Ottawa tightens mortgage rules to cool off red-hot Vancouver, Toronto

Written by admin on 27/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美甲纹绣培训

The federal government is attempting to take some momentum out of the country’s most expensive —; and frothiest —; housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto, announcing Friday changes to mortgage lending rules that lift minimum down payment requirements on homes listed between $500,000 and one million dollars.



    Want a big city where real estate prices are within reach? Try Montreal

    At a press conference in Ottawa, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that as of Feb. 15, buyers purchasing homes in that price range will have to make a minimum down payment of 5 per cent on the first $500,000, and 10 per cent of the dollar value above that amount.

    Morneau used the example of a $700,000 home, which will now require a minimum down payment of $45,000, or an increase of $10,000 above what the existing minimum of 5 per cent would require.

    “By targeting higher priced homes, we’ll minimize the impact on first time buyers,” the minister said. “This protects all homeowners, including middle class Canadians whose biggest investment is in their homes.”

    Benchmark home prices in Vancouver and Toronto have rocketed higher this year amid ultra-low borrowing rates and sustained interest from foreign buyers, experts say. Each city’s boom has led to market dynamics in those centres that are “not as stable as they should be,” Morneau suggested.

    Clear targets

    “The motivation of the [new] policy is clear,” Benjamin Tal, economist at CIBC World Markets said. “The attempt is to slow down the only two markets that are really moving (Toronto and Vancouver). Those markets happen also to be the most expensive.”

    How effective the new minimums will be in cooling off those markets isn’t clear —; the finance minister said the change would affect “one percent or less” of borrowers.

    About a quarter of homebuyers put less than 10 per cent down on the purchase of home, according to BMO Capital Markets.

    “While we don’t precisely know how that share is distributed through the price ranges, it would imply that, at most, only about three to four percent of the national market gets impacted,” BMO economist Robert Kavcic said. “In reality, the impact should be even smaller given that low down payments are skewed more toward the lower end of the market.”

    Benchmark home prices in Vancouver and Toronto sit well above the $500,000 mark, with 43 per cent of sales in Toronto this year falling into the affected range. “Toronto and Vancouver are the clear targets,” Kavcic said.

    Click here to view data »

    Bubble fears

    Fears over a possible real estate bubble in the Vancouver and Toronto areas have risen significantly as prices have surged.

    In November, benchmark prices in Vancouver surged 17.8 per cent as sales soared 40.1 per cent, the region’s real estate association said.

    In slightly tamer Toronto, benchmark prices increased 10.3 per cent as sales climbed 14 per cent compared to November a year ago, making 2015 the most active year on record for the country’s biggest housing market (eclipsing 2007).

    MORE: Already lofty home prices in Vancouver and Toronto continue to surge


    The Vancouver and Toronto markets have firmly decoupled from the rest of the country, where home prices are moving at a far slower rate of about 2.5 per cent, according to CREA, the national real estate board.

    What’s fueling the torrid price gains remains a matter of fierce debate, but many suspect a wave of foreign cash is playing a key inflationary role. Rock bottom interest rates are also continuing to fuel domestic demand.

    “An influx of foreign wealth is one driving force, but lower interest rates — and the witches’ spell of forever-low rates—are also stirring the pot,” Sal Guatieri, economist at BMO, said in a recent note.

    WATCH: New mortgage rules will help ‘protect Canadians’:  finance minister

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‘China’s Warren Buffett’ reported missing as anti-corruption probe widens

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BEIJING – One of China’s top entrepreneurs, the chairman of the conglomerate that owns Club Med and other businesses in Europe and the United States, is missing, a news report said Friday, a possible sign that an anti-corruption campaign is widening beyond state companies.

Fosun International employees were unable to contact Guo Guangchang after midday Thursday, the magazine Caixin said on its website. It cited messages on social media that Guo was last seen with police at an airport in Shanghai.


China is in the midst of a 3-year-old anti-graft crackdown led by President Xi Jinping that has snared dozens of executives at state-owned companies in oil and other industries. A court cited Guo in August as being linked to a supermarket chain chairman who was jailed for corruption.

READ MORE: Unhealthy levels of smog hover over Beijing on Day 2 of city’s red alert

A series of figures in China’s securities industry have disappeared or been detained since August after authorities launched an investigation following a plunge in Chinese share prices in June.

Fosun, China’s biggest privately owned conglomerate, and its pharmaceutical unit suspended trading of their shares Friday in Hong Kong. They cited the pending release of an announcement with “inside information.”

Phone calls to Fosun’s media and investor relations departments weren’t answered.

If Guo is under investigation, that suggests authorities are extending scrutiny beyond state-owned enterprises, increasing uncertainty for investors, said Ronald Wan, CEO of investment banking at Partners Capital International in Hong Kong.

“A lot of companies will be on the investigation list and it will alert all the investors,” he said.

Wan said the government should clarify Guo’s status.

“If he is really getting caught in some sort of serious trouble, at least the group can have some sort of contingency plan and work out a solution to how the company can be run,” said Wan.

Guo, 48, is one of China’s biggest investors abroad. Fosun, which he co-founded in the 1990s, has businesses in real estate, steel, mining and retailing.

The Financial Times dubbed him “China’s Warren Buffett” for following the legendary American investor’s approach of using the cash flow from insurance operations to buy other businesses.

READ MORE: Chinese corruption fugitives may have fled to Canada or U.S.

Fosun won a bidding war this year to take over Club Mediterranee, the French resort operator. Last year, it paid 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for Portugal’s biggest insurance company, Caixa Seguros. In the United States, it owns Meadowbrook Insurance Group Inc., 20 per cent of insurer Ironshore Inc. and the 60-story office tower at 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City.

Guo has a net worth of $7.8 billion, according to the Hurun Report, which follows China’s wealthy.

He denied earlier he was the target of a graft investigation.

A court in Shanghai said in August he had “inappropriate connections” with the chairman of a state-owned supermarket chain, Wang Zongnan, who was sentenced to 18 years, according to Caixin. The court ruled he misused 195 million yuan ($31 million) of Shanghai Lianhua Supermarket Holdings Co.’s money to help two other companies invest in real estate.

The court said Wang misused his position “to seek benefits for Fosun Group,” according to Caixin. In exchange, the court said, Guo sold two villas to Wang’s parents at low prices.

Fosun denied any impropriety and said the villas were sold at market prices.

In China’s state-dominated economy, many entrepreneurs make deals with officials or state industry managers to gain government licenses, contracts or financing, said Zhang Tianyu, a specialist in corporate governance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“This is how some entrepreneurs get into trouble once they have an anti-corruption campaign,” said Zhang.

Zhang said that in a series of deals in Shanghai, Fosun has bought stakes of less than 50 per cent in state-owned companies but gained management control. He said that unusually favourable arrangement reduced the amount of capital Fosun had to tie up in the company while making it a partner of state managers.

“What we guess is that someone should be helping him to make these transactions,” said Zhang. “Without more evidence, we don’t know who this is. A politician, or maybe a group of people.”

On Monday, China’s biggest brokerage, state-owned Citic Securities Co., said it could not contact the two managers in charge of its China and international investment banking business.

In September, the police ministry announced Citic’s general manager, Cheng Boming, and other executives were suspected of insider trading and leaking sensitive information.

Last month, Citic and two other brokerages, Guosen Securities Ltd. and Haitong Securities Ltd., said separately they were under investigation.

A star Chinese fund manager, Xu Xiang, was detained Nov. 2 on suspicion of insider trading, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

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Women in Saudi Arabia are voting and running for office for the first time

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Outside of the Saudi capital, in one of the country’s most conservative provinces, Jowhara al-Wably is making history. She’s running in this weekend’s elections.

Saturday’s vote for local council seats marks two milestones for Saudi women: Not only can they run in a government election for the first time, it is the first time they are permitted to vote at all.


The municipal councils are the only government body in which Saudi citizens can elect representatives, so the vote is widely seen as a small but significant opening for women to play a more equal role in Saudi society.

READ MORE: Saudi women arrested for driving referred to terrorism court

Still, women face challenges on the campaign trail: Because of Saudi Arabia’s strict policy of segregation of the sexes, they cannot address male voters directly and have to speak from behind a partition – or have male relatives speak for them.

In an effort to create a more level playing field, the General Election Committee banned both male and female candidates from showing their faces in promotional flyers, billboards or in social media. They’re also not allowed to appear on television.

This suits al-Wably, a 52-year-old community activist and Ministry of Education employee. Like all women in Saudi Arabia, she wears a loose-flowing black robe called an “abaya.” She also covers her face and hair under a veil called a “niqab” when in public.

When she meets with female voters, she talks to them at the hotel conference hall she’s rented in Buraydah, 220 miles (350 kilometres) northwest of Riyadh. But when she makes her pitch to male voters this week, she won’t be doing the talking. Her two sons, both in their mid-20s, her husband and her brothers will address the male crowd and she won’t be present.

With around 5,000 men registered to vote in her district compared to 620 registered female voters, al-Wably says she can’t afford to rely solely on Internet campaigning through 广州蒲友 and 苏州美甲纹绣培训 to reach men.

“I want to be part of the development of my city,” she told The Associated Press. “I want to be a positive force on the ground in my community.”

While the councils do not have legislative powers, they do oversee a range of community issues, such as budgets for maintaining and improving public facilities like parks, roads and utilities. All major decision-making powers rest solely in the hands of King Salman and the all-male Cabinet of ministers.

The first local council election was held in 2005 and the second in 2011, with only men taking part. This time around, state-affiliated media report there are 979 female candidates and 5,938 male candidates vying for seats. About 130,000 women have registered to vote versus 1.35 million male voters.

READ MORE: Sentence of 1000 lashings suspended for human rights blogger

Up for grabs are around 2,100 council seats. An additional 1,050 seats are appointed with approval from the king. While there is no quota for women, the king may use his powers to ensure at least some women get onto the councils.

While calling the vote a “step forward for women,” Rothna Begum of Human Rights Watch noted that because male candidates cannot directly address women, they could easily disregard the female vote because it is proportionally so much smaller. And the high cost of running a visible campaign has proven prohibitive for some female candidates, she said; at least 31 dropped out because it was too expensive.

At his campaign headquarters in Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city of Jiddah, Bassam Akhdar said he allocated a night specifically to reach out to the female electorate, with female staff lined up to explain his platform.

But no women showed up and none have passed by his office to inquire about his campaign. So he ended up allocating the entire space to his male constituency, who come every night to hear and meet him.

“I would be happy to have a woman’s vote. This is a gain for me,” said the 47-year-old businessman, who won a seat in the past two elections – and spent $106,000 (400,000 riyals) on his latest campaign.

Despite vast differences between Saudi Arabia’s cultural sensitivities and the bombast often associated with campaigns in the West, criticism of women’s participation has largely been muted, though one prominent cleric warned against this being a Western-style election.

Sheikh Abdelrahman al-Barrack admonished his more than 161,000 followers on 广州蒲友 that the vote is not religiously permissible if it Westernizes the “land of the two holy mosques,” a reference to the holy sites in Mecca and Medina, and when it allows for the mixing of men and women.

The decision to allow women to take part is seen as part of the late King Abdullah’s legacy. Before he died in January, the king appointed 30 women to the country’s top advisory Shura Council. Women were also given licenses to practice law, and labour rules were changed to allow women to work as sales clerks in lingerie and women’s clothing stores. The government also began issuing identification cards for women.

In the Saudi capital, Riyadh, 40-year-old candidate Randa Baraja said her No. 1 supporter has been her father.

“He is very keen about education and the idea that women ought to rely on themselves. … My brothers are supportive too,” said Baraja, a health care professional.

Still, when she presented her campaign platform to a group of men this week, she did not stand in front of them. In line with election rules she was out of view behind a partition; she used a projector and a microphone to discuss her ideas, while a camera feed allowed her to see those in attendance.

For Saudi women and men, this kind of interaction is not unusual. The kingdom distinguishes itself as an Islamic state that upholds one of the strictest policies of segregation of the sexes in the world, enforced by the kingdom’s morality police.

Though men and women work alongside each other in places such as banks and hospitals, unmarried men and women are prohibited from socially mixing – in both public and private. At female college campuses, male lecturers often communicate via a one-way camera feed that allows students to see the professor. At restaurants, women have “family only” entrances to separate them from single men.

Women are barred from driving and are governed by guardianship laws that require them to have the permission of male relatives in order to marry, obtain a passport, travel abroad or access higher education. Many private hospitals require such permission for women to undergo medical procedures.

Marina Ottoway, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said this weekend’s elections will not represent a turning point for the status of women.

“They are simply a very small step in a very long process of change for women and for citizens in general,” she said, adding that it’s too soon to tell whether this is the first in a series of steps or whether change stops here.

Still, Baraja says the election is a chance for women to leave a mark on their communities. In her district, 23 men and 23 women are vying for two seats on the council. She says there are around 9,600 registered male voters and a little more than 300 registered female voters.

“The competition is big and the campaigning took a lot of effort and time. … But in general what is making me enjoy each step I take is that I feel I have the skills and the ideas to contribute to my community,” she said.

“When I am in the street and see the roads are not paved well and there are potholes, and the (lack of) cleanliness in some areas, we can make it better and more beautiful … with simple ideas that do not cost a lot,” she said.

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Trump Tower protest planned for Toronto today in light of anti-Muslim comments

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TORONTO —; Protesters are expected to gather in front of the Trump Tower in Toronto later today to decry Donald Trump’s recent anti-Muslim comments.

The Republican presidential candidate has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. in the aftermath of attacks in the country and abroad.

His remarks this week have drawn international criticism. The White House said the comments disqualify him from being president and some politicians have joked about banning Trump himself.


READ MORE: Councillor urges Trump Tower to drop ‘fascist’ namesake after anti-Muslim speech

In Toronto, protesters who say they plan to rally against Trump’s statements and celebrate the city’s diversity are expected to gather outside the building which bears his name in the city’s financial district.

The Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto is owned by a private real estate development company called Talon International Development, as well as other investors and condo owners.

The Trump Organization operates a hotel which makes up part of the building.

WATCH: Councillor Josh Matlow is being praised online by residents and fellow councillors for his proposal. Peter Kim reports.

At least one Toronto city councillor has asked the owners of the building to remove Trump’s name from the property in light of his recent inflammatory comments.

Trump’s image and name have been stripped from a Dubai golf course in light of his statements, while Trump Towers Istanbul also says its “assessing” its partnership with Trump.

The Trump Hotel and Tower in Toronto says the Trump Organization operates the building but is not the owner.

“Donald Trump’s opinions as a private citizen in no way reflect the position of the company’s views or those of its other investors and owners,” the hotel said in statement earlier this week.

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Dow, DuPont eye merger to form colossal chemical producer

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DOVER, Del. – Dow Chemical and the DuPont Co. announced Friday that they are merging in a $130 billion chemical industry megadeal.

The merger would combine two companies that sell agricultural products to millions of farmers around the world, and make a variety of chemicals for consumer and industrial products ranging from electronics, automobiles, and household goods to building materials and safety equipment.



    Norfolk Southern rejects CP Rail proposed merger

    The all-stock merger calls for the two companies to combine as DowDuPont, then separate into three independent publicly traded companies focused on agriculture, material science and specialty products.

    “Over the last decade our entire industry has experienced tectonic shifts as an evolving world presented complex challenges and opportunities,” said Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris.

    Liveris will be named executive chairman of the combined company while DuPont Chairman and CEO Edward Breen will be CEO. The company will have dual headquarters in Michigan and Delaware where the two companies are currently based.

    In conjunction with the proposed merger, which is subject to regulatory approval, both companies are taking separate restructuring steps.

    DuPont announced a companywide restructuring plan to reduce $700 million in costs that includes employee and contractor layoffs affecting about 10 per cent of the company’s workforce. It expects to record a pretax charge of about $780 million, with approximately $650 million of employee separation costs and about $130 million of asset-related charges and contract terminations.

    Dow, meanwhile, said it is taking full ownership of Dow Corning, currently a 50-50 joint venture between Dow and Corning. Dow said the move, expected to close in the first half of 2016, is expected to generate more than $1 billion in additional adjusted annual earnings and will increase its product offerings in the building and construction, consumer care, and automotive markets.

    The companies said the proposed merger of equals, approved unanimously by their respective directors, will result in cost synergies of about $3 billion that are projected to create approximately $30 billion of market value.

    Under the terms of the deal, Dow shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of one share of DowDuPont for each Dow share, and DuPont shareholders will receive a fixed exchange ratio of 1.282 shares in DowDuPont for each DuPont share. Dow and DuPont shareholders will own about 50 per cent, respectively, of the combined company.

    The proposed agriculture business would unite DuPont’s and Dow’s seed and crop protection businesses. The material science company would combine DuPont’s performance materials segment with Dow’s performance plastics, performance materials and chemicals, infrastructure solutions, and consumer solutions units, excluding its electronic materials business. Combined pro forma 2014 revenue for material science was about $51 billion.

    The specialty products company would combine DuPont’s nutrition and health, industrial biosciences, safety and protection, and electronics and communications segments with Dow’s electronic materials business. Combined pro forma 2014 revenue for specialty products was approximately $13 billion.

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91-year-old doctor charged with importing cocaine hidden in soap

Written by admin on 26/07/2019 Categories: 苏州美甲纹绣培训

WATCH ABOVE: Twartz is chased by reporters after leaving court Tuesday

SYDNEY, Australia – A 91-year-old retired surgeon has been charged with importing cocaine hidden in soap into Australia, prompting police to warn travellers to beware they are not tricked into becoming drug mules.

Victor Twartz, of Sydney, was released on bail when he appeared in Sydney’s Downing Center Local Court charged with importing a commercial quantity of cocaine last month. He did not enter a plea and will appear in court next on Oct. 6.


The retired oral surgeon faces a potential life prison sentence if he is convicted of importing 4.5 kilograms (10 pounds) of the drug into Sydney Airport on a July 8 flight from New Delhi.

A search of Twartz’s luggage found 27 packages of soap that tested positive for cocaine, police said.

Police say it appears that Twartz was scammed by a group of people he had befriended online before his trip. Australian Federal Police organized crime commander David Stewart declined to say whether Twartz had been promised anything by the group, but said he had been in contact with them over several months.

Police were tipped off by Twartz’s family about the email exchanges but did not stop him from leaving Australia, Stewart said.

“There is certainly some evidence to suggest that this man was legitimately scammed by this group and exploited,” Stewart told reporters. “There were warnings issued to him about his activities both here and overseas … but you can only provide people with certain warnings. At the end of the day, they’ll make their own choices.”

Twartz told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that he met people in New Delhi whom he had befriended online. As he was about to board his plane to return to Sydney, he was handed a bag that he was told
contained gifts for someone in Australia, he said.

As Twartz left court on Tuesday, a reporter asked if he had been taken advantage of. Twartz replied: “Always, always.”

Australian Federal Police manager Wayne Buchhorn warned that unwittingly bringing drugs into Australia could result in charges.

“People can expect they will be charged if they knowingly bring drugs into Australia, or are reckless or wilfully blind to the fact that there could be narcotics concealed inside their luggage or items they are carrying,” Buchhorn said in a statement.

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Fights break out as more migrants arrive on Greek island

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WATCH ABOVE: Turmoil in the Middle East and Africa is prompting thousands of people to leave to Europe. Many of the migrants are arriving in Greece. It’s putting pressure on the bankrupt country’s ability to address the crisis. On Wednesday the EU once again said it stands ready to help – but will it? Emily Elias reports.



    Greece: 12 migrants found dead after boat capsizes

    9 killed, 4 injured in crash in Greece; police suspect car transporting illegal migrants

    KOS, Greece – Fights broke out among migrants on the Greek island of Kos Tuesday, where overwhelmed authorities are struggling to contain increasing numbers of people arriving clandestinely on rubber dinghies from the nearby Turkish shore.

    Hundreds of protesting migrants demanding quick registration began blocking the main coastal road in the island’s main town, staging a sit-in.

    “We want papers, we want to eat!” they chanted.

    Hundreds of people arrive on Greece’s eastern Aegean islands daily, many after fleeing conflict in Syria and Afghanistan. Authorities, locals and charity groups are struggling to provide registration, food and shelter to the new arrivals, many of whom are children.

    Many of those on Kos, a popular tourist destination, had been camping in the main town’s parks and squares.

    WATCH: Fights break out as Syrian woman’s epic tirade sheds light on reality migrants face

    An attempt to have them relocated to a stadium for registration degenerated, with fights breaking out among some of the roughly 1,500 people gathered in a long, crowded queue in the stadium.

    Police, who had a force of just a handful of officers to maintain control and carry out the registration, tried to impose order on the crowd by spraying the jostling migrants with fire extinguishers and using batons. Hundreds fled in panic.

    Similar protests and tension have occurred on several of the islands bearing the brunt of the migrant influx in recent weeks, including Lesbos, where the majority of new arrivals land.

    Greece’s coast guard said they had rescued 329 migrants in seven separate search and rescue incidents in the 24 hours from Monday morning off the coast of Lesbos and Kos.

    Those figures do not include the hundreds more who reach shore themselves in their inflatable dinghies from Turkey, making their own way to the islands’ main towns for registration.

    Greece has been overwhelmed by the number of migrants arriving, with at least 124,000 people reaching the eastern islands in the first seven months of this year alone. The figure represents a staggering 750 per cent increase on the same period last year, according to figures from the United Nations’ refugee agency, the UNHCR.

    In all, Greek police said Monday that 156,726 migrants had been arrested for entering or remaining in the country illegally from January through July 2015, compared to 32,070 for the same months in 2014.

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SOEC brings in LED lighting to reduce carbon footprint

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By Courtney Harrison

PENTICTON – The South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) says it is committed to reducing its carbon footprint.

That’s why the facility has partnered with the City of Penticton to trade in the current metal halide bulbs for a new LED lighting system at the SOEC, Okanagan Hockey Academy and Memorial Arena.

The South Okanagan Events Centre has traded metal halide bulbs for an innovative LED lighting system .


The energy efficient project is projected to save 517,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year which will reduce electrical costs by 75 per cent.

“This LED project will not only save electrical costs, but with zero heat-load from the lighting, we will see additional savings in the refrigeration of all three ice surfaces and air-conditioning within the facility,” says SOEC Director of Operations, Wayne Pansegrau.

SOEC Director of Marketing Carla Seddon says there will be no maintenance costs for 10 years and the savings for the facility are upwards of a half million dollars.

Seddon adds the new lighting exceeds standards set by the NHL, which will aid in attracting new events and keeping existing ones; such as the Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Classic.

The venue will host the fifth annual six-game, four team rookie tournament from September 11 to 14.

Seddon says people will notice a difference both on and off the ice as the lighting is more vibrant and consistent, creating a better experience for spectators both in person and on television.

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Driver fatigue cited as cause of accident that injured Tracy Morgan

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WATCH: Kris Van Cleave reports on the NTSB report which found that the truck driver who caused the accident that injured Tracy Morgan had not slept in 28 hours.

WASHINGTON – A Wal-Mart truck driver who hadn’t slept in 28 hours failed to slow down despite posted warning signs and was responsible for a highway crash last year that severely injured comedian Tracy Morgan and killed another comedian, the National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday.



    WATCH: Tracy Morgan says he remembers nothing about fatal crash

    Tracy Morgan, Walmart settle lawsuit over highway crash

    Tracy Morgan ‘can’t believe’ Walmart blaming him for injuries

    But the board said the failure of Morgan and other passengers in a limousine-van to wear seat belts and adjust headrests contributed to the severity of injuries when the limo was struck from behind by the truck.

    READ MORE: Lawyer: Tracy Morgan still recovering from brain injury

    Most of their injuries were caused when the passengers were whipped around or thrown into the sides of the vehicle, the board said at a meeting to determine the cause of the crash and make safety recommendations.

    None of the passengers in the back of the 10-seat limo or the driver was wearing a seat belt.

    The board said truck driver Kevin Roper of Jonesboro, Georgia, could have prevented the June 7, 2014, crash if he had slowed to 45 mph, the posted speed limit for the construction work zone on the New Jersey Turnpike near Cranbury, where the crash occurred.

    The truck travelled 0.9 miles past the first work zone sign and more than 0.4 miles past the 45 mph speed limit sign without slowing from 65 mph. The truck was going that fast until it reached a closing distance of approximately 200 feet before the impact.

    At 45 mph, the truck could have stopped before impact, the board concluded.

    The collision with the limo started a chain reaction crash that affected 21 people in six vehicles.

    “One tragic aspect of roadway deaths is that so often they could have been prevented,” said the safety board’s chairman, Chris Hart.

    Heavy trucks are involved in nearly 1 in 8 fatal crashes, NTSB said. In work zones, 1 in 4 fatal crashes involves a heavy truck.

    Roper had driven over 800 miles overnight from Georgia to a Wal-Mart distribution centre in Delaware to pick up a load before starting the trip without stopping for sleep.

    He had worked for Wal-Mart for 15 weeks and had had nine “critical event reports.” Critical event reports, which are generated by a truck’s computers and downloaded by Wal-Mart, record things such as hard braking, activation of the vehicle’s stability control system or other events that might indicate unsafe driving.

    Roper also had been involved in a preventable accident, causing him to lose his safety bonus, investigators said.

    Wal-Mart had provided guidance to its drivers on preventing fatigue, but didn’t have a comprehensive program to prevent drivers from being assigned over-tiring schedules or to make sure they were rested before reporting to work, the board said. Since then, Wal-Mart has taken greater steps to educate drivers about fatigue and has said it will put in place a program to reduce fatigue, investigators said.

    The board has long raised concerns about operator fatigue leading to accidents across all modes of transportation, from airline pilots to train engineers.

    Investigators said the limo wound up on its side with its rear doors jammed shut. A sheet of plywood that had been added to the limo to separate the cab from passengers blocked occupants from escaping the vehicle through the front doors after the crash.

    It took emergency responders working with the assistance of other motorists 37 minutes to remove the first of the crash victims from the rear of the limo.

    Investigators said emergency responders, mostly volunteers, didn’t have the training to address some of the logistical and co-ordination issues arising from the complicated accident. New Jersey doesn’t have requirements for the number of training hours that volunteer emergency responders must have, or a certification program, they said.

    Comedian James “Jimmy Mack” McNair of Peekskill, New York, a mentor of Morgan’s, was killed. Morgan suffered head trauma, and was in a coma for two weeks. Three other passengers in the limo suffered serious injuries.

    Morgan, a former “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock” star, and the others were returning from a show in Dover, Delaware.

    Roper was charged with death by auto and four counts of assault by auto in state court in New Jersey.

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Greece just two or three details away from bailout deal: Finance minister

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ATHENS, Greece – Greece only has a few details to iron out with international creditors before concluding a bailout agreement, officials said Tuesday, raising hopes that the cash-strapped country could be ready to finalize a deal within the day.

Greek Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos sounded upbeat about the prospects of an imminent deal that would prevent the country’s default later this month and secure its future in the euro.



    Greece closes in on bailout deal possibly within the day

    Greece begins renewed bailout talks with European negotiators

    Greece bailout: talking about talking

    “I think we are very close. Two or three very small details remain,” he said as he emerged Tuesday morning from all-night talks with negotiators representing Greece’s creditors at a central Athens hotel.

    He did not elaborate further on the outstanding details.

    Similarly optimistic remarks came from government aide Theodoros Mihopoulos, who said on 广州蒲友 that the negotiation had been completed and that “some details remain.”

    Greece’s government is hoping to push the new 85 billion-euro ($93 billion) three-year agreement through parliament this week, ahead of an expected meeting between eurozone finance ministers on Friday.

    A key test will be the reaction of Greece’s creditor countries. Germany, the largest single contributor to Greece’s two previous bailouts, has stressed the importance of being thorough in the complicated negotiations.

    Greece needs a deal by Aug. 20 at the latest, when it has a debt repayment of a little more than 3 billion euros to make to the European Central Bank. The country won’t be able to make that payment without funds emerging from the country’s third bailout in just over five years.

    However, many in the governing left-wing Syriza party are voicing their opposition to the deal, which would see the imposition of further spending cuts among a series of austerity measures.

    Syriza lawmaker and dissenter Costas Lapavitsas reiterated his opposition and said he would not vote in favour of the new deal in Parliament.

    “Left-wing governments must take left-wing actions,” he said on private Mega television.

    Greece has relied on international bailouts worth a total 240 billion euros ($263 billion) since it lost market confidence and was unable to borrow from anyone else in 2010. To secure funds from the bailouts, successive governments have had to implement a series of spending cuts, tax hikes and reforms.

    While the austerity has reduced budget overspending, the measures compounded a deep recession and fuelled record high unemployment. Figures next week are set to confirm that Greece’s recession deepened in the second quarter as concerns over the country’s euro future dented confidence.

    Though the radical left-led government was elected on a staunchly anti-austerity platform in January, it has been forced into a policy U-turn after bailout talks came close to collapse last month.

    While Greece’s parliament ratified further tax hikes and reforms, the rebellion by hardline Syriza lawmakers has left Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ party with only a nominal parliamentary majority. It depends on opposition backing to pass key creditor-demanded legislation.

    That has stoked talk that Tsipras will call early elections soon after the bailout deal is signed. Tsipras still retains strong personal support in opinion polls, which show Syriza heading for a potentially big victory.

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