ExPeru president arrested in California drunkenness case

SAN FRANCISCO — Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, wanted in his home country in connection with Latin America’s biggest graft scandal, was arrested in California on suspicion of public intoxication and spent the night in jail before he was released Monday morning, authorities said.Alejandro Toledo, 72, was arrested Sunday night at a restaurant near the San Francisco Bay Area city of Menlo Park, said San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Rosemerry Blankswade.Toledo, who was Peru’s president from 2001 to 2006 and has lived in California in recent years, was released without charges Monday morning, which Blankswade said is routine for most public drunkenness arrests.Toledo is wanted in Peru where authorities have offered a $30,000 reward for his capture. Peruvian prosecutors accuse him with of taking $20 million in bribes from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht while he served as president. He has denied wrongdoing.Peru is seeking Toledo’s extradition from the U.S. In February 2017, then-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski asked President Donald Trump to deport the ex-Peruvian president.Blankswade said the international police organization Interpol had issued a “warning” to law enforcement agencies around the world to notify it if and when Toledo was arrested. But Interpol officials told officials in the sheriff’s office they had no immediate plans to extradite Toledo and he was released, she said.“After reaching out to Peruvian officials and Interpol, we learned that the existence of charges in Peru alone does not authorize the subject’s arrest in the United States,” Blankswade said.She did not disclose details about what led to officers being sent to the restaurant where Toledo was arrested, and did not name the restaurant.Interpol officials did not immediately return phone messages left with the organization’s U.S. office in Washington D.C. seeking commentIn a statement, Peru’s foreign ministry said Toledo’s detention “has no relation with the extradition process underway, which is being handled with the utmost zeal and in co-ordination with various institutions.”Odebrecht in 2016 admitted in a plea agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to paying some $800 million in bribes to politicians throughout Latin America including $29 million.The scandal has hit a particularly rough note in Peru, where nearly every living president is suspected or under investigation for ties to Odebrecht.Former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned last year after opposition lawmakers revealed that his private consulting firm had previously undisclosed ties to the construction giant.Prosecutors are also investigating ex-President Alan Garcia after revelations that bribes were made during the construction of Lima’s subway under his tenure. Former President Ollanta Humala was also briefly jailed in connection with the case.All of Peru’s former presidents have denied wrongdoing.Toledo was a visiting scholar at Stanford University in 2017.__Associated Press writers Christine Armario in Bogota, Colombia and Franklin Briceno in Lima, Peru contributed to this report.Paul Elias, The Associated Press read more

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TSX in solid advance as 2014 trading winds down

TORONTO — The Toronto stock market registered a solid advance Monday, building on gains racked up last week in the wake of stronger than expected economic growth numbers from Canada and the United States.[np_storybar title=”Five investment themes for 2015 and beyond” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2014/12/27/five-investment-themes-for-2015-and-beyond/”%5DDavid Kaufman: Since this is the season for prognostications, I thought I would make a few of my own as this is my last column for 2014. But rather than attempting to predict specific events or pick specific stocks that will be winners in 2015, here are five macro themes that you might want to watch carefully next year — and beyond. Keep reading. [/np_storybar]However, the S&P/TSX composite index was off session highs as energy stocks and oil prices lost early momentum. The main Toronto index was down from a 122-point gain to close up 54.67 points at 14,663.92. The Canadian dollar dipped 0.05 of a cent to 85.99 cents US.New York markets were mixed, with the Dow Jones industrials down 15.48 points at 18,038.23, while the Nasdaq inched up 0.05 of a point to 4,806.91 and the S&P 500 index added 1.8 points to 2,090.57.The TSX is on the way to a gain of around eight per cent for 2014, with the market getting a lift of one per cent last week after data showed Canada’s gross domestic product rose by 0.3% in October, beating economists’ expectations of 0.1% growth for the month.And in the U.S., GDP growth figures for the third quarter were revised upward to five per cent from a previous figure of 3.9%.The data reassured markets that the United States continued to be the major prop for the global economy against a background of slowing growth in China and a still tentative economic recovery in Europe.The American data is a big plus for Canada as a surging U.S. economy benefits Canadian exports and, in turn, provides lift to the TSX.Could oil’s nosedive be the shock that will finally brings global stocks back to earth?The biggest investing winners in 2014: India, Amaya Gaming, coffee and moreAn advance of about eight per cent on the TSX would be down sharply from a 15% surge at mid-year. But that was before oil prices started to slide. They now are down 50% from summer highs amid a huge increase in global supply and lower demand from economic weak spots like China and Europe.Energy stocks have been heavily punished along with Toronto’s energy group, down about 16 per cent year to date, while traders wonder how low crude oil prices can go. Prices plunged to levels in the mid-US$30s after the 2008 financial collapse. But Brian Belski, chief investment strategist at BMO Capital Markets, notes that those prices occurred during a global recession and such a drop now would be too drastic. “There‘s going to be a lot of volatility in the world going forward . . . so I think you need a period of digestion,” he said, adding that it’s hard to say whether the bottom will be in the $40s or $50s.“You need to start seeing more humble forecasts and again, going back to good old-fashioned investing. When we get to a point where energy companies aren’t over promising and under delivering, that’s when they will be attractive again.”The TSX energy sector slipped 0.3 per cent as February crude in New York erased early gains to slide $1.12 to US$53.61 a barrel. Prices had been higher during the morning on reports of a fire affecting oil storage terminals in Libya.However, most other sectors advanced with the base metals group ahead 0.55% as March copper rose one cent to $2.82 a pound.The gold sector was also up 0.4% even as February bullion dropped $13.80 to US$1,181.50 an ounce.Outside the resource sectors, financials and industrials climbed 0.55%. read more

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UN agriculture agency and IKEA join forces for sustainable forest management

The joint effort – rolled out earlier this morning with the signing of a cooperation agreement – will see the two partners undertake an initial analysis to evaluate options for advancing forest certification schemes and sustainable forest management in the Southeast Asian country’s northern regions. “Millions of people rely on forests for their food and incomes, and certification schemes can offer them a tool for safeguarding their interests and preserving their forests, as well as fairer access to new markets,” FAO’s Assistant-Director General for Forestry, Eduardo Rojas-Briales, said in a press release. According to the UN food agency, certification can also provide an additional mechanism for monitoring the sustainability of forest management and for tracing timber and other forest products through supply chains before they are used in a wide-range of products, including furniture. Mr. Rojas-Briales noted, however, that certifications often pose “special challenges” to small-growers and communities for whom the cost of the certification process may be too high. As a result, the planned IKEA-FAO joint venture will explore options and barriers to effective forest certification, including assessing local legal and regulatory frameworks and the quality of local forest resource assessments; locating communities and producer organizations that could potentially benefit from participating in a certification scheme to access IKEA supply chains; and identifying barriers to the certification process and issues which have been or are currently hindering it. The initial study will also probe the potential for scaling up and replicating the initiative elsewhere. “We are glad to be partnering with IKEA to look at how hurdles to forest certification can be overcome, with the wellbeing of forest communities featuring front-and-centre,” added Mr. Rojas-Briales. read more

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