Probe by FCID to continue despite dissolution

He also noted that some members of the former Government were arrested based on evidence provided by the FCID and some were either remanded or freed on bail.Amaratunga said that investigations are still continuing into fraud and corruption and the FCID will continue its work despite the dissolution of Parliament on Friday night. (Colombo Gazette) The Minister noted that already several key figures have been investigated and questioned in relation to fraud and corruption. He said that the authorities need to first conduct comprehensive investigations and then arrest suspects only if there is concrete evidence to back corruption charges. The investigations being carried out by the police Financial Crimes Investigations Divsiion (FCID) will continue despite the dissolution of Parliament.Public Order Minister John Amaratunga said that several people still question as to why more politicians have not been arrested over corruption. read more

US newhome sales fell 68 pct in June possible sign of hot

In this June 4, 2015, photo, a sign indicates a site has been sold in a new home development in Nashville, Tenn. The Commerce Department reports on sales of new homes in June on Friday, July 24, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) WASHINGTON – Fewer Americans bought new homes in June, a possible sign that the real estate market might not be as hot as it appeared at the start of summer.The Commerce Department said Friday that new-home sales slumped 6.8 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 482,000. The report also revised May sales down to a rate of 517,000 from 546,000.The June slowdown indicates the potential limits of the earlier momentum. A nearly two-year hiring streak and low mortgage rates had been spurring stronger sales through much of the year. New-home purchases have vaulted up 21.2 per cent through the first half of 2015, although the government sales report is volatile on a monthly basis.Jennifer Lee, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the decline “poured cold water on the festive tones” from past reports of accelerating sales.Some analysts downplayed the report as representing a sliver of the real estate market.“While the June report is disappointing, new-home sales represents a small portion of total home sales (just 8 per cent),” said Bricklin Dwyer, an analyst at the bank BNP Paribas.But last month’s slump could muddle expectations that the real estate sector will spur stronger economic growth in the coming months.The median sales price has slipped 1.8 per cent to $281,800 over the past 12 months. Buying fell in the Midwest, South and West, while rising sharply in the Northeast.Supplies remain remarkably tight with few new listings coming onto the market and construction expanding at a slower pace than sales of new homes. That may be a sign that the current strength in the market could wane as would-be buyers become frustrated by their limited options.There are 5.4 months’ supply of new homes available, compared to six months in a healthy market. Construction of single-family houses has risen 9.1 per cent year to date, less than half the pace of sales growth for new homes.There are other reports that the housing sector carried its previous momentum through June.Sales of existing homes increased 3.2 per cent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday. The shortage of new listings has fueled higher prices. The median home value has risen 6.5 per cent over the past year to $236,400, the highest figure — not adjusted for inflation — documented by the Realtors.Much of the additional demand has emerged from consistently solid hiring and low mortgage rates. Employers added 3.1 million jobs last year and are on pace to add 2.5 million jobs this year.Borrowing costs are rising but have stayed low by historical standards.The average 30-year fixed rate was 4.04 per cent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That average has increased from a 52-week low of 3.59 per cent. by Josh Boak, The Associated Press Posted Jul 24, 2015 8:02 am MDT Last Updated Jul 24, 2015 at 9:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email US new-home sales fell 6.8 pct. in June; possible sign of hot real estate market cooling off read more

OSAG recommends better forecasting stiffer penalties to not exceed GHG emissions cap

AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by News Staff Posted Jun 16, 2017 4:31 pm MDT OSAG recommends better forecasting, stiffer penalties to not exceed GHG emissions cap Alberta|Calgary|Dave Collyer|Shannon Phillips|YYC (Photo by Chelsey Harms/660 NEWS) Alberta’s Oil Sands Advisory Group is recommending better forecasting reports, changing regulations and stiffer output restrictions in order to not exceed the provincial greenhouse gas emissions cap of 100 megatonnes per year by 2030.The group released its recommendations Friday and now the Alberta government will review them and consult with industry stakeholders and First Nations communities.The group’s co-chair Dave Collyer, former president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and Shell Canada, said it reaches a balance of economic, social and environmental priorities.“The emissions limit is a safety net, that’s not the primary objective,” he said. “The primary objective is irrespective of that, drive down emissions intensity, perform better, be more competitive.”Alberta emits roughly 70 megatonnes currently or roughly 2.5 million barrels and the latest CAPP projection suggests we’ll be at about 3.67 million barrels by 2030, which is when we would be getting closer to the 100-megatonnes cap.However, that doesn’t take into account advances in technology that could further mitigate emissions, while still green-lighting projects and not affecting production.On the subject of technology, the province will consider output-based allocations, which financially reward the most efficient energy producers, an incentive for innovation.OSAG recommends each oil sands facility submit a forecast of its expected emissions for that year, which should be the same as any annual facility level forecasts used for the purposes of implementing the provincial carbon levy.If despite the forecasting improvements and advancements in technology we were to get closer to the 100 megatonnes cap, OSAG recommends stiffer penalties to emitters.They include the government restricting new projects from starting construction until the emissions scarcity no longer exists and restraining existing projects which are the worst emitters.“If you constrain existing production, it’s going to be constrained on the basis of emission-intensity, that’s abundantly clear,” he said. “If I were the province, what I’d be saying is I want to maximize production under the limit, because that’s best for jobs, it’s best for the economy.”OSAG is made up of representatives from industry – including seven oil sands producers – environmentalists and First Nations representatives.Companies that go over the cap could face fines of $200 per tonne in excess, and that figure could get bigger over time.The provincial government will now review the recommendations and have further consultations and Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said regulations will be voted on in early 2018.“These are exactly the kinds of conversations we want to have with industry to ensure that we’re reducing emissions, not production,” Phillips said.Wildrose and Official Opposition Leader Brian Jean is criticizing the penalty recommendations, specifically that to the government restricting approvals, saying it would further chill investment in the oil and gas sector.“Should they accept this report in its entirety, will hamper further growth and investment that would only serve to hurt everyday Albertans,” Jean said in a statement. “Recommendations on this growth cap sends a strong signal that Alberta is not open for business at a time we can least afford it.But Collyer said with the reality of governments of all levels and global investors paying more attention to climate change, doing nothing doesn’t make sense.“The best way not to leave oil in the ground is to be always improving our performance and innovating and being more competitive,” he said. read more