Knife attack on well-known Cameroonian investigative reporter

first_img CameroonAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Violence Follow the news on Cameroon Cameroonian reporter jailed since August, abandoned by justice system “We condemn this premeditated attack, in which this journalist could have lost his life if it hadn’t been for his neighbours’ courageous intervention,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “We urge the authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation that does not rule out the possibility that the attack was linked to the victim’s work. The authorities have a duty to protect reporters and to create conditions that allow them to work at a time of political turmoil, when the country has more need than ever of professional journalists.” RSF_en Case against Amadou Vamoulké baseless, French lawyers tell Cameroon court Chief investigative reporter at CameroonWeb, the country’s most popular news website, Paul Chouta was beaten and stabbed by three unidentified individuals as he left his Yaoundé home, sustaining injuries to the head, hands and feet. “He survived thanks to the intervention of neighbours, who rushed him to hospital for emergency attention,” the website said in a communiqué sent to RSF. RSF is still pressing for the release of Théodore Tchopa and David Eyengue, two journalists with the leading Cameroonian daily Le Jour, who have been held since the evening of 28 January. They were arrested while covering a meeting of opposition leaders who dispute President Paul Biya’s reelection for a seventh term last October. Now that more than 48 hours have elapsed since their arrest, they have been registered as imprisoned journalists in RSF’s “barometer” of press freedom violations worldwide. They join Amadou Vamoulké, the former head of state-owned Cameroon Radio & Television (CRTV), who has been held for more than two and a half years. The 17th hearing in his Kafkaesque trial is due to be held on 1 March. News Well-known for his reporting and for interviews carried live on Facebook, on which he has more than 54,000 followers, Chouta is often the target of threats and hate speech. “He had to change his place of residence for safety reasons during last October’s presidential elections and is still very exposed because his stories often circulate widely online,” his editor, Emmanuel Vitus, told RSF. Receive email alerts May 31, 2021 Find out more Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns this morning’s knife attack on a leading investigative journalist in Yaoundé, the Cameroonian capital, and calls for a thorough and independent investigation to identify those responsible. Help by sharing this information center_img CameroonAfrica Condemning abusesProtecting journalists Violence News January 31, 2019 Knife attack on well-known Cameroonian investigative reporter Cameroon is ranked 129th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index. News News May 19, 2021 Find out more Cameroonian journalist Paul Chouta sentenced and fined in defamation case Organisation Le journaliste Paul Chouta après son agression jeudi 31 janvier à Yaoundé au Cameroun. Crédit : Paul Chouta to go further April 23, 2021 Find out morelast_img read more

Joe Biden expected to attend George Floyd funeral

first_imgFormer vice president Joe Biden is expected to attend the funeral of George Floyd, the black man who was fatally arrested by Minneapolis police.The lawyer for Floyd’s family said Tuesday that Biden will attend. “And we understand Vice President Biden will be in attendance” at the funeral, said Crump.The lawyer, Ben Crump, said Floyd’s family will hold the funeral in Houston, Texas, on June 9, after holding memorial services in Minneapolis on Thursday, and another memorial in North Carolina on Saturday.Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.A spokesman for Biden’s campaign has not confirmed.The White House also had no response when asked by a reporter, if Trump would attend.last_img

State Denies Red Bank Charter School’s Plan For Growth

first_imgBy John BurtonRED BANK – State Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe made known his decision this week, allowing for a sigh of relief for many in the community and delivering a major setback for the charter school community.Hespe on Monday issued his nervously anticipated decision, in the final analysis denying the Red Bank Charter School’s proposal to expand its enrollment and facility – a proposal that had become quite controversial and contentious in Red Bank.In his brief, one-page letter sent to the charter school’s board of trustees on Monday, Hespe offered little in way of explanation other than saying the state Department of Education (DOE) had reviewed the charter school’s request “based on a review of its academic, operational, and fiscal standing as well as an analysis of public comments, fiscal impact on sending districts, and other information in order to make a decision,” concerning the charter school’s plan. But based upon his review of the school’s request and information provided and review of the public comments, Hespe decided against the proposal.In response to Hespe’s ruling Meredith Pennotti, the charter school principal, offered a released statement: “The Red Bank Charter School is disappointed in the Department of Education’s to deny the expansion to the charter school. This is a missed opportunity to have served Red Bank and an increased number of disadvantaged students via the weighted lottery. We look forward to continuing to serve our students and families with a high-caliber education.”“It’s quite relieving,” said Jared Rumage, the district’s superintendent of schools, after being notified Hespe had denied the charter school’s proposal.Rumage had been expressing his fears about what a larger charter school would mean for the public school district, saying it would have a profound impact on the district the state traditionally underfunds. He regularly said it would be “devastating” to the public school district.“Certainly, the board of education and I are very satisfied with the decision,” Rumage said, referencing Hespe’s action.The Red Bank Charter School, 58 Oakland St., had very quietly initially sought approval from Hespe and the DOE to double the enrollment to 400 students over a three-year period and to expand its facility to an available Monmouth Street property that abuts the school’s Oakland Street location. School officials had maintained given the school’s ongoing waiting list for placement, the availability of the neighboring property and the state’s modification to the random lottery system that would give added weight to more disadvantaged students, it was an ideal time to undertake this plan. Officials said the expansion would be a benefit for the community, offering families a choice in public schools.When the charter school’s submission became public last December, concern and opposition began and grew as all waited for Hespe’s decision. Public school officials said the expansion would mean the cutting or elimination of much-needed programs and staff members for the district that has considerable challenges. It would also mean additional taxes for property owners to help meet the cost requirements of the expansion; and the expansion would exacerbate what is already a heavily segregated district, with charter school white students outnumbering the number of whites in the primary and middle schools.The local board of education has made these arguments in the past, even taking the charter school to court, alleging it worsened segregation in the public schools and had a detrimental impact on the traditional public schools. The board was unsuccessful a decade ago with both the state education officials and the Superior Court of Appeals rejecting the arguments.The public school district out of its budget supplies 90 percent of the charter school funds – currently at approximately at $1.6 million – to provide a thorough and efficient education under the state formula. The charter school also receives additional direct state aid.Amanda Vega, director of communications for the New Jersey Charter Schools Association, provided a statement that noted: “Commissioner Hespe’s letter indicates the reason for denial was based upon information received during the 60-day public comment period. The Christie Administration has stated a strong commitment to strengthening not only the charter community, but also supporting public education overall.”As time progressed, public opposition grew. The borough council offered its bipartisan, unanimous opposition to the plan. Mayor Pasquale Menna had convened a special committee to study the proposal and reported it would have “devastating” effects on taxes and the public school. (Some charter school supporters alleged the committee’s verdict was politically charged and motivated.)Red Bank RiverCenter, which manages and advocates for the borough commercial Special Improvement District, issued a statement that the threat of higher taxes to support the expansion could have a negative impact on business recruitment and by extension the entire community. State Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) and the 11th District’s Assembly members Eric Houghtaling and Joann Downey, both Democrats, all voiced opposition, especially in light of the state’s continued short funding of educational aid. Just last two weeks Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), who acknowledged he is ideologically supportive of school choice, also raised objections to the plan.One community member who attended a meeting in Trenton with Harold Lee, the state’s director for the Office of Charter Schools, said Lee told the Red Bank group he hadn’t experienced such an outpouring of community opposition, as had been the case for the Red Bank Charter School.“I’m in shock, in shock, in shock,” said a jubilant Board of Education Member Ben Forest over the denial. “Based upon the state policies of encouraging and expanding charter school’s I’m very proud the commissioner of education did the right thing.”Menna said what he was hearing from those in the know in Trenton, the expansion was a fait accompli. But “What I think tipped the scales was basically the community coming together to speak with one voice.”Indeed, both Hespe and Gov. Chris Christie are on the record as supporting school choice. Hespe last month announced at a school choice conference in Jersey City, that the Christie Administration hoped to expand the number of charter school classroom seats to 50,000, from its current approximately 41,000, by the end of the administration’s term in 2018.The Department of Education recently approved 16 charter school expansion proposals and gave the OK for three new ones.“This is a tremendous win for the people of Red Bank,” the mayor said, “and for the public schools, which have done an incredible job making up for years of challenges and really creating a fantastic educational atmosphere for people to grow in.”“The sweetest thing in all this, as I see it,” observed Marybeth Maida, a borough resident opposed to the charter school’s proposal, “is the community rose up and the community spoke. And what a great feeling to be part of a movement that made sense and prevailed.”“It was the perfect civics lesson,” Maida noted.The charter school could reapply to the DOE again next year or even seek to appeal Hespe’s decision to the state Superior Court of Appeals, according to a DOE spokesman.This year seven of eight charter schools that sought expansion through the charter renewal were approved by the state; nine of the 18 that requested expansion through the amendment process – as was the case with Red Bank – were approved, according to the DOE. Correction, March 10The Page 1 story “State Denies Red Bank Charter School’s Plan for Growth” in the March 3 edition of The Two River Times mischaracterizes the position of Red Bank RiverCenter. According to James Scavone, RiverCenter’s executive director, the business organization was neutral on the charter school’s expansion plan; but expressed concern about what a possible tax increase to pay for it would mean for the current business community and for RiverCenter’s efforts to attract new businesses.last_img read more

Interpreters To Assist Red Bank Police

first_imgMcConnell said his department contacted the officer who runs the program in that Texas city. Most of the volunteers were at the borough council meeting July 24 when the program was unveiled. Boris Kofman, a native of Belarus whose first language is Russian, said he had heard about the interpreter program through Triggiano. “This was something that we started working on back in January,” said councilwoman and police commissioner Kate Triggiano, who brought the idea to Red Bank. “I believe this might be the first program of its type in the state.” “They would never becalled out to a scene that’snot secured,” said police Lt.Juan Sardo, who oversees theprogram. “We won’t put themin jeopardy in that way. Theywill not be interviewing anysuspects in any crimes.” “So since I have that skill,I felt it’s my responsibility tohelp,” he said. “And he kind of helped us and guided us through how they set it up,” McConnell said. The police department has had a policy to first turn to one of its bilingual officers on duty to aid in translation; police also can use an interpreter service, called language line, via telephone. The volunteers would supplement that in any police-involved situation where authorities cannot communicate in English with members of the public. As with Kofman and Ortega, Red Bank is also Sardo’s second home. Originally from Venezuela, he came to the United States in 1979 when he was 6 years old, unable to speak English. Red Bank, where he grew up, was a different placethen. He remembered therewere a few Puerto Ricanfamilies at the time. That’sall changed, however. RED BANK – The Red Bank Police Department has a group of bilingual borough residents serving as volunteer interpreters to aid authorities when they deal with members of the public who do not speak English. Communicators on patrol, based on a similar program used by police in Houston, is made up of eight volunteers: seven Spanish speakers and one Russian speaker. They had to go through a background check and training and will be available to police on a round-the-clock basis. By Philip Sean Curran Red Bank police Chief Darren McConnell said he sees the volunteers also helping with community outreach, like with pedestrian bicycle safety. center_img “And like many of the residents that make up the demographics of Red Bank, I had to adapt to a new culture and language,” he said. Sardo, who joined the police department in 1997, recalled that he used to get calls from fellow officers, on his days off, to interpret for them. Today, the department has five Spanish-speaking officers, Sardo said. The borough said it is looking to grow the program to have volunteers who speak other languages or are fluentin American Sign Language. “I feel the need to helpmy community out,” saidCarla Ortega, a volunteeroriginally from Mexico.“If I’m needed, I feel like Ishould be able to help.” When he was still on the road as a police officer, McConnell took Spanish classes at Brookdale Community College to help him at work. “As the Spanish community grew in Red Bank, it became very difficult for us to communicate, even to get through minor calls like traffic stops and first aid calls and things like that, because we didn’t have many Spanish-speaking officers,” he said. “It was constantly an impediment.” Hispanics or Latinos make up 36.7 percent of the borough’s population of roughly 12,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Houston, the city Red Bank modeled its program after, introduced its communicators on patrol program last July, said Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman for the Houston Police Department. In that department, volunteers must provide at least four hours of service per shift, be at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident and be fluent in English and either Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic or Urdu/Hindi, among other criteria. Mayor Pasquale Menna, born in Italy, shared at the council meeting how he came to America as an immigrant who could not speak English. He said the interpreter program is one that the borough has never had. Police made clear that interpreters would not ride along with officers on patrol duty, interview criminal suspects or be put in harm’s way. “And many municipalities, I’m sure, have never even thought of doing it,” he said.last_img read more

MELAIR STAKES QUOTES

first_img-30- NOTES: The winning owners are Billy Koch of Woodland Hills (Little Red Feather Racing) and Ronald McMackin (RM Racing) of Kailua Kona, Hawaii. PART OWNER BILLY KOCH, SHEER PLEASURE, WINNER: “I think there were over 100 (people in the winner’s circle). We had four horses in today, three in the Cal-bred stakes.”(On her second consecutive stakes win after winning the Evening Jewel on April 4, this one longer at1 1/16 miles): “That was the plan all along. I have to give credit to Steve Andersen of the Daily Racing Form, who immediately after the last race, said, ‘You have to run in the Melair and when she wins that, you have to come back in the Summertime Oaks. That’s Steve talking.“We always thought she was a two-turn horse, but we’ve been running in the races they had. This was the next logical stop. I was watching last year’s version and saw that Rovenna had won the same two stakes back-to-back. I thought that was interesting. I was like, ‘OK.’“You could tell the whole way that Tyler (Baze) was so confident. He took three what I call confident looks back. When he does that, you can see he has so much horse. The race was over once they turned for home. It was really fun. Really fun. There are probably 15 partners in on this horse.“What you don’t see is she’s so calm. Her demeanor is incredible. You see her in the paddock and she doesn’t turn a hair, then she comes out with all these people and she just blows me away. She’s tiny and sometimes they just can run. And she can run.” JOCKEY QUOTESTYLER BAZE, SHEER PLEASURE, WINNER: “I don’t think me being near the lead was a matter of me trying to put her somewhere; it was a matter of getting her comfortable and her finding her stride. It was a great win today, she’s a great filly.”TRAINER QUOTES PHIL D’AMATO, SHEER PLEASURE, WINNER:”The way she won, she might be one for open company, so we’ll just play it by ear. She trained very well. She’s trained as well as she ever had. I thought we’d have a good shot but the way she opened up in the stretch was a pleasant surprise.”last_img read more

Avian influenza discovered in Alabama

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Alabama State Veterinarian, Dr. Tony Frazier, confirmed that a flock of chickens at a commercial poultry breeding operation located in Pickens County and a backyard flock located in Madison County have both tested positive for low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI).During routine screening, a commercial company collected samples from their Pickens County flock and submitted them to the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries State Diagnostic Laboratory located in Auburn, Alabama. These samples, suspected positive for avian influenza, were forwarded to the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa. NVSL confirmed the commercial flock is positive for LPAI. This commercial flock has been placed under quarantine. While this is different from the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus that has been found recently to the north in Tennessee, control measures are under way as a precautionary measure.In addition to the suspected case in Pickens County, a backyard flock located in Madison County has also been confirmed positive for low pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza (LPAI) by NVSL. Surveillance zones have been put in place surrounding the locations in both Pickens and Madison counties.This suspected strain of avian influenza does not pose a risk to the food supply and no affected animals entered the food chain.On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, Dr. Tony Frazier issued an official Order Prohibiting Poultry Exhibitions and the Assembling of Poultry to Be Sold. The order prohibits: all poultry exhibitions, sales at regional and county fairs, festivals, swap meets, live bird markets, flea markets and auctions. The order also prohibits the concentration, collection, or assembly of poultry of all types, including wild waterfowl from one or more premises for purposes of sale. This order remains in effect. Shipments of eggs or baby chicks from National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) approved facilities are not affected by this order.“The health of our poultry is critically important at this time,” said Dr. Frazier. “With confirmed cases of low pathogenic avian influenza in Alabama in both commercial and backyard flocks, the order reducing the assembly and commingling of poultry is the most effective way to practice strict biosecurity measures in our state.”Dr. Frazier reminds poultry producers and backyard flock owners to observe their birds closely and to be vigilant about practicing strict biosecurity measures. These include:•           Isolating poultry from other animals;•           Wearing clothing designated for use only at the poultry house;•           Minimizing access to people and unsanitized equipment;•           Keeping the area around the poultry buildings clean and uninviting to wild birds and animals;•           Sanitizing the facility between flocks;•           Cleaning equipment entering and leaving the farm;•           Having an all-in, all-out policy regarding the placement and removal of the poultry;•           Properly disposing of bedding material and mortalities;•           Avoiding contact with migratory waterfowl.last_img read more

Tar spot in corn

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Pierce Paul, Felipe Dalla Lana da Silva, Ohio State University ExtensionTar spot, a new disease of corn caused by the fungus Phyllachora maydis, was reported for the first time in Ohio at the end of the 2018 growing season. At that time, it was found mostly in counties close to the Indiana border, as the disease continued to spread from the middle of country where it was first confirmed in 2015.Over the last few weeks, there have been several new, confirmed report of tar spot in Ohio, this time not only in the northwestern corner of the state, but also from a few fields in central and south-central Ohio. As was the case last year, disease onset was late again this year, with the first reports coming in well after R4. However, some of the regions affected last year had more fields affected this year, with much higher levels of disease severity. It could be that tar spot is becoming established in some areas of the state due to the fungus overwintering in crop residue from one growing season to another. This is very consistent with the pattern observed in parts of Indiana and Illinois where the disease was first reported. We will continue to keep our eyes out for tar spot, as we learn more about it and develop management strategies. You can help by looking for tar spot as you walk fields this fall, and please send us samples.What does it look like? Even though corn is drying down, if tar spot is present, you can still detect it on dry, senescent leaves almost as easily as you can on healthy leaves. So, please check your fields to see if this disease is present.“Symptoms of tar spot first appear as oval to irregular bleached to brown lesions on leaves in which raised, black spore-producing structures call stroma are formed… giving the symptomatic areas of the leaf a rough or bumpy feel to the touch… resembling pustules on leaves with rust. Lesions … may coalesce to cause large areas of blighted leaf tissue. Symptoms may also be present on leaf sheaths and husks.”As the name of the disease suggests, symptoms look like the splatter of “tar” on the leaves. In some cases, each black tar-like spot may be surrounded by a necrotic halo, forming what is referred to as “fish-eye” lesions.What causes Tar Spot and how damaging is it? In the past, the greatest impact of this disease in terms of yield loss were observed when P. maydis-infected plants were co-infected with a second fungus called Monographella maydis. In other words, the damage tended to be much more severe when the two fungi worked together to affect the plant. So far, only the first fungus, P. maydis, has been reported in the U.S., but based on work done in Illinois, this pathology alone is capable of causing substantial yield reduction on highly susceptible hybrids when conditions are favorable and infections occur early.  Where did it come from and will it survive and become established? At this point it is still unclear as to how tar spot got to the U.S. in the first place and how it continues to spread. The fungus is not known to be seed-borne or infect other plant species, so corn seeds and weeds are unlikely to be the sources of inoculum. However, the fungus can survive and be moved around on fresh and dry plant materials such as leaves and husks. In addition, since spores of the fungus can be carried be wind, it could be blowing in from neighboring states/counties/fields. Although not yet confirmed through survival studies, it appears that the fungus could be overwintering in infected crop stubble between growing seasons.If you see anything that fits the description of, or resembles tar spot, please inform your state specialist, field specialist, or county extension educator, but most importantly, please send samples to my lab (1680 Madison Ave, Wooster, OH) for confirmation. We will also be using your samples to study the fungus in order to develop effective management strategies.Read more about tar spot of corn at:https://cropprotectionnetwork.org/resources/articles/diseases/tar-spot-of-cornhttps://www.extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/BP/BP-90-W.pdf.last_img read more

More comfort, more control, more traction

first_imgKammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion LATEST STORIES ONE: Aoki ‘really good’ opponent for Askren’s swan song CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA CURRY 4 AVAILABLE IN ALL UA BRAND HOUSES AND SELECTED MULTIBRANDED SPORTS STORES:UNDER ARMOUR BRAND HOUSES;BONIFACIO HIGH STREETMEGAMALLUP TOWN CENTERGREENBELTTRINOMAROBINSONS MAGNOLIAAYALA CENTER CEBUMULTIBRRANDED:SECONDWIND – AYALA 30THLANDMARK MAKATIOLYMPIC VILLAGE- SELECTED STORES ONLYROYAL DUTY FREE SUBICRUNNR ATC AND BGCPLANET SPORTS ROCKWELLTOBYS MOA, AURA AND MEGAMALLRUSTANS ATC AND MAKATISPORTSCENTRAL MOA, BAGUIO AND AURAADVTADVERTISEMENT Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games The Curry 4 is all about more – Stephen’s insatiable desire to win more, to play more and to achieve more. The shoe was designed from the ground up with one thing in mind – to help Stephen get more, from the first ideation conversations, to sketches, to design iterations and beyond.ADVERTISEMENT Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101center_img Read Next The Curry 4 offers more control, via continuity; a seamless feel between the foot and the shoe, and that is evident when putting on the footwear. Immediately, the shoe conforms to your foot, with no break in period, offering more comfort than ever before.Traction is critical to Stephen’s game; the ability to grip the hardwood with no slippage and ensure the quickest, cleanest cuts to offer that extra sliver of space gives Stephen all he needs to unleash the fastest, deadliest release in the league. Concentric circles, inspired by gravitational waves, achieve more traction, beyond any prior Curry footwear iteration.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutAdditional tech details driving the Curry 4:Knit internal sleeve creates a structural fit around the collar & forefoot for an amplified performance feelMicrofiber synthetic quarter panel is bonded to the knit material giving the ideal balance of support with reduced weightDynamic seam taping merges the knit sleeve & synthetic quarter panel without adding any stitchingSpeed plate for underfoot structure & performance containment built to handle explosive movementsCross-centric traction pattern is designed to optimize on forefoot-to-heel traction & provide amazing grip on any courtProprietary foam compound for responsiveness under footStephen has helped redefine what success looks like in professional basketball – being quick and light is the name of the game, and Under Armour has applied that approach to the design and functionality of the Curry 4. Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ View commentslast_img read more

SNCLavalin stock plunges after federal prosecutors decline to negotiate a deal

first_imgMONTREAL – SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. shares plunged to their lowest close since early 2016 on Wednesday after the company revealed that federal prosecutors won’t negotiate a deal that could reduce the time SNC spends in court fighting fraud and corruption charges laid against it in 2015 following an investigation of activities by some of its former employees.Shares of the Montreal-based engineering and construction company fell nearly 14 per cent after the prosecutors’ decision was announced, closing at $44.86 on the Toronto Stock Exchange. That’s the lowest close since March 2, 2016.The drop came after federal prosecutors declined to “invite” the company to negotiate an remediation agreement, also known as a deferred prosecution agreement or reparation agreement, using a new provision of the criminal code.“The criminal code defines the criteria for reparations agreements; the (prosecutor’s office) determined that the criteria were not met,” the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said in a brief email without elaborating.Chief executive Neil Bruce said the decision will probably result in three or four more years of court battles as the company defends itself.“We truly believe we’re not guilty,” Bruce said in an interview.In the meantime, Bruce acknowledged that the uncertainty surrounding the case weighs heavily on its investors and its 50,000 current employees, who he described as innocent people who have been trying to rebuild the company.“Financial markets, you know, don’t like uncertainty. You can see the damage that this has caused to the company and to the market capitalization and share price today.”Canaccord Genuity analyst Yuri Lynk wrote that he was surprised that the prosecutors hadn’t agreed to negotiate with the company and lowered his price target for SNC shares to $61 from $73.Lynk wrote that he doesn’t think it’s likely SNC-Lavalin will be barred from doing business with the federal government, in part because the company has a good defence case and because “it is unlikely the government would allow a company employing thousands of people in Canada to fail because of the transgressions of a handful of people.”But he added that, at $44 per share, SNC-Lavalin becomes more of a takeover target because its hard infrastructure assets are worth about $31 per share without considering the value of its engineering and construction business.“In our view, management and the board should be looking at options such as a “go private” transaction or an outright sale, given the current valuation disconnect in the market,” Lynk wrote.SNC and two of its subsidiaries were charged in February 2015 following a years-long RCMP investigation into activities by several individuals working for the companyThe charges against the company stem from allegations that SNC-Lavalin — under a previous management team — paid nearly $48 million to public officials in Libya between 2001 and 2011 to influence government decisions.The RCMP has also charged the company, its construction division and a subsidiary with one charge each of fraud and corruption for allegedly defrauding various Libyan organizations of roughly $130 million.A few months after the charges were laid, SNC signed an administrative agreement that enables it to continue doing business with the federal government while the court process winds on.Earlier this year, the company settled two civil suits over allegations of misleading investors about its activities in Libya. The company said it would pay $88 million and insurance payments would bring the total settlement to $110 million.— by David Paddon in Toronto and Julien Arsenault in MontrealCompanies in this story: (TSX:SNC)last_img read more

EU officials firms meet African leaders to talk investment

first_imgBERLIN — European officials and companies are meeting in Vienna with African leaders for talks on increasing investment in the continent.Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told ORF broadcaster Tuesday that more than 1,000 business people were attending the EU-Africa forum.Kurz says he hopes this is a “good start signal for more European investment in Africa so that the African continent, when it comes to investment, isn’t just conceded to the Chinese.”African Union Chairman Paul Kagame, Rwanda’s president, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi were among the leaders on hand for the forum.The Associated Presslast_img