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Updated: 34 min 58 sec ago

WestJet profit rises 16 percent

1 hour 3 min ago

(Reuters) - WestJet Airlines Ltd, Canada's No. 2 carrier, reported a 16 percent rise in quarterly earnings, helped by a 5.5 percent rise in revenue passenger miles. The Calgary, Alberta-based airline said its net profit rose to C$51.8 million ($47.9 million), or 40 Canadian cents per share, in the second-quarter months ended June 30, from C$44.7 million, or 34 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 10.3 percent to C$930.7 million. Revenue passenger miles is calculated by multiplying the number of revenue-paying passengers by distance traveled. ($1 = 1. ...


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UBS says books 254 million Sfr against second quarter to settle one German tax probe

1 hour 11 min ago

UBS booked a 254 million Swiss franc ($280.79 million) charge in the second quarter mainly to settle claims it helped wealthy Germans to dodge taxes, the latest in a string of lawsuits that have targeted its private banking business. The Zurich-based lender's offices in Germany were searched last year as part of an investigation of 750 cases involving foundations, a probe sparked by a CD with details of UBS clients that was purchased by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). UBS, which faces a separate probe in Germany and similar probes in Belgium and France, said it aims to have all of its German clients come clean by year-end, from more than 95 percent currently. The bank on Tuesday reported a quarterly net profit of 792 million Swiss francs from 690 million francs a year earlier, when results were marred by an $885 million settlement with the U.S. housing regulator over the mis-selling of mortgage-backed bonds.


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Some niche retirement communities geared to people with specific interests or backgrounds

1 hour 21 min ago
Niche retirement communities are growing particularly popular as the 76 million baby boomers reach retirement age. The communities are aimed at people of specific ethnic backgrounds, hobbies or collegiate allegiances. Here are some niche retirement communities found across the United States. ShantiNiketan in Tavares, Florida: This retirement community located about 30 miles northwest of Orlando is geared to residents from India.
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Airbus terminates sale of six A380 superjumbos to Japan's Skymark

1 hour 21 min ago

Airbus Group NV said on Tuesday it has terminated an agreement to deliver six A380 superjumbo jets to Skymark Airlines Inc after the Japanese discount carrier struggled to raise enough cash to pay installments on the aircraft. In a briefing in Tokyo before Airbus's announcement, Skymark's CEO and chief investor, Shinichi Nishikubo, said that the European aircraft maker had refused to consider changes to the 2011 purchase agreement, including reducing the number of aircraft or offering smaller jets and had notified it of the termination in a faxed message on Sunday. "We didn't get the chance to sit down and have a formal discussion," Nishikubo said. The termination marks a setback for Airbus in Japan after it won its first order ever from Japan Airlines (JAL) last year which agreed to buy more than 30 A350 jets.


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Indian retirement community joins growing world of niche developments for seniors

1 hour 21 min ago

When Arun and Usha Pancholi were deciding where to spend their retirement years, they wanted a place that combined the culture and camaraderie of life in India with the comforts and conveniences they had grown accustomed to after nearly five decades in Minnesota and Ohio. They found both at central Florida's ShantiNiketan, the first retirement community in the United States catering to people born in India. ShantiNiketan — Hindi for "House of Peace" — is one of a number of growing niche retirement communities aimed at people of specific ethnic backgrounds, hobbies or college allegiances. "It is the best of both worlds," said Arun Pancholi, 72, who retired with his 72-year-old wife from Columbus Ohio.


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Police seek more victims of alleged 'sextortion'

1 hour 40 min ago
An alleged victim of a man accused of cyber-stalking and extorting more than 20 women while using the alias "Scotty Toppers" said he contacted her repeatedly and threatened to publish sexually suggestive pictures of her online. Police launched an investigation into what they called "sextortion" in May 2014 after receiving complaints from 13 different women across Orleans. Last week they charged Nicholas Decarlo, 29, of Ottawa, with criminal harassment, extortion, theft, possession of a firearm, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of stolen property, possession of break and enter tools and mischief to data.
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Israel hits symbols of Hamas power, Gaza's only power plant, in heaviest bombardment of war

1 hour 56 min ago

Israel struck symbols of Hamas' control of Gaza and the strip's only power plant on Tuesday, escalating its military campaign against the Islamic militant group with the heaviest bombardment in the fighting so far. Flares turned the sky over Gaza City orange overnight and by daybreak, as the conflict entered its fourth week, heavy clouds of dust hovered over the territory. The pounding came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday warned of a "prolonged" campaign against Hamas. Israeli warplanes carried out dozens of attacks, levelling the home of the top Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, and damaging the offices of the movement's Al-Aqsa satellite TV station, a central mosque in Gaza City and government offices.


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Focus turns to U.S. outlook, Russian stocks stabilise

1 hour 58 min ago

By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - World shares hovered just below all-time highs on Tuesday as investors drew encouragement from a rally in Chinese markets and beaten-down Russian stocks enjoyed some relief after three days of heavy selling. Investors remained cautious, however, given geopolitical jitters and a torrent of U.S. economic news due to come this week, including a Federal Reserve meeting and GDP data on Wednesday and non-farm payrolls figures on Friday. The dollar shuffled higher on bets it will all add up to the Fed hiking U.S. interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis early next year. Russian stocks steadied too after investors dumped them in recent days in anticipation of broader economic sanctions to be imposed by the European Union on Moscow this week.


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Federal appeals court overrules gay marriage bans in Virginia, Carolinas and West Virginia

1 hour 58 min ago

An appeals court's decision to strike down Virginia's same-sex marriage ban adds to the growing list of decrees on a hot-button issue that will likely end up being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond on Monday ruled that state laws barring gay marriage and denying recognition of such unions performed in other states violate the U.S. Constitution. It's the second federal appellate court to overturn gay marriage bans, after the Denver circuit.


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Court tosses Sept. 11 lawsuit, says cross can be displayed at World Trade Center memorial site

2 hours 7 min ago
A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit by an atheist group seeking to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among the World Trade Center's wreckage. The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday sided with a federal judge's ruling last year that the decision to include the beam in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum did not advance religion impermissibly. American Atheists had sued the museum's operators in 2011 on constitutional grounds.
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BP profit jumps but warns of Russia sanctions impact

2 hours 14 min ago

By Ron Bousso LONDON (Reuters) - Oil and gas producer BP reported a sharp rise in second quarter profits on Tuesday but warned that further Western sanctions on Russia could harm its business there and its relationship with Russian state oil company Rosneft. BP said that to date, the sanctions had not had a significant effect on its business in Russia, where it makes about a third of its crude oil output, but that could change. "If further international sanctions are imposed on Rosneft or new sanctions are imposed on Russia or other Russian individuals or entities, this could have a material adverse impact on our relationship with and investment in Rosneft, our business and strategic objectives in Russia and our financial position and results of operations," it said.


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Afghan official says suicide bomber has assassinated cousin of President Karzai

2 hours 27 min ago
An Afghan official says a suicide bomber, his explosives hidden inside his turban, has assassinated the cousin of President Hamid Karzai. Dawa Khan Minapal, the spokesman for the governor of southern Kandahar province, says the attack took place on Tuesday morning in Karz district. Minapal says the bomber walked up to greet Ashmat Khlil Karzai, a political figure in his own right who has backed former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's bid to succeed President Karzai. The bomber shook hands with Ashmat Karzai after prayers outside the Karzai family home, then detonated his explosives.
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High-level meeting today in Montreal to discuss risks to civil aviation

2 hours 40 min ago
Top officials from four international organizations will meet Tuesday in Montreal to discuss risks to civilian aviation in conflict zones. The meeting will bring together representatives of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and three groups that represent the world's air carriers, airports and air navigation service providers. The get-together at ICAO headquarters comes after the UN body that governs civil aviation consulted with various international and regional organizations. It will bring together representatives of the International Air Transport Association, Airports Council International and the Civil Air Navigation Services Organisation.
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Tourists drawn to giant ketchup bottle now on sale in Illinois for $500,000, with warehouse

2 hours 56 min ago

For tourist Bruce Pasarow of Buena Park, California, leaving Illinois before seeing what's billed as the "World's Largest Bottle of Catsup" was not an option. The Collinsville water tower is a depiction of Brooks Old Original Rich and Tangy Catsup, which was once produced in the buildings beneath the tower. Owner Larry Eckert is asking $500,000 for the 65-year-old, 170-foot (52-meter)-tall landmark and adjacent warehouse. Judy Demoisy helped save the bottle when it was in danger of being torn down in 1993.


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Shanghai court says trial of GSK-linked investigators set for August 8

3 hours 39 min ago

The public trial of a foreign couple linked to GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK) is set for Aug. 8, a Shanghai court said on Tuesday. Earlier this month, Chinese prosecutors accused British investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng for illegally obtaining private information. The couple will stand trial at 9:30 a.m. (0130 GMT) on Aug. 8 for "illegally obtaining private information about citizens", according to a brief statement posted on the website of the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court. Courts in China are tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party, and defendants are almost always convicted.


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Jurors to resume deliberating Ventura libel case after judge defers mistrial decision

4 hours 13 min ago

ST. PAUL, Minn. - There's been no verdict and no mistrial after five days of deliberations in former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's defamation lawsuit against "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.


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Calgary house where five young people slain at party has been put up for sale

4 hours 51 min ago
The house which was the site of Calgary's worst mass murder has been put up for sale. Five young people were slain at an end-of-school party in April at the house near the University of Calgary campus. Matthew de Grood has been charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of Zackariah Rathwell, 21;
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Experts: Rare storm that brought deadly lightning to California beach difficult to see coming

4 hours 54 min ago

A thunderstorm formed so rapidly over a Southern California beach that experts said Monday it was impossible for anyone to predict a lightning strike would turn a day of carefree fun into one of terror. The phenomenon so rare that lifeguards lack an emergency warning system struck Sunday afternoon at Los Angeles' popular Venice Beach, killing a 21-year-old man and injuring a dozen others. Are there fireworks?' The sky got black and then it started downpouring," said Sam Solomon, a 24-year-old outdoor marketer from Los Angeles. Although a commonplace in many other parts of the country, lightning rarely ever strikes the sand along the beaches of the Western U.S., climatologist Bill Patzert said.


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Jaded Argentines brace for looming debt default

5 hours 29 min ago

By Eliana Raszewski and Richard Lough BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Factory owner Norberto Garcia was poised to launch a series of new toys this year after grafting hard for the past decade to rebuild his business following Argentina's 2001-2002 economic crash and debt default. Garcia's wait-and-see attitude is typical of other businesses who anticipate a slowdown in sales in a country grappling with a surging inflation rate but are convinced any economic downturn will be moderate. While unsettling, the debt crisis today is a far cry from the turmoil of Argentina's $100 billion default in 2002, and Garcia is optimistic things will ultimately improve. Argentina's record default sent shockwaves through global capital markets and millions of Argentines lost their jobs as the economy collapsed.


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Citi to hire 100 bankers in Asia, eyes more business from smaller clients

5 hours 39 min ago

By Lawrence White HONG KONG (Reuters) - Citigroup plans to hire as many as 100 bankers in a renewed push into Asia-Pacific commercial banking, following in rival HSBC's footsteps with a strategy that focuses on selling smaller corporate clients a wider range of products. Global banks like Citi and HSBC are now concentrating on small to medium-sized clients due to a dwindling number of $10 billion-plus IPOs from Chinese state-owned companies - deals which had sustained investment banks in the region over the last decade. The increase in headcount, which represents a 10 percent boost for Citi's Asia-Pacific commercial banking unit, is aimed at offering firms with annual sales of between $10 million and $500 million additional services such as foreign exchange and cash management. "This is not about adding hundreds of new clients in the region, but winning more wallet share from commercial banking clients who have cross-border business by providing them with more loans, FX, cash and trade products," Citi's Asia-Pacific commercial banking head Ashish Bajaj said in an interview.


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