Tuesday, 2 Mar 2021

Lebanese national accused of financing Hezbollah returns home

RCMP open sudden death investigation after body found in West Kelowna

Police and the B.C. Coroners Service are investigating the sudden death of a man in his 60s whose body was found in his RV on Tuesday by West Kelowna RCMP.

On July 7 at around 9 a.m., RCMP say officers were called to check on the well-being of a man at a motorhome in the 2300 block of Bering Road in West Kelowna, B.C.

Ten-Year Note Auction Attracts Above Average Demand

After announcing the results of its three-year note auction on Tuesday, the Treasury Department revealed Wednesday that its auction of $29 billion worth of ten-year notes attracted above average demand.

The ten-year note auction drew a high yield of 0.653 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.62.

Last month, the Treasury also sold $29 billion worth of ten-year notes, drawing a high yield of 0.832 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.26.

The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

The ten previous ten-year note auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.46.

On Thursday, the Treasury is due to announce the results of this month’s auction of $19 billion worth of thirty-year bonds.

Novartis Agrees To Pay $678 Mln To Settle U.S. Kickback Charges

Novartis AG (NVS) agreed to pay $678 million to settle U.S. government charges it paid illegal kickbacks to doctors to induce them to prescribe its cardiovascular and diabetes drugs, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.

The $678 million settlement includes $591.44 million in damages to the U.S. government, a $38.41 million forfeiture for violating an anti-kickback statute and $48.15 million to various States.

In addition, the Swiss drugmaker agreed to pay $51.25 million to settle an investigation related to the company’s support of certain independent charitable co-pay foundations from 2010 to 2014. The company provisioned for the settlement.

As part of the settlements, Novartis has agreed to new corporate integrity obligations in the U.S. through 2025.

The U.S. alleged that between 2002 and 2011, the company hosted tens of thousands of speaker programs and related events under the guise of providing educational content, when in fact the events served as nothing more than a means to provide bribes to doctors.

The U.S. also alleged that some of the so-called speaker events never even took place and the speaker was simply paid a fee in order to induce the speaker to prescribe the company’s drugs.

The company also made extensive factual admissions in the settlement and agreed to strict limitations on any future speaker programs, including reductions to the amount it may spend on such programs.

DocuSign’s Notary Deal Expands Digital Offering in Covid-19 Era

DocuSign Inc.’s $38 million acquisition of Liveoak Technologies will expand the company’s digital signature offerings as more people look to do notarized transactions remotely because of Covid-19.

Liveoak’s technology will enable notarized transactions over video, helping DocuSign more fully address the needs of the estimated 4-5 million notaries in the U.S., Morgan Stanley analyst Stan Zlotsky said in a note. It’s an “opportune time for the launch of the new solution” with 23 states already accepting remote online notary and many others working on temporary legislation during the pandemic, he said.

The service will likely be used in the near term by large enterprises with in-house notaries but could expand to address the entire market over time, Zlotsky said.

Shares of the San Francisco-based company are trading at a record and rose another 3% on Wednesday after the deal was announced. Morgan Stanley maintains an equal-weight rating on DocuSign and a price target of $170, about 17% below the current price.

Stanford to Cut 11 Varsity Sports Programs at End of School Year

Stanford University, one of the richest U.S. colleges, is cutting 11 varsity sports teams at the end of the 2020-2021 academic year in an effort to “create fiscal stability.”

The teams are men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, men’s rowing, co-ed and women’s sailing, squash, synchronized swimming, and men’s volleyball and wrestling, according to a statement Wednesday by the school’s president, Marc Tessier-Lavigne, provost Persis Drell and Bernard Muir, director of athletics.

“As you may know, Stanford currently offers more varsity sports than nearly every other Division I university in the nation,” they said. “Over time, however, providing 36 varsity teams with the level of support that they deserve has become a serious and growing financial challenge.”

Brown University announced similar cuts earlier this year.

No angling licence needed for free fishing weekend in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s summer free fishing weekend is set to take place this weekend.

On July 11 and 12, people can fish in any public waterways open to sport fishing in the province without having an angling licence.

Lebanese national accused of financing Hezbollah returns home

Businessman released early from US jail after serving three years for funding the Lebanese group that US officials aim to classify as a terrorist organisation.

A Lebanese businessman who has been accused of financing Hezbollah has returned home – after three years in a United States jail.

Kassim Tajideen had been sentenced to five years in prison but was released due to poor health, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 in prison.

It comes as the US secretary of state called on all countries to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.

Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports.

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