(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. ...
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.
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.
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 â€” Hindi for "House of Peace" â€” 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.