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TSX rises to record high as Tim Hortons shares extend rally on

TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index hit a record high on Tuesday as shares of Tim Hortons Inc extended their rally after the coffee chain said it planned to merge with Burger King Worldwide Inc in a $12.64 billion deal.The companies said the cash-and-stock agreement would create the world’s third-largest fast-food restaurant group, with roughly $23 billion in combined annual sales. Tim Hortons shares jumped 8.7% to a multi-year high. The Toronto market received further support from shares of energy companies, which benefited from gains in the price of oil.The benchmark TSX has climbed nearly 15% this year.“The market is marching ahead. We’ll have to wait until Labor Day to see any material change in direction,” said David Cockfield, managing director and portfolio manager at Northland Wealth Management. “It’s one of those markets. It seems unshakable,” he added. “But I don’t think it’ll keep going up forever.” The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 41.06 points, or 0.26%, at 15,639.80.Eight of the 10 main sectors on the index were higher. Shares of energy producers advanced 0.9%, with Suncor Energy Inc rising 0.7% to $44.61 and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd jumping 1.7% to $47.41.Financials, the index’s most heavily weighted sector, slipped slightly after two of Canada’s major banks reported results. Bank of Montreal gained 0.9%, to $82.53, after the company reported a stronger-than-expected third-quarter profit, helped by gains at its Canadian and U.S. personal and commercial banking units and higher revenue at its capital markets arm. But Bank of Nova Scotia gave back 2% to $72.68 after the lender reported quarterly results.Tim Hortons was up at $89.16 and was one of the most heavily traded stocks on exchange. In the previous session, the stock shot up more than 19%.© Thomson Reuters 2014 read more

UN rights chief concerned by broad scope of Chinas new security law

“This law raises many concerns due to its extraordinarily broad scope coupled with the vagueness of its terminology and definitions,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a press statement. “As a result, it leaves the door wide open to further restrictions of the rights and freedoms of Chinese citizens, and to even tighter control of civil society by the Chinese authorities than there is already.” The new legislation covers a large spectrum of issues and defines the meaning of national security extremely broadly, stressed UNHCR: it is described as the condition in which the country’s government, sovereignty, unification, territorial integrity, well-being of its people, sustainable development of its economy and society and other major interests are “relatively safe and not subject to internal and external threats.” “The law should clearly and narrowly define what constitutes a threat to national security, and identify proper mechanisms to address such threats in a proportionate manner,” Mr. Zeid said, adding that, by doing so, individuals will be enabled to foresee the consequences of their conduct, as well as to safeguard against arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement by authorities. For instance, articles in the law envisage the mobilisation of citizens to guard against and report on security threats to the authorities, but the type of conduct that is considered to be a danger to national security is not defined, conferring broad discretion and leaving potential for abuse. The law also states that individuals and organizations must not act to endanger national security neither provide any kind of support or assistance to individuals or organizations endangering national security, without specifying the precise scope of any of these terms. Welcoming the fact that the new security law makes specific references to the Constitution, to the rule of law and to the respect and protection of human rights, Mr. Zeid said he is concerned about the lack of independent oversight. “States have an obligation to protect persons under their jurisdiction – but they also have an obligation to guarantee respect for their human rights. Restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly need to serve a legitimate aim [and] be necessary and proportionate, and there should be independent oversight of the Executive,” the High Commissioner said. Mr. Zeid also noted that China’s National People’s Congress will in the near future also consider laws on the regulation of foreign NGOs operating in China and on counter-terrorism. “I regret that more and more Governments around the world are using national security measures to restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and also as a tool to target human rights defenders and silence critics,” he said. “Security and human rights do not contradict each other. On the contrary they are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Respect for human rights and public participation are key to ensuring rule of law and national security.” read more