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A COVID-quiet summer will cost Montreal’s economy hundreds of millions


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Industry figures for 2009, the last year that the Grand Prix didn’t take place, show Montreal hotels suffered a $25-million revenue shortfall compared with other race weekends, Paré said.

Occupancy rates in Montreal typically average 96 or 97 per cent during Grand Prix weekend. City hotels double their room rates to coincide with the event, allowing them to offset slower winter bookings.

“If you convert that $25 million into 2020 dollars, and if you consider that additional seats have since been installed at the racetrack, the shortfall this year is going to be even higher,” Paré said.

As more events in and around Montreal get cancelled, those lost weekends — and weeks — look set to multiply well into the summer. On Tuesday, event promoter Evenko officially cancelled this year’s edition of the Osheaga and ÎleSoniq electronic music festivals. Both events will be back in 2021, Evenko said.



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UK government borrowing hits record high in April and retail sales slump – business live | Business






Full story: Borrowing surge amid crisis





Retail sales slump: What the experts say









Covid-19 fears and Hong Kong tensions hit markets





UK internet shopping hits record high









UK borrowing: What the economists say









Introduction: Government borrowing hits £62bn in April

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Ryanair to cut 3,000 jobs and Michael O’Leary to take 50pc paycut as airline says recovery will take two years


Ryanair has said it expects up to 3,000 jobs to be lost as part of a restructuring of the airline.

he budget airline group announced that a restructuring programme could also involve unpaid leave and pay slashed by up to 20%, as well as the closure of “a number of aircraft bases across Europe” until demand for air travel recovers.

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Grounded Ryanair aircraft at Dublin Airport. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Chief executive Michael O’Leary, whose pay was cut by 50% for April and May, has agreed to extend the reduction for the remainder of the financial year to March 2021.

Ryanair said its flights will remain grounded until “at least July” and passenger numbers will not return to 2019 levels “until summer 2022 at the earliest”.

It expects to operate fewer than 1% of its scheduled flights between April and June, and carry no more than half of its original target of 44.6 million passengers between July and September.

For the 12 months to the end of March 2021, its forecast is that it will carry fewer than 100 million passengers. Its target for the period was 154 million.

The airline group said it is in “active negotiations” with Boeing to cut the number of planned aircraft deliveries over the next 24 months.

It expects to report a net loss of more than 100 million euros (£87 million) between April and May, with “further losses” in the following three months.

“The Ryanair Airlines will shortly notify their trade unions about its restructuring and job loss program, which will commence from July 2020.

“These plans will be subject to consultation but will affect all Ryanair Airlines, and may result in the loss of up to 3,000 mainly pilot and cabin crew jobs, unpaid leave, and pay cuts of up to 20%, and the closure of a number of aircraft bases across Europe until traffic recovers. Job cuts and pay cuts will also be extended to Head Office and Back Office teams,” a statement read.

PA Media



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5.2 million more Americans file for unemployment amid COVID-19 crisis


The coronavirus pandemic has forced non-essential businesses to close.

An additional 5.2 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said Thursday.

This brings the total to more than 20 million people who have already applied for unemployment insurance amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as non-essential businesses across the country have been forced to shutter.

This means nearly all the job gains since the 2009 recession have been wiped out in a month.

The adjusted unemployment rate for the week ending April 4 was 8.2%, the DOL said, which “marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.”

The previous high was 7% in May of 1975.

Moody’s Investor Services is forecasting the unemployment rate to spike even higher and “average between 8.8% and 16.2% in the second quarter” as a result of business closures and the scaling back of work.

“Job losses have so far been concentrated in sectors directly impacted by quarantine restrictions,” Moody’s Senior Vice President Robard Williams said in a statement. “However, as shutdowns continue, job losses will likely extend into other areas of the labor market, such as business and professional services where firms may begin to see lower revenues from a second order pull back in demand.”

The rampant unemployment will likely further cut back household spending in the U.S., which already saw a steep decline in March, according to Williams.

Meanwhile, as the unemployment filings skyrocket, many Americans report ongoing struggles in applying for unemployment insurance across the country.

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.



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COVID-19: Nanaimo, B.C., pulp mill boosts medical pulp production


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A B.C. pulp mill that makes a special recipe of pulp for surgical masks, gowns and other medical supplies has doubled up on its production for an American customer amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Harmac Pacific president Levi Sampson said their round-the-clock production at the mill near Nanaimo has been diverted to make the medical-grade pulp.

“We’ve never had a doubling for this grade of pulp, so you can tell that there’s some supply problems out there,” Sampson said.

There are more than 300 full-time workers at the mill and Sampson said the employees take pride in going to work because of the product they’re producing.

“Every day it seems to be more and more health-care professionals are talking about either lack of supplies or worried about it in future,” Sampson said.

Sampson said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called him Saturday wanting to know more about the business, where the company’s product goes and to congratulate Harmac employees “for continuing to run and be able to produce a product that will eventually make its way to the front lines.”



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Trump invokes production law to compel GM to supply ventilators | US news


Donald Trump has bowed to overwhelming pressure and invoked a law that enables him to compel General Motors to mass produce breathing equipment for coronavirus sufferers.

For days the US president has resisted calls to use the Defense Production Act (DPA), claiming “we’re a country not based on nationalsing our business” and even drawing comparisons with the socialist government of Venezuela.

But Trump finally shifted position on Friday as he came under criticism from state governors, Democrats and doctors for playing down a nationwide shortage of ventilators, which enable a person with compromised lungs to keep breathing.

Covid-19 is a respiratory illness. Most who contract it recover but it can be fatal, particularly among older people and those with underlying health problems.

Trump announced he had signed a presidential memorandum directing his health secretary to use “any and all authority available under the Defense Production Act to require General Motors to accept, perform, and prioritize Federal contracts for ventilators”.

He added: “Our negotiations with GM regarding its ability to supply ventilators have been productive, but our fight against the virus is too urgent to allow the give-and-take of the contracting process to continue to run its normal course.

“GM was wasting time. Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives.”


The decision followed 24 hours of confusion in which Trump initially expressed scepticism about the dire warnings of ventilator shortages, particularly in New York, where medical officials say the situation is desperate.

“I have a feeling that a lot of the numbers that are being said in some areas are just bigger than they’re going to be,” he told the Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday night.

“I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators. You know, you go into major hospitals sometimes they’ll have two ventilators, and now all of a sudden they’re saying: ‘Can we order 30,000 ventilators?’”

The comments provoked a backlash and on Friday morning Trump appeared to shift gear, lambasting GM for allegedly over-promising and over-charging. In tweets littered with capital letters and exclamation marks, he also urged Ford to churn out ventilators.

“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” he wrote. “They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly’. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar. Always a mess with Mary B.”

The “Mary B” reference was to GM’s chief executive. Mary Barra, as Trump renewed his grievance with her for closing and selling a factory in a state vital to his re-election campaign.

He added: “General Motors MUST immediately open their stupidly abandoned Lordstown plant in Ohio, or some other plant, and START MAKING VENTILATORS, NOW!!!!!! FORD, GET GOING ON VENTILATORS, FAST!!!!!!”

The tweet stood in sharp contrast to a message sent in May last year, praising the decision to sell.

The comments came after a New York Times report that the White House had backed away from announcing a major ventilator deal with GM and Ventec Life Systems because the cost was too high.

Trump also tweeted he might “Invoke the ‘P’”, then clarified that he meant the DPA, which grants the president power to compel companies to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security. Small-government conservatives had urged against such a move, suggesting the threat of the law would be leverage enough.

In a separate tweet, Trump said the federal government had bought a large quantity of ventilators from a number of companies, and that details would be announced later on Friday.

Critics say Trump ignored early warnings about the threat of the pandemic and had he acted sooner, mass production of ventilators would now be well under way.

Experts warn that the US is hundreds of thousands of machines short of what it need to treat a sharply rising number of coronavirus patients.

New York, Michigan, Louisiana and Washington state are current hot spots and the total of US cases has surpassed those confirmed in China and Italy. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, by Friday there were about 94,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and more than 1,400 deaths.

Hillary Clinton, a former New York senator and secretary of state, tweeted: “A month ago, Trump said: ‘It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.’ Yesterday, he said: ‘I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators.’

“What will it take to get [him’] to listen to experts instead of his own hunches?”





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PMQs: Boris Johnson faces Jeremy Corbyn ahead of 2020 budget – live news | Politics


Cabinet received an update from the health secretary and the prime minister on the coronavirus outbreak. The PM wished Nadine Dorries a speedy recovery, noting that she was following official advice to self-isolate.

The chancellor set out the measures being taken to manage the impact of coronavirus, laying out details of his economic action plan that will be announced at budget.

He outlined how this plan – combined with the measures announced by the governor of the Bank of England this morning – will make the UK one of the best placed economies in the world to manage the potential impact of the virus. The chancellor added the budget will ensure businesses, the public and those in public services working on the front line against the virus get the support they need.

He said despite the impacts of the outbreak being uncertain, we have the economic tools to overcome the disruption caused by the virus and move the country forwards.

The chancellor also said that despite coronavirus being “front and centre in our minds”, the budget will implement the manifesto on which the government had been elected. He said it was vital that people know this is a budget that delivers on the promises made to the British people – investing in public services and cutting taxes for millions of hardworking people – and that there could be no delay in laying the foundations for a decade of growth where opportunity was spread equally across the UK.

The PM said that this budget starts to tackle head on the challenges facing our economy and country – addressing productivity and regional imbalances – and showing that the government is responding to the public’s desire for change. It will set the path for further action through the year.



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Fort Langley development proposed as Kwantlen First Nation partnership


A stalled plan to redevelop two big plots of Downtown Fort Langley might be back on the table in the form of a partnership with the Kwantlen First Nation, the partners announced March 4.

The proposal is to arrange a transfer of the 1.2 hectares of prime commercial real estate, in two parcels, from the Eric Woodward Foundation to the Kwantlen, which would apply to have it added to the First Nation’s reserve.

Assuming the addition is successful, Fort Langley Properties, a company wholly owned by the foundation, would lease the land back to co-develop the real estate into a mixed-use commercial and residential district in the heart of the historic village’s shopping district.

The Kwantlen view the proposal as “an amazing step towards reconciliation,” Chief Marilyn Gabriel said in a news release, “helping to strengthen the Kwantlen First Nation and promote ourselves as a key partner and leader in our regional economy.”

“Kwantlen has been growing tremendously in capacity and working tirelessly to promote meaningful partnerships within our territories for the next seven generations,” Gabriel said.

The Kwantlen “are always looking to increase our land base for the Nation,” said Brenda Knights, CEO of the First Nation’s economic development corporation, Seyem.

The 2014 example of the transfer of the 21-hectare Jericho Lands to a Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish First Nations corporation “spurred a lot of interest across Canada” for similar ventures, Knights said.

“Squamish as well recently acquired lands,” Knights said, “so we see this as Kwantlen’s time now.”

The Kwantlen still have to submit an application, which could take three-to-five years to complete, under federal rules that were revised last fall to shorten the process from an average of 10 years, Knights said.

The property, valued at $13 million to $14 million, is less than a kilometre away from the Kwantlen’s existing 181-hectare IR 6 lands. Knights said the First Nation previously had property from within that reserve expropriated for the old Albion Ferry and is going through the process to have that returned as well.

Such a downtown addition, however, would remove development from the municipal authority of the Township of Langley, where current owner Woodward has had on-again, off-again plans to redevelop the two properties into a mixed-use neighbourhood with 100,000 square feet of commercial space and 75 residential units. In the past, the Fort Langley community has been divided over the amount of change such development would bring to the downtown district, which is designated a heritage conservation area.

Woodward, who has also been a councillor for the Township of Langley since 2018, withdrew previous applications for development with the township. Woodward said the economics of renovation don’t make sense for 11 of 12 buildings on the two properties, save for the 1928 Simpson Bros. building at the corner of Glover Road and McBride Street, which he had always planned to restore.

“And we’re in this bind where we’ve had delays with getting approvals to move forward, and in the interim, not been allowed to remove them,” Woodward said.

In the meantime, Woodward had begun transferring ownership of the properties, many that sit empty and boarded up, from his company, Statewood Properties, to the non-profit charitable foundation, which he intends to be a legacy for the community’s benefit. And late last spring he started discussions with the Kwantlen about the possibility of a development in partnership with the First Nation.

“In hindsight, it’s fantastic to have ended up here,” Woodward said of the partnership and being able to draw the Kwantlen into economic development on property that is within their traditional territory. “And I think that the way we’ve been talking about it that once this announcement is public, to the people in Fort Langley and Langley, it will seem obvious, inevitable and wonderful. Not about buildings and not about some temporary dispute with a few politicians who won’t be around much longer.”

Knights said the application to add land only initiates the process, which will involve consultation with the Township of Langley to work through concerns and deal with agreements over municipal services, and eventually a referendum for all Kwantlen residents.

“We’re often on the receiving end of referrals from government (over developments) and now we’re playing that role,” Knights said.

And while Woodward had previous plans for the site, Knights said what finally gets built will have to be determined through the planning process.

“Certainly our membership will be interested in having a strong presence in Fort Langley and having the buildings reflect Kwantlen,” Knights said, but whatever it is has to make economic sense.

Kwantlen First Nation Coun. Tumia Knott added that they want to be good neighbours with the township.

I think it’s really important that it’s complementary to the region (and) fits within community values,” Knott said. “Not just Kwantlen’s values, but the values of the region of Fort Langley that we call home.”

In a news release, Knights referred to the partnership as a unique initiative in private-public reconciliation with a First Nation that impressed B.C. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser.

“It’s great to see partnerships like this one demonstrating the real benefits of reconciliation,” Fraser said in a statement, “that by working together, we get better outcomes that benefit First Nations, governments and the communities and people they serve.”

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Stock markets rebound as Mark Carney predicts ‘large but temporary’ coronavirus shock – business live | Business














Carney comments drive markets higher

















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Davos 2020: Javid, Merkel and Soros in spotlight – business live | Business






Mnuchin slaps down Thunberg’s fossil fuel concerns





Mnuchin and Javid to discuss Huawei this weekend





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