juncker urged European firms on Tuesday to boost their investments in
Africa in a "partnership among equals," reminding the joint European
Union and Africa Union forum that Africa's population was forecast to
double to 2.5 billion by 2050.
"Africa's future is also our [European] future," said Juncker in
opening remarks to representatives of 800 businesses and political
leaders gathered in Vienna.
Asked if Europe was too late in discovering business investment
opportunities in Africa, Juncker replied: "Yes, but we do it better."
Hosting the forum with the AU's current chairman, Rwanda's President
Paul Kagame, Chancellor Kurz of Austria — which holds the rotating EU
presidency and is an advocate of strict European rules on migration —
said: "We must not leave the African continent to China," describing
Tuesday's forum as a "good start" for more investment by Europe beyond
In September, Beijing hosted African leaders at a summit, offering
billions. Last year, China opened its first overseas military base in
Djibouti and ranks as Africa's largest trading partner, followed by
Japan and the EU (taken as a single entity), according to EU
Among EU nations, the highest surpluses in trade with Africa last
year were accrued by Germany (€8.3 billion) and France (€ 5.6
"It's better to start than not start at all," said Namibian
Communications Minister Stanley Simataa in Vienna Tuesday, saying past
colonial "dark chapters" were part of the "shared history" of Africa
Austria's recent avoidance of the UN migration pact adopted by 164
nations in Morocco was criticized as a "surprise" by AU commission
chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat.
European heavyweights like Germany, France and Italy only sent
ministerial level officials to the Vienna investment forum, according
to a forum list of attendees: Those present included presidents and
premiers from Egypt, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya and Mauritius.
Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said that the German giant planned to invest an
additional 500 million euros ($567 million) to provide infrastructure,
including "affordable" electricity, on the African continent.
Africa's burgeoning mega-cities include Congo's Kinshasa, Nigeria's
Lagos, Egypt's Cairo, Tanzania's Dar es Salaam and Angola's Luanda,
faced "extreme risks" from climate warming, warned the Britain-based
research team Verisk Maplecroft in a study last month.
Kinshasa, now at 13 million and set to double in population by 2035,
risked extreme flooding. Luanda would struggle with high heat levels,
as well as water shortages, it added.
DJ, Businessman Face Off in Battle for Madagascar's Presidency @business
Almost a decade after a military-backed ex-nightclub DJ seized power
from a business tycoon in Madagascar, the two are squaring up again in
a runoff vote to decide who’ll become the next president.
The failure by either candidate to accept the outcome could trigger a
repeat of violence that’s marred previous ballots on the Indian Ocean
island. That could pose a threat to the world’s biggest vanilla
industry and businesses like Sumitomo Corp.’s Ambatovy nickel mine and
Rio Tinto Group’s QMM mineral-sands project.
Voting got under way at 6 a.m. Wednesday in the capital, Antananarivo.
About 10 million voters are registered to cast their ballots for the
candidates: 69-year-old millionaire businessman Marc Ravalomanana and
Andry Rajoelina, 44, whose career spans disc-jockeying at nightclubs
in the capital to becoming its mayor.
“Madagascar stands a lot to lose if this election leads to a new
crisis,” particularly its bid to encourage foreign investment, said
Juvence Ramasy, a political scientist and lecturer at the University
of Toamasina in the country’s east.
Foreign direct investment in the country has yet to recover from the
record $1.39 billion Madagascar received in 2008, the year before the
two candidates became embroiled in a dispute that ended when the army
stepped in to support Rajoelina.
Malagasies consider crime and security, along with a lack of roads and
other infrastructure as the most pressing problems the government
should address, according to a survey published last month by
Afrobarometer. Those are issues the two candidates have campaigned on.
Rajoelina has portrayed himself as a “builder” on his Twitter account
and has vowed to develop the country’s infrastructure. During his five
years in office that followed the 2009 dispute, he struggled to
reverse an economic crisis following the suspension of most foreign
aid to the government.
Ravalomanana has pledged to accelerate economic growth and strengthen
the rule of law. He previously served as president from 2002, when he
triggered a political crisis by declaring himself president without
waiting for a runoff after a disputed vote. He was re-elected in 2006,
but forced to resign by the army in 2009 after clashes between
protesters and security forces that left scores of people dead.
The runoff is being held after none of the 36 candidates who ran in
the first vote on Nov. 7 won more than 50 percent of the vote. Hery
Rajaonarimampianina, who resigned in September to seek re-election,
obtained less than 10 percent.
More than 100 killed in Congo clashes days before vote @ReutersAfrica
KINSHASA (Reuters) - More than 100 people have died in clashes between
rival ethnic groups in northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo this
week, local activists said on Wednesday.
The fighting in Mai-Ndombe province is some of the worst to hit the
normally peaceful area in years and comes days before Sunday’s
long-delayed presidential, legislative and provincial elections, which
many fear could turn violent.
The fighting between the Batende and Banunu ethnic groups broke out on
Sunday over the disputed location of a Banunu chief’s burial, said
Jules Bango, an activist in the town of Yumbi, on the banks of the
Sasini Tea & Coffee Ltd.reports FY 2018 EPS -14.474%
Par Value: 1/-
Closing Price: 19.70
Total Shares Issued: 228055504.00
Market Capitalization: 4,492,693,429
Sasini PLC FY 2018 results through 30th September 2018 vs. 30th September 2017
FY Revenue 3.515220b vs. 4.201196b -16.328%
FY Gain/ [Losses] arising from fair value changes on biological assets
55.558m vs. 81.746m -32.036%
FY Results from continuing operations 354.615m vs. 373.181m -4.975%
FY Finance income 112.663m vs. 141.864m -20.584%
FY Profit before tax from continuing operations 448.806m vs. 504.021m -10.955%
FY Profit before tax 448.806m vs. 520.921m -13.844%
FY Profit for the year 293.523m vs. 339.407m -13.519%
FY Profit attributable to owners of the company 295.497m vs. 346.183m -14.641%
EPS on operating activities 1.13 vs. 1.27 -11.024%
EPS on biological assets 0.17 vs. 0.25 -32.000%
EPS 1.30 vs. 1.52 -14.474%
Total Assets 12.961380b vs. 13.196025b -1.778%
Total Equity 11.323783b vs. 11.315877b +0.070%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period 1.135609b vs.
Dividend 1.00 vs. 1.00 –