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GENEVA—Former war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte has told Swiss TV that a U.N. commission has indications Syrian rebel forces used nerve agent sarin as a weapon.
Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney general who headed two U.N. criminal tribunals, told Italian-language Swiss public broadcaster SRI that the indications are based on interviews with victims, doctors and field hospitals in neighbouring countries payday loans.
Del Ponte is a member of the U.N.’s four-member independent human rights panel probing alleged war crimes and other abuses in Syria.
LinkedIn’s rapidly rising stock got demoted late Thursday after the online professional networking service released a forecast calling for its earnings growth to slow later this year as the company hires more workers, invests in data centers and tweaks the way that it shows online ads.
The predicted deceleration overshadowed another stellar performance during the first three months of the year. As has been the case in every reporting period since LinkedIn Corp. went public two years ago, both the company’s first-quarter earnings and revenue topped the analyst estimates that steer Wall Street expectations.
But management’s projections for both the current quarter ending in June and the full year came in below analyst projections, rattling investors who have become accustomed to LinkedIn delivering nothing but pleasant surprises.
The letdown dampened the feverish interest in LinkedIn’s stock, which surpassed $200 for the first time Thursday. After closing at $201.67, LinkedIn’s shares tumbled $20.45, or more than 10 percent, to $181.22 in extended trading.
Even if the sell-off carries through into Friday’s regular trading session, LinkedIn’s stock still will have more than quadrupled from its initial public offering price of $45. As of Thursday’s close, the shares had surged by 76 percent so far this year compared to a 12 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.
LinkedIn has thrived by establishing itself as the go-to place for employers to find talented workers and for people to get job tips and other advice to manage their careers. It doesn’t cost anything for people to set up a professional profile on the site. The Mountain View, Calif., company makes most of its money by charging employers and headhunters for analytical tools and additional access to LinkedIn profiles and the site, such as the ability to send messages to users.
The service now has 225 million members, up from 202 million members at the end of last year.
LinkedIn is now adding more content, giving its audience more reasons to return to its website more frequently and to stay for longer periods. The company hopes that will lead to more advertising to supplement its revenue. As part of that process, LinkedIn plans to place more ads within the stream of the personal updates appearing in the middle of its members’ individual pages rather displaying them on the sides.
The switch is a strategy already used by social networking leader Facebook Inc. and online messaging service Twitter to make it easier to show ads on mobile devices. LinkedIn plans to make the transition gradually to minimize the chances of irritating its members, CEO Jeff Weiner told analysts during a Thursday conference call.
LinkedIn’s profits also will be lowered by the expenses for expanding the company’s payroll and building data centers to run its online services.
“There are some incremental investments coming into play,” Steve Sordello, LinkedIn’s chief financial officer, told analysts during the conference call.
LinkedIn earned $22.6 million, or 20 cents per share, in the first quarter. That’s up from $5 million, or 4 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were 45 cents per share in the latest quarter, well above analysts’ expectations of 30 cents, based on a poll by FactSet.
Revenue grew 72 percent from last year to nearly $325 million _ about $7 million above analyst projections.
Analysts, though, are likely to revise their estimates for the rest of the year.
LinkedIn expects second-quarter revenue between $342 million and $347 million for the April-June period. Analysts had forecast $360 million.
For the full year, LinkedIn believes its revenue will range from $1.43 billion to $1.46 billion. That’s $20 million more than the company had predicted a few months ago, but analysts have been counting on full-year revenue of $1.5 billion.
Another figure that troubled investors is LinkedIn’s forecast for its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA. This measure provides an inkling of how much money the company is likely to make. LinkedIn expects full-year EBITDA of $330 million to $345 million for the full year, below analysts’ expectations of $363 million.
A report Friday on April employment could show whether weak hiring in March marked a temporary lull or the fourth year in which a slumping economy has slowed job growth.
Economists predict that the job gains likely improved on March’s 88,000 _ the fewest in nine months. But the hiring isn’t expected to be much better. Most analysts think employers in April added more than 100,000 jobs but far fewer than the 196,000 that were added on average from September through February.
The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at a still-high 7.6 percent.
The Labor Department will release the report at 8:30 a.m. EDT.
Economic figures in recent days have been mixed. The government said Thursday that the number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell last week to a seasonally adjusted 324,000 _ the fewest since January 2008.
Unemployment applications reflect the pace of layoffs: A steady drop means companies are shedding fewer workers. Eventually, they’ll need to hire to meet customer demand or to replace workers who quit.
At the same time, surveys have shown that hiring by private companies was weak and that manufacturing activity declined in April. And exports fell in March.
The economy grew in the January-March quarter at an annual pace of 2.5 percent, much better than in the previous quarter. Economists worry, though, that federal spending cuts and higher Social Security taxes could hurt the economy. And new requirements under the federal health care law may be causing some small and midsize companies to hold back on hiring.
Analysts forecast that growth will slow in the current quarter to 2 percent or less. That could mean that job growth will remain sluggish at least through summer.
Economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast that the spending cuts could reduce April’s job gains by 25,000. That figure would include layoffs by government agencies and defense contractors.
The higher Social Security tax has cut take-home pay for nearly all working Americans. It’s reduced pay for a typical household earning $50,000 by about $1,000 this year. A household with two highly paid workers has up to $4,500 less.
Consumers, so far, have shown resilience despite the tax increase. Americans boosted their spending from January through March at the fastest pace in more than two years.
But their spending slowed toward the end of the first quarter. And in March, consumers cut back their spending at retail stores by the most in nine months. Most economists think consumer spending is slowing further in the current quarter.
Still, some reports suggest that hiring could pick up later in the year. Applications for unemployment benefits fell to a five-year low last week, signaling fewer layoffs and potentially more job gains.
Americans are buying cars at a healthy pace, prompting some automakers to add jobs. Auto sales rose 8.5 percent in April compared with a year ago to nearly 1.3 million _ the best April total since before the recession began.
Home prices are rising, a trend that makes homeowners feel wealthier and more likely to spend. Higher home prices are also encouraging some people to buy homes before prices rise further.
Cheaper gas could also get people spending more. The national average for a gallon of regular on Wednesday was $3.52, 11 cents less than a month ago and 28 cents below the year-ago level.
Consumer confidence rose in April. The outlook improved mostly because Americans expect the economy to deliver more jobs and higher pay in the next six months.
As part of a consolidation of Mercy’s hospital and physician clinic business office functions, the hospital system is cutting 70 jobs.
Chesterfield-based Mercy said 19 positions have been eliminated in the St. Louis area due to the consolidation, and the other job cuts are primarily in Springfield, Mo., and Oklahoma City.
“Mercy’s revenue management division recently completed a consolidation of its hospital and physician clinic business office functions,” Mercy said in a statement. “By bringing these teams together, the division will be able to achieve some of the patient satisfaction goals that Mercy has long been working toward, from creating a combined statement covering both hospital and clinic bills, to establishing a single phone number for scheduling appointments payday loan.”
Mercy said it’s seeking to place eligible employees in open positions elsewhere within the company. Severance is being provided to employees based on their length of employment.
Mercy operates 32 hospitals and 300 outpatient facilities in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, and has 38,000 employees.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. says it will compensate families of garment workers employed by a Bangladeshi supplier who were killed when the Rana Plaza building collapsed last Wednesday.
At least 382 victims died in the country’s largest industrial disaster.
“We are working to ensure that we will deliver support in the best and most meaningful way possible, and with the goal of ensuring that victims and their families receive benefits now and in the future,” spokeswoman Julija Hunter replied in response to questions from the Star. “We are working on the details and we will update you as soon as we can.
“Our priorities are helping the victims and their families, and driving change to help prevent similar incidents in the future. Our heartfelt condolences continue to go out to those in Savar, Bangladesh.”
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The Loblaw announcement came hours after the Primark chain, owned by Associated British Foods Plc, said it will pay unspecified compensation to Rana Plaza victims who worked for its New Wave supplier and urged other retailers to “come forward” and offer help.
Compensation from Primark will include long-term aid for children who have lost parents, financial aid for the injured and payments to parents of the deceased, the London-based company said Monday in a statement free online credit report. It has also joined with a non-governmental organization to provide emergency food aid to affected families.
Primark, saying it is “fully aware of our responsibility,” said its supplier shared the building with other retailers.
The collapse of the eight-story building in the Dhaka suburb of Savar has sparked worldwide outrage over a perceived lack of oversight of their Bangladeshi suppliers by companies like Primark and Loblaw, which owns Joe Fresh.
“We shall be reviewing our commitments constantly to ensure that they meet the needs of the victims as the tragedy continues to unfold,” Primark said in its e-mailed statement.
Primark is one of at least five retailers whose products were made in garment factories based in the Rana Plaza. The others are Loblaw, U.K. budget retailer Matalan Ltd., plus-size womenswear seller Bonmarche Ltd. and Spanish department store El Corte Ingles.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says its investigations, which are still going on, have confirmed no authorized production took place in the building.
“If we learn of any unauthorized production, we will take appropriate action based upon our zero-tolerance policy on unauthorized subcontracting,” spokesman Kevin Gardner said in a statement.
MIAMI • Big investors are pouring unprecedented amounts of money into real estate hit hard by the housing crash, bringing those moribund markets back to life but raising the prospect of another Wall Street-fueled bubble that won’t be sustainable.
Drawn by the prospect of double-figure profit margins on rents and the resale of homes whose prices plummeted in the crash, hedge funds, Wall Street investors and other institutions are crowding out individual home buyers.
If the chain of easy credit and dangerous leverage that started on Wall Street fanned the housing bubble and eventual crash, some analysts find it disturbing that major investors are the ones snapping up the bargains — and eventual big profits — left in its wake.
“There is the possibility that Wall Street and the banks and the affluent 1 percent stand to gain the most from this,” said Jack McCabe, a real estate consultant based in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “Meanwhile, lower-income Americans will lose their opportunity for the American Dream of building wealth through owning a home.”
For example, in some Florida markets, institutional investors — who in some cases are bidding on hundreds of homes a day — account for as much as 70 percent of sales. Over the past two years, real-estate analysts say, they also have accounted for a majority of purchases in other parts of the country where housing prices are rebounding sharply.
The influx of investors may explain why home prices have been rising in parts of the country most affected by the housing crash, despite high jobless rates and relatively few new mortgages being issued by lenders. In the past year, prices have risen 23 percent in the Phoenix area, 15 percent in Las Vegas, 9 percent in Tampa and 11 percent in Miami, according to the Case-Shiller home-price indexes. Nationally, prices are up more than 8 percent over the past year.
“I don’t know whether things are as good as they seem to be. A lot of properties are being occupied by institutional investors, not the end user,” said Scott Kranz, co-principal of Title Capital Management, a firm that helps big investors scout, buy and manage homes in Florida. “The end user would need to see a great increase in jobs, availability of mortgage money and a loosening of the reins that have been holding them back. But all the economic indicators are that we are not at that point.”
The ability of investors to make cash deals is helping them buy a large portion of the distressed homes that continue to flood the market. Property brokers and others in Florida say traditional buyers — even those able to qualify for financing in a still-tight mortgage market — are finding it difficult to compete with the cash and market savvy of large investors.
“The investors are making it hard for a regular homeowner to buy a property,” said Robert Russotto, a broker with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “They are getting outbid by people with cash.” Russotto noted that out of the 20 home sale contracts he is the process of completing, 17 of the buyers are major investors.
Before the housing crash, big investors almost never wanted single-family homes, largely because of slow returns and the money-draining hassle of managing tenants in often far-flung properties Payday advance.
But with prices still depressed and with low interest rates and high stock prices limiting prospective returns elsewhere, major investors see the prospect of healthy profits in single-family homes.
“Residential property is an on-fire asset class,” said Kranz, noting that his firm has plowed more than $100 million into residential real estate for investors in the past year and is on course to spend $250 million to buy an additional 2,000 homes in 2013.
At Title Capital Management, nearly four dozen analysts and lawyers are glued to computer monitors — some seven days a week — hunting for deals among the flood of foreclosures that have bedeviled this state.
Aided by its proprietary software, Title Capital sizes up each home for square footage, special features and the prices and rents they can command. The firm’s legal team then scrubs each property for liens and title problems before determining a price that would allow its clients on Wall Street and elsewhere to turn a tidy profit.
The company bids on about 200 houses a day, making it one of the largest players in Florida that help hedge funds and other Wall Street firms buy distressed properties. It is proving to be a lucrative niche.
Last year, famed investor Warren Buffett said on CNBC: “If I had a way of buying a couple hundred thousand single-family homes, I would load up on them. It’s a very attractive asset class now. I could buy them at distressed prices and find renters.”
A growing number of private-equity groups have done as much. Over the past year, Blackstone has amassed a portfolio of 20,000 rental homes worth $3 billion, spokesman Peter Rose said. American Homes 4 Rent, a firm run by warehousing magnate B. Wayne Hughes, has bought about 10,000 rental properties, according to news reports.
The strategy makes sense, as a shrinking share of Americans own their homes. After more than a decade of robust increases, the national homeownership rate peaked in 2004 at 69.2 percent. Since then, it has been in steady decline, falling to 65.4 percent at the end of 2012, according to Census Bureau figures.
The big investor activity is pushing up prices, which is good for the large number of homeowners whose mortgages are larger than their home’s values. But for people being shut out of the biggest bargains offered by the housing market, it means a longer, slower slog to building equity. It also raises the specter of future price declines when investors lose interest or decide to dump their properties.
“Clearly the investors are moving markets in some places,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of a popular housing blog. “In some markets at the bottom end, you are looking at 30 or 40 percent gains year to year. That is frightening to me. At some point the music stops. The investors if they get hurt, that is their problem. But invariably a lot of other people will get caught up in that.”
A man was stabbed to death Thursday night in his North York apartment as he was getting out of the shower during a home invasion, police say.
Police were called to Bogert Ave., near Yonge St. and Sheppard Ave., around 9:15 p.m. Two men had entered the apartment, which had four occupants.
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One of the intruders demanded cash and drugs from one of the occupants at gunpoint.
The second confronted a 28-year-old man with a knife as he was getting out of the shower. The intruder stabbed him three times and both suspects fled.
Both suspects are described as having a light-brown complexion and standing approximately 5’8” Payday Loan for Bad Credit. Police are currently reviewing security camera video.
“We don’t believe they just walked up to the apartment and ran in the door,” said Insp. Ken Taylor. “They may have been loitering around this area.”
The victim’s identity has not been released, pending notification of next of kin. A post-mortem examination has been scheduled for Friday.
This is the city’s 20th homicide of 2013; it occurred an hour after a fatal shooting in Scarborough.
Asia’s major stock markets logged slight gains Thursday but smaller indexes slipped after U.S. corporations reported mixed earnings and orders for U.S. durable goods fell.
The U.S. government reported Wednesday that orders for long-lasting factory goods fell more than economists expected. That added to concerns that global growth is slowing. Orders for durable goods declined 5.7 percent in March following a 4.3 percent gain the previous month. The March figure was the biggest dip in seven months.
“A weaker than expected reading for March US durable goods orders maintained a run of weaker than expected US data releases, reinforcing concerns of an economic slowdown over coming months,” said Mitul Kotecha at Credit Agricole CIB in a market commentary.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent to 13,862.86. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.3 percent to 22,257.63. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.5 percent to 1,944.03. But benchmark indexes in mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, and the Philippines fell. Markets in Australia and New Zealand were closed for public holidays.
Stocks in Europe posted gains Wednesday investors grew more hopeful of an interest rate cut from the European Central Bank after another weak business survey for Germany, Europe’s biggest economy.
The Ifo Institute said its main index of business optimism fell to 104.4 points from 106.7 in March. Market analysts had expected a more modest decline to 106.2.
European markets have also been buoyed in recent days by progress in Italy to produce a government after inconclusive elections in February.
On Wall Street, however, disappointment over durable goods order was compounded by quarterly results that included a subscriber slump at AT&T and a weak profit forecast from Procter & Gamble.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 0.3 percent to close at 14,676.30. The Standard& Poor’s 500 index was flat at 1,578.79. The Nasdaq composite rose marginally to 3,269.65.
Benchmark oil for June delivery was up 45 cents to $91.88 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract jumped $2.25, or 2.5 percent, to finish at $91.43 a barrel Wednesday on the Nymex.
In currencies, the euro rose to $1.3046 from $1.3021 late Wednesday in New York. The dollar fell to 99.41 yen from 99.51 yen.
In the U.S., the recall affects roughly 128,000 Honda CR-V’s and 59,000 Odysseys from model years 2012 and 2013, as well as 17,500 Acura RDX’s from 2013, Honda said in a statement. Some 14,000 CR-V’s, 4,500 Odysseys and 2,300 RDX’s in Canada are also being recalled.
Honda said that in sub-freezing temperatures, these vehicles may be shifted out of park even with the brake pedal isn’t depressed. There haven’t been any complaints, crashes or injuries reported in connection with this issue, the Japanese automaker said.
) will notify vehicle owners of the problem and direct them to dealerships where the issue will be resolved free of charge. Owners can check if their vehicle needs to be repaired at www.recalls.honda.com and www.recalls guaranteed high risk personal loans.acura.com.
This week’s recall follows several similar headaches in the past few months.
In January, the company announced the recall of 748,000 Odyssey minivans and Pilot SUVs because of problems with their airbags. In March, the automaker ordered the recall of 180,000 vehicles in the United States, and almost 250,000 worldwide, because of a defect that could potentially cause the brakes to be applied inadvertently.
Just last week, Honda announced the recall of 1.1 million vehicles in order to replace their passenger airbag inflators.
In all cases, the company said it was not aware of any injuries resulting from the problems.