Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday Post

What's in the news?

PM Stephen Harper is a honey badger. He just doesn't give a...:

Keeping a wary eye on the situation in Ukraine, Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday said Canada "must not be complacent here at home" with Russia as an Arctic neighbour,

Accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of making sure there "be no peace" in the region, Harper explained Canada's role in Eastern Europe as one of "reassurance."

Canada has provided military aid a small commitment of 30 military personnel to the Ukrainian effort.
"Our position is clear: we support the Ukrainian people in their struggle to hold on to their country, leave behind so many tragic decades, to build a prosperous, free and democratic society," he reiterated Tuesday.

Harper also addressed the extremist group the Islamic State -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- which claims to have established an Islamic state in parts of Syria and Iraq.

ISIS, Harper said, was on a "murderous rampage" he said constituted a major threat to global security.
"(ISIS) is not only a threat to the millions in the region but has the clear potential, if left unchecked, to become a new safe haven for global terrorists, a threat to all of us," he said.

He extolled the Canadian Forces, praising their deployment as providing "humanitarian and military supplies to Kurdish forces holding back the terrorist advance."

(Sidebar: Steve, get a few drones, liquidate ISIS, do a cakewalk over their ashes.)

Curiouser and curiouser:

 A 19-year-old Ottawa man has the best "I was so drunk" story ever.

After cops Friday released security camera video taken of a prowler who broke into Justin Trudeau's Rockcliffe home Aug. 16, the man came into police headquarters, newspaper-in-hand, and told officers: "I think this is me."

There are likely a good number of things the man doesn't remember about that night, judging by how plastered he admitted being when he talked to investigators.

Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban said the man was given directions to his buddy's house in Rockcliffe, a place he'd been only once before.

The man - who doesn't live in the neighbourhood - was dropped off in the general area by cab and wandered around drunk for quite some time, trying to match the houses to the one in his memory.

Satisfied he'd found it, the man went through the unlocked gate and into the unlocked back door of Trudeau's home.

Ghadban said the man eventually figured out he was in the wrong house and briefly considered stealing the expensive-looking knives he found. He ultimately decided against this, and left a note which - in his drunken estimation - amounted to a suitable apology for the unwelcome intrusion.

He didn't wander around the house - staying just inside the door.

The Trudeau family left the decision of charges in the hands of investigators. Police ultimately decided none were warranted because the man had no criminal intent.

Instead, police gave the man a stern warning.

Warren Buffet, an Obama supporter who wants his oil transported by rail car and not pipeline, stands to gain nine percent by merging Burger King with Tim Horton's:

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway is providing $3 billion worth of preferred equity financing for Burger King's merger with Tim Hortons. Buffett's return on that cash will be 9%.

On a conference call regarding the merger, Burger King CEO Daniel Schwartz said the preferred equity portion of the deal's financing, which is what Buffett is providing, would carry a 9% coupon.

Preferred equity, also called preferred stock or just "preferreds," earns interest at a higher rate than bonds, but it also carries slightly more risk. If a company defaults, preferred equity investors are "junior" to all bondholders. Basically, they (most likely) get paid back second-to-last (after all bondholders, before common equity holders) if the company defaults.

So if Burger King doesn't go out of business, it looks like a pretty good deal for Buffett. Except some of the optics of the deal aren't great. 

Tax Inversion?

Burger King's deal to acquire Tim Hortons is also a "tax inversion," or a deal in which a company based in the U.S. acquires a foreign company and moves its tax base. 

The combined Burger King-Tim Hortons entity will be based in Canada, though both companies will maintain their physical headquarters in Miami and Oakville, Ontario, respectively.

Russian tycoons feel the pinch of sanctions over Ukraine:

While Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his staring contest with the international community over Ukraine, the conflict has laid havoc to the country’s natural-resource driven economy and the Russian tycoons who hang their fortunes on it.

All in, the civil unrest and Western sanctions have cost three of Mother Russia’s captains of industry a combined US$1.8 billion according to Wealth-X, and ultra-high net worth intelligence firm.

At the top of the losers list sits Gennady Timchenko, the billionaire owner of private investment firm Volga Group. The oil magnate lost $1 billion between March and mid-August putting his net worth at US$12.2 billion.

Despite his lightened pocket book, Timchenko refuses to push back against Putin telling Russian news network ITAR TASS: “In any situation Putin is guided by the interests of Russia. Period. There can be no compromise about it.”

(Sidebar: he can't have lost too much then.)

Forbid these tycoons from landing their private jets in European airspace until that pesky Malaysian Airlines flight 17 business is resolved.

And now:

The sun kicked off this week with an explosive solar flare that, while not aimed directly at Earth, may be a hotspot to watch over the next few days. 

The solar flare erupted on Sunday morning (Aug. 24) from an active sunspot known as AR2151. Two sun-watching spacecraft captured stunning video of Sunday's solar flare as it leapt off the surface of the sun at 8:16 a.m. EDT (1216 GMT).  

While sunpost AR2151 wasn't facing Earth at the time of the flare, it is a place to watch in the days and weeks ahead. "The responsible sunspot will turn toward Earth in the days ahead, boosting chances for geoeffective solar activity as the week unfolds," experts with the space weather website Spaceweather.com wrote on Sunday.

Spectacular Solar Flare Erupts from the Sun (Photos, Video)
(photo credit here)

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