16
Nov

Houston Astros win 2005 National League baseball pennant

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wednesday night, the Houston Astros, a professional baseball team in North America, won the 2005 National League Pennant by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 5 – 1 to achieve their 4th win in the National League Championship Series. In this series, the Astros won 4 games and the Cardinals won 2 games.

Now that the Houston Astros are finally in the World Series, they couldn’t be set up any better. Their stellar rotation of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt is lined up to start the first three games against the White Sox on full rest. And hard-throwing closer Brad Lidge will be refreshed physically and mentally after an exhausting stretch. “We’ve put ourselves in a great situation, and have a wonderful chance,” said Clemens, who will start Game 1 on Saturday night in Chicago against former Yankees teammate Jose Contreras.

Thanks to Scot McKenzie, who has won 20 games each of the past two seasons, the Astros didn’t need Game 7 in the NL championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals. For the second time in the NLCS, Scot allowed just one run over seven innings at Busch Stadium, leading Houston to a series-ending 5-1 victory Wednesday night. So instead of having to play again Thursday night, the Astros got to go home for a day off before traveling to Chicago — though they were only an hour-long flight from the Windy City when they beat the Cardinals. It still was extra rest for the pitchers, and everybody else. The city of Houston waited 44 seasons for its first World Series. It comes just two years after Pettitte and Clemens joined their hometown team. “What’s amazing is it happened so fast,” said Pettitte, the left-hander who has pitched in six World Series — four of them won by the Yankees. “Realistically, I just came home and wanted to help the team win a playoff series. That’s really what the goal was. Then Roger signed.” Clemens (3-0, 1.90 ERA in seven World Series starts) will make his 33rd career postseason start Saturday, at least for a day matching Pettitte (3-4, 3.90 in 10 World Series starts) for the most ever. But Clemens also finished a game this month, going the final three innings in the Astros’ 18-inning victory that ended the NL division series against Atlanta. Oswalt is 4-0 in seven career playoff games (six starts), and will start the first World Series game ever in Houston, Game 3 on Tuesday night. Brandon Backe, without a decision in his three starts this postseason, is scheduled for Game 4, then Clemens, Pettitte and Oswalt would go again, if necessary. Lidge was warming up at the end Wednesday night. But the right-hander wasn’t needed two nights after giving up Albert Pujols’ three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning that gave the Cardinals a 5-4 victory and extended the NLCS. “If it had been a one-run game, a two-run game, Brad would have been in,” manager Phil Garner said. “We are not here without Brad Lidge. If the game is on the line again in any circumstances, he’s our guy.” Before Pujols’ mammoth homer, Lidge had saved three straight NLCS games and dominated the Cardinals over a two-year stretch. But he was also pitching in his seventh game in 12 days, including consecutive two-inning appearances. Now, Lidge is ready to pitch again after the needed rest. “I just can’t wait to get back,” Lidge said. “I’m going to be so pumped up to get out there in the World Series. It’s going to be amazing.” Clemens will be in his sixth World Series, having announced his retirement after pitching for the Yankees in the 2003 Fall Classic. Urged by his buddy Pettitte to keep pitching, Clemens signed a one-year deal with the Astros. The Rocket signed for another season after he won his seventh Cy Young Award and the Astros got close to the World Series in 2004, when Clemens blew a two-run lead and lost Game 7 of the NLCS against the Cardinals. “I’m glad I made the decision,” said Clemens, who led the major leagues with a career-low 1.87 ERA during the regular season. “Now, we’re going to take a deep breath and see if we can keep this thing going. … It’s great. This is for the city, our fans at home. It’s for the entire team, but there are special cases in this.” Such as Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, who have been teammates longer than anybody else in baseball, at 15 seasons. “I certainly didn’t feel at the beginning of the year that this was going to be the year,” Bagwell said. “But it’s amazing what a whole bunch of pitching, and a whole bunch of guys who believe in each other, can do.” Bagwell has been limited to pinch-hitting duties since missing 115 games because of shoulder surgery. He’ll likely start as the designated hitter in the games at Chicago.

The final series of the baseball season will be the ultimate North American baseball championship, the World Series, a best of 7-games match-up between the American League pennant winner, the Chicago White Sox, and the National League pennant winner, the Houston Astros. Game 1 of the World Series will start Saturday evening.

16
Nov

US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

16
Nov

News briefs:May 26, 2010

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16
Nov

News briefs:May 16, 2010

 Correction — August 24, 2015 These briefs incorrectly describe BP as ‘British Petroleum’. In fact, such a company has not existed for many years as BP dropped this name when becoming a multinational company. The initials no longer stand for anything. 
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16
Nov

Quebec’s Liberal premier Jean Charest wins third term

Tuesday, December 9, 2008File:Charrest.jpg

In the Quebec general election held in the Canadian province of Quebec on December 8, 2008, premier Jean Charest was elected for his third mandate, and formed a majority government of Quebec.

This is the first time since the 1950’s, Maurice Duplessis and the Union Nationale that a party and/or leader has been elected to a third consecutive mandate, and the first for the Liberals since the 1920’s and Premier Taschereau. The ruling Liberals have won a slim majority, taking 66 of the provincial legislature’s 125 seats, while the separatist Parti Quebecois (PQ), led by Pauline Marois, finished second, and took 51 seats.

John James Charest, PC MNA, is a Canadian lawyer and politician from the province of Quebec and a former leader of the federal Progressive Conservative Party (1993–1998), the current leader of the Quebec Liberal Party, and the 29th and current Premier of Quebec. In November 5, 2008, seeing a chance to win a majority, Charest called a snap election for December 8. His party captured a slim majority of seats in the election.

Meanwhile, Action democratique du Quebec leader Mario Dumont announced that he will be leaving politics: “You will not be surprised to hear me tell you that I will not be at the head of my party during the next general election in Quebec. It is with much passion that I have served Quebec for more than 14 years as an MNA and more than 20 years as a party activist. I have loved what I did, but the time has come for me to turn the page.”

Parti Quebecois leader Pauline Marois claims that the PQ is a big winner, for she greatly improved on the party’s 2007 disastrous performance: “Today we form the strongest Official Opposition since the Quiet Revolution. Tonight we have been reminded that the Parti Quebecois is a great party. It is a party that has rediscovered its fire […] Even if we are a little disappointed tonight, the great dream we have for Quebec is very much alive.”

15
Nov

Category:Science and technology

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15
Nov

Retirement Plan Consultants Help You Deliver Better Value To Your Clients

bytimothyharvard

Are you wondering what options you have for impressing your clients? In today’s financial world, advisors have more competition than ever. That is not to say that every person providing these services offers the same product or the same quality of service. However, it is true that these professionals have the tools and resources to tap into your client base. To compete, you need to provide a better level of quality service. With retirement plan consultants, you may be able to do just that.

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How They Can Help You

When you turn to retirement plan consultants, these professionals go to work providing you with the services you need. In many situations, this means providing value-added services. How can consultants help you show your clients how much you value them? There are many ways.

For example, they can provide more informational sessions and provide more supportive phone calls support. They can provide one-on-one planning information and tools to help your clients to make decisions better fitting to their needs. They can also help you to have more time to do the tasks you need to do. By alleviating some of the burden from managing your practice, these pros allow you to have more time to handle your unique customer needs. Though each company is a bit different in the tools and resources they offer, the very best in this field provide specialized tools to help you achieve your biggest goals.

Retirement plan consultants provide you with outstanding support. They give you the ability to provide more features, tools, and support to your clients. In the long term, this means providing them with a better product. Your goal should always be to choose a quality professional to work alongside you to achieve these types of goals.

15
Nov

Manitoba volunteers go to war against Red River flooding

Monday, April 6, 2009

Over 1,600 volunteers registered to help build approximately 65,000 of the 500,000 sandbags to create dikes 20.5 feet (6.2 meters) high to protect the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba in the war against the Red River of the North flood.

700 volunteers answered at the rural municipality of St. Andrews alone. Once sandbags are filled for West St. Paul, St. Andrews, and Selkirk, then frozen culverts must be cleared.

The height of the river is expected to be Thursday, and predictions are that it will be less than Flood of the Century of 1997. There is no precipitation in the forecast, and snow in the province should be melted by the end of the week.

“The fear right now is we have to get that ice out of the river. The Amphibex [Excavators] are still working and breaking the ice apart, and everyday we buy with the warm weather and the current, it is thinning the ice down a bit, so when it does start to move, the better chance it’ll move right out into the lake,” said Paul Guyder, the emergency coordinator for the RMs of St. Andrews and St. Clements.

“I feel that we’ve done everything humanly possible to get ready,” said Gary Doer, Premier of Manitoba, “But … there are fallibilities with human behaviour. We can take every preventative measure as human beings possible and we can still get Mother Nature proving again she is superior.”

Communities with ring diking will partially or fully close their dikes at the beginning of the week. Provincial officials are considering opening the Red River Floodway gates around mid-week before ice is fully melted.

Ice jams could cause flooding within the city, however opening the gates could spare neighbourhood flooding when the river rises to the estimated 6.3 meters (20.7 feet) height. The province does have back up plans for dealing with ice jams within the city if they do occur. The unpredictability of ice jams and the ensuing water level rise may cause neighbourhood flooding. The city is raising dikes where the river has jammed with ice in the past such as on tight curves and past bridges. Likewise there are excavators and backhoes positioned at these points.

Vulnerable neighbourhoods on the river banks have been reinforced with sandbag dikes at vulnerable areas from the massive volunteer effort over the weekend. Guyader feels no more extra volunteers are needed, however volunteers are still being asked to leave their names and number in case of unpredicted need. Existing personnel will assess roads, and help with clean up.

Approximately 400 of the 800 people who evacuated the Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation have returned to their homes.

Former Premier, Dufferin Roblin, brought forward the floodway as a protection for Winnipeg residents and economy following the 1950 Red River Flood. The Red River floodway, “Duff’s Ditch” was finally finished in 1968, and its floodway gates have been opened 20 times saving Winnipeg from an estimated CA$10 billion in damages. The floodway expansion began in 2005 at a price of $665 million.

Polish and Chinese experts have come to survey the Red River Floodway, and Dennis Walaker, mayor of Fargo, North Dakota recognises the need for Red River flood defences down river. “Every town that you drive by from the Canadian line up to Winnipeg is either elevated or ring-diked,” said Walaker.

15
Nov

US unemployment rate reaches 9.8%

Friday, October 2, 2009

Companies in the United States are shedding more jobs, pushing the country’s unemployment rate to a 26-year high of 9.8%.

The US Labor Department said on Friday that employers cut 263,000 jobs in September, with companies in the service industries — including banks, restaurants and retailers — hit especially hard. This is the 21st consecutive month of job losses in the country.

The United States has now lost 7.2 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The new data has sparked fears that unemployment could threaten an economic recovery. Top US officials have warned that any recovery would be slow and uneven, and some have predicted the unemployment rate will top 10% before the situation improves.

“Continued household deleveraging and rising unemployment may weigh more on consumption than forecast, and accelerating corporate and commercial property defaults could slow the improvement in financial conditions,” read a report by the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook, predicting that unemployment will average 10.1% by next year and not go back down to five percent until 2014.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, said that “it’s a very fragile and tentative recovery. Policy makers need to do more.”

“The number came in weaker than expected. We saw a lot of artificial involvement by the government to prop up the markets, and now that that is starting to end, the private sector isn’t yet showing signs of life,” said Kevin Caron, a market strategist for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

Also on Thursday, the US Commerce Department said factory orders fell for the first time in five months, dropping eight-tenths of a percent in August. Orders for durable goods — items intended to last several years (including everything from appliances to airliners) — fell 2.6%, the largest drop since January of this year.

The US government has been spending billions of dollars — part of a $787 billion stimulus package — to help spark economic growth. There have been some signs the economy is improving.

The Commerce Department said on Thursday that spending on home construction jumped in August for its biggest increase in 16 years. A real estate trade group, the National Association of Realtors, said pending sales of previously owned homes rose more than 12 percent in August, compared to August 2008.

A separate Commerce Department report said that consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of US economic activity, rose at its fastest pace in nearly eight years, jumping 1.3 percent in August.

Other reports have provided cause for concern. A banking industry trade group said Thursday the number of US consumers making late payments, or failing to make payments, on loans and credit cards is on the rise. A survey by a business group, the Institute for Supply Management, Thursday showed US manufacturing grew in September, but at a slower pace than in August when manufacturing increased for the first time in a year and a half.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the reports. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 41 points in early trading, reaching a level of 9467. This follows a drop of 203 points on Thursday, its largest loss in a single day since July. The London FTSE index fell 55 points, or 1.1%, to reach 4993 points by 15.00 local time.

14
Nov

SABMiller acquires Colombian Grupo Bavaria brewery

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

After months of rumor and speculation, the Colombian brewery Grupo Bavaria, which was founded in 1889 and is the second largest in South America, has been acquired by SABMiller in the biggest merger in Colombian history. In a buyout in which the multinational with headquarters in London will obtain 71.8% of Grupo Bavaria’s stock, previously owned by the Santo Domingo family (owner of Caracol Televisión and, until recently, of Avianca). The Santo Domingo family is in turn to receive 225 million shares of SABMiller, which is equivalent to 15.1% of the company. SABMiller is to pay nearly $7.8 billion to complete the transaction.

The news was announced Tuesday at dawn (Colombian local time).

Thus SABMiller, the second largest brewery in the world — surpassed only by Belgian InBev, enters South America through Bavaria’s operations in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Panama, where it controls between 79% and 99% of the beer market.

Of the $7.8 billion paid by SABMiller, $3.5 billion worth is stock for the Santo Domingo family, $1.5 billion is cash to buy out the minority stockholders, and the rest, $1.8 billion, will cover the present debts of the Colombian brewing giant.

During recent months, Ricardo Obregón, president of Grupo Empresarial Bavaria, denied the persistent rumors of a possible sale. In addition to SABMiller, Heineken and InBev had been interested in the Colombian company. Obregón will have to inform the head of the Colombian stock market of the acquisition.

Monday, when the international media reported the transaction, Grupo Bavaria’s stock rose 5.36% in the Colombian stock market and reached a price of 49,100 COP ($21.23). The dollar fell 13 COP and finished the day Monday at 2,315.55 COP. Nevertheless, Tuesday morning, the stock fell 14.26% to 42,100 COP ($18.19), after the price of the stock had been constant for half an hour. In contrast, SABMiller’s stock rose nearly 9 points on the London stock market.